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New Member from North Carolina -- Just Purchased Cinnabarot '87 325e Automatic Sedan

Discussion in 'Member Introductions' started by BMWtyro, Jul 31, 2010.

    • Member

    BMWtyro

    Post Count: 22
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    My name is Jeff Dreibus and my wife Dawn and I just purchased our first Bimmer: an original-paint cinnabarot '87 sedan with an automatic tranny which we bought from a dealer for its outstanding condition. We had looked at five-speed e and es coupes in our area, but we simply couldn't find one in this car's condition. No, you don't have to look at all of the photos; just choose a few and you'll get the idea:

    http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v234/jpw3578/1987 BMW 325e/DSC01381.jpg
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    Dawn and Lil' Red ("working" name; permanent name TBD) and I have already attended our first BMWCCA dinner in Asheville and met several fine folks who gave us much good advice -- one piece of which (heavily stressed) was to replace the timing belt if we had any doubts about its mileage. Unless, of course, we enjoy rebuilding cylinder heads . . .

    Which leads me to this: the car already sported a BMWCCA window sticker when we bought it. Is it possible to somehow research previous ownership through this club if the P.O. is still active? The dealer bought it at an auction and has no idea of the P.O.'s identity. Of course, no service records accompanied the car. The timing belt (and its ancillary/incidental components) presents a rather large and somewhat expensive job for me (literally, as I am a committed DIYer) to tackle right on the heels of buying a car with which I am largely unfamiliar. If it isn't essential, my money/time is needed elsewhere.

    The serial number tells us that the 325 was assembled in 7/86. CARFAX tells us that it was bought new in Schaumburg, IL in 12/86; spent most of its life in Lincolnshire, IL; came to NC (possibly the Charlotte area) in 4/08 presumably with the original owner; and was sold at auction here in NC a couple of times in '09. Does any of this sound familiar to any BMWCCAers? If so, any leads/suggestions would be appreciated.

    I would hope that anyone who took such good care of his/her car would wish to know that it has found a loving home in western North Carolina -- and would perhaps help the new owners out with some much-needed information.

    Thanks.

    Jeff Dreibus
    • Member

    CRKrieger

    Post Count: 1,616
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    You might send a few emails directly to the Windy City Chapter. Some of their longtime members have near photographic memories and would probably remember who had this car.

    BTW, was it a "BMWCCA" sticker or a "BMW CCA" sticker? The old 'no space' sticker would suggest the club member bought it new - or one of us old dinosaurs stuck one of our remaining stash stickers on it when it fell into our hands. ;)
    • Member

    Rennsport1

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    Welcome. Nice 325! Is that the original paint ?
    • Member

    Satch SoSoCalifortified

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    Welcome to the funhouse!

    I can assure you that changing the timing belt on an M20 engine is a relatively okay DIY project, about $500 cheaper than paying a shop. Seems to me we ought to be able to research the Roundel story on the process in our online past-issue collection!
    • Member

    BMWtyro

    Post Count: 22
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    Thanks for the replies. I usually get back to forum respondents more quickly than this but, for whatever reason, my password refused to work until now (webmaster notified).

    CR, thanks for the tip. I will indeed contact the Windy City Chapter and see whether I can shake up the gray matter. And the BMW CCA sticker does indeed have a space, so I guess it is of recent origin.

    Renn, yes red the paint is original except perhaps for some touch-up. It is one of our favorite things about the car. We really like nice originals or near-originals. None of the collector (or pseudo-collector) vehicles which we currently own are completely restored.

    Satch, I read a comment on a different forum which suggested that the timing belt/water pump/thermostat job required only about four hours. Is that true? I removed the timing belt inspection cover (such as it is) today and examined the belt with an untrained eye. I saw no cracks, no missing belt lugs and nothing which I could identify as wear. I could not see the backside of the belt, the condition of the printing on which (I was told at the BMW CCA dinner) might provide me with a clue as to the belt's mileage. I did, however, have my wife "bump" the engine around so that I could get a look at every square inch of the lug side (or thereabouts). I'll try to find that tech article in the Roundel archive - I say "try" because this forum is new to me and I am not impressively computer-savvy.

