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gonna buy today...comments?

Discussion in 'E30 (1984-1993)' started by tjrinaldi, Jun 1, 2011.

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    tjrinaldi

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    Hey there's a nice E30 in my area which I am planning to buy later today. This vehicle looks well maintained and I am looking simply for a nice, dependable, not-quite-daily driver in the given price range. Here is the link:

    http://milwaukee.craigslist.org/cto/2409288736.html

    I am meticulous with maintenance on my E36 and will do the same for this E30. Is there anyone out there who would like to comment on issues to potentially look out for? I am not an E30 expert by any means, but do well with the E36. Is this asking price fair? Please let me know thoughts. THANK YOU in advance!
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    CRKrieger

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    Well, aside from some stupid and pointless 'mods', ugly oversized "rims", undoubtedly trashed seats, and an automatic, it doesn't seem too bad. I wouldn't pay over $2200-$2500 for it.
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    MGarrison

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    I swear I hate flash sometimes - had a reply going, accidentally hit some dam* button or another, and *poof*, buh-bye!

    Ok, take two, this time in a less-disappearable program and a copy-paste!

    I was saying....

    Given that area of the country, check for rust - look at the rear edge of the trunk lip, the license plate lights, the battery well, lower rear quarters, underneath the trunk lining/'carpet' on the left side where the jack sits (water from leaks can remain unseen underneath the plastic-backed 'carpet', or sit in the spare tire well), etc. Jack on the frame rails (easily seen underneath) and the rear cross-member/subframe, not the side-rails. The side rail lip kind of 'marks' jack points, but the trunk jack is designed to fit the frame lip at those points, and jacking on it with a floor jack will flatten the lip.

    Car _looks_ clean, but, looks can be deceiving - if you feel confident, look it all over carefully, but it's often worth the money to have a shop familiar with that vintage of BMW's check it out and get an idea of what it may need.

    Automatic - ugh, but if it works, ok. Don't know how long lived it may be at 184k (I've always had manuals, which also make E30's more fun to drive).

    I think most of the wear stuff is probably similar intervals to your E36; bushings, hoses, rubber lines, mounts, etc - it all ages and wears out eventually. Diff mount, tranny mounts, engine mounts, shock mounts, upper strut bearings, rear-subframe bushings, guibo, driveshaft center-support bearing, fuel line hoses, coolant hoses, accesory belts, swaybary links/bushings, trailing-arm bushings, tie-rods, control arms, (maybe even wheel bearings, a steering rack or steering-column u-joint by now) and timing belt are among the various things that this car could well be on it's 2nd, 3rd, or 4th of, if it's been reasonably well maintained. Never mind some reinforcements in select areas - with a lowered suspension, it's not a bad idea to reinforce the top rear shock mount areas, and/or opt for a rear shock tower cross-brace, plus opt for upgraded rear shock mounts (of which there are a variety of options). Good idea to take a good look at the metal brake lines - a winter driven car, particularly if exposed to salt, could well be showing rusted brake lines on the underside of the car. Time consuming to replace, but do-able; much easier access if the rear subframe is out. If the car needs subframe bushings, that's the time to address brake line issues if needed. If the relays are original, might be worthwhile to throw some new ones in, particularly the main fuel relay. See if the rear antenna grommet is solid around the antenna - if that's shot, it'll leak into the trunk. Engine needs valve adjustment, every 15k - check when that was last done.

    Presumably you've heard the timing belt caveats - every 4-5 yrs, or 50-60k, or risk disaster - sounds like the current owner's covered that.

    In any case - the more you can find out about the car's useage and maintenance history, the better.

    Lots of info out there about E30's, including here - yes, they need maintenance, but are typically considered a long-lived BMW, and barring rust problems, a solid chassis. Unlike E36's & E46's, E30's are not known to have the rear-subframe body areas tear-out.
    • Member

    MGarrison

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    1 thing I forgot - the a/c system. May or may not be important to you, but whether r12 or r134, if it's _not_ working, it can be expensive to get working. Most a/c components are relatively expensive - compressor, evaporator, condenser, a/c lines, electrical parts, etc. An r134 conversion should work, but the cooled air won't be as cold as with r12.

    If everything works reasonably well (sunroof, windows, door/trunk locks, obc if it has one, check panel, etc), with the possible exception of the a/c, you have a good maintenance history, the rest of the car top-to-bottom and underneath is as clean-looking as the exterior (no rust or bodywork needed), and it has minimal immediate maintenance needs, it might be worth the asking price, but the automatic makes it less desireable, so $3k I'd say is it, and I agree with CR, $2.5k is better.

    Oh ya - not uncommon for the ignition lock and/or door locks to be worn enough to need replacing as you near 200k. The door locks go first, then you'll find yourself using the trunk to lock & unlock the doors. Obviously, no alternative to the ignition lock.
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    MGarrison

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    CRKrieger

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    Just for you, Marshall, I lifted my 'Bronzit Smiley' from MyE28.com: [IMG]
    • Member

    MGarrison

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    hehe! :D Well, hey, at least my car's not the same color as my kneecaps in the middle of a Wisconsin winter! ;):p If you park that outside on a snowy day up there, can you even find it later?? :p
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    GSMetal

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    Hey TJ -

    Post some pics when you get a chance - that link was deleted.
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    Brian A

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    Hope you got it. Nice car.

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