BMW 3 Series E36 (1990 – 2000) buyers review

BMW 3 Series E36 (1990 – 2000) buyers review

BMW introduced the E36 3-Series
in 1990, the E30’s successor. It stayed in production ’til 1998,
when it was succeeded by the E46. There were 5 flavors. I said it stayed in
production ’til 1998, but that’s not entirely true. The coupe stayed in production ’til early 2000.
The other bodies did go out of production in 1998. Those were the sedan, touring,
convertible, and compact. The coupe is number 5, but that
one stayed in production longer. The E36 is probably the cheapest
way to drive a BMW and a RWD car. It has power as well.
A number of flavors were available. The gasoline engines range from 99-190 hp,
the diesel engines range from 89-141 hp. Of course, there was also an M3 with 316 hp,
but we won’t discuss that car in this video, because it has its own set of things to watch out for.
We can do a whole video about it. We probably will. We won’t cover it in this video. ENGINES
gasoline ENGINES
diesel At the moment, about 580 E36
3-Series are for sale at About 30 of those have a diesel engine,
so those are rare. 130 cars have an automatic gearbox
and less than 50% is a sedan. The rarest body is the touring. I didn’t
expect that. Only 60 are for sale. Prices for an E36 3-Series start at 400 euros.
It’ll buy you a worn out car. The prettiest, low-mileage cars
cost around 10,000 euros. Some cars are more expensive. When shooting this video, a low-mileage
328i was for sale for 14,000 euros. Those are rare deviants.
It stops at the 10,000 euros. Reasons to buy an E36…
I’ve already told you about one. They’re great handling cars. There’s a lot of choice
in engines, including nice 6-cylinder engines. They’re relatively reliable. Of course, we’re
talking about cars that are 15-25 years old. We have to keep in mind that
a lot of things deteriorate with age. However, I do have to say that a
lot of parts are still readily available. There’s a lot of stuff for all bodies
and engines in stock at BMW, and aftermarket companies make everything for
the E36, because it’s still a very popular car. The number of cars for sale shows this. You can keep this car going relatively cheaply. Before we’re going to discuss the specific things
to watch out for with an E36, something more general. We’re talking about cars that are 15-25 years old. That means we’re not going to talk about rubbers,
wishbones, and wear parts such as brakes. Rust with the E36… Check the rear wheel arches.
These things happen with older cars and go for all of the older cars. At some point parts are just worn out,
but they’re still readily available. It is hard to find a car with
a complete maintenance history. They’re out there, but cost a bit more. You’ll have to look hard for a car
with less than 62,000 miles. More so, less than 124,000 miles is rare as well. Moreover, they’re popular cars. They’ve been imported from Germany,
where the mileage may have been messed with. Check if the mileage conforms
with the state the car is in. Now for the specific things to
watch out for in an E36 3-Series. A lot of water pumps have plastic
impellers, which wore and broke. If you were unlucky, you got
a lot of junk in your engine. You don’t want that, so check if a previous
owner has replaced the impellers. It could’ve been swapped for a better one by BMW, but there are aftermarket companies
who make metal impellers as well. Those do not break as easily. It’s worth the investment. If it hasn’t been
done already, you may want to do it yourself. Another thing to watch out for is that the
cylinder head gasket may sweat some oil. That’s easy to see. Look for oil at the
cylinder heads. If so, it needs a new gasket. For engines with double camshafts,
oil may leak as well. This often ends up in the spark plug recesses.
When changing the spark plugs, check for oil. If it’s there, a gasket needs
to be replaced here as well. A rattling sound can mean two things.
If the car has VANOS, this unit may be dying. The rattling sound may also be
caused by worn chain tensioners. The vacuum hoses may dry up and tear.
That’s because of their age. All three previous points are
fixes you can do yourself. There’s a lot of info on the Internet how to do so.
You can even buy ready-to-go packages. You can save some money that way, instead
of taking the car to the dealer or workshop. The Nikasil coating of the 323i and
328i’s cylinder walls may come off. When this happens you have a problem,
because you’ll need a new engine. You can easily have it checked.
A compression test should show it. Have a compression test done if you’re not sure
about the power output of the engine. The plastic upper tubes of the radiator
and thermostat may crack or break. There are ready-to-go solutions
which you can install yourself. There may also be a problem with the
Hardy disk underneath the center console. If you hear a strange thumping sound,
the Hardy disk probably needs replacing. The cars with a manual transmission
have a clutch delay valve, a hydraulic system which makes
for smoother gear shifts. That system may be counter-productive or
too slow, so the clutch pedal may feel weird. You notice this soon enough. If the clutch
doesn’t work right, that’s probably the problem. A thumping sound at the rear of the car can have
two causes: worn rubbers of the subframe (inconvenient but not expensive), or the bolts which
keep the rear differential up have come loose. You’ll need new bolts and everything needs to be
tightened. Hopefully it didn’t cause any damage. There may be another cause of strange noises
at the rear. The rear springs can break. If so, you’ll see that soon enough.
The car will be leaning backwards. Next, the power steering tank may start leaking
at the hose connection leading to the steering box. Speaking of the steering box; it may leak oil as well. If so, you’ll need to replace the whole
steering box. It’s expensive and laborious. Finally, the last thing to watch out for in all E36s,
is that the clips which hold the side windows… I’m cranking, but I don’t have to.
I have power windows. The clips may break, so the window gets
crooked or won’t open and close properly. It may also fall into the door. As long as the window doesn’t break, the costs
aren’t too bad. The clips are widely available. Everyone with a screwdriver can fix it themselves. The E36 3-Series we’re driving today is
a 318is with an automatic transmission. The car has split A/C, which was
very luxurious for its day. It has 46,000 miles on the clock. It literally belonged
to an old lady, who is no longer allowed to drive. She had to put it up for sale. It’s now
with our friends of Saab Apeldoorn. If you want one of the most fresh 3-Series from that
era, you’ll have to pay them a visit for a test drive. THIS CAR If you’re looking for a second-hand car and want
our help, or if your company has a nice car for sale for which we may shoot a video,
please send an e-mail to [email protected] Subtitles – Maru’s Text Support

About the Author: Michael Flood


  1. Ik zie regelmatig e36 compacts met een kenteken van het jaar 2000 rijden. Ook tourings met kentekens van 1999-2000. Zijn dat dan allemaal imports of demomodellen geweest?

