Are you finally buying your dream car, “God’s Chariot”? Here are two important DIY’s that you’ll need to learn when you buy your E30 3 series BMW. First, the valves on an M20 6-cylinder engine will need to be adjusted roughly once a year or every 15,000 miles. This keeps your car running correctly and reduces the possibility of breaking a rocker arm. Poorly adjusted valves can put additional stress on the already fragile rocker arms in this motor, so be sure to stay on top of this maintenance item. Adjustment of the valves on an M20 engine requires simple tools: 10mm deep socket and ratchet with extension Stainless steel feeler gauge set to measure the correct gap Alan key set; use a small key to adjust the rocker eccentric while adjusting New M20 valve cover gasket This procedure should take you anywhere from 1-2 hours depending on your experience and mechanical aptitude. Perform this check and adjustment in early spring each year when taking the car out of storage, before the driving season begins. …
Every BMW owner needs to own a diagnostic scan tool or two. Even the most basic setup, including a cheap OBD-II scanner like this one and a cheap airbag tool will save you hundreds if not thousands over the years of your Bavarian ownership. There’s really nothing more satisfying than scanning a car for friends and family when they’re in trouble, and saving them from paying a $100 diagnostic fee to some repair shop.
The time has come to sell my Delphin Metallic 1987 325is. I started driving E30’s back in 2003 after purchasing my first 325i for $700. It was arguably the coolest cheap car you could buy back then. These days, a 325is in original form commands more dollars and more respect after many years of flying under the radar. The secret is out: the E30 is a bonafide cult classic.
The 1973 2002 was the last year of the round tail lights and arguably one of the best years. This desirable Tii model was one of the early fuel injection cars from BMW though it does not sport an original Tii motor. It’s hard to say which is more desirable, a Metric Mechanic built S14 engine from an E30 M3 or an all original Tii motor. This tastefully modified engine-swapped car boasts 275 horsepower with a 2.5 liter stroked S14.
Today’s Craigslist find brings us to Ventura, California. A 1987 325is with automatic transmission is listed for only $5400 which seems to be well priced for the condition. Of course, the automatic transmission detracts from the value a bit compared to an original factory 5 speed model.
Hartge was a third party tuning company founded in Germany in the early 1970’s. They modified new BMW models for customers, much like Alpina, Racing Dynamics and AC Schnitzer. One of the earliest Hartge models was the H23 based on the euro 323i which was produced from 1983 to 1985 in Germany. They modified the engine with custom forged pistons that yielded a high compression ratio of 10:1 along with a new camshaft, exhaust and chip tuning. To top off all of the engine work, it was finished with a custom cast valve cover. Very few Hartge and Alpina cars were produced, and as a result the vintage tuning parts are now very sought after.
We have seen this 1991 M5 for sale for the last few months, and it is in beautiful condition considering it’s high mileage. This M is one of the last of the hand built cars coming out of Germany and has seen 245,000 miles. The car has a long list of repairs, though some areas still need attention.
While browsing for E30’s this morning I came across a beautifully maintained 1991 318i sedan. Grab a fresh cup of your favorite coffee and dig into your E30 search. This five speed sedan located in Baltimore has beautiful paint and interior, and is listed for only $7500. You’ll find it here on Craigslist until the listing is deleted. The VIN is WBAAJ931XMEJ00140
Searching for an E30 M3 in 2016 is no easy task. The classic German car bubble has been inflating since 2010 and has yet to lose any momentum. The days of ratty $10,000 range E30 M3 finds are long gone, now just old legends that we will reminisce about for years to come. These days, even a heavily road worn M3 can command big dollars. That brings us to today’s eBay find, a 1988 model with 325,000 hard earned miles.
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.