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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 06-30-2005, 02:58 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Hi,
First time to post here...looks like a very informative site! Anyway, I've never owned a BMW before, but have always thought highly of these machines.

Here's my question...I'm test driving a '94 BMW 325i Conv (with low miles) on Saturday morning and would like to know what to look for when I inspect this car. Are there some common weaknesses that I need to watch out for?


PS - I paid a BMW certified repair shop to inspect this vehicle today...they reported that they found the following minor concerns:

1) tiny amount of seapage is forming on low pressure power steering hose (indicating a leak may form in the future - not in need or repair now),

2) left front fog light lens is cracked (I am told it is approx $100 for a new lens),

3) Rear shock mounts are starting to wear (not popping yet, but show general signs of wear - I'm told these go for about $15 each)

4) This same shop recently worked on the Conv top (repaired some frayed wires, repaired some stiching on the material or something like that - its supposedly fine now).

Do any of these things raise any RED FLAGS for anyone? Is there something that I should be gravely concerned about???


Thanx for your help in advance!
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Old 06-30-2005, 03:15 PM   #2 (permalink)
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The RSM (rear strut mounts) are weak points on the car. If you do get the car, buy E46 RSMs instead. The parts are cheap but the labor is going ot cost you a nice penny.

I think most every car on here has cracked fog light lens or has had one.

Power steering leak can happen to any car.

If that's all that is wrong with the car, doesn't sound too bad. They got maintiance records?
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Old 06-30-2005, 03:22 PM   #3 (permalink)
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I would personally take the car to a shop that has not been the cars regular mechanic.
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Old 06-30-2005, 04:01 PM   #4 (permalink)
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thekid,
Thanx for the quick reply. Can the RSM be replaced by a moderately able mechanic or do you need special tools or something to do this upgrade? Just curious if I can do it myself...I'm a moderately-able shade tree mechanic and not afraid to tackle new jobs if I have the right tools.

aheath,
Thanx for the tip...actually, this is not the car's regular mechanic...but rather its one that was recommended by the car dealership that is selling the vehicle. I checked out this mechanic shop and it comes highly recommended...I spoke to the owner and he seems more than competent about BMWs. I will know more about how good his inspection is when I get to finally see and test drive the car on Sat.

BTW, the (non-negotiable) price is $10,500 plus ttl...Blue Book for this car from a private sale is 10,100 (excellent condition) and Blue Book from a dealer for this car is almost $12K. Do you think $10,500 is a fair price if the car is in very good shape with only 72K miles? BTW, I just got off the phone with the car dealer...they are putting a brand new top on it right now...said they were going to get it repaired, but the age of the car was such that it needs a brand new top!

Happy trails...
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Old 06-30-2005, 04:20 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Even so, I would be careful about going to a dealership suggested mechanic. Simply because I've been almost screwed several times by dealerships, one in particular is the Ford Dealership in Lacey, WA which I almost bought a $25,000 truck that was suppose to be in PERFECT shape. I took it to my own mechanic after they had their mechanics check it and my mechanic found several serious problems with the transmission/engine.

However, when I bought my BMW the shop the dealership took it through did a great job of inspecting the car. They gave me a print-out of all the things that the shop replaced.

I think the extra $80 I spent to take it to my own mechanic that has no ties to the dealership and I ended up saving myself thousands of dollars.

Sounds like a good deal on the car especially since they're replacing the top. Knowing how salesmen are, they're gonna have the top down when you come in to test drive it. Do yourself a favor and test drive the car with the top up as well as down.

Good luck. I'm glad it's not me that has to deal with a car salesperson again.......
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Old 06-30-2005, 04:24 PM   #6 (permalink)
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You can do it yourself. Have you done any suspension work before? The rear BMW suspension is easy enough a blind 5 year old with the correct size ratchet or air wrench tip could take it apart. There's a write up around here some where. I'll take a peak and see if I can find it if no one else does by them time I finish studying for a test tommorow.
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Old 06-30-2005, 04:37 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Originally posted by thekid@Jun 30 2005, 04:24 PM
You can do it yourself. Have you done any suspension work before? The rear BMW suspension is easy enough a blind 5 year old with the correct size ratchet or air wrench tip could take it apart. There's a write up around here some where. I'll take a peak and see if I can find it if no one else does by them time I finish studying for a test tommorow.
[snapback]358671[/snapback]

Thanx for the feedback. I have changed out the shocks on American made cars...but never the shock mounts. If you get a chance (there's no rush), I would greatly appreciate getting a link to the write-up on how to change out the RSM. Thanx again and good luck with your test.

