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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 04-08-2005, 09:02 AM
89 325i 89 325i is offline
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New guy with questions

A couple of Qs from a new BMW owner ('89 325I) who, having now driven one, will never drive anything else! Brought back the fun to driving. Great cars.

1. Does anyone know of a good non-dealer BMW mechanic in the Boston area, preferably north or west of Boston? Smart, experienced, reasonably honest?

2. Is there an relatively easy way to check the wear on a timing belt? And are the consequences of a blown timing belt dire, i.e., expensive? Also, what's generally considered a reasonable price to have a timing belt and water pump replaced? Dealer wanted $800 which seemed insane to me; local garage wanted $300 - $500. Ballpark price and approx. number of manhours to do the job?

3. Have a fuel smell in the compartment which I think is related to a leak in a hose somewhere on the top or side of the tank where it's impossible to see or feel with your hand. (Fuel odor appears when tank is filled and dissapate as fuel level drops.) Have taken off both access ports under seat and looked around, but can see nothing obviously wrong. Problem is you can't see much beyond the areas dierctly under the access ports. Anybody know of any diagrams that might indicate what's under there, e.g., hoses, where you can't see? (Bently manual is no help here.) I would like to avoid having to drop the tank, if possible.

4. Can you get the injectors out of a M20 engine without removing the intake manifold? Car has 168,000 miles on it and I doubt that the O rings on the injectors have ever been replaced. Is is likely that they need to be replaced by now? I suspect I may have clogged injectors and bad seals, but am hesitant to take off the intake manifold as I am a fairly inexperienced mechanic, albeit enthusiastic and not entirely stupid (although my ex-wife will dispute that.)

Any and all advice gratefully accepted.

Last edited by 89 325i; 04-08-2005 at 09:06 AM.
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  #2  
Old 04-08-2005, 06:11 PM
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SWISS SWISS is offline
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some good advice

Quote:
Originally Posted by 89 325i
A couple of Qs from a new BMW owner ('89 325I) who, having now driven one, will never drive anything else! Brought back the fun to driving. Great cars.

1. Does anyone know of a good non-dealer BMW mechanic in the Boston area, preferably north or west of Boston? Smart, experienced, reasonably honest?

2. Is there an relatively easy way to check the wear on a timing belt? And are the consequences of a blown timing belt dire, i.e., expensive? Also, what's generally considered a reasonable price to have a timing belt and water pump replaced? Dealer wanted $800 which seemed insane to me; local garage wanted $300 - $500. Ballpark price and approx. number of manhours to do the job?

3. Have a fuel smell in the compartment which I think is related to a leak in a hose somewhere on the top or side of the tank where it's impossible to see or feel with your hand. (Fuel odor appears when tank is filled and dissapate as fuel level drops.) Have taken off both access ports under seat and looked around, but can see nothing obviously wrong. Problem is you can't see much beyond the areas dierctly under the access ports. Anybody know of any diagrams that might indicate what's under there, e.g., hoses, where you can't see? (Bently manual is no help here.) I would like to avoid having to drop the tank, if possible.

4. Can you get the injectors out of a M20 engine without removing the intake manifold? Car has 168,000 miles on it and I doubt that the O rings on the injectors have ever been replaced. Is is likely that they need to be replaced by now? I suspect I may have clogged injectors and bad seals, but am hesitant to take off the intake manifold as I am a fairly inexperienced mechanic, albeit enthusiastic and not entirely stupid (although my ex-wife will dispute that.)

