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Old 02-24-2010, 02:32 AM   #1
97318TIgurl
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Red face Suggested Maintenance (First Priority)?

Hi, I'm buying a '97 318ti from a used car dealer (i have pics up in the gallery). Carfax shows three measely records: when car shipped from Germany on 10/24/96, when owner bought it on 12/15/96, when dealer offered it for sale on 1/27/10. Carfax doesn't show any maintenance records whatsoever.

One owner who bought it new, kept him for 13 years, car has 127,122 miles.

What would you suggest i have done/get checked first, by priority? A list would be most appreciative. Thank you.
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Old 02-24-2010, 02:50 AM   #2
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cooling system, there's two plastic fittings for the coolant that cost under $10 for both I think, when they break you can warp the head pretty easily, definitely get that done pretty soon
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Old 02-24-2010, 02:53 AM   #3
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Agreed, The first thing to work on is the cooling system.

ARGH... tiFreak was quicker than me... but not as thorough because I've got a link. LOL
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Old 02-24-2010, 02:54 AM   #4
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Great, thank you tiFreak, and you as well, Roadrash.
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Old 02-24-2010, 02:56 AM   #5
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These are the two parts tiFreak was referring to.

BTW... is your car black? It's tough to tell with the reflection of the sky.
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Mods 'n' stuff: Star Spoke 43 wheels - X-Brace - Mason Engineering front strut brace - CF gauge overlay - ZHP shifter knob - Racing Dynamics cat-back - Doubled brake lights - M-tech rear spoiler
From Page 68 of the 1997 Owners Manual: "Vehicles equipped with ASC+T remain subject to the laws of physics."
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Old 02-24-2010, 03:05 AM   #6
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Yes, "Roger" is a shiny black. Thanks for the link to the thread, sorry, didn't notice the thread until afters.

Looks like a big job to replace these two parts... I'm going to read thru the threads to get some ideas of costs to have these replaced.
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Old 02-24-2010, 03:25 AM   #7
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Along with those two pipes, replace:
-Radiator
-Thermostat
-Water Pump

All three of these also have plastic parts that are just as much of a threat as the pipes.

The shocks and struts will also need to be replaced- if they are original, they are worn out.
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Old 02-24-2010, 03:32 AM   #8
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Default Maintenance Records?

Other than Carfax, etc.. would the dealer be able to tell you the maintenance on a car if you provide them with the VIN#, (would they be willing to do it for for free?)

Is there a site online that would provide this info, since Carfax doesn't have anything recorded?
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Old 02-24-2010, 03:34 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MPWR View Post
Along with those two pipes, replace:
-Radiator
-Thermostat
-Water Pump

All three of these also have plastic parts that are just as much of a threat as the pipes.

The shocks and struts will also need to be replaced- if they are original, they are worn out.
Thank you. Would you know what model engine i have, i have a '97 318ti?
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Old 02-24-2010, 03:37 AM   #10
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M44
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Old 02-24-2010, 04:09 AM   #11
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Your engine is an M44.

There really is no way to reliably track maintenance records, and Carfax certainly is not reliable. Some shops will report work done to Carfax, but most do not. I've had Service I and II performed on my M3 at dealerships that does not show on Carfax. (But I took it once to a Do It Yourself event that our BMWCCA chapter had at a local dealership. They entered the tasks I did into Carfax- so now the record shows that the dealer changed fluids, and I actually did the work. )

If you have any interest at all in learning to 'turn your own wrenches', the ti is a terrific car to learn on. For instance, the radiator, water pump, and thermostat are easy do it yourself tasks. Learning to do a bit of work yourself can make a 318ti fantastically cheap to own and operate.
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Old 02-24-2010, 04:30 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MPWR View Post
Your engine is an M44.

(But I took it once to a Do It Yourself event that our BMWCCA chapter had at a local dealership. They entered the tasks I did into Carfax- so now the record shows that the dealer changed fluids, and I actually did the work. )

If you have any interest at all in learning to 'turn your own wrenches', the ti is a terrific car to learn on. For instance, the radiator, water pump, and thermostat are easy do it yourself tasks. Learning to do a bit of work yourself can make a 318ti fantastically cheap to own and operate.
I am definitely a DIYer on simple jobs, but not having the space available to make repairs myself, now that i live in an apt bldg, puts me at the mercy of having to pay others to do it. I previously owned a '98 528i (i believe), unfortunately had to give it up when i lost my job but I did all the simple repairs on it myself while i had it. The radiator, water pump, and thermostat, hmmmmm, i'm not getting a warm and fuzzy about doing those myself on a BMW. Although... i did change out the alternator in my Ford once, but this was back in the day. I can also change out a radio & speakers and run the speaker wires, change rear/head lights & bulbs, change the oil w/new filter, etc; yup, yup, the simple stuff.

I'm considering joining BMWCCA, was browsing the website earlier. Thanks for your input, greatly appreciate it.

Last edited by 97318TIgurl; 02-24-2010 at 04:34 AM.
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Old 02-24-2010, 05:12 AM   #13
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Definitely join CCA! I've been a member for ten years now, and every year the membership has payed for itself in parts discounts alone. I don't now what your local chapter might be like, but the DC/Baltimore chapter is incredible. If your chapter doesn't do DIY's, it might be worth driving down to attend one of ours.

If you can handle draining the coolant (you just need a catch basin), changing the radiator and thermostat are EASY on the ti. The water pump is pretty easy also once you remove the belt, but it takes a stout tug to pull the old one free.

The M44 is a small engine, and it is placed in a bay designed for a much larger engine. That means that there is a lot of space around it. With the plastic radiator fan ducting removed, there is plenty of room to stand between the radiator and the front of the engine. This makes the thermostat and water pump even easier.

To change the water pipes, it's good to have garage and a weekend to do them yourself. But if you can handle an oil change, you can certainly do the radiator and thermostat (and water pump also) on an M44. And you'll feel great for having done so.
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Old 02-24-2010, 12:04 PM   #14
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Thanks MPWR. I'll start looking around for garages for rent, etc, maybe at a storage place where i can lock her up and they lock the main gates at closing. You have no idea how much i hate to pay someone to do something i may be able to do myself.

Onward to the BMWCCA! I'll definitely research my local chapter.
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Old 02-24-2010, 12:42 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MPWR View Post
Your engine is an M44.

There really is no way to reliably track maintenance records, and Carfax certainly is not reliable. Some shops will report work done to Carfax, but most do not. I've had Service I and II performed on my M3 at dealerships that does not show on Carfax. (But I took it once to a Do It Yourself event that our BMWCCA chapter had at a local dealership. They entered the tasks I did into Carfax- so now the record shows that the dealer changed fluids, and I actually did the work. )
Oh! As i'm curling my hair getting ready for work.. I was just thinking (hoping) that perhaps there's no maintenance records in Carfax because the owner did all the repairs himself. He kept the car for 13 years, he must've... right?
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