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325i parts: diminishing availablity?

Discussion in 'E30 (1984-1993)' started by stevehecht, Apr 8, 2010.

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    stevehecht

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    In having my car's front end damage repaired, my body shop told me that they waited two weeks for an OEM lower tie bar and was told it was unavailable from a local BMW dealership! He ended up re-using my old tie bar by getting it on the rack and re-shaping it so it would be serviceable. Is it possible that 325i parts are going the way of the ix?
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    MGarrison

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    tie bar is... a tie rod? or Front subframe (aka front axle support)? I could see a front subframe not being stocked, the call for one of those wouldn't come up too often, it would seem.
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    Zeichen311

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    While visiting BMW Spartanburg last year I met a fellow at a local car wash who worked at the plant. When I mentioned I was headed for a factory tour we got to talking about manufacturing and the supply chain. He stated manufacturers--foreign or domestic--selling cars in the US are required by law to ensure replacement parts are available for thirty (30) years after production.

    At least two big, big caveats apply to that statement.

    First, thirty years is the rule now. I'm sure the basic mandate has been in place for decades but it's entirely possible the parts lifetime was extended to keep pace with average car lifetimes. For older cars the period might be shorter, or it might not. I have no idea.

    Second, as anyone who has ever turned a wrench in anger knows, when it comes to parts, "available" is not the same as "conveniently available." Uncommon service parts become downright rare as the demand shrinks. Some might even have to be produced to order.

    Early E30s are nearing the end of the 30-year rule so it's possible the oddball pieces--the kinds of bits only needed for restorations or after a wreck--are growing scarce.
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    bcweir

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    That's a bit of a mixed bag for later models also

    Several types of parts are no longer available AT ANY PRICE for the E32 (1988 to 1994 7-series), as near as I can tell. This includes a lot of the gaskets and electronic parts.

    I was told that there MIGHT be a reversal of this when the E32 was supposed to transition to Mobile Tradition (now BMW Classic) once the vehicle has been out of production for 15 years. However, that deadline came and went A YEAR AGO (E32 production ended sometime in April 1994).

    So far, nothing.

    It's sad that the 7-series generation that inaugurated BMW's first modern V12 engine since World War II may eventually fall into disrepair due to parts for it simply disappearing.

    Yet oddly enough, you can still "theoretically" build a new 2002 from scratch with nothing but a VIN number from a production model. The bizarre part about that is that the 2002 has been out of production for 34 years!
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    stevehecht

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    Oops, sorry, I meant tie rod (lower). Front end accidents can't be that uncommon!

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    CRKrieger

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    Let's face it: the 2002 likely sold a lot more than the E32 every year it was in production and it was in production longer. Similar variants were in production as far back as 1963, so there was a lot more incentive to get the '02 parts out there. Add the '02's 'cult' status, fewer and simpler parts, and you're talking significant sales. I doubt the demand for unique E32 parts is anywhere near the same level. I doubt it ever will be.

    The 'deadline' isn't hard & fast, either. I would expect BMW to ramp up production of parts as demand warrants, not simply because the calendar changed. Still, you're talking a limited market car, regardless of its significance. Should they not produce all the parts for the 252 '57-'59 507s first? I'd say it was a more significant car, as is the M1 and the 3.0CSL. But, if the demand isn't there, why would they?

    Right now, the E32 is more of an 'expensive old car' than a 'collector car'. Most are still in daily driver status and that means pure economics determines whether they stay on the road or not. The labor and parts to fix many of their most common ailments were never cheap and they won't get any cheaper as time goes along. They were also not shared with other contemporary models like, for example, the M30 engine was from the '60s to the '90s. Therefore, many of them will be parted out or junked as 'too expensive to fix'. When their cycle changes from daily use to collector item, BMW may be motivated to crank out some parts. Until then, I wouldn't hold out a lot of hope, regardless of how many years it's been.
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    CRKrieger

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    z31maniac guest

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    Lower?

