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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi. I'm looking to buy an 1994 E36 318is. I know about the cooling problems and many other problems that will happen shortly after I buy this car. What stumps me though, is that after I test drove the car, the engine was really hot. The temp gauge was reading halfway and coolant seemed ok. But the engine bay was as hot as death valley! I herd that since BMW uses a lot of aluminum and aluminum loves to heat up; that it could be excess heat radiating off aluminum parts. But I also herd it could be the head or the internals. I'm wondering if other people have had a similar problems, or general knowledge on possible problems.
 

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BMW CCA Member
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Does the seller have all the service receipts or at least receipts of parts that he's purchased? Check them out if he does. The OEM temp gauge is probably stuck or made stuck from improper calibration.
 

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Jesse Moon Bayne
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Or the engine is not as hot as it appears. What car did you drive before? My car feels really hot all the time, all my bmw's for that fact. My honda and jeep 4 bangers I owned before felt no where near as hot.
 

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Poet of Signature Quotes
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Or the engine is not as hot as it appears. What car did you drive before? My car feels really hot all the time, all my bmw's for that fact. My honda and jeep 4 bangers I owned before felt no where near as hot.
^this. Mine is the exactly the same. Feels way hotter than my Trailblazer or my Escape.
 

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BMWCCA HPDE Instructor
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If the temp gauge is in the middle, you probably have nothing to worry about. I've never thought that the engine in my BMW seemed hotter than with any other vehicle I've owned, but that is a subjective assessment. My exhaust certainly ticks and pings after I shut down, which makes it sound hot, but is totally normal for OEM exhaust systems.
 

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Aluminum conducts heat much better than cast iron so an engine with a lot of aluminum parts transfers more heat into the engine compartment and into the surrounding air when the hood is open than an engine with cast iron parts. This means the internal parts are actually cooler on an aluminum engine than a cast iron engine, not hotter.
 

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Jesse Moon Bayne
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Well in my case I think why the bmws, especially the e36, e46 and e53 seem so hot to me is b/c they are packed in the engine bay tight, whereas the 4 cylinder honda and jeep are pretty open in the engine bay. This is probably why the bmw's seem hotter to me. :dunno:
 

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I Am The Machine
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I don't think the gauge sweep works in E36s.

BMWs do feel hot under the hood. It's just the way they are. Go drive a V8 540i and just stand near the front wheels while it idles and you'll feel heat just pouring out (of course, proper operating temp for them is also an insane 104*C).

You should do like DF said and drive it hard and have a mechanic check temps with a IR thermometer to be on the safe side, but my money is on it being perfectly fine.

Sent from my LG Revolution 4G using BimmerApp
 

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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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Uh, actually the gauge sweep does work on an E36. OBD1 will only do the first 5 or 6 functions followed by the gauge sweep test. OBD2 will do all functions listed (stolen from BF.C which was swiped from another site):

Step 1. Press and hold the mileage reset button.

Step 2. Put key into ignition switch and turn to KLR (Ignition switch

position #1)

Your LCD display will show something like this "tESt 01"

Step 3. Once "tESt 01" is shown, let go of reset button and the IC

(Instrument Cluster) will go through

some test cycles. Numbers will be shown and here's what they mean:

1st display: BMW PART NUMBER (6 digits)

2nd display: CODE NUMBER (5 digits) Internal Coding Plug #

3rd display: K NUMBER (4 digits)

4th display: CHASSIS NUMBER (5 digits) this is part of your VIN

5th display: SOFTWARE VERSION (3 digits)

6th display: REVISION INDEX (2 digits) Hardware #

After all 6 displays are finished, an analog gauge test will be performed.

The self-test is canceled by switching the ignition off or to KL-15
(ignition

switch position 2)

IC (instrument cluster) tests 1-15

1995 - 1998 (99) 318ti

1996 - 2000? Z3

1997 - 1999 E36 4dr/coupe/convertible/M3

NOTE:

*Test functions 1-4 are unlocked tests and can be called up at any time for

display.

*Test functions 5-14 are locked and require unlocking the test mode before

they can be displayed.

*Test functions 2-14 can be selected at any time when the cluster is

unlocked, even when vehicle is moving.

*Test function 15 is the lock/unlock function.

Step 1: Press and hold the mileage reset button.

Step 2: Put key into ignition switch and turn to KLR (Ignition switch

position #1)

Your LCD display will show something like this "tESt 01"

Step 3: You will need to unlock the test function first so when the LCD

Display shows "tESt 01," press the reset button till you get to "tESt 15."

Once you're on test 15 press, and hold the reset button for a few seconds

until it displays "off." Now you can cycle through the test features. Here

they are as they follow:

Test 1: Instrument self test

Test 2: Engine Data - This display is an "engine factor" value that is
stored

in the coding plug. The instrument cluster processor uses this factor in

addition to the "TD" signal from the DME control module to process and

display tachometer RPM based on the engine installed. For EXAMPLE:

*ENGINE FACTOR 2 = 4 CYLINDER

*ENGINE FACTOR 3 = 6 CYLINDER

*ENGINE FACTOR 4 = 8 CYLINDER

Test 3: SI elapsed distance - the total mileage in kilometer since the last

reset. Which service is due at the next inspection (OIL SERVICE or
INSPECTION)

Test 4: SI elapsed days - no value for US vehicles. Relates to Euro annual

inspections.

