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Go Back   Bimmerfest - BMW Forums > BMW Model Discussions > 3 Series / 4 Series > E36 (1991 - 1999)

E36 (1991 - 1999)
The E36 chassis 3-Series BMW was a huge hit among driving enthusiasts from the first moment the car hit the pavement. The E36 won numerous awards over the years it was produced and is still a favorite of many BMW enthusiasts to this day! -- View the E36 Wiki

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  #1  
Old 08-30-2012, 08:51 AM
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The Tick The Tick is offline
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What to do after buying an E36.

Ok, so I just bought an E36, and was wondering what to do after I have already bought it. I know I should change oil, air filter, oil filter, spark plugs, alignment, balancing, rotating, etc. But what else? If it were you buying the car, what would you do to make sure that it will be well taken care of and be babied? (I am doing this half for me and half for others.)
Thanks
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  #2  
Old 08-30-2012, 09:02 AM
Psquare75 Psquare75 is offline
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Close your eyes and open your wallet.



In all seriousness, mileage and age would matter. a 98 with 50K miles needs a lot less than a 205K mile 93...
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  #3  
Old 08-30-2012, 09:09 AM
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TheFinanceGuy TheFinanceGuy is offline
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Age matters... Parts wear out no matter what the milage reads.

Look into replacing the cooling system in addtion to your list (raditator, T-stat, platic hosing to metal, hoses and expansion tank. re-fill and bleed, then bleed some more).

Otherwise, enjoy the car!
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  #4  
Old 08-30-2012, 09:11 AM
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jonesin jonesin is offline
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Tranny fluid
brake fluid
diff fluid
power steering fluid
cabin micro air filter.

Then the whole cooling system:
fan, rad, expansion tank, bleeder screw, thermostat, thermostat housing, upper & lower rad hoses, water pump, rad cap, and if needed the fan clutch.

The fan clutch is the one component that can fail and not be an immediate catastrophe.


Then there are all the suspension bushings, the control arms, the tie rods, the bearings, the reinforcements for the rear shock mounts and the front shock tower reinforcement plates.

Get through all that, then we'll start going over the rest.
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  #5  
Old 08-30-2012, 10:06 AM
Psquare75 Psquare75 is offline
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I wouldn't be changing tie rod ends, front control arms, control arm bushings, fan clutches, and the like, simply due to age, as these are easy to check on the car.

If I were doing that cooling system refresh however, I'd definitely do the heater hoses. I'm not sure why no one ever mentions them. Yes it requires pulling the intake manifold, but odds are the vacuum hoses are soft and brittle under there anyway.

Oh. Buy this shirt, before you run out of money.

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  #6  
Old 08-30-2012, 10:37 AM
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The Tick The Tick is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Psquare75 View Post
Close your eyes and open your wallet.



In all seriousness, mileage and age would matter. a 98 with 50K miles needs a lot less than a 205K mile 93...
Haha lol it is a '93 with 202k miles, you were close. Thanks everybody. This weekend I will order parts, and then start fixing stuff.
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  #7  
Old 08-30-2012, 11:09 AM
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Time2Fly Time2Fly is offline
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Check with the local BMW dealership give them the VIN # and ask where was originally purchased and what maintenance has been done to it. The biggest thing about buying these cars is HOW WELL THE PRIOR OWNERS TOOK CARE OF IT. Before you spend a crap load of money you may find that it just had all the cooling parts, hoses, bushings, control arms replaced. From the picture it looks clean, post some pics. of the interior and engine.
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  #8  
Old 08-30-2012, 11:17 AM
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I checked the carfax, and it looks like it was taken pretty good care of. The guy aligned it about every year, and rotated and balanced every 2 years. But I did find a receipt in the trunk that says he declined replacing the struts and tie rod ends. And he didn't do it himself, because the tie rod ends are original. I am not a spoiled little brat, but my parents are going to pay for the maintenance until I am out of college because I do not have a job, so I can spend some money fixing it up. I will post pictures soon.
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  #9  
Old 08-30-2012, 11:26 AM
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I have pictures up on my profile. http://www.bimmerfest.com/forums/album.php?albumid=8036
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  • 3 BMW's (1 E30 325 and 2 E36 325's), 2 Audi's (B5 S4 and B8 A4), and 1 VW (MKV GTI) (All Sold)
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  #10  
Old 08-30-2012, 11:44 AM
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ZeGerman ZeGerman is offline
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Replacing the entire cooling system is what I'd put at the very top of my to-do list.
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  #11  
Old 08-30-2012, 11:50 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ZeGerman View Post
Replacing the entire cooling system is what I'd put at the very top of my to-do list.
Ok, I will.


Quote:
Originally Posted by jonesin View Post
Tranny fluid
brake fluid
diff fluid
power steering fluid
cabin micro air filter.

