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Old 04-26-2013, 02:51 AM   #1
Radial
Looking for an e30 325i
 
Join Date: Apr 2013
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Question Pointers for e30 325i purchase

Hey everyone ,

Newbie here.

I recently went to a meet in Montreal and fell in love with a local e30 325i (I believe it was an 325is but not familiar with the model variants).

So I've set out to purchase one for myself, on a limited up front budget.

Since I've never purchased a car older than 10-15 years, much less a BMW, I was wondering if anyone could give me pointers about what to look for when seeking out a car such as specific questions about various maintenance that should have been done on the car or parts that definitely need to be changed and the likes.

I'm used to volkswagens, i.e. timing belts, calipers and fen sensors... and rust, definitely rust. Switching to an older BMW means I just need to know a bit about model specific things.

I hope you guys out there know where I'm going with this. I'm hoping I can find a decent one during the course of the summer to have a project to work on next winter.

Cheers

Last edited by Radial; 04-26-2013 at 02:54 AM. Reason: Grammar Nazi
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Old 04-26-2013, 03:07 AM   #2
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If you are OK with older VW's, you will be fine with an E30, they are just about the same, just one is "high'er end" and more "fun to drive"! There is only 2 problems with the E30; RUST, and a S#%t load of small issues! They are not complicated, you can do most jobs on them with $100 worth of tools.
Most problems have been covered milions of times on the net, and you can find ALL the info you need very quickly.
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Old 04-26-2013, 07:26 AM   #3
frankie591
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Rust: Battery box, front jacking points, rear license plate lights, bottom corners of windshield are the major points.

Maintenance: Timing belt. If you don't have a paperwork showing it was done by the dealer, you should do it yourself.

These are very easy cars to work on, and very rewarding to own.

Best of luck!
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Old 04-26-2013, 11:33 AM   #4
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Rust! Rust! Rust! All that matters is finding the car with the best condition paint and the least amount of rust.... and generally speaking the cars that fall into that category are typically fairly mechanically sound as well.

However, I've worked on E30's enough now that all I'd care about is a clean shell because I can swap over the entire drive train from another car into a clean shell over a weekend lol
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Old 04-26-2013, 02:36 PM   #5
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^^^ it's true the e30 is not intimidating mechanically. Condition of the chassis is what should matter the most. If you see anything life serious about post it up here for us to critique :p

There's also lots of shops (sponsors) that will inspect one for you if you have one in mind
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Old 04-26-2013, 05:48 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bullet Ride View Post
However, I've worked on E30's enough now that all I'd care about is a clean shell because I can swap over the entire drive train from another car into a clean shell over a weekend lol
This.

My first E30 was a rusty piece of shit and it was less effort to strip it and find a clean shell. Field strip whatever you buy and look for rust. Typical places for rust are:

-front floors (rot at corners, around gas pedal)
-battery box in trunk.
-battery box up front
-above gas tank under seats in rear
-trunk floor
-jack well
-around license plate

Take a phillips screw driver and a 10mm (iirc) nut driver or socket and pull out the kick panels to lift up the carpet and have a peek.

Also, if it's a diving board car, look that the bumper isn't gonna rot off.
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Old 04-27-2013, 12:10 AM   #7
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As mentioned before check for rust, also Google for scrap yards in your area...they will come in handy for little stuff.
Once you get your e30 you will likely want to enjoy it, and to do this the following things need to be done (not in any particular order)

1 steering rack
2 front suspension overhaul
3 rear suspension overhaul
4 engine+tranny+diff overhaul...fluids and mounts
5 shifter overhaul

Basically you will need to change every part that contains rubber bushing, seal and a ball joint...this would dramatically increase smile on your face.

About 1000.00 worth of oem quality parts from Pelican Parts ...plus your free labour.

Remember this word - RUST. Cars without it worth paying premium over rust bucket with new control arms and e36 steering rack.
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Old 04-27-2013, 07:41 AM   #8
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RUST!

Seriously. Check for rust.
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Old 04-27-2013, 08:07 AM   #9
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PM sent about a car that looks promising.

The paint is pretty obnoxious but your a VW guy so you may like it
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Old 04-29-2013, 03:08 PM   #10
Radial
Looking for an e30 325i
 
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Wow, that was fast!!

I was out of town for the week-end and I come back to this. Much better than VWvortex!

Thanks for all those that replied, I'm checking 2-3 out at the moment, will post link to ads soon enough!

Cheers guys! thanks a bunch!
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Old 04-29-2013, 04:55 PM   #11
Radial
Looking for an e30 325i
 
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So now at least I'll have time to make a better response.

Quote:
Originally Posted by frankie591 View Post
Rust: Battery box, front jacking points, rear license plate lights, bottom corners of windshield are the major points.
Quote:
Originally Posted by karmatose View Post
Typical places for rust are:

-front floors (rot at corners, around gas pedal)
-battery box in trunk.
-battery box up front
-above gas tank under seats in rear
-trunk floor
-jack well
-around license plate

Take a phillips screw driver and a 10mm (iirc) nut driver or socket and pull out the kick panels to lift up the carpet and have a peek.

Also, if it's a diving board car, look that the bumper isn't gonna rot off.
That's a pretty good list rust wise. Most of these things I probably won't see on an ad so I guess I'll have to be extra careful when checking out the cars in person.

Also, define "Diving Board Car". I'm not familiar with the term.

As for the timing belt, that's something I'm quite familiar with as I own a 13 year old Jetta and have already changed it twice

Thanks again to those who replied!
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Old 04-29-2013, 04:58 PM   #12
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~

Quote:
Originally Posted by Radial View Post
Also, define "Diving Board Car". I'm not familiar with the term.
An 84~88 car with the big steel usdm bumpers. 89~92 cars had plastic bumpers.
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Old 04-29-2013, 06:17 PM   #13
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Hate to say it, but if your looking at them, don't post them, other may buy them
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Old 04-29-2013, 06:44 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by richie_s999 View Post
Hate to say it, but if your looking at them, don't post them, other may buy them
This.

And from my experience, good E30's (as in good deals) are usually sold in a day. Gotta be quick!
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Old 04-29-2013, 07:07 PM   #15
Radial
Looking for an e30 325i
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by richie_s999 View Post
Hate to say it, but if your looking at them, don't post them, other may buy them
Good point...

Also just realised that there is an entire section on what to look for in an e30 here:

http://www.maxbimmer.com/forums/showthread.php?t=32438

Read through it, helps a lot.
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