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eta models

Discussion in 'E30 (1984-1993)' started by tiFreak, Mar 25, 2011.

    • Member

    tiFreak

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    I figured this forum's probably the best place to get some mature, honest answers to this

    I'm thinking of getting rid of my M10 powered 318i and getting an 86 325e to use for track duty, what are peoples thoughts on the eta models? I've heard that with a chip and a lower ratio diff they can be pretty fast cars but is it actually fast or just faster than what it was before?

    I was all set and excited to buy this car until I mentioned it to my dad and he asked me why I was wasting time "buying a slug and trying to turn it into a real car," kinda made me start doubting whether it was a good idea or not

    btw, this is the car:
    http://burlington.craigslist.org/cto/2280963229.html
    I've talking him down to $1200 and a set of 15" Borbet Type A's that are a little ratty looking but straight, does that sound like a good deal? my dad thinks I'm getting screwed paying that much
    • Member

    MGarrison

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    Down to $1200?? Car looks like a basket case, I don't think I'd pay that much for the dented door, missing trim & front valance, and if the rear quarter's obviously that rusty, I can only imagine what the rest of things will be like. I wouldn't buy that car if I were you unless you could get it up in the air and see what's rusty (unibody, brake lines, etc!)

    If your '84's body doesn't have the dents and rust issues, not sure that I'd think it'd be worth losing the '84 to opt for that particular e30 instead.

    Botond used his 325e for track duty, but swapped in either an M50 or S50 ultimately, then sold the car (obviously he wanted more power enough to eventually make a conversion). I don't know if there's any reason you couldn't convert yours to have a 325i motor. I _think_ if you wanted the rear disc brakes of the later E30's, you'd have to swap out the rear trailing arms (obviously you'd need the calipers/rotors - and, brake lines _might_ be different. At the front, you might need a different subframe (an 'i steering rack might even be different from the early 318i E30), and you'd certainly need the engine wiring harness and ECU. I think you'd need a transmission too, and come to think of it, I think the 6-cyl. E30 differentials are different (beefier gears maybe?).

    Chips don't make big differences, although they can make relatively small differences that are noticeable. A different diff. gear ratio will help a bit with the acceleration, but you can't do too much about that low redline, a chip will only bump the rev limit a bit.

    To get something together for track duty, a better starting point would be just about any 325i, 4 or 2 dr., obviously the cleaner the better. However, given this point in the age & useage cycle of an E30, I don't think it's necessarily as simple as do-a-couple-cheap-things and go-hit-the-track, and be safe about it.

    For cars in any rust-belt, to partial rust-belt, or perhaps even cars exposed to a saltier ocean-climate, besides regular rust, brake lines could be rusted to the point of rust-through perforation and potential leaks. And replacing the solid brake lines isn't all _that_ hard, but it does take some time (lines don't come pre-bent, you have to bend them yourself, obviously without crimping them and making the line useless). For track duty, I wouldn't be too thrilled to trust, at the newest, 19 or 20 year-old original rubber brake lines, so you're looking at upgrading to stainless brake lines. Then you've got to deal with integrity of the bushings. Replacing control arms and control-arm bushings, tie-rods, motor-mounts (E30 stock mounts aren't just notorious for breaking under track duty, it's inevitable), subframe bushings, trailing arm bushings, diff-mount bushing, rubber fuel lines, integrity of coolant hoses, etc. You get the idea - making a 20+ year old car track-worthy has the potential to get into some expense and replacing whole slews of parts, just to make sure things are basically safe. Swapping an 'i' motor into an eta is more straightforward, almost assuredly, than the same for your '84 318i. Then there's reinforcing things, such as the swaybar mountings &/or swaybar mounting points. It can go on and on, so the cleaner something you have to start with, the better, and rust obviously is not gonna be your friend!
    • Member

    granthr

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    +1 on what MGarrison said. Spend the money on your 318i like for 325 front brakes and rears if you want to tackle that. I have 325 brakes all around on my 84 318i. The fronts bolt right in with new rotors. The rears require new trailing arms as mentioned. I found a complete rear sub frame at a junk yard for $100 bucks already out of the car!! I then sold the open 4:10 diff off of it for $50. I replace all the rubber on it before installing it my car. Once you add rear discs you should swap out your brake master cylinder to a non-abs 325e unit.

    The beauty of the 84-95 318i is that is the lightest of all the E30s, not just because of the smaller motor, but the shell it's self is lighter. So when it comes to a track car this is a great place to start. Throwing a cam into the M10 will wake it up some, then add headers.