Any and all advice gratefully accepted.
first,timing belt is VERY IMPORTANT!!!!!!!!!!!!!.if you dontwant to pay for someone else to have black crud under their fingernails for two weeks consult your bimmer bible (or betnley book to some ) i'm sure you will find these things are not as hard as they may seem just follow the book and go one step -a-time and you could save yourself some dough.i would always replace a suspect timing belt in fear of the outcome.this si also the prime opportunity to do the water pumpas some prev. maint. and mabe some unexpted downtime for your ride.i also recomend two tools fan clutch holder and slimline 22mm wrench you will need these!you find lots of useful stuff at www.bmpdesign.com and the gas you smell is probly those leaky injectors i'd seal those up b-4 you have an engine fire and longer list of probs you will find the time you spend trying to go around the int. mani. you could have taken it off and replaced its gaskets good luck
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  #3  
Old 04-11-2005, 09:40 AM
89 325i 89 325i is offline
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Location: Concord, MA
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by christo325i
first,timing belt is VERY IMPORTANT!!!!!!!!!!!!!.if you dontwant to pay for someone else to have black crud under their fingernails for two weeks consult your bimmer bible (or betnley book to some ) i'm sure you will find these things are not as hard as they may seem just follow the book and go one step -a-time and you could save yourself some dough.i would always replace a suspect timing belt in fear of the outcome.this si also the prime opportunity to do the water pumpas some prev. maint. and mabe some unexpted downtime for your ride.i also recomend two tools fan clutch holder and slimline 22mm wrench you will need these!you find lots of useful stuff at www.bmpdesign.com and the gas you smell is probly those leaky injectors i'd seal those up b-4 you have an engine fire and longer list of probs you will find the time you spend trying to go around the int. mani. you could have taken it off and replaced its gaskets good luck
Thanks for the encouragement on doing your own repairs. I read the Bentley and the jobs seem fairly strightforward. Thanks for the advice on the tools as well.

Fuel smell doesn't appear to be coming from engine comparment, can''t eve see any fuel leakage up there, nor a strong fuel smell, so I'm guessing it's not the injectors. Comes into the passenger compartment on the driver's side, above the fuel filter area. (Fuel filter and old hose just replaced and smell continues.) Since I only get the smell when the tank is filled up until the fuel level drops a bit, I'm guessing a bad hose or hose connection or leak near the top of the tank????? My short term solution is to - you guessed it - not fill the tank up on refuelling. Genuis, huh? Since I don't notice unusual fuel consumption, it can't really be leaking much. I know fuel and fuel vapor leaks are serious business, but i think I'm OK with this one. Thoughts?

Found a knowledgable BMW mechnic willing to drop the tank for inspection, but I'd like to avoid that expense for a while if possible. He's looking at the timing belt this week to see if he thinks it needs to be replaced.

Thanks again.
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  #4  
Old 04-11-2005, 01:22 PM
drremulak drremulak is offline
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Location: Minnesota
 
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Mein Auto: 1988 325iX
gas smell

I've read in these threads that this is a common problem. I believe you remove the rear wheel by the filler cap and then the plastic wheel well liner. Above that you will find an expansion tank that is connected to a "T" that usually goes bad. Do some searches in different e30 forums for detailed instructions
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  #5  
Old 04-11-2005, 06:20 PM
Cef5917 Cef5917 is offline
Cef
Location: Michigan
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
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Mein Auto: 1987 325
Quote:
Originally Posted by 89 325i
A couple of Qs from a new BMW owner ('89 325I) who, having now driven one, will never drive anything else! Brought back the fun to driving. Great cars.

1. Does anyone know of a good non-dealer BMW mechanic in the Boston area, preferably north or west of Boston? Smart, experienced, reasonably honest?

2. Is there an relatively easy way to check the wear on a timing belt? And are the consequences of a blown timing belt dire, i.e., expensive? Also, what's generally considered a reasonable price to have a timing belt and water pump replaced? Dealer wanted $800 which seemed insane to me; local garage wanted $300 - $500. Ballpark price and approx. number of manhours to do the job?

3. Have a fuel smell in the compartment which I think is related to a leak in a hose somewhere on the top or side of the tank where it's impossible to see or feel with your hand. (Fuel odor appears when tank is filled and dissapate as fuel level drops.) Have taken off both access ports under seat and looked around, but can see nothing obviously wrong. Problem is you can't see much beyond the areas dierctly under the access ports. Anybody know of any diagrams that might indicate what's under there, e.g., hoses, where you can't see? (Bently manual is no help here.) I would like to avoid having to drop the tank, if possible.

