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      10-27-2009, 05:48 PM   #1
11Past9
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Who here has owned an E36? Would you recommend one?

I am looking for a car that can be fun, reliable and look good. Most of you will say go with something Japanese but I figured I'd run things by the E36 crowd before I ruled it out...

What should I expect out of an E36 3 Series? When I ask this I mean, for problems, fun factor, resale and overall satisfaction. Is it as simple as finding a nice condition 3 Series with all maintenance and service records up to date to have a BMW that is pretty worry free so I don't have to dump more money into it? Or should I expect a higher mileage E36 (100K+) to be a money pit no matter what?

I'm looking to spend $3-6,000 on one... MAX!
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      10-27-2009, 06:51 PM   #2
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if the cooling system has been overhauled you'll be ok, thats normally the biggest issue.

suspension bushings are a problem too.

for that money you can still get a nice non M e36 and a rather crappy M3.

they are very fun cars and have great driving dynamics.


fyi-I highly recommend not riding/driving a boosted e36, you will quickly become addicted and spend way too much money. Ask me how I know.
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      10-27-2009, 07:34 PM   #3
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Buy an E30! The epitome of the 3 series.
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      10-27-2009, 07:59 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sniz View Post
if the cooling system has been overhauled you'll be ok, thats normally the biggest issue.

suspension bushings are a problem too.

for that money you can still get a nice non M e36 and a rather crappy M3.

they are very fun cars and have great driving dynamics.
+1...cooling system and suspension are the most common problems with the e36s. As long as the car's been well taken care of it should be fine tho.
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      10-27-2009, 09:14 PM   #5
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Buy an E30! The epitome of the 3 series.
When are you going to sell yours?
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      10-27-2009, 10:24 PM   #6
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Threads like this tempt me to buy an E36 M3. Stunning car.
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      10-28-2009, 06:35 AM   #7
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e36 m3's have been getting near the top end of your price range lately, I owned a 95 for 5 years, I really enjoyed the car, it was spotless and looked new inside and out, unfortunately the kid that bought it from me totaled it very quickly

cars like this one are out there, even has receipts

http://www.autotrader.com/fyc/vdp.js...standard=false
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      10-28-2009, 07:07 AM   #8
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I had a 97 M3 coupe, fantastic car mechanically. But did start to have some electrical issues come up at the end of its life though.
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      10-28-2009, 07:25 AM   #9
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Really been thinking about buying a E36 M3 myself, thanks for the advice.
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      10-28-2009, 08:39 AM   #10
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Quote:
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I had a 97 M3 coupe, fantastic car mechanically. But did start to have some electrical issues come up at the end of its life though.
just wait till your 335i gets some age on it, my experience with bmw's after owning 7 of them, reliability gets worse the newer the car is, and that's mostly due to the drastic increase in complicated electronics.
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      10-28-2009, 09:45 AM   #11
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i would get an e46 m3. the e36 is too old at this point IMO. I found that car that is 10+ years old would start giving you headache.
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      10-28-2009, 11:51 AM   #12
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2010 135i Coupe  [2.63]
An E46 for under $6,000? No.
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      10-28-2009, 11:52 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 503Alex View Post
When are you going to sell yours?
That's a big question. Maybe when I find a steal on an E30 M3

Quote:
Originally Posted by graider View Post
i would get an e46 m3. the e36 is too old at this point IMO. I found that car that is 10+ years old would start giving you headache.
Mine is 18+ yrs old now and could be used as a DD if I wanted to. No headaches to speak of.
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      10-28-2009, 12:33 PM   #14
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Great cars, but the repairs start to stack up after awhile. Ive had two and they both had the same problems.

1. Leaks (power steering, oil pan)
2. Bushings (rtab's, front control arm)
3. Various other small, but expensive fixes

They were great cars and I dont regret having them but after awhile it didnt make sense. I was putting way too much into a car that wasnt worth that much money anymore. I bought my 135i and it hasnt been much more expensive then the constant fixes in my e36 m3. If your getting one with somewhat low mileage, go for it. Higher mileage, I wouldnt bother.
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      10-28-2009, 05:47 PM   #15
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2008 135i  [3.25]
By 150,000 miles mine was an absolute money pit. Dropped dead at 175,000. Major costs started a bit over 100,000 miles. Be prepared to spend $2-4k a year on maintenance.
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      10-28-2009, 05:56 PM   #16
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Wife drives a 97 euro spec E36. Picked it up with 147km & it now has around 170km on it. In the 14000 miles & 2 years we had it we replaced the front brakes, rear trail arm bushings, fan motor, and 3 weeks ago the auto-matic tranny was rebuilt. Had I known it was such a $ pit, I would have got her a new 328i. I still offer to buy her a new one, but she would rather I put $ and pain into the 97.

On the other hand, it doesn't burn oil or leak fluids.....yet -

Last edited by Moxie; 10-29-2009 at 03:25 PM.. Reason: left a 0 off mileage
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      10-28-2009, 05:58 PM   #17
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150k seemed to be the cutoff point for both of mine as well. Luckilly they were only my weekend car but it was getting to the point every 1k miles seemed to be 1k in repairs. Loved both of them but it was getting to be too much. Also when you look at the resale value as opposed to how much you spent keeping it going, it can be painful.
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      10-29-2009, 01:48 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Spec 1 View Post
That's a big question. Maybe when I find a steal on an E30 M3

Mine is 18+ yrs old now and could be used as a DD if I wanted to. No headaches to speak of.
maybe the e30 is diff and maybe you don't drive your that much. but you can see many posts right after yours confirmed my point. this applies to pretty much all old car no matter what make.
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      10-29-2009, 06:30 AM   #19
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Quote:
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maybe the e30 is diff and maybe you don't drive your that much. but you can see many posts right after yours confirmed my point. this applies to pretty much all old car no matter what make.
it's not the norm, go to any active e36 m3 forum, there's thousands of them with very high miles still going strong, it's the most common m3 bmw made, there's a ton of them out there.
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      10-29-2009, 12:56 PM   #20
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I still own one. I love it!
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      10-29-2009, 01:32 PM   #21
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spent over $3K on a blown head gasket on my 1993 325i/e36. after getting it fixed it still runs fine. it has over 170,000 miles. sold it recently to my dad who drives it to Vegas every couple of months without any issue. but, like what every body else said in this thread. if you buy one, make sure the cooling system is good to go...or get ready for a major cooling system overhaul. also the suspension..ie. shocks and bushings may also need to get replaced. after fixing mine up back in 2003, it's still running fine to this day and still passes smog "barely" every year on the same cat converter. parts are plenty for this car and once you get the problems sorted out it should run well past 250K miles.
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      10-29-2009, 09:07 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bartman619 View Post
spent over $3K on a blown head gasket on my 1993 325i/e36. after getting it fixed it still runs fine. it has over 170,000 miles. sold it recently to my dad who drives it to Vegas every couple of months without any issue. but, like what every body else said in this thread. if you buy one, make sure the cooling system is good to go...or get ready for a major cooling system overhaul. also the suspension..ie. shocks and bushings may also need to get replaced. after fixing mine up back in 2003, it's still running fine to this day and still passes smog "barely" every year on the same cat converter. parts are plenty for this car and once you get the problems sorted out it should run well past 250K miles.

I have 187k miles on mine. Knock on wood the engine is solid, but sensors (brake circuit, coolant sensor) , other small stuff of course will be replaced. All in all its a joy to drive, built like a tank and has a great style.
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