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BMW E30
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Hello /o/,

What are your opinions on buying an E30 as my first car to maintain completely DIY? I have been doing a lot of research and it looks like the car is well documented, parts are plentiful and it is not as completed as newer BMWs are.

I really like what these cars look like and heard great things about the driving experience. I am specifically looking at the 325i and 318i models between 1985-91.
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>>14315750
*complicated
>>
get an e36 instead, a little more reliable and parts are easier to come by

e30 is great though, i just always recommend an e36 for a first bmw
>>
It is entirely doable. M20 is the more desirable engine for DD imo.

I would suggest the first things you do for a new one
>timing belt kit
>new radiator (do not cheap out and buy nissens!)
>cooling system refresh (new hoses)
>ICV clean or replacement
>coolant temp sensors replacement
>fuel filter replacement
>check your TPS
>take apart the AFM sensor and clean it
>new o-rings and clean out the fuel injectors

I DD an e30 325i so let me know what other questions you might have.

also >>14315836 isn't a terrible suggestion. although I'd try and get a later model
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>>14315836
As an E36 owner I disagree. The sheet metal problems on E36s aren't something a first time owner should be dealing with.

Yeah finding a viable E30 is going to take a little more work but there are plenty out there. And I think the simplicity will pay off big on first time DIY jobs.

From a driving experience I have always been extremely let down by E30s. They just don't feel poised.
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>>14315836
This. 95% of E30s are rusted junk on wheels by now
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>>14315836
so far as I have encountered
the high mileage e36 tend to have little flaws in the leather and interior electronics
that and strong sunlight causes the roundel to fade very easy
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>>14315960
>sheet metal problems
lol what the fuck are you talking about? do you live in some hellhole that rust eats cars or something? never have i heard such a claim and im the biggest bmw cocksucker on here. i make davis look open minded
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>>14315987
Are you retarded?
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>>14315999
Yes
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>>14315999
>>14316007
trips confirm

also I have never heard of sheet metal problems, so if you could expand that would be nice
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>>14315999
no seriously there are no sheet metal problems with e36s thats crazy. if you mean why does rust eat 20+ year old cars its because you live in hell moro
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>>14316019
thats because there are none. this guy is an idiot with a rust bucket and thinks its a design fault. kids man.
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>>14316019
>>14316022
On stock cars:

Rear subframe mounts rip out of the body (Ms come with factory reinforcements)
Rear trailing arm bushing mounts rip out of the body when the bushing gets old
Rear Shock mounts rip through the body when the bushing gets old
Front strut towers mushroom and crack open
Motor mount tabs on the subframe rip

This shit is famous and all over the forums, E46s also share some of these problems. One of my E36s had the full list. The second one had the RTABs ripping out and one of the front shock towers started mushrooming.
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>>14316042
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>>14316042
>sheetmetal problems
literally none of those are sheet metal problems. bad word choice. rear shock mounts and subframe issues are extremely rare on e36s. Only the M's are known for rear shock tower failure. Those issues you described belong moreso to the z3 and then the e30. you got a real lemon man. ive had multiple e36s and never had those issues. when i had my M i did immediately reinforce the rear shock mount however.
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>>14316042
how many miles? not saying it doesnt happen but your experience is far from the norm
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>>14315886

Thank you for the feedback, I am really only looking at the e30s, not liking the look of E36s too much.

I guess my only question would be is what to look out for when buying an E30. Other than common BMW problems, what determines a "good" deal? I see these cars going for 4-5k in my area, not quite sure if that is a fair asking price or not.
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>>14316067
>>14316073
Stupid question - is this the rear or fronts?
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i like my e30
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>>14315750
There are a couple major things to look out for on the 318 that I know of (because experience).

Look at the valve cover bolts, specifically if the little rubber seals on any of them aren't as compressed as the others. This indicates stripped bolts. The timing cover gasket is a somewhat frequent repair, and sometimes shops will get a little too jumpy with those bolts, and it's not difficult to strip them.

