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View Full Version : e36 newbie with some questions.


z3ds
07-24-2005, 10:50 AM
Hi guys, I just bought a 95 318ic auto with 110,000miles for cheaps (less than 3000$). It runs really well but it has some problems: broken windshield, broken rear plastic window, driver side door has a big dent, brakes needs new ones and a/c doesn't blow cold. Other than that, everything is working fine :)

The previous owner told me that the car was not ran for a year. He was selling it for her sister and has no idea whats the car's history

After reading a couple dozen threads here , I concluded that this is a great forum to ask some quetions *th-up*

I did some researching about the e36 but I still need more info from owners like you guys. I'm about to change all the belts and the water pump. I bought bmw coolant, water pump that has a metal impeller after reading that plastic one will might break over time.

*What other preventive maintenance should I do?
*Does my car has the obd1 ?
*Theres a line of yellow & red led lights in the guage cluster (like this: - - - -) that lits up and turns off when the engine has started, what is that for? (sorry no owners manual)

I also found this page of DIY for e36 E36 DIY pages (http://www.geocities.com/e36rulz/DIY.html) (I bet you all knew this already)

Thanks in advance

givemeanE36
07-24-2005, 11:17 AM
I don't have an E36 but as a general rule of thumb this is what i do to all new cars that i buy regardless of history or what the owners say.

1. Engine flush and oil change
2. Tranny fluid change
3. Fuel filter change
4. Air filter change
5. Coolant flush

And for you, you should also consider:

6. Timning belt
7. Tensioner
8. Water pump
9. Thermostat
10. Alternator belt

Etc. For a lot, what i do is overkill, but at least i sleep better at night :)

ara_yaz
07-24-2005, 11:42 AM
*Theres a line of yellow & red led lights in the guage cluster (like this: - - - -) that lits up and turns off when the engine has started, what is that for? (sorry no owners manual) Thanks in advance

That's your Oil-Change indicator. When it gets to red...change your mofo oil!

Justin e36
07-24-2005, 01:57 PM
that's your oil change / inspection indiciator light. It counts and tells you how long you have left before your next oil change or inspection. When it comes up, the INSPECTION or OIL CHANGE light will come on too.

the rear plastic window will need to be taken to a place that deals with BOATS.. (it's the same plastic) and get them to replace it... cheapest rear window you will find. Once you have your new rear window, do NOT use ANY type of cleaner/polisher on it.. (i.e. Windex). Those products are designed for glass, not plastic, and will cause the plastic to haze and turn yellow.

Your car is OBD1 not OBD2. (OBD2 started in 96). Having OBD1 is not a bad thing as far as tuning and reliability goes.

Also, since the car has been sitting for a year it's a good idea to flush all fluids (including gasoline) and put fresh. Also check all seals and gaskets for signs of dry-rotting. Those seals NEED fluid on them / moving by them to keep them solid.

If you have any questions, feel free to ask.

Justin

z3ds
07-24-2005, 03:03 PM
Thanks guys for the prompt reply!*th-up*

givemeanE36 - Thanks! I'll perform the stuff you listed

Justin e36- Great information I'll keep that in mind when I get my new window, I already bought a window from emiata.com ,the guys makes windows for bmw. I'll
definitely will check those seals for dry rotting.

Can I reset those lights when I change the oil? (obd1 brake pedal) I checked and the all yellow and red lit up but the inspection or oil change light hasn't lit up yet.

In regards of changing the oil, bmw use strictly mobil 1 oil or is there a subtitute?

Btw does any body here have a pdf of an e36 owner's manual? *th-up*

ara_yaz
07-24-2005, 03:43 PM
^^you'll need to buy a reset tool...~ $100 USD. OR any porper Bimmer shop will have it.

As far as an owmers manual, check e-bay, you can pick one up dirt cheap.

Justin e36
07-24-2005, 05:16 PM
Thanks guys for the prompt reply!*th-up*

givemeanE36 - Thanks! I'll perform the stuff you listed

Justin e36- Great information I'll keep that in mind when I get my new window, I already bought a window from emiata.com ,the guys makes windows for bmw. I'll
definitely will check those seals for dry rotting.

Can I reset those lights when I change the oil? (obd1 brake pedal) I checked and the all yellow and red lit up but the inspection or oil change light hasn't lit up yet.

In regards of changing the oil, bmw use strictly mobil 1 oil or is there a subtitute?

