Re: BMW 3 Series Saloon 320i

I am buying a 1995 BMW 320i. But the owner doesn't know the model. I don't think it says on the V5. How can I find out what model it is?

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Not sure what you mean by model (coupe, sedan, etc. ?), but it would be an E36.
Tom
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It's an E36.
If there are two doors, it's a coupe unless the top folds down, then it's a convertible. If there are four doors, it's a sedan.
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Actually, I noticed that the thread title includes "Saloon" - so it's a sedan.
Tom
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Unless the top folds down, then it's a wreck. Nevermind ...
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So the car is a E36.
If the owner has no idea of the trim level either, how could I find out what it is?
Thanks

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Take the VIN to the local dealership. They can provide you a build sheet that describes all of the original equipment.

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Excellent, does that cost anything?

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Typically, no.
They gave me the build sheet for my car as I was buying parts. Visit your local dealership and buy a Robert Bentley Publishers BMW 3 SERIES SERVICE MANUAL, E36. It will help you with performing your own service, if you are so inclined. My dealership ran the build sheet for me, and they had never seen me before. All they do is plug the VIN into the computer, and the report comes out.
If you haven't purchased the car yet, you might want to consider the '96 or newer models. You can get the E36 cars through the '98 model year. Starting with '96 production, the computer that controls the critical operations of the car is OBD II (On Board Diagnostics, Level 2) compliant. This means you can buy -- or use free in some places -- the scan tool that will tell you the meaning of the Check Engine Light, should it come on. OBD II is a remarkable improvement over the OBD I system used on the pre-1996 vehicles.
You said you are looking at the 320i, this tells me you are not in the USA because we did not get that model here. We got the 318 (4 cyl) or the 325 (6 cyl) in 1995.

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I'm in the UK this way. I might not have a choice of a later 320I at the moment. This 95 car has just come up within my budget. So if I wait for a later model I might not get one within my budget. The car is a 320i straight 6 cylinder.
Is there no way of resetting the diagnostic lights/codes on a 95 myself then?

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The 'secret' giveaway that the OP is in the UK is in the reference to a V5. This is the UK Vehicle Registration Certificate...
Yes, I think you should get the build info for free. I would be surprised if they try to charge you. If worse comes to worst and the 'charging' dealer does not belong to BMW UK you could submit the VIN to BMW UK.
DAS
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I believe that this is the way (even though the title is E39): http://www.bmwtips.com/tipsntricks/reset-plug/reset.htm
FloydR
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The problem is diagnosing the problem. You can get the trouble code by setting the Ignition to ON, and fully depressing and releasing the gas pedal 5 times within 5 seconds and holding your tongue against the second molar on the top on the left side for the first three presses, then the first molar on the bottom right for the last two presses, or some complicated thing like that. This will give you a series of blinks of the Check light that coresponds to the problem, you then look at the Bentley manual to figure out what the blinks mean.
The '96 has a data port inside the car that you simply plug the scanner into, and it tells you P0nnn, or whatever, that you look up. There is a Reset button that makes the code go away after you fix something.

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There were several variants including two (well three actually) door compact, four door saloons (sedan in the USA), five door tourings (shooting brake in the US?), two door coupes and two door convertibles.
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Similar to the U.S., although we only got the compact for a couple of years, IIRC. The wagons were called "Touring" over here (I thought "shooting brake" was a British term), until the current 3ers & 5ers which are now called "Sports Wagons".
Tom
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