BMW car recalls faults and remedies E30 E34 E36
The E 30 chassis.
This is not a hub to bash BMW's. On the contrary it is through my love of BMW cars that I write this hub or perhaps series of hubs. I would like to allow BMW owners to consider the advice given here as an adjunct to, or back-up for their regular servicing and preventative maintenance.
I will begin with the earlier models and update the hub whenever a new problem is worth writing about.
I'll begin with the 3 series built between 1983 and 1991. The chassis series designation E30.
Bad servicing has caught up with the early 3 series now, and many have had their engines overheated and had more cylinder-head head gasket changes and shaved heads than you could imagine.
The cooling system itself was much improved in the E30, but too many years between water pump and hose changes have often resulted in the car being driven home with an almost dry cylinder block and destroying the tensile strength of vital components like compression and oil rings, or drying out the oil in the valve guides.
Brake wheel cylinders and
master cylinder will always need to be checked thoroughly for leaks on
all E30s. All will need to be replaced in most cases.
The tail-shaft balancer if worn will vibrate at certain speeds or constantly and destroy the car structurally if left unattended to for any length of time. The cost of repair is often in the thousands.
Oil leaks were also common in some of the six cylinder motors and could if unnoticed lead to total engine failure.
Frankly a good one is a rare find. The suspension although much improved was still pretty ordinary anyway, and it is only valuable today in the rare body shapes, such as their tidy little coupe.
The E34 chassis.
Always look for rust in a used E34. This can be a car killer if it is in the structural part of the chassis. Look carefully around the body for signs of rust at the bottom of the doors and the four jacking points under the car for signs of repairs that hide rust.
Many E34 BMWs develop a front wheel wobble at traffic speeds than can be as simple to fix as wheel bearing adjustment or as unlikely as the wheels having been changed to E39 wheels and the special spacing rim missing.
Also check pitman arm, upper and lower control arm bushes, thrust arm and sub frame bushes.You can usually see some feathering of the tire edge if the front end is generally worn.
If it has the front wheel wobbles and the wheels are undamaged and balanced expect some serious expenses to fix it.
Any sign of vibration from the drive train is likely to be the tail-shaft balancer which is often expensive to repair.
Any sound at all from the gearbox is fatal. The gearbox is wonderful, quiet and.... expensive!
The E36 chassis.
Open the bonnet, look for the water pump, then replace it unless it was replaced recently.
The original pump had a nylon impeller which went hard and broke! The water pump is cheap to replace as are hoses. Any sign of crustiness and the hoses get replaced. Never worth the risk.
The radiators were also poorly designed and prone to leak from the plastic section attaching the hoses.
For a very comprehensive list of known E36 faults go here.
The E36 is certainly a nice looking series, and have a keen following amongst BMW owners.
One of the features of the E36 (1991-99) was the rear suspension. The E36 was fitted with the Z axle multi link suspension as used on the Z1. The E36 also used the double overhead camshaft 2.5 Litre M50B25 motor until 1996.
In 1996 the 328 was introduced with the 2.8 Litre M52B28 motor.
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