The E30 318is is commonly referred to as the poor man’s M3. It shares some traits with the M3 including a 4 cylinder engine, near perfect 50-50 weight distribution and a thrilling driving experience. While it’s 1.8 liter M42 engine boasts a modest 138 horsepower compared to the M3’s 197 horsepower, it is still a fun little drive.
Keeping your E30 in good running order doesn’t have to be costly. If you’re a BMW enthusiast, chances are you’re also a DIY enthusiast. Let’s be honest, not many people can afford to run to their indie mechanic every time they need a repair on a car that’s over twenty years old. For example, something as simple as a clutch slave cylinder replacement can cost nearly $400 with parts, labor and tax at a local garage. This is something the weekend mechanic can repair in a few hours with around $60 in parts.
Learning how to correctly adjust the valves on your M20 engine is an essential part of E30 ownership. Howling sewing machine sounds are to the E30 as air cooled flat six sounds are to the Porsche 911. Just how much sewing machine you get is up to you and your valve adjusting skills.
Instagram is one of my favorite social media platforms today. I think its one of the best places to do research through browsing hashtags and other enthusiast accounts. It is a great source of visual inspiration and a place to connect with other BMW enthusiasts. Today I’ll share some of my favorite accounts that I follow on Instagram.
If you drive an old BMW like I do (15 years old to be exact), it’s likely that your factory BMW BBS wheels are in poor shape. Rarely do the original wheels survive a decade or more of daily driving and curb abuse. If you’re lucky, you may have a perfect condition unused spare in the trunk- which is where my idea came from.
Auto detailing has been a hobby of mine for the last 13 years, since purchasing my first car in 2003. That car was a Zinnoberrot E30 sedan, which was a true diamond in the rough. My dad convinced me that the dry, faded looking paint was nothing to be concerned about. “It will come right back with polish”, he said. After discovering how paint polish applied by hand brought the paint back to a rich glossy shine, I was hooked on that process of transformation.
One of the most common problems with vintage BMW’s is that the plastic gears inside the gauge cluster degrade over time. The delicate plastic gears turn into a soft cheese like material and stop tracking mileage in the odometer. This makes it difficult to tell the true mileage of an old BMW, because often the owner will continue driving the car for years before making a repair.