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Old 12-03-2018, 07:56 PM   #1
BMWannabe
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Default How is it owning a BMW 318ti ?

Hi folks .. BMW Newbie here .... So I am looking to buy a used BMW 318ti in the spring ...only produced for North America from 95 to 98 ....what is the best year to purchase ? Any major issues or quirks I should be aware of when owning one ? Any and all info is much appreciated .... Thanks 🙏
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Old 12-04-2018, 06:42 PM   #2
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Welcome! The biggest issue is always cooling system. If you're able to find a 95 model, it will most likely have the M42 OBD1 motor. This motor was designed without a plastic cooling pipe that is failure prone on the M44 cars. Also, M42 motors have forged internals vs cast, so there's that.

99s are rare and were all sport models, so that's something to consider.

I have a california roof model which can be fun sometimes but also has its own problems.

These cars are easy to work on and fun to drive, you'll have a good time either way.
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Old 12-04-2018, 10:05 PM   #3
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Remember, its a 25 year old car.
Any year have issues just as any other E36.
Headliner, window regulator, anything plastic is cracked.
Anything made from rubber, will crack.

Personally I like OBD-II over OBD-I.

Still, a fun car to own if you are willing to do some of the repairs on your own.
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Old 12-04-2018, 10:22 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FunElan View Post
Welcome! The biggest issue is always cooling system. If you're able to find a 95 model, it will most likely have the M42 OBD1 motor. This motor was designed without a plastic cooling pipe that is failure prone on the M44 cars. Also, M42 motors have forged internals vs cast, so there's that.

99s are rare and were all sport models, so that's something to consider.

I have a california roof model which can be fun sometimes but also has its own problems.

These cars are easy to work on and fun to drive, you'll have a good time either way.
So there were 99 models in North America ??? I thought they stopped in 1998 model year for the USA?
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Old 12-04-2018, 10:25 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 1996 328ti View Post
Remember, its a 25 year old car.
Any year have issues just as any other E36.
Headliner, window regulator, anything plastic is cracked.
Anything made from rubber, will crack.

Personally I like OBD-II over OBD-I.

Still, a fun car to own if you are willing to do some of the repairs on your own.

Im not afraid to do repairs on my own ....
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Old 12-04-2018, 10:38 PM   #6
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Quote:
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So there were 99 models in North America ??? I thought they stopped in 1998 model year for the USA?
There was a small run in 1999. Only Sports and included a 2-spoke M Steering wheel.

Quote:
Originally Posted by BMWannabe View Post
Im not afraid to do repairs on my own ....
That's good.
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Old 12-04-2018, 10:42 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by 1996 328ti View Post
There was a small run in 1999. Only Sports and included a 2-spoke M Steering wheel.

That's good.

Interesting ......Did a little research and came up with this ...Rare indeed ...only 656 1999 318ti's made it to the USA

https://oppositelock.kinja.com/1999-...iew-1692222252

Last edited by BMWannabe; 12-04-2018 at 10:54 PM.
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Old 12-05-2018, 01:17 AM   #8
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Retro Review of the '96 318ti from MotorWeek

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wrbJDstZnYY

Last edited by rleniek; 12-05-2018 at 01:48 AM.
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Old 12-05-2018, 01:32 AM   #9
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Of my three one is a 99 and has the 3 spoke M wheel. Not much change from my 96 or 97 though.
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Old 12-05-2018, 01:37 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by 740isport View Post
Of my three one is a 99 and has the 3 spoke M wheel. Not much change from my 96 or 97 though.
The 99's had all the options on them already? Do you have a picture of yours to share ?
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Old 12-05-2018, 01:44 AM   #11
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Im not afraid to do repairs on my own ....
That's good - because otherwise, you'll need a big checkbook.
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Old 12-05-2018, 02:02 AM   #12
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in re: "....Did a little research and came up with this ...Rare indeed ...only 656 1999 318ti's made it to the USA https://oppositelock.kinja.com/1999-...iew-1692222252"

here's a quote from that article: "Most people didn't seem to like the idea of a cheap BMW and a lot of others thought it tarnished the image of BMW."

The 318 was an example in my marketing class as a blunder because the concept of a performance economy car doesn't really have a market. In addition to the statement above, people in the market for performance are willing to sacrifice economy while people in the market for economy are willing to sacrifice performance. You couldn't develop more of an oxymoron if you tried.
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Old 12-05-2018, 02:32 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rleniek View Post
in re: "....Did a little research and came up with this ...Rare indeed ...only 656 1999 318ti's made it to the USA https://oppositelock.kinja.com/1999-...iew-1692222252"

here's a quote from that article: "Most people didn't seem to like the idea of a cheap BMW and a lot of others thought it tarnished the image of BMW."

The 318 was an example in my marketing class as a blunder because the concept of a performance economy car doesn't really have a market. In addition to the statement above, people in the market for performance are willing to sacrifice economy while people in the market for economy are willing to sacrifice performance. You couldn't develop more of an oxymoron if you tried.
I bought my 'ti (new) because I wanted a hatchback without much compromise. I drove a Civic and a Golf, and nothing came close. For me, it was the perfect vehicle. Before the 'ti, I drove a Chevy Sprint - a 3 cylinder hatchback made by Suzuki, great on gas, short on everything else.
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Old 12-05-2018, 02:36 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by paul somlo View Post
I bought my 'ti (new) because I wanted a hatchback without much compromise. I drove a Civic and a Golf, and nothing came close. For me, it was the perfect vehicle. Before the 'ti, I drove a Chevy Sprint - a 3 cylinder hatchback made by Suzuki, great on gas, short on everything else.

I owned a Civic at one point and a used Suzuki Samuari ..THAT was a Dog ...LOL ...but i had some good ones in there ...i loved my 1985 Mazda RX7 GSL-SE ....
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Old 12-05-2018, 02:47 AM   #15
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in re: " I drove a Civic and a Golf, and nothing came close. For me, it was the perfect vehicle." -paul somlo

likewise, man... i had a rabbit in highschool, a gti in college and envied the kids whose parents got them new ti's while i was eating ramen. To drive a 4cyl hatchback with twice the hp of my rabbit that gets 30mpg and is same color makes me feel whole. *grin*

"I wanted a hatchback without much compromise" is the perfect way to describe how I felt when I decided to get my first ti. I had to trailer it home and it took a couple months of acquiring parts all over the world to rebuild the intake. The last owner got impatient chasing vacuum leaks and literally broke off the lower intake mounting bracket. I had to commit to figuring it all out because the car was and is exactly what I wanted. A white 5sp first gen obd is like a unicorn. They're usually green or purple, newer and almost always automatic out here it seems. Driving it makes me giddy. I can't say that about any of the other 30 cars i've owned. It's a go-kart that can transport outdoor gear like mini truck. how cool is that. cmon.

Last edited by rleniek; 12-05-2018 at 03:37 AM.
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