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Old 01-24-2015, 05:46 AM   #1
Charlie D.
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Default I am the owner of a not-so-perfect 318ti

Ladies and Gentlemen:

I would like to introduce myself and my car. I am 66 years old and never dreamed I’d ever own a BMW. Circumstances resulted in my trading an older 4-door Impala to my granddaughter for this car. My son had bought it for her a couple years ago. I was going to sell it because I did not think I would fit in it. I am 5’9” and 270 lbs. It has the manual sport seats and I love the front extension. Anyway, much to my surprise, I am able to sit in it quite comfortably. It has a little over 200k miles and has the M Sports Package and AC.

I have had it for a month but have not driven it yet. It was across Tulsa from my house and I have not driven a stick shift for 30 years or so. I did not want to relearn on a freeway so my son drove it over for me. He said it was pulling to the left. I strung a string between the rear tires and the front and ball parked the toe in/out. The right tire was toed in a little less than an 1/8 inch. The left one was toed out a little over ½ inch. The tie rod was frozen up and could not be adjusted. After I took it off and put it in a vice grip I got after it with a 14” pipe wrench and it still would not turn. I have gotten a couple of new ones to put on it.

Both of the front windows were out of the regulators and would not roll up or down. Using the excellent information on this forum I was able to get them fixed. Over 1/3 of the posts that had been glued to the panels broke off when I removed them to get to the regulators. I glued them back on. I got a very quick chance to see how the glue worked by having to take one of them back off because I had forgotten to hook the speaker wires up.

The wheels had a wheel lock on each of them. Of course I would not even be mentioning this if a key had been in the car. I ordered a couple of those left hand threaded sockets but they could not get a start on the locks. After researching this site as well as some others I went and bought a cheap 13/16 12-point socket. With the use of a 4-lb sledge I was able to drive the socket unto the locks enough to get a bite and impact wrenched them out.

I had heard the car running and had started it up a couple of times myself. It had quite a bit of noise coming from the engine compartment. A few people listened to it and we decided it must be one or both of the tension pulleys. I took the serpentine belts off and the two pulleys seamed to be OK. For the heck of it I spun the AC and accessory pulleys. The alternator had a pretty loud grinding noise which may the bearing? I took the Valeo alternator to a local shop and they are seeing if it can be rebuilt. I am thinking it could have been the largest contributor to the under-hood noise. The exhaust is pretty noisy also. A friend who owns a BMW said it could be the baffles in the muffler?

The car sat the better part of this past summer because the fan would not work. It has an electric fan. We had loaned my granddaughter the Impala to drive. While under the car tinkering with the serpentine belts I saw a three wire harness hanging loose. It plugged into the wiring going to the fan so I feel that is why the fan did not work.

Just the past few days I experienced a knowledge growth with the brakes on the car. I had ordered up some brake rotors from Amazon to do a brake job. I had filtered the search to a 1998 BMW 318ti and several vented rotors showed up that were supposed to fit it. Since it has solid rotors on it I decided that I wanted to upgrade to the vented ones. When I got them in they were too wide for the calipers. I referred to RealOEM.com and they showed a parts blow-up of two different type rotors. The narrow ones were for 318ti’s up to 4/98. Per the information that someone on this site had provided me based upon the VIN number, this car was manufactured in 2/98. It ends up that Amazon was not wrong with the application if the car had been built later. I have reordered solid rotors.

My granddaughter’s boyfriend had a wreck in the car and damaged the right rear quarter panel. The plan is to take another semester at Tulsa Tech to do body work on the car and paint the repaired area. I have taken several semesters out there and have been working on painting my ’55 Studebaker.

And finally the last known problem area is the amplified antenna base has been broken. The 6-disk CD player works but the am/fm just buzzes.

I certainly wish that I could have come on the forum and said I had just purchased a perfect BMW 318ti. I have been very impressed with this forum site and have used the search button several times. I will definitely need to be the question asker and not the answer giver for a long time. My wife and I plan to use the car as a backup to our main vehicle. I desire to get it up to the point of being a reliable set of wheels.

Charlie D.
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Old 01-24-2015, 03:08 PM   #2
BlackBMWs
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Hey Charlie! Welcome to the forum and I'm lovin reading your post bringing another ti back to life! Nice job!

