When a woodpecker starts to bore a hole into the side of your house you might be upset at the noise and damage, perhaps start to stockpile TNT and wrecking balls to prepare for your best Wiley Coyote impersonation. However, you should be thankful because the Woodpecker just let you know that your house if full of termites! In the same way, the rattling vanos actuator on the BMW S52 engine reminds you that your engine is full of awesome technology and you should thank it! Find this 1996 BMW M3 E36 offered for $4,000 in Manteca, CA via craigslist. Tip from FuelTruck.
The seller doesn’t specifically say this vehicle sounds like marbles in a blender at idle, but given the 200k+ miles it is a safe bet. It isn’t a problem that indicates the potential doom you’d expect from a lesser vehicle, and a noisy E36 M3 will run for miles and miles.
The E36 M3 market is about as depressed as it can get these days, don’t expect to always be able to pickup one of the best handling sport sedans ever built for this cheap. I owned one of those for a few years and even with 150k miles on the odometer the thing cut through corners like a scalpel through hot bratwurst. The 240 horsepower S52 inline-6 under the hood isn’t the most powerful engine on the block, but it does its job well and has decent low end torque.
This E36 is painted up to look like the limited edition E36 lightweight (only available in white with the red-blue-light blue flag on the hood) but the lightweight was only available in 1995 and would have come with a massive under-bite style front lip.
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