Next, listen for rattling near the dip stick tube. The later model M42s had a dual length intake manifold, and the rattling is caused by the valve that controls this failing. If it cannot be rebuilt, it's a $400 part. And, there are stories of the valve coming apart, sending a lengthy metal rod through the intake destroying the engine.

Next are leak prone areas. Valve cover gasket for one, the most likely leak but not a big deal because its an easy fix. Then, check where the oil filter connects to the engine, another leak prone area. This one is more of a pain in the ass, but still not a big deal. The big deal in this regard is the fucking coolant mating line, a problem I'm having right now. Replacing it is pretty much a job done entirely by feel, and it's behind the engine. Piece of shit plastic part. The easiest way to check is to get under the car. If the transmission case is wet, the part needs to be replaced.

None of these are really deal breakers, just points to haggle on. As long as you're willing to wrench, shops charge a pretty penny for this simple shit. Also, this is not a comprehensive list. There are a lot of things to look out for, but these are the things I've experienced.

>>14316201
Not a stupid question. IIRC E30's only have struts at the front, it wasn't until the E36's when they had both front and rear using struts.
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>>14316178
hmm some other common problems

>trunk leaks
>battery tray rust/missing the panel entirely
>rear defroster tends to stop working
>control arm/trailing arm bushings
>SI batteries going bad
>broken odometer gears
>rocker panel rust
>exhaust hangers rotting out due to age
>exhaust clamps rusting off
>vacuum leaks (chances are you will buy one with a leak)
>broken interior door handles
>failing or broken door locks (easy to check if you can unlock with the key)
>power steering leak
>window switches dying from trans tunnel heat
>drift kids destroying cars
>a/c either tends to be converted and needs a refill, or still r12 and not working, or removed

and all the other fun stuff that comes with owning a 20+ year old car. anyways google can help you find more stuff, but pretty much most maintenance for an e30 can be done at home
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>>14316086
Its the sheet metal on the car being too thin in stressed areas. they are sheet metal problems. Look at the front shock towers, they have sheet metal half the thickness on most cars.

E30s do not have any of these problems. Z3s have less problems. They have E30 rear suspension and reinforcement plates up front so they are free of the two most common failures, those being RTAB pockets and front strut tops mushrooming. On E36 sedans and coupes these failures are so common its not a matter of IF but WHEN on an unreinforced car. People have had RTAB pockets rip out at 50k miles. Usually its a progressive failure though, most people find cracks in the sheet metal around the mounting points when they are replacing bushings. Few have the pocket rip out while they are driving.

http://www.bimmerforums.com/forum/showthread.php?1518150-E36-RTAB-mounting-point-failure

Same with the front strut tops. You start to notice the studs aren't all pointed directly up, they are starting to point to the sides. If you do nothing it will rip like the pictures I posted. If you spend $20 on Z3 reinforcement plates, you don't ever have to worry about it again. If you run really stiff suspension and no strut bar the plate can start to punch through but that is very rare.

The rear subframe mount failure was so common there was a class action suite against BMW on E46s.

http://www.turnermotorsport.com/t-gallery-e46-subframe.aspx

I'm shocked you guys don't know about this stuff.

Next thing you guys are going to tell me you have no idea about the oil pump nut or the diff bolt, or the diff gear bolts.
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>>14316219

Next, listen for rattling near the dip stick tube. The later model M42s had a dual length intake manifold, and the rattling is caused by the valve that controls this failing. If it cannot be rebuilt, it's a $400 part. And, there are stories of the valve coming apart, sending a lengthy metal rod through the intake destroying the engine.

can you expand on this? never heard of it... what valve?

http://www.realoem.com/bmw/enUS/showparts?id=AF93-USA---E30-BMW-318is&diagId=11_0953

thank
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>>14316201
Those are front shock towers on E36s

>>14316219
>Not a stupid question. IIRC E30's only have struts at the front, it wasn't until the E36's when they had both front and rear using struts.
Not correct.

