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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 12-02-2012, 06:16 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Noob questions on '97 318i

I just bought a '97 318i, this is my first BMW automobile. I have owned five of their bikes and loved everyone of them.
This car had the motor replaced when the timing belt on the original motor failed and the pistons munched the head.

Question 1: What is the maintenance interval for timing belt maintenance or replacement?

Question 2: The car has a new front clip with fog lights, original clip did not have fog lamps. Are the wires tucked up in the harness somewhere or do I need to add new wiring to the harness? Where does the switch mount?

Question 3: I am having the struts and shocks replaced because they are very tired and the front left is leaking. I ordered KYB GR2 struts and shocks; is there a better way to spend my money? They have not placed the order yet. I am not really interested in making a lot of modifications, just keep it stock and reliable but my last driver was a 944 so I do like to go around corners.

Thanks for any help in advance
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Old 12-03-2012, 12:24 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Answer #1 all e36 have timing Chains that never need to replace unless it breaks.

Answer #2 I'm not sure of what your asking?

Answer #3 I don't know much about suspension brands and there quality in comparison to others, sorry.

I'm sure some of the other members will help you out because I'm still learning lol



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Old 12-03-2012, 12:25 AM   #3 (permalink)
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You do have a serpentine belt though which controls all the accessories that should be replaced around 90-100k if you where talking about that


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Old 12-03-2012, 12:32 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Welcome to Bimmerwerkz.

If you want to add fog lights check the fuse box and see of their is an active location for the fogs. The fuse box should have a spot for the relay even if it didnt come with fogs. From what I remember they are not pre wired, and you need the kit. Part number should be: 63 17 1 469 706

The OEM shocks are made by SACHS. If you just want to bring the car back to the same ride quality as when it was new, then get Sachs.
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Old 12-04-2012, 08:41 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Thanks for the input on the fog light wiring; I will also need to add the switch to the dash.

I ordered a set of Bilstein (touring) struts and shocks Sunday night; hopefully they will get here in time for me to install them this weekend.

My next headache is an intermittent open in the power wiring to the hvac control unit, radio and computer. I think it may be in the console, this am the hvac went dark but came back when I shifted in reverse.

I bought the car as a daily driver and really wanted it for it's mpg. A diesel truck does not make a cost efficient daily driver.
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Old 12-05-2012, 12:23 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Bilsteins are well made and good shocks. They are known for normally being a firmer ride over stock.
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Old 12-06-2012, 03:41 AM   #7 (permalink)
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it usually needs to replaced at after 1 year.
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Old 12-07-2012, 12:37 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by rajendersingh90 View Post
it usually needs to replaced at after 1 year.
If you dont know what your talking about, you should ask first before you mislead people.

Shocks have a recommened replacement interval of 80,000 to 100,000 miles. I suggest replacing them when you feel they are not dampening properly anymore. You are free to replace them at either interval, but when repacing them you need to replace the shock mounts as well, especially the Rear Shock Mounts (RSM)
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Old 12-07-2012, 06:27 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Just because you have a keyboard

He may be referring to my question about the timing chain. I am not sure if BMW used a chain or a toothed belt in this application. The belt style needed to be replaced every 40k because they normally failed around 50k and took the engine with it if failed at a higher rpm. The original engine in my car died when the timing chain failed at 150k. There must be some normal service requirements for this part. The service requirement for adjusting the balancing chain in my Porsche 944 was 15k and needed special tools. Do it wrong and you can ruin the motor.
I sure hope I can get more than a year out of my serpentine belt. Overall I am happy with the car, cheap to insure and it gets good mileage.
Thanks for everyone's input.
Now I 'm going to check the serpentine belt.
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Old 12-07-2012, 07:47 AM   #10 (permalink)
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On the E30 they used a belt. On the E36 they used a chain. The chain is a lifetime part that should never need replacment. I have only ever heard of two being replaced. usually its the chain tensioner that wears out. Serpentine belts are cheap so replacing it once a year based on mileage isnt the end of the world.

I thought he was talking about shocks because our last few posts was shocks lol.
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