17.3.1: SI Light reset
17.4: Suspension & Steering
17.5.1: Brake Bleeding 17.6: HVAC
17.6.1: Changing the microfilter
17.7.1: Wiring fog lights to be on with high beams
17.7.2: Instrument light test
17.8.1: Clutch Shudder
17.8.2: OBC tricks
17.8.3: Repair manuals
17.9.1: Airbox Mod
(From: Jim Conforti <jec_at_us.dynix.com>)
The E36 first appeared in the US in the form of the Model Year (MY) 1992 325i ..
it was released EARLY in late 90/early 91 ..
It had the M50/B25 2.5l L6 engine ... running an M3.1 control unit
For MY 1993, the E36 325i/is got the M50TU/B25 engine .. where TU
stands for (in German) Technically Updated ... it now had the VaNoS system
which controls the angle of one of the cams in a +/- 12.5! range
This gives superior idle stability and midrange torque over the M50/B25
The 318i has also had some changes involving variable length intake runners
and air shrouded injectors ...
>Can anyone give me a list of what changes occurred for the 325 from '92
Lots of changes, quickly, basically:
VANOS (variable cam timing) for increased low end performance
Better quality dash/door panel/seat back material
CFC free A/C (was introduced mid-year '92)
Electric Seats, offering greater head room and adjustment & armrest
Body colored bumbers
split-fold down rear seats optional on 4dr
sport package available
much improved build quality (do you know why the E36 was referred to
as the "Hubble"?)
Std. all-season tires
Top speed limit reduced from 128mph to 116mph (1/94 prod.due to tires)
Dual Air Bags introduced
Traction Control (AST) available
Storage nets on back of front seats
Redesigned front spoiler (lower air intake)
Drive-away protection activated w/door lock
Convenience close of windows from driver's door key lock
Both front power windows now one-touch on 4dr.
10x25 watt audio system replaces 4x25 watt
differentiated deployment of air bags and belt tensioners
Coded drive-away protection phased-in 1/95
Side directional lights in front fenders (phase in late '94)
Free-wheeling door locks
New steering wheel design (the blue and white roundel came back)
new front seat design
console cup-holder installed at port, std.
Temperature controls w/8 degree markings vs 4, defrost pictogram del.
Sport package now with 16" wheels
Premium package available with wood trim
Wasn't really quick, or basic, was it. Hope that helps, apologies to the rest.
Following are comments from an ITT/Teves (OEM brake supplier) employee to
questions I posed on Ate Super Blue brake fluid and bleeding the E36 brake
system with ABS. Thought the list might find it interesting...
Message follows **********
Date: Fri, Jan 13, 1995 11:30 AM PST
Subj: 3-series brake info.
Ate brake fluid is glycol based. We at ITT take a rather dim view of
silicone based brake fluids; the compatibility between your ABS and silicone
brake fluid is not the greatest. It turns out that the hydraulic control unit
of your ABS was designed to work with conventional (DOT 3 and DOT 4) fluids;
silicone fluids can affect the sealing performance of some of the internal
valves over time. By the way, the same applies for other ABS units (Bosch,
etc.) too: Use only DOT 3 or DOT 4 brake fluid (DOT 5 is the silicone
fluid). DOT 4 is similar to DOT 3, with the only real difference being a
slightly higher boiling temperature with DOT 4. Any brand name DOT 3 or 4
fluid is fine. The newer the can, the better, and don't leave the can open
in your garage -- it will soak up moisture from the air. (That's why you
always see the warning "use only brake fluid from a sealed container")
When servicing 3-series brakes, there is a special (dealer) tool available to
bleed the brakes. It works by talking to the ABS controller and putting the
ABS into a special "bleed" mode, cycling the ABS valves and running the pump.
Needless to say, the tool is not exactly cheap. Happily, IT IS possible to
replace the brake fluid in a 3-series by just bleeding out each caliper
individually and topping up the master cylinder (that's what I do on my own
car). As long as the system is never run dry of fluid, you don't need to
worry about bleeding the ABS unit. However, if you do happen to run the ABS
unit dry, the unit will expel any trapped air when the ABS is activated.
