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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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Old 08-06-2012, 08:18 AM
KilgoreTrout KilgoreTrout is offline
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Location: Lehigh Valley PA
Join Date: Jan 2012
Posts: 3
Mein Auto: 323IS
Replacing my Cat, Looking for Advice

I'm looking for advice and experience from those of you who have replaced Catalytic converters on your E36.

Well my 98 323is keeps throwing an E9 code- catalyst low efficiency (cyl 1-3). The first time I took it for inspection it had this code and evap leak (small) and CEL. I replaced the CEL light and reset the codes. two months and hundreds of miles later, that darned E9 code pops up again. Only that one. I bought the car in Feb from a guy who had replaced the O2 sensors. The car has 86,000 miles.

I've been looking at replacement cats and the prices are all over the place. Since the dealer wants $3,000. I figured I should make this a DIY. I haven't done this kind of work in years, but I love my lil coupe.

- There are some original fit cats out there for $400- $600. Any recs? Any stay away froms?

- Besides gaskets, should I buy other items, like hangers, etc - whatever you can list here will be helpful.

- What to watch out for? - I've seen warnings about the bolts to the manifold, what else could give me grief?

- Should I just buy the parts and turn them over to my regular (non BMW) mechanic?

I know a number of you have done this and I appreciate you sharing the benefits of your experience.
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Old 08-06-2012, 10:25 AM
bmw-mania bmw-mania is offline
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Location: California
Join Date: Feb 2011
Posts: 1,465
Mein Auto: BMW
$3k ??

Wayyyyy too much.. go to an exhaust shop.

buy used exhaust.. swap.. sell yours.

Or if you are in a emissions loose state.. time for full exhaust, and high flow cat.
and still sell your old one..

headers and exhaust is easy.. just time consuming.. BBQ time.
Originally Posted by cj.surr View Post
I don't have to read the username on these posts to know who wrote it.

Bmw-Mania, Ladies and Gentlemen.

Last edited by bmw-mania; 08-06-2012 at 10:27 AM.
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Old 02-01-2013, 04:55 PM
KilgoreTrout KilgoreTrout is offline
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Location: Lehigh Valley PA
Join Date: Jan 2012
Posts: 3
Mein Auto: 323IS
Got it done

So I dragged my feet on this, kinda hoping the codes would go away. they didn't. I ordered a DEC exact fit cat online, plus NTK O2 sensors and my mechanic did the job. Parts = about $600, labor = $240.

plusssss the BMW cat is a remanufactured one with a trade cost of $2,000. or about half the value of the car.

So it is possible to keep yer bimmer on a budget, but it takes lots of research.
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Old 02-01-2013, 05:01 PM
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drivinfaster drivinfaster is offline
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Location: in the sticks you piney
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Mein Auto: rescued bmw's
a reman cat??

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Old 02-01-2013, 06:17 PM
V_323 V_323 is offline
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Location: Melbourne, Australia
Join Date: Feb 2012
Posts: 43
Mein Auto: E36 323i w/ M52B28
For the 323 your best bet is to find a used 328 or M3 exhaust midsection at a wrecker and just swap that in. It's a bolt off, bolt on kinda job so will cost you zero $ to DIY.

General consensus is this was one of the areas where the 323's were restricted
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catalytic converter, e9 code, emissions codes, replacement help

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