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BlueInGreen44 Dork
3/16/16 4:14 p.m.

Here it is, the day I brought it home in all it's bright red glory. I wasn't sure about the color but it looks good in person.

I didn't think I wanted another BMW until I saw this car. Two things convinced me to go look at it. It didn't have a sunroof and it had a limited slip.

Tuesday: The first week of driving the car. The heartless wench named "Michigan Winter" dumped 6 inches of wet and heavy snow/sleet in a few hours with the worst happening during the commute home from work. It was probably the scariest weather I've ever driven through. That limited slip diff is probably the reason I made it home.

Turns out a 318ti was exactly what I wanted but I just didn't know it. With the hatch it's the perfect size for my cargo carrying needs. It's also great fun. The little compact feels more eager and less "serious business" than the '92 318i I sold to Logdog.

Goals: Make it reliable (more on that later,) drive it to work, do a track day or two at Waterford Hills, rally/autocross? We shall see.

IndyJoe Reader
3/16/16 4:46 p.m.

That's a good looking car. I think it will serve you well, but I'm secretly mourning the passing of your Saturn. I'll be watching the build here as it develops.

Storz Dork
3/17/16 8:06 a.m.

Awesome cars, I miss my '98

pinchvalve MegaDork
3/17/16 8:09 a.m.

There is a Challenge-priced 318i local that keeps popping up. If I had some scratch, I'd take a run at it for the Challenge.

Acme Lab Rat
Acme Lab Rat Reader
3/17/16 8:21 a.m.

I was raised on a 635csi and various 2002's, so I naturally hated the runty little hatchbacks when I first saw them. Now, however, I see the appeal. The 1.8 doesn't strike me as being all that great, but it makes the same horsepower as the 2.2 in my OBS, and with a BMW chassis, I bet it's fun as hell!

BlueInGreen44 Dork
3/17/16 9:10 a.m.

The M44 engine isn't great for power but it's got more than enough zip to be fun on the back roads that comprise my 10 minute commute. Plus, the gas mileage advantage is a good thing.

A lightweight flywheel would do wonders. So, if I ever have to replace the clutch...

First thing on the list: Fix the crickets under the hood. Easy enough, a new main belt tensioner and idler pulley (and new/extra belt, of course) are on the way.

Other things that will need attention in the future:

Struts are old and I'm sure the rear shock mounts are near the end of their life but that will pass as fine for now. I can probably wait on that while I save up for something nice (Bilsteins, maybe? .) We'll see what the budget looks like after this summer.

More pressing: Driveline vibrations. Not surprised. When I was looking at it on the lift in the p.o.'s garage I saw the "guibo" looked a little worn. Best case, a new guibo makes everything better. Worst case, the u-joints are worn and that means I need a new driveshaft. Symptoms are a vibration under acceleration under 30mph, slight shudder at 45-55 mph, and above 60mph the shudder goes away and is replaced by a roar/rumble that gets significantly louder when the throttle is applied.

So, welcome back to German Car Ownership, BlueInGreen44.

BlueInGreen44 Dork
3/17/16 9:18 a.m.

One more pic for fun. Shiny red paint!

I think my favorite styling element on the E36 is how the crease that runs along the side at door-handle level continues to the front turn signal lamp after being interrupted by the fender lip.

buzzboy New Reader
3/17/16 9:23 a.m.

I love my e36/5 so much. It was always my dream car and about 2.5 years ago I made my dream a reality.

The only issues I've really had were the window regulators. The lube that BMW used has become gummy over the years and will make the regulators bind. Before you bind/bend a regulator pull your door panels and lube them up.

Being that BMWs are like LEGOs I know first hand that an M/S 50/2 will fit right under that hood ;)

My 332ti "Porqpein"

¯\_(ツ)_/¯ Dork
3/17/16 9:29 a.m.

We have a 1995 318ti that serves as a DD. It has a little over 140k on it, and has needed the following since we got it 9 months ago:
-Complete cooling system overhaul (plastic and rubber stuff all aged out)
-All the suspension bushings (rubber cracked)
-Shock/strut mounts (rubber cracked)
-A soft fuel line (rubber cracked)
-Door panels (disintegrated)
-Power window regulators (plastic clips bind, regulator eats itself)
-Both front wheel bearings

And... I think that's it? Basically, they're not terrible, but BMW apparently used recycled lederhosen anywhere they should have used actual rubber or plastic, so be prepared to replace those parts.

BlueInGreen44 Dork
3/17/16 9:42 a.m.

Fortunately the p.o. was a good long term owner and took proper care of the thing. It's had the cooling system overhaul and some new bushings. This one is in really good shape for 180k+ miles.

¯\_(ツ)_/¯ Dork
3/17/16 9:44 a.m.

In reply to BlueInGreen44:

That's good. The rear shock mounts will start to make farty noises when they go bad, you should be able to tell

BlueInGreen44 Dork
3/17/16 9:52 a.m.

In reply to buzzboy:

I remember that car from pics in your Miata/Volvo thread That combination of color/wheels/lowering looks wicked.

ssswitch HalfDork
3/17/16 2:41 p.m.