This air, which has now moved from the ABS unit to the brake lines upon ABS
activation, can be then removed from the brake system by bleeding
conventionally at the calipers. Try about 6 ABS stops or so, on the
slipperiest surface you can find, to bleed the ABS unit. BE EXTREMELY
CAREFUL and CAUTIOUS when attempting this; the ABS AND THE ENTIRE BRAKING
SYSTEM WILL act strangely when you do this.
Be sure to follow the owners manual recommendations for brake fluid
replacement; the brake fluid naturally absorbs water over time, lowering the
boiling point of your fluid and eventually causing corrosion of the brake
system. Excessively dark fluid is bad, indicating moisture or other
contamination. Replace it! Note that your owner's manual does not allow DOT
Looking through my old mail I see that questions still come up about the E36
microfilter. This job is easily neglected. I did my 93 318is w/ 30K smoggy,
dusty Arizona miles and it came out black and plugged. I had noticed that
ventilation was restricted. Here is the procedure:
remove 6 screws holding glovebox assembly. 2 are in the dash vents, 2
under covers when you open the glovebox door, and 2 are underneath where the
kick panel meets the dash. Keep track of which screws go where for
disconnect wiring to glovebox and get it out of the way. Remove the black
fiber kick panel also. Unplug the Alpine alarm if equipped..
With all of this out of the way, remove the three cadmium plated bolts
holding the black plastic tray conglomeration that holds connectors and
electronics. An 8mm nutdriver will do the job. No need to touch the wiring
harnesses and plugs. Moving this aside as much as possible will allow the
filter to be slid out of its vertical "drawer."
OK, where is the filter? Look for the large wiring harness that runs
across from the passenger side, over the transmission hump, toward the driver
side, along the firewall. A couple of inches or so toward the rear of the
car, from this wiring harness, is where the filter is located, in the black
HVAC stuff. Look for a cover that has several holes in it that look like
screws could go through them. The location is vertical, in a plane parallel
to the car's doors. The cover is about 1" wide and 7" high. The cover is
black plastic with a round thing protruding that has a couple of square tabs
sticking out from it. Turn this "nut" counterclockwise a quarter turn or so
until it stops. Then pull it out the cover by the "nut". At this point you
will see the tab from the filter. Pull out the filter by the tab. Do not be
alarmed if it breaks - it will not get stuck in its "drawer". The filter
frame is made to break like this so that it comes out easier.
I hate to do this: "Assembly is the reverse of disassembly" or whatever
those lame manuals say. Just make sure that when you put the black plastic
connector holder/electronics tray back that you use the short screw near the
firewall. The long screw could pierce the wiring harness that runs along the
I finally figured out how to change the microfilter on my T93 325i (E-36),
after having spent too much frustrating time trying to locate it. It cannot be
seen from any position you can reach in the car, and you have to know where to
look to find it. The task takes about 45 minutes. I would like to thank the
author of a previous article on this topic, and would like to expand on it, as
even with his instructions I had problems finding it.
The filter is mounted vertically, at the front end of the center console, right
below the center of the bottom of the windshield. To access it, follow these
Remove Passenger Kick Panel
To remove the passenger kick panel, remove the two phillips head screws at the
left and right corners of the rear edge of the panel (the edge closest to the
rear of the car), just below the bottom of the glovebox door. Now slide the
panel towards the rear of the car (towards you), out of its retaining clip on
the firewall. This is easier to do if you first push the air vent protruding
through this panel up so it clears the panel, and bend the curved left side of
the panel away from the right front edge of the center console cover, so it
wonUt catch as you pull the panel out.
Remove the Glovebox
To remove the glovebox, flip the left and right air vents above the glovebox
down, then pry them out with your fingers. Remove each black phillips head
screw now visible in the air vent holes. Open the glovebox door and, using a
small slot screwdriver, pry out the two D shaped screw covers at the top left
and right of the glovebox opening. Then remove the two black phillips screws
behind these covers. Then, using an offset screwdriver or short phillips bit in
a 1/4S socket, remove the two screws at the lower left and right of the
glovebox opening. Pull out the glovebox and put it on the floor. You do not
need to remove any wires from the rear of the glovebox.
