Pelican Parts
Parts Catalog Accessories Catalog How To Articles Tech Forums
Call Pelican Parts at 888-280-7799
Shopping Cart Cart | Project List | Order Status | Help



Go Back   Pelican Parts Forums > BMW Forums > BMW Technical Forums > 101 Projects Discussion Forum: BMW 3-Series


Reply
 
LinkBack Thread Tools Rate Thread
Author
Thread Post New Thread    Reply
bostongrun
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: Minnesota
Posts: 308
Garage
Exclamation Common e36 issues

I am making a list of common e36 flaws so we don't always have to reinvent the wheel each time we have a problem. Feel free to add them as you see fit.

1. Plastic Water Pump (fix it now or buy a headgasket kit)

2. Plastic Thermostat Housing (replace it now or buy a headgasket kit)

3. Brake Light Switch ( buy em by the dozen)

4. 45 farud capacitor in digital climate control unit (misteriously shuts off) Pay $1000 at dealer or 45cents at Radio Shack for new capacitor.

5. front control arm bushings (shaky at all speeds and dives when braking)

6. Rear Trailing Arm Bushings (excessivie tire wear due to unwanted camber)

7. Drivers side seat belt recepticle ( 99% cause of seat belt light illumination)

8. horrible AM reception (nothing you do short of an aftermarket antenae)

9. Power seat actuator motors (shorten cable sheat)

10. Saggy glove box

11. Heater control valve

12. Crankshaft Position Sensor (there was a recall)

13 Arcing in driver's side brakelight bulb socket

14. Leaky timing case in 42 engines

15. Knocking Vanos in M3 (especially true in cold climates)

16. Old fan clutch craps out (replace it at 120k plus or buy a headgasket kit)

17. Old upper radiator neck breaks, (early model m50 engines)

18. Early model m50 engines will burn a quart of oil every 850 to 900 miles;
leaks down the valve stems.

19. Rust on the metal rear deck lid above the bumper. fix it while you still have some metal left.

20. Front nose piece that is impossible to keep paint on.

21. Loose oil pump nut on early M50, M52 and S52s


22. If you ever overheated better get ready to put in heater core, a relatively simple job that merely requires removing everything up to the firewall

23. Valve cover seal oil leak

24. Sagging headliner and delaminating door panels (early models)

If you are at 100k, redo your cooling system at least the thermostat, water pump, drive belt, belt tensioner, idler pulley radiator and fan clutch with new coolant. Would you rather fix it in the garage now or have your better half tell you she just drove home and steam started coming out from under the hood half an hour ago on the freeway?

Last edited by bostogrun; 05-05-2011 at 05:25 PM..
Old 05-04-2011, 12:56 PM
  Pelican Parts Catalog | Tech Articles | Promos & Specials    Reply With Quote #1 (permalink)
Registered User
 
Rrrockhound's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Delaware, OH
Posts: 550
Garage
You're not making me want an E36 very much....

I thought I heard somewhere that the first couple years of production had really fragile interiors.
__________________
1974 914 2.0
1980 911 SC
2002 996 Cabrio
2000 Silverado
2011 Golf
Old 05-04-2011, 05:58 PM
  Pelican Parts Catalog | Tech Articles | Promos & Specials    Reply With Quote #2 (permalink)
bostongrun
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: Minnesota
Posts: 308
Garage
No there great cars. I have had one for six years.
Old 05-04-2011, 06:08 PM
  Pelican Parts Catalog | Tech Articles | Promos & Specials    Reply With Quote #3 (permalink)
Registered User
 
Join Date: Apr 2011
Posts: 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rrrockhound View Post
You're not making me want an E36 very much....

I thought I heard somewhere that the first couple years of production had really fragile interiors.
I chuckleÖ..I have a 92 E36 coupe with no door panels, headliner or rear interior side panels. If it had glue on it, it failed! I should point out that the car is black, and when left in the sun, got up to 100 plus degrees, easily.
Old 05-04-2011, 06:36 PM
  Pelican Parts Catalog | Tech Articles | Promos & Specials    Reply With Quote #4 (permalink)
Registered User
 
Rrrockhound's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Delaware, OH
Posts: 550
Garage
Quote:
Originally Posted by bostogrun View Post
No there great cars. I have had one for six years.
I know they are, I was just kidding. When I finally kill the E30 (in another 100K miles), I'll probably get an E36, unless I can find a nice E30 Touring or ix.
__________________
1974 914 2.0
1980 911 SC
2002 996 Cabrio
2000 Silverado
2011 Golf
Old 05-04-2011, 06:53 PM
  Pelican Parts Catalog | Tech Articles | Promos & Specials    Reply With Quote #5 (permalink)
Registered User
 
