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Go Back   Bimmerfest - BMW Forums > BMW Model Discussions > 3 Series / 4 Series > E30 (1982 - 1993)

E30 (1982 - 1993)
God's Chariot. The E30 was produced primarily from 1982 through 1991. The cabriolet was the one exception which was produced through 1993.

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  #1  
Old 05-01-2012, 04:20 PM
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What to look for?

Hey guys, I'm active on the E34 forum, maybe some of you guys have stopped by.
As a graduation gift, I get a degree and an E30! My mother had her eye on an E30 sitting outside a gas station for a while and wanted to buy me it as a gift. Because the owner is moving soon, she could no longer leave it as a surprise.
It is an 86, 325iA coupe, 163k on the clock. Owner claims new water pump and new timing belt, runs smoothly and body is in good shape.
I'm going to be taking it for a spin soon. What are something's I should be looking for during driving and by visual inspection? I'm a pretty good wrench and I know E34s very well (M50TU) so are there E30-specific problems?
I know car is an M20 which means timing belt rather than chain, and distributor cap rather than coil packs, etc.

TIA, I look forward to integrating with you guys more. E34 guys are great, bar is set high
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  #2  
Old 05-01-2012, 07:02 PM
91318is 91318is is offline
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Hello! I am new to these forums too, as you can see in my signature I have had a few cars so I usually look for the same thing in them all. I just bought a 1984 318i and looked for the typical signs of rust (non really in California), suspension, tested all the power windows/mirrors/windshield wipers, paint clear coat fading, smoothness of transmission (hearing it shift a coupe gears if it is automatic), get it up to 70mph on a freeway if you can, brakes pads/rotors. As for engine and part details, check under the car to see what the catalytic converter looks like (mine looked fairly new), holes in exhaust/muffler, leaks around any hoses or under the car, *check the bottom of the radiator!*, battery or any other corrosion. While you are driving make sure you check out all the gauges to see if they are working, the sound of the suspension, take some turns nice and hard to hear any grinding noises when cornering. Just remember they are older cars so don't expect complete silence or perfection. Chances are you will have to put in a little work here and there but to me it is all part of the E30 fun. E30's are a personal favorite for me because of the simplicity. Anyways I know this sounds like a lot but basically just check everything out briefly! Good luck buddy!
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  #3  
Old 05-01-2012, 10:56 PM
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Welcome to the e30 side.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by v8bimmer View Post
I just dont see any other logical way around this problem.
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  #4  
Old 05-02-2012, 10:18 AM
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HEY brandon! that's where you went....

What happened to the E34?!
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  #5  
Old 05-02-2012, 10:21 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DrJeremy28 View Post
Hello! I am new to these forums too, as you can see in my signature I have had a few cars so I usually look for the same thing in them all. I just bought a 1984 318i and looked for the typical signs of rust (non really in California), suspension, tested all the power windows/mirrors/windshield wipers, paint clear coat fading, smoothness of transmission (hearing it shift a coupe gears if it is automatic), get it up to 70mph on a freeway if you can, brakes pads/rotors. As for engine and part details, check under the car to see what the catalytic converter looks like (mine looked fairly new), holes in exhaust/muffler, leaks around any hoses or under the car, *check the bottom of the radiator!*, battery or any other corrosion. While you are driving make sure you check out all the gauges to see if they are working, the sound of the suspension, take some turns nice and hard to hear any grinding noises when cornering. Just remember they are older cars so don't expect complete silence or perfection. Chances are you will have to put in a little work here and there but to me it is all part of the E30 fun. E30's are a personal favorite for me because of the simplicity. Anyways I know this sounds like a lot but basically just check everything out briefly! Good luck buddy!
Thanks Dr. Jeremy! Quick and helpful too.

So:
-typical signs of rust
-suspension
-tested all the power windows/mirrors/windshield wipers
-paint clear coat fading
-smoothness of transmission (hearing it shift a coupe gears if it is automatic)
-get it up to 70mph on a freeway if you can (shakes?)
-brakes pads/rotors
-what the catalytic converter looks like
-holes in exhaust/muffler
-leaks around any hoses or under the car, *check the bottom of the radiator!*,
-battery or any other corrosion
-check out all the gauges to see if they are working
-the sound of the suspension, take some turns nice and hard to hear any grinding noises when cornering. Just remember they are older cars so don't expect complete silence or perfection

Basic car check up? nothing specific to E30s, any gremlins that could be a deal breaker, that I may need to watch for?
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Last edited by Monsignor; 05-02-2012 at 10:23 AM.
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  #6  
Old 05-02-2012, 04:23 PM
91318is 91318is is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 95 E34 View Post
Thanks Dr. Jeremy! Quick and helpful too.

