My first car, and naturally it being rather old and having to suffer my abuse, I've put quite a bit of time and work into it. It can be very frustrating to work on, especially with interior paneling.
- Brakes : brakes are relatively easy, and some of the steps overlap with the rotors.
- Rotors : rear rotors only for now, although the difference is minimal.
- Water Pump : a very common problem, and annoying as hell to fix.
- Exhaust : I had to get to the driveshaft, and naturally the exhaust system is right in the way. Once you take it off you can do anything you like to it. Removal is not necessary to replace the muffler.
- Driveshaft : the rear U-joint messed up, and of course it's impossible to just replace the joint, so I had to buy an entire shaft. I got mine used at http://www.bmrparts.com/, go a pretty good price (~$ 250 with shipping) and it was pretty much intact, the front section insert bearing was slightly damaged, but I didn't need the front section so it was irrelevant.
- If you ever disconnect the battery, and the driver's side window goes down and will not go back up, simply insert the key into the lock on the driver's side, and turn it to the “lock” position until the window rolls up.
- Bavarian Autosports : is great but rather expensive. They do have most everything though.
- Pelican Parts : is another useful website, not very pretty, but much more reasonable prices. There is a noticeable difference in the quality of parts from bavauto.
- Bimmer Forums : if you google problems, this is where you'll probably end up. Might as well suck it up and create an account.
- The Manual : essentially, the bible for the e36. Here's a PDF version for you cheapskates. The only problem I have with it is that it tends to leave out intermediate steps. For example, “remove rotors”. I had done all the previous steps, and was still unable to take the rotors off. Since there was no description of the process, it took me forever to figure out the problem. Usually however, these problems arise either from over-thinking, or attempting to use brute force when none is needed.