On your list, check the cooling system in general. There is a pesky <$10 "Y" cooling fitting on the back of the head that breaks on the M44 that typically leads to overheating and head gasket failure. PITA to replace, but doable and totally preventive maintenance if you choose to go that far, 3 of my 5 M44s have had a failure. (2 I purchased that had already failed which I repaired.) Basically, check the cooling system, that "Y" is a common culprit on bigger cooling failures and can be prevented.

Have someone run your VIN and you can see what options the car came with. I see the rear headrests and I wonder if the MTech spoiler was added or if was ordered like that from the factory.I guessing it may have the original suspension. If so, you may enjoy the ride and handling of renewed shocks/struts. Like for like will work just fine, unless you want to go sportier. The original suspension on a MTech are just fine for most folks for a daily driver.

BTW, you can swap your front calipers and carrier with an E36 Coupe or Sedan to use the front vented brakes. My 98 is caliper swapped like that.

Look forward to your progress! Again, welcome!

Rich
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1998 318ti Sport - "Cali" Schwartz II/Schwartz sport interior, Cali top
1998 318ti Sport - "Max" Schwartz II/Schwartz sport interior, S52
1997 318ti Sport - "Tiny" Schwartz II/Schwartz sport interior
1995 318ti Active - "Blanca" Alpineweib III/Schwartz leather interior

Other Current Bimmers: 2006 530i / 2000 2.3L Z3 / 1997 1.9L Z3 / 1999 540it

1997 318ti Sport - "Huera" - RIP
1995 318ti Active - RIP
1995 318ti Sport - "Tiny" Sold
1994 325i Sedan - "Jade" - Sold
1991 318ic - "Bert" - Sold
1985 635csi sold
1984 533i "Max" Sold
1984 318i sold

BMWCCA #160411

SUPPORT 318ti.org! CLICK THE LINK ABOVE!
Hosting a forum like this is not free. 318ti.org is one of the best BMW forums on the web because it is member supported, not vendor supported. The cost to become a Supporter is a nominal $10.00... A YEAR! DO IT! NOW!
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Old 01-25-2015, 01:04 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Charlie D. View Post
Ladies and Gentlemen:

I would like to introduce myself and my car. I am 66 years old and never dreamed I’d ever own a BMW. Circumstances resulted in my trading an older 4-door Impala to my granddaughter for this car. My son had bought it for her a couple years ago. I was going to sell it because I did not think I would fit in it. I am 5’9” and 270 lbs. It has the manual sport seats and I love the front extension. Anyway, much to my surprise, I am able to sit in it quite comfortably. It has a little over 200k miles and has the M Sports Package and AC.

I have had it for a month but have not driven it yet. It was across Tulsa from my house and I have not driven a stick shift for 30 years or so. I did not want to relearn on a freeway so my son drove it over for me. He said it was pulling to the left. I strung a string between the rear tires and the front and ball parked the toe in/out. The right tire was toed in a little less than an 1/8 inch. The left one was toed out a little over ½ inch. The tie rod was frozen up and could not be adjusted. After I took it off and put it in a vice grip I got after it with a 14” pipe wrench and it still would not turn. I have gotten a couple of new ones to put on it.

Both of the front windows were out of the regulators and would not roll up or down. Using the excellent information on this forum I was able to get them fixed. Over 1/3 of the posts that had been glued to the panels broke off when I removed them to get to the regulators. I glued them back on. I got a very quick chance to see how the glue worked by having to take one of them back off because I had forgotten to hook the speaker wires up.

The wheels had a wheel lock on each of them. Of course I would not even be mentioning this if a key had been in the car. I ordered a couple of those left hand threaded sockets but they could not get a start on the locks. After researching this site as well as some others I went and bought a cheap 13/16 12-point socket. With the use of a 4-lb sledge I was able to drive the socket unto the locks enough to get a bite and impact wrenched them out.

I had heard the car running and had started it up a couple of times myself. It had quite a bit of noise coming from the engine compartment. A few people listened to it and we decided it must be one or both of the tension pulleys. I took the serpentine belts off and the two pulleys seamed to be OK. For the heck of it I spun the AC and accessory pulleys. The alternator had a pretty loud grinding noise which may the bearing? I took the Valeo alternator to a local shop and they are seeing if it can be rebuilt. I am thinking it could have been the largest contributor to the under-hood noise. The exhaust is pretty noisy also. A friend who owns a BMW said it could be the baffles in the muffler?

