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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm looking for advice and experience from those of you who have replaced Catalytic converters on your E36.

Well my 98 323is keeps throwing an E9 code- catalyst low efficiency (cyl 1-3). The first time I took it for inspection it had this code and evap leak (small) and CEL. I replaced the CEL light and reset the codes. two months and hundreds of miles later, that darned E9 code pops up again. Only that one. I bought the car in Feb from a guy who had replaced the O2 sensors. The car has 86,000 miles.

I've been looking at replacement cats and the prices are all over the place. Since the dealer wants $3,000. I figured I should make this a DIY. I haven't done this kind of work in years, but I love my lil coupe.

- There are some original fit cats out there for $400- $600. Any recs? Any stay away froms?

- Besides gaskets, should I buy other items, like hangers, etc - whatever you can list here will be helpful.

- What to watch out for? - I've seen warnings about the bolts to the manifold, what else could give me grief?

- Should I just buy the parts and turn them over to my regular (non BMW) mechanic?

I know a number of you have done this and I appreciate you sharing the benefits of your experience.
 

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$3k ??

Wayyyyy too much.. go to an exhaust shop.

buy used exhaust.. swap.. sell yours.

Or if you are in a emissions loose state.. time for full exhaust, and high flow cat.
and still sell your old one..

headers and exhaust is easy.. just time consuming.. BBQ time.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Got it done

So I dragged my feet on this, kinda hoping the codes would go away. they didn't. I ordered a DEC exact fit cat online, plus NTK O2 sensors and my mechanic did the job. Parts = about $600, labor = $240.

plusssss the BMW cat is a remanufactured one with a trade cost of $2,000. or about half the value of the car.

So it is possible to keep yer bimmer on a budget, but it takes lots of research.
 

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For the 323 your best bet is to find a used 328 or M3 exhaust midsection at a wrecker and just swap that in. It's a bolt off, bolt on kinda job so will cost you zero $ to DIY.

General consensus is this was one of the areas where the 323's were restricted
 
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