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Interested in E36 M3's

Discussion in 'E36 M3 (1995-1999)' started by JSimmons, Feb 29, 2008.

    • Member

    JSimmons

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    Hello all,

    I'm new to BMW's let alone the forums. I just posted an introduction in the new member area as well. Just wanted to show up and say hello over here as well. I'm looking into buying an E36 M3 here in a few months once my deployment is over with. Right now I am just trying to educate myself as much as possible regarding these cars. I am considering a few other cars to buy, but I always find myself coming back to the M3 as the one I really want.

    Anyway, hopefully these forums liven up a bit. I joined over at m3forums.com as well so you may see me lurking around there every now and then.

    regards,
    Joel

    bmwmfan guest

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    Hey Joel! Welcome to the BMW CCA and the forums. I'm new to the forums, but not to BMW's nor the club. I've had my E36 M3 since '99 when I drove it off the dealer lot with 20 miles on it (I was 23). It now has 99.6k on the odo. Its been a great car and I love it; however, as I get older (back problems) I'm realizing how small it really is. I'm 6'7" and my head rubs. I hate to say it, but I'm probably going to have to sell it. So if you see a Dakar Yellow '99 M3, garaged, one owner, no winters up for sale in Roundel, its mine :(

    Other things to consider...the early E36's had electrical problems, well documented. Mine has been fine. Other thing to keep in mind is the car eats tires, rear tires specifically. Everyone says it’s my driving style, but that has very little to do with it--it has a lot to do with rear suspension geometry. Its the price to pay for the razor sharp handling the M3's are known for I guess.
    • Member

    JSimmons

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    bmwfan-

    Thanks for the input. I still would really love to get an E36 M3, however, I do not know if I will be able to do so now. My wife's 4Runner just had the automatic transmission go out, and I think it took a good chunk of my "M3 Funds" along with it. Know what I mean? I guess I will have to really look for a clean M3 that is not over 100K on the clock in order to get a used car loan on one. However, do you think it is even worth it to go that route on a possibly 10-year old car with electrical problems?

    I would much rather buy an E36 M3 outright, however, the only ones I can buy outright have in excess of 100K miles on them. How sturdy are these cars when they reach around 200K miles?

    regards,
    Joel
    • Member

    mjweimer

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    Sorry to hear about your wife's 4 Runner.

    I would not say that the E36 is known for electrical problems.

    I would say that they are more infamous for cooling system problems such as upper radiator neck failures, thermostat housing failures, etc.

    Don't base your search only on low mileage (There are plenty of low mileage beaters out there). Look for a very well maintained car as your primary focus. If properly maintained an E36 will last a long, long time.

    It would be in your best interest to find a car cared for by an enthusiast (BMWCCA Member, etc.) with a well documented service history.

    Have a look online for the myriad of FAQ's on purchasing an E36.

    An example of what is available:

    http://edgemotorworks.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=24&Itemid=55


    Matt
    • Member

    TeamStowell We love driving!

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    We purchased our M3 two years ago, and have not had an issue with it. It had 96K on it when we picked it up, so it has certainly spent some time on the road. We drive it through upstate NY winters with the addition of some snow tires. It never leaves us wishing we had purchased any other sport sedan.

    bmwmfan guest

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    Great suggestions mjweimer...I rebulit my cooling system a few years back because of all the fears of failure. My '99 actually had a metal impeller pump but the thermostat housing was plastic. I preemptivly replaced all the hoses, thermostat, water pump, and the thermostat housing--now a metal one. Totally forgot about that!

    Good to hear that the Stowell's are having good luck with their '97. Like I said, I'm still 50-50 on keeping mine...and I can say that now because I've not driven it but a few laps around the block when the weather allowed in the last 4 months. When the weather finally turns nice (supposed to get substantial snow tomorrow in Michigan) I'll probably quickly change my mind and decide to keep it (just with a different seat)! =)
    • Member

    JSimmons

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    Thank you for all the replies.

    I have been doing a lot of research and reading up on the E36 M3. It is one of those cars that I always wanted to get. It debuted when I was in high school and now that I have a bit more disposable income it is definitely finding itself higher up on the wish-list.

    The 4Runner problem was completely unexpected as Toyotas have quite a good reputation when it comes to trucks. However, it has not completely halted my plans to get into an M3. The whole process will just require a bit more creativity at this point. ;)

    I guess high mileage cars just have that effect of inciting a bit of doubt when the buyer (me) wants to purchase the car with the intent of keeping it for quite some time. Say, until internal combustion engines are outlawed or something. Also, I currently have a fairly low mileage Jeep Wrangler of similar vintage, and it is a bit unnerving to give up that vehicle for one with quite a few more miles.

    As mjweimer stated, I am looking for a car with a well documented maintenance history, and one that has been cared for by a BMWCCA member. I plan on joining the BMWCCA once I make a purchase, however, before that time I cannot justify the cost of membership if I ultimately do not purchase an M3.

    Well, thank you for all of the feedback. My ears are open to pick up any and all pieces of advice anyone would like to share.

    regards,
    Joel
    • Member

    JSimmons

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