SCOTITUDE's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Location: Long Island,NY
Posts: 2,009
Send a message via AIM to SCOTITUDE
i got 197k on the clock and the only thing on the list is the bushings. I got a wednesday car. Only thing that went in the last 100k is
1 thermostat
1 throw out bearing
1 valve cover seal
She owes me nothing. I love flogging it every day.
Best model ever made.
__________________
1980 911SC #99 track car, 993 3.6, 50 PMO's
2001 BMW 330Ci Vert DD
2019 Tahoe
2015 SL400 wifey DD
2014 Unmarked Explorer "company car"
Old 05-04-2011, 10:15 PM
  Pelican Parts Catalog | Tech Articles | Promos & Specials    Reply With Quote #6 (permalink)
 
bostongrun
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: Minnesota
Posts: 308
Garage
Oh thanks!!! I forgot about the valve cover gasket
Old 05-05-2011, 05:22 PM
  Pelican Parts Catalog | Tech Articles | Promos & Specials    Reply With Quote #7 (permalink)
Registered User
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Florida
Posts: 668
I'll take an E30 any day. If they started making them again I would get in line to buy one. I bought my 85 E30 new when my daughter was born. She drove it to school in her senior year of high school. It would have outlasted me, but not a teenager and the back of a Ford truck. My 93 E36 (I also bought new) on the other hand has been an act of something between harrrrrrdheeeeeaaaadedness, stuuuuubornessss and stuuuupppidddiiiityyy. I wan't to get 500K miles out of it like my E30. But I have spent more keeping my E36 (360K miles) running than My E30 cost new (I agree with the water pump thing with both cars, but that is all I ever replaced after 400k miles on the E30, $40.00).
__________________
74 911 targa blk on blk, Carrera fend., tires & whls. gone, missed
85 325e bought new, totaled after 20 years & 465K miles, trouble free service.
01 Ford Ranger 4dr stpsd 4wd. I drive,here
88 325i convert. only 98k miles,gone, sold
93 325i.here, 98 Z-3 roadster. gone, 08 128 cabro gone
Old 05-05-2011, 09:37 PM
  Pelican Parts Catalog | Tech Articles | Promos & Specials    Reply With Quote #8 (permalink)
OFF THE BOOST PIPE NOW...
 
A930Rocket's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Location: Mount Pleasant, South Carolina
Posts: 7,828
Here's a list I was given by Brent930.

Known BMW E36 issues

Red=Critical

Cooling system;
-Upper and lower radiator hoses get old and can leak, they also taper down in dia some. Better ones are available. Go with Bimmerworld or Samco.

-Thermostat housing will leak and crack, aluminum is available but some arenít very good quality. I recommend using some sealant just in case.

-Expansion tank can crack after time. Either get a new one or upgrade to an all aluminum tank. If not, also get the brass bleeder screw instead of using the plastic one. BMP sells them for $5. CES Motorsports has a very nice OE fit aluminum version.

-Water pump (early model propeller will break), replace with metal propeller or better yet upgrade to the Stewart pump. The OE shaft can get loose and cause your fan to hit the radiator.

-Radiator neck will break and now your motor overheated costing you $2k. Should be replaced by 60k miles. Go with a high quality all aluminum radiator like Fluidyne, or Zionsville.

Throttle body intake boot;
-Will crack and cause vacuum leaks. Upgrade to Bimmerworld or Samco and be done with it.

Valve cover gasket;
-It will leak sooner or later and cause vacuum leaks. It isnít too hard to replace. There are a couple of spots to add some silicone to really seal it up. Pelican is a good source for explaining how to change it out and where to add the sealant. Go OE.

Front shock towers;
-Will mushroom if no reinforcements are done. Only M3 had reinforcement plates, but you can buy the BMW plates for $20. A front strut bar is also recommended for additional reinforcement and chassis stiffness.

OE shocks and struts;
-They typically go bad after 40-60k miles. Good time to upgrade.

Front sub frame;
-95' and possibly earlier front sub frame motor mounting points are swiss cheesed and will blow out. Otherwise with no rust and use of a semi fender washer you shouldnít have any issues. Turner and AKG sell reinforcement plates you weld in. 96-99í owners should be fine.

Rear shock tower mounts;
-They will blow out if not reinforced. Plates can be purchased for $20-30. A rear bar is recommended for additional reinforcement and chassis stiffness.