    Start with the 325 front brakes and go from there! :D
    • Member

    CRKrieger

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    Listen to these guys. They're right and they cover nearly all the options. I'm only here to tell you to tell your dad he's wrong about the eta. I have owned an eta E28 (which is mostly a slug) and I've driven and instructed in eta E30s. The eta in the E30 transforms the engine into a relative torque monster. The same engine in the E28 allowed it to keep up with the 535i/is to about 50 mph. Getting an appropriate differential into it makes it a killer learner's car. However, I would not consider an eta E30 that was not already in good to excellent condition. [If you're going to buy a 'rat', buy a better 'rat' (like a ratty 'is).] The ideal E30 eta would be the 325es, which is a pretty rare beast these days. With any eta, the first serious power upgrade (beyond a chip and a diff) is the 'e2i' conversion. This takes an 'i' head and the engine peripherals (ECU, wiring harness & sensors) and makes the 'e' into an 'i' - with the distinct advantage of an extra 200cc of displacement (9mm longer stroke) over the 325i/is. There are many write-ups on this procedure around tha intarwebz - especially over at MyE28.com. Beyond that, you're looking at turbocharging ...
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    Zeichen311

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    See the second line in my sig? When I rescued it, that car was in better shape than that E30 yet still needed a pile of cash to make it road-worthy and reliable. It would have required another, still-larger pile to become even remotely track-worthy (ignoring the fact that it had the wrong kind of transmission).

    Don't underestimate the value--in dollars, time and peace of mind--of starting with a known quantity. You know what's right and wrong with your 318i--address its weaknesses and then build on its strengths. Your money will go a lot farther.
    • Member

    harris318i

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    sorry guys i have to disagree, though you are all much more experienced than i, My first BMW was a 1984 318i. And mostly because it was my first experience with working on cars (new engine install, troubleshooting money pit), though a great learning curve it was a freaking nightmare. the bastard child of BMW. Made in only 1983 (released for 1984 -1985), It was basically impossible to find anything for it since its half way between a 20-02 and a 325i..

    I own an 88 325 (SuperEta, there is no E or I) and sold the 318i to buy a 84 528e (Eta) ...im still trying to figure out the 5's lack of everything but...

    The 1987-1988 325 SuperEta. i too have considered trying to make my 325 faster, SuperEta's have the head of a 325i and the block of a 325e (as well as many miscellaneous parts from the 2) ~127hp stock...
    now people say that you can take the cam, springs, intake/exhaust, dme, injectors (etc) from a 325i and itll give the SuperEta 160-180hp...but then all you're really doing is building a 325i in which you might as well just go and buy a 325i ...

    and from what ive gathered in the convo's above..everyone has basically rebuilt their 318's into 325's. Now the 1991-1994 318i is a completely diff story (m42).

    As for my 528e, it had a lot of new parts when i bought it so its been somewhat easy to restore, but because im looking for something faster, more fun, better handling (its a boat is what im saying) im going to finish restoring it and if i can, buy an e36 328i (193hp) or an e36 325i (189hp) search around through the link below, ive found many reliable looking e36's anywhere between $1200 - $3500

    http://www.autotempest.com

    neep3r guest

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    I have a 86 325es with 95k and it is slow. I've got intake and exhaust and just ordered a Turner Motorsport Conforti chip. In my experience chips don't really do much for NA motors like they do on motors with a turbo. I do want to know more about lowering the ratio on my differential, anyone have any good resources? What does something like that cost at a reasonable shop?

    I do want to say I the 325es is a great car, it gets great mpg (I average 28mpg) and very reliable.
    • Member

    Brian A

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    Since you're an experienced track junkie, you know already that there is a huge amount of driver skill that separates the fast from the slow. By modern standards, both cars are pretty gutless. There always are bigger fish in the pond. (Consider putting a switch-activated sign on the back of the 1984 that says, "you just got passed by a 120 hp car".)

    It'll never be fast by modern standards. You'll be at 95 mph at the end of the straights and somebody in a Corvette will be at 140 mph. That's just the way it is. At least you won't have to lift as you point them by when they catch you halfway down the straight.

    Note that the 1991 318i was an E30 while the other M42 years were heavier E36s.
    • Member

    tiFreak

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    my 318i is rusted pretty badly, there's a few holes in the trunk and floor that go all the way through, the guy selling it says that it's pretty rust free underneath which is part of the reason I wanted it. having a few dents on a dedicated track car never really concerned me

    also I am a mechanic and do have experience with replacing hard brake lines although it is one of my least favorite things to do
    funny, the same guy has one of those too, same price and year. only thing that scared me away from that was that he bought it sight unseen and hasn't even driven it yet so there's no telling what's wrong with it. this car on the other hand was his son's daily driver for a few years.


    this was one of the biggest reasons I want to get out of the 318i, it was very hard to find used parts so I could stay on a budget

    it's actually more like 100 hp :eek: I know drivers skill is important but I still want something with a little more power and a better potential to make more power without a lot of fabrication


    now just a little update on this, it's come up recently that a friend of my dads who works as a car wholesaler is probably going to be getting a 318ti fairly soon, and since me and him know each other fairly well he said he could sell it to me for a pretty good price. this actually works out pretty well because when I bought my E30 I was actually looking for a 318ti to turn into a track car and the E30 was just a compromise. true to my screen name I'd much rather have a second 318ti as a track car over any E30 (sorry E30 guys!) so unless the deal for the ti falls though I probably won't be buying the 325e
    • Member

    harris318i

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    No, i know e30 (83-94), e36 (91-98). 318i was produced in 1983 for 1984-1985 with the m10 based engine. brought back in 1990-1994 few coupes mostly convertibles though and with the m42 enigine. personally i think if your going to buy an older e30 BMW anything between 1988- 1994 is yourbest bet, got all the kinks out of the design process and id rather have a 91 318i (preferably a 318is (1991 ONLY :( twas but a dream) than the 84-85 318i. dont get me wrong i know it has a lot of potential but in the end your still craving for more. and after a while it just doesnt cut it. i love my 325 and (starting to) 528e. but i really want an e36 328i. so im going to finish restoring it and then sell my 528e, save up, and but either an e36 325i (189hp) or 328i (193hp).