    Inner/Outer tie rods. Never had a problem sourcing parts like that. In fact, I purchased two sets of OEM inner/outer tie rods last year. For each E30 I owned.

    Not sure why the body shop couldn't get it together.
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    Zeichen311

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    That positively rocks. :cool:
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    stevehecht

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    OK, the body shop invoice says: "repair radiator lower tie bar". That's a radiator support piece, no? Anyway, Wagner VW was unable to obtain the part after two weeks. Ce la vie, they charged me under $100 to repair it in the shop.
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    bcweir

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    You're mistaken on this

    Not true.

    The E32 shared numerous parts mechanically with both the E34 5-series and the E31 8-series, more so with the E34, but still true mechanically with the E31.

    The E32 at first shared the M30 with the 1989-1993 5-series, and then the M60/M62 with the 1994-1996 5-series. The E32 also shared its 5.0 M70 V12 and M60/M62 engines with the E31 from 1993-1994. The E38 later shared its engines similarly with the later model E31's and its V8 engine with the E39.

    The parts I was concerned about were parts unique to the E32, such as door gaskets and some interior parts.
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    eam3

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    In my search to improve the lighting on my dad's '90 750iL, I read that unlucky owners of '93 and '94 750s, which came with Xenon lighting, can no longer buy replacement parts for the light assemblies. Headlight buckets, lenses, etc. are NLA so if there is a front end accident, it's back to conventional halogen lights. Hopefully that will be remedied in the future.
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    bcweir

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    Actually, owners of those cars still have plenty of options

    Both Depo and Umnitza sell a variety of affordable and reliable lighting options.

    Granted, it's probably going to require gutting the original Hella system or downgrading to halogens, but it's probably a good idea to overhaul the lighting system anyway.

    Lighting technology has improved significantly in the past 15 years, so an overhaul would probably give owners of those cars more reliable and better performing lighting with less power draw.

    That's significant because these cars already have a very large and elaborate electrical system.

    I should also point out that the car's headlights are bolt-in compatible with the E34's. Only the front turn signals do not interchange.
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    CRKrieger

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    ... which was my point. It's a very limited market for those.

    bmwdriver99 guest

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    Parts shortage E28 E30's...

    It's actually looking pretty rough unfortunately for the E28's, E30's ..theres less parts every year. I work at a BMW dealer and I tried ordering new 14" bbs wheels for my 88 E30 cab and they were no longer available. I had to go hunt them down on craigslist..its going to get hard.
    Same thing happened with my E28..couldnt get the part at the dealer and Bavauto ended up having a couple of the items in stock. That'll probably change too..sooner than later.

    OntheRoad guest

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    Mixed bag...

    I went to the local dealer looking for "common parts", plus a schematic or parts list for the U.S. spec spoiler assembly on my "new" 87 325is. I figured the breakable parts in the spoiler assembly - the brackets - might or might not be available, but at least I could see what I was missing and what it was supposed to look like bolted together unbroken).

    I found that they had no page, diagram or reference whatsoever for the spoiler. The brackets were nicely designed to break and spare the spoiler, which they did, but apparently they aren't replaceable. As far as the other stuff, from the dealer an antenna grommet was going to cost me $13.08 plus several days, while the same part (BMW stamped and numbered) from an online reseller was less than $6. Booted that program right there, and I won't be checking back at any of the dealerships near me for parts unless I have to.

    I had been away from BMW's for a while, now have the aforementioned E-30 for fun and a bit of competition??? plus an E-46 driven daily (not by me), and find both of them to a delight to own and drive - except it seems the retail side of BMW wants nothing to do with "heritage" support. I understand they're in business to sell and fix new cars, but old parts are bonus pass-through sales, and selling them also gets folks strolling through the dealership. I may look scraggly driving up in a 25 y/o car, but we did purchase one new vehicle this year too, not a BMW because my spouse decided that she needed a serious tow vehicle :) (I didn't argue).
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    Greg E34

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    That's strange. If it's the lower radiator support, I just ordered one and got it in a few days from the dealer.

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