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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 07-09-2004, 02:10 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Hey guys!
Here is the deal... I never had a BMW before and I actualy didn't plan to BUT I've seen one car that I've got some passion about...
It's a '94 325i sedan, 5-speed, 140Kmiles.
The car is a dealer trade-in and had one owner. I can't ask for the records. But it seems to be in pretty good shape.
I can buy it for... (hold your breath) $2200 + fees in San Jose, California.

(UNHOLD YOUR BREATH) And I will need to spend another $1500.
It needs new clutch, A/C service, one rim and two tires, may be an 02 sensor and some rotor resurfcaing. Paint is VERY good for a '94. It has gray leather which is almost fine except the drivers seat which is worn, but no big deal. No seat heaters, there's a Kenwood CD player, trip computer with all toys and everuthing seems to wrok fine.

So here is the question to all of you BMW people.
Does it worth from a price and value and reliability point of view?
How reliable are those engines+transmission with a mileage like that. The car drives very strong, but 140K sounds a little scarry to me.

Please advice ASAP coz I need to either take it or leave it.
HOW DO THOSE CARS HOLD UP!? ENGINES + TRANSMISSION

I do have a pretty new, but a bit boring Accord now... it's hard to bit on reliability!?
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Old 07-09-2004, 02:15 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Sounds very low. But maybe they're cheap in your area. Have it checked out first. There could be some other stuff that's gone wrong and you'd have to replace.

I'd say plan on spending 2k to 2500 on repairs and other stuff. Things have a tendancy to go wrong when you buy a car knowing you're gonna replace stuff. I did, and I've got 0 complaints cause I love working on the car and we got a good deal on it. But it is quite a lot of stuff and I'm understanding why the previous owner got a different car but I'm happy to know it's not cause the engine is ready to explode.

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Old 07-09-2004, 02:16 AM   #3 (permalink)
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If you don't mind spending money (potentially a lot) on cars, buy it. Deffinately more fun than an Accord, but less reliable. There is more fun stuff with a BMW, but more stuff means more stuff to break.
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Old 07-09-2004, 04:00 AM   #4 (permalink)
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My 86 325es drives great with 165k on it, and the tranny is perfect...if your willing to spend some money on little things that you will have to do it sounds like a good deal to me...but i would take it into a local mechanic first, make sure nothing is wrong
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Old 07-09-2004, 04:03 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Hey,
That sounds like a good price for here in Cali. I picked up my recently for much more than that, but I have just learned the Tranny is shot, which mean $$'s. Mine had 150k and drove sweet, but 300 miles after the purchase it just started slipping. Be prepared just in case, to invest a bet extra. If you are willing to spend a little time on the car, it can pay off with enjoyment.

As with anything, if you have the chance have the car inspected it would be work the ~100-150, less surprises.
Good Luck.
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Old 07-09-2004, 11:42 AM   #6 (permalink)
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You gotta ask yourself, do you really want to buy a car with 140K miles on it? For the money you will be putting into it, you might as well save some more and buy a newer Bimmer with less miles...less hassel...more reliable. No, its not a bad deal though.
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Old 07-09-2004, 11:51 AM   #7 (permalink)
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with the right TLC, Bimmers can last a very long time, as long as any Honda. Of course over time, little things here and there are gonna go wrong, as with any car. Its just that BMWs cost a little more. It is a great deal for that price. Just make sure you take care of it. Its an option to have the busted stuff replaced, meaning you would spend 2500+ for new parts and repairs. However, you could take that total amount of money spent and put it towards a newer (95 or 96) with possibly about 100k on the clock. However again, another 10 0r 20k in that and things will start needing its general maintanence or replacement. It all comes down to what you think your really want. Be prepared for the costs. But also be prepaired for the satisfaction that we can guarantee that you will find. If you love this Bimmer, then there is no reason to not love any other similar Bimmer. Be patient in your search because there is a lot of good stuff out there. Goodluck with your choices and
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Old 07-09-2004, 12:37 PM   #8 (permalink)
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i think the bottom line is, get it inspected by a trustworthy mechanic, have him make you a list of potential problems or things that are wrong with the car. and ask for his opinion on what he would pay for the car.

make sure you know the mechanic pretty well, because some will try to get you to buy it so you will bring it back for repairs.

looks like this car could either be the greatest deal of your life, or the biggest disappointment, so get it checked out!
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Old 07-09-2004, 02:18 PM   #9 (permalink)
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From personal expirience with autodealers..... if the price is too good to be true, then it probably is. Dealers know exactly what they have sitting in front of them, and will sell the car for whats its really worth, then will never sell car under valued..... my guess is that car needs [whatever the NADA dealer price is minus $2000] in repairs.....

