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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm looking at the e36 m3. I'd either go for a '98 sedan, or '99 coupe or convertible.

I like the convertible the best but I'm scared it will have more issues than a regular coupe or sedan m3.

Is it feasible to have this car as a daily driver?

How much can I expect to pay for maintenance a year?

Is there a magic number for mileage I should be looking to buy? What are the major service intervals?

I truly love this car but a few people I've spoken to said that maintenance would be a nightmare on an older car like this. What do you guys think?

Thanks,
Mike


PS...I drive a 2006 330i 6mt. Hows the automatic on the e36 m3? I know I can't be too picky when choosing options on a used car like colors and equipment...but I'm scared if I get an auto m3 I might have a tough time re-selling (seeing how this is a sports car with a strong enthusiast following)
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Another Question while I'm at it....
Why do the m3's come with different rims?

Some come with these


or these


while others come with these (Which I prefer)
 

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I'm looking at the e36 m3. I'd either go for a '98 sedan, or '99 coupe or convertible.

I like the convertible the best but I'm scared it will have more issues than a regular coupe or sedan m3.

Is it feasible to have this car as a daily driver?

How much can I expect to pay for maintenance a year?

Is there a magic number for mileage I should be looking to buy? What are the major service intervals?

I truly love this car but a few people I've spoken to said that maintenance would be a nightmare on an older car like this. What do you guys think?

Thanks,
Mike

PS...I drive a 2006 330i 6mt. Hows the automatic on the e36 m3? I know I can't be too picky when choosing options on a used car like colors and equipment...but I'm scared if I get an auto m3 I might have a tough time re-selling (seeing how this is a sports car with a strong enthusiast following)
I have a 1997 sedan auto as a daily driver and love it! What issues do you think a convertible would have that a coupe/sedan wouldn't? Obviously there's more stuff involved with the top, but it's not that much more complicated.

My dealer (BMW of Dallas) charges around $100 for an oil service (timing works out to be around once per year, but I get mine changed when the service lights are 1/2 way down, so double that). I've heard anywhere from $500-$1000 for the Inspection I/II services. It would pay to call around independent shops in your area to see if they can do better (I found a place in Dallas through the car club that charges around 1/2 the above amounts). Other than that, it depends on what else breaks. I just had my rear ball joins done for around $650. Check the sticky at the top re: the common maintenance items and see how much your dealer/shop charges for those. Both should be pretty familiar with the e36 by now and should give you a good idea of how much each item is.

I bought mine last Memorial Day when it had ~70K miles. I've got ~83K now. No major issues (at least nothing unexpected). You can find some with a lot less miles, and a lot more miles. If you can find one with around 10-12K miles/year at a good price, go for it. I paid around $13,000 for mine (including a plane ticket to the dealer and gas back home).

I think the auto is fine; in normal traffic I'm much happier to have it than a manual, but I can definitely name some situations where I'd rather have the manual. I can't imagine you having a hard time selling in the future if you keep your car up and don't do crazy stuff with/to it :angel:

The wheels depend on what option packages you get. I believe the top wheels were part of a "sport" package, the middle wheels were standard, and the bottom wheels were part of a "luxury" package (which mine has).

agaither
 

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Got one for you

I've got a 97 sedan, 50K miles. It was my daily driver the first few years, but I work from home for 6 years now, so not too many miles. It will become available when my new 535i from ED arrives (scheduled around Oct 1). PM if you are interested.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
What's wrong with your 330 that you want an old M3?

agaither
It's giving me lots of electrical problems. Ignition failures, navigation failures, cd player failures. Don't get me wrong, I love it, but it's possessed. I guess because it's the first model year of the new body 3 series? Whatever it is, I don't want it anymore.

The reason I am looking at the m3 is because I was leasing my 330i. I am now looking to purchase as IMO, a more responsible financial move.

I would love to have an e46 m3, but the insurance is ridiculously high...let alone the car.

I've always had a soft spot for the e36 m3 and I figure now is my chance to get one.
 

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I got an E36 M3 sedan about 20 months ago as a daily driver and love it. Gets OK mileage, is a blast to drive, and has been very dependable. Only time I've ever been stranded was because of a dead battery. I have probably spent $1500 or so on repairs, most of which were needed when I first got it. Before I bought the car, I asked a trusted mechanic if the car was likely to be a money pit and was told that it shouldn't be - that I could expect to spend a good bit on tires and brakes (because you should replace rotors with pads), but should otherwise be OK - in short because so much of the car is overengineered. I wouldn't buy it thinking you won't ever have to spend money on it - after all, you're talking about a 10-year old German car - but I wouldn't be afraid to buy one for that reason either. Repairs have more or less met my expectations. I can't imagine another car that could be this much fun to own for the same amount of money.
 

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OK I have had my sedan M3/4 for over 7 years now. Normal oil changes is all I have done with the exception of the brake switch which all BMWs I have owned have had this failure.
I do all my own oil changes as I have a lift and my car has 55K miles on it.
I will replace brakes at around 70K if they are not worn down before then and the same with struts and shocks.
You need to expect to visit the FAQ's to get an idea of maintenance. Expect oil changes, struts and shocks at 70K as well as brakes as needed. Mine are fine at 55K miles.
No other maintenance. I will be dropping the auto tranny pan and replacing the Esso auto tranny oil in the pan with new Esso oil at 19 bucks a quart and it will take 4 qts. That will help the life of the tranny way beyond the 100K mark the everyone says is it life (don't worry it is not).
 

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I hav ehad both a 3.0 1995 M3 GT which was bomb proof and e36 1999 M3 EVO with the SMG gearbox and now on a 1999 M Coupe. I had no problems with the 1999 M3 apart from the VANOS which I got done under warranty but would have been $4000 and they are a problem, as for the SMG gearbox it was ok but bit clunky nowhere near as refined as ALPINA switchtronic on cars of same age. Id go with the manual 6speed whcih although not as solid as the old 5speed in the old 3.0 very nice to use especially with a short shift fitted. Hope this helps.
 

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I forgot one thing too, the cooling system should be replaced at someplace between 70-90K. Water pump, t stat, t stat housing, belts and if you are really worried the radiator too. Hoses are good for at least 150k on this car...
 

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I've had a '99 (E36) M3 Coupe, an '06 (E46) M3 Coupe, and now have a '98 (E36) M3 Sedan. Great cars, all. I'm finding that I simply enjoy driving the '98 the most. It has good power, great handling, and reasonable fuel consumption for the performance. It's my daily driver.

I'm not mechanically inclined; engine air filters and summer/winter wheel/tire swaps are about it. So, for me to really enjoy the E36, I needed a local independent shop that knows (and likes) E36 cars, especially the ///M's. I have that good fortune.

If you pursue acquiring an E36 M3, the annual regular maintenance costs themselves should not be that big of a deal. What is the bigger deal is the preventative / fix-it-cause-it's-broken type of projects. E36 M3's have well known and documented strengths and weaknesses.

Even if you found a pristine example; it's old enough and would have enough miles that, in the relatively near future, you'd be looking at preventative action such as replacing the coolant system parts; radiator, water pump and housing, thermostat.

Things like door lock actuators, climate control unit, and power window regulators are items that will eventually fail. They can be replaced, but there's no more warranty to cover them. (If I'm going to spend the money to fix or replace something, I'd rather send it to a good indy shop than an insurance company anyway).

Good luck with your decision.
 
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