The car sat the better part of this past summer because the fan would not work. It has an electric fan. We had loaned my granddaughter the Impala to drive. While under the car tinkering with the serpentine belts I saw a three wire harness hanging loose. It plugged into the wiring going to the fan so I feel that is why the fan did not work.

Just the past few days I experienced a knowledge growth with the brakes on the car. I had ordered up some brake rotors from Amazon to do a brake job. I had filtered the search to a 1998 BMW 318ti and several vented rotors showed up that were supposed to fit it. Since it has solid rotors on it I decided that I wanted to upgrade to the vented ones. When I got them in they were too wide for the calipers. I referred to RealOEM.com and they showed a parts blow-up of two different type rotors. The narrow ones were for 318ti’s up to 4/98. Per the information that someone on this site had provided me based upon the VIN number, this car was manufactured in 2/98. It ends up that Amazon was not wrong with the application if the car had been built later. I have reordered solid rotors.

My granddaughter’s boyfriend had a wreck in the car and damaged the right rear quarter panel. The plan is to take another semester at Tulsa Tech to do body work on the car and paint the repaired area. I have taken several semesters out there and have been working on painting my ’55 Studebaker.

And finally the last known problem area is the amplified antenna base has been broken. The 6-disk CD player works but the am/fm just buzzes.

I certainly wish that I could have come on the forum and said I had just purchased a perfect BMW 318ti. I have been very impressed with this forum site and have used the search button several times. I will definitely need to be the question asker and not the answer giver for a long time. My wife and I plan to use the car as a backup to our main vehicle. I desire to get it up to the point of being a reliable set of wheels.

Charlie D.
As the great Bob Wills sang, "Take Me back to Tulsa!" Welcome to the org. John PS: I'm also 66 years old!
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Old 01-27-2015, 12:24 AM   #4
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Default It can Be done

thats a good read. I have brought a couple e36's back from the grave and they ran forever!!! good luck its all worth it in the end!
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Old 01-30-2015, 08:13 PM   #5
Charlie D.
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Guys, I appreciate the replies and words of encouragement. BlackBMWs, I know your advice concerning the plastic parts is wise preventive maintenance. I saw the DIY write-up and pictures concerning those parts and I don’t think I want to tackle that right now. It looks pretty involved and I think I will hold out for nicer weather. In the meantime I think I’ll carry a gallon of mixed antifreeze in the back of the car in case it or another part starts leaking.

I think the Spoiler must be from the factory. Someone on this forum did run the build sheet for the car based on the last 7 of the VIN number. It says it has M Sports suspension but I did not see a specific line item concerning the spoiler.

Since my initial post I have almost finished the brake job. I have to take the rear tires back off so the emergency brakes can be adjusted. When it is set, the right rear can still be turned. I want both rear wheels to be locked up when the emergency brake is set. A local alternator repair shop had to send off for an alternator for me. They said it is almost impossible for small shops to get the repair parts for the Valeo alternator. The most important thing is that it is quite when the pulley is spun.

I think I am going to be forced to buy a metric nut and bolt kit. I left the nuts on the alternator when I took it to the shop. They had to send it back as a core for the alternator they ordered for me. BlackBMWs also recently ID’d a siren for the alarm system that was just lying on the inside of the front bumper. I put it back up in the bracket but had to use an SAE bolt to keep it there. It did not fit perfect so I just tightened it until it did not want to turn freely no more. So I need a bolt to fix it right.

Jca, my favorite Tulsa song is Gene Pitney’s “24 Hours from Tulsa”. It is pretty cool to get your kicks on route 66 which is 11th street going through Tulsa. And I guess even pretty cool to do it when you are 66.

Charlie D.
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Old 01-30-2015, 09:25 PM   #6
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I had a spoiler installed by a body shop after my purchase.
If there was a line item on the invoice then it would probably have been installed at the dealer.
I think even alarms where installed at the dealer and not the factory.
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Old 01-31-2015, 01:21 AM   #7
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When that plastic "Y" fitting fails, it won't matter if you have 20 gallons of coolant stored in your car. It generally doesn't "begin to leak," it's a "catastrophic failure," i.e. it breaks... and dumps coolant RAPIDLY. Once it's broken, I doubt it could be "patched enough to get you home" or anything like that. If you don't immediately stop the car when that breaks, the odds are that the engine will overheat and you'll be needing a new engine. So, don't put that repair off.
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Old 01-31-2015, 05:27 AM   #8
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Yup.

