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11-09-2004, 10:21 AM #1
1991 BMW 325is - why wouldn't you own one?
Looking for a townie to help save some wear and tear on The Goat, I found a cheap old Bimmer in decent condition. It does, however have 187,000 miles on it. I tend to buy old cars, treat them well and drive them into the ground. I've always gotten my money out of used cars, and kinda always wanted a BMW coupe because they're so damn fun to drive. You know more about these cars than I do, so tell me what I should be looking for as I comb it over (rust in the trunk, overheating issues etc) or else tell me why I wouldn't ever want to own one of these.
11-09-2004, 10:37 AM #2
When things go wrong on that thing be prepared to pay a shit-ton of money to "treat it well". It may drive you into the ground instead of the other way around. That car has a lot of miles on it and is already 13 years old. There are bound to be problems soon if not already, and getting parts/working on European cars is always more expensive than Japanese or domestics.
But perhaps you are a tinkerer with time and money on your hands and the benefit of owning your dream car is worth the expensive hassle.
edit: I know nothing about this particular vehicle but if it is anything like every Mercedes I have known, then...
Last edited by hop; 11-09-2004 at 10:43 AM.Putting the "core" in corporate, one turn at a time.
Metalmücil. We've been giving people pink ear since 2