Detach the Electrical Distribution Block
To get clearance for the filter, you must move the electrical distribution
block behind the glovebox out of the way. This block is in the upper left area
behind the glovebox. It has a large bundle of wires coming in the top, and an
orange relay mounted on the left side. This block can be slid up, out of its
retaining slides if you first release the catch which holds it in place. The
catch is on the right side of the block, about half the way back. Slide a slot
screwdriver between the right side of the distribution block and the left side
of the plastic electronic moldule holder, and push the top of the catch in
(towards the left side of the car). While holding the catch in, slide the
distribution block up and out of its retaining slides. Move it down, away from
its normal position.
Move the Passenger Air Vent Pipes
Now you must move the passenger air vent out of the way. To do this, use a flat
screwdriver and pry the vent retaining pin out of its hole. This pin is located
just to the rear of the front lower, cadmium-plated Torx screw on the HVAC box,
at the front of the console. When this pin has been removed, bend the vent pipe
Remove the Filter Cover and Filter
The filter cover is hard to find. Just in front of the above mentioned Torx
screw on the HVAC box is a cylindical 1 1/2S diameter handle, with 2
rectangular protrusions molded into it. Turn this 1/4 turn counter-clockwise,
and pull out the filter cover attached to this handle. Feel inside the opening
created for the tab handle on the filter itself. This is slightly above where
the round handle was. Push this tab towards the front of the car and then pull
it out to the right. You will have to push the vent pipe down, out of the way
with your left hand to get enough clearance to remove the filter.
If the filter is the original one, the frame will be in one piece and will have
to be snapped in two places to allow the filter to bend towards you, so that it
will clear a bracket mounted to the car after the filter was installed at the
factory. Examine your new filter to see how this works. The plastic frame has
two slots and clearance wedges molded into it on the top and bottom edges. With
a little force you can snap the frame at these slots, so that the filter now
bends in two places. Do this to the old filter, and you can then remove it
Install New Filter
Snap the new filterUs frame as described above, and slide it into the filter
slot. The filter should be oriented so that the handle is close to the top
right corner of the frame. Once the filter is fully inserted, pull the tab
towards the rear of the car, seating the filter in place.
Replace the filter cover, ensuring that the wide edge of the cover plate is
facing the rear of the car.
Move the passenger air vent back into position and replace the plastic pin.
Slide the electrical distribution block back into place, so that the locking
catch snaps back into place.
Replace the glovebox, vent grills, and kick panel.
To keep the fog lights on when the high beams are also on:
Disconnect wire on pin 4 of Fog Light relay K47. Tape this wire up so it wonUt
short out. Then connect pin 4 to ground.
Fog lights will now be on whenever the fog light switch is on and the headlights
Note: This is illegal in some states.
Suggestion: You could instal a dash switch to select normal operation or
Ron-with-high-beam operationS as follows:
Connect a wire from pin 4 to the center terminal of the single-pole, single
Connect the Red/White wire previously connected to pin 4 to one one side of the
Connect the other side of the switch to ground
To enable fog lights whenever the ignition is on, but not when the high beams
are on (i.e. use fog lights as daytime running lights)
Connect a jumper between pin 9 and pin 8 of headlight switch S8. Leave the
existing wires in place.
I did this in 1/2 hr. by removing the headlight switch from the dash, prying the
switch mechanism off of the vent panel, and soldering a short jumper directly
inside the switch housing.
Note: This may be illegal in some states.
Jerry Skene '85 535i '94 325i '95 M3 '95 318ti
17.7.2: Instrument light test
With the ignition key in the off position, press the trip distance
reset button until the distances illuminate (this will not reset the
trip distance). Then continue to hold the button and turn the key to
the first (accessary) position. The distances will change to an
internal code and then a test will begin that exercises the instrument
panel, including the SI lights. Release the reset button and watch
John Firestone, Alfred Wegener Institut jfiresto_at_awi-bremerhaven.de
fuer Polar- und Meeresforschung +49 (471) 4831 363
Postfach 120161, D-27515 Bremerhaven .. ... .... 149 (fax)
Thanks to everybody for responding to my query about clutch shudder
in my 1995 E36. I thought I'd summarize responses to my query, since
I'm getting a few queries about the problem, so others are having
The clutch and car begin to shudder or judder when the clutch is
slipped while the car is moving slowly, either in first or
reverse gear (for example, while parking, or inching forward
in traffic). All respondents report the problem to occur before
about 16,000 miles have been driven.
