View Full Version : Bought an E30 today!

10-18-2007, 12:19 AM
So after a long search I found something that I thought was worthwhile. It's my second car, first BMW. Looking forward to learning more about it. I am a bit ignorant about it. Sorry!

It's an '87 325i 4 door. Zinnoberrot. All stock.

It's got a tan leather sport interior, Power windows and sunroof, and is mostly rust free. It's been repainted. It didn't come with records. I got it on the cheap. Just over 200kms. Unknown mileage on clutch, but it works. Timing belt was apparently done around 185,000km. Body is ok; paint job is there, but I'm sure some of you would describe it as a "10 foot car". It's got a new battery, a few new hoses and a nice new stereo. Rollin' on bottle caps. Heated seats work. AC does not.

Problems so far:

-Slight shimmy at speed. Alignment? Wheel balance?
-Slight shimmy under braking. Pads/rotors look pretty good.
-Engine oil light is on.
-ABS light is on.
-Shifter seems to be leaning to the left. When going into reverse gear, you sort of have to push into the left side of the center console.
-Gas tank leaks, apparently. I have owned it for about 10 hours now, so I haven't had it parked anywhere long enough to notice a leak. GF's dad said it smelled like gas.
-Is there not supposed to be a light on when I enter the car? The ones above the B pillars do not function in the center position. There is a black plastic cover near the OBC display. Should this be a light? Seems odd that there's no light in the front of the cabin.

Some of the issues are me being picky. Others, such as the shimmy(s) are more of a problem.

Obviously I will look into these issues myself, but any input? Gas tank and shimmys are getting first priority right now. Does it sound like there's an unreasonably large amount of problems for a cheap non-rusty 325i?

Attached is a pic; it's the only one I have. Sun went down just as I was finishing washing it.


10-18-2007, 12:34 AM
Congrats! I bought a cheap E30 too.... they're a big ****ing headache, but worth it, and a lot of fun too. Don't be afraid to try new shit! Buy some tools!

10-18-2007, 12:34 AM
shimmy is more than likely worn out front control arm bushings. not a huge pain to replace. could also be slightly warped rotors.

yeah those are interior lights above the b-pillars. center is off. one or the other extreme is 'on', the other is 'door'. the lights blow out often, pull them apart and check.

abs light is probably a bad wheel speed sensor. i recommend just taking out the warning light. who needs abs anyways :P

and yes e30s do not have a light in the front of the cabin. it sucks. you can get maplight mirrors for them though. i have one in my car.

getting the a/c working can be a chore, believe me, i know. if you can live without it, i recommend that you do so.

all said and done though, seems like a decent car. welcome to the wonderful world of e30s!

10-18-2007, 12:41 AM
I was going to post the same things but Furyrider answered the Q's. the leaning shifter means your bushings are shot. They will all need to be changed to get the shifter tight again. Also, check the engine oil level. If its okay, blame the sensor.

Come out the E30 meet goin' down this sunday and show off the new ride!

10-18-2007, 12:49 AM
leaking gas tank could be bad rubber gasket on the fuelpump, i was leakin gas on my e36 and that was the problem.

10-18-2007, 01:06 AM
Thanks for the replies guys.

I thought of another issue- it idles like shit. Was told elsewhere that some fresh plugs and wires would help.

I was told that the shifter bushings were replaced, but it doesn't feel all that tight. Would bushings have straightened it out? Another one of the E30's I drove had a similar left-pointing shifter, and as far as I recall it felt very tight, with minimal play.

I am going to move the car tomorrow morning to look at the ground. We'll see what sort of fluids I find.

Control arm bushings eh? I wonder what that will cost me. What about the braking shimmy? Wobbly rotors are probably the most likely candidate I guess.

I will come on Sunday. Could anyone help me have a look over the car? It would be really helpful.

On the plus side, it goes pretty good! The (stock) 2.8 Z3 I've had on the last two Bimmercruises doesn't feel all that much faster. I can carry more girls in this car too!

Lastly, what sort of differential would this car have? First gear feels fairly short. That is all I know.

10-18-2007, 01:22 AM
Driver's door lock fails to lock/unlock the car as well. Is this an easy fix?

El Gato Liso
10-18-2007, 09:08 AM
the shifter you HAVE to push it hard into reverse. it is just a safty lock that prevents you from accidentally putting it into reverse.

my shifter has little play too
but mine is short sifted. i dunno if yours is stock or not

and the vibrating @ high speeds its either your tires have flat spots on them, or u neede some wheel alingnment or u need to fill up ur tires with air

10-18-2007, 09:16 AM
Shimmy = control arm bushings. Especially if it's the same or worse under braking.

10-18-2007, 09:21 AM
Did you get the car safetied and emission tested already?

Sounds like a fair bit of small problems, shouldn't be too bad thou, jus have patience with it.

The gas leak could probably be the biggest problem, have someone find the leak by lifting it up on a hoist. Hopefully its just the fuel pump gasket or filler neck. If its the tank itself, it can be a costly repair (4-5hr labour)

10-18-2007, 10:16 AM
I was told it's the tank. I will get it up on a hoist soon to see.

I'm aware that the shifter requires a hard push to engage reverse. It seems off center in my car though. Once in 5th, the shifter stays in the middle, not on the right where I believe it should be.

Wheels are getting balanced ASAP. I'm hoping this solves the problem. I wonder about the control arm bushings though.

10-18-2007, 10:34 AM
I'm aware that the shifter requires a hard push to engage reverse. It seems off center in my car though. Once in 5th, the shifter stays in the middle, not on the right where I believe it should be.

In that case have a look at the tranny mounts, and engine mounts, something could be causing the engine / transmission to lean to the left. Which can displace the shifter.

10-18-2007, 02:09 PM
I had to replace my tank because it was leaking like crazy. Also take a look at the filler neck to your tank, mine was leaking and had to return to the shop to get that fixed to. Heads up: it was very pricey!

10-18-2007, 02:34 PM
The bad idle is most likely a vacuum leak in the intake. Check for cracks in all the rubber intake hoses. You also might want to clean the idle air control valve with some carb cleaner. That helped a bit on my car.

http://img98.imageshack.us/img98/4414/e30intakesystemdfec91def6.jpg (http://imageshack.us)

10-18-2007, 06:08 PM
Congrats, Alex ,u really meant it about buying an e30......ready to have some fun....happy motoring................see u at autumn e30 meet this sunday


10-18-2007, 08:23 PM
With worn bushings in the shifter, the entire unit will move left which is why it looks off center. Its a VERY common problem. I just did mine, replacing every part. It was about $200 including a z3 shifter rod for shorter throw.