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E36 M3 (1992-1999) {Euro - S50 B32 321hp @ 7400 rpm} {U.S. - S52 B32 240 hp @ 6000 rpm}
Total Produced: 71,212 - Years Produced: 1992 to 1999


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Old Fri, Jan-12-2018, 09:38:29 PM   #1
MrMark
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Default Need Practical Advice

Greetings,

Was hoping to garnish some advice and opinions from our experienced forum members on an issue I've been struggling with for some time.

I've owned an E36 M3 as a daily for over 4 years now and have really enjoyed the experience. All the basic maintenance and small upgrades have been performed by me to keep the car running so far. I've now come to a point where I believe the car requires a major refresh (aka money investment) to stay reliable as well as prospective upgrades to keep it competitive. I also happen to really like the E46 M3. I've only driven one - once, but that experience stuck with me. I love the E36 community and I prefer to work on older systems, but I've never tracked a car and really only mess around on highways or canyon roads. Is the E36 M3 a practical car for me to really invest my time and money into based on my usage or should I clean it up, sell it and purchase an E46?
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Old Fri, Jan-12-2018, 09:48:31 PM   #2
JGard
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Default Re: Need Practical Advice

are you making an emotional or financial decision here? It's not clear. Either way I really think nobody can answer this but you.

Personally I like everything about the E36 more than the E46 except the HP numbers.
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Old Fri, Jan-12-2018, 10:30:39 PM   #3
I M Legend
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Default Re: Need Practical Advice

Quote:
Originally Posted by MrMark View Post
Greetings,

Was hoping to garnish some advice and opinions from our experienced forum members on an issue I've been struggling with for some time.

I've owned an E36 M3 as a daily for over 4 years now and have really enjoyed the experience. All the basic maintenance and small upgrades have been performed by me to keep the car running so far. I've now come to a point where I believe the car requires a major refresh (aka money investment) to stay reliable as well as prospective upgrades to keep it competitive. I also happen to really like the E46 M3. I've only driven one - once, but that experience stuck with me. I love the E36 community and I prefer to work on older systems, but I've never tracked a car and really only mess around on highways or canyon roads. Is the E36 M3 a practical car for me to really invest my time and money into based on my usage or should I clean it up, sell it and purchase an E46?
Why not buy the E46 and keep the E36 as a 2nd car? Not sure how much your E36 is worth now anyways given its age/mileage so it may be more worth it to just keep it. Cut out your full coverage on the E36 and it's pretty cheap to maintain.

I love them both
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Old Fri, Jan-12-2018, 10:46:03 PM   #4
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Default Re: Need Practical Advice

The E46 is a better car in every aspect, but I will second owning both if you can handle it.

The E36 will be cheaper to maintain and the US motor lasts forever. E46 has some big repairs every 60-100k miles of use (be careful getting caught in the “bulletproof” S54 nonsense). These aren’t so bad if you can DIY.
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Old Fri, Jan-12-2018, 11:39:43 PM   #5
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Default Re: Need Practical Advice

What is the major refresh that you're mentioning your E36 needs?
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Old Fri, Jan-12-2018, 11:50:32 PM   #6
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Default Re: Need Practical Advice

There exists a myriad of opinions on this site ranging from sentimental to serial killer. The former will tell you to keep the E36; the latter will tell you to go for the E46. Both are right.

I personally love the E36 for it's boxy aesthetic and analog nature and have no real feelings for the E46 aside from it's motor. If it were me I'd restore the E36.

Nothing is forever, though. Rock an E46 for a while, you can always go back to an E36...just might not be as cheap if and when you do
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Old Sat, Jan-13-2018, 12:40:50 AM   #7
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Default Re: Need Practical Advice

Every refresh you need to do for an e36, you need to do just as much, and sometimes more for an e46. All you are doing is deferring maintenance to the next car. Sometimes I look at the money I’ve spent and say “I could have bought a Porsche” but then I wonder, what would I be saying about the money I spent modding/maintaining that. “You could have bought a Ferrari?”
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Old Sat, Jan-13-2018, 01:37:33 AM   #8
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Default Re: Need Practical Advice

E46 M3 will cost more to maintain, S54 adds complexity and cost. E36's are so basic and cheap I wonder what the major refresh is you are mentioning....?
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Old Sat, Jan-13-2018, 02:06:05 AM   #9
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Default Re: Need Practical Advice

Keep it. Fix it. Do with it what you want. If you can’t do what you want with it, sell it.

Repairs aren’t the the issue, utility is the issue. All cars will need repairs. However, not all cars provide the same level of utility. By utility, I mean in the economist sense (enjoyment, usefulness, etc.), not the “how many sheets of plywood can it hold” sense. Either the car provides the requisite utility or it doesn’t.