  2. Misschien een keertje de Volkswagen Scirocco 2 als review? Er zijn er maar weinig in Nederland, dus dat wordt wel even zoeken 😉

  3. As far as I understand, sedans were produced until 1998, coupes and cabrios until 1999, and I don't know about the compact and touring because I don't care for those.

  4. Misschien een idee om alle punten die worden genoemd ook eens in beeld te brengen. Enkel een pratende poppetje geeft er weinig beeld bij.

  5. good cars for scrap . these are 1000 euro cars , only good for a new kid to practise with his new licence. nothing more .

  6. Extra bekende E36 kwalen..:

    Hemel en deurpanelen laten los.
    Elec ramen doen raar.[Coupe]
    Uitvallen gehele dashboard voor een min.
    Rubbers achteras.

    verder sportieve auto.

  7. Ik heb een E36 compact
    De raammechanisme is stuk linker portier (elektrisch verstelbaar )
    Ook een kwaaltje bij deze modellen

  8. e36 is n jongere auto ofja was… nu komt de e46 in het budget vn de jeugd.
    maarja wat ik wilde zeggen is dat meeste BMW's op gedrift zijn 😀
    ik heb zelf een BMW e36 320i coupe, goed voor zorgen en ze zorgt voor jou 🙂
    ga al 3 jaar met plezier naar me werk als automoneur in de BMW en na me werk zoek ik een lege parkeerplaats om hem even rond te gooie

  9. compact 1994-2000 niet 1998. Die raam clips kosten 2 euro per stuk en als ze tikkend geluid hoort bij open en sluiten zou ik ze wel vervangen.

  10. Ik heb gister een zwarte 316i Compact gekocht. Nederlandse auto, volledige historie bekend, pas 3 eigenaren gehad, M uitgevoerd (voorbumper, skirts en koplampen) en nog geen 2 ton gelopen. Verlaagd d.m.v. een schroefset en BBS velgen met gloednieuwe banden. Ook op de brug geen gekke dingen tegen gekomen. Was gelijk verkocht na de proefrit. Zeker voor het bedrag waarvoor ik 'm mee kon nemen. € 1.250,-! Kan niet wachten om 'm op te halen volgende week! Overigens is ie van '99 dus denk dat de Compact ook nog tot 2000 gemaakt is hoor 😉

  11. Puike auto, heb de 325td gehad van dit model. Betrouwbaar, fijne zescilinder ook. Auto had meer dan 3 ton op de klok. Onderhoud is wel prijzig, want BMW, maar dat is het geld wel waard. Durf te wedden dat de E36 betrouwbaarder is dan de E46…

  12. We gaan niet in op dingen als rubbers en roest. Oh dus juist de dingen die belangrijk zijn voor oude auto's.

  13. The e36 combined with the M50B25 was only produced between 1992-95. The e36 for 1996 was a different design with a modification done to the rear end narrowing the width and ruining the over-all look to the e36 which in 1996 began the 2.8 liter engine series of 328i's. The only appropriate engines for the e36 are the 2.5 liter and 3.0 liter engines. The only good looking e36's were produced from 1990-95. The 1996-2000 e36's are the ugly version with the narrowed rear end, and they all were made for the 2.8 liter engine. So the best e36's are produced from 1992-95 with the 1995 version having many upgrades over the 1992-94 models. In summary: Get a 1995 325i and you will have the perfect 3 series BMW. The e46 has UGLY headlights. The e90 and f models all look like Hondas. You can put 500,000 miles on a 1995 325i and it will still do 0-60 under 7 seconds and get 26 mpg (11 l/Km).

  14. Prachtig. Heb een originele 323i. Maar waarom zijn er zo weinig originele E36's (of BMW's op zich) over? Jammer. Het zijn, met goed onderhoud, zeer betrouwbare en fijn rijdende auto's. Angel eyes, K&N, 19", het is niet voor mij.

  15. nachtenuchtinechti coupe chunechtichnuchtinechte karrosserie wariante plodublablublenechtedachte blachte bluchte disel motor saacfojaoibhfoswdebfoswjdbfgf xDDDDD wer empfindet es auch so 😀

  16. I'm not even reading the subtitles just listening to all the coughing and flem like Mucus noises in the German language.

  17. Dit lijkt me echt een gave eerste auto, als je er eentje met heldere gebruiksgeschiedenis kan vinden wil ik er echt wel 2500-3000 voor betalen

  18. My 1995 E36 318i saloon cost me just £250 (an eBay bargain), had just over 92,000 miles as verified by the previous MoT certificates (I have them all), has little rust, has a clean interior, and ran sweet as a nut. It needed 2 tyres, a basic engine service and an MoT. The E36 must be the best 3 Series BMW ever built. They're not immune to rust but they're not as bas as the E46.

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