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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 11-01-2010, 08:24 PM   #1

Name: canadadude
Title: United Newb
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Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: yarmouth ns. canada
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Your Ride: 97 328i (hopefully)
hey all new guy looking to buy my first bmw

hey all new guy here, lot of info on the site.
so I don't actually own a bmw yet but am talking with a guy about trading my truck for one. he has a 97 328i. it's in good shape but there's a couple things I'm not sure of making me not sure of the trade. first is the climate control. I've been reading a few posts about alot of climate control issues so it's probably common, it just stays on hot. you can turn the fan up or down but can't shut it off. the display is constantly at 16 and won't change whatsoever just constantly blowing hot. also the dash doesn't display right. it lights up but the odometer is practically unreadable but if you hit a bump or lightly tap it it will show for a minute. thinking maybe a loose connection or something. the other thing is the abs and traction control lights are on in the dash, I know it needs a wheel bearing in the front, could that cause this? it's a nice car, tan leather interior, slightly lowered, 5 spd. drives, rides and handles like a dream. I'd really like to make the trade because I've always loved these cars but just a little concerned as I don't know much about them. any info would be great. thanks
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Unread 11-05-2010, 12:38 PM   #2
Big Evil
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Name: Big Evil
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Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: Tempe, Az
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Your Ride: 1994 BMW 525i, 1987 325is, 1986 325
Grounds getting weak/bad connection over time is common. Disconnect them, clean them, reconnect them and 90% of the time it solves all kind of problems. These cars run 2 piece drive shafts, the center joint getting stiff and blowing out the center support bearing is common. Replace the whole shaft if it does. Standard to all cars, rubber gets old and eventually fails. Be ready to replace it when it does. Other than the normal stuff you'd get on ANY vehicle beemers are generally tough dependable and very long lived. If you take care of them they will take care of you. I've had 6 so far and the 5 I drive right now has the least mileage at 180,000. The most was over 300,000 when I sold it, and the only reason its now dead is the yob who bought it crashed it into a building (which had more damage than the car). Look for damaged underpinnings (especially since its lowered). Check the rubber cv boots on the rear drive shafts for cracking. Do the "bounce" test for the shocks, check for cracks in the rubber on the suspension components, check the thickness of the brake pads (about 2 sets of pads then its pads and disc replacement normally). Or run it by an import/beemer shop and pay them to check it out, they usually just charge an hour which in most cases is around 100 bucks. Could be worth you time for that
Big Evil, The BMW driving monster of the American Southwest (Currently on BMW #5)
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Unread 11-07-2010, 10:36 PM   #3

Name: Manolito
Title: Member
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Join Date: May 2006
Location: Sacramento
Rate My Car: 339 / 340
Your Ride: (2) '97 328s; '04 330; '04 325iT
I have two '97 328s - a 5 sp and an automatic. I really like them.

The one you describe would not appeal to me because I don't like lowered e36s, and it does have some potentially annoying problems. Also, I don't know if I would buy another e36 now. They are getting old enough that rubber parts are starting to get brittle and fail with great frequency. Seems like every time my kids come home from college I am putting some rubber or plastic part on these cars. But, if you like it and the price is right....

With the dash, cleaning connections may help, but be prepared to go for a junkyard dash cluster eventually.

Climate control problems are common, but the exact symptom you describe is not common. The usual fix is described here on my web page, but I am not certain that this will fix yours.

If you have both the ABS and ASC lights on, the wheel bearing could be your problem. These two systems share the speed sensors at the wheels, so if one of the reluctor wheels is wobbling, it might trip both systems up. When you do the wheel bearing, examine all four sensors and their leads looking for damage. The good news is that both the ABS and ASC systems reset themselves after you fix the problem. You don't need a scanner to reset the light.
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