4. Can you get the injectors out of a M20 engine without removing the intake manifold? Car has 168,000 miles on it and I doubt that the O rings on the injectors have ever been replaced. Is is likely that they need to be replaced by now? I suspect I may have clogged injectors and bad seals, but am hesitant to take off the intake manifold as I am a fairly inexperienced mechanic, albeit enthusiastic and not entirely stupid (although my ex-wife will dispute that.)

Any and all advice gratefully accepted.
If your tank is like my 1987 325. There are three metal connections that sometimes get rusted as mine did. Had the same problems with fuel smell and it turned out I had a small pin hole in the center return line. I couldn't see it and as you said Bently was no help with the fuel tank. I had to pull it out. I could have replaced it with a fuel line by feeding it over the tank and saved myself a lot of work. But the other ones are going bad so it was time to replace the tank. I'm curious as to what your mechanic finds with your fuel tank and what he recommends to fix it. A new tank runs anywhere from $282.00 to $377.00 not inculding shipping. I found several in junk yards from $120.00 including shipping to Michigan to $165.00 not including shipping. It will be worth it and once you get all the bugs worked out you can get another couple hundred thousand out it. We have over 217,000 and going strong.

Good Luck
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  #6  
Old 04-12-2005, 08:17 AM
89 325i 89 325i is offline
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Location: Concord, MA
 
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Mein Auto: 1989 325I
Quote:
Originally Posted by drremulak
I've read in these threads that this is a common problem. I believe you remove the rear wheel by the filler cap and then the plastic wheel well liner. Above that you will find an expansion tank that is connected to a "T" that usually goes bad. Do some searches in different e30 forums for detailed instructions
Funny you should mention that, mine did go bad and had to be replaces. On my car it's a Y fitting. I had to lie in the snow at a junk yard in 5 degrees of Massachusetts winter to cut one out of a wreck. (Local dealer didn't stock it.) Unfortunately that didn't stop the fuel odor problem. I'm convinced at this point that the probelm is on the top of the fuel tank somewhere. If I don't fill the tank completely I don't get the smell.
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  #7  
Old 04-12-2005, 08:29 AM
89 325i 89 325i is offline
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Location: Concord, MA
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cef5917
If your tank is like my 1987 325. There are three metal connections that sometimes get rusted as mine did. Had the same problems with fuel smell and it turned out I had a small pin hole in the center return line. I couldn't see it and as you said Bently was no help with the fuel tank. I had to pull it out. I could have replaced it with a fuel line by feeding it over the tank and saved myself a lot of work. But the other ones are going bad so it was time to replace the tank. I'm curious as to what your mechanic finds with your fuel tank and what he recommends to fix it. A new tank runs anywhere from $282.00 to $377.00 not inculding shipping. I found several in junk yards from $120.00 including shipping to Michigan to $165.00 not including shipping. It will be worth it and once you get all the bugs worked out you can get another couple hundred thousand out it. We have over 217,000 and going strong.

Good Luck
Where are the metal connectors located? Are they at or near the top of the tank? I wondered about threading lines over the tank. Was considering trying that but couldn't figure out if there were any clips holding the line that might have prevented snaking a hose through there.

This problem only happens when the tank is full; 5/6ths of a tank, no fuel odor. In light of that, I may defer dropping the tank for while and put that money into other things, like a wheel bearing that is making some noise and some fuel lines up front that are original and should probably be replaced. If I do go ahead and have the tank dropped, I'll let you know what we find. The price on a used tank isn't bad - and beats the $400+ that Bavarian Autoworks (bavauto.com) wants for a new one - if I can luck out and find one locally.