These are such neat little cars. They used to be everywhere for awhile here about a decade ago and then they all just disappeared, raptured up into German Dourness Heaven.

buzzboy New Reader
3/17/16 6:21 p.m.

If I can attest to the practicality. Things that fit inside mine no problem:

-8' surfboard -Miata Drivetrain -Volvo Drivetrain -A full set of unmounted wheels

BlueInGreen44 Dork
3/22/16 7:22 p.m.

Parts are here! Now I need to see if I get some time on a friend's lift so I don't have to do the guibo job on jack stands in the driveway.

BlueInGreen44 Dork
3/24/16 6:09 p.m.

Progress! Kinda...

I have eliminated the crickets that live under the hood by installing new idler and tensioner pulleys.

Then I jacked up the rear end to replace the rear shock mounts and realized two things.

First thing. Soon after I got the shocks off the car and felt how squishy they are I decided that I am just going to get new struts/shocks now. Time to order more new parts!

Second thing. There is almost certainly play and clunking in the u joint at the rear end of the driveshaft. So... Just replacing the guibo would be pointless. Looks like I probably have to order a new driveshaft. More $$ than I wanted to spend but I can deal with that right now.

Better to spend the money on this stuff now before I get married in the summer Hehe.

buzzboy New Reader
3/24/16 10:13 p.m.

I had to do the driveshaft last summer. I fought the thing pretty hard. I wish they were user serviceable at least. Would have been nice to just replace the ujoints.

Durty New Reader
3/25/16 1:28 p.m.

My z3 has the same M44. It's been pretty good to me. I had an oil leak that came from the oil filter housing. It wasn't too hard to replace in 2 hours going slowly.

I've always liked the 318ti for it's light weight and lovably ugly ass end.

I'm interested in reading about buzzboy's 332ti.

BlueInGreen44 Dork
3/28/16 6:25 p.m.
buzzboy wrote: I had to do the driveshaft last summer. I fought the thing pretty hard. I wish they were user serviceable at least. Would have been nice to just replace the ujoints.

Any tips as I dive into the job? Where did you get your new driveshaft? A couple posts I found on BMW forum(s?) recommended a company in Texas.

I got some new transmission mounts since the old ones were close to becoming pudding.

BlueInGreen44 Dork
3/29/16 10:18 p.m.

Nice weather and no work this week (spring break, teacher life) so I got to work on car stuff. I'm attempting to replace the driveshaft in the driveway because I like doing things the hard way.

It's almost out. One of the exhaust heat shield mounts is in the way and those bolts are sitting overnight with copious amounts of PB Blaster. The war against corrosion is won with patience... Hopefully.

You can see my brother's 924 peeking out from behind a mess of boxes. Hopefully he gets it running this summer so our little German cars can do fun things together.

buzzboy New Reader
3/30/16 8:51 a.m.
BlueInGreen44 wrote: ny tips as I dive into the job? Where did you get your new driveshaft? A couple posts I found on BMW forum(s?) recommended a company in Texas.

Being that my car is swapped the driveshaft wasn't stock. I think it's an M3 Sedan unit. For a standard e36/5 the driveshaft should be easier to find. The people in Texas seemed pretty good when I talked to them on the phone, but they didn't have what I needed. I used a place in South Carolina that I was recommended to by a place up here in NC.

The only real trouble it gave me was the slip joint. I had trouble making it collapse far enough to get the driveshaft in and out of the car.

BlueInGreen44 Dork
3/31/16 12:43 p.m.

It's raining today but I went out and laid under the car in the driveway anyway.


There is definitely a teeny bit of play in the u joint and the manual suggests that any detectable play at all is enough to cause a problem. Between that, the crusty center support bearing/bushing, and the squishy trans mounts it's no wonder there were clunks and vibrations.

Now I just wait for parts...

I think I'll break out the power washer and clean off the underside of the car while it's up on stands.

I'll probably order suspension parts later this month. I'm debating whether to get some sport springs and shocks that would lower it a bit or just get shocks ( Bilstein HDs) and keep the stock springs. If it's lowered at all would that be bad for the occasional rallycross?

Bubs Reader
3/31/16 1:02 p.m.

I used to have one! Mine didn't have a stock LSD so I decided to just weld the differential. It was a fantastic car! I've always been a fan of the "Clownshoe" M-Coupe and the quirky styling of the 318ti. Who can't love a little RWD hatchback? The only crutch being the cooling system, but sounds like that's already taken care of on your example. Enjoy!

buzzboy New Reader
3/31/16 1:58 p.m.

With my Eibach sport springs I would not be going offroad.

BlueInGreen44 Dork
4/4/16 7:19 p.m.

Still waiting for parts. The driveshaft should get here tomorrow or the next day. I've also ordered new (OEM replacement) engine mounts so I went out after work and loosened up the old ones.

I replaced the idler pulley (on the main belt) and the tensioner pulley (on the AC belt) in an attempt to get rid of squeaking and some pulley noise but now it's back and seems louder so I'm going to replace the tensioner for the main accessory belt but it's turning out to be problematic. The power steering pulley blocks the tensioner from coming out and I've got the bolts off the ps pulley but it's not coming off.

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