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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. is the premier BMW Forum on the internet. Registered Users do not see the above ads.
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Old 05-06-2009, 08:49 PM   #1 (permalink)
Join Date: May 2009
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drayab is on a distinguished road
ECU replacement 1994 325 is

Hello all,

My 94 325is has a problem. The ECU apparently has a problem according to a local mechanic. The problem manifests itself as trouble starting and the engine suddenly stopping while running. In a failed state, it was taken to the mechanic who managed to get it running again by giving the ECU a whack. The mechanic suspects some faulty soldering points inside the box. This is a high millage car (~200k) but I do not want to get rid of it yet. In fact, it runs pretty good when it's not suddenly dying on me. Cosmetically, it looks pretty good, too. However, the price tag for replacing the ECU is rather high, about $750 for a new one plus labor. This is a lot of money for me. I have been keeping it running by leaving the panel loose and giving it a whack as needed, but this gets really annoying. I have been thinking about replacing it myself, and I have seen on eBay that replacements can be bought for <$200. Also, looking at the ECU in the car, it looks like replacing it is as simple as loosening some screws and plugging in the wiring harness, though this might be wishful thinking. My questions:

1) How picky is the car about the ECU installed? For example, does it have to be an ECU out of another 94 325is, or will any E36 ECU do?

2) How difficult is the installation?

3) Are there software issues to be considered?
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Old 05-09-2009, 02:00 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: Eugene, OR, USA
Car: 93 318i
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If I were you I'd get a ECU from a parts yard instead of E-bay, that way if you have a problem they will swap you until you get one that works, return your money or give you credit toward something else.

I haven't had to do this but as far as I know they can be reprogrammed to match your car if it doesn't plug and play.
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