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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 12-27-2012, 09:46 AM
overambitious overambitious is offline
i buy junk cars
Location: rhode island
 
Join Date: Dec 2012
Posts: 13
Mein Auto: borrowed cars
to swap or to reassemble; process and diagnostic; invitation to experts

Hi all. I'm a new member but I've been reading the forums a LOT for a year or two since my life has been taken over by a pile of e36 BMW.

I've got a 1997 328i, manual 130,000, arctic silver, crashed, substantive damage to unibody, and a 1998 328i, auto, 280,000+ !, ascotgruen (very pretty), body in great shape.



i drove the 98 a tiny bit. the engine seemed nice and smooth, even when revved up high, and it did not seem to have a power deficiency compared to my other one. the odometer don't work though and it had gotten up to 280,000 before it stopped working

so the 98 (the green one) runs smoothly. before i assembled the cooling system, running it 5 or 10 minutes at a time until it got up to temp and then i'd shut it off. assemble cooling system and fill it up and uh oh, heater core has big leak, swap heater core, all good, and uh oh, when it gets up to temp, plumes of white smoke/vapor coming out tailpipe... sigh

so, i figure its headgasket. remove head before performing proper compression test, smacks forehead, old headgasket doesn't even look that bad, smacks forehead. pour oil onto each piston, which doesn't drain past pistons at all for days - i think it's still there, and has leaked very little, however oil is only distributed on one side of each piston (so could rings be damaged on the other side of pistons?)



the auto trans on the 98 seems to have leaked a good deal of fluid, should i swap only the transmission? not to mention, i dropped a nail in through the OTHER hole in the bellhousing, the one that's like a foot above the flywheel locktool hole before i found the proper hole. so i think this nail will just sit harmlessly in the bottom of the case, but i am aware that it could be dangerous...

the spark plugs on the 98 are gross, black sticky and shiny, the piston heads are ok i guess, some carbon buildup but nothing too intense. none of my piston heads cylinders were shiny clean as if there had been a lot of water burning in one cylinder...

i figure i should replace my plugs and possibly valve stem seals. i want to do the valve stem seals. also, does anybody know how worn down my valve- seats are going to be at about 300,000 miles? i don't have enough money to send any work out to a machine shop

so i need to check my head for cracks now, is the dye test reliable? or could there be a crack somewhere deeper in the veins of the head? either reassemble my 98 m52 with new headgasket and hope to god that it works well from there, then maybe swap the manual transmission from my other car . OR swap the whole engine and trans between cars and then mess with the high mileage engine when i have $$ to do a proper rebuild

THANK YOU FOR READING. i'll be able to lend knowledge in the future i promise. happy holidays

Last edited by overambitious; 12-30-2012 at 08:04 PM. Reason: because i sounded dumb and DF made that more apparent
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  #2  
Old 12-27-2012, 10:05 AM
overambitious overambitious is offline
i buy junk cars
Location: rhode island
 
Join Date: Dec 2012
Posts: 13
Mein Auto: borrowed cars
oh i also wanted to ask whether there was a way to see if it could have been transmission fluid that i was burning. i recall seeing somewhere that there's some seal or valve or something, failure of which, will cause the burning of transmission fluid. whiteish smoke? but then again - i'm pretty sure i was burning coolant
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  #3  
Old 12-27-2012, 01:19 PM
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drivinfaster drivinfaster is offline
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Location: in the sticks you piney
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Posts: 10,131
Mein Auto: rescued bmw's
uh...yeah...the last thing that you want to do is try to build a turbo if you have no money. bmw's are *not* cheap to get extra hp from. ever.

your best bet is to take the one that is running best and put the funds into that one to get it in tip top condition. if this involves taking the motor out of the one and swapping into the other, then so be it. but be preppared to spend extra funds to do all of the little things that will break when doing do. it's gonna happen.

if you have a manual trans in your collection, use that. they tend to hold up better than the autos.

sell what you can off the other chassis, and scrap the rest.

if neither one are viable candidates for driving without a lot of money and effort, you may very well be better off buying an entirely different vehicle and save up to get a better condition bmw.