*VANOS;
-If you start getting the marbles in a can sound and you lost some low to mid range torque then your VANOS needs fixed. Instead of spending good money on another OE part that will do the same thing in time you can upgrade the reliability of it with Dr. Vanos Stage I or II. Search the net for it.

*Shifter design (manual only);
-Internal shifter made of rubber will detach and get sloppy. Shifter plastic ball joint will wear and get sloppy. Front and rear carrier bushings are rubber. You can upgrade the front only with delrin. Shift knob will internally break up as itís made of plastic. Best solution is the AKG motorsport stage II shifter. Otherwise keeping the shifter components fresh will suffice for the daily driver.

*Transmission tunnel insulation;
-It will sag over time and then polish your drive shaft. Cut away sagging part and use aluminum tape to secure it, or remove it all.

Motor/Transmission mounts;
-Already too soft and isolated. Will cause transmission to move around too much, possibly causing a miss shift. Upgrade to something like UUCís race tranny mounts. If so, consider Vorshlagís poly motor mounts. OE motor mounts are good, but after 60-100k miles they should be replaced. Bad mounts can cause bad things to happen.

*5th gear stick (manual only);
-The shifter will wonít come back to neutral after moving it over to the right. Reverse usually isnít an issue. Around 60k miles plus and come fall/winter it will stick more. Detent bushings need to be replaced in the transmission. It can be done from the outside of the case. All OE parts are used.

*Fuel supply;
-With the only fuel pump on the passenger side and using a siphon to equalize the fuel between both plenums of the tank fuel starvation can occur up to a half tank on sweeping right turns. Bimmerworld Stage II starvation kit will do the trick.

*Cold start;
Situation: Customer may complain of the following:
-Engine runs rough during the first few minutes of engine operation following initial cold start.
-Engine hesitates/poor throttle response during first few minutes of engine operation following initial cold start.

Correction: In case of customer complaint, reprogram the DME using CD 20.0 programming or higher. See bulletin.

Oil pump nut/*Oil starvation;
-The oil pump nut may or may not come loose at anytime, thus the oil pressure will drop and your motor will seize up. The oil pump shaft could also shear off. Also the pick tube is known to crack, so inspect that too. The Z3 pick up tube has bracket so itís more secure. Upgrade the oil pump from VAC Motorsports with a new designed shaft. Also get their oil pan baffle. Adding an extra qt. of oil helps too.

Power steering fluid;
-It will leak because of the cheesy clamps used at the reservoir. The hose from the trombone cooler can also leak, but thatís mainly from having worn out motor mounts.

*Headliner;
-In time they will sag though mine has yet to do this. Not sure what the fix is except getting another one or just removing it all together.

Ignition tumblers;
-They will do one of a couple things. Your key will spin, or the key will get stuck in either position and not come out. You have a couple choices. Replace the ignition tumbler (if you can get it out), or setup an ignition switch/start button.

Steering wheel lock;
-One day you realize you cannot unlock your steering wheel. You can drill a hole in the underside of your lock housing at the right spot to remove the spring for the lock mechanism. No more steering wheel lock, ever.

*Front under panel;
-Both pork chops and under panel will get trashed, even the fender liners where the brake ducts get messed up. For the M3 bumper Motion Motorsports aluminum under panel is the way to go. For the 325/328 bumper the Stealth under panel from Bimmerworld is the way to go.

*Door panels;
-They will fall apart and or the upholstery will start to bubble and or come off. Using a lot of clamps you can use JB Weld, Gorilla Glue, or a tube of high strength silicone to put it all back together. Donít forget to replace all 11 clips too.

*Glove box;
-It will sag or fall apart. I wasnít worried too much about the sagging and just repaired the delamination of the door with JB Weld.

*On board computer;
-The pixels will start to go out and Iím not sure if there is any good fix for it. I had this on my 11 button and decided to buy a used 7 button instead. Newer E36ís come with 18 buttons.

*Low beam indicator;
-If you change your headlights to anything other than OE except to start seeing your low beam fault show up on your OBC. I have a clean way to defeat it so it wonít ever come back. You should be smart enough to know when a head light is out.

Windows;
-The one touch going up will stop and come back down unless you hold the switch. The plastic sliders will crack, and or the window regulator will get worn and cause this. The motors can go bad too but you can take them apart and clean them up. Replace with OE and move on.

*Clutch lever;
-Why in the world BMW made this out of plastic I will never know. It will flex, warp, tab will break off, and moves to the left. The bushings arenít that good either. Replace it with Mason Eng. all steel pedal and upgrade the bushings to UUC or AKG.

