May 312011

My E36 M3 turned 12 in April, and is going as strong as ever. It was a busy month on the car front for me, with me purchasing a beautiful 2002 M5 and putting my 2001 530 on the market.

Neither of those things lessen my appreciation of the M3, however. In the past I’ve published “birthday” posts in April, and I thought about doing so again. But I really said it all back in 2008, my first such post. Still only 52.5K miles, and still more fun to drive than 98% of the cars on the road today.

And by BMW standards, it’s been very reliable for me. (Fingers crossed as I say this). Just last week my garage tested my battery as strong and healthy — the 12 year old original battery! Incredible especially since the car is not a daily driver and regularly sits idle for days.  It was made by a company called Varta, which also made batteries for U-boats in WWII.

I’ll never be able to get another one — the company got out of the battery business in 2002, and OEM BMW batteries are now of lesser quality. I’ll figure I’ll ride this one until it tests bad. Believe it or not there are guys on the forums with even older original batteries in their M3s.

The only unexpected repair issue last year was a power steering leak, very common with BMWs. I hope to tackle replacing the rear shock mounts (RSMs) this July, a known weak point of the E36 model. Last year I also changed the transmission and the differential oils. With two M cars two body styles old, I know that maintenance will keep me busy.

Over the weekend I finally cleaned up the engine bay, and gave her a good wash. I figure with each passing year, there are fewer and fewer in as good condition. It’s been a fun ride, with no end in sight.

Won't win any contests, but better

12 Years Young

  3 Responses to “E36 M3 Appreciation – 12 Years and Counting”

  1. Have you replaced the radiator yet? Have you joined yet?

    • St. Nick leaves a comment — I’m honored! Of course on bimmerforums — just look at my blogroll. Not yet on cooling system — the car still has less than 60K miles. Will do some preventative work come spring.

  2. Hey Chris, I was browsing and reading your notes on the M5 Spare tire. I am in a similar car environment as you as I have a 95 M3 and just recently acquired a 2003 M5!! Love them but not sure I will be able to keep them both. the M3 has only 64K miles, M5 about 74K but also has the full Dinan S3 package. Crazy fast and fun to drive. Right now they are both hibernating for the winter, just a little driving on clear days. I look forward to more articles/information on improvements and mods to both!!

    I also enjoy wine too!!

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