E36 has struts in the front and separate dampers springs in the rear just like an E30.
>>
http://www.bimmerforums.com/forum/showthread.php?105667-Rear-subframe-reinforcement&postid=1042518
Post #6

>There are (at least) four places at the rear of an E36 that you have to watch out for.

>The "subframe tearing" that you hear most about does not seem to be very common, though it does happen to be sure. What this is actually is the body of the car failing where the bolts that attach the suspension carrier (subframe) fasten.

>BMW makes plates to keep this from happening, and they were installed as standard on M3's. Part numbers are...

41 00 2 256 495
41 00 2 256 496
41 11 2 256 497
41 11 2 256 498

>The other part of the subframe that fails is the sway bar mounting tabs. This is usually due to using aftermarket sway bars. Lowering your suspension or putting "stiffer" shocks will not cause this.

>The sway bar tabs are easy to reinforce and highly recommended for anyone with upgraded sway bars.

>The third place that will fail on the E36 is the body (again) where the trailing arm attaches. There is no easy repair, or reinforcement for this failure, and so prevention is the best medicine. What seems to happen is when the trailing arm bushing starts to degrade, the trailing arm is no longer secure and will start to "bang" at the mounting. Over time, this banging will start a failure at the weld of the threaded rods that the RTAB carrier bolts to. I don't have any pictures of this one. The prevention is to replace your RTAB's before they wear out. For most people the best solution seems to be 96+ M3 RTAB's. Aftermarket bushings will work, but don't seem to be necessary.

>Finally, the rear shock mount is a common failure item. Most people know about this one. Along the same lines, I have heard of a few cases where the body starts to crack where the shock mount fastens. Solution varies, but the best fix for this seems to be welding a duplicate of the shock tower over the damaged one. Z3 shock tower reinforcements may help to prevent this failure.
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I had an e30 as my first car, just got rid of an e36 and now have an mx5.

I loved the e30, had a 318is. A lot of things needed replacing which I didn't have the money for at the time. But LOVED that car.

E36 328 has been great to me. Super reliable, easy to work on, adjustable at the limit. It would have been a better car to learn to drive hard on.

If I could go back I would have the mx5 as my first car. Most reliable of the three and easiest to work on and had the revvy nature and chuck ability that the e30 had. I would only buy a 4 cyl e30 though so my preferences are different to most
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>>14316239
>can you expand on this? never heard of it... what valve?
Seems like I was misinformed. I'm speaking from experience with the M44 engine, which has a different intake manifold than the M42. Sources online (aka wikipedia) say that the M42 have the same DISA system as the M44 which is what I'm talking about. However, I can't find any reference of this actually existing on any E30. So, disregard that part.
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>>14316237
e30s most certaily are ailed by rear subframe issues on rare ocassions.

and no i know everything you say you dolt its just so rare that besides forum people it is unheard of. its rare as fuck bro. yes, it happened to you but it just doesnt happen that often. there were three million e36s made man.

and the problem isnt sheet metal too thin. its bad welds, and bad subframe and shock mount design. hence why one calls it sheet metal problems
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>>14316239
*no one

literally no one but you has ever called it that
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>>14316405

np have an e30 for your time
>>
>Install coilovers
>Don't reinforce towers
>Wahh bmw sux!
lmao, can't fix ricer ignorance
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>>14316460
0/10 bait.
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>>14315987
whoa i'm getting noticed even more and more lol
on topic - E36s rust like any other 80s and 90's BMW, which can become really bad if you don't deal with any bad spots early
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>>14316057

Thumbnail is an avantgarde painting of a face, showing an eye, eyebrow and half of the nose.
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>>14317411
can't unsee
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why not an e34?
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>>14316281
so guy, would you recommend e36 328 for someone who wants to learn to drive hard?

