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Old 07-14-2007, 11:44 AM   #1
Cezary
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General E36 question

Hey guys, i'm new to this forum but a long time bimmer fan and i just have a few questions. I need to buy a car sometime next spring and i am very interested in the 1993 325i sedan with the 5 speed manual. I have found good looking examples on autotrader for 3.5-4.5 grand which is unfortunately my price range lol. I am a 17 year old high school student and i will be going to university next year. I will not have money for frequent and costly repairs, so my question is is this generally a reliable car that will meet my needs. (plz say yes lol, don't want to end up just another civic driver) Also what is a good and cheap shop specializing in bimmers in the gta?
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Old 07-14-2007, 07:07 PM   #2
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honestly i havent had anything major happen to my car. the cars are quite reliable aside from the cooling system and on occasion a ****ed up subframe.

when buying a car you will probably have to replace the cooling system which will set you back about 300$, the reason for this is that originally they came with plastic everything, which after 150k had a tendency to crack and explode.

the subframe is very weak and has a tendency to just tear our, so this is something you would want to get checked out.

aside from these 2 issues, there really is no major problems with our cars.

just remember that changing oil will be more expensive since its synthetic, like 70-80$

for a more through list, just use the search function, there is TONS of info

3 good shops are:
1. bimmer sport - charli
2. rmp motors - rocco
3. autobahn east - mark
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Old 07-14-2007, 07:26 PM   #3
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Reliability can all depend on how the previoius owner treated it. I own a 1998 318IS, and in the 2 years I've had it, I've only had a couple minor problems
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Old 07-15-2007, 01:37 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kzy
Reliability can all depend on how the previoius owner treated it. I own a 1998 318IS, and in the 2 years I've had it, I've only had a couple minor problems

+1

An improperly maintained BMW can be an awful headache! Ask me how I know! And $3500 likely won't get you a very good car; unless you find one hell of a deal! Really ask alot of questions about service done to the car. Check out Subframe, rear shock mounts, ball joints, tie rods, etc. etc.

It's better to spend a little more on a car that's been taken care of; then to have to keep spending money trying to fix one!
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Old 07-15-2007, 04:39 PM   #5
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i could have sworn i replied to this thread just last night!! anyway, what i was gonna say is the same as above.....
1. check out the car and its history
2.low mileage doesn't ALWAYS mean better car
3.learn some basic stuff about the car so you can do your own maintenance and small repairs/upgrades.

hope that helps. good luck with your search
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Old 07-16-2007, 02:01 PM   #6
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Thanks a lot for the help guys. I am definately going to get any car checked out by a good mechanic that knows bimmer b4 i buy anything. As for doing my own maintenance work, exactly what kind of maintenance do these cars need?
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Old 07-16-2007, 08:22 PM   #7
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so far this year I've done a lower control arm, complete tie-rod, Guibo,clutch (done by the garage; not me), rear shock mounts, brakes & serpentine belt tomorrow; and will be replacing shocks/struts in the very near future. Now mind you; I bought my car fairly cheaply & it wasn't properly maintained hence why I've done so much work.

The maintenance work isn't very hard to do. Just be sure to get yourself a copy of the Bently repair manual. It'll save you a ton of headaches!
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Old 07-17-2007, 12:41 AM   #8
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I can agree with the rear shock mounts, and ive had a few window problems but other than that its been a great car. 155k and still running strong!
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Old 07-17-2007, 07:13 AM   #9
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For that price range, your income and your age I recomend a 318is/i.
They win hands down compared for reliability with the 325 mainly due to the cooling & subframe issues it doesn't share (not enough power to rip out frame)+ the WAY cheaper insurance, fuel costs and maintance costs.
Their alot easier to work on yourself as well.
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Old 07-17-2007, 08:44 AM   #10
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i have had mine for over 10 years now and with the old 325is motor and this new M3 one.. never had any major issues.
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Old 07-17-2007, 11:40 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jeffrie
For that price range, your income and your age I recomend a 318is/i.
They win hands down compared for reliability with the 325 mainly due to the cooling & subframe issues it doesn't share (not enough power to rip out frame)+ the WAY cheaper insurance, fuel costs and maintance costs.
Their alot easier to work on yourself as well.
I've already looked into that option, and i dont find the 318i a desirable car for one reason- the four cylinder. It is rated for around 130 hp which is hardly better then my moms civic. I just personally don't think BMW has any business making 4 cylinder cars, that should be left to economy manufacturers (clean diesels and european market cars are a different story). But my biggest problem with this is that the smaller the engine and the fewer cylinders it has, the faster it gets worn out, as i'm sure anyone on this knows. I am looking at cars that have around 200 000 km so that would be an issue. The 6 cylinder in the 325i is good for 400 000 km b4 a rebuild from what i've heard, so that would definately work better for me. (I don't mind the near 200 hp either )
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Old 07-17-2007, 12:07 PM   #12
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Don't count out the 318 for reliability issues... Mine has well over 300k on it & I pound the crap out of it all the time! It's sluggish off the line; but it's actually alot of fun driving once you get up in the RPM's.

And you can't compare cars strictly by hp numbers. Sure a civic may have a bit more power; but it'll never corner like a Bimmer! And that's the most fun about these cars!
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Old 07-17-2007, 12:38 PM   #13
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Lightbulb

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lower_Level
Don't count out the 318 for reliability issues... Mine has well over 300k on it & I pound the crap out of it all the time! It's sluggish off the line; but it's actually alot of fun driving once you get up in the RPM's.

And you can't compare cars strictly by hp numbers. Sure a civic may have a bit more power; but it'll never corner like a Bimmer! And that's the most fun about these cars!
300 K you say. We may be onto something. Hows your compression? If i got i 318i tho i'd definately need some chip or something
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Old 07-17-2007, 04:33 PM   #14
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I have a 1992 325 which wasn't maintained very well.
Since I've had to change the transmission, the front struts, the rear shocks, the front rotors, the power window relay, fix the driver's side window (coming off the track), valve cover gasket, 3 ignition coils, spark plugs, o2 sensor, fuel pump, and some smaller stuff.
I just found out my engine is burning about a litre of oil a week which means I'll need a new engine, my instrument cluster needs replacing, my HVAC resistor needs to be replaced (only works on setting 4), and I'm sure more stuff down the road.

Good thing I got the car for dirt cheap (then again, had I paid more I probably wouldn't have had these issues but at the time, I didn't have enough cash to buy something more expensive and better maintained).

On the brighter side, aside from the fuel pump, they were all stuff I was able to address on my own time (i.e. only the fuel pump dying left me stranded).

If you're a student short on cash, I'm not sure I'd recommend an old BMW but you might get lucky and find a great deal (although anything under 4k and it's probably not worth your time and I doubt any dealership will allow you to get the car inspected for sub-4k prices cause they'll know the car probably won't pass a proper inspection from another mechanic.)

Anyway, that's just my two cents...Take it or leave it...
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Old 07-17-2007, 05:12 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cezary
The 6 cylinder in the 325i is good for 400 000 km b4 a rebuild from what i've heard,
So is the bmw 4 bangers, in fact I think this applies to all BMW engines if maintained well.
FYI BMW started making their great name with 4 bangers not the 6's.

As you stated already you do not want a 4 cyld, do not buy something you do not want, your for sure to regret it always . GL their are some nice 325's out their selling for cheap that I'v seen around Otown.
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