It's a great little car and I'd like to get it back in shape. 217K? That's certainly encouraging to hear. Thanks.
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  #8  
Old 04-12-2005, 06:10 PM
Cef5917 Cef5917 is offline
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Location: Michigan
 
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Mein Auto: 1987 325
Quote:
Originally Posted by 89 325i
Where are the metal connectors located? Are they at or near the top of the tank? I wondered about threading lines over the tank. Was considering trying that but couldn't figure out if there were any clips holding the line that might have prevented snaking a hose through there.

This problem only happens when the tank is full; 5/6ths of a tank, no fuel odor. In light of that, I may defer dropping the tank for while and put that money into other things, like a wheel bearing that is making some noise and some fuel lines up front that are original and should probably be replaced. If I do go ahead and have the tank dropped, I'll let you know what we find. The price on a used tank isn't bad - and beats the $400+ that Bavarian Autoworks (bavauto.com) wants for a new one - if I can luck out and find one locally.

It's a great little car and I'd like to get it back in shape. 217K? That's certainly encouraging to hear. Thanks.
You should be able to see all 4 from your inspection plate under your rear seat. You could just have a worn out casket on your fuel pump and sending unit. The 87 325's have a transfer pump that feeds a main fuel pump under the driver side of the car. The main hose just goes over the top of the tank is held in place by a piece of tape ( I have fed a new one thorugh with no problems). Your car should have just one pump that is in the tank that pumps to your fuel rail. Then there are two return lines going towards the drivers side. The one on the right looking towards the drivers side feed back into the tank and couldn't be refitted with a hose. The next one is metal but feeds to another hose just off the top of your tank on the drivers side. That one you could feed a hose and bypass the metal line on top of the tank. On the passenger side of the tank is a large return hose back to the filler area in the trunk. A quick way to see if anything is leaking. Pull your back seat, go fill up your tank, pull the inspection plate, have a flash lite and inspection mirror and look for any leaking fuel. With the car running you will be able to see if it's leaking from your gasket or one of the return lines. If it doesn't leak until the tank is full you can do what my wife did for about 3 years. She never filled it up, but sooner or later it (tank) will have to be replaced. With your tank full it will give you a good reason to burn off some of that gas and take a ride. Some people have told me once the tank is out it can be fixed. Since I live in Michigan and they use salt on the roads during the winters most of our cars rust from the inside out. I didn't want to go through all the work of taking it out and have another part rust out.
Good luck!
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  #9  
Old 04-12-2005, 07:22 PM
89 325i 89 325i is offline
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Location: Concord, MA
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cef5917
You should be able to see all 4 from your inspection plate under your rear seat. You could just have a worn out casket on your fuel pump and sending unit. The 87 325's have a transfer pump that feeds a main fuel pump under the driver side of the car. The main hose just goes over the top of the tank is held in place by a piece of tape ( I have fed a new one thorugh with no problems). Your car should have just one pump that is in the tank that pumps to your fuel rail. Then there are two return lines going towards the drivers side. The one on the right looking towards the drivers side feed back into the tank and couldn't be refitted with a hose. The next one is metal but feeds to another hose just off the top of your tank on the drivers side. That one you could feed a hose and bypass the metal line on top of the tank. On the passenger side of the tank is a large return hose back to the filler area in the trunk. A quick way to see if anything is leaking. Pull your back seat, go fill up your tank, pull the inspection plate, have a flash lite and inspection mirror and look for any leaking fuel. With the car running you will be able to see if it's leaking from your gasket or one of the return lines. If it doesn't leak until the tank is full you can do what my wife did for about 3 years. She never filled it up, but sooner or later it (tank) will have to be replaced. With your tank full it will give you a good reason to burn off some of that gas and take a ride. Some people have told me once the tank is out it can be fixed. Since I live in Michigan and they use salt on the roads during the winters most of our cars rust from the inside out. I didn't want to go through all the work of taking it out and have another part rust out.
Good luck!
Thanks. I've filled the tank and looked for leaks with the inspection covers off and haven't been able to see anything. Gaskets look pretty good. Have read a description of what it takes to drop the tank and it's not a job i want to tackle right now nor would it be inexpensive to pay to have done. For the time being I'm going to adopt your wife's approach and not fill the tank to the top. There are a few other places in the car that I'd rather put the money first.

