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      07-16-2012, 11:37 PM   #1
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Who's owned or driven an E36 328?

Whoever has owned an E36 328 I would like to know what you think of it. Pros, cons, what mods you have, what are your gripes and how you compare it to other cars you've driven as far as cost of ownership, fun factor and overall as a daily driver... If not what else would you suggest instead in the $6,000 daily driver bracket?
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      07-16-2012, 11:57 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by Precision View Post
Whoever has owned an E36 328 I would like to know what you think of it. Pros, cons, what mods you have, what are your gripes and how you compare it to other cars you've driven as far as cost of ownership, fun factor and overall as a daily driver... If not what else would you suggest instead in the $6,000 daily driver bracket?
I had one a few years ago, 1998 E36 328is 5 speed.

I thought it was a great car, treated me very well.

I bought it with about 100K and had it for about 10K miles, not a single issue (other than the known glovebox sagging issue and the door panel glue).

Had a shiftknob, the M50 manifold and a tune. Didn't own it long enough to give you a detailed account. Hope this helps.
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      07-17-2012, 10:53 AM   #3
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Fun car ! (it has to be Manual Transmission)

Lots of support group online and off line!
tons of mods possibilities...

A car you can still fix it by yourself.

I bought mine 1996 used in 2008 with 104k miles on the clock...
four years later, i got my car up to 230k miles on the counter

that's 126,000 miles in 4 years baby

Practically did everyone on my car myself

Great daily driver, Great fun, great involvement as a driver and owner...
it's still my baby... i lover it and i am planning to give it a second life...

PS: $6000 is too expensive... u got any photos ??
i would say $4000 at best....
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      07-17-2012, 04:02 PM   #4
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they pack a good torque. Good handling. Add some Dinan springs with Koni shocks, and you got an awesome handling car.
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      07-18-2012, 09:36 AM   #5
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Extremely engaging and fun to drive, easy to work on, garbage interior and general build quality.
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      07-20-2012, 08:23 AM   #6
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I had a 98 328is 5 speed Black on Black with BBS wheels/Yokahama rubbers and loved it.
+1 on getting a manual.
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      07-22-2012, 12:25 AM   #7
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I had a '98 328is which was the best car I ever owned. Dependable, good power fun to drive, never had any problems. I recently traded it in a few weeks ago.
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      07-22-2012, 11:57 AM   #8
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I've got one in white on tan which I picked up for fun about a year ago. Best iteration of the M52 engine available IMO. The car feels fast and the torque delivery is nice. A lot of people complain about the build quality in the cabin which is lacking somewhat (door and window rattle when the door is closed, for example). My interior glovebox trim has also fallen off and been replaced twice. The windows have a plastic joint on the scissor which wears down and keeps the window from closing properly and the door lock actuators are GARBAGE.

The engine is amazing but there are some things that you should know about it.
1. It is very easy to work on. You really can DIY just about anything. Parts arent bad either.
2. The cooling system is exceptionally weak. When/If you get the car immediately drain the coolant and replace the thermostat, expansion tank, water pump, radiator, fan clutch, hoses and water pump housing. Overheating these cars is a HUGE problem. The temperature light won't come on until critical mass and if you don't pull over as soon as it comes on you risk damage to the head, at which point it would almost be more cost effective to buy a new engine.
3. Plastic- the reason that the cooling system is so weak is due to the extensive use of plastic in it such as the thermostat housing which is made of plastic and the plastic impeller on the water pump, both large sources of failures in e36s. Unfortunately there is a lot of plastic and now that the cars are about 15 years old it breaks easily. Plan on spending a little bit of money on new parts, however the parts are relatively cheap and metal equivalents are available for some of the commonly broken ones.
4. Dry rot- Just like the plastic, the rubber lines and seals will be going or gone if original. This causes a lot of "lean" codes due to seal failure on the induction side of the engine, in particular there is an accordion boot which connects to the throttle body and commonly cracks open between the bellows.
5. Lifter tick- This is still a problem found on NA BMWs. The small hydraulic lifters get gummed up and sticky causing them to tick against the valves. Frustrating but non-detrimental and DIY-able if you are very very bored.
6. Emissions- There is an emissions canister in the rear wheel well which comes off of the line and causes a CEL. I've never had this problem but it happens often to e36s.

It is also important to know that the blower motor and final stage resistor fail frequently. Common incarnations of the problems include air not blowing except at high speeds, air not cold, no air at all and the characteristic "crickets" noise that we expect from the blower motor.

Now all of this said, I will drive this car until it is one with the earth. So much fun to cruise in it or bury your foot on the backroads yet it is still comfortable on the highway. Basically you should buy one if you are looking to drive and have fun doing it. If you want a daily driver or a beater which also has a soul then this is a perfect car. If you are looking for maximum comfort and premium feel, consider a different car. 6k is a little much. I got mine for 4.5 a year ago.

Here are some pics- excuse the leaves, the e36 lives outside.

Last edited by PINeely; 07-22-2012 at 12:21 PM..
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      07-23-2012, 07:30 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by DrivenByE30 View Post

Practically did everyone on my car myself
Well I hope they were hot women at least.

But yea 6k is a lot for an e36.
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