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Thread: Buying a M3

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    Buying a M3

    My friend is gonna be checking out a 97 M3 this weekend and he wants me to come with him since I'm the designated "Bimmer Guy" in my circle of friends. Anyways, wanna know what common problems you guys have with these cars and what to look for when buying. The car has 87k on it and he's asking around $8000.

    I know these cars are often abused and there must be a lot to look at before buying. Thanks in advance!


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    Re: Buying a M3

    http://forums.roadfly.com/forums/bmw/bmw-3-series-e36/5537858-1.html

    The search feature at this site works well, too!


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    Be sure to check all of those potential problemsNT


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    That laundry list is a bit misleading...lots of

    nitnoid items and things that really aren't that common.

    From my 6 years with my 95...I would suggest the following:

    At that mileage, you will need to confirm replacement of or plan on replacing water pump, radiator, thermostat and cover. All these items are 60-90K replacements and if they are original, they are a ticking time bombs. Replace thermostat cover with aftermarket metal vice OEM plastic.

    If no record of suspension overhaul...struts will be shot. Rears are easy replacements, but you should check rear top strut mounts, as these fail regularly. Solution is aftermarket replacement or IIRC, I replaced with later model strut mounts and reinforcement plates. I just did front control arms at 120K, but your results may vary...I still have not replaced Rear control arm bushings and the car gives no indication that I have to.

    Brakes...same deal. If original, you will likely need new rotors and pads all around. Probably will find you need to rebuild calipers, as at that mileage, I had 3 out of 4 caliper seals deteriorated...cheap, but not easy.

    If manual, clutch should be ok at that mileage unless it was really abused. A good indicator of clutch wear is where the pedal is when the clutch engages...further from the floor is better. Excessive pedal force is also an indicator of imminent throwout bearing failure...but without anything to compare it to, it can be hard to determine. Check rear main seal for seepage as well. My throwout bearing went at 120K, right after my rear main seal started to leak...clutch was replaced at the same time, as it was about done, too.

    If you've got a check engine light, I suspect oxygen sensors...they last about 80K...only problem with yours is you have four on an OBDII, where I only have one.

    You will probably find small leaks in the power steering system...I replaced all hoses and reservoir and used good quality BMW screw type clamps.

    I have replaced valve cover gaskets (no big deal) and my Vanos makes some noise, but the car runs like a top at 125K. I have a loose headliner, but have shored it up with staples around the sunroof, and a bit of adhesive around the edges, so it is not at all noticeable. I do have a couple of blisters on the interior panels, but they are small and barely noticeable as well...pretty good, I think for a black on black 95 that has spent its adult life in Tampa and Honolulu.

    Interior is amazingly good for a car this age and my dash is still flawless.

    These are great cars...even more so if you can take care of most of the maintenance.

    Hope this helps. Best Regards, Mike

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