Happy trails...
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Old 06-30-2005, 05:47 PM   #8 (permalink)
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http://home.earthlink.net/~frankie66/cars-...hockmounts.html

Good stuff.

Hope this helps.
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Old 06-30-2005, 06:31 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Originally posted by kestrel325is@Jun 30 2005, 05:47 PM
http://home.earthlink.net/~frankie66/cars-...hockmounts.html

Good stuff.

Hope this helps.
[snapback]358697[/snapback]

AWESOME! Thanx very much!!

Happy trails...
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Old 06-30-2005, 06:42 PM   #10 (permalink)
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No prob. If you do wind up buying it, here's another useful link:

http://www.geocities.com/e36rulz/DIY.html

bookmark it, you'll use it often.
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Old 06-30-2005, 08:50 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Originally posted by kestrel325is@Jun 30 2005, 06:42 PM
No prob. If you do wind up buying it, here's another useful link:

http://www.geocities.com/e36rulz/DIY.html

bookmark it, you'll use it often.
[snapback]358706[/snapback]

GREAT SITE! I book marked it...looks like I have a LOT to learn about maintaining and repairing a BMW.

Happy trails...
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Old 07-04-2005, 10:32 PM   #12 (permalink)
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First off, Thanx again to all the above who offered me advice on what to look for when test driving the '94 325i conv. last Saturday. I did manage to go for that test drive, but was disappointed to find the following things that gave me grave concern.

1) Brand new top did not go down without assistance...they salelady even pointed that it was unusual for the top to need assistance and she chalked it up to the brand new top...she said once the creases form/it breaks in, then it should fold down on its own. I could be wrong here, but I don't believe her. What do you guys think?

2) Right side rear window and side window did not join when rolled all the way up (1" gap at the top). I tried to roll it down and up again a few times, but to no avail. This seemed like it may be an expensive repair or difficult to do on my own...not sure.

3) Driver's seat did not appear in bad shape, but very uncomfortable to sit on during my test drive of only about 5 miles or so. It appears to me that the padding must be worn out b/c there was some kind of bar/support along the left side of the bottom seat cushion and it was stabbing my left leg during the entire ride...not all that noticeable when I first sat down, but darn near painful after a few miles of driving. Moving my leg around did not make any difference. Is this a common problem? If so, approx. how much $$ is it to re-stuff the front seat at an apolstry shop?

4) Lastly, I was less than impressed with its power. I had read that the 325i had plenty of get up and go, especially at 3500 rpms and above. However, for normal driving, I noticed that I barely reached 3500 rpms before shifting gears (this would be my normal day-to-day driving habits). It ran smooth and didn't necessarily feel underpowered or anything drastic like that, but this was a std transmission and I was expecting a much peppier motor. This 1994 325i only has 72K miles on it, so I wonder if its that particular car or do most 325i cars feel that way??? Any thoughts? If so, I may start looking at a bigger model 3 series...like the 328 or M series? Honestly, I don't want to go into debt to buy a used car, so I would rather get an older model (94 or newer) 325i conv. in good shape instead of dropping the big bucks on a 328i or M series conv.

PS - As a result of the above findings and the salelady's position of not negotiating on the price at all, I chose not to buy this car. So I'm still looking for now. There seems to be lots of 3 series conv. on the market, so I'm sure I'll find one I like eventually.

Happy trails...
Mike
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Old 07-04-2005, 11:18 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally posted by mikeyboy_esq@Jul 4 2005, 09:32 PM
First off, Thanx again to all the above who offered me advice on what to look for when test driving the '94 325i conv. last Saturday. I did manage to go for that test drive, but was disappointed to find the following things that gave me grave concern.

1) Brand new top did not go down without assistance...they salelady even pointed that it was unusual for the top to need assistance and she chalked it up to the brand new top...she said once the creases form/it breaks in, then it should fold down on its own. I could be wrong here, but I don't believe her. What do you guys think?