FYI, this car came out of Vermont where they also use a lot of salt on the roads (car has some rust issues that need ot be addressed) and where they call early springtime "mud season," that's how much of the stuff they have! The back roads, of which there are a lot, are generally unpaved and really rough. Tough place to live if you're a car.

One last question: when I'm lying under the car looking up, am I looking at the actual gas tank itself or some sort of proective covering that goes over the tank, so that there's a space between the tank and this shield???

Thanks again.
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  #10  
Old 04-13-2005, 03:53 AM
Cef5917 Cef5917 is offline
Cef
Location: Michigan
 
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Mein Auto: 1987 325
Quote:
Originally Posted by 89 325i
Thanks. I've filled the tank and looked for leaks with the inspection covers off and haven't been able to see anything. Gaskets look pretty good. Have read a description of what it takes to drop the tank and it's not a job i want to tackle right now nor would it be inexpensive to pay to have done. For the time being I'm going to adopt your wife's approach and not fill the tank to the top. There are a few other places in the car that I'd rather put the money first.

FYI, this car came out of Vermont where they also use a lot of salt on the roads (car has some rust issues that need ot be addressed) and where they call early springtime "mud season," that's how much of the stuff they have! The back roads, of which there are a lot, are generally unpaved and really rough. Tough place to live if you're a car.

One last question: when I'm lying under the car looking up, am I looking at the actual gas tank itself or some sort of proective covering that goes over the tank, so that there's a space between the tank and this shield???

Thanks again.
Your looking at the heat shield in the middle that covers the drive shaft. The tank is like a saddle that sits over the drive shaft. The one's on 87's have a transfer line between the two tanks on the bottom portion of the tank. I couldn't see it until I dropped the exhaust and heat shield. If your directly under the car in the middle. You can see the left and right sides of the tank. When I first started working on it I was confused as to what the actual tank looked like. I went out to some of the parts places and they had pictures of new tanks. They don't show the transfer line either on top or bottom but you can get a good idea of how it sits and what it looks like for a reference. I've been looking for a parts CD. Bentley is good but I've come to notice they leave certain things out and I'm a picture person for reference.
Again good luck and I'm sure the 3/4 full will last a long time, it did for us.
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  #11  
Old 04-13-2005, 05:06 AM
89 325i 89 325i is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cef5917
Your looking at the heat shield in the middle that covers the drive shaft. The tank is like a saddle that sits over the drive shaft. The one's on 87's have a transfer line between the two tanks on the bottom portion of the tank. I couldn't see it until I dropped the exhaust and heat shield. If your directly under the car in the middle. You can see the left and right sides of the tank. When I first started working on it I was confused as to what the actual tank looked like. I went out to some of the parts places and they had pictures of new tanks. They don't show the transfer line either on top or bottom but you can get a good idea of how it sits and what it looks like for a reference. I've been looking for a parts CD. Bentley is good but I've come to notice they leave certain things out and I'm a picture person for reference.
Again good luck and I'm sure the 3/4 full will last a long time, it did for us.
I recognized the heat shield, but I was wondering if they would really bolt the fuel filter bracket through the tank itself, as it appears they've done, as opposed to bolting it to some non-liquid-holding outer shield. I tried finding a picture of the tank as well on some on-line parts stores but with no luck.
Agree about Bentley; good but with some noticable gaps. Agree about the pictures. A bunch more would be very helpful.
Happy motoring.
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  #12  
Old 04-13-2005, 05:57 PM
Cef5917 Cef5917 is offline
Cef
Location: Michigan
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
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Mein Auto: 1987 325
Quote:
Originally Posted by 89 325i
I recognized the heat shield, but I was wondering if they would really bolt the fuel filter bracket through the tank itself, as it appears they've done, as opposed to bolting it to some non-liquid-holding outer shield. I tried finding a picture of the tank as well on some on-line parts stores but with no luck.
Agree about Bentley; good but with some noticable gaps. Agree about the pictures. A bunch more would be very helpful.
Happy motoring.
I can tell your tank is different from mine. The fuel is filtered in the 87 325 by sitting the fuel transfer pump in a bowl in the bottom of the tank. Then have a filter on the bottom of the fuel transfer pump. Plus I think your tank holds more fuel 16.5 vs 14.5. Can't help with the fuel filter on the newer models. Oh the fun of a hobby that moves and uses gas. Especially when we need it to get to work.
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  #13  
Old 04-15-2005, 10:00 AM
Cef5917 Cef5917 is offline
Cef
Location: Michigan
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
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Mein Auto: 1987 325
Youcan find parts pictures at this web site found it on a psoting today. Just put in last 9 digits of your vin. Hope that helps.

