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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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Unread 07-28-2011, 10:52 PM   #1

Name: Bryst
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BMW Questions

Hello, new to these forums and hopefully will be a long time member. I'm looking for a new used car, and happened across a 1995 BMW 318i for sale. Its a little high on the miles with 160,000 but its only 2800. Can anyone comment on the cars durability? Do these models have constant failures? Or if properly maintenance can they last past 200,000 miles?
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Unread 07-29-2011, 01:08 AM   #2

Name: Manolito
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Yes, they can last over 200k, but my understanding is that 200k is about as far as you can reasonably expect from the 4 cyl. There is a reason why such a nice looking and handling car is going for so little money. The 6 cyl models routinely run well past a quarter-million miles. I have a '97 328 with over 275k in the driveway and it looks and runs great.

On the other hand, if it runs well now, and you get another 20k out of it, you have done OK for $2800. After that it is all gravy.
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Unread 08-02-2011, 04:18 AM   #3
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Name: 3050rpm
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I read somewhere that the four cylinder engine is actually more durable and trouble-free than the M50/52 six, which is saying quite a lot. In any event, reaching 300,000 miles and more with a properly maintained, non-abused engine is not only possible, but within expectation. Do check to see if the camshaft seal has been replaced though, I think there was a problem with leakage and there was a "silent" recall to remedy that. The front ball joints/control arms are a perennial weakness with these cars, so those might have to be done (not all that expensive), and given the age, the rear trailing arm bushings might also be due (again, not all that costly). Check for body damage and corrosion, not only of body panels but also brake and fuel lines. Steering should be okay, but as the power steering fluid has no drain, check the level and the cleanliness of the stuff. Radiator, hoses also. If the car has an automatic transmission, I've heard that they can get kinda balky at about the 140,000 mile or so, but maybe less so with the 4 cylinder than the 6s, with more torque. The alternator might also be at about the overhaul stage. "O" rings and other connectors might need replacement on the a/c system. If the car's in decent shape, and especially if you have service records, the $2800 isn't bad, but of course haggle.
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