So:
-typical signs of rust
-suspension
-tested all the power windows/mirrors/windshield wipers
-paint clear coat fading
-smoothness of transmission (hearing it shift a coupe gears if it is automatic)
-get it up to 70mph on a freeway if you can (shakes?)
-brakes pads/rotors
-what the catalytic converter looks like
-holes in exhaust/muffler
-leaks around any hoses or under the car, *check the bottom of the radiator!*,
-battery or any other corrosion
-check out all the gauges to see if they are working
-the sound of the suspension, take some turns nice and hard to hear any grinding noises when cornering. Just remember they are older cars so don't expect complete silence or perfection

Basic car check up? nothing specific to E30s, any gremlins that could be a deal breaker, that I may need to watch for?
Personally I am not aware of anything specific that I would look for (I do the same with any car). They are very simple and pretty much everything is noticeable. The engine compartment is nice and open, not smashed under the dash and under plastic like every other BMW. Make sure you run a carfax or autocheck (free if you make a ebay ad) and just remove the ebay ad after you see your autocheck. ***MAKE SURE THE ODOMETER WORKS! TELL THE GUY YOU WANT TO DRIVE AT LEAST A MILE TO SEE IF IT TICKS***. Check the mileage on the odometer and mileage reports on the carfax/autocheck. Sometimes people will find a odometer with less mileage and swap them out. This is something that CANNOT be repaired (fake mileage). Too sum it up and not drag on...just check for basic things mechanically as you would any car.
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  #7  
Old 05-02-2012, 06:52 PM
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86 325iA? what kind of weird monster is that? i only know of the e and es for that year.

theres no problems when the chariots of god
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  #8  
Old 05-02-2012, 07:36 PM
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Tkaczuk Tkaczuk is offline
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Well i would say make sure she's not leaking oil. After i put a m52 in mine i took apart the old engine and when i pulled the tranny off a nice amount of oil was just chilling in there. In the bell housing! Could have destroyed my clutch in minutes if it got into it. Its the crank shaft gasket i believe that was bad. Most E30's gasket life is pretty much dieing. I would suggest getting a 325is in good condition. Eta's (e,es) aren't as much fun. 88+ have better looking plastic bumpers instead of aluminium ones. Also a few other little refinements.
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  #9  
Old 05-02-2012, 07:49 PM
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The iA refers to Being automatic. However, I don't think I'm getting this one. I'm looking for a manual one. Budget is ~1500.
I appreciate the help guys. I know what to look for in E34s seeing as I've been elbows deep in mine multiple times, so if the chariot of the god is similar then I have an idea of what I'm looking for
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  #10  
Old 05-04-2012, 06:15 PM
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ok so i just went to look at the car. Its good, willing to pay $1,500 i think but oh boy does it have a hell of a tranny leak. it turned over and ran fine, brand new tires, new timing belt, new water pump, idled great, all belts are new, all lights worked, just a nice example.

Owner claims to have a manual transmission off of a 1991. This is an 86. Would that manual fit this 86? if so, its a done deal. i know the 86 325i gets the getrag 260, is it the same for the 91? i'd have to drop the tranny to fix the leak, i might as well go a bit further and hook a 5spd up to it. here are some pictures:





Sorry, they're kind of dark.

EDIT apparently, this claims they all use the same tranny, except for the 4 bangers.
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  #11  
Old 05-04-2012, 07:18 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 95 E34 View Post
HEY brandon! that's where you went....

What happened to the E34?!
Yeah lol
I had to sell it then had a few cars in between.
Picked up a e30 been here since
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Quote:
Originally Posted by v8bimmer View Post
I just dont see any other logical way around this problem.
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  #12  
Old 05-04-2012, 07:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 95 E34 View Post
ok so i just went to look at the car. Its good, willing to pay $1,500 i think but oh boy does it have a hell of a tranny leak. it turned over and ran fine, brand new tires, new timing belt, new water pump, idled great, all belts are new, all lights worked, just a nice example.

Owner claims to have a manual transmission off of a 1991. This is an 86. Would that manual fit this 86? if so, its a done deal. i know the 86 325i gets the getrag 260, is it the same for the 91? i'd have to drop the tranny to fix the leak, i might as well go a bit further and hook a 5spd up to it. here are some pictures:





Sorry, they're kind of dark.

