96-97 E36 reliability

I am thinking about 96-97 E36, either 325i or 328i or maybe even the 5 series.
with M50/5-speed
Questions, what are some common issues that occur?
Do they still have problems with electronics and coils like the late 80's early 90's? How about AC, does it work well?
Also, how hard is it to find a station wagon?
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96-97 is You will find only 323/328...

with M52
-- It's a good idea to drive a little Japanese/Ford/whatever shopping machine once a year to remind yourself why you're in a BMW for the rest of the year. by John Burns. '98 328i coupe t.
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The AC digital climate control panels break all the time. A guy on ebay fixes them for 45 quid a time.
On the whole they're a very reliable car, especially the manual box. The BIG tip is to get one with full service history, it makes a huge difference. The 328i is M52 BTW.

In the UK it's not hard.
--
Who needs a life when you've got Unix? :-)
Email: snipped-for-privacy@unixnerd.demon.co.uk, John G.Burns B.Eng, Bonny Scotland
  Click to see the full signature.
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What's the difference between M50 and M52?
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Look at John's website: http://www.unixnerd.demon.co.uk/bmw.html in the E&M numbers page.
FloydR
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John Burns wrote:

I wouldn't say it "breaks all the time" but usually between 80K and 100K miles, it fails. It's one tiny capacitor that needs to be replaced. I did it myself in about one hour using the following information:
http://www.macadamizer.com/bmwfix.html

As others have mentioned, the plastic impeller in the water pump will fail at about 70K to 80K miles and has the potential to take out the radiator with it. This happened to my car and was already fixed, and the radiator replaced, before I bought it. Other than that, it has only been minor stuff: brake pads & rotors at 90K miles, oil filter housing, belts, etc. I've been pretty impressed with the reliability of my '96 328i thus far, and it has over 100K miles on it now.
Karl Winkler http://www.giovanniquartet.com http://www.karlwinkler.com
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Good choice. But you won't find a post '93 E36 with an M50. It will be an M52 engine, and if you are in the US, you won't get bitten by the M52 nikasil problem we had over in Europe either as the US M52s had an iron block (iirc).

Have a good look at http://www.unixnerd.demon.co.uk/bmw.html

Plenty about over here. Don't know what the situation is like ver there.
JB
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What's the first year of non-plastic impeller water pump?
http://www.unixnerd.demon.co.uk/bmw.html
quote-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
M50 engines and possibly early M52s use a water pump with a plastic impeller. After 80k this can fail and leave little bits all around the cooling system. Replace it with the later metal style pump before it fails, not dear. M50s don't seem to like the cooling system being neglected, you need a fluid change every 2 years at least
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JB wrote:

In the US, E36's came with M50 or M50TU engines up until 1995. I know. have one out in the driveway. In 1996 it changed to the M52 (328).
--
-Fred W

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an
I never knew that about the US E36s. Thanks Fred.
JB
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SQ wrote:

The most common issues revolve around the cooling systems. Plastic was used on several parts and these plastic parts age and crack. There are aftermarket replacements that substitute metal (aluminum) that can be used or just replace with new OE parts for another 8 years of operation.

No widespread reliability issues with electronics that I am aware of.

In the US, very hard. It's also not that easy to find a 5'er with a 5 speed in the US. More 5 series buyers opted for the automatic.
--
-Fred W


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On Thu, 01 Jun 2006 09:19:50 -0700, SQ wrote:

I have a 96 M3 with S52, 175,000 miles. Mine has had tons of problems with the digital dual zone climate control. Avoid it if you don't want the hassle, otherwise you might have to either repair it or replace it at $250+. I'm starting to get "old BMW" valve train noise, and it puffs a bit of smoke only right near redline (typical weekly carbon buildup cleaning :-D). Power windows behave strangely, some people have problems with sunroofs. Aside from that just general cooling system and rubber malaise. Needs new bushings, all around, new hoses, radiator. Use good oil and never let any coolant leak and the engine should last a long long time. The rest of the vehicle just isn't problematic and feels far newer than other cars of similar age.
Thanks, Mark
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