BMW E36 Blog

BMW E36 M3 Pre-Purchase Info

27th October 2008

BMW E36 M3 Pre-Purchase Info


Hi, These are 3 videos that contain loads of essential information about buying a BMW E36 M3. So, if you’re going to buy one, or if you already have one, I’m sure you’ll find this information very helpful. The videos also try to mention the most common problems known about these cars and how you should check to make sure that your car doesn’t have one of them.

This is a gold mine in my opinion, so after you watch the videos you should be able to tell whether your car was hit before or not. You should know the VIN number locations in your car plus determine if any of the body parts has been replaced by a previous owner or has been messed with.

Take a look, I hope you find these videos useful:-


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posted in Cooling System, E36 M3, Engine, Exterior, Interior, Technical Info, Tips & Tricks, Uncategorized, Videos | 2 Comments

27th June 2008

BMW E36 Digital Climate Control . . . Secret Test Functions


The BMW E36 digital climate control unit has a feature that allows different sensor values to be displayed on the control panel. The display mode is called up by pressing the "AUTO" and "REAR DEFOGGER" buttons simultaneously. 12 displays are available and you can toggle through them by pressing the fan rocker switch.

Test number


Test 1

Interior Temp Sensor

Test 2

Exterior Temp sensor

Test 3

Left Heater Core Sensor

Test 4

Right Heater Core Sensor

Test 5

Evaporator Temp Sensor

Test 6

Engine Speed Input

Test 7

Road Speed Input

Test 8

"Y" Factor Value . . . Anyone knows what is this?

Test 9

Fresh Air Flap Position in % (99.5% Max.)

Test 10

AUC Sensor Voltage (if equipped)

Test 11

Battery Voltage

Test 12

Software Version

The sensor display functions are exited by pressing "RECIRC" and "AUTO" buttons simultaneously and also by turning the ignition off. The decimal point is not shown therefore 66.5% would show as 665 All temp displays are in degrees centigrade. Negative values are indicated with minus sign

Unfortunately, I have the rotary climate control unit (analog unit), so I can’t test them. If anyone can shoot a video for these tests, it would be great. 

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posted in Cooling System, Tips & Tricks, Uncategorized | 7 Comments

20th April 2008

Electric Fan Problems On My BMW E36


I’m having 3 problems with the electric fan in my car.

First, I know that the electric fan should have 2 speeds: Low and High. My electric fan does work on the high speed only, I guess that I’m having a problem here. I also noticed yesterday that the temperature gauge moved a little bit towards the one clock instead of the normal 12 clock position when I left the engine running (with the A/C on) and went to grab something. The second problem that I have with the fan is that whenever the fan kicks in, the RPM bounces for like 20 seconds or a little bit more, then it returns to normal.

The third problem happens usually after I reach home and turn my engine off, the electric fan kicks in and keeps working for like 30 or maybe 40 seconds before it stops.

I noticed these problems before (except for the temp. gauge one) but I didn’t pay much attention to it until yesterday when I popped up the hood and decided to trace how the electric fan is supposed to work. The task is simple; there’s a coolant sensor that is placed in the returning hose to the car’s radiator. This sensor is supposed to keep watching the temperature of the coolant and to send a signal whenever the coolant temperature exceeds a certain value (176F, 80 C according to Bentley Manual).

To my surprise, I found that the electric fan power source is not connected to any special part that is connected to the ECM as I previously thought!! Instead, it’s connected to a relay that can connect/disconnect the fan with the battery directly LOL! I have to say that the electrician who used to work on my babe is a stupid one 😀 . The relay of course is controlled by the coolant sensor and whenever the coolant reaches a specific temperature, it will simply give the relay a signal and thus closes the electric fan circuit with the battery which drops the power from the battery because as we all know, the fan consumes a lot of power and thus the RPM starts bouncing because the ECM is trying to compensate for the loss.

So, I’m trying now to figure out how to re-connect my electric fan correctly to the auxiliary fan relay (which I found in the BMW E36 fuse box layout).

Anyone of you guys can help with this? I need to know what are the colors of the wires that are connected to the electric fan and to the coolant temperature sensor. Some pictures may be good too 😉


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posted in Cooling System, Technical Info, Tips & Tricks, Uncategorized | 5 Comments

6th April 2008

Your BMW Water Pump Is About To Fail


Hi guys, The old models of BMW E36 used to come with water pumps that have plastic impeller (I think the cars older than 1996) and these are real bad boys, they easily fail and almost always with a very bad timing as well. In today’s video, you can see the first sign of a failing water pump. I think checking your water pump should take a minute or two, but it will definitely help you avoid any future overheating problems which can cause more serious damage to your car such as blown head gasket. If you have succeeded this test, it doesn’t mean that your water pump is in best shape, but it can at least give you an indication that you’re doing fine and that the water pump is not going to die on you in the next two days! 😀 I suggest you do your homework to avoid doing it at the most improper times for you.

Take a look :-


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posted in Cooling System, Technical Info, Tips & Tricks, Uncategorized, Videos | Comments Off on Your BMW Water Pump Is About To Fail

24th March 2008

Tips For The BMW E36 Owners


This is a list of tips for the BMW E36 owners. Some are for the new owners and some are for the experienced and some of these tips are made just for fun. Read the list carefully, I hope you find it useful and enjoyable:-

Note: I underlined some of the tips that I think are very important.

The coolant pump (water pump) will either fail or start leaking.

The upper radiator hose from the thermostat housing will break.