You can do it when you change out the valve cover gasket. If the VC gasket isn't leaking, do it anyway at your first convenient opportunity. Great little motors until they overheat. Ask me how I know...



Not really a hard job if the VC is off. You just need smaller hands. A ratchet 10mm box wrench works great. Just a tight spot to work on.


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1998 318ti Sport - "Cali" Schwartz II/Schwartz sport interior, Cali top
1998 318ti Sport - "Max" Schwartz II/Schwartz sport interior, S52
1997 318ti Sport - "Tiny" Schwartz II/Schwartz sport interior
1995 318ti Active - "Blanca" Alpineweib III/Schwartz leather interior

Other Current Bimmers: 2006 530i / 2000 2.3L Z3 / 1997 1.9L Z3 / 1999 540it

1997 318ti Sport - "Huera" - RIP
1995 318ti Active - RIP
1995 318ti Sport - "Tiny" Sold
1994 325i Sedan - "Jade" - Sold
1991 318ic - "Bert" - Sold
1985 635csi sold
1984 533i "Max" Sold
1984 318i sold

BMWCCA #160411

SUPPORT 318ti.org! CLICK THE LINK ABOVE!
Hosting a forum like this is not free. 318ti.org is one of the best BMW forums on the web because it is member supported, not vendor supported. The cost to become a Supporter is a nominal $10.00... A YEAR! DO IT! NOW!

Last edited by BlackBMWs; 01-31-2015 at 05:32 AM.
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Old 02-07-2015, 05:34 AM   #9
Charlie D.
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Default More questions than answers at this point

A little bit of history on this not so perfect 318ti. My son bought the car for my granddaughter three years ago or so for $3,000. Because of some sort of abuse the original engine gave up the ghost. My son paid a foreign car repair facility $2,000 to obtain and put another engine in the car. Supposedly the mechanic got the engine out of California. I do not know the engine number and if I did, I do not know if it can be identified as to the month and year of manufacturing.

When my granddaughter picked it up it was using &/or leaking oil to the tune of 1 quart per 100 miles. It was leaving oil puddles wherever it was parked. My son threatened to take the guy to small claims court because of the leaking/burning oil. The guy took it back and after a couple of months my granddaughter went and picked it up and it was not using oil nearly as bad. My son said the mechanic replaced the oil filter housing. I have read on the forum that the housing can cause some oil leakage. Of course there is zip zero documentation to support any of this. I was quite aggravated with my son for not keeping a better paper trail. I know he was pretty disgusted with the whole deal and very upset with his daughter.

It has been my experience with my grandkids that if they don’t have any money tied up in a car they don’t care what happens to it. It is just an inconvenience to them when they lose their set of wheels. Of course my son had blown the engine out of a firebird that I had bought him as a teenager. And then there was the trashed transmission and pushrod through the block of the ’56 Pontiac that dad had bought me as a teenager. It must be an expensive family thing we have going.

I talked to my granddaughter a little bit more about the car during the super bowl. She thought it was leaking/burning oil a little faster than it has been just sitting out in the garage. I have decided to hold off on the plastic coolant manifolds on the block and head. If they should fail I will pull over and have USAA come tow it home. Plus I want to make sure she did not hurt the replaced engine by driving it without the fan motor running. I also want to drive the car around a little to see how it runs out. Right now there are too many questions about the car that need answered before I decide if it will be my primary back-up set of wheels. I am hoping that it drives out nicely because it is a neat little car.

Today was a pretty nice day for tinkering. I finished up the brake job and got the emergency brake on the right rear adjusted. I replaced the old tie rods with new ones. I strung a string between the front and rear tires and ball parked the toe in to a little less than 1/8” on each side. Hopefully the brakes are going be OK. I think it will be wise to take it to the tire shop and have the alignment checked out. It is my understanding that about the only adjustment is the toe in and everything else is machined into the suspension? Tomorrow I will put the new alternator on and button up the engine compartment. I will then finally get it on the road to start trying to find the answers to some of the questions.

Charlie D.
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Old 02-08-2015, 06:28 PM   #10
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Welcome Charlie! And I'm glad to see that there are a few here older than me (61).
I did the regulator repair on the driver's side of my Ti and found that even if you reverse the regulator attaching bolts to go outside to inside (bolt head inside the door cavity) the regulator arm still passes close enough that it may hang up again and fail. You might hear or feel a clicking sound as the window rolls up or down. I guess it's pretty close tolerance inside the door when all is back together.
I used 10mm allen wrench button screws and a washer and all seems good now. No clicking and smooth operation.
Good luck in your adventure. They are fun cars to play with.
Gotta do that cooling "Y" fitting replacement as well.

