Ive been a lurker here for a loooong time. Just reading the posts here has helped me with many an issue on my '93 E36 316i. So, time to return the favour.
The starter on my car decided to malfunction and broke off an ear. I had it repaired but the idiot who welded it didn't do a good job, which resulted in me being forced to replace it.
There are 2 starters for the car: 1 with thin ears which was originally used on the E36, and one with thick, reiforced THREADED ears, which was used on the E36/46.
After careful consideration, I decided to use the second, sturdier one.
The swop out:
I found that the OEM starter was actually longer than the "new" one. To remove it, I had to remove the Power Steering reservoir (2 bolts) and the dipstick shaft (1 bolt). Once I had it out, I made sure that they were the same, just to satisfy myself. I happily slotted the reinforced, shorter starter into its little hole and stopped. I managed to get the top bolt into its hole but couldnt do a thing more. It seems BMW has a twisted sense of humor: Theyve made it as difficult as they could! Theres NO SPACE in there. Since the bolt turns in from the Bell Housing side and the bell housing sits almost flush against the chassis, I decided to get a series of extensions, slide them over the gearbox from behind and tighten the bolt. No luck. My neighbour tried something different. He driled the thread out of the ear and manufactured a new, longer bolt. Once done, I super glued the bolt in place and slid the starter in. 5 minutes later we were done
This was something I was VERY sceptical about trying, since once the thread was gone, the only way to put it back was with Helicoils, which arent strong.
Just my experience. Use it if you have to, but at your own risk...
Onto the brakes:
My brake lights stopped working. After reading this forum, I tried checking the pedal switch. Yes, it was messed up (took off the plug, shorted it out). I tried to break it off but wasnt having much luck with my hand. So I grabbed a mirror and examined it properly. I found that there were 2 clips on the vertical faces. A simple squeeze with a long-nosed plier released the switch
I decided to try fixing it, since I wasnt prepared to spend R450 for a new one. Turns out all it needed was a quick lube and all was well. I slotted it back into its hole and with a LOT of pushing managed to get it to stay there (The clips were worn out) All done.
Just my 20000000000 Zim dollars.
Once again, thanks to all the posters for the damn good advice!