Test 5: SI evaluation factor - for engine speed and temp. thresholds being

passed.

Display: n = 0 or 1. Engine speed (over-rev)

t = 0 or 1. Engine temp.

NOTE: "n0" means that you hit the maximum threshold for engine speed and
"t1"

means you overheated the engine. I found out from my instructor that this

test 5 is false due to software related problems.

Test 6: Fuel Level and coolant temp. - Display of hexadecimal codes in

relation to gauge position.

Fuel gauge ----> Hex value

A (empty)---------> 0d

End of reserve---> 37

B-------------------> 54

C-------------------> 90

D------------------> c4

E (full)-----------> f0

Engine temp. ----- Hex Value

A----------------------> ce

B----------------------> 6d

C----------------------> 5c

D (center)----------> 4f-23

E-----------------------> 1e

F-----------------------> 18

Test 7: Engine speed (Digital Tach)- display of current engine speed

Test 8: Road speed - display of current road speed in km/h

Test 9 Distance reading - this allows the total stored mileage to be updated

if one of the storage components has to be replaced. This test step will be

used if the manipulation dot is illuminated in the cluster display. This

display will show the component with the lower mileage. For example:

Display of 012654 l indicates that the mileage in the internal EEPROM is

lower than the mileage stored in the coding plug.

Display of 000325 E indicates that the mileage in external coding plug is

lower then the total mileage stored in the internal EEPROM.

Pressing the reset button for 4 seconds will over write the lower mileage

with the higher mileage and cancel the manipulation dot. The SI data will

also be transferred at the same time.

Test 10: Status bits (input signals) - the status of digital inputs to the

cluster are displayed as 0 or 1.

Display: 0 = input low, 1 = input high.

_ _ _ _ _ _ <--- Mileage display...6 digits left to right

1st - belt contact, seat belt fastened = 0

2nd - ignition lock contact, key inserted = 0

3rd - door contact, door open = 0

4th - clock button pressed = 0

5th - SI reset = 0, for reset = 0

6th - EGS transmission failure = 0

Test 11: Status Bits (output signals) - the status of digital outputs is

displayed.

Display: 0 = output inactive, 1 = output active

_ _ _ _ _ _ <--- Mileage display...6 digits left to right

1st - Gong output

2nd - Brake warning lamp

3rd - Low fuel warning lamp

4th - EGA lamp

5th - seat belt lamp

6th - manipulation dot

Test 12: not used

Test 13: Country code of cluster - the display indicates the country version

of the cluster. This cannot be

changed in the workshop. Display: USA 02

Test 14: Software Reset - The reset must be carried out if any faults are

present that are not plausible before any components are replaced. After the

reset, the system will exit the TEST mode and the lock

will be reactived.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
The entire engine and cooling system is stock except the intake. And I drove an E30 before, and it had the same problem... but then my head blew. But I have a feeling that had more to do with the 300,000 miles I was able to milk out of it rather than it running hot. But thanks for the input. Just to be sure, I'm going to have a third party mechanic take a look at the engine and coolant system before I purchase the car.
 

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Jesse Moon Bayne
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8,245 Posts
I'd say generally if it faults/breaks it wouldn't move at all...would stay in one spot with car on or off
 

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I Am The Machine
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Hold the phone Ken...... Does that list say that you DON'T need to change clusters when swapping a 4 to a 6 cyl? Just change the engine factor in the cluster and you're good? Mind blown. And I had no idea the gauge sweep worked on E36, thanks.

Frosty, good call, always a solid idea to have a car inspected before purchase.

Sent from my LG Revolution 4G using BimmerApp
 

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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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30,738 Posts
I don't know if any of those data points are editable. I believe all you can do is read them....but who knows? Maybe! :dunno: Most likely a dealer-editable-only feature, using their proprietary software.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Temp Gauge works fine to my knowledge. I'll make a post later day letting you guys know what the source of the problem is, if there is one. Also, another friend, who is very knowledgeable on BMW's said it means absolutely nothing. And that as most of you guys stated, it's a BMW the aluminum parts make the engine bay hot and the internals colder. Just check all the hoses and belts to see if any are warped or expanded.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
SO I ended up getting the car. I did get a third party mechanic (BMW specialist ONLY) and they said aluminum radiates heat etc. etc. The car does need new thermostat pipe, radiator support, fan shroud, rewiring on the electrical fan (Not the clutch fan), tranny mounts, radiator cap, vacuum hose, and a new fuel filter. Not that bad for an old BMW that hasn't been taken care of. Much better than my E30. Ended up getting the car for $3800. But keep in mind the previous owner had a lot of mods done to it that I would have done anyway.
 
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