>It would have been a better car to learn to drive hard on
i dont get if senpai :3
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>>14315886
>timing belt
>new radiator, cooling system
>ICV replace
>coolant temp sensors
>fuel filter
>TPS
>AFM sensor
>fuel injectors
>>14316042
Rear subframe mounts rip out of the body
Rear trailing arm bushing mounts rip out
Rear Shock mounts rip through the body
Front strut towers mushroom and crack open
Motor mount tabs on the subframe rip
>>14316219
>valve cover bolts stripped
>timing cover gasket bolts stripped
>rattling near the dip stick tube $400 part, valve coming apart sending lengthy metal rod through the intake destroying engine
>leak prone valve cover gasket, where the oil filter connects, the fucking coolant mating line behind the engine
>Piece of shit plastic part
>>14316220
>trunk leaks
>battery tray rust
>rear defroster stop work
>control arm/trailing arm bushings
>SI batteries
>broken odometer gears
>rocker panel rust
>exhaust hangers rotting out
>exhaust clamps rusting off
>vacuum leaks
>broken interior door handles
>failing or broken door locks
>power steering leak
>window switches dying
>a/c not working
>>14316237
>sheet metal on the car being too thin in stressed areas
>front shock towers have sheet metal half the thickness on most cars
>RTAB pockets and front strut tops mushrooming RTAB pockets rip out at 50k miles
>its a progressive failure
>Same with the front strut tops You start to notice the studs aren't all pointed directly up
>Rear subframe mount failure
>oil pump nut
>diff bolt
>diff gear bolts
>>14316266
>The "subframe tearing"
>body of the car failing where the bolts that attach the suspension carrier
>part of the subframe fails the sway bar mounting tabs
>where the trailing arm attaches. There is no easy repair
>failure at the weld of the threaded rods that the RTAB carrier bolts to
>rear shock mount is a common failure item the best fix for this seems to be welding a duplicate of the shock tower over the damaged one
>>14316281
>A lot of things needed replacing which I didn't have the money for at the time.

thanks bros
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If I can hijack this thread, since I see there's alot of people who owned bmws at some point in this thread.

What do you guys think about E39. Im considering of buying a 520i automatic with LPG installed.

Supposedly it just got its rust repaired and doors replaced due to rust.

What should I watch out for? How underpowered will it be with an engine that small?
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>>14318930
an automatic 535i or 540i would be acceptable.
The 520i+automatic has to be the most boring and disappointing combination. LPG would make it an economical daily driver though. Only good thing about the engine is that it sounds nice with a straight pipe
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I've had a Volvo for years but looking at an E30/E36 for a project next. I'm used to getting a lot of my shit through IPD.

Is there an IPD equivalent for BMW? Basically a shop that specializes in parts for them.
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>>14315960
>From a driving experience I have always been extremely let down by E30s. They just don't feel poised.


Going out on a limb here but most e30's are sitting on springs and other suspension components that were probably needing replacement 30k miles ago, and thats the general rule as most casual owner didn't care to replace the bushings on these cars.

are you sure you rode in an e30 with a fresh suspension?
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>>14316237
>Doesnt know what sheet metal is
>>
>>14316213
is the ucf car club still a thing?
>>
>>14319265
http://www.rmeuropean.com/
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>>14319355

yes
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>>14320247
That's technically a foil.
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>>14320267

what
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>>14319349
that's not out on a limb, you're exactly right.

E30s don't have too many bushings, but the ones they do have are critical to the suspension geometry. the suspension is basic, there's no trick design, no linchpin. the "magic" comes from tens of specific settings/behaviors stacking on top of each other and blending to give the car a certain feel.

every change you make to the suspension requires adjustments elsewhere.

example: lowering the car requires you to lift the rear subframe height to keep the trailing arms in a happy part of their toe/camber curve. skip this and the car understeers and loses it's turn-in sparkle (bad trailing bushings do the same thing.) the front pick up points need to get raised too, usually by cutting and welding, to avoid bump steer and camber gain problems.

most of the M3's "legendary" handling simply comes from attaching the front swaybar to the struts instead of the control arms. the swaybars react much faster to small weight transfers, keeping the rear outside tire from dipping too far into it's camber curve (and the sluggish transition that'd result.)

it's a neat balancing act. one that's easily destroyed through neglect or lack of thinking.
>>
>>14323224

where can i read more of the things you have to say
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