How to check for Used BMW >10yrs

Julian877 said:
Hi Guys,

Please help?

julian :uhhh:
Hi Julian,

Welcome to the BMW.SG forums :)

Sorry i didn't catch your entry this morning!

You're looking at a E36 or E46? . The last batch of E36s were in 1997-1998.

E36 is the old boxy 3 series before the E46 generation, E46 is the current 3 series, the next 3 series (coming next year) is the E90... Hope this clears up your queries!

Some of the other forum members may be more experienced to answer your questions... just hang on a bit, the other guys may take some time to reply... use the "Watch this topic for replies" link at the bottom of the thread. You'll get emailed once someone replies to this thread!

Last batch of the E36 was in 1998. Many of the 1995-1997 cars have been exported prematurely, so the only >10 yr old cars you'll find will be from 1993-1994.

When I was looking for a BMW last time, most of the 318iA (E36) were not in great condition; of every 5, maybe 1 can be considered. Most of the positive experiences were from direct owners. Dealers either didn't have the full history of the car, or were not forthcoming with the information.

These cars need a good service history. Walk away if the previous owner(s) can't tell you what has been done up/changed.

The auto gearbox usually goes around 120k to 150k, many would already have been changed/reconditioned. Ask for receipt and proof when the gearbox was changed.

Also look out for accident damage, overheating, aircon, steering, alignment.

Depending on your budget, if you really like the E36, get the later batches (1997/1998). Most of the initial build quality problems would have been ironed out. Plus you still have the PARF value should you decide to sell in 2-3 yrs, as compared with a COE car, with only pro-rated COE. Also, the nicest 4-cyl would be the 318iS(A). They are worth looking out for because of the revised 4 cyl engine, and the factory fitted sports setup.

PM me if you need more info.

major stuff
1. engine (throttle/slew response)
2. gearbox (very expensive to repair/replace)
3. price (shld be bout 5.7-6k pa? nearly got chopped by dealer before)
4. radiator (i duno how to check this but its important)
5. body (check c got knocked out before. mostly mean accident quite jialak)

minor stuff
1. aircon (cool enuff? will overheat?)
2. power windows and its gear thing (will hear like tiak sound if faulty)
3. lock buttons (i duno but mine got stuck before)

thats wat i can tink of for now, gd luck in ur search.. :)
Hi, I bought an old E36 last Nov. The price I pay, you won't like to know. I paid $4.5 K above paper value and subsequently also paid the COE Jan this year. This dealer happen to ferry me in his car to see a 3rd when I didn't like the 2 he first shown me, hence I pester him for 2 months to sell me his.

Although register in 94, it was a 93 model still using the trusty M40 engine. I have changed some of the followings after taking ownership:

1. Radiator
2. Timing belt, water pump, pulleys, clutch fan.
3. Front & rear brakes including disk rotors, tyres to 225/50/R17
4. Fuel regulators, tyres.

I also have the followings done up

5. Compression test
6. Suspension & wheel alignment
7. Polish & grooming (no painting)
8. Angel Eyes

Plus a few minor mods and boy am I broke. There will be still more to go but I haven't regreted one moment of it. It's not about price, re-sale value that I chose that bimmer, it's infatuation I think.

After the E34(company car) & E30, it's hard to switch although I am only of average income. So do some thorough thinking before you buy, they don't call it the ultimate driving machine for nothing. Also there's no glamore in owning an old E36, for me, it's the addiction.

If you are not too technical, it's always good to let a reputable workshop experience with E36 bimmer help check out the car. I'm merely relating my E36 ownership experience, there are many other bimmer owner and I'm sure you'll be receiving more advise and comments,

Welcome to the club.

Jawzsg ;)
Re: How to check for Used BMW >10yrs

Julian877 said:

I'm new to this forum, and always been crazy about owning a BMW. Quite confuse on those E36..etc...

Looking to buy a USED BMW318iA (>10yrs old), need help in understand what 2 look out for., which reliable dealer,.

what kind of "hiccup" i might inherit...etc..

Julian :wavey:

Hi Julian,

Looks like you've been looking for a E36 as that would be the 3-series model older than 10 years at this point in time. To share my personal experience, I recently bought a 1989 E34, older than 10 years.

First up, you could probably look out in the classifieds daily. These days, there's quite a number of the older Beemers, both E34s and E36s up for sale both by private sellers and dealers. Do try to take a look at as many of the cars as possible to give yourself a good selection.

As for things to look out for, as most of the guys here have pointed out, most of the major stuff would be the engine, radiator, gear box, body panels and undercarriage bushings and arms and not forgetting, to test the electronic components and look out for any check/inspection lights.

Do also note that if you buy a car from a dealer, they usually would've sent the car to some cheapo spray painter to give a 'new' look to the paint. These cheapo painters could possibly have ruined your door, boot and window seals by ripping them off and sticking them together with crude gum. So check the condition of all your rubber seals so as to avoid having to replace them in the event of leaks or them being faulty. To replace rubber seals are quite expensive!

When you've more or less selected the car you want, best to bring it to a reliable workshop to do a check (physical and diagnostic) for you to ensure that all is fine and to point out potential repair work for you. You could bring your car to BVO at Sin Ming or Riverview at AMK Autopoint. Better to pay a small sum to be safe than sorry.

Hope this helps. :)
don't forget to inspect the under carriage of the car.
1. look at all the mountings and bushes for cracks/deteoriation.
2. check the suspension for signs of leakage.
3. check the transmission, rear differential, engine/oil pan/sump and steering rack for signs of fiuld leakage.
4. if the exhaust smell nasty or unusual, there can be serious internal injury to the engine.
5. check the battery holder (it is either in the boot or engine compartment) and spare tire well for signs of corrosion.
6. loud tappet ticks will require adjustment (not a problem)
7. look at the color of the coolant. if it is brownish, there can be some corrosion in the engine cooling jacket. and of course signs of coolant leakage from the expansion tank.
8. check the steering column and drive shaft couplings for cracks and good fitment
9. bubbling in the aircon dryer canister may mean leaking aircon system

the list goes on... but these are expensive repairs if you dont detect them early.