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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 05-10-2008, 01:57 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Help Is 98 BMW 318 reliable?

Hi all,
I am new to this forum and consider buying a used bmw.
CR recommends the 98 328i sedan as one of reliable used cars but I am inclinded to buy a 98 318i because the gas is really expensive recently. My question are the following.
1.Generally, is 98 318 as reliable as 98 328?
2.According to your experience, how much I need spend on the maintenance except the gas? I am not sure whether I can afford the maintenance cost for a 10 years old bmw.
Thank you very much.
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Old 05-10-2008, 11:44 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Yo, i just did the same thing for the same reason. parked the expedition, and picked up a 98 328i. i guess like any thing used, it is what it is. i haven't have any problems out of mines. i love it, coming from 5.4 V8 to the 2.8 V6, i'm in hog heaven right now - lol.
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Old 05-10-2008, 11:51 PM   #3 (permalink)
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AFAIK the '98 318 is very reasonable if serviced well.
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Old 05-11-2008, 05:18 AM   #4 (permalink)
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The M44 in the E36 318 is derived from the M42 which are both very good, rugged, well built engines. tranny wise id save yourself by getting a stick. other than that, the only thing you probably have to worry about is the interior (loose panels, headliners, etc). maybe check out the cooling system and the rear suspension carrier (which will probably be fine)
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Old 05-11-2008, 12:25 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by akula View Post
Hi all,
I am new to this forum and consider buying a used bmw.
CR recommends the 98 328i sedan as one of reliable used cars but I am inclinded to buy a 98 318i because the gas is really expensive recently. My question are the following.
1.Generally, is 98 318 as reliable as 98 328?
2.According to your experience, how much I need spend on the maintenance except the gas? I am not sure whether I can afford the maintenance cost for a 10 years old bmw.
Thank you very much.
How many miles are on the car? Find out when the last time an inspection I and inspection II were done on the car. If they have been done recently you should be maint free for a while, except brakes and tires or random sensors going out. By 1998 virtually all problems have been worked out from the earlier E36's. Double check and make sure that the water pump is one of the newer models with the metal propeller, I'm pretty sure by now it should have one. The rear strut mount issues were fixed in 1995. The only consideration with buying any E36 after 96 is the OBDII system. Basically it will not matter to you unless you plan on doing some modifications to the car. If you plan on it, just ask or do a quick search and you'll see what you'll run into. Nothing horrible, you just have to make sure you are getting the right stuff.
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Old 05-11-2008, 02:23 PM   #6 (permalink)
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How many miles are on the car? Find out when the last time an inspection I and inspection II were done on the car. If they have been done recently you should be maint free for a while, except brakes and tires or random sensors going out. By 1998 virtually all problems have been worked out from the earlier E36's. Double check and make sure that the water pump is one of the newer models with the metal propeller, I'm pretty sure by now it should have one. The rear strut mount issues were fixed in 1995. The only consideration with buying any E36 after 96 is the OBDII system. Basically it will not matter to you unless you plan on doing some modifications to the car. If you plan on it, just ask or do a quick search and you'll see what you'll run into. Nothing horrible, you just have to make sure you are getting the right stuff.
Thank you for a specific answer. The car is about 103000 miles. Is it worth buying if those parts you mentioned were ok? As a graduate student, I don't have much money to spend on car maintenance.That's why I am so hesitated.
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Old 05-12-2008, 04:36 AM   #7 (permalink)
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A BMW will be nice to you if you're nice to it meaning that if you take care of it it'll go on and on, on the other hand it won't take as much neglecting as a toyota.

but things go wrong on it as will on any other old car, but you can always find 2nd hand e36 parts since there is millions of them and they're all pretty much the same.

if you buy parts from the dealership you'll run out of money very fast, but i think its pretty much the same for every car manufacturer. bmw parts are not overpriced compared to other cars, well thats what i've found anyway.

a good way i find to save money is to do a lot of diy. with the bentley/haynes manual and mint forums you can always find all the information you need and ask for help if you get stuck.

therefore by diy'ing you save the money that you'd normally spend on labor, and can afford to spend a bit more on parts. another good thing about diy is that you know the job is done well. i don't really like people touching my car
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Old 05-18-2008, 09:17 PM   #8 (permalink)
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I have a 97 318i with just shy of 200,000 miles on it and it is spectacular. Burns no oil, automatic transmission is perfect, gets around 27 mpg... The m44 has been a really good motor for me. As long as the previous owner was somewhat good about changing to oil and maintenance, I would say you're in great shape... With just over 100,000 miles I would say it's just getting broken in. Good luck!
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Old 05-20-2008, 06:41 AM   #9 (permalink)
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I have a 97 318i and would rather dive it than the wifes 02 330i. As previously stated, it will take care of you if you take care of it
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Old 05-20-2008, 04:27 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Gotta correct my previous statement... NOW just OVER 200,000 miles went over on my way to work this morning
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