Clutch stop;
-Itís too small and the clutch pedal will slip off. Upgrade to the likes of UUCís clutch stop Big Boy, or Azevedo Racing and be done with it. If UUC you will need to cut the bolt down.


Rear diff bolt;

-Any E36 can experience this failure. To prevent this AA has a diff brace that will prevent this from happening. Itís pricey, or Mike R. has a weld on tab for cheap.

*Non M3 chassis;
-They didn't have the rear sub frame reinforcement mounting plates. If you do anything more than motor around town you will want to get these BMW plates welded in.

*Rear sway bar tabs;
-They are apart of the rear sub frame and will crack or break off from hitting too many bumps, railroad tracks or pot holes. You can buy reinforcement plates from Turner or AKG. They need to be welded in.

*Rear trailing arm pocket;
-The pems will rip out (not actually too common but it happens) especially on track cars. Bimmerworld or VAC has reinforcement plates you can weld in.

*Rear lower control arms;
-They bend very easily, and arenít very adjustable. Consider upgrading to SPC for great strength or aluminum like AKG, VAC, Ground Control, etc.

*Rear trailing arm bushings;
-They typically go bad after 60k plus miles. You can either get new OE ones and buy shims or go Powerflex. I prefer PF instead.

Rear shocks;
-Without a decent size washer the lower shock to the trailing arm can work its way off the bolt.

Rear trunk harness;
-You will get all sorts of lock, window and rear light issues when these wires break. Get in there and solder/heat shrink them.

*Exhaust hangers;
-They get worn and torn in 6-12 months. Upgrade them with the 328 model hangers (some modifications needed).

*Midpipe hangers;
-They go bad just like the exhaust hangers, replace with something better or go custom.

*If the car is gently driven then these items arenít as critical, but you should still be aware of them.
Old 05-06-2011, 09:20 AM
  Pelican Parts Catalog | Tech Articles | Promos & Specials    Reply With Quote #9 (permalink)
Registered User
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Florida
Posts: 668
TAIL LIGHT ASSY. Glove box lids, Door panels, window regulators, Hood latches, gas door latches, EXAUST MOUNTS. Crank sensors, fuel pumps. Heater control valves, Idle control valves, rotten egg smell from cat converter, leaking steering rack, clutch slave and master cylinders, heater blower motors, second stage resistor for same, leaking a/c evaporator coil.

I am just getting warmed up. I think I have replaced everything but the body.
__________________
74 911 targa blk on blk, Carrera fend., tires & whls. gone, missed
85 325e bought new, totaled after 20 years & 465K miles, trouble free service.
01 Ford Ranger 4dr stpsd 4wd. I drive,here
88 325i convert. only 98k miles,gone, sold
93 325i.here, 98 Z-3 roadster. gone, 08 128 cabro gone
Old 05-08-2011, 10:11 PM
  Pelican Parts Catalog | Tech Articles | Promos & Specials    Reply With Quote #10 (permalink)
Registered User
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Posts: 5
'No service' Automatic gearbox dying between 80-150K. It costs about $1000 for a rebuild and refit, unless you flip BMW the schedule bird and make sure the oil is checked each major service.
The hood cable going (two man job. One pulls gently with pliers, while the other pushes the hood down and pops it open)
The wiper pumps leak.
Old 12-04-2011, 01:54 PM
  Pelican Parts Catalog | Tech Articles | Promos & Specials    Reply With Quote #11 (permalink)
Registered User
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Sacramento CA
Posts: 1,145
I currently own two e36s and two e46s. I agree that if they made the e30 again I would grab one in a heartbeat.

The e46s have far fewer chronic problems than the e36 - window regulators, sunroof guides, tail light grounds, bad PCV design, and a defect in the early e46 automatic transmissions. I have spent far less time and money on the e46s in their first 125k miles than I did on the e36s, but I still prefer my e36s.
Old 12-05-2011, 06:29 AM
  Pelican Parts Catalog | Tech Articles | Promos & Specials    Reply With Quote #12 (permalink)
 
Reply

Thread Tools
Rate This Thread
Rate This Thread:

 


All times are GMT -8. The time now is 03:36 AM.


 
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Search Engine Optimization by vBSEO 3.6.0
Copyright 2018 Pelican Parts, LLC - Posts may be archived for display on the Pelican Parts Website -    DMCA Registered Agent Contact Page
 

DTO Garage Plus vBulletin Plugins by Drive Thru Online, Inc.