EDIT apparently, this claims they all use the same tranny, except for the 4 bangers.
Thats a 325e and it sounds like they dont know what they are talking about.
I would seriously pass on that one.
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Originally Posted by v8bimmer View Post
I just dont see any other logical way around this problem.
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  #13  
Old 05-04-2012, 09:06 PM
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How do you know it's an "e"? And what is bad about being an e?
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  #14  
Old 05-04-2012, 09:07 PM
91318is 91318is is offline
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Just check craigslist in your area daily. I found mine for $1100 and it only needed $250 in work by my mechanic (too lazy and inexperienced to do it myself). Yes it is only a 318i, but you can always find better deals, preferably from private owners.
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Old 05-04-2012, 10:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 95 E34 View Post
How do you know it's an "e"? And what is bad about being an e?
2.7l high torque low hp economy motor. it has a bit more torque then the 2.5, but the hp is down. not too many mods for the motor. 4500 redline.

other wise, mine was fun and could still you in trouble on mountain roads and sneaky police.
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Old 05-04-2012, 10:44 PM
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I know what the e is. I'm comfortable paying $1500 for this car, it is worth it.

I just want to know how you know it is an "e" by the pictures.

I'm not in it to mod it just yet. I just want to swap a manual in and leave it stock for now. I got the E34 all lowered and a nitrous'd 350Z. Eventually I wan an OBD1 S52 in it but that's down the road. Just looking for a good car to have some fun in. 170lb ft doesn't sound too bad. 128hp is low but hell, I've driven 98 hp miata and had a blast.

So how can you tell this is an "e" just by the pictures?

ALSO, will the 91 325 manual trans work on a 325e?
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Last edited by Monsignor; 05-04-2012 at 11:17 PM.
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  #17  
Old 05-05-2012, 01:47 AM
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Well the missing "i" on the 325 and the owners sound like they know nothing about bmw. and the tranny pan is leaking
And im sure it depends on what trans it is
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I just dont see any other logical way around this problem.
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Old 05-05-2012, 02:19 AM
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Give this a read mate:

http://www.unitedbimmer.com/forums/e...fications.html

Explains the technical differences between them. The only difference between an "i" and an "e" is 40 less hp, and 7 ft lbs more torque and a higher redline.
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  #19  
Old 05-05-2012, 06:27 AM
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I have a "e" model and still have tons of fun. The torque is what makes this car so fun. I can putt around on back roads with ease. Also fun to do low rpm slides because of where the power band is. I've had a "i" model and liked it alot but my "e" stock is more fun I think.
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  #20  
Old 05-05-2012, 07:05 AM
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So the only reason you're saying it's an "e" is because it doesn't say "i" on the back?

These guys have two E30s and two E24s. They knew enough about it and I actually know the mechanic they got it from, as long as they're not name-dropping.

I'm completely fine driving this car. "Horsepower sells cars; Torque wins races" -Caroll Shelby lolol
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  #21  
Old 05-05-2012, 07:33 AM
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I'm also going to look at another one. Same car, except manual which is what I'm really looking for. It's an 87 coupe 2.7.
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Old 05-05-2012, 01:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 95 E34 View Post
So the only reason you're saying it's an "e" is because it doesn't say "i" on the back?

These guys have two E30s and two E24s. They knew enough about it and I actually know the mechanic they got it from, as long as they're not name-dropping.

I'm completely fine driving this car. "Horsepower sells cars; Torque wins races" -Caroll Shelby lolol
the eta was really the only e30 with a letter after the numbers during mid 80s. i know ive seen them in the 5 series, and maybe a few 3 series of early 80s models. the dbs give it away. and the fact the owners called it a iA, really tells us they didnt know what it was
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Old 05-05-2012, 09:19 PM
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There are differences. Eta has lower rpm, 2.7, eco diff, and super quite exhaust (after market sounds better on it then a 24v swap motor). While the i motor is a 2.5, normal rpm range, sportier diff(makes the car feel faster). You cant swap engine parts between the two.

Business in the front party in the back.
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Old 05-06-2012, 10:47 AM
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I was the one who called it an iA. Not the owner. I assumed it was an i and in the E34 world A added means automatic.

Again. I know what an "e" is. I want to know how you know it's an "e" from the pictures, not what an "e" is.
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Old 05-06-2012, 11:30 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 95 E34 View Post
I was the one who called it an iA. Not the owner. I assumed it was an i and in the E34 world A added means automatic.

Again. I know what an "e" is. I want to know how you know it's an "e" from the pictures, not what an "e" is.
Here realoem.com type in the last 7 of the vin number.
the reason i say its a e is because the i says 325i the e is just 325
they can say its a i all they want... My title says mine is a i yet real oem
and the engine tell me different.
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