pigeon HalfDork
July 6, 2010 7:54 p.m.

It won't come home until this weekend, but here's my $500 1987 325is that I just bought for $500 after lucking into the ad on the Fourth of July right after it was posted:

The good: Plugs, fluids, timing belt/tensioner/water pump, head gasket, rear main seal changed 2k miles ago, down pipe and cat changed last winter (less than 1k miles ago), stainless brake lines all around, Hella headlights, Bavauto lowering springs, Bavauto short shifter. New IAC valve. K&N filter (filthy).

The bad: The rust under the driver's door looks to be narrow but deep and will have to be addressed; slight oil leak (I was already pointed to the common leak from the control valve gasket); hesitates/stumbles right off idle (new IAC valve didn't fix it); lots of play in the steering on center (I'll check the big nut on the under dash steering coupler when I get it home); right turn signals don't work (either the relay or switch on the steering column, either way the wheel has to come off); all exterior rubber especially rear spoiler is in poor condition; ABS light is on (PO says ABS never worked - ideas?); stereo only plays out of one speaker. Valves need adjusting. The washer fluid sensor doesn't work. Fog lights aren't hooked up. Driver's door lock doesn't unlock the car and the trunk button sticks. The parking brake release button is waaay recessed into the handle.

The "other" AC completely gone - it gets hot here but this will only be a nice day fun car so the weight loss is probably better than having the AC Power steering pump and lines are removed, pump comes with the car

I'm very excited to have a play car. This is the car that my 10 year old son will be taught to wrench on - he can help me do the valve adjustment, track down any vac leaks, learn basic body work with me, etc. I'll also autocross it and do my first HPDE with it once the mechanical issues are all taken care of and it gets new pads/rotors/rubber.

Lugnut HalfDork
July 6, 2010 8:07 p.m.

Awesome find! Enjoy the feeling of stresslessness that comes with taking a nearly free E30 on the track.

Mikey52_1
Mikey52_1 New Reader
July 6, 2010 8:07 p.m.

ABS light is on (PO says ABS never worked - ideas?) This is the car that my 10 year old son will be taught to wrench on - he can help me do the valve adjustment, track down any vac leaks, learn basic body work with me, etc.

How 'bout tying these 2 thoughts together? I find that as one explains, or tries to explain how something works, kids come to an understanding fairly quickly, and ask some searching questions that you'll HAVE to find answers for, or be found to be a lame Dad after all. At least for a while. And you'll find YOU understand it better too! Give it a shot, and good luck! Oh, and congratulations on your purchase!

stuart in mn SuperDork
July 6, 2010 8:27 p.m.

Looks like you got a good deal! Most of those things can be fixed easily enough without spending a bunch of money, it just takes time.

The ABS computer is pretty robust as far as I know. One of the sensors may be bad, the tooth wheels on the hubs could need cleaning, or there may be a broken wire.

The ABS on the 325iX I bought this spring isn't working because squirrels chewed the wires off the sensors on the rear wheels. One of these days I have to get under there and fix them.

pigeon HalfDork
July 6, 2010 8:27 p.m.

I thank my iphone for the crappy pics that hide all the flaws, but it really is in nice shape for a 23 year old car. New question - do I spend $50 (10% of the purchase price!) to put a Top Gear inspired vanity plate on a $500 car?

Oh, and now I've owned 2/3 of the holy triumvirate - had a 96 Miata for a few years. I don't see a P71 in my future though...

pigeon HalfDork
July 6, 2010 8:28 p.m.
stuart in mn wrote: Looks like you got a good deal! Most of those things can be fixed easily enough without spending a bunch of money, it just takes time. The ABS computer is pretty robust as far as I know. One of the sensors may be bad, the tooth wheels on the hubs could need cleaning, or there may be a broken wire. The ABS on the 325iX I bought this spring isn't working because squirrels chewed the wires off the sensors on the rear wheels. One of these days I have to get under there and fix them.

Thanks. Any idea if there's a diagnostic code set that I can read to guide my search, or should I start with a simple visual check and go from there?

pigeon HalfDork
July 6, 2010 8:33 p.m.

Another post in my own thread - can anyone ID the wheels? In my haste to make the deal I forgot to get a good look or ask the seller.

jrw1621 SuperDork
July 6, 2010 8:34 p.m.

Seems that you and I are headed down similar paths.
Here is the '87 325is that I bought for $1800 6 months ago. It too was listed in a poorly worded classified ad.

Sure, I paid almost 4 times what you paid but I have none of the mechanicl problems that you have (but you got some real nice rims.) Mine is straight stock with slight rust and same fadded exterior rubber. I have put over 4k miles on since I bought it but really put no money into it.

Here are a few insights.
http://zoso.no-ip.org/318i-ke.html
http://zoso.no-ip.org/cars-318i.html
I followed these directions for a keyless entry and bought from the same seller as noted on ebay. Smooth ebay transaction and perfectly easy install.

