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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 06-10-2012, 01:28 PM
EricKit EricKit is offline
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Location: Italy
 
Join Date: Jun 2012
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Mein Auto: 1994 BMW 316i
My first BMW 316i-> No heat and idle RPM issues?

First off, just wanted to say that this car is a lot of fun to drive... just had a few questions. It's a 316i European spec with a 1.6L engine... 1994 I believe (though the guy who sold it said 1995, Italy does their years weird. If you buy a '13 year model but register it in Dec of '12 it's a '12 model according to Italy, so I don't know if it's '94 or '95). It has 203,000km on it.

First I noticed that when the engine is cold and I start it the engine will hang around 400 RPM, almost die about 3 times, then jump up to 1,000 RPM in the first 10 seconds after starting. After that it runs great but stays at 1,000 RPM for the rest of the drive until I start it again the next day usually. Is 1,000 RPM high? Seems a little bit to me. From reading these forums I think I should try to clean the ICV?

Secondly, my car's heat does not work at all. So some more information:
The fan blows just fine
The A/C works great
The engine warms up but only to about 30-40% (With 50% being 12 O'clock, 25% being the first tick mark, and 0% being blue cold), and I read it should be right at 12 O'clock.
Both tubes coming off the radiator are warm to the touch after the engine warms up.

My plan for the heat is to do flyfishvt's bleed video, but was wondering if it could be something more since it doesn't warm up all the way it appears.



Anyways, thanks for the advice, great to find this forum with so much useful information.

Last edited by EricKit; 06-10-2012 at 01:55 PM. Reason: Clarify
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  #2  
Old 06-10-2012, 01:41 PM
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hornhospital hornhospital is offline
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Welcome to the fest!

You have a thermostat that is not work/stuck partway open. You may also have a heater valve that is stuck closed. Even at 30% of normal heat you should get SOME heat in the cabin.

The idle is definitely wonky. It should smooth out and idle at about 800. Cleaning the ICV will help, but the engine never getting to operating temperature is affecting the idle, too.

You need to read the stickies at the top of the forum. Pay particular attention to the part about replacing the ENTIRE cooling system every 70k-90k miles. That 'entire' means what it says. Radiator, hoses, belts, tensioner, water pump, thermostat and all the rest of the pieces.
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  #3  
Old 06-10-2012, 11:26 PM
EricKit EricKit is offline
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Mein Auto: 1994 BMW 316i
Okay, so I should check the thermostat and heater valve before I do anything else first? I'll search the forums on how to properly do that, thanks.
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  #4  
Old 06-12-2012, 12:50 PM
EricKit EricKit is offline
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Location: Italy
 
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Mein Auto: 1994 BMW 316i
Quick question. I watched the bleed video, and do you normally drain the radiator or the entire system? The video only covers filling it back up.

Also, I couldn't find any great guides on thermostats, anyone else agree that may most likely be the issue? The needle settles between a quarter and 12'oclock for the temp, but sometimes it's closer to a quarter, sometimes closer to 12 o'clock (after a 15 min drive).
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  #5  
Old 06-12-2012, 01:27 PM
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veteran011 veteran011 is offline
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Location: Westchester Co, NY
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EricKit View Post
Quick question. I watched the bleed video, and do you normally drain the radiator or the entire system? The video only covers filling it back up.

Also, I couldn't find any great guides on thermostats, anyone else agree that may most likely be the issue? The needle settles between a quarter and 12'oclock for the temp, but sometimes it's closer to a quarter, sometimes closer to 12 o'clock (after a 15 min drive).
the bleed video is just that. a video on how to bleed the air out of the cooling system. you can do that procedure but i'm not sure if it'll do anything.

If you dont know when the last time your cooling system was replaced do that. the thermostat in these cars is a mechanical thing that just pops (literally) open or closed depending on temperature. Also unless im mistaken your heat should still work (just maybe not as good) if your thermostat is stuck. the thermostat controls flow of fluid to the radiator not the heater core. or am i just plain wrong?

Also, welcome! ask smart questions and be humble. you'll get the hang of how to fit in soon!
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Last edited by veteran011; 06-12-2012 at 01:28 PM. Reason: forgot to be polite...
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  #6  
Old 06-13-2012, 10:54 AM
EricKit EricKit is offline
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Location: Italy
 
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Mein Auto: 1994 BMW 316i
Okay, will give it a go. I learned that my idle issues may be caused by a conversion from normal gasoline to the Europe E85 Ethanol gas capability. It still supports both types of gas, but I the mechanic here said it always causes the engine to idle weird. It has some non-standard electronics I noticed under the hood which lead me to figure out what it all was.

I'll update on how the bleed goes.
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  #7  
Old 06-13-2012, 11:23 AM
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Flotsam Flotsam is offline
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Mein Auto: 1995 BMW 325i
I agree the point about the cooling system. BMWs and E36s in particular are great cars, but the cooling systems are crap! The crimped ends on the radiator is a horrible design. I have 120,000 miles and I have replaced the whole thing twice! (radiator, water pump, thermostat, hoses) If you don't know the status of these things they may be due either now or very soon.

The suggestion about the thermostat would be my guess as well, but do yourself a favor and really look everything over as I have suggested. I am not sure how things compare on the 4 cylinder for getting to the thermostat, but on a six if you are getting to the thermostat you might as well do the water pump! Lesson I learned early on is to try and do maintenance/repair in logical groups. I just finished up doing my entire front end (Lower Control Arms, tie rods, shocks and struts) and now I only do alignment once for all that stuff as opposed to doing it multiple times.

A bad (or low) idle could be any number of things to look over. The ICV is one, but more basically look at the plugs. I think on that engine valve cover gaskets can leak like they do on the sixes. Where the spark plug (and coil packs go) can be fouled up by oil leaking in there. Get yourself the Bentley manual for the car and look into these things. Fuel filter is another maintenance item that is frequently overlooked but easy enough to do.

Last edited by Flotsam; 06-13-2012 at 11:27 AM.
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