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E30 Build Thread

16530 Views 104 Replies 13 Participants Last post by  FenderBender
What's up guys? I'm Matt, been a member here for years over on the E36 section. I just bought my first E30.

This isn't going to be a build like my turbo Hellrot E36, but nevertheless:

Picked this up for $475 the other day, looking to freshen it up for DD status and possibly sell it for a profit later.

84 318 coupe, 5 speed manual. 210k miles. [(ish) you know how E30s are]

Runs but dies after a second or two, cannot give it any throttle or it dies. Has some rust issues, and needs some other TLC.









Started tearing the interior to see what I have to work with.



Dafak?



PO said there was an alarm system that was removed and he "tied" these blue wires together to make it run. When I pulled them apart, sure enough it wouldn't even crank.

Yanked out a bunch of other wires too, then it would crank and not fire. So I hooked this relay back up and sure enough, she fired up again. I need to look at some wiring diagrams and clean this junk up. Did I mention the lower dash cover had about 6 different wood screws in odd places holding it in?





Started messing with different sensors, unplugged this one and it will idle for probably 30 seconds or so, maybe longer.



Rust in spare tire well, has some on the floor as well. I will probably take most of the interior out soon, I want black seats, door panels, and carpet. I need to secure the gas pedal on the floor as well, not sure how it's supposed to attach though.



Something was a little hungry...



Windows do not work either, but I guess they shouldn't when the switches aren't hook up, couldn't find the wires. Shouldn't be hard to find when the carpet is out. The driver's side door doesn't lock either. I can't do it with the key, or by pushing the lock cylinder down. I'm guessing something is simply seized up. Trunk and passenger door locks work.

I also had time to ohm the MAF, here's a video of it. Based on what I found I'm guessing it's shot as well which would be causing issues. While I'm at it I'm going to replace the spark plugs as well. Eventually I'll do the fuel filter and distributor cap/rotor/etc.



Comments/questions/help is encouraged!
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Not alot of people around these parts respond well to m10 318i's to bad your so far i have like 4 good mafs sitting around
welcome to the dark side! yep you picked the worst enginged E30, but i hope that car can keep you in this circle!

E30s are like E36s in that they dont like thier electrics tampered with much. Thats definately an aftermarket relay you pictured. as for that blue wire, it will be on the same circuit as the starter relay and ignition switch.

looks saveable which is good, but as far as selling it on, youd have to sell it to someone that doesnt know anything about E30s etc. not bad for DD status though. at least its manual right?

key bit of advice, the E36 is reletively the same between the start and end of production. the E30 isnt, with a lot of prefacelift bits not compatable with facelift bits etc, in fact the actual shell is different.

i also think putting your M52 in your E36 into your E30 is a fantastic idea :thumbup::thumbup:
How come?

Not alot of people around these parts respond well to m10 318i's to bad your so far i have like 4 good mafs sitting around
welcome to the dark side! yep you picked the worst enginged E30, but i hope that car can keep you in this circle!

E30s are like E36s in that they dont like thier electrics tampered with much. Thats definately an aftermarket relay you pictured. as for that blue wire, it will be on the same circuit as the starter relay and ignition switch.

looks saveable which is good, but as far as selling it on, youd have to sell it to someone that doesnt know anything about E30s etc. not bad for DD status though. at least its manual right?

key bit of advice, the E36 is reletively the same between the start and end of production. the E30 isnt, with a lot of prefacelift bits not compatable with facelift bits etc, in fact the actual shell is different.

i also think putting your M52 in your E36 into your E30 is a fantastic idea :thumbup::thumbup:
Haha, why is it the worst engine? I'm just looking for fuel mileage right now.

I do need to ger a wiring diagram and see what I can fix. There's a relay on the driver's side engine bay that isn't connected either.

Question before I get home, is there a quick connect to check fuel pressure, or what's the best way and what is it supposed to be? 44psi ish?
According to the Bentley manual, the M10 puts out 101 HP, the 2.7 M20 (found in the 325e) puts out 121 HP, and the 2.5 M20 (found in the 325i) puts out 168 HP.

Keep in mind that those numbers are optimum, straight out of the dealership numbers. You can't realistically expect those numbers from an engine that hasn't had some work done to it in almost 30 years.
I'm not looking for hp, my turbo E36 has enough for now. I wanted this car for gas mileage.

