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: email@example.com, John G.Burns B.Eng, Bonny Scotland
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
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.
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
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.
What's the first year of non-plastic impeller water pump?
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
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.
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.
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