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View Poll Results: Should Firstcar buy his friend's old BMW?
This is a great price! The maintenance shouldn't be a problem. Buy it right now! 1 10.00%
This is a decent price, but the maintenance costs are a concern. Only buy if you really want it. 5 50.00%
This price is a little high for that old of a car, you should only buy it if he goes lower. 2 20.00%
This old car is one mile away from exploding on the road. Don't even think about buying it 2 20.00%
Voters: 10. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 05-06-2011, 08:58 PM   #1
Firstcar
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Default New guy, need opinions on 1995 318i w/170,000 miles

Hi guys, My friend of a few years recently offered to sell me his 1995 318i sedan w/170,000 miles for $1900 USD. I have driven it several times, once from oregon to seattle and back (I took my drivers test in it) and I love the way it drives! My friend keeps pretty fastidious care of the car, he even runs a tank of premium through every third tank to make sure the engine doesn't get too gunked up. It also has a mp3 player/stereo already installed which is pretty cool. I've seen the engine and even though I'm not a "car guy" I remember being impressed with how clean it was. The car's defects are as follows: a small tear in one of the seats, the AC doesn't work perfectly and my friend told me there is a small problem with some kind of fuel-oxygen sensor which apparently is the reason it is a little rough when it starts. His rich parents have been pressuring him to sell it so they can bump their old car (a newer BMW, lucky bastard!) down to him, but he doesn't want to sell it unless its to someone he trusts to take good care of it. I thought this was an awesome price, but after talking to a few people who know more about cars, they seemed concerned that with that kind of mileage on it the car would start to need a whole bunch of expensive maintenance that I, being on the grant-funded research undergrad budget would not be able to afford. I am really impressed by the performance and gas mileage the thing gets, not to mention it looks pretty fly, but if you guys could help me figure out if this will be as awesome as it seems or just a money sync I can't afford, I'd be super thankful. Hoping to join the family!
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Old 05-07-2011, 12:09 AM   #2
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I put premium everytime in my ti
if you like it get
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Old 05-07-2011, 01:17 AM   #3
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It more common to find better maintained BMW's from affluent people, they usually can afford the maintenance and keep fixing them with little to no hesitation.

The problem is that there is a problem which needs to be fixed. If you don't know much about cars, expect to either get screwed at an independent or spend TIME and money on fixing it yourself.

And since you're new to the brand - a shop will be able to tell immediately or you're going to have to spend time, sorting and sifting through countless asinine discussion, hey some are a waste of time, no one knows anything, they talk like they know and then they give incomplete answers, meandering discussions and you've spent several hours sorting through the advice. Try it.

IF I were you - focus on your undergrad thing - get your degree - get a great paying job - buy a newer BMW.

Sometimes, "friends" say that they want to pass the car on to some one they can "trust" to take care of it, okay, sure, but sometimes they're juts playing you.

Walk away, buy a more sensible car now, buy a BMW later, because if you join the herd of this forum, you MAY be tempted to bitch up your ti to make it look "sweet" with tuner stuff.

Focus on school kid.
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Old 05-07-2011, 03:39 AM   #4
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i would offer him $1500 for it since the O2 sensor is about $200, and the labor is whatever they want to charge. should only be 1 hour of labor (it would take them less, but they would charge for 1 hour) so figure like $300ish to fix the O2 sensor.

..

now if the O2 sensor wrecked the Catalytic converter or something dumb, then god knows what that could cost. your best bet is to buy a used one, which runs like $200 - $400 (and you can not buy them used at the yards, only from people you know who part out BMWS) not to many people had luck with new ones that are not OEM, and new OEM ones form BMW cost over $1k .

before you buy it, i would take it to get inspected and ask them if it needs to be fixed to pass inspection. some states, it does not even matter if the check engine light is on, and the sat or O2 is bad. i would not fix either if it did not need to be fixed to be able to drive it or pass inspection. some states will make you fix it (99% will only install new parts, so you will have to pay alot to get it fixed, or do it yourself. the car can run without the sensors, but the sensors are used to mix the correct amount of fuel before it goes into the motor. it also has to do with emissions, which is why it might fall inspection in some states (like mine, if it were a 96 or newer).