that being said, you seem to have *just* enough ability to get yourself into more trouble with diy's. i'd suggest some vo tech classes (like an adult evening class) to get yourself more familiar with the general automotive principals. get some how to books from the library of you are not able to purchase them, and read them at least twice. then read them again.

other than that, i am not sure what else to tell you.

welcome to the fest??





df
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  #4  
Old 12-30-2012, 07:11 PM
overambitious overambitious is offline
i buy junk cars
Location: rhode island
 
Join Date: Dec 2012
Posts: 13
Mein Auto: borrowed cars
dissuasion

anyway, my post was supposed to have framed several specific questions i had from the work i have before me:

1. how well does the dye method of checking the head for cracks work (i will clean it thoroughly) and does a head ever have cracks in it that are more internal and not visible on the mating surface? i.e. the flat part that mates to the block?

2. are valve stem seals usually a good thing to replace or are they generally pretty indestructible like a lot of the bmw engine? i haven't removed my cams yet and i'm not going to if i don't have to...

3. does anyone know where to look to see if its transmission oil that i'm burning? there is a valve or a unit that if it gets worn out, i recall reading somewhere, will allow the transmission oil to burn...

4. there is a substantial amount of fluid coating the underside of the transmission. which are the gaskets, etc that fail and allow such leakage? or, does such leakage generally indicate gasket failure or some more significant failure?

5... there are more aspects of my current predicament where i would probably benefit from discussion - on the other hand, lots of time and lots of parsing through the BMW forums solves most any issue

anyway. yeah i want to twin turbo an m52 one of these days... with cheap little turbos off of junkyard saabs or volvos and megasquirt or something. also want to experiment with hydrogen, any hho folks out there? i realize the turbo and the hho are two vastly different projects... just sharing my interests.

Last edited by overambitious; 12-30-2012 at 08:05 PM.
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  #5  
Old 12-30-2012, 09:16 PM
drivinfaster's Avatar
drivinfaster drivinfaster is offline
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Location: in the sticks you piney
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Posts: 10,131
Mein Auto: rescued bmw's
whoa whoawhoa!!...hold on there skippy....first things first...

you need to be able to have funds to do this sort of thing with turbos, much less hydrogen, and simply bolting on junkyard turbos (which aren't a direct bolt on, btw...saab or volvo...) and 'playing with them' is not the sort of thing that a backyarder could (or should) do with any sort of success. there are companies out there with *way* more $$$ that are actually doing this sort of thing.

unless you have mad wrenching skills, mad fabrication skills, a dyno, and can program your own tune, i sugest you go back to the drawing board and get some practical diy chops.

there is no way an automatic trans, much less a manual one, can leak oil and have it get burned in the engine. (the only *possible* way that could ever happen is with an old vacuum diaphram type valve that used to be used on some automatics back when the dinosaurs still roamed the plains back when the west was won...) autos are all now solenoids and computer controls for shifting.

so you need to assess which chassis is the best candidate to reassemble/repair.

i would start with the one that has the least amount of damage to the chassis itself. engines and transmissins can be swapped out easier than repairing rusted/damaged panels and floorpans.

then i would see what you have as far as drivetrain. manuals are much better than autos. it's easier to swap an obd2 mtor into an obd1 chassis, just use the obd1 manifolds to plug everything back in. this also works the other way around, as well, but usually means ging from a 2.8 to a 2.5......except for the few 2.3's at the tail end of production....

once the chassis has been chosen, and the drivetrain cobbled together, it's just a matterof putting it all in the chassis. i suggest the following:

new hoses. all of them. even the heater core hoses.
new plugs.
new engine gaskets (oil pan, rear main seal, oil pan///)
new waterpump
new thermostat


what would be nice to do would be:

starter
radiator
belts
tensioners
motor mounts
trans mounts
giubo
center support bearing
power steering hoses


and that's just the shortlist.



don't worry about turbos or other hp gains. this isn't a camaro or mustang...it's a bmw and they're twice as expensive to get big gains out of than the ponycars are.

if that is what you want, then i suggest selling off what you've got and look on craigslist for some poor schmuck who's knocked up his gf and has to 'sell his baby' camaro/trans am/mustang for cheeps.





df
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