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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
So heres my story. I just recently purchased an e36 in mid January this year. It's previous owner was a really sweet collegiate like lady, who is in school, listens to opera, and is just an all around gentle girl. The car was brand new in '98 when she bought it for around 40-50k. It's a fully loaded 323is coupe. When i first bought it there wasnt anything wrong with it from what i can tell, there weren't any sensor lights on, cept for the airbag icon on the dash which i took to my mechanic and said its because there was a piece missing or in need of a replace. He said it has something to do with the passenger belt buckle. I've been driving it for a good 2 months now. I use this car to go to work everyday, 35 miles to and 35 miles back, so about 70 everyday. It's all freeway miles. maybe a 1/2 to get to the freeway entrance, other than that its 70 miles and 75-80mph of cruising the california valley line. About 3 weeks ago, the 'check engine' light came on, and i was told that it was my gas cap being loose, so I went to an oline site and bought myself a brand new e36 cap. I waited for about a week's worth of ignition cycles hoping that the light would go off, but it didnt. I took it to the local mechanic and get a 'non in-depth' diagnosis for about 30 bucks. He tells me that the catalytic converter is bad from what the codes tell him, and thats about all he can tell me for that kind of diagnosis, he said that theres probably more wrong but that he cant tell me without paying the 150 for the in depth.... So my problem or worry is, is that my e36 shakes when i start it up now. It started out with light shakes when i started the car about a month ago. Two weeks ago the shakes started to get a little bit heavier when i start it up, like light trembles that feel like theyre coming from under the front of the car, maybe near the engine somewhere ? Since then up until now, the shakes haven't increased dramatically, but theyre starting to get a little bigger now, so now im worried. Now, this happens only when i start up my car after it's either sat there overnight or just hasn't been started up for a while. Enough so that the engine goes cold again. the shaking last about 1 to 5 minutes, it depends on how long its been off for and how cold it is. Now, the funny thing about this, is that once, its done shaking a bit, it runs perfectly fine with no problems while in motion/on the freeway, driving, etc. So now im worried that the more i drive it the more i'm hurting it. Can the catalytic converter be the culprit of all this shaking? Will spending the 150 - 300 dollars fix the cat, but the check engine light stays on ? Is it or could it be something else completely different? Does this sound like an experience you've had before? Can you offer me any kind of advice?

Any help is appreciated, and i ll answer any questions you have.

Here is a link to the diagram of the '98 chassis, i was told it was near or under the headers or someting to do with the headers that it would cost more. I don't know what the headers are so, can you tell me from this diagram?
http://www.realoem.com/bmw/showparts.do?model=BF83&mospid=47482&btnr=18_0189&hg=18&fg=10
 

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Sounds like some one is trying to take you for a ride. There is no code that saids "bad cat" more then like likely you need a tune up and a new O2 sensors. Might want to just go to Auto Zone and have them run a free test to see what codes you are getting and what is truely wrong. Eather way I would find a new shop.
 

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If you are willing to turn a wrench around 200 in parts. Using the "good stuff". At a shop 400 to 500 for Change oil, spark plugs, filters, valve cover gaskets, O2 sensors. Make sure they do a fule filter too.
If you are handy at all around a car you could unhook the - bat cable for a minute or so. This will clear your computer. See if the light comes back on or if the car runs any better. Works some times.
 

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Im in california too.

Spark plugs can be cheap or expensive, you can get Bosch plugs for around I think 2 bucks a plug, or NGK Iridiums (I have them, love them) which are 8 bucks a plug.
Oil, and the filter and a new washer can run around 40-ish (I'm just running these numbers off my head)
Air filter, 20 bucks (ish)
Valve Cover gasket, 20 bucks if you buy offline at the right store.
Oxygen sensors, avg. 90 bucks
Fuel filters are cheap
Ignition coils, 300 ish

Visit the vendor list sticky thread and do some research on parts.

BMW's require a deep pocket to maintain.
People who don't know jack about their car, BMW's require super deep pockets.
 

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The shaking is most probably an indication that your fan is about to disintegate! I'd check the cooling system first. If I'm not mistaken, this is a symptom of a water pump going bad.
 

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Oh good eye, didn't that happen to you mona?

Boein, you do NOT want your water pump to fail and have your fan shoot off and break into a million pieces and crack your radiator and break other shtuff. No bueno sir..
 

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Oh good eye, didn't that happen to you mona?...
:mad: Don't ask! :irate:

;)

EDIT: To the OP, it's a heck of a lot cheaper to get your cooling system up to par than mess with the cats!
 

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What happened? haha just kidding. I had to ask.

That sucks, did you do the FDM after?
It started just before x-mas (the shaking) then by new years BLAM!!! Fan in bazillion pieces, coolant spilling everywhere, fan belt squeeling like a pig and the humiliation from the few thousand people (exaggeration!) watching my car limp home!

Luckily it happened only a block and a half away from where we live. So my hubby called the tech and they came over and fixed the car in our garage. Took them only a few hours to do the job!
 

