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Euro Tech Resources All Euros (VW, BMW, Benz, Porsche, Ferrari, Lamborghini, etc) Tech info
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Old 03-09-2011, 01:29 PM   #1
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looking at a 1992 325I, any advice/opinons?

So im looking to get another car, my current car 1990 4 door teg is getting there.. i bought it only for a temp car until i can find something better...

i searched on CL and saw this 1992 BMW 325I and looks pretty good.. just waiting for the VIN# and do a history check.


Anyone here can give advice on what to look for, especially being a '92, what usually breaks down and what not, its also a 5spd not auto..
I know people usually say second hand euro cars arent worth buying... but as long as it checks out, it should be fine?
one of the main reasons i like this one is the chassis, for some reason im drawn to it more then any other bmw chassis..


Thanx for any help..
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Old 03-09-2011, 01:59 PM   #2
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Rear shock mounts, AC compression, Radiator neck and overfill tank (plastic / will crack), suspension bushings etc.

One really good thing with the e36 is it is really easy to fix and parts are plenty and relatively cheap.

Take it to one of the shops on http://www.bcbimmers.com/forums/index.php. The reason why specialised shops like Nixon etc, is they know usually which part is usually worn etc.

92 is the first year of e36.. you might not get VANOS with your engine.
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Old 03-09-2011, 03:21 PM   #3
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I am not familiar with the E36, but something about the waterpump and its plastic impellers having a tendency to fail?

Here's a good overall thread for E36 http://www.bcbimmers.com/forums/showthread.php?t=7601
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Old 03-09-2011, 03:31 PM   #4
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The 1992 cars don't have VANOS. Some enthusiasts prefer not to have variable valve timing because I suppose it's one less thing to "break."

The E36 is a decent chassis (it can be pretty refined), but the quality of the materials (particularly the interior) leaves a lot to be desired. It was the first 3-series chassis designed by computers and was engineered to be just "good enough" (and not over-engineered like the E30.) Unless your 92 has been well-cared for, you're probably better off opting for a later model (96+) if you can afford the extra couple of grand. Besides, the 92s have those awful grey bumpers.
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Old 03-10-2011, 12:15 AM   #5
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Thanx for all the input..

the version im looking at is red with all the bumpers, moldings red, which made me love it more..


So do those shops that specialized in certain cars cheaper or more then shops that arent?
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Old 03-10-2011, 01:06 AM   #6
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Things to look for (off the top of my head)

1. Receipts/maintenance log book - the seller better have them.
2. Cooling system - weak points are the radiator end tanks (has the rad been replaced?) thermostat, water pump (updated to metal impeller, not OEM plastic)
3. Steering rack - these are usually ok but check for leaks at the boots, power steering hose, resevoir etc
4. Suspension - ball joints, all bushings, rear shock mounts, shocks, sway bar endlinks (if applicable)
5. AC compressor - if there's AC, make sure it works.
6. Transmission - Guibo, transmission mounts, centre support bearing - these are important to check and must be functional or maintained/replaced during the Inspection I/II mileage intervals

Otherwise, everything else are aesthetics and/or glitches that come with an old car. The plastics on the E36 aren't that great so if a few tabs or side pockets are broken, those are to be expected. Sagging glove box - expected. Electricals - should be good overall. Don't be surprised if the on-board computer display panel has burnt out display bits.

The E36 chassis is great. I absolutely love them. I highly recommend you have the car go through a pre-purchase inspection through the specialty shops such as Nixon and CG Motorsports etc. A $200 inspection could save you thousands in the end. Good luck!
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Old 03-10-2011, 05:02 AM   #7
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I highly recommend you have the car go through a pre-purchase inspection through the specialty shops such as Nixon and CG Motorsports etc. A $200 inspection could save you thousands in the end. Good luck!
so do i just tell the current owner to take it up there?
or do all the paperwork but have the contract staying that if there are any major work needs to be done, that the sale of the car is voided i get my money back and he gets the car back?

ive never done anything like this...
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Old 03-10-2011, 10:39 AM   #8
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a pre purchase inspection will definitely give you a good idea of what kind of the shape the car is in and if it needs any expensive attention.

i recommend taking the car to German Auto Sports in surrey, they provide a PPI at a decent cost. A buddy of mine had a 96 328ic PPI done there, the result was basically flawless (the car only has like 73000km on it), but they looked over everything. The car has been problem free for him almost close to a year now. Its things like that, that really matter.

Cooling system, and suspension is BMW's common wear problems. Inspect them carefully. Also look for p/s leaks. They are common as heck.

Good luck!
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Old 03-10-2011, 04:09 PM   #9
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so do i just tell the current owner to take it up there?
or do all the paperwork but have the contract staying that if there are any major work needs to be done, that the sale of the car is voided i get my money back and he gets the car back?

ive never done anything like this...
This is an arrangement you need to make with the seller either on paper or verbally but of course, you should only pursue this if you are serious enough to committing to the purchase. In the end, nobody likes to have their time and efforts wasted.

Typically in the past, I've paid for the PPI myself and then use report as a means for negotiating. Ask the shop to provide you with a cost breakdown of parts and labour. I've done this on several BMWs, Porsches, and Alfa Romeos and these cars aren't exactly the cheapest to maintain/upkeep. The PPIs have saved me a tonne of headaches and potential financial burdens. Keep in mind, you have to be prepared to walk away from the car itself at the same time (i.e. the cost of parts/repairs exceed the value of the car by ten-fold etc.) For whatever reason you decide not to purchase the vehicle, make sure the seller does not get a copy of the PPI. It's your money.

If in the event the seller does not agree to allowing you to have the car go through a PPI, I think it's a clear indication to steer clear.
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Old 03-19-2011, 10:43 PM   #10
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water pump + rear subframe main things to look at
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Old 03-25-2011, 01:24 AM   #11
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I had a 1994 325is for about 2 years or so, as most people have said check the status on the water pump, and all the bushings. The drive shaft bushing (guibo) are sometimes over looked, and I found from personal experience, once they are are changed out for new ones the rear end feels so much tighter / not so much "delay" between the tranny and the rear end.
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