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View Full Version : New Member, Feeback on 1990 BMW M3?


Shane Bawa
07-15-2002, 12:57 PM
Hi guys; allow me to introduce myself. Shane, own a 88SC MR2, crashed my 1991 325is, looking to buy another BMW.

Here is how I could use your help. Looked at a couple of 325is and 328is 1993-1997.. But I just cant get my mind off the M3 series. 95 and above are too expensive for me, but I saw this 1990 E30 M3 that I really like.

One owner car with 130K km. Clean looking car, but I don't know anything about the E30 M3's. I am not much of a hands on mechanic, but more of a theory guy!! I was just looking for feedback from you guys about the E30 M3 1990. Is it a "mechanics car" or can I get in it and just drive. How is the reliability? Do I always have to keep the CAA card in by back pocket while driving this car?? What should I look for or be cautious of??

I live in Toronto, Canada and would like to get some feedback from you guys, plus who is the "guru" mechanic in the Toronto area when it comes to BMW's... I don't want to race this car, but I do like to drive hard!!

Shane
88 SC MR2
91 325is CRASHED :-(

bobo
07-15-2002, 10:38 PM
hi, welcome:)

i think if you have any questions you should ask empowered, he might not own an E30 m3 (he does in a way heh) but I think he has some knowledge and could refer you to the mechanics of his choice.

motoyen
07-16-2002, 06:17 AM
Do some research online for the E30 M3, there are some greats sites with loads of info. Check out the roadfly E30 M3 board as well. My site has a ton of articles with reviews of the E30 M3 when it came out. Try this link http://www.motoyen.com/articles/classicar/classic.html

BTW my site is a little disorganized right now as I am in the middle of upgrading.

EMPOWERD
07-16-2002, 11:16 PM
Originally posted by Shane Bawa

One owner car with 130K km. Clean looking car, but I don't know anything about the E30 M3's. I am not much of a hands on mechanic, but more of a theory guy!! I was just looking for feedback from you guys about the E30 M3 1990. Is it a "mechanics car" or can I get in it and just drive. How is the reliability? Do I always have to keep the CAA card in by back pocket while driving this car?? What should I look for or be cautious of??

I live in Toronto, Canada and would like to get some feedback from you guys, plus who is the "guru" mechanic in the Toronto area when it comes to BMW's... I don't want to race this car, but I do like to drive hard!!


Shane,

first off, welcome to the board. I totally see your dilemma and understand your concern for reliability. The E30 M3 is an instant classic and probably the car that started the term "sport compact". I have to warn you about the BMW M-division though.... the prices are quite a bit more than regular BMW's for parts and they're not exactly the most reliable motors, but what can you expect from 84HP/liter 14yr old technology? In terms of the E30 body, look for the usual rust problem areas:

-license plate lights
-inside sunroof
-spare tire well
-under doors

since a mechanic owned the car, I'm sure he'll have no problem doing a compression test on the motor to show you that it doesn't burn oil. The S14 uses a timing chain, so you listen for odd chatter incase the tensioner is worn, the valve lash might have to adjusted. There are some other members on this board that can add to my post (if they read it). Honestly, if you want reliablity you might want to consider an E36 (or and E30 w/M50 motor) but it won't be as unique or fun to drive as an E30 M3.

GR8 Ride
07-17-2002, 08:12 AM
A couple of things I'll add to Randy's points.

One, make sure you get an independent mechanic to look at it. Often owners of *cherry* cars think they are in a lot better shape than they might suspect. The E30 M3 is prone to rust in several areas, and without lifting the car up and taking a long, hard look, you'd never find it.

Overall, they are good, fun cars to drive. Not a lot of bottom end torque, but the motor really likes to rev, and with a 4.10 rear end, the car really takes off well.

About 100,000 miles (160,000 km), the timing chain tends to go. Make sure you've had this inspected / replaced etc before it goes; otherwise the S14 is an expensive motor to rebuild.

As Randy says, anything BMW sells with an ///M logo on it, has a massive price increase (even though it often is the exact same part as something else...try M6 waterpumps vs 535i waterpumps).

My own recommendation for a mechanic to take it to would be Steve at Bavarian Motors (Markham, Woodbine and Steeles area).

905-479-1769. He's a good mechanic, with a good horse sense, and he's fair. He'll look over the car, tell you what it needs NOW, what it needs shortly, and what you won't need. He'll also go through the car with you, so it's not like you just get a list at the end of the day with all the faults on it.

As to pricing, mid-teens is about the most I'd go on an E30 M3. A little higher for an absolute cherry version of one (like Kev's or *gulp* Rob's...). $19,000 is about the max I'd spend on a Canadian car. They're going for mid-teens in the U.S. in U.S. dollars, but the exchange rate mentality is less applicable when it comes to 13 year old cars. Just ask all the small dealers near the border about the U.S. dealers and car auctions; it's hard for Canadian's to buy good cars at Canadian auctions anymore, as the U.S. dollar prices them out of the market.

Overall, the E30 M3 is a good car. Like any 13 year old car, it's going to take lots of regular maintenance to keep it running well, but the same applies to ANY 13 year old car. There are a lot of 13 year old domestics and Japanese imports which are in FAR worse condition on average than a good E30 M3.

I'd also budget about $4,000 initially to make sure everything is in perfect conditon on the car (including changing the timing chain). With a bit of luck, you can get this much knocked out of the price of the car.


Pat

Gamite
07-17-2002, 08:19 AM
And dont forget the basics, like do a carfax on it. Is the car in the Toronto area? You might wanna post a picture of it or the name of the current owner, someone on the board might know the history behind it.


In any event, good luck car hunting!

Shane Bawa
07-18-2002, 01:07 PM
Hi Guys; THANK YOU very much for your feedback... Really appreciated... After a lot of research for over the past week or so, I've decided to stay away from the E30M3.. May be someday when I have a lot of money to play with, then ..... may be not!!

As I already have a toy which sucks in a lot of $$$$$, I've decided to go with a newer, post 95 325is or 328is... purely for reliability reasons. I am sick of having down time with cars... modified cars...

So the shopping continues... well, it's thursday today, so the new autotrader is out.. and I see a couple of 328's that I will be checking out this weekend..

But, If any of you are interested in a clean piece E30M3, 1990, almost one owner, untill 6 months ago.. for around $18K, let me know.... This car is not advertised in the trader..

Shane

p.s. Thanks RANDY!! I was looking for you number just last night...