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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 06-13-2014, 12:11 PM
watbob watbob is offline
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Location: western massachusetts
 
Join Date: May 2011
Posts: 25
Mein Auto: 1988 325iC
Buying (another) e30 - Advice on electrical issue

All,
buying a '90 e30 vert (spitting image match of my current '88). This one seems to have an electrical gremlin, which I haven't experienced with my other e30's...so I'm wondering if anyone has any thoughts on what I'm getting into.

The symptoms: Noticed couple of things which may or may not be related - the fan for the climate control doesn't start right away...the current owner says "it takes a few min to start working"..on my test drive as soon as I hit the turn signal for the first time the fan kicked on. Later in the test drive the check engine light came on briefly, then went off and stayed off (guess I at least know the light wasn't disabled ;-) )

I've never chased electrical gremlins in e30's, and this seems like it could be as easy as a loose ground, but from other vehicles I've owned I know they can be a royal pain in the arse...

Any thoughts or advice before I dive in?

Thanks
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  #2  
Old 06-14-2014, 07:15 AM
goldenbb goldenbb is offline
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Location: Minnesota
 
Join Date: May 2013
Posts: 58
Mein Auto: 1990 325is
It's all about how the asking price, really. If the car is $1K and it has a lot of good parts, then you can get most or all of your money back out of it if you need to part it because it is driving you crazy.

I can't see how the turn signals would be related to the blower motor, but someone else might be able to answer that. Did someone fiddle with the wiring to install an alarm system, radio, or other doodads? They maybe crossed some wires. I would hope nothing is melted under the dash, that would be a deal killer.

It may soon need a new blower motor, which is a common problem. It is not a fun project, but it's at least possible to do it. I would not recommend taking it to a shop to have that done, as the cost will be high.

As for the CEL, probably sensor-related. Is the engine stock? Is the catalyst still installed? Is there an aftermarket exhaust system at all? The CEL stuff is not that big of a concern, it's more how the car was maintained overall and who drove it--has it had a hard life or was it a middle-aged couple taking it out on sunny summer weekends and evenings? Or was it some 16 year old girl's super sweet-sixteen present?
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  #3  
Old 06-16-2014, 07:40 AM
watbob watbob is offline
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Location: western massachusetts
 
Join Date: May 2011
Posts: 25
Mein Auto: 1988 325iC
OK, well I bought the car and have 130 miles under my belt...update on the electrical:
1) Blower fan - not sure on this one - it does take a few min for the blower to kick in, seems to be consistent - not sure if it is a relay, capacitor, or just "sticky"
2) Starting - only get a click the first time I turn the key, have to cycle back to off then to start....starts on second time when cold, when hot can take 3-4 "cycles". Wondering if this is the starter solenoid similar to my old chevy 350's that had this problem or will check my book to see if there is a relay?
3) usual other stuff - intermittent power window buttons, etc.


Otherwise front end - extremely loose - feels like tie rod ends and definitely struts - will get under it and look at the bushings/ball joints as well...I saw a full kit on pelican parts for $824, but it seems like the same list of parts can be had from regular parts stores for about $650 - anyone with any experience / recommendations?
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  #4  
Old 06-16-2014, 09:09 AM
goldenbb goldenbb is offline
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Location: Minnesota
 
Join Date: May 2013
Posts: 58
Mein Auto: 1990 325is
Check the brand on the items from the parts store. I bought all Lemfoerder parts when I did that work and those have held up well. There are other brands that are acceptable as well. Uro Parts is not among them... It's not a good deal if you have to re-do all the work again in a year. Push down on each corner of the car--if the car bounces when you let go, it needs shocks/struts.

<-- I'm not familiar with blower motor issues, but this video was interesting to me. Your problem is likely some variation of the typical blower motor resistor issues.

For the other issues, I would at least check all the grounding wires since intermittent problems are usually grounds or broken/corroded connectors. I haven't had starter issues in mine, but have had turn signals and other check panel type issues that were challenging to solve. I'm concerned that 25+ year old wiring can just break internally and you can't tell where the breakage actually is.
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Old 06-16-2014, 11:34 AM
beammeupscottie beammeupscottie is offline
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Location: La Grange KY
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Posts: 238
Mein Auto: 1990 325is 4 door
mine was having problems starting warm, then went to being difficult to start cold hot or warm. turned out to be vacuum problem in an Injector O ring so I replaced them all now starts fine.
I had problems with one of my windows and it turned out to be the window swith itself
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Life is like a roll of toilet paper...the closer you get to the end the faster it goes. So drive an E30 everyday

1989 325iC Alpineweiss II manual 5 speed Curent ride
1990 325i Glacier Blue 4 door Auto, 1987 X 2 (Black 325ic convertable & Granite silver 325i coup) Gone but never forgotten

Last edited by beammeupscottie; 06-16-2014 at 11:36 AM. Reason: left out part of post
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