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'86 325

Discussion in 'E30 (1984-1993)' started by 197632, Jul 14, 2009.

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    Hi, I have a '97 E36M3 but am looking at a '86 325. There is no designation after the 325 like an "I" or "E" and I haven't gotten the Vin # off the car yet. I'm still in the preliminery investigation stage. Any information that you can pass on to me (model designation, what to look for as far as inherent problems etc.) would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!
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    John in VA

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    It's probably the 325e. BMW took off the "e" in '86. Look at the tachometer - the eta redlines at 4500 rpm compared to the higher-revving 325i.
    These cars are rock-solid, but have a timing belt & tensioner that needs to be replaced every 4 yrs or 50K miles.
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    E30s are bomb proof if taken care of. So look for records of maintenance. Also at this mileage expect to have to replace a bunch of things, depending on what has already been done and the mileage. Some things are so crucial, but if replaced will improve the ride immensely!

    Most Important item:

    Timing Belt! Replace immediately if no records. If it breaks you WILL need a new engine.

    Things to Look at/for

    Water pump, not known to fail, but check that is it not noisy or leaking coolant. Replace anyway if you replace the timing belt.
    Fluids, you should change the brake and coolant yearly or every 2 years. Trans, diff, power steering should be done every 30K.
    Valve adjustment every 15K
    Motor don't go more than 5k

    Check for rust around the tail lights and license plate lights. Check floor pans at the front, front fenders at the bottom, and under the car. Don't worry about surface rust on the rear subframe.

    Most of the suspension will be worn out if it is original. You don't need to necessarily replace, but it will give the car a like new ride if you do. Great opportunity to upgrade the shocks and springs to something more aggressive, might as well go with M3 bushings in the front as well. Rear shock mounts fail too.

    The great thing about E30s is that if you are slightly mechanically inclined you can do a lot of the work on these cars yourself. In that you will save tons of cash. I do 95% of the needed work on all my cars myself. There is very little I won't do. I don't mount tires for obvious reasons and I let a pro who knows the S14 (the motor in my M3) adjusts it's valves. But I adjust the valves on my other two E30s. It is pretty straight forward.

    If you buy this car, do yourself a favor and buy the Bentley repair manual!!! It will pay for it's self in one use.

    Good luck.
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    • Technical Service Advisor


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    There were no 86 325i models in the US, so it is an e

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