best of luck. take it to a shop and make sure it will pass .. if it does, i would offer $1500, and maybe pay the $1900 if you really liked it and it looked clean.
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Old 05-07-2011, 04:50 AM   #5
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A student on a tight budget should pass on this car regardless of price. I love BMW's and have two in fact, but they are maintainence hogs, and unless you can afford preventive maintainence all along, they will punish you in the wallet. Wait to get one until you're out of college and have a good job...they'll still be around. In the meantime, find a nice used Toyota. My son has one and it's never failed him yet.
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Old 05-07-2011, 05:48 AM   #6
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do you know what kind of work has been done on the cooling system? if that's all been squared away I say take it, that's a good price for the car and how well the car's been maintained is a better indicator of the engine condition then mileage I think. I got my ti in high school and never had a problem with keeping it running on my budget because it had been well-maintained
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Old 05-07-2011, 08:03 AM   #7
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Wait a second, this is for a 318i saloon? Not a TI? Oh man...

Don't buy it. You can't even find the appropriate website for various BMWs. This site, from what I gather from the website address AND all the photos of 318ti's that its FOR 318 TI HATCHBACKS.

No, you're tempted because its at a reasonable price, but its a 95 and you're friend is working you with "a trusted place", and you posted a question about an E36 that although may appear similar are kind of different.

I'm done. Next.
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Old 05-08-2011, 04:10 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SNOWti View Post
Wait a second, this is for a 318i saloon? Not a TI? Oh man...

Don't buy it. You can't even find the appropriate website for various BMWs. This site, from what I gather from the website address AND all the photos of 318ti's that its FOR 318 TI HATCHBACKS.

No, you're tempted because its at a reasonable price, but its a 95 and you're friend is working you with "a trusted place", and you posted a question about an E36 that although may appear similar are kind of different.

I'm done. Next.
the hell's your problem? we have a couple of regular members with 318 coupes and sedans and probably a lot more who aren't as active. Most of the info on this site is applicable to any BMW with an M42 or M44 and this is just about the only large BMW forum where you don't get crap for having a 4-cyl.
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Old 05-08-2011, 07:28 PM   #9
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95's do fine with aftermarket cats if they are good quality, the 95 is OBD1 so it does not need the secondary O2 which is why folks have trouble on the M44 cars with aftermarket cats. If you use a Random Tech or another real all metal matrix cat your fine.

In general my 1995 ti has cost WAY less to own than about any other car I've had.
Tuneups are 1/2 the price of a Toyota or Honda if you find a good local shop to handle it.
Its so simple I'd do it myself if I was in student status. All it is is plugs and filters.
DO NOT use quick lube shops, they will "F" up the oil drain plug and oil filter system.

If you can avoid the temptation to mess with it (Engine mods etc) overall its
a pretty economical vehicle, at 170K Miles I'd expect rubber bushings, shocks, seals to be needing attention.

FYI I'm 48 and owned a car or two... LOL Most of which I wore out... 200 to 300K miles each.


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Old 05-09-2011, 04:25 AM   #10
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Good post, Dave. I am just concerned about the cooling system going out on him, leaving him with a warped head or worse. My ti had 100k on it when I bought it, and I put about several hundred dollars in it immediately to forstall a cooling system meltdown. I sounds like this young man doesn't have any spare bucks to do the same. I'm a high mileage guy, too. I full well expect to get at least 200,000 out of my ti, but I expect to be putting money any right along.
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Old 05-18-2011, 01:38 AM   #11
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I'd either haggle the price down by a fair margin or at least be wanting to see that the car has been obsessively well looked after for that kind of money. I know BMW has more of a 'luxury' price tag over in the US but here in England a 318i sedan with that kind of mileage would probably cost about 800 even if it's been well-kept with clean bodywork etc.
However, as has been mentioned already, if the proper maintenance is carried out there's no reason why you won't get another 30 or 40k miles out, maybe more if you live in a climate which is kind to bodywork. Also I don't know if it was the same for you guys in the US but in Europe the 318i sedan has the 8v M43 powerplant which only makes about 104HP as opposed to the M42/M44 in the is/ti which makes 140ish. That may mean the car's been driven a bit more gently though.
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Old 05-18-2011, 02:54 AM   #12
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M43 wasn't ever sold in the US, it's definitely an M42
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Old 05-18-2011, 03:12 PM   #13
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Nice. We had a few M44-powered 'is' sedans available in the UK, I think they were a special 'run out' offer available only for a few months in '96. They're actually very rare, I think I've only ever seen three of them. Apparently they were made in South Africa and therefore the build quality's not quite as perfecting as the German-made cars but they are still fairly highly sought after by e36 nerds.
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