Then the whole cooling system:
fan, rad, expansion tank, bleeder screw, thermostat, thermostat housing, upper & lower rad hoses, water pump, rad cap, and if needed the fan clutch.

The fan clutch is the one component that can fail and not be an immediate catastrophe.


Then there are all the suspension bushings, the control arms, the tie rods, the bearings, the reinforcements for the rear shock mounts and the front shock tower reinforcement plates.

Get through all that, then we'll start going over the rest.
I even need to replace the radiator? Why? does it get clogged up?
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  #12  
Old 08-30-2012, 12:04 PM
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Will this kit do, or is there more? http://www.ecstuning.com/BMW-E36-325...ling/ES205298/
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  • 2001 Dodge Ram 2500 Cummins Diesel running 411hp and 932ft/lbs (Current Daily Driver and Workhorse)
  • 3 BMW's (1 E30 325 and 2 E36 325's), 2 Audi's (B5 S4 and B8 A4), and 1 VW (MKV GTI) (All Sold)
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  #13  
Old 08-30-2012, 12:07 PM
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ZeGerman ZeGerman is offline
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The reason why the radiator needs to be replaced is the same reason the rest of the cooling system needs to be replaced: Plastic. The radiator has plastic side tanks, which after 75-100k miles, or 7-10 years, will eventually become perilously brittle from being subjected to years of heat cycles. The cooling systems in BMWs are a known weak spot for this very reason, and due to the aluminum cylinder head, even one mild overheating due to a cooling system failure can warp and/or crack the head, resulting $1200+ worth of damage. For reasons unknown, BMW used low quality plastics in the cooling system, which means that unlike with many other car manufacturers, we have to replace our cooling systems preventively, BEFORE something breaks and the engine overheats. With the radiators, the hose necks will suddenly snap off and you will dump all of your coolant out in an instant. Before you realize what's going on, your temp gauge will be creeping toward the red and it will already be too late. The same idea is true for all the other plastic items in the cooling system - the plastic will look totally fine, until it snaps without warning and you have a catastrophic system failure on your hands. So this is why you must replace the cooling system parts which, although they may look to be in perfect working order, they are a serious liability if they have over 75k miles on them.

The cooling system parts you should replace are the following:

- Radiator
- Expansion tank
- Expansion tank cap
- Bleeder screw (replace with brass unit)
- Thermostat
- Thermostat housing (replace with aluminum unit)
- Water pump (be sure to use one with a metal impeller)
- Upper & lower radiator hoses
- Fan
- Belts
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  #14  
Old 08-30-2012, 12:10 PM
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ZeGerman ZeGerman is offline
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I've heard not so good things about the GEBA pumps.
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View my photos: Caught in the Wild
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For sale: OEM E36 328 catback
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  #15  
Old 08-30-2012, 12:11 PM
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Ok, thanks.
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  #16  
Old 08-30-2012, 12:18 PM
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Time2Fly Time2Fly is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ZeGerman View Post
I've heard not so good things about the GEBA pumps.
GEBA what the hell is that? Not being a smart arse, I guess it's the stupid in me....

Don't forget the fan clutch, while the engine is running if you can put a piece of card board slowly into the fan and it stops the clutch is bad or if you don't feel good about doing that look at the fan if it's not spinning or looks like it's not spinning the same RPM as the engine ooppps sorry motor as you rev do the card board test. As jonesin said the clutch won't be immediate but it will over heat in traffic at the worst possible time!
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Last edited by Time2Fly; 08-30-2012 at 12:24 PM.
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  #17  
Old 08-31-2012, 06:11 AM
VEESERIES VEESERIES is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ZeGerman View Post
Replacing the entire cooling system is what I'd put at the very top of my to-do list.

I replaced the entire cooling system plus the fuel pump before I even drove it anywhere far, then got my suspension done fairly recently (end of last year to be precise) and it runs well, my next task is the paint work, paint is fading a bit esp on the bonnet, roof, boot and rear bumper), will post pics once am done
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  #18  
Old 08-31-2012, 06:38 AM
Psquare75 Psquare75 is offline
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It's actually much more exciting when the top radiator hose explodes! BOOM! Make you feel like you just experienced a car bomb in Lebanon... until you realize you're, well, alive.
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  #19  
Old 08-31-2012, 07:09 AM
Dmharvey Dmharvey is offline
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Look the car over, determine what it needs, address those needs, and drive it.
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  #20  
Old 08-31-2012, 07:25 AM
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The Tick The Tick is offline
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It's actually much more exciting when the top radiator hose explodes! BOOM! Make you feel like you just experienced a car bomb in Lebanon... until you realize you're, well, alive.
Ok, I will stop reading this in class. I laughed out loud, and now everyone is staring at me...
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