    Thanks for the replies.

    Jeff Dreibus
    • Member

    MGarrison

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    Although this would be mentioned in numerous other posts in the DIY and E30 sections, you probably haven't had a chance to delve into those in depth. It's worthwhile to purchase the Bentley manual for your car - excellent guide and covers most major projects for your car. Can be had from Bavauto.com, Bentley Publishers directly, Amazon.com, &/or Ebay, to name a few. I'd say 4 hrs for the timing belt job is optimistic - an experienced pro who's done it many times with everything needed at hand ought to be able to do it that quickly, or at least turn it around within a day. Having to figure some things out on your own as you go, even with the Bentley manual, & doing it the first time - might be possible to turn it around in a day; but it might be a long day!

    Essential? Depends on your risk-tolerance I suppose.... changing a timing belt, tensioner & water pump is certainly a whole lot cheaper than the alternative. 16,233 miles?? Really? Who owns a car for 20 or more years driving it that little? If that's correct, then mileage allows no guesstimation if the belt's been changed in the car's history. Recommended change intervals are every 4 years, or 60k miles - according to that, if it's the original belt, it would be on borrowed time. Given the cleanliness of the car, based on looks, it would seem unlikely the odometer's rolled over(!), but it's not uncommon for the plastic odometer gears to weaken & fail in older BMW's, so having had the speedo/odo replaced wouldn't be the remotest possibility.

    If you don't have time now, perhaps park it until you do? & yes, any info from prior owners obviously would be helpful - you might want to hit up the contacts from the chapter websites in the area there. Might be a remote chance of finding someone who knows the car; however, it's just as likely whoever stuck the club sticker on it didn't actively participate or interact with other club members in their chapter area, either.

    That car is ridiculously clean - nice find! Welcome to the club & congrats on such a nice example as your first BMW!
    • Member

    CRKrieger

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    Oh; and having owned one, I can tell you that the color, in English, is 'Cinnabar Red' Auf Deutsch ist's 'Zinnoberot'. Don't mix them into one misbegotten mutt of a word.
    • Member

    BMWtyro

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    MG,

    I've already purchased the Bentley's manual and have put it to good use for some minor repairs. I forgot about the odometer shot in the phototbucket, hence I neglected to address the odometer reading. No, I am not so lucky as to have found one with 16K original miles. The speedo head was replaced at 106K (according to CARFAX) so the overall mileage is somewhere north of 123K -- just how far north no one is sure. I feel that it is probably safe to assume 150K+ miles. This is one of the questions which I would like to ask the former owner. I suppose that you are right about the timing belt; guess it is time to get my feet wet with a semi-major repair. And thanks for the welcome.

    CR,

    You are 100% correct about the color name. I realized earlier today that when I made my first post I had more or less anglicized the German; I was working by memory rather than the written word, hence I managed to outsmart myself! It was indeed a bowdlerization of the condensed(?) German name for "Cinnamon Berry Red". My translation is correct, yes? My father was the gifted linguist, not I . . .

    Jeff
    • Member

    bcweir

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    Welcome! Nice car! Regarding the belt....

    There's an old saying about the belts which certainly holds true today: "If in doubt, change it out."

    The 325e is what's called an "interference" engine. This means that the design of the valves "overlap" in such a way that if your belt breaks, and the intake and exhaust valves open at the same time, it's not good. At best, you're going to be looking at either valvetrain damage or replacing the entire head. At worst, it's a new engine replacement if any pistons hit the valves. Changing the belt is cheap insurance against this kind of disaster.

    When or if you pull the belt, take a look at the teeth on the belt. I seem to recall from reading Mike Miller's column that there was a change from square teeth to triangular shaped teeth (or it might have been the other way around). Put simply, you want to make sure that the teeth on the new belt are the same geometric shape as the teeth on the old one. If they're different, you're going to have to change the camshaft sprocket to the newer one that matches the teeth on your new belt.