Also, although it isn't a normal business practice, I have discovered that BMW dealers (as well as owners) are generally very open with providing information from previous owners.

When I bought mine last month (a dealer maintained car) not only did the current owner call the original owner of the car to let me talk to him, but he also gave me all his contact info in case I had any questions for him...... I did not expect that level of curtisey of course BUT!.... if the car was dealer maintained, then odds are they have the service records on file (which BMW provided me at no charge to compare against the owners files) the previous owners of the car's name and contact information was all over every receipt.... perhaps you could do a little research, and contact this person to find out what is really up with the car.

Keep in mind, I did not buy my Bimmer from a dealer, but they extended that curtiousy to me anyways.

Good luck

NL
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Old 07-09-2004, 02:46 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Unless you are sure that car is in TOP shape (checked out by a BMW repair specialist you trust) -or- you are looking for a good project car that you can spend a lot of time and money working on, I wouldn't recommend it. I got a good deal on my car. But, here's what I had to fix in the past 9 months since I bought it:

Heater hose ruptured (twice)
Oil filter housing began leaking
Transmission malfunctioned and required an EPROM upgrade
Valve cover gasket began leaking
Spark plug boots cut and taped together
Ignition coils
Front Ball Joints
Front Control Arm Bushings
Rear Shock Mounts
Rear Trailing Arm Bushings
Rear Camber Arms
Driver's door handle switch and door lock actuator
Power window motor
Brake rotor fell off while driving
Rear wheel bearing
Parking brake pads

I'm not joking - the dealer would have charged me about 6 or 7k for all this - maybe more.
I did most of the work myself and saved considerable money.

And the latest from last week:
a cracked cylinder head ($2100) and probably from the previous owner because it never overheated.

Now my wife hates me. (But I think she really hates the car)
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Old 07-10-2004, 02:40 PM   #11 (permalink)
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ouch ghead


do this to the person you bought that ride off of...
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Alpine CDA-7895 Head Unit
12&quot; Alpine Type-R, sealed box
Pioneer 400w amp for $20 at a yard sale (to replace my fried MRV-1507)
Infinity Kappa 4&quot; 2-way speakers(rear)
Infinity Kappa 5.25&quot; component speakers(front)
Debaffled airbox, K&amp;N filter
Tracked Mud on carpets
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Old 07-11-2004, 02:35 AM   #12 (permalink)
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OK, I DID IT. THE CAR IS PARKED NEAR MY HOUSE.................... hm
I was not really afraid of the dealer I know someone there and in the last few days I put probably around 500miles on that car before making a decision.
Mechanic checked the car and I already replaced the clutch, charged A/C, resurfaced brakes, passed smog with new sparkplags, changed airfilter and some other small stuff... spent about $1400 so I'm at $4000 even now. The rims and tires are coming this week, may be a window tinting and I have to do something with the sound system. So I'll probably be out with under $5000. And than I hope it will run for a while with no other (big) problems. (if it ever happens I don't plan to keep it for more than a year if it will be good. If it will not be good I'll get something else faster. So that pretty much my plan was.
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Old 07-11-2004, 11:15 AM   #13 (permalink)
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still sounds like you got a deal to me...congrats on your purchase and best of luck to you with that ride, you'll love it more and more!
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1996 318i
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Alpine CDA-7895 Head Unit
12&quot; Alpine Type-R, sealed box
Pioneer 400w amp for $20 at a yard sale (to replace my fried MRV-1507)
Infinity Kappa 4&quot; 2-way speakers(rear)
Infinity Kappa 5.25&quot; component speakers(front)
Debaffled airbox, K&amp;N filter
Tracked Mud on carpets
Shampooed and cleaned carpets
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