http://www.realoem.com/bmw/select.do...9870600&arch=0
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  #14  
Old 04-15-2005, 06:34 PM
BimmerBoy73 BimmerBoy73 is offline
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Location: Sacramento
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cef5917
If your tank is like my 1987 325. There are three metal connections that sometimes get rusted as mine did. Had the same problems with fuel smell and it turned out I had a small pin hole in the center return line. I couldn't see it and as you said Bently was no help with the fuel tank. I had to pull it out. I could have replaced it with a fuel line by feeding it over the tank and saved myself a lot of work. But the other ones are going bad so it was time to replace the tank. I'm curious as to what your mechanic finds with your fuel tank and what he recommends to fix it. A new tank runs anywhere from $282.00 to $377.00 not inculding shipping. I found several in junk yards from $120.00 including shipping to Michigan to $165.00 not including shipping. It will be worth it and once you get all the bugs worked out you can get another couple hundred thousand out it. We have over 217,000 and going strong.

Good Luck
Try staring the motor. Jack up your car or rack it. Look underneath, start looking and smelling.
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  #15  
Old 04-17-2005, 04:48 PM
89 325i 89 325i is offline
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Location: Concord, MA
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cef5917
Youcan find parts pictures at this web site found it on a psoting today. Just put in last 9 digits of your vin. Hope that helps.

http://www.realoem.com/bmw/select.do...9870600&arch=0
Thanks a lot. I'll take a look.

Have not been filling the tank to the top and haven't had a fuel odor ... until today when with the tank almost full I took a highway entrance ramp "aggressively" and got a hint of fuel odor. The force of the turn must have sloshed fuel agains/into/around/over where ever my leak is on the upper regions of the tank. I can live with that until I get around to dropping the tank and fixing the problem. And I'll jsut have to save the amazing feats of driving ability for when the tank isn't near full!! What a lovely little beast is the E30/M20.
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  #16  
Old 04-17-2005, 04:54 PM
89 325i 89 325i is offline
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Location: Concord, MA
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BimmerBoy73
Try staring the motor. Jack up your car or rack it. Look underneath, start looking and smelling.
Did a bunch of jsut hat and couldn't see a thing. Also looked and felt under the inspection covers until I had scrapped knuckles from trying to feel around in there. No luck.

What I need me is one of them fancy fiber optic lighted-mini-camera-on-a-flexible-wire things to see around the tank from the inspection openings. Then again, if I had the money for one of those, I'd probably be driving an M3.

Thanks.
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  #17  
Old 04-17-2005, 04:59 PM
89 325i 89 325i is offline
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Location: Concord, MA
 
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Mein Auto: 1989 325I
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cef5917
Youcan find parts pictures at this web site found it on a psoting today. Just put in last 9 digits of your vin. Hope that helps.

http://www.realoem.com/bmw/select.do...9870600&arch=0
WHOA! That's absolutley great! That is exactly the type of exploding diagram thing I was looking for. Thanks very much.
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