    But the most important thing is that if you're not 100 percent sure about whether the belt was changed, by all means, please do it anyway (even if it looks "fine" to the naked eye, you want to be able to keep track of when these belts are changed). As the other members suggested, a belt change on an M20 (BMW's code name for their line of "baby sixes" or "small displacement sixes [the big six was the M30, which wasn't officially offered on the E30's, but was offered on their larger cars]] is not a big DIY job, even if you do have to swap out the camshaft sprocket too.

    These belts HAVE to be changed every 20,000 miles.

    A popular muffler shop commercial depicted a mechanic telling the audience: "You can pay me a little now, or you can pay me a lot more, later."
    • Member

    Zeichen311

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    No. Zinnoberrot is German for "Cinnabar Red" or "Vermilion."

    Cinnabar:
    n : 1. Red sulphide of mercury, occurring in brilliant red crystals, and also in red or brown amorphous masses.

    2. The artificial red sulphide of mercury used as a pigment; vermilion.

    adj : of a vivid red to reddish-orange color [syn: vermilion, vermillion, Chinese-red]

    But you could call the color "Bob" and you'd still have one fine-looking automobile! :D Enjoy it and welcome!
    • Member

    az3579

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    Depending on the source, the numbers vary, but almost everywhere it's between 40-60k miles or every 4 years, whichever comes first. 20k is way too low and can tell you right now that is definitely not necessary to do it that frequently. If that was the case, I would've gone through 3 timing belts in the 3.5 years that engine was in my car!
    • Member

    CRKrieger

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    Correct. I always associate it with native American burials, although I guess it was more Mesoamerican than North American tribes that used cinnabar in their burial sites:

    [IMG]

    Click on the picture for the guy's commentary on the photo.
    • Member

    Satch SoSoCalifortified

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    And another thing. . .

    The belt change is recommended by BMW at five years, 50,000 miles; we M20 cultists have a more conservative dogma, four years or 40,000 miles. Now! Then! Here's the thing: most belt-replacement kits have a STICKER on which you write the date and the mileage when you change the belt; the last shop (or owner) to change the belt will probably have recorded this data.

    The only problem is to find the sticker. Mine is unaccountably on the inside of the fuse-box lid. (I may have been drinking.)

    Usually, they appear on a fender or on the fan shroud. But I'll bet there's one in there somewhere.
    • Member

    bcweir

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    I stand corrected. It is 40,000 miles. Thanks everyone.

    Check the teeth on that belt though, and if you're not sure if it's been changed recently, or at what mileage point, I recommend changing it anyway.
    • Member

    BMWtyro

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    BC,
    I appreciate the input on the timing belt issue. But my belt "teeth" are neither square nor triangular -- they are most definitely rounded! Does that indicate anything to you about the possible age or previous source of the belt? No visible wear, however.

    NTS,
    Thanks for the clarification on the "Zinnoberrot" translation -- and your kind words regarding the Eta.

    Satch,
    No sticker. Non. Nein. Nyet. Nowhere.

    Or if it is in fact present, someone went out of their way to conceal it as neither I nor any other has yet been able to locate it. I have been told that the fuse box lid is indeed the typical place to locate the sticker. I said nothing in response . . . but I thought "Put it there and deface that perfect transparent cover?!?"

    With my luck, I'll probably find its remnants on the inside of the timing cover when I actually change the belt . . .

    Jeff
    • Member

    bcweir

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    All that says is that there is SOME wear on the belt

    Rounded teeth on the belt is a sign of moderate wear, especially if the teeth on the belt don't seem to have any apparent edges on them. The biggest danger is from the teeth slipping or "jumping" teeth on the belt as a result of the wear. You might have to look at the teeth on the camshaft gear. This is going to be located at the top front of the engine. You might have to remove the timing cover from the engine to see the camshaft pulley.

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