2) Right side rear window and side window did not join when rolled all the way up (1" gap at the top). I tried to roll it down and up again a few times, but to no avail. This seemed like it may be an expensive repair or difficult to do on my own...not sure.

3) Driver's seat did not appear in bad shape, but very uncomfortable to sit on during my test drive of only about 5 miles or so. It appears to me that the padding must be worn out b/c there was some kind of bar/support along the left side of the bottom seat cushion and it was stabbing my left leg during the entire ride...not all that noticeable when I first sat down, but darn near painful after a few miles of driving. Moving my leg around did not make any difference. Is this a common problem? If so, approx. how much $$ is it to re-stuff the front seat at an apolstry shop?

4) Lastly, I was less than impressed with its power. I had read that the 325i had plenty of get up and go, especially at 3500 rpms and above. However, for normal driving, I noticed that I barely reached 3500 rpms before shifting gears (this would be my normal day-to-day driving habits). It ran smooth and didn't necessarily feel underpowered or anything drastic like that, but this was a std transmission and I was expecting a much peppier motor. This 1994 325i only has 72K miles on it, so I wonder if its that particular car or do most 325i cars feel that way??? Any thoughts? If so, I may start looking at a bigger model 3 series...like the 328 or M series? Honestly, I don't want to go into debt to buy a used car, so I would rather get an older model (94 or newer) 325i conv. in good shape instead of dropping the big bucks on a 328i or M series conv.

PS - As a result of the above findings and the salelady's position of not negotiating on the price at all, I chose not to buy this car. So I'm still looking for now. There seems to be lots of 3 series conv. on the market, so I'm sure I'll find one I like eventually.

Happy trails...
Mike
[snapback]359610[/snapback]
I was in the same position as yourself. We test drove a 325icA before we got my 328is, and we were less than impressed with the vehicle, even though it was in good shape. It didn't seem to have much pick-up at all, the car shook and rattled like crazy (apparently all the convertibles do that) despite being in great shape and having low mileage. I would highly, highly suggest a 328, I don't think you'll be disappointed. And an M would be even better.
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Old 07-06-2005, 12:42 AM   #14 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally posted by 24valve@Jul 4 2005, 11:18 PM
I was in the same position as yourself. We test drove a 325icA before we got my 328is, and we were less than impressed with the vehicle, even though it was in good shape. It didn't seem to have much pick-up at all, the car shook and rattled like crazy (apparently all the convertibles do that) despite being in great shape and having low mileage. I would highly, highly suggest a 328, I don't think you'll be disappointed. And an M would be even better.
[snapback]359617[/snapback]

Thanx for the feedback...I just might have to take your advice after today (see below).

This morning, I decided to take a test drive of a brand new 325i Conv. at my local BMW dealership so that I could compare how well a new 325 drives to the used '94 325i Conv. that I test drove last Saturday. I was particularly interested in how much more power, if any, a new 325i had compared to an 11 year old 325i. First off, I should point out that the new 325i was an auto trans whereas the 94 model had a stick. That difference aside, I could not tell any significant difference in the power/torque. Again, I'm not saying the 325 is totally underpowered or anything like that...but based on the 2 test drives that I've had in the past few days, I must say I was a little dissappointed b/c I was expecting the 325 to be more peppy. Of course, the handling and ride is superb and there are lots of other things about the 325i that I thing are completely awesome. But as suggested above, I may start looking at used 328i Convertibles to see if I can find one that fits my performance needs and my financial capabilities.

QUICK QUESTION:
Does anyone know if the older model 325i has the same max hp/torque as the new 325i??? I wonder if my impressions about the power being the same is correct?

Also, does anyone know the max hp/torque of the old 328i? How does this compare to the newer 330i?

Happy trails...
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Old 07-06-2005, 12:13 PM   #15 (permalink)
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E36 325: 189 hp, 181 lb-ft
E36 328: 190 hp, 206 lb-ft
E46 325: 184 hp, 175 lb-ft
E46 330: 225 hp, 211 lb-ft (235 hp and 222 lb-ft with Performance Package)
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