Btw does any body here have a pdf of an e36 owner's manual? *th-up*

At the passenger (right) side of your engine compartment at the rear (near the windshield) is the connector for your OBD1 diagnostics. This is where you reset the oil service / inspection lights. You can do it yourself with a piece of wire by shorting out the circuit for 3-10 seconds depending on what you want to do. You can be fancy and ass a dragon clip and a connector on the end, but it's not needed. Here's the details with which connectors to short out. Don't be afraid to do it yourself, very easy: http://www.unofficialbmw.com/e36/electrical/e36_reset_service_lights.html

I would recommend going to castrol synthetic oil. I usually run 10w30 in the summer months... and 5w30 in the winter months. If you want an all round synthetic then you can get Castol Syntec 5w40 or 5w50. The Mobil1 with SuperSyn technology is not a bad choice either though, also comes OEM on Porsches, Aston Martin, Mercedes SLR and AMG vehicles, and Corvettes.. amongst others.

You might benefit from an engine flush before switching to synthetic (although it is not necessary.)

Hope this helps!

z3ds
07-24-2005, 09:40 PM
thanks justin! i'll try castrol syntec. i think i'll skip the engine flush ,is it true that it is bad because some of the engine flush coats the walls of the engine and stays there?

Justin e36
07-24-2005, 09:45 PM
engine flushes are beneficial for engines that have not been properly maintained. The oil gets thicker with age and turns into a gunky paste. Switching from mineral to synthetic oil will dislodge any gunky mineral oil deposits from your engine and leave them floating around, so you'd want to flush the engine first. (It's actually common for synthetic oil to break up old mineral oil deposits...)

However, on some older engines that gunky stuff is what is protecting the seals and gaskets on the engine, so if you remove all that, your engine will start leaking and cause some big problems soon after. You have to be smart about how / when you flush your engine.

Engine flush fluid is mainly kerosene with some other additives... it's very very thin, usually it's a 0w20 oil. It's an oil stripper and breaks down the oils in your engine, so it can be emptied out. After using an engine flush on an older engine you'll notice all kinds of gunky globs coming out of your oil when you drain it again! The good part is, engine flush fluid is broken down by engine heat, so whatever is left in there will be burnt off in the next few days.

Keep in mind, it's not always necessary to flush when switching from mineral to synthetic, mixing the two is fine.. in fact many oil brands today are a mix of synthetic and mineral. (semi-synthetic, some brands call this premium oil.)

Hope this helps,
Justin

z3ds
07-26-2005, 09:11 PM
You re the man justin! thanks for the oil info.
i opened the valve cover, the valve springs, camshaft, etc seems clean no thick gunky oil stain. So far the engine doesnt leak oil and runs alright, i think i'll skip the oil flush for now and just perform a normal oil change

z3ds
07-26-2005, 09:33 PM
Btw what does the A/M button next to the auto trans?
(again no owners manual but will get one soon) *th-up*

Justin e36
07-27-2005, 12:39 AM
Btw what does the A/M button next to the auto trans?
(again no owners manual but will get one soon) *th-up*

A/M is to switch how the automatic transmission operates.

A = Economy mode. This is for low-fuel-consumption. The lockup-clutch engages in 3rd and 4th gear. This is automatically selected whenever you start the car.

M = Manual mode. This is for single-gear driving. So if you're in D and go to M then the tranny will remain in 3rd gear. Makes driving easier in the winter or going up steep hills as it stops from any gear shifts and sputters to the rear wheels.

J

bmdbley'sBro
07-27-2005, 01:01 PM
castrol syntec is a "semi synth" good for the cold starts cheap on the wallet.

as people have stated about seals & dry rott keep an eye on it..
alot of people think low miles great!
I'd worry about the possible dry rott from lack of use.
my 93 318is has 240K km's on it 100K km's is 62,500miles
things purs like a kitten, so very strong motor the M42

what will help you (or anybody) is finding a good shop local
that has a clue about euro cars VW/AUDI/PORSHCE/BMW


you can check my sig link (below) to see some of the parts I;ve had to change..
all suspension related, tierods, ball joints etc..

good luck *th-up*

z3ds
07-27-2005, 11:21 PM
thanks alot! you guys have been alot of help! I'll be changing the belts , rollers, water pump tom. I also bought a set of e46 rims (current set were missing 2)

i'll update you all and post pics of before and after *th-up*