Consensus is that the problem is due to a non-asbestos clutch
lining that glazes up. Some people mentioned a manufacturing
problem, but the majority opinion is that the clutch lining
is the culprit. The problem is said to be known to BMW, and
has popped up in the US and Germany. There is no indication
if the problem affects all E36 series cars, or just a few
of them. People who have experienced clutch shudder have
included drivers of 1992-1995 325s and derivatives.
The flywheel and clutch assemblies need to be replaced under
warranty. For the model in question (E36), the parts involved
21-20-1-223-418 Twin Mass Flywheel
21-21-1-223-339 AT Press Plate
21-21-1-223-475 Clutch Disk
21-51-1-223-366 T/O Bearing
11-21-1-720-310 Ball Bearing
The following are instructions on how to see/set the OBC settings. Most of the
credit goes to the President of the Great Salt Lake BMW Chapter. Other info
came from my BMW microfische service manual. The settings may differ from car
to car. These settings were done for a 1995 BMW 325iS.
Press the 1000 and 10 keys together. You will then see "TEST NR: --"
Input 19 and press the Set/Reset button. You will then see "LOCK: ON"
Input the code derived from the addition of the current month and day. For
example, if today is 3/1/95, you would then input 4 and press the Set/Reset
key. The OBC settings are now "unlocked", although the display does not say
Input 8 and press the Set/Reset key. This will give you another
speedometer, but in kph instead of mph. I couldn't get mph with any key
To lock the OBC, repeat step B and C.
Part D can be any of the following. For reasons unknown to me, you are NOT
supposed to change code 20.
OBC Code Settings (Rough Translation):
Display test (Lights up the whole display)
Current consumption (liters/100 km)
Current consumption (liters/hour)
Average consumption (liters/100 km)
Average fuel in tank (liters)
Current Speed (kph)
System voltage at Term. "R" (Battery Voltage)
Country/Language (US, Spa, Ger, Jap, etc.)
Date of Software Mask
Display Vehicle Specific Data
Alarm Changeover (cont. vs. intermittent OBC chime)
Correction factor for fuel consumption (DO NOT ALTER)
Reset all defect codes (Does NOT reset the Service Light, I've tried)
I use two German-language books that cover the 318i. As mentioned
Dieter Korp et al., Jetzt helfe ich mir selbst. Band 153: BMW 316i,
318i, 318is ab Januar '91. Motorbuch Verlag, Stuttgart. ISBN
H.R. Etzold, So wird's gemacht. Band 74: BMW 3er Reihe ab Sept
'90. Delius Klasing Verlag, Bielefield. ISBN 3-7688-0733-9.
The first book, to parrot the title, covers the 316i/318i/318is built
after 1990. I am pretty sure another volume in the series covers the
320i and up: I just have not found it yet. The second book covers the
316i/318i/320i/325i/325td/318is/320is/325is built beginning September
Both books run about 270 pages. Since "Jetzt helfe ich mir selbst"
covers three model variants rather than eight, it might appear that it
has a great advantage in terms of pages per model variant. "So wird's
gemacht", however, is set in smaller type and has more compact
illustrations. I estimate it squeezes about 40% more information into
the same amount of space. It might cover five variants in the same
space as "Jetzt helfe ich mir selbst" would cover three, assuming each
variant was completely different. However, in many areas, they are
not, so the two books could be on equal terms in terms of pages per
The two books share a similar philosophy. They acknowledge that cars
have gotten so complex that there are limits to what a self-helper
should do: that some adjustments or repairs are better done by a
professional being too difficult without specialized training or
tools. Not surprisingly, both books focus on the things that a
self-helper has a reasonable chance of doing on his own.