BmwMan92 how much for a MAF?
:thumbup: they don't like them because they are slow but they last forever with very minor problems mine has over 300k and still runs

Urhhm idk if you lived in wa i'd just give it to you haha like 15 plus shipping? Gas money :bigpimp:
I'm not looking for hp, my turbo E36 has enough for now. I wanted this car for gas mileage.

BmwMan92 how much for a MAF?
Does it work perfectly? I'm assuming it will work in my car, still an E30 newb obviously.

I'm perfectly fine with reliable and good mileage and slow, not a problem lol.
Welcome to your newest addiction!

key bit of advice, the E36 is reletively the same between the start and end of production. the E30 isnt, with a lot of prefacelift bits not compatable with facelift bits etc, in fact the actual shell is different.
Not totally true. I find the differences in e36's to be similar to the e30. Just today tried to use a clutch master hard line from a 97 in a 94. Bought all new hydraulics and all. If you ever changed the line in an e36, you would know how difficult it is - and how frustrating it is when BMW decided to use a different clip on the newer ones (lines snap in, not screw in).

Shells are the same, but you have OBD1, OBD2, EWSI, II, III etc etc.
Uploading fuel pressure video now. It was quite strange, key on is around 30psi unless I turn the key on and off, then it goes all the way up to 80psi, wtf?
Also, I found a big vacuum line that goes to the throttle body elbow was disconnected.


Now it will idle sometimes high, sometimes low. Mind you this is with the airbox completely off, Maf disconnected, etc. Another note, I think it's flooding itself. I can start it and let it idle a few times but when it dies I sometimes cannot start it for a few minutes.




Don't make fun of my work shoes lol.
Yeah I got a huge box odd extra parts cheap they all work perfectly the guy I bought them from was trying to modify them for performance but they all work fine
Pretty sure I'll take a MAF, my zip is 17257. What else do you have?

Here's a vac line I just pulled off the fuel pressure regulator (I think) would a leak cause more fuel or less?

Pretty shot:

possibly, i will admit I've never owned an E36 but i have worked on friends ones but proportionally more of my E36 knowledge comes from forums rather than real world experience than E30s which is all hands on. just my experience of the tasks that i have done. then you have the E34 which is a mix of both lol
Welcome to your newest addiction!

Not totally true. I find the differences in e36's to be similar to the e30. Just today tried to use a clutch master hard line from a 97 in a 94. Bought all new hydraulics and all. If you ever changed the line in an e36, you would know how difficult it is - and how frustrating it is when BMW decided to use a different clip on the newer ones (lines snap in, not screw in).

Shells are the same, but you have OBD1, OBD2, EWSI, II, III etc etc.
If the vacuum tube was from the fuel rail: You will have had an air leak so unmetered air drawn in - tending to run weak. The normal fuel rail pressure should not be affected one way or the other at idle. When there is a decrease in vacuum (on acceleration) this will cause the fuel rail pressure to raise and then give a richer mixture - until the higher vacauum is restored.
That I believe is a tank return vacuum line and it depends on what you want to spend lol I still need parts for the eta motor going in the whole running engine is coming out
From the fuel pressure regulator to the intake manifold is the one I replaced. Thanks for the info!

If the vacuum tube was from the fuel rail: You will have had an air leak so unmetered air drawn in - tending to run weak. The normal fuel rail pressure should not be affected one way or the other at idle. When there is a decrease in vacuum (on acceleration) this will cause the fuel rail pressure to raise and then give a richer mixture - until the higher vacauum is restored.
That I believe is a tank return vacuum line and it depends on what you want to spend lol I still need parts for the eta motor going in the whole running engine is coming out
Sent you a PM, need it asap!
Took the AFM (MAF, whatever lol) apart to try and clean it to no avail. Here is the video with a better meter, don't pay attention to my friends in the background lol. I did the same slow motion up as I did before.

Another video, except of it running.



I installed the new coolant sensor, did nothing. Pulled the plugs, as I suspected I think they're wet with fuel and pretty beat. Bad FPR putting too much fuel into the engine? Or would the no AFM or intake or coolant temp sensor cause the computer to tell it to add more fuel?

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