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Discussion Starter · #1 ·

My first post! I don't know much about cars so go easy on me!

Last year the wife crashed her e36, frontal damage. The car has been lying up for about 8 months. I've now managed to motivate myself enough to have a crack at getting her back on the road (the car, not the wife).

Anyway I'm looking for advice on what I should look out for as the car has been stationary for a long time. I have stripped off all the broken parts and can see the cosmetic stuff I need to attend to. I have replaced the air intake hose as it was perished and causing the car to idle very erratically. I've also replaced the battery.

The car is turning over ok. It's idling a bit rough. It's not terrible by any means, but it is still noticeable. It's an automatic....if I put it in Park or Neutral it idles at 1500 RPM and if I put it in reverse or drive it idles at 1000 RPM. There is a rattle from the middle section of the exhaust (I think). I have noticed that the car will idle at about 1500 RPM for a few minutes and then drop down for a second and recover.

The brake disks/pads needs cleaning/replacing as they make a grating noise when the brakes are pressed.

Other than that the car seems ok, although I have not been able to give it a rip as I have no headlights, front grille, etc

Given that you can pick these cars up for next to nothing I don't want to spend a fortune on it. But I love the car and if I can get it back into decent nick myself then happy days.

The car is:

1998 316i e36 Automatic.

So basically I'm looking for any advice on what to look out for or renew on an e36 thats been on bricks for 8 months.

Sorry for the long post but I'm new to this car stuff. But I'm looking forward to getting my hands dirty and learning!!!


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650 Posts
Depending on how bad the brakes are rusted, if you drive it a little bit the rust should wear off. Unless the pads rotted and cracked, then you may need new pads. All around brakes you should end up spending about two hundred.

I'm assuming the car was parked in the grass, watch the gas and brake lines for rust, they can rust like crazy if they are OEM.

Is the check engine light on? If so you just might be able to find the cause to the eratic idle using a scan tool. Auto zone has those, they usualy let you use it for free.

For the exhaust, sounds like its just a heat shield. Can be easily fixed by replacing the bolt that holds it up. Or it could be worse and need a cat back or farther up replaced. Muffler shops usually charge about 150-250 for exhaust work.

Thats just basics, I don't know what else to look for ont he e36's.

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42 Posts
I picked up a 318IS that had been sitting for a year and a half. The brakes were completely rusted. Check the emergency/parking brake. Mine was all rusted as well. I replaced all rotors, pads and all new parking brake components.
Brakes aren't that expensive and they are really important!
Oops, almost forgot, change all fluids and filters.
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