View Full Version : Forgive the noob if this has been answered

Bimmer p.i.
10-06-2010, 08:55 PM
Hi guys! I tried to do a search but didn't find any answers. After being a Domestic Car owner for the past 20 years, today I bought a '96 328i but it has a few issues and since I am new to the BMW world, I am hoping that you guys can help.

The heater/AC blower doesn't work - the prev. owner said something about a loose wire (?) from the control panel but also said that one time he hit a bump and it came on for a few months then stopped again. There is no heat/AC from any vents - front, floor or windshield/dash - thing is that I plan on using this as a year-round car and need the heater to defrost/defog the window!

Also, when the steering wheel is turned from side-to-side, there's an odd 'squeek' that seems to come from where the wheel meets the shaft, so to speak. The PO said that it was because the car needed a steering fluid flush - but why would the squeek come from the steering wheel itself, then?

Other than those problems, it needs a reverse lamp lightbulb, and fog lamp bulb, and a few other minor things.

I only have one key for it, too - is it expensive to get a new key made from the dealer? also, what is my best option for a 'keyless entry' remote? Should I go thru BMW or is after-market a cheaper/easier option?

I am looking forward to many great years of owning this car, and want it to start off right. The car is VERY clean (not a spec of rust!) silver in colour, with a black leather interior, sunroof, heated seats, a cold-air intake with conical filter, lowering kit with an M3 bumper set up and after market CD set up. It'll take some getting used to, but the forums and reviews RAVE about these cars.

One last question - how do these fair in winter? The handling seems great, and when I test drove it in the rain, it seemed to do well - but being Canucks, does anybody here year-round their car, or is it strictly a Summer toy?

Sorry for all of the questions right out of the gate, but if anybody can help - it's you guys!

Glad to be aboard!

10-06-2010, 08:59 PM
As for the heater, you need to check either the blower motor itself, the "final stage unit" or swap out the climate control.

The steering squeak is most likely low powersteering fluid. Do a flush while you're at it, and remember the system does not take "Power steering fluid" it uses ATF.

They're fine in the snow because of the traction control, but get snow tires to save any headaches.

You can get an keyless entry/alarm system from one of the used parts vendors on the forum. They're plug and play.

Bimmer p.i.
10-07-2010, 11:15 AM
Thanks Doogee,

I have passed this along to my general mechanic, and they will take a look based on your suggestions.

edit: seems to be the least of my problems - along with the blower motor, it turns out it needs $700 worth of brake lines, two holes in the rear rockers to be patched, and there's a leak in the head gasket.

anyone wanna buy a car?!

Bimmer p.i.
10-07-2010, 04:33 PM
okay - it passed the Emissions Test - a few deep breaths later, I accept that I can just do the patch job for the body work myself - just leaves new tires ($260) brake hoses ($700) and misc. oil change, safety check, 'smoke test', emissions test, etc. ($450) so after the cost of the car, the Ministry and materials for body work, I'm basically into a 15 yr old car for $4,000. That's without the gasket repair. This better be worth it!

10-08-2010, 12:00 AM
This is what happens when you buy a BMW. They cost alot to maintain. I bought mine for $5500 2 years ago and have probably spent close to as much as I paid for it since I bought it. Granted, most of the cost is things I didn't have to get or didn't have to spend as much to get (slotted and dimpled rotors, M3 bumper, aftermarket exhaust and coilovers rather than new shocks). But the parts cost alot to order and normally require alot of work to replace. But once you get it to tip top shape you will love it, e36's are great cars.

Bimmer p.i.
10-08-2010, 01:47 PM
well, I was a little taken aback by the 'shock' of what needed to go into the car - I was naive enough to think that it would be fine from the get-go and forgot all I knew about buying used cars.

The ad stated unequivicably "NO RUST" (his caps, not mine) and that was a bucket of bull! There'r holes in the rocker, rust on the front of the hood, and the wheel wells have 'spotting'...not to mention the suprise at the cost of a new blower motor and all new brake lines!

But after some consideration, I have decided to make the best of it - put in the money to make it 'good' and hold onto it for the winter - come spring, I'll be able to enjoy it more. It already has the M3 bumper kit, and was lowered, so I won't have to pay for those additions, at least.

10-08-2010, 01:59 PM
Next time get the car inspected properly before buying.

Bimmer p.i.
10-08-2010, 02:19 PM
yeah no kidding. I have had over 15 cars in the past 20 years, and I learned that lesson LONG ago - for some reason, with timing and such, I just didn't follow that instinct this time, and I got burned. Thought I was getting a good deal and that's when I have to quote Papa Titus - Caviat Emptor, baby!

oh well - lesson learned - AGAIN! but - at the other end of this pain in my ass will be a $4000 tag, and hopefully a decent car with superior handling, a good running motor that will last for some time, and a fun drive. I suppose that's not so bad, is it?

Besides, you Beemer guys seem pretty fanatical. I didn't realize that, outside of Porsche owners, and MoPar guys that there was such devotion to a brand. I am enjoying the comraderie and the kindness and help I have experienced so far.

10-08-2010, 03:33 PM
When I bought my m3, the climate control wasn't working. I milked the guy for $1500 off the price of the car, I gave him the chance for him to get it fixed but scared him by saying that it will cost alot to diagnose the problem and it could be the blower ($700+), Climate control ($500+), plus labor bah bah bah......he didn't want to deal with it so I negotiated a better deal.

What I didn't tell him was that the most likely cause is the $100 Final Stage Unit.
I took the risk and it ended up only being the FSU, only took me 20 mins to change it, so i got a good deal by taking the risk, it could have been a more expensive problem.

Bimmer p.i.
10-08-2010, 05:40 PM
my mechanic did confirm that there is power to the blower, but no function for the blower motor, but I picked up a working used unit for $70 so it's not so bad. I managed to talk this guy down $1300 and if I had paid him 'full price' then I'd be LIVID but as it is, I suppose I'm not TOO pissed.

10-08-2010, 08:11 PM
you paid $70 for a used FSU?

bimmerspecialist.ca has it new for $104.99

Bimmer p.i.
10-08-2010, 10:48 PM
That may be, but I have until next Friday to complete the requirements for the Safety and it's a long weekend so after paying for fast shipping I still might not get it in time and cost would add up - I don't care if it's new or used as long as it works!

But thanks for the link - I'm sure I'll need it some time