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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So about a month ago I bought my first BMW, actually my first car...for $800. It is a 1999 328is with 135,000 miles. Sounds like a good deal right?? Kind of. Turns out the interior was trashed. It needed new seats, door panels, door handles, and some trim. Now I have new seats and door panels, so the interior is almost done.

So now comes the first day that I actually drove the car...I decided to take some pictures, but unfortunately I got stuck in a little bit of snow. As I'm waiting for someone to come and pull me out, the heater valve destroys itself and coolant goes all over. Awesome.

Then comes the day when I, with some help, fix the valve. When we go open the hood, the hood release cable decides to snap. Fortunately we were still able to open the hood, being that the cable snapped right at the handle inside the car.

That is where the car sits now. The heater valve is fixed and I am just waiting on a new cable to come so that I can fix the hood. Once the hood is working again I just need to install some stock headlights and clear corners, then the car should be drivable again.

Next project: Remove crappy window tint.
 

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Nice find. Looks just like mine but a 98. The cooling system in these cars are crap if your radiator, overflow, and water pump haven't been changed I would strongly recommend that you do. Is it a 5speed or auto?
I am glad you are getting rid of the one piece front headlights! Keep up the good work
 

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Nice find. Looks just like mine but a 98. The cooling system in these cars are crap if your radiator, overflow, and water pump haven't been changed I would strongly recommend that you do. Is it a 5speed or auto?
I am glad you are getting rid of the one piece front headlights! Keep up the good work

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Sorry for the double post. Not sure what happened there.
What are your plans for the car? Keeping it stock or modding?
 

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Hey there fellow Michigander :hi:

Yeah get rid of the ****ty ebay headlamps and it'll be easier to open the hood when the cable breaks :rofl: Sounds like you've got things under control though
 

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Ambitious But Rubbish
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Sounds like a good start!

Do the whole cooling system if you can swing the cost (assuming you don't have proof that stuff has been replaced recently before your purchase). It's worth it for the peace of mind.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Nice find. Looks just like mine but a 98. The cooling system in these cars are crap if your radiator, overflow, and water pump haven't been changed I would strongly recommend that you do. Is it a 5speed or auto?
I am glad you are getting rid of the one piece front headlights! Keep up the good work
Thanks! I'll have to look into replacing that stuff.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Hey there fellow Michigander :hi:

Yeah get rid of the ****ty ebay headlamps and it'll be easier to open the hood when the cable breaks :rofl: Sounds like you've got things under control though
Haha yeah stock headlights should be here this week.
 

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+1 on Coolant system . Doesnt cost much, for radiator, pump, thermo, and small plastic pipe, will be no more than 300 bucks if you do it yourself, unless you buy everything OEM BMW.
 

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You must be careful to not choose poor quality non-OEM cooling system parts, however.

For a comprehensive cooling system overhaul, the following should be replaced:

- Radiator
- Upper radiator hose
- Lower radiator hose
- Expansion tank
- Expansion tank cap
- Bleeder screw
- Water pump
- Thermostat
- Thermostat housing
- Fan
- Coolant
- Main drive belt
- Accessory drive belt

Using quality parts, it will cost between $400-450. It's still cheap, but it is certainly more than $300USD.
 

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E36 addict since 1992
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312 Posts
You must be careful to not choose poor quality non-OEM cooling system parts, however.

For a comprehensive cooling system overhaul, the following should be replaced:

- Radiator
- Upper radiator hose
- Lower radiator hose
- Expansion tank
- Expansion tank cap
- Bleeder screw
- Water pump
- Thermostat
- Thermostat housing
- Fan
- Coolant
- Main drive belt
- Accessory drive belt

Using quality parts, it will cost between $400-450. It's still cheap, but it is certainly more than $300USD.
Here's a great deal if I say so myself. Not as complete but a great buy if you ask me. Just add a fan clutch, fan, belts, tensioners and BMW coolant and you're set for the next 100K miles!

http://pages.ebay.com/link/?nav=item.view&alt=web&id=221546687322

ImageUploadedByBimmerApp1426115095.109969.jpg
 

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Since this is your first car, you will likely have quite a few more headaches than you thought could happen. But, welcome to the club. I would suggest against coilovers. That's the cool suspension mod, and you will likely only need performance shocks like Koni yellows or Bilstein sports for much less money.
 

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E36 addict since 1992
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Since this is your first car, you will likely have quite a few more headaches than you thought could happen. But, welcome to the club. I would suggest against coilovers. That's the cool suspension mod, and you will likely only need performance shocks like Koni yellows or Bilstein sports for much less money.
A budget coilover is a great alternative to blown/worn suspension. It won't be a track performer but it will definitely enhance drivability over worn/blown suspension. For the price of a pair of branded struts, you could have a full suspension upgrade that will get you through.

Nothing wrong with being frugal, it is only an $800 car after all!
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
I'm still not quite sure what I want to do with the car. I don't really think I will do any track days or anything, so performance isn't super important to me.
 

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E36 addict since 1992
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Anyone know how I can bleed my cooling system??
Purge the air out of the bleeder screw and refill expansion tank with coolant as needed before warming up (engine off) the car. I was told that this was the proper way of bleeding the air out of the system.

Some people prefer to do the hot (engine on) method. Same procedures but you get the added bonus of being scorched by hot steam and/or coolant if one is not too careful. This method is best done with the heater on full blast and the nose of the car on an incline. Refill expansion tank when car has cooled down.

A quick search on here should present you with many different ways people purge their system of air. i'm sure someone more knowledgeable than I will chime in soon! Either way, I suggest doing it multiple times to fully eliminate any pockets of air trapped in the system.

Hope this helped!
 

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Ambitious But Rubbish
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To bleed the system, get the nose up in the air. Parking on a sloped driveway makes it easy, otherwise throw the nose up on jack stands.

Make sure the expansion tank is full and leave the cap off. Open the bleeder screw next to the expansion tank - loosen it but don't remove it entirely. Maybe three good turns to loosen it is all you need.

Start the car, put the heat to full hot and crank the fans. Let the car get to operating temperature (idling is fine, it will take ~10 to 15 minutes). While it's idling, keep an eye on the expansion tank. The car should suck down a little bit of coolant in the tank on cold start. Once it gets near operating temp and the thermostat opens, it will suck down a lot more.

As it sucks it down, add more to keep it near the full line. As the car sucks down coolant, it will eventually start to puke some out of the bleed screw. You should see air bubbles coming out with this puking coolant. That is normal and that's the air coming out of the system. Keep the car idling and keep checking coolant levels as it pukes air bubbles. When that stream of coolant puke turns into a steady stream of just coolant with no bubbles popping out, you've bled the system.

I did this last Sunday in about 25 minutes, including the time to let the car warm up to operating temp from completely cold. Revving the motor once the thermostat opens (about 1/3 on the temp gauge) will help get bubbles out. The car will suck down coolant much quicker if you do this, so either have a friend to hold the revs from inside the car, or grab the throttle cable under the hood and rev it a bit by hand (gently, about 2k rpm is all you need).

Make sure you don't let the reservoir run dry or let the car overheat. If this is your first time bleeding the system, I would highly recommend a friend inside the car to hold the revs and keep an eagle-eye'd view on the temp gauge. Once you get some experience bleeding the system, you'll be able to do it solo and not worry so much, but it's unfortunately easy to warp the head on these motors if they get really hot.
 
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