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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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Old 08-30-2010, 12:27 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Considering Convertibles E36 v. E46 v SAAB 9-3

Now that my kids enjoy the wind in their hair, I am thinking of selling my A4 Avant and getting a well-loved convertible. Trying to stay under $10K, so am looking at both E36, and E46. It needs to be a daily driver and reliable. The BMW appeals due to reputation for driving dynamics, The SAAB 9-3 appeals for practical issues such as cargo/trunk, and bigger backseat, and better bang for initial buck. That being said, my kids are small (6 & 8). Just gleaning so far on Edmunds and MSN, it seems that reliability is close based on their broad brush data, it looks like the '96 is a good year.

Are these motors timing chains or belts? What is the service interval? Are there other major maintenance items or achilles heals to watch for?

What is your two cents, on the following:
E36 v early E46?

3-series v. SAAB 9-3?
JW
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Old 08-30-2010, 12:36 PM   #2 (permalink)
OMFG another one!?
 
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I'd start by comparing cars with complete service records.
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Old 08-31-2010, 04:51 PM   #3 (permalink)
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you might want to reconsider!!!!!

if you want reliability dont buy a BMW!!!! you only have to look at this forum and also look at bimmerfest - to see the number of issues that arise - particularly with convertibles which warrant whole sections on their own. I have a 96 328Cab - its a hobby - it could not be the car I rely on for daily transport - but when its working its great -- but be prepared for lots of maintenance and repair costs!!!!!
Weak system? ( well lots ) but the common one is the cooling system.....
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