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E36 General discussion and technical help for (E36) 1992-1999 3 series cars. 318, 323, 325, 328.

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Old 06-18-2007, 06:44 AM   #1
mckinney15

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Question Buyer tips for 1995 325i

So, I have been looking for one of these cars for a little while now. I found a one and the owner is asking 5g's for the car. The info: I know....



1995 325i BMW,
automatic four door,
black w/ tan leather interior
160K miles
Kenwood cd player
power locks/windows
sunroof clean title
only two owners non-smoking.
kelly blue book price is $5400.
asking $4995/OBO.

I took it for a test drive and it drove pretty smooth. Shifted between gears smoothly, made no strange sounds while driving, got it up to high speeds and the car was fine.

No body damage or obvious scratches. My main concern is the fact that the car has so many miles.

I do not plan on doing anything to the car as far as performance enhancers. I just want the car to last me through the rest of college and grad school perhaps. I

would not be putting that many miles on it. maybe 5-10 thousand miles a year. The air conditioning works and the tires are not worn (must have been replaced recently).

The owner is a female (no disrespect) and she really does not know anything about the car. She says "it gets me from point a to point b in style"

I really do not want to buy a money pit but I love this car and am stoked after seeing everyones cars on the forum.

I offered her $4300 and she was not happy but sounds like she will take it. What other big "BUYER BEWARE" signs should I scout out before I go off and make some stupid mistake.

She also bought it from a dealership which releaves me a little it. She has had the car since december of 2006 and says she is moving out of the country and does not want to ship the car....

Thanks,
-Matt
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Old 06-18-2007, 07:16 AM   #2
Dudesky

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Welcome to United

New tires can sometimes be a dead giveaway that some sort of suspension issue is being covered up for the sale, but that's not always the case. Just give the suspension a once over. Don't be afraid of all the stuff you read on people's problems- remember it's not often that they'll write about how great the car is. It sounds like a killer deal tho! For more info on what to watch out for, check out our article about common e36 maladies. Good luck, let us know what happens
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Old 06-18-2007, 09:26 AM   #3
3050rpm
 
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For certain check out the link provided above. 160,000 miles these days on a well maintained car can be more of a footnote than an impediment, and the M50 engine is very durable. "Well maintained" means regular oil changes, coolant system flush, brake line flush, differential and transmission fluid changes, air filter/microfilter changes, sparkplugs, the usual suspects...

Particular issues though, and see if you can get documentation on these: water pump replacement, perhaps even radiator replacement; ball joints/lower control arms; rear shock mounts; suspension bushings (more along normal wear rather than a weak spot); the a/c unit needing a resoldering at a cost of 43 cents rather than replacement of the entire control unit at >$300; wheel wells, rocker panels, and underbody for rust. While up on a lift, check for any leaks, condition of brake and fuel lines (especially connection at fuel tank), and seepage from power steering lines and reservoir.

The automatic transmission I'm less knowledgeable about,although I've heard that somewhere in the 140,000 mile they can start to act up, going into "limp home" mode, the reasons ranging from the comparatively simple (dirty contacts, solenoid needing replacement) to more involved stuff like seals and what-not.

Again, check that link, and get as much service history on the car as you can. The more she can demonstrate it, the more she can stick to her price; the less she can, well, ya know...
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Old 06-18-2007, 06:18 PM   #4
stevo

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as above get as much history as you can, don't worry about the mileage 300,000k is achieveable with a well looked after example. sounds like you have found a good one.
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Old 06-18-2007, 06:29 PM   #5
mckinney15

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Question question for mechanic?

So I am going to take the car to the shop and have a mechanic look at it. What kinds of questions should I be asking or having him check?
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Old 06-18-2007, 06:32 PM   #6
Mercenary(FH)
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 3050rpm
For certain check out the link provided above. 160,000 miles these days on a well maintained car can be more of a footnote than an impediment, and the M50 engine is very durable. "Well maintained" means regular oil changes, coolant system flush, brake line flush, differential and transmission fluid changes, air filter/microfilter changes, sparkplugs, the usual suspects...

Particular issues though, and see if you can get documentation on these: water pump replacement, perhaps even radiator replacement; ball joints/lower control arms; rear shock mounts; suspension bushings (more along normal wear rather than a weak spot); the a/c unit needing a resoldering at a cost of 43 cents rather than replacement of the entire control unit at >$300; wheel wells, rocker panels, and underbody for rust. While up on a lift, check for any leaks, condition of brake and fuel lines (especially connection at fuel tank), and seepage from power steering lines and reservoir.

The automatic transmission I'm less knowledgeable about,although I've heard that somewhere in the 140,000 mile they can start to act up, going into "limp home" mode, the reasons ranging from the comparatively simple (dirty contacts, solenoid needing replacement) to more involved stuff like seals and what-not.

Again, check that link, and get as much service history on the car as you can. The more she can demonstrate it, the more she can stick to her price; the less she can, well, ya know...
sorry for threadjack, but what is limp home mode? for the tranny? cause I have auto tranny.
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Old 06-18-2007, 06:38 PM   #7
stevo

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ask him to check out the suspension and suspension mountings, brake pipes, fuel lines, exhaust, check for seepage, coolant leaks, any unusual rattles or excessive noise from the engine, ask him to do an emissions check, check for corrosion, trailing arm bushes, subframe bushes, rotor wear,check and make sure all the road wheels are true, read through some of the posts, i'm sure you will pick up plenty more information and tips.
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Old 06-18-2007, 09:19 PM   #8
3050rpm
 
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What is limp home mode?

When the automatic transmission can't function properly, I believe it defaults to third gear to allow you to drive the car, but certainly without the advantages of using any of the other gears.

What kinds of questions should I be asking or having him check?

In addition to all the above, have him hook up his diagnostics device to check for any fault codes. Have him look at the oil on the dipstick, to see if it's really cruddy, and have him check the concentration of the coolant to see if that's where it should be (and may indicate that it's been properly maintained). Similarly check transmission fluid, to see if it has a burned smell to it (not good). Oh, steering rack, too, for any excess play. Shocks for signs of leakage. Condition of brakes and rotors. Having fun...? See if he can run an exhaust analysis to see if you're within spec to meet the next inspection.
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Old 06-22-2007, 10:07 PM   #9
danny123

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hey i got a 95' 325i with 160,000 mi and the engine still sounds strrong for at least another 160k mi. Today though my radiator broke kinda where the hose is, i guess thats kinda one of the weak spots. Other then that no problem, infact i just added exhaust, intake, and chip and couldnt be happier with the car it a joy to drive.
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Old 06-22-2007, 10:19 PM   #10
Dudesky

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^^^Heh, the famous radiator neck failure. Welcome to the club, happened to me last summer.
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Old 06-22-2007, 11:10 PM   #11
danny123

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well i feel a little better now, since i know they didnt scam me.
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Old 08-01-2011, 11:31 PM   #12
Jetty

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Mine has 189,00 owned it since 145,000 miles and have barely any problems with it. Great car. Cheap to repair too, contrary to popular belief. I replaced the fan clutch and the plastic clips that hold the windows came off. that's basically it. Great car!
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