The cooling system may require several bleed sessions to completely rid the system of air. The coolant low indication will appear on the OBC.

The VANOS rattles like pebbles in a tin can.

The valve train sounds like a diesel after sitting for a few days or on cold morning start ups.

The brake pad sensors do not require replacement unless the brake pad symbol is illuminated in the instrument cluster.

The brake circuit failure indication on the OBC is cleared by replacing the switch located above the brake pedal.

The clutch pedal squeaks and moves laterally due to worn bushings. Replace with Delrin AF bushings.

The clutch slave cylinder is a high fail component. Replace it and bleed the clutch system before dropping large cash on a clutch job.

Flush and bleed the brake fluid every two years.

Flush and bleed the cooling system every two years. Use BMW coolant and distilled water 50/50 mix.

Replace the thermostat housing with an aluminum aftermarket.

There are no adverse effects of using synthetic fluids at any mileage.

The shifter can be replaced with a short shift kit, including Delrin AF bushings, for ~$175.00

Wheel offset means the number of millimeters the mounting surface is from the centerline of the rim.

Buy a quality clicker type torque wrench.

Buy a Bentley Manual.

Batteries fail when the weather turns cold.

Belt tensioner and idler pullies fail and make hideous noises.

Buy a set of Blitz Rhino ramps.

Mobil 1 synthetic engine oil is available at Wal-Mart for cheap.

Distilled water is in the water aisle at the grocery store.

Buy a quality floor jack.

Buy quality jack stands.

Buy wheel chocks.

Buy a fire extinguisher.

Torque wheel bolts to spec. to avoid rotor warp.

Establish a good relationship with the parts guy at the local dealer.

Tip said parts guy.

Clutch Judder is normal in traffic jams due to hot clutch plates

Don’t buy Lexus type rear lights, its not big nor clever!

Does my car have LSD? Solution; get in some dirt or sandy pavement (as not to abuse the car) and spin the damn tires, or jack the rear up and turn one rear wheel and see if the other spins the same way.

Yellowing and faded plastic headlight covers can be restored by using Mequiars #10 and #17 Clear Plastic Cleaner and Polish

The dealer will try to [Oops!] you! If there are no independent bimmer mechanics in your area, leave a jar of vaseline with the dealership service manager along with your keys

The check engine light is USUALLY caused by the o2 sensor but there may be other reasons for it to be set off

The little O with ridges around it are the brake pad sensors. They are in the LF and RR

The e36 does have a ‘natural’ lean when driverless and looked at from behind

DTM tips were invented Osama bin Laden….don’t support terrorism

OBD2 cars cannot be ‘chipped’ there must be a software download

Chips and ‘sharked’ downloads merely advance the ignition timing and will not make your car beat a Corvette

E36’s are not drag cars, due to their diff ratios. If an Integra beats you, your stoopid azz deserves it

Larger rims and speaker boxes will add weight and slow down your car although you think louder means it’s moving faster

When you hear a “thunk” from the middle of the car, it’s probably the Guibo. (flex disk)

When you hear a “thunk” from the back of the car, it’s probably the Rear Shock Mounts. (RSMs)

If it’s cold, and you have trouble starting the car, you probably have a cold starting problem.

$tealer survival list includes: credit card with high credit limit, ETK & TIS, an attorney, and Vaseline.

Q: I just changed my spark plugs now I’m getting rough idle.
A: Gee, could it be the new Platinum+4 spark plugs you just put in?

RTFM – Read the Farking Manual!

The *ding* you hear when it is cold out means It IS cold out, duh! (dings at 38F)

325/328/M3 exhausts are interchangeable. 318 are not.

Buy an genuine BMW water pump

An M3 lever is a short shifter for a 325

A Z3 lever is a short shifter for a 328

Have all rear bushings inspected regularly on 325s

Oil the seats regularly

There is a moonroof available but it is very expensive.

If you want nitrous, you’ve bought the wrong car 😆 .

The value of a car does not increase with mods by any logical amount

Yes, red cars ARE faster

This car will NOT get you laid.

A faulty seatbelt sensor will cause the SRS warning light to stay on

Not closing the gas cap all the way will cause an engine warning light just about every time.

Once you take the dashboard apart you will NEVER get the glovebox door to line up perfectly again.

before disconnecting the battery. Make sure you write down the radio code or have the radio code card that comes in the owners manual.

The most popular setup of aftermarket name brand shocks for the E36 are H&R w/ Bilsteins.

The tire in the trunk helps to maintain a near 50-50 weight ratio. If you decide to auto-X the car, you may want to leave the spare tire in the car.

For OBDI E36’s you can use the pedal trick to get the fault codes. For OBDII, you will need a code reader.

If you find oil in your spark plug well, most likely cause is that your valve cover gasket is leaking.

You can “double lock” your doors by turning your key all the way to the right from the drivers side door and all the way left from the passenger side door.

The two significant problems on the early 318’s were the profile gasket (which is not a head gasket) and the Bad Valeo alternators

Pulsating headlights usually indicates your voltage regulator or alternator needs changing

The profile gasket affected only the M42 engines

The 318’s have had 3 separate belt and pulley configurations between the M42 and M44

Altezza tailights were created by Satan himself…do not support raw evil

Chips do work, but the wont make your car wheelie like herbie the luv bug it will simply increase your ignition timing for a more robust/smoother torque curve


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posted in Brakes, Cooling System, Electrical, Engine, Performance, Technical Info, Tips & Tricks, Uncategorized | 2 Comments