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3-Series (E36) Chat relating to the BMW 3-Series from 1992-1999. Autodoodad Specific models include: BMW 316i, BMW 318i, BMW 318iS/ti, BMW 320, BMW 323, BMW 320, BMW 324, BMW 325, BMW 328.

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#1 (permalink) Old 12-27-2003, 03:02 PM
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New here! I own an '85 325e. Love it--still think it has the best profile of any BMW--but it is older and some repair costs don't match the worth of the car (market value that is) so I am looking for another car. A buddy mentioned the Infinity G20. I found one ('95 G20) in almost mint condition/53K miles/one owner/garage kept...$6900 FIRM.

Then I had to check an ad for a '95 325i. Another immaculate car fully loaded. Black ext/ black int/ tinted windows that actually look good/ 4dr/ auto-man tranny...beautiful. 83k miles, 2nd owner, traced w/CarFax and all looked good. He wanted $9500. After a three hour conversation mostly about music and women, he said $8000 is the lowest he could go (that's $500 off from girlfriend and $500 off for himself). He's moving to Texas--showed me the job transfer form...even offered me a job.

My dilema...the repair costs of the BMW. I hear the water pump of the '95 are lousy plastic deals. My '85 325e has got something wrong every other month and I'm tired of it. How do you even change the oil in this '95 bad boy?

Any and all opinions are wanted. I know this is a BMW board, but knowing what you know about a '95 325i going to be a nightmare??? It was so sweet looking and drove great. I will get a safety inspection before I decide.

He wanted $9500 for it. It was immaculate...almost perfect less a little ding in the front grill. Balck exterior/black leather interior, tinted windows all around. It was as clean as a car could get. 83K miles--2nd ownder--CarFax checked out.

We spoke and hit it off. The guy is moving to Texas in three weeks--all his paper work and stories seemed to check out. After we spoke and did some $$ back & forth he said his lowest price was $8000. This is a great price. The Kelly BB is at $13,000. The odometer light display reads at 50% until you drive for a bit and the Water Coolant light displays when starting. Signs of greater problems?

The only hesitation is the prediction of repair costs. I didn't even see an engine with the hood open! How do you cange the oil? Water pumps seems to be bad on this model--easily a $450 job.
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#2 (permalink) Old 12-27-2003, 04:56 PM
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actually the waterpump you could do yourself...and just buy an after market waterpump because those are metal impellers and the original bmw one is made of plastic and breaks easily. and to change the oil is pretty oil filter is dropped in from the top of the engine there is a canister that houses the filter. and to drain the oil there is a plug in the oil pan underneath the engine. and these motors are pretty reliable. im on my 2nd e36 as of right now. and as far as maintenance ive only had to change one waterpump and a thermostat between both cars and regular oil changes and thats it.

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92 325i - 220rwhp/205rwtq (RIP)
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#3 (permalink) Old 12-27-2003, 06:02 PM
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fruity what were the milages on the two cars and how long did you have htem?
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#4 (permalink) Old 12-28-2003, 02:54 PM
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the e36 is a great car, and is usually not a mainatance nightmare. The waterpump is easily replaced and not expensive at all. Changing the oil only involves a 10mm socket wrench. the filter is housed up top and is easily accessable.

<span style='color:gray'><span style='font-family:Courier'>1995 e36 3 Series RIP
1999 e46 3 Series BURN IN HELL
2000 MR-S Roadster= Current</span></span>
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#5 (permalink) Old 12-29-2003, 03:23 AM
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I would get the e36. I've had mine for a good year and I've had ZERO mechanical problems with it; and I'm not very nice to it =P As far as doing repairs though, it's going to be expensive unless you A. are a good handyman or B. know someone in the car repair industry you can trust. But as far as mechanical errors or breakdowns e36's are nice.

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#6 (permalink) Old 12-29-2003, 12:09 PM
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Just make sure you get the car throughly checked out. I just bought a similar 93' 325i (you can see the picture below) and here's a list of problems I had in the first 3 months:

Intermittent heater problems
Transmission light *!* and loss of power - needed new EPROM
Bad oil leak from Oil Filter Housing
New rear tires - $600 (P245/35/19)
Rear camber arms bent
Rear shock mounts
Rear trailing arm bushings
Front control arm bushings
Front ball joints

To fix all these problems, the dealership wanted - $5000+

That's the last time I take his mechanic's word for it (even if he does work at a BMW dealer). Don't be stupid like me and fall for the mesmerizing aestetic beauty of these cars alone. Make sure it is mechanically sound.

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#7 (permalink) Old 12-29-2003, 06:05 PM
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do that 40 point inspection thingy b4 u buy the car
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