1 2
DustoffDave
DustoffDave None
11/16/08 5:58 p.m.

It's time to sell the Miata and I'm considering an E30 325i. What are some of the things I should pay close attention to as I do my shopping? Any other suggestions of vehicles that would be the same type and caliber of the BMW? The top end of my budget is about $6000.

Thanks.

stuart in mn
stuart in mn Dork
11/16/08 7:01 p.m.

$6k should get you a MINT e30.

Carson
Carson Reader
11/16/08 7:52 p.m.
stuart in mn wrote: $6k should get you a MINT e30.

A seriously mint one. Great examples of 325is e30s go for about $4K around here.

DustoffDave
DustoffDave New Reader
11/17/08 4:17 p.m.

Anyone know of any in the Olympia, WA area?

DustoffDave
DustoffDave New Reader
11/17/08 8:39 p.m.

well, for that price, which would be preferable, an E30 or E36? 325 or 318? I'm planning on using it as a DD, but also doing some AutoX or track-day duty.

njansenv
njansenv New Reader
11/18/08 6:06 a.m.

E36 is technically more sophisticated. If I had $6k to spend, it would be on a MINT E30. The E30 is "slower", but is a TON of fun, and I find them both very well built and easy to work on. If you could find an M50 swapped E30, that would be bonus.

Nathan

walterj
walterj HalfDork
11/18/08 7:27 a.m.

I find that cutting a hole in the driver's side firewall when tying the front towers into the cage to be difficult on the E30. You have to move the whole fuse box :)

speedblind
speedblind New Reader
11/18/08 10:05 a.m.

You can find E36 M3s in the 6K-7K range, though that might entail some basic maintenance/suspension freshening. Otherwise, as others have said, 4K will get you an E30 in great condition.

Basic stuff should have been replaced: bushings, suspension components, etc. Make sure the rear subframe bushings are either new or in great shape - it's a labor intensive job to replace those.

walterj
walterj HalfDork
11/18/08 10:58 a.m.
speedblind wrote: You can find E36 M3s in the 6K-7K range, though that might entail some basic maintenance/suspension freshening.

It usually entails more than basics at that price... those I've gone to look at have needed clutches, head gaskets, had crash damage, needed a complete suspension refresh...

I think if you want an E36 M3 you either spend on the car, or on the parts but you end up with an $10-11k outlay.

DustoffDave
DustoffDave New Reader
11/18/08 12:52 p.m.

Good advice, it sounds like the E30 is going to be the choice, so pros/cons of 318 vs. 325?

jpod999
jpod999 Reader
11/18/08 2:57 p.m.

84-85 318s had the M10 motor, SOHC 4 banger...not much there in NA form but I've read that they hold up to boost quite well.

91 318i/S had the M42, DOHC 4 banger...not much there in NA form and I've only seen a couple of them turbo'd. I have a 91 318i with 232k on it and recently decided to find out what my rev limiter was at...it hit it at 6500 and didn't complain. Even though it's a 4 cyclinder it doesn't get the best mileage. I'm getting around 28 on 80% highway.

84-88 325e/S has the M20 eta motor. It's a 2.7L I6 low revving motor optimized for mileage. It has more torque than the non-eta motors.

87(?)-91 325i/S has the normal M20 motor. It's a 2.5L I6 high revving motor with about 165HP back when they were new. These motors also hold up to boost fairly well.

Some people will tell you that the lighter motors in the 4-cylinder cars make the car handle better, but the improvement is minimal. Don't let that be a major buying point for you, just get the best example of whatever you can find/afford.

ddavidv
ddavidv SuperDork
11/18/08 4:26 p.m.

M20 325i or 325is FTW. I'm in love with mine. I would never settle for a 4 popper E30 now. Just make sure you are not looking at 325e or "325" models as they have the eta version which is only good if you want to build a stroker engine.

John Brown
John Brown SuperDork
12/16/08 7:39 a.m.

To bring this back from the dead.

How roomy from the seat up is a 325i coupe?

I can get a great running lower mileage 1986 in a color that I like for what I am looking to spend.

I am concerned that I will not fit well, but mind you I fit in the Jetta pretty well when the seat is all the way down.

Also, what is the center bore of the E30?

jrw1621
jrw1621 Reader
12/16/08 7:48 a.m.

This reference says that center bore is 57.1

http://www.adaptitusa.com/referencebook.htm

16vCorey
16vCorey SuperDork
12/16/08 7:52 a.m.

Not sure about the center bore, but the 325i coupe is pretty roomy. I'm 6'1" or so, and I fit just fine. The seats are also height adjustable(like the Jetta). I'd say you'd have just as much room as in the Jetta, just a bigger door to get in and out of.

walterj
walterj HalfDork
12/16/08 7:57 a.m.

57.1 cb, 4x100 pattern with ET38 offset on a 14x7 BBS basketweave IIRC

John Brown
John Brown SuperDork
12/16/08 7:59 a.m.

Thanks guys.

minimac
minimac Dork
12/16/08 8:11 a.m.
John Brown wrote: To bring this back from the dead. How roomy from the seat up is a 325i coupe?

Let me put it this way. We recently sold our '05 Jetta. Two years ago we sold my 89-325is. I don't miss the Jetta, but am looking for another E-30. If you're concerned about getting a car seat(and kid) in and out, that will be a pain in any two door coupe. With kids, you honestly can't beat a minivan.

John Brown
John Brown SuperDork
12/16/08 8:57 a.m.

Looks like the Helios wheels that I did NOT sell with the Jetta will fit on a 3 series with no issues

The car I am looking at is a black coupe.

John Brown
John Brown SuperDork
12/16/08 9:22 a.m.
minimac wrote: you honestly can't beat a minivan.

What did I do to recieve such an insult? Next thing you know you will say I should drive a Chrysler Mini Van to boot!

The babys seat is one of those expandable divorced base units and Tanner is self belting, I just hate, nay LOATHE trying to fit my chest and shoulders into a sedan door frame. I look like the car is birthing me.

16vCorey
16vCorey SuperDork
12/16/08 9:29 a.m.

More E30 content.

John Brown
John Brown SuperDork
12/16/08 9:35 a.m.

And people wonder why BMW owners get more sex than any other brand.

or

Look someone bred a Liger with a man and came up with a Manliger!

Wally
Wally SuperDork
12/16/08 9:48 a.m.
John Brown wrote: What did I do to recieve such an insult? Next thing you know you will say I should drive a Chrysler Mini Van to boot!

No, never a Chrysler van, we know about you VW guys

http://www.vw.com/vwhype/babymaker/en/us/

jrw1621
jrw1621 Reader
12/16/08 10:35 a.m.

I could be convinced to part with my very kid friendly 5 speed Volvo 850 wagon in exchanged for a non kid fiendly E30 coupe.

-John

JeepinMatt
JeepinMatt New Reader
12/16/08 2:25 p.m.
stuart in mn wrote: $6k should get you a MINT e30.

Geez, it would have to be like new. I got my '91 325i for just under 2k. Absolutely no rust, no accidents. Everything ever done to that car had the paperwork in the glovebox, including the original owners manual. Bought new by an elderly lady and sold to her neighbor's/family friends, who I bought it from. Only body damage was a bit on the rear bumper. Only mechanical problems are a transmission leak and a busted radiator. If you want a very good example, you could probably find it for 3k.

1 2
Our Preferred Partners
6g945FsrvFAVbNTe9PHkPqgcvURUx2rMra05WPnQgqjZMZe7qu6pQ2nywWOxkhyS