I have an '87 318i manual and find the steering fine - obviously it is a bit tougher on parking and tight junctions then power steering but one gets used to it very quickly. Personally I prefer non power assisted steering as you actually feel like you're driving rather than the 'easy peasiness' of power steering
Some things I would look out for on inspecting the vehicle are:
- how bad are rust spots? look at wheel arches, around sunroof (if there is one), underneath chrome front & back bumpers, door sills - these are all places where rust form. It would be normal to have some small rust spots but if it looks like the metal is weakened then I would take this into consideration
- what condition are the shock absorbers in, if the car feels very 'boaty' when going over bumps then chances are one or more of the shocks are broken.
- what condition are the brakes in - on my 87 318i the front wheels are disc brakes, the rear wheels are drum brakes. See if you find out when the discs & pads were last changed. If you hear a low pitched rumbling/grating noise when coming to a standstill (by applying brakes), then the rear brake cylinder(s) may be leaking. If you hear a high pitched squeal when applying brakes, the the brake pads could be running thin.
- check all lights including foglights, glove box light, inside light (for when door is open), speedomoeter backlight (my bulb blew recently in this), cigarette lighter functionality
Hope this is of some help, feel free to ask me any questions on my '87 318i.
thanks alot helps alot.. i just took it for a test drive and the only thing i can report is when breaking they seemed to be a little spongy, but breaks ok. i think it has abs? doesnt seem to have much rust at all, just a little on the back bumper. the acceleration was a little slow and it idled quite high, is this common?
ok im now the owner of a BMW 318i, i took the chance and after driving today all seems ok. the idle seems to be ok. the only thing i can say about it is that it runs quite hot. The temp sits around the 3/4 mark during the heat of day and half way in the evening. is this about right or is there something i should look at?
i took the thermostat off and it didnt look in that great condition, so i put a new one in. It seemed to have fixed the overheating problem but in traffic on a warm day, i live in Melbourne Australia, (bushfire season) it still seems to get warmer than it should. i think the hot weather has something to do with it. After pushing past the 3/4 mark on the temp gauge in traffic, i hit the highway and it cools down. water pump? radiator? still haven't had time to get it pressure tested.
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