Hello there and welcome to the BMW Car Club of America.

If you are a BMW CCA member, please log in and introduce yourself in our Member Introductions section.

Just bought a 1996 328i that needs a lot of work

Discussion in 'E36 (1992-1999)' started by dee328i, Jun 25, 2008.

    dee328i guest

    Post Count: 2
    Likes Received:0
    So, I feel in love with a white convertible 1996 328i w/ 124,000 miles so I bought it.

    Unfortunately now I am realizing that it needs more work than I expected. It looks like there is some leakage coming from the EGR valve and now the check engine light is on. This week the convertible got stuck in down position and had to be manually brought back up. It sounded like a crank was stuck or something. Some of the seaming on the top needs to be repaired, but I think this can wait at least a month. Lastly, the steering wheel makes a squeaky sound during turning, but steering and handling is fine. Listening to all this that needs to be done...does anyone know how much this would all cost if it were done at once? Which issues should be addressed first?

    Also, is there any other standard service I should have done on this vehicle since it is a 124,000 miles? My car isn't in the best condition but I love it and want to put it back into good working condition.

    P.S. - this is my first BMW and I don't know what I am doing (obviously)..so any other tips would be appreciated.
    • Member

    az3579

    Post Count: 3,270
    Likes Received:3
    That leak is a priority as it could possibly affect the mechanical driveability of the vehicle. Second I would look at the steering wheel because it would drive you nuts (the sound). Finally, the top is a non-priority, unless there are holes in it. The top can be expensive, so that might bump it even further down your list, but it may not even have to be replaced at all.



    Are there any service records for the car? It would be useful when the owner replaced certain things. The water pump is an important one; those need to be replaced every 60,000 miles. There are some other things I can't remember because of my headache, but I'm sure my fellow addicts can come up with some other things. :)
    • Member

    E92Dreier

    Post Count: 169
    Likes Received:2
    1. Fix that leak!
    2. Coolant flush and water pump replacement at a minimum -- a new radiator and hoses is not a bad idea.

    3. Change the oil.
    4. change the Differntial fluid, brake fluid.
    5. Control Arm bushings

    #1 is obviously the most important. #2 -#5 are just things to do on any E36 BMW with over 120,000 miles. There are other scheduled bits of maintenance like lubricating your rubber gaskets and seals (or maybe repalcing them), Changing your coil packs and spark plugs, etc. that also need to be done. But for your vehicle, I was just trying to make the point to make a prioritized list considering BMW's maintenace schedule and the problems specific to your car.

    Good luck, I miss my E36 325i just writing about doing all these things! Here she is, just because I am feeling sentimental.
    • Member

    Bimmerdan

    Post Count: 422
    Likes Received:4
    The E36 is a great car and it's worth a little effort to get it into good working order.

    In addition to the things that az3579 and E92Dreier have already stated, be sure to check the upper rear shock mounts, they have a bad habit of failing with very little warning.

    In regards to your squeaky steering wheel, I've had this happen on both of my E36's. There are a couple of causes but the most common one is a bearing at the very end, down where the steering column passes through the firewall. You would SWEAR the sound is coming from the steering wheel itself but the sound is actually travelling up the column so it's very deceptive. You need to get under the car so you can see where the steering column exits the firewall. Be sure to do it safely!! Use ramps or good jack stands! If you have any questions about that process, let us know and we can help you out there as well. Don't take any chances!

    Get a can of good spray lubricant (silicone or white lithium), put the little red extension tube on it and look for the hole where the steering colum comes out. Stick the tube as far up that hole as possible (that sounds rude!) and spray. Saturate the area as far up as you can because the bearing is recessed. If you had the same squeaks as me, they will dissappear almost immediately.

    Good luck and let us know how you progress with the car.

    Dan

    dee328i guest

    Post Count: 2
    Likes Received:0
    Thank you all so much for advice! I will go to the shop ASAP to get the leak fixed, and I don't have jacks for D.I.Y. repair so I think I will have to ask the shop to address the squeaking. E92Dreier - thanks for posting your pic. I love my car even though it will need some work - I have to say that this is the first time I have ever been in love with a car!

    I will look at the papers I recieved with the vehicle to see if there is any service records from the previous owner, I think the dealer did work on the water pump and I will figure out what else they did. I am a car amateur, so I really do not know much about car repairs and maintainence but I am willing to learn. Thanks for the advice and I will keep you posted on what happens.

    - Dee

    xtg2165 guest

    Post Count: 2
    Likes Received:0
    Bimmerdan - it sounds like you are very knoledgable - I have a 95 325I and after sitting for 3 months it now has a stuttering (sounds like mis-fire) but I have tested coils and plugs look OK. The computer will not communicate with Diag - computer so I can not see Fuel injector issues or error codes. Any ideas?
    • Member

    Bimmerdan

    Post Count: 422
    Likes Received:4
    I appreciate the compliment but I'm really only knowledgable about the cars in my driveway and the problems they have presented me with (because except for the 135, I try and fix them all myself when possible). But regarding your car, the first thing you need to do is figure out why you can't read the diagnostics!? Was this done at the dealership, an independent shop or at the corner AutoZone?

Share This Page