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RE: Shed Of The Week: BMW 318iS

RE: Shed Of The Week: BMW 318iS

Friday 21st April

Shed Of The Week: BMW 318iS

An E30 318iS will cost you many thousands now - time to get on this E36 while you can!



What do you look for in a classified ad for an old BMW?

Less than 100,000 miles? Five greens on the service indicator? Full service history? A good metallic colour? Leather upholstery? Manual gearbox?

Well now this looks rather smart, doesn't it?
Well now this looks rather smart, doesn't it?
This week's E36 3 Series Coupe ticks all those boxes and adds an extra one - it's a 318iS.

We'll get onto that in a minute, but first let's admire the comely shape of the E36 Coupe. It remains an attractive car even now. Ironically, the 318iS to have - if investment is your goal at any rate - would be the 318iS saloon. That was only on sale for one month, in 1998. But the Coupe looks best.

Right, back to the iS bit. Normally of course the sight of '318' on a BMW ad will have any self-respecting PHer turning up their schnozz in disgust. But the iS bit is important. That means it's the 16-valve version of the quietly effective but basically bland small four that droned many a sales rep up and down the motorways of 1990s Britain.

Those extra valves hoisted 318 power up by nearly 25hp to 138hp and gave the Three the top end that was never really there on the 8-valver. You do need to chase peak power somewhat on the iS, as it's not reached until 6,000rpm, just 500rpm short of the redline. Fortunately, revving the mammaries off it is not a pre-requisite for enjoyable iS driving, because you also got more torque in the iS, and lower in the rev range, thanks to its DISA variable-length intake manifold. So it's not a case of peaky not-so-blinder. Indeed, the key advantage of the 1.9 M44 over the forged-crank M42 was its extra driveability.

'iS' means 16 valves and heady height of 140hp
'iS' means 16 valves and heady height of 140hp
Intake mods will release more iS power than exhaust mods, so we're talking air filter, throttle bodies, and a chip. A cat-back exhaust will sound better, but it's a fair bit of financial pain for not that much gain.

As a post-'94 Three, this car's cams will be driven by a chain rather than a belt. What can happen to these M44 engines though is sudden head gasket failure. If the gasket hasn't been changed yet then it's not a bad plan. Plus it's a good excuse to shove in a pair of Schrick cams.

What else can wee on your iS chips? Well, the cam cover gasket can seep oil, and this model didn't escape the plastic-impeller water pumps that plagued so many BMWs. Check as many pipes as you can for perishing or splits. Idle control valves get gunged up, causing lumpy running. Clutch pedals squeak, diff bolts loosen, and front lower control arm bushes dry up, leading to steering wobble and uneven tyre wear. Power steering reservoirs can leak. Track rod ends wear - but you probably knew that. The front windows don't work on this car. That could be something as simple as a relay.

You'll note from the ad that this car has had a new Final Stage Resistor (FSU) fitted. This is such a common BMW fault that the FSU has even been given a nickname: the hedgehog. If the lads include the pic, you'll understand why. This gizmo controls the air-con blower, or not, as the case may be. If your hedgehog is on the fritz, the fan will begin to operate in an alarmingly random fashion.

Look great; not all that supportive though
Look great; not all that supportive though
The only sure fix is replacement which, a bit like a real hedgehog if you sat on it, is a right pain in the Harris thanks to its rotten location. So, good news that it's all been done here.

While we're in this area, anyone who's ridden in an E36 with leather seats will know they're not really as cool in practice as they look in a picture. Try a bit of hoonage along a bendy road and the outsides of your knees will be black and blue from all the bracing against the trans tunnel and the door.

But they do look great, and especially so here. The pics provided with the ad are the sort that a proud owner would take of his (or her) car. Why, he (or she) has even gone to the trouble of cleaning it! Whatever next.

Here's the ad.

1997 R-reg E36 BMW 318is Two Door Coupe in silver/green Moreagrün metallic (288) with the higher output M44 designated engine. Manual 5 Speed Gearbox. 5 Seats - Full Black Leather in great condition. Full Service History. A clean and unmolested example. Previous owner fitted 'angel eyes' style headlight surrounds which were thankfully not connected. Headlights are unaffected and work as they should. Mileage is approx 99,300. 5 Months MOT remaining. Front electric windows not currently working. CD Stereo with Aux out. Original car mats.
Full sized spare wheel. Integrated rear sun blind. Air conditioning. Dual zone climate control. Recent Battery. New Final Stage Resistor (FSU) unit fitted. Very keenly priced at £975. Advertised elsewhere. Based in Cardiff - CF24.

