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Came across a post on Craigslist. $1500 for the car. Body does need some TLC it does run and a few things were replaced. I was thinking of buying it and putting some money into it. Now I am new around here and trying to gain some knowledge. I don't know how to post pictures on here yet. Any little bit of advice will help. Thanks.
 

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D'oh, You Kids!
1984 633CSi, 1985 635CSi, 1985 325e, 1987 325is, 1993 325is, 1995 318is, 1995 M3, 2003 F150
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Welcome to Bimmerfest!

Posting a link to the Craigslist ad would help us help you.

An E36 is a good car on which to learn do-it-yourself work. They are simple (compared to new cars) and parts are readily available.
 

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D'oh, You Kids!
1984 633CSi, 1985 635CSi, 1985 325e, 1987 325is, 1993 325is, 1995 318is, 1995 M3, 2003 F150
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Biggest negative: it's an automatic. You really should hold out for a 5-speed.

Biggest plus: it has M3 "vader" seats in not-too-bad condition. If you go and look at it, check it carefully for rust....rocker panels, bottom of fenders, spare tire pocket, floor panels.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Understood! Now, if I see no rust would you recommend to give an offer, take it home and fix her up?
 

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D'oh, You Kids!
1984 633CSi, 1985 635CSi, 1985 325e, 1987 325is, 1993 325is, 1995 318is, 1995 M3, 2003 F150
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If you understand the automatic transmission will be a big downer, yes. You could actually use that as a point to knock some money off the asking. I really get the feeling there's something wrong with it that the seller isn't saying. That's too cheap for a running and driving E36 in that area.
 

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The new radiator hoses and water pump are big red flags for me. The fact that he only replaced part of the cooling system make me think he overheated it and blew the head gasket. Anything a hair over 12 o'clock is overheating and can blow the head gasket. Whit all the issues, personally I would not even wast time looking at it. If you do look at the car, make sure to do a compression test, block test, look for oil in the coolant and look for coolant in the oil.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
So what would some of your recommendations be? Basically I want an E36 to drive and to basically build to learn how it works. Would you guys say save the money and buy something else? Look for another car? Any suggestions will be greatly appreciated and helpful in anyway.
 

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D'oh, You Kids!
1984 633CSi, 1985 635CSi, 1985 325e, 1987 325is, 1993 325is, 1995 318is, 1995 M3, 2003 F150
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I'd definitely wait for a 5 speed car. Save your money for a better example. You can go cheap and spend a ton to get one all squared away, or spend more and not have an endless list of stuff that has to be fixed. There are project cars, and then there's PROJECT cars. Don't start with the latter variety. The goal is to learn AND have fun driving your project. If it seldom or never gets to the drivable stage, it's really discouraging.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Thanks so much so far. I'm going to keep looking around and save money. I deff want something I can work on and drive without really any major worries.
 

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Just spoke to the guy. Said gasket was never blown. What if I took this car for a PPI? On another note, I don't know how to drive manual. Yes best way to start is to learn by driving manual but with manual cars those can be a big problem as well. As I was saying would a PPI be a good idea ?
 

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A PPI is always a good idea, particularly when you're dealing with a 21+ year old BMW. Chances are that it will have many things needing attention, so it's best to be aware of those things up front rather than after you have bought the car. Take it to a shop which knows older BMWs and have a complete inspection performed. Should include a comprehensive inspection of the mechanicals, suspension, brakes, driveability, cylinder compression, etc. Expect to pay a few hundred dollars.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Now few hundred for work or few hundred just for the PPI? If it's just for work of course I won't mind it.
 

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Just spoke to the guy. Said gasket was never blown. What if I took this car for a PPI? On another note, I don't know how to drive manual. Yes best way to start is to learn by driving manual but with manual cars those can be a big problem as well. As I was saying would a PPI be a good idea ?
Never believe a seller that says the head gasket is not blown. Always verify that your self. It does not matter how honest the seller is it is very easy for people who aren't very well versed in the e36 to be in complete denial about the head gasket. "oh the needle never hit the red mark" :tsk:. I looked at an e36 with steam literally pouring out of the block and into the engine bay and the owner insisted that the head was not blow :banghead:.

Now few hundred for work or few hundred just for the PPI? If it's just for work of course I won't mind it.
You are paying for the labor to inspect the car. It is perfectly reasonable for a shop to ask for a few hundred dollars in exchange for a few hours of their time to look at a car.
 

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Oh of course. I'm not taking his word for it. It's $1500 on Craigslist. This guy wants to get rid of it. I'm sure something has gone wrong with this car before. Just don't know what. I'm trying to find a good mechanic who knows BMWs to try and come inspect the car with me, he would know better then I would. Sometimes finds like this can go good... But from the advice I am getting from all the experience you guys have had I'm leaning towards just skipping over this deal and not even looking back. Maybe just save and move on to another e36.
 

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The cheap aftermarket bumpers, head lights and taillights suggest this is owned by a person more interested in mods then maintenance. In my opinion this looks claped out and I would keep searching.
 

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And generally speaking, a $1500 BMW is going to cost at least that much on top of the purchase price to make it a semi-reliable car again.
 

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I would go look at it not with the intention to buy just to see how many things u find wrong. I have a 325is automatic and it handles good and looks good but is lacking in the speed department...

I would suggest reading up on the common problems with these cars, and looking at a few to see how good they are.

Looking at a car with the intention to buy it is not a good idea especially if you have thought of how much you will offer them before u even see it in person. Look at the car as if your trying to find a reason not to buy it.
 
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