I too only had sound coming out of one side. I bought some speakers and started to pull out the old ones. At that point I discovered that the old speakers look to be perfect. Further searching and pulling the stereo quickly showed a disconnected wire. Re-connection had it all working fine. I returned the new speakers and the 23 yr old speakers are just fine.

My goals are to improve car control before adding any hp. I really need to get started on:
sub-frame bushings
shock/spring/ suspension re-fresh
shifter linkage improvements
brake upgrades
sticky rubber (on the 14" BBS's)

Congrats on a great find!

Bababooey
Bababooey New Reader
July 6, 2010 8:42 p.m.

Looks like you're from Rochester. Damn you. I keep trying to find a nice E30 locally but keep finding rust buckets/mechanical nightmares that people think are worth $2500.

ddavidv SuperDork
July 6, 2010 9:12 p.m.

Dollars to donuts that ABS problem is a simple fix.

On the driver's side the ABS computer is under the dash to the left of the steering column on top of that is a silver relay. Replace it, or if you're really creative pop the top off of it and see if the little fusible link is poofed. Solder it back together if you have the skills. The relays new are under $20, I think. If the car has ever been jump started, poof, there ya go.

If it's not that, then I'd wager a wheel sensor. I buy handfuls of them at the junkyard for a few bucks.

EvanB Dork
July 6, 2010 9:39 p.m.

Look like the 5zigen FN01R but slightly different, may be a knockoff.

pigeon HalfDork
July 6, 2010 9:56 p.m.
Bababooey wrote: Looks like you're from Rochester. Damn you. I keep trying to find a nice E30 locally but keep finding rust buckets/mechanical nightmares that people think are worth $2500.

Yep, I was watching craigslist like a hawk for a while now and caught that one 20 minutes after it was posted. There's a beautiful 325i at a "dealer" on Syracuse c-list asking $2995.

stuart in mn SuperDork
July 6, 2010 10:06 p.m.

First thing to do is get yourself a Bentley e30 repair manual, they're a very good reference. You can buy one from Amazon, or used copies show up on the BMW boards from time to time. http://www.amazon.com/BMW-E30-Service-Manual-1984-1990/dp/0837603250

2002maniac Reader
July 6, 2010 10:24 p.m.

look like Rotas. Sweet find!

mattmacklind SuperDork
July 7, 2010 8:35 a.m.

Thats awesome, the kind of thing that keeps me looking at CL regularly.

captain_napalm
July 7, 2010 9:02 a.m.

Very nice find, especially for Rochester. In all the time I lived in the area, I haven't come close to finding a deal like that.

Bababooey
Bababooey New Reader
July 7, 2010 10:45 a.m.
pigeon wrote: Yep, I was watching craigslist like a hawk for a while now and caught that one 20 minutes after it was posted. There's a beautiful 325i at a "dealer" on Syracuse c-list asking $2995.

Thanks, looks like I might have to go look at that. My SVT was hit and I'm going to be making ~$2500 by sourcing parts/doing the work myself. I could do the sensible thing and bank it but why have 3 cars when you can have 4?

BTW, I got my SVT Focus on c-list for $7k. Low 20k for mileage and had $4k in tasteful aftermarket. All but the carbon fiber hood was actually a performance part. You've got to have a hair trigger to buy things on there because the good stuff sells within a day.

nutherjrfan Reader
July 7, 2010 11:31 a.m.

stunning, am jealous.

pigeon HalfDork
July 7, 2010 1:37 p.m.

I got a better look at the wheels They are A-Tech Competitons (sold now as MB Wheels) - roughly 13.5 lbs per wheel.

belteshazzar SuperDork
July 7, 2010 1:41 p.m.

cool

belteshazzar SuperDork
July 7, 2010 1:41 p.m.

BUMPER TUCK!!!

Buckhead Reader
July 7, 2010 2:10 p.m.

Very sweet!! i have been searching ebay and craigslist for one daily. i found nothing worth buying under my $1500 limit.

z31maniac
z31maniac Dork
July 7, 2010 2:23 p.m.
belteshazzar wrote: BUMPER TUCK!!!

No, it's an '87, Euro Bumpers!!!!!!!

belteshazzar SuperDork
July 7, 2010 3:23 p.m.

sure. eventually. but tucking is free, and now.

pigeon HalfDork
July 7, 2010 5:16 p.m.

Yes, bumper tucking is on the list, but I figure I'll attack the oil leak and rust first. The rear bumper plastic side guards need paint too as long as I'm dealing with bumpers. For the tuck I'm first going to try a no-drill method I found that involves loosening an adjustment nut on the bumper shock and turning them to compress them down; if that fails I'll do it the old fashioned way.

It should be home tonight, and I'll have better pics up over the weekend showing the problems.

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