 

 

 

 


Author
Discussion

Jimmy Recard

Original Poster:

13,130 posts

99 months

Friday 21st April
quotequote all
I'd give that a try if I was looking for a car right now. Looks good to me.

They were a very nice looking car way back when

ambuletz

5,850 posts

101 months

Friday 21st April
quotequote all
Looks like a nice tidy car. The miss-matching indicators need sorting ASAP, dunno how the owner slept at night.

clonmult

10,158 posts

129 months

Friday 21st April
quotequote all
Jimmy Recard said:
I'd give that a try if I was looking for a car right now. Looks good to me.

They were a very nice looking car way back when
Still are a good looking car - always thought that the E36 was the best looking 3 series and for me they're a way better design than anything currently offered by BMW - everything they do is just too darned fussy.

I owned a very late model E36 318iS (99 model), brilliant drive, smooth engine, seriously good fun on the twisties. Indecently practical on occasion (folding rear seats!) too. Seriously miss that car ....

Jimmy Recard

Original Poster:

13,130 posts

99 months

Friday 21st April
quotequote all
clonmult said:
Still are a good looking car - always thought that the E36 was the best looking 3 series and for me they're a way better design than anything currently offered by BMW - everything they do is just too darned fussy.

I owned a very late model E36 318iS (99 model), brilliant drive, smooth engine, seriously good fun on the twisties. Indecently practical on occasion (folding rear seats!) too. Seriously miss that car ....
I agree! It's just that compared to most of the crap that was around in the mid 90s, they looked quite amazing.

Half seemed to be 318s with steelies and wheeltrims and the other half 328s with all the options

g3org3y

11,491 posts

111 months

Friday 21st April
quotequote all
Looks like a clean car and the kind of advert I like to see (i.e. no 'bruv speak' and decent photos). Good shed imo. smile
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Spannerski

126 posts

31 months

Friday 21st April
quotequote all
One of the few nice looking and useful coupes out there.
Mate had one and they were fast.
All the body panels are different on the coupe compared to the saloons.

yme402

34 posts

22 months

Friday 21st April
quotequote all
Well worth the money. Just not too sure if I would want to drive around with 'IS' on my bootlid though......

culpz

1,739 posts

32 months

Friday 21st April
quotequote all
I think this will get snapped up quick. I hope it goes into the hands of an enthusiast as apposed to someone treating it solely as an investment opportunity though.

This appear to be a very decent example for not alot of money. A rare find with these E36's these days. For me, i think it would have/need to be a 328i. I'd sooner have a hot-hatch and have more power if i was to go 4-cylinder but for a BMW it would need to be a proper 6-cylinder.

ambuletz

5,850 posts

101 months

Friday 21st April
quotequote all
yme402 said:
Well worth the money. Just not too sure if I would want to drive around with 'IS' on my bootlid though......
really? you think everyone is going to point and laugh at you? or even give a st?

vz-r_dave

3,165 posts

138 months

Friday 21st April
quotequote all
Its a bargain, serious bargain, someone will either buy it and cherish or track it, perfect for both options.

DBRacingGod

399 posts

112 months

Friday 21st April
quotequote all
ambuletz said:
yme402 said:
Well worth the money. Just not too sure if I would want to drive around with 'IS' on my bootlid though......
really? you think everyone is going to point and laugh at you? or even give a st?
Crikey - easy tiger.

In other news the 318is was my first Beemer and I still miss it. I saw 129mph on the GPS with 500rpm left on the dash on my M-reg, just 3mph off the claimed VMax (non-UK road), tidy for a nearly 10-year-old motor.
This example must be the least Barried-up 318 in Britain.

hornetrider

62,706 posts

125 months

Friday 21st April
quotequote all
What a bargain. Surely 'twil be sold within the day!!

Vince70

1,859 posts

114 months

Friday 21st April
quotequote all
It looks a lovely car for the money but it's worth having a look under the jacking point covers to check for rot and I would have those side skirts off and clean out any crud underneath and give it a good coating of waxoyl.

