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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've found a 1981 version of this car and I'm getting it at a reasonable price, say about 3k USD. The current owner has had it parked up for at least a decade, I spoke to him and basically thought it would be just a shell I'd end up buying but I was informed that the engine and transmission were indeed working just some minor repairs to do. Other than that it needs a windscreen and just minor cosmetic work. I didn't get to a full checkup yet but if its rust free and the body is good should I try to rebuild/fix the original engine or would it be a crime to change the entire workings of the car with a different engine, tranny etc as if it were just a shell? Long story short is it worth taking the risk on?
 

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D'oh, You Kids!
1984 633CSi, 1985 635CSi, 1985 325e, 1987 325is, 1993 325is, 1995 318is, 1995 M3, 2003 F150
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Fix what you have. If it indeed is rust free. Even if it needs rust repair, it should be preserved. I don't know about Trinidad and Tobago, but in the States E21s are getting to be pretty darn rare.

Replace all the fluids, including flushing the cooling system. Pay attention to the differential fluid and transmission lube that comes out. It can tell you a lot about the car. Remember to remove the upper FILLER plugs before removing the drain plugs. If you pull the drain plugs and then can't get the filler plugs out, you're stuck. Don't laugh....it's happened plenty of times!

It'd be best to replace all the hoses, including vacuum, fuel and coolant hoses. It'll save you a lot of headaches later, and just might save the engine. After a long rest, these cars are notorious for blowing hoses at the worst possible time.

Flush the brake fluid while bleeding the system, and don't forget the clutch hydraulic system.

If it hasn't run in a few months, it's a good idea to remove the plugs and pour a bit of light oil into the cylinders, turn the crankshaft by hand for a few revolutions, then let it soak for a day before reinstalling the plugs and attempting to start it.

Post some pictures when you get it, and keep us up to date on your progress! :thumbup:
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Hey, thanks for the response. I was really optimistic about the buy till I saw your quotes lol especially "nothing is more expensive than a cheap BMW". What's the price on a 320i in the US in a similar condition? The main issue is sourcing parts for the vehicle here I already planned to have a budget at least 3-5k USD to do repairs I hope it would be sufficient. When I get some more details and a consult from a proper mechanic I'll make my decision because I've got other irons in the fire namely a '85 318i for the same price with much less work to do. I'll be weighing my options a lot in the next few months because this is my first car and its gonna be an everyday driver. Oh and whatever choice I make I will most definitely send reports of progress and pictures because I will need more advice lol. Cheers!
 

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the easiest engine swap is an M20 if its an M10

As a first car even starting with the M10 might be a good start, planning for an M20 down the road ... past that M50, S50, to LS Chevy motors are possible


you didn't say how deep your pockets where, with enough cash it could be possible to transplant the Titanic steamers into an E21 - not saying that's a good idea
:p
 

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Villa, as a project it sounds great just be aware that the motor and transmission have to come out and you'll have to replace every seal there is. ALSO: If the PO did not drain the oil who knows what kind of internal sludge and stuff you have as build up not to mention moisture ................. etc etc etc. Speaking as a former e21 owner, (1978 that later on I put a 1982 5 speed into along with a sourced from a 1968 1600 differential), it was kind of a sled and not knowing what's on the road in your area it will be a sled by todays standards. If you have pics we'd really like to see them.

And as for $3000 USD, in the States or the EU subjectively speaking better drivers can be had with less work to be done and parts more redily available. Since you're online perhaps you can check Craigslist in Texas, Arizona, Colorado, Wyoming, New Mexico, Utah or Idaho because the 320's either 4 or 5 speeds are available for $500 to $5000 depending on how much work they need.
 
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