LouM...
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Old 02-09-2015, 07:46 AM   #11
Charlie D.
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Default I am a pretty happy camper after 1st drive.

I got the new alternator on the car and got the engine compartment buttoned up yesterday. I started the engine and it idled nicely. The old alternator with the worn out bearing(s) had in deed been ¾ of the noise problem under the hood. My wife Pat and I took it for a short spin. As I have said, I haven’t driven a standard shift for 25 years or so. My first mistake was accidently putting it in 3rd gear instead of 1st. I got it moving forward but thought to myself something is not right. I shifted back in neutral and put a little pressure to the left side and it went easily into 1st.

We checked out the cruise control and it worked nicely. The electric sunroof opened and closed correctly. The windows rolled down without any noise. The map lights worked. Pat was surprised to find that the vanity mirror light comes on when the cover over the mirror is slid open. We took an old, winding road up, down and around the hills close to our home that we had not been on for years. It was quite fun. I had to constantly keep thinking about the next shift. OK, I’m in 4th going down this hill and I need to downshift to 3rd before we start climbing the next one. OK, that’s straight forward on the shifter. I was catching on to it before we got back home. The new brakes worked very well. The temperature gauge went up to the center of the scale and stayed there.

I am very excited about the initial checks for possible oil usage/leakage. There was no smoke coming from the tailpipe at all. When we got home it was parked in the driveway so any drips could be observed. Three hours later there was one drop of oil on the driveway. We moved it to the detached garage and today, 24 hours later, there were 2 drops of oil under the engine compartment. I checked the level on the dip stick and it was at the top mark.

The only disappointing part of the drive was some misfiring that showed up a couple of times. Both times were on a pretty stout acceleration in third gear. I never got it wound past 3,500rpm but as the car was pulling briskly up one of the hills it missed 3-4 beats in about 10 seconds. No missing during regular cruising at 2,000 to 2,400rpm. I did some research and it looks like it could be a coil/spark plug issue or maybe an injector issue.

We are going to get an alignment on the car and a couple of new tires and then drive it on a more extended trip. It is a fun vehicle. I thought the engine was revving pretty good but the redline is another 3,000rpm above where we had it. We may end up driving that twisty old road a little more often in the future.

Charlie D.
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Old 02-09-2015, 10:48 PM   #12
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Hi Charlie! If the engine is solid, the fun is at 4000-6000, although I usually stay in 3500-5700 range on my manual shift TIs.

If I was smarter, I would have caught and suggested you check/replace your oil filter housing gasket and O-ring as that is another common leak area, while you had your alternator out. It's right there...

Glad you had a great drive! These cars are little, but fun once they are in shape. 😎


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1998 318ti Sport - "Cali" Schwartz II/Schwartz sport interior, Cali top
1998 318ti Sport - "Max" Schwartz II/Schwartz sport interior, S52
1997 318ti Sport - "Tiny" Schwartz II/Schwartz sport interior
1995 318ti Active - "Blanca" Alpineweib III/Schwartz leather interior

Other Current Bimmers: 2006 530i / 2000 2.3L Z3 / 1997 1.9L Z3 / 1999 540it

1997 318ti Sport - "Huera" - RIP
1995 318ti Active - RIP
1995 318ti Sport - "Tiny" Sold
1994 325i Sedan - "Jade" - Sold
1991 318ic - "Bert" - Sold
1985 635csi sold
1984 533i "Max" Sold
1984 318i sold

BMWCCA #160411

SUPPORT 318ti.org! CLICK THE LINK ABOVE!
Hosting a forum like this is not free. 318ti.org is one of the best BMW forums on the web because it is member supported, not vendor supported. The cost to become a Supporter is a nominal $10.00... A YEAR! DO IT! NOW!
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Old 02-11-2015, 01:53 AM   #13
Charlie D.
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Default First outdoor pictures of an Okie's 318ti

These pictures were taken on my 3 acre property here in Osage County, Oklahoma. The pump jack hasn't operated for 10 years or so. The first 13 years we lived here, while it was still operational, we used the casing head gas to heat our detached garage.

The seat covers have some weird designs on them. I thought they were probably covering up some tears or rips in the upholstery but I looked under them and the seats are in good shape.

Charlie D.
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