I have waffled over this question, as I, like you, face some upcoming repair costs. I have more or less resigned myself to keeping the car and doing what I think I need to do to achieve maximum utility. That includes not worrying about the mileage, learning to do more DIY maintenance, getting more involved in track days, ditching the Vader for a seat that’s sits lower to give me more headroom for a helmet, etc. As best I can tell, the best way I can derive the most utility from this car is, quite simply, to use it and enjoy it. I cant worry about the impact on resale value. I can only worry about if the car makes me happy. If it doesn’t, after a good faith effort to make it fit my wants and needs, then I will sell it.

So what is it that the e46 will provide to get you more utility?

Last edited by carpetbagger; Sat, Jan-13-2018 at 04:16:05 AM. Reason: Typo
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Old Sat, Jan-13-2018, 04:01:45 AM   #10
MrMark
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Default Re: Need Practical Advice

Quote:
Originally Posted by JGard View Post
are you making an emotional or financial decision here? It's not clear. Either way I really think nobody can answer this but you.

Personally I like everything about the E36 more than the E46 except the HP numbers.
Probably a bit of both and you’re right, was just hoping to see if anyone has owned both or struggles on the same issue.

Quote:
Originally Posted by I M Legend View Post
Why not buy the E46 and keep the E36 as a 2nd car? Not sure how much your E36 is worth now anyways given its age/mileage so it may be more worth it to just keep it. Cut out your full coverage on the E36 and it's pretty cheap to maintain.

I love them both
Unfortunately owning both wouldn’t work for my situation. Just don’t have enough money, time or space to house them on top of other vehicles.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Braymond141 View Post
The E46 is a better car in every aspect, but I will second owning both if you can handle it.

The E36 will be cheaper to maintain and the US motor lasts forever. E46 has some big repairs every 60-100k miles of use (be careful getting caught in the “bulletproof” S54 nonsense). These aren’t so bad if you can DIY.
I appreciate the insight, the one e46 I drove was a friends who had his exhaust cam hub tab break which previewed me to the s54 horrors.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bmwahba39 View Post
What is the major refresh that you're mentioning your E36 needs?
If I take care of more than just the essentials and go into preventative/convenience - Vanos rebuild/Oil pan gasket and baffle/power steering system refresh/ New fan shroud, expansion tank and SPAL addition/ clutch and possibly flywheel as well as lots of bushings. That’s excluding the non essential prospective upgrades to bring it up to e46 numbers.

Quote:
Originally Posted by westopher View Post
Every refresh you need to do for an e36, you need to do just as much, and sometimes more for an e46. All you are doing is deferring maintenance to the next car. Sometimes I look at the money I’ve spent and say “I could have bought a Porsche” but then I wonder, what would I be saying about the money I spent modding/maintaining that. “You could have bought a Ferrari?”
Agreed, it’s never a RoI. I just feel like the money I put towards one car may take me further than another.

Quote:
Originally Posted by carpetbagger View Post
Keep it. Fix it. Do with it what you want. If you can’t do what you want with it, sell it.

Repairs aren’t the the issue, utility is the issue. All cars will need repairs. However, not all cars provide the same level of utility. By utility, I mean in the economist sense (enjoyment, usefulness, etc.) nor the “how many sheets of plywood can it hold” sense. Either the car provides the requisite utility or it doesn’t.

I have waffled over this question, as I, like you, face some upcoming repair costs. I have more or less resigned myself to keeping the car and doing what I think I need to do to achieve maximum utility. That includes not worrying about the mileage, learning to do more DIY maintenance, getting more involved in track days, ditching the Vader for a seat that’s sits lower to give me more headroom for a helmet, etc. As best I can tell, the best way I can derive the most utility from this car is, quite simply, to use it and enjoy it. I cant worry about the impact on resale value. I can only worry about if the car makes me happy. If it doesn’t, after a good faith effort to make it fit my wants and needs, then I will sell it.

So what is it that the e46 will provide to get you more utility?
Thank you for emulating my thoughts. Utility wise I can’t truly say whether or not it’ll serve my purposes more or less. I think I just find the specs, aesthetics and newness appealing.
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Discussing Need Practical Advice in the E36 M3 (1992-1999) Forum - {Euro - S50 B32 321hp @ 7400 rpm} {U.S. - S52 B32 240 hp @ 6000 rpm}
Total Produced: 71,212 - Years Produced: 1992 to 1999 at BMW M3 Forum.com (E30 M3 | E36 M3 | E46 M3 | E92 M3 | F80/X)