I'm on my 5th E36 now if you include the Z3 and really rate the M44 engine in fact the only two I have now are fitted with that engine and I bought a minty low mileage Ti for the winter months a couple of years back but could never part with it and it was bought solely because it was an M44.

I find the M44 makes a lovely burble on tick over and really does like to be revved

Also it's lighter than the six pot plus you don't have a vanos to contend with.

Give it another couple of years you won't be able to find a decent car for sensible money so it's a bit of an investment as well as I've noticed now if you want one that's really nice you have to be prepared to travel as a couple of years back all you had to do is look locally for a good example.

But the service lights don't mean it's been serviced regularly as its only a 10 second job to reset the lights with a piece of wire in the obd socket so check the bills but saying that to service one yourself is a piece of cake and costs about £40 all in using quality parts and a decent oil if you wait for a Euro car parts or GSF sale also it's worth removing the CCV valve and idle control valve and blasting the innards with some carb cleaner from time to time to help keep the tick over nice and even.

I also just sold this lovely 64000 mile Cabriolet which is nigh immaculate with the leather sport interior and it's completely rust free for £800 and I only serviced it 50 miles previous and covered the underside etc with cans of waxoyl but I needed the money plus having two already I think I was getting a bit greedy.

The good thing though I do have choice of first refusal if it's sold on again as my father saw it and wanted it straight away and it seems every time he goes out in the old girl people keep asking him if it's for sale.

[url]|https://thumbsnap.com/M0LmmBCW[/url

Edited by Vince70 on Saturday 22 April 07:58

MrAverage

364 posts

47 months

Friday 21st April
quotequote all
im on the look out for a new 'fun' car and this would fit the bill lovely. but insurance is silly for me unfortunately otherwise i'd be up in cardiff this weekend parting with some money.



Edited by MrAverage on Friday 21st April 09:33

2smoke

45 posts

31 months

Friday 21st April
quotequote all
Nice example. I had an E30 318IS (yes I regret getting rid of it) which I believe had the same engine, it made a nice noise for an I4 and I guess this would be the same. Wheel arches look pretty clean in the pics too, unlike the E36 I had which suffered from rot on the front. Somebody buy it please and take away the temptation...

clonmult

10,158 posts

129 months

Friday 21st April
quotequote all
DBRacingGod said:
ambuletz said:
yme402 said:
Well worth the money. Just not too sure if I would want to drive around with 'IS' on my bootlid though......
really? you think everyone is going to point and laugh at you? or even give a st?
Crikey - easy tiger.

In other news the 318is was my first Beemer and I still miss it. I saw 129mph on the GPS with 500rpm left on the dash on my M-reg, just 3mph off the claimed VMax (non-UK road), tidy for a nearly 10-year-old motor.
This example must be the least Barried-up 318 in Britain.
Mine was similar; only mod was a black BMW bonnet roundel, which better suited the car (which was black). The original roundel was practically white, so needed to be changed. No leather seats in mine, it was all cloth. Think the only extra that had been optioned was the dual zone climate control.

aquarianone

253 posts

97 months

Friday 21st April
quotequote all
Still miss mine frown was a lovely car, had mine for nearly 5 years before some plonker wrote it off.

'98 Techno Violet, subtle lowering and some Breyton Inspirations..and the M3 mirrors....and spoiler...and some amps, upgraded HU and speakers...and a subwoofer, and those silvery speedo rings that make it look well posh..and door pins, door handles..apart from that it was totally standard smile


court

1,337 posts

136 months

Friday 21st April
quotequote all
Surprised these didn't have the sport seats, I guess everything was an option on 80s/90s BMWs. I'd have to find a set to fit, the SE seats are poor.

nav p

299 posts

107 months

Friday 21st April
quotequote all
This car actually left the factory with turquoise cloth so seats/door cards have been swapped

It would have had black carpets with the black leather not the green carpet which is what it had from new.

RiccardoG

1,016 posts

192 months

Friday 21st April
quotequote all


The 318iS used to be my dream "real life" car when I was 18!

A nice example, although looks like the interior was replaced as the carpet doesn't match the seats (which should be the same color). Not that it matters I suppose.