    You obviously want something faster, and i agree with your Ti choice. Choose something with a better foundation to work with. sticking with an e30 means you stuck with the m20 (assuming your not going to drop an e36 engine into it and go through all that) and body design/aerodynamics. the Ti gives you the option of a smoother transition. if you want a bigger engine go with the 323, or 325, or 328.

    Im not saying the e30 is a bad car, but for what you want it for (purpose wise) there are "better" options, and around the same price (e36 325i w/ 115000 miles FS in my area)
    • Member

    harris318i

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    btw: you obviously know your stuff but just in case you didnt know.
    if your stuck on finding parts for your 318i go to realoem.com, put in your info and find the part your looking for. then copy the part number and then click on the 'select another car' .
    in the box that says 'PART NR APPLICATION SEARCH' past the part number and it will give you a list of all the e30's that use the same part.

    (to everyone) check out www.RMeuropen.com
    they have generally the same prices as bavauto, but offer
    free ground shipping for orders over $65-$250
    free 3day shipping for order $250-$350
    free 2day shipping for order $350-$450
    free next day shipping for orders $450+

    hard to beat, and they do have majority of everything you'd be looking for
    ordered from them 2x, both arrived right on time and the first was free 3day shipping
    • Member

    tiFreak

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    it actually wasn't replacement parts I was having trouble with, it was performance parts, all the listings for used parts I could find were usually for 6-cyl. E30s

    neep3r guest

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    You mean http://www.rmeuropean.com/
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    Brian A

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    I believe the E30 M42 318i coupe and sedan were only built in the 1991 model year. They may have started manufacture in 1990 but were sold as 1991 model year cars (my 1991 318i was, in fact, manufactured in September 1990). Was BMW building other M42 E30s for the non-North America market or something?

    I believe all M42 E30s built in 1992 and 1993 were convertibles. The E36 coupe and sedan was already in production.

    I wasn't aware that any E30 was manufactured in 1994 at all.
    • Member

    granthr

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    Brian you are right on all accounts, but I believe a few E30 Tourings were built in 1994.
    • Member

    MGarrison

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    Maybe BMWCCA1 can recall when the M42 318is was first offered for sale.

    M42club has a Car & Driver article from Sept. 1990 (http://www.m42club.com/forums/showthread.php?t=13300); according to the wikipedia compendium, production began for Europe in '89 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BMW_3_Series_(E30)). Realoem.com lists U.S. M42 318is production starting 11/89 (Europe, 2/89). Considering the car mags run some 3-6 months lead time, they apparently were reviewing the U.S. model car well before Sept. '90. My recollection was that the 318is was '90 & '91 model year cars, but, memory is fallible. Realoem shows production for 316i & 318i Touring running through 2/94.
    • Member

    granthr

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    I am pretty positive the US M42 powered E30s where model year (MY) 1991 only. Remember BMW has done 18 month long models years before. The lion's share of the E30 M3 was made in MY 1988. The 1995 E36 M3 was in production for about 18 months, I believe partly because of the change over to OBDII.
    • Member

    harris318i

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    haha, dont have time to quote everyone so...
    yes it is rmeuropean.com (mis-spelled it)

    and yes the coupe and sedan were 91 only and the cabriolet (convertible) went till mid 93 (so produced in 93 for the 94 year) (sorry, im making horrible generalizations :D) usually at work when i visit the site, so i try and throw down what i can and hop off before i get caught :rolleyes:
    • Member

    harris318i

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    While i have you all here, i have a general question about my power steering pump.

    its about 20°F in the mornings and she moans like a whore during red light special. there has been a slight leak coming from either the reservoir or the pump. I took the reservoir out, cleaned the hoses, and put on new clamps (same old hases though :rolleyes:) but the leak came back. its not losing much fluid, if left over night it will produce a puddle the width of a (pack of cigarettes, dixie cup, but no more than the size of a cd) and its not a "thick" puddle, you cant jump on it and splash anything.
    There are bubbles in the fluid when you take the cap off and the annoying groan coming from the pump.

    as the engine heats up to operating temp, the groan goes away. but every morning it sounds like its trying to pass a baby out its butt.

    neep3r guest

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    I am having the exact same problem with leaks from my power steering reservoir/hoses/pump although I have not heard any groans or noises at all. My mechanic has my 325es and will let me know sometime this week what the problem was but the power steering fluid was leaking a from the reservoir. After he tightened the clamps at the base of the reservoir I noticed what seemed to be an even larger leak around the pump... I'll let you know what he finds.

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