The first book, "Jetzt helfe ich mir selbst" is organized around BMWs
service schedule (Wartungsplan) and envisions BMW, the car owner, and
his car as one system. The aim of the book is to "plug" in the car
owner to act as an intelligent agent between the car and BMW. The
owner takes on as much or as little of the maintenance and repairs as
he desires, within what the book presumes are his abilities. The work
the owner can't or doesn't want to do, he turns over to a service
station or a BMW garage.
The car's service lights set the pace of the work and organize the
book. The book begins by explaining how to reset the lights. It ends
with a table showing the official BMW service plan:
The book describes and indexes the work required for each, color-coded
Green (the self-helper can do the work)
Yellow (a service station can do the work)
Red (a BMW garage can do the work)
The second book, "So wird's gemacht", is somewhat more traditional.
The book acknowledges the existence of the service lights; it even
provides the rudiments of the service plan scattered across two
appendixes. Deep down, however, one senses that the book's author
does not like the idea of following a set of indicator lights. One
suspects, in fact, that he is an agnostic, that given the choice, he
would not want his readers to serve and make ritual offerings to a
false LED god. As proof, he introduces the maintenance schedule by
kilometers traveled (mileage). He also notes that BMW is obliged to
reset -- and hence nullify the lights -- whenever, at no charge [at
least in Germany.] The readers of this list who damn the service
lights as completely useless, might find such thinking agreeable.
The book is also more traditional in that it does not state the
difficulty of different jobs, but does mention where special tools or
the services of a garage are required. It assumes the reader can
figure out how hard a job is going to be after reading a description;
unlike "Jetzt helfe ich mir selbst", the book does give
recommendations as to who should do the work: the self-helper, the gas
station or the BMW garage.
As to the maintenance itself, both books seem to assume its readers are
about equally ambitious. The "Jetzt helfe ich mir selbst" book is
somewhat more comprehensive in what it describes. What "So wird's
gemacht" covers, however, it covers much more thoroughly and clearly.
Comparing the directions for changing the clutch, "Jetzt" begins with
5 sentences warning the reader it is tricky work; it then devotes 30
sentences and 1 picture to the actual procedure. On the other hand,
"So wird's" skips the warning and jumps immediately to the procedure,
which it describes in 38 sentences with 8 supporting pictures and
drawings. Comparing the procedure for changing the oil filter, the
"Jetzt" book provides a single step 1-2-3-4 photograph and easy-tofollow
instructions. The instructions, however, are misleading: they
fail to mention the O-ring at the end of the lag bolt; they also
suggest that the lid O-ring should not be replaced unless it
defective. The "So wird's" book, on the other, gets both points
right; in addition, it devotes a separate drawing showing the
placement of the two O-rings.
I have and use both books because, at present, I am a worshiper of
the service indicator light god. (When the "Balanz" warranty runs
out, perhaps the readers of this list will help me see the error of my
ways.) I use "Ich helfe ich mir selbst" to determine what I need to do
to follow the BMW service plan. I then immediately turn to "So wird's
gemacht" for clear instructions on how to do it. Where "So wird's
gemacht" fails me -- because it does not provide a procedure -- as a
last resort I return to "Ich helfe ich mir selbst".
John Firestone, Alfred Wegener Institut jfiresto_at_awi-bremerhaven.de
fuer Polar- und Meeresforschung +49 (471) 4831 363
Postfach 120161, D-27515 Bremerhaven .. ... .... 149 (fax)
17.9.1: Airbox Mod
(Ed Note: Several listers have had good luck removing the internal
baffles in the stock airbox to increase power. Unfortunatly I lost
the posts which describe it in more detail, but here are some
The reason that we can improve upon the stock box, is that by LAW,
a manufacturer must not allow a vehicle to produce more that X dbA
of noise at Y Hz ... to this end they will use a device called ..
A Hemholtz Resonator (see Bosch Blue book for better exp!)
They are NOT used to "straighten" air flow ... air will ALWAYS
flow from a region of higher pressure to lower pressure :)
The other reason is to help prevent water ingestion from causing
hydraulic lock (and broken engines) ...
and wet paper filters ... which don't work well ;)
So by removing the resonators, and swapping in a K&N we can make more
power while making a bit more (nice IMHO) growly noise ...