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View Poll Results: What will fail first? (What should I fix first)
Engine 6 12.00%
Cooling 38 76.00%
Steering 4 8.00%
Suspension 9 18.00%
Transmission/Differential 3 6.00%
Brakes 6 12.00%
Multiple Choice Poll. Voters: 50. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 09-16-2010, 09:53 PM   #1
SSpeedracer
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Default 333,333 Miles !!

This is a great site I've been checking out for the last few days. Thanks for the good info.

This weekend I got hold of a 321,000 mile white '98 Ti Base 5 speed. Sure it has enough miles to travel to the Moon and 1/2 way back, but the price was right. The car is almost entirely original with the exception of normal wear items. Literally the only non original parts are the front calipers, valve cover gasket, and plug wires. It might be a ticking time bomb. How did the Ti survive so long? Garaged in central California, never driven above 80mph (rarely above speed limit anywhere) and short shifted <3000rpm all the time.

So what do I have planned? Engine swap? Gut it for the track? Nope, I really like the Ti how it is and intend to keep it mostly stock while I refurbish. I'm going to rebuild the cooling, steering, suspension, shifter and brakes in that order. I've already ordered a couple lifts for the hatch and I'm looking for good used headlights if you've got them.

If anyone has suggestions on what I should fix first, please let me know. Thanks

Last edited by SSpeedracer; 12-21-2013 at 09:19 AM.
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Old 09-16-2010, 10:02 PM   #2
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pfft, I autocross a 4500lb country squire. Camaro's are lightwieght.


Anyway, the cooling system is the weak point. Replace everything if in doubt. And do it quick. A 13 dollar plastic cooling piece is the most common failure item, and once that pops, it's a mandatory headgasket and possibly head replacement. Everything is available fairly cheap. (getbmwparts.com, pelicanparts.com)
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Old 09-16-2010, 10:58 PM   #3
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Welcome to the site. I myself own a 96ss. I had gathered intentions to race, but decided against beating on what may one day be deemed collectable. Sold all my suspension and hi-fast parts to stick with the joy of leasure drives.

I'm pushing 210,000 miles in my Ti with ease. There are others here with much more than that and still consider it very reliable. Not to say you won't have any major issues. If I were you, I would really look every aspect of the car over before you start throwing money at it.

Cooling system is the weakest area. There is a how-to thread for this on the site that is worth its weight in gold.
Belts would be a good idea to check out right away too.

Others will share more thoughts. Good luck, and enjoy your stay. Post pics of your ride!
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Old 09-16-2010, 11:49 PM   #4
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+1 on the cooling system. Assuming that the brakes are not metal on metal, that is your most worrysome issue. Takes a while, but, it is doable if you are a reasonable DIY guy. Just replace everything while you "are in there". Oil filter housing and crank position sensor come to mind as does the starter. When it is apart, all these things are easy to do, when not apart, not so much. I have 189K on mine and it DOES NOT burn oil? How is that?
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Old 09-16-2010, 11:51 PM   #5
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Yeah, I read the thread about the plastic fitting behind the block and near the firewall. I intend to work on that soon, just not looking forward to it on account of how difficult it is to reach.

There are so many little things, but so far nothing major. The engine still purrs, and doesnt consume oil.

The shifter bushings are so warn out that its hard to differentiate 2nd and 4th. Gives a new meaning to the phrase "wet noodle." Its pretty funny.
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Old 09-17-2010, 12:59 AM   #6
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#1 cooling system

#2 a new front seat maybe?

Welcome to the 'org.
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Old 09-17-2010, 01:25 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SSpeedracer View Post
Yeah, I read the thread about the plastic fitting behind the block and near the firewall. I intend to work on that soon, just not looking forward to it on account of how difficult it is to reach.

There are so many little things, but so far nothing major. The engine still purrs, and doesnt consume oil.

The shifter bushings are so warn out that its hard to differentiate 2nd and 4th. Gives a new meaning to the phrase "wet noodle." Its pretty funny.

It's easier than changing the plugs on the camaro.

I've been rather surprised with how easy it is to work on the ti. The parts prices were quite a surprise too (rather inexpensive!)-and that everything is still available.
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Old 09-18-2010, 06:22 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chudzikb View Post
+1 on the cooling system. Assuming that the brakes are not metal on metal, that is your most worrysome issue. Takes a while, but, it is doable if you are a reasonable DIY guy. Just replace everything while you "are in there". Oil filter housing and crank position sensor come to mind as does the starter. When it is apart, all these things are easy to do, when not apart, not so much. I have 189K on mine and it DOES NOT burn oil? How is that?
I was able track down repair history. Crank sensor was replaced 15k miles ago when it failed emissions. I didn't know the oil filter housing could be a problem, I'll probably swap it also. Thanks
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Old 09-25-2010, 04:50 AM   #9
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The alternator failed, left me stranded on the road. Funny considering I had just purchased a replacement several hours earlier. I've got parts arriving next week to replace the cooling system, vacuum, starter, alternator, and oil filter housing.

Agree with advice above to R/R while apart.

The Ti is already fun to drive, but I can't wait to finish this underhood BS and move on to the steering, suspension and shifter.
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Old 09-25-2010, 10:22 AM   #10
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After cooling I would be suspect everything suspension related and wheel bearings.
Also probably needs a valve cover gasket by now.
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Old 09-25-2010, 03:55 PM   #11
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While you have the whole intake system off, you may want to change your cabin filters. If they've never been changed they are probably completely packed full of dust particles and other junk.
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Old 09-27-2010, 07:22 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 1996 328ti View Post
After cooling I would be suspect everything suspension related and wheel bearings.
Also probably needs a valve cover gasket by now.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr.Squeelerz View Post
While you have the whole intake system off, you may want to change your cabin filters. If they've never been changed they are probably completely packed full of dust particles and other junk.
Thanks for advice. Both the filters and valve cover gasket were replaced within the last 20k miles.
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Old 10-15-2010, 05:32 AM   #13
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Nobody guessed right in the poll . The alternator went out first at 321,600 miles.

While swapping in a reman 90amp Bosch unit I replaced the cooling system components, vacuum components, starter (bosch reman), oil filter gasket, pulley, and idler.

Also, new front rotors, lift struts, hatch light switch, extra brake light, and cleaned out the idle air valve.

The driver side door panel came loose today. Original owner told me there is lots of history with the window falling off guides and it was eventually welded up inside. It will be interesting to see what was done when I remove the panel to fix. First glance looks like the retaining screw (through the handle) was missing and all the load was put into the plastic snaps, which eventually gave up.

Next on list is a pair of HID headlights 35/4500 and shocks/struts.

The Ti is cool, but I totally baby it cause its got so many miles. Getting 32.8mpg consistently.

Last edited by SSpeedracer; 10-15-2010 at 05:35 AM.
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Old 10-21-2010, 02:59 AM   #14
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Wow SSpeedracer! 321K miles! It's great to know that a BMW 4 can last that long with care!
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Old 10-23-2010, 06:21 AM   #15
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Installed new set of DDM DEPO Hids. Wow. I am extremely impressed.

Had to return a POS Coil purchased on Craigs List. What a waste of time that was.

Sport springs arrived from another member on this board. I'm sorting out the shocks with a major retail chain. Apparently the local store manager thinks false advertising and bait and switch are legal in California. I'll give corporate a chance to make right before I issue complaints.
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