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Not saying you are wrong Mona, but i would tend to agree with the oxygen sensor diagnosis.

The computer in your car reads a signal from your oxygen sensors all the time. It adjusts how much fuel your car gets based on the reading it gets. If the sensors are fouled, it will send a faulty signal. Causing the comp to tell the injectors to send the incorrect amount of fuel. When this happens, your car will run funny. Often producing the shaking feeling you are getting. But when the car ( and the catalytic converters) warm up, they tend to send the proper signal, and the shaking will go away.

Correct me if i am wrong, but if it was the fan starting to go bad, wouldn't it happen all the time?

If you are going to a dealer for diagnosis, you Will get screwed. If you don't have the ability to do the work yourself, your best bet is to go to a smaller local shop that has a good reputation in your area. Stand tall, and tell them that you want them to read the codes, give you a copy of the codes, (even if you have no idea what they mean, there is bound to be someone here or elsewhere that does) replace the oxygen sensors, and clear the codes when they are done (so that you have a clean slate). Practice what you are going to say before you go in. don't read from a list. I am not just being foolish here. As soon as you show signs of weakness or ignorance, the service manager will pounce on you and take you for all that you ware worth. Trust me when i say that they are only after your wallet. BMW's can be pricey to maintain, but i feel that half the problem owners have is getting fleeced by shops and dealerships that see dollar signs whenever a bmw drives onto their lot.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Not saying you are wrong Mona, but i would tend to agree with the oxygen sensor diagnosis.

The computer in your car reads a signal from your oxygen sensors all the time. It adjusts how much fuel your car gets based on the reading it gets. If the sensors are fouled, it will send a faulty signal. Causing the comp to tell the injectors to send the incorrect amount of fuel. When this happens, your car will run funny. Often producing the shaking feeling you are getting. But when the car ( and the catalytic converters) warm up, they tend to send the proper signal, and the shaking will go away.

Correct me if i am wrong, but if it was the fan starting to go bad, wouldn't it happen all the time?

If you are going to a dealer for diagnosis, you Will get screwed. If you don't have the ability to do the work yourself, your best bet is to go to a smaller local shop that has a good reputation in your area. Stand tall, and tell them that you want them to read the codes, give you a copy of the codes, (even if you have no idea what they mean, there is bound to be someone here or elsewhere that does) replace the oxygen sensors, and clear the codes when they are done (so that you have a clean slate). Practice what you are going to say before you go in. don't read from a list. I am not just being foolish here. As soon as you show signs of weakness or ignorance, the service manager will pounce on you and take you for all that you ware worth. Trust me when i say that they are only after your wallet. BMW's can be pricey to maintain, but i feel that half the problem owners have is getting fleeced by shops and dealerships that see dollar signs whenever a bmw drives onto their lot.
i gotta say cjf351, that was exactly the kind of advice that i was looking for. wisdom from experience
 

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How much did u end up spending mona?
All in all, about $650 including parts and labour. H20 pump, Expansion tank, Serpentine belt, Fan Blade and fan shroud. I got lucky and not have to replace the fan clutch. But again, this is after the big KABOOM! A water pump can be had for as little as $60 (shop around!) and labour of about an hour to an hour and a half (according to my tech).
 

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Not saying you are wrong Mona, but i would tend to agree with the oxygen sensor diagnosis.

The computer in your car reads a signal from your oxygen sensors all the time. It adjusts how much fuel your car gets based on the reading it gets. If the sensors are fouled, it will send a faulty signal. Causing the comp to tell the injectors to send the incorrect amount of fuel. When this happens, your car will run funny. Often producing the shaking feeling you are getting. But when the car ( and the catalytic converters) warm up, they tend to send the proper signal, and the shaking will go away.

Correct me if i am wrong, but if it was the fan starting to go bad, wouldn't it happen all the time?...
The shaking I experienced before my fan disintegrated was intermittent! It would shake one day and not the next. The shaking also differed from cold days to not so cold days as far as intensity goes. I am having problems with my 02 sensors right now and so far no shaking whatsoever. Im mostly experiencing a wave like surge in the power during accelaration. The OP could save himself a bunch of trouble now since none of his mechanicals have made contact with each other. It's basically just preventive maintenance for him at this point.

Bottom line, it's totally up to the OP to determine which is more crucial, the water pump (that has the potential to create massive destructions) or an 02 sensor/Catalytic converter (that will not make a car shake no matter how bad it is). Do a search OP, then decide. Just my$.02!
 

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...BMW's can be pricey to maintain, but i feel that half the problem owners have is getting fleeced by shops and dealerships that see dollar signs whenever a bmw drives onto their lot.
+1 That's why I joined Bimmerfest forum! :thumbup:
 

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Were you able to get it diagnosed? Any updates?
 

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Discussion Starter #20
nope. not yet Mona, I'll report back when i do get it done though. It shouldn't be too long, as long as my financial status keeps up
 
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