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Hello, astill17 and thank you for asking your question on Fixya!
Here is a simple process that will walk you through a few steps that
will pinpoint the overheating problem on your 1999 BMW 318 ti,
without even using any tools. It has helped millions of people, and I am
certain that it will help you, because I wrote it for people in your exact situation. How to diagnose your overheating BMW 318
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check your hoses see if when runnig they close up,if not loo for vents for letting are out of the system if ther is a air pocket inyour coolant system it willcause the engine to overheat make sure to run the heat when refilling coolant system. if this fails to solve your problem look for a gurgling sound coming from the rad or over flow tank look for this when engine is cold and runnig if you do hear this then you might have a blown head gasket.you can buy a blown headgasket detection kit from your local auto parts store if you do hear or see this symtom.
hows your temp gauge ?? in the middle ??
if so you have a restriction in your system or air.
bmw's are very famous for getting bubbles on the system and can overheat your vehicle so check your coolant level " on an incline "
re-fill if needed. turn it on with the radiator cap of. let it run for about an hour with your heater at the highest, keep track of your temp gauge and your coolant. refill to specs " marks " without putting the cap on. let it cool of for another hour, check coolant level again, if you had air it will be low, refill again and you should get hot air like crazy