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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 01-23-2013, 11:43 PM
whitehat101 whitehat101 is offline
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Location: Santa Cruz
Join Date: Jan 2013
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Mein Auto: 1997 BMW 328ic
Unhappy 328ic Heater Core Replacements


I have a 1997 328ic that I love. It needs a heater core replacement. (coolant leak, started to overheat, low coolant, fumes coming up through the dashboard...) BUT My problem is, I can't tell if I'm being ripped off on the cost of the part. I think I might be. I know labor will be expensive, but the actual heater core...

The repair shop wants to order a $180 heater core (black plastic). I can't find anyone on the Internet selling a 1997 BMW 328ic heater core for that price. I found several off-brand for $65-$85 and a few behr for $95-$105. I even found a black plastic one on ebay for $35. I would feel more comfortable letting the shop "do what it thinks is best" if I could find a part for that price online, or if I was confident that the black plastic part was "genuine."

Most of the black plastic heater cores I can find online are branded ACM or Replacement. I found one on ebay for $140, but every other one was <$85.

I ordered a white plastic heater core from a site that (claimed, at least) said it was a Behr OEM part for $96. It comes with a 12 Months / 12,000 Miles warranty. But the shop would rather use the $180, black plastic, part, just 'cuz they trust their supplier.

I think, but am not 100% sure, that the "genuine" part for my car is Behr part, and it should be a white plastic. Can someone confirm or refute this?

The nerd in me thinks: a heater core is simple, mechanical. No moving parts. You put hot fluids in, the heat is dispersed by aluminum fins, air is blown over the fins, and a cooler fluid comes out.

I want to take care of my car, but I'm having a hard time finding value in the more expensive part. Should I insist that they use my part, or should I let them use the more expensive part (and pay a $20 restocking fee for the part I ordered).
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Old 01-24-2013, 05:46 AM
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jonesin jonesin is offline
The Canadian Prick.
Location: Fort McMurray AB
Join Date: Dec 2008
Posts: 12,979
Mein Auto: '96 328is Cosmos
I'd take a look at the serial number on the part you ordered. Enter it into a site like http://www.realoem.com and see if it matches your car.

Originally Posted by hnaz View Post
I grew up in a time when the internet was just a baby. Grammar back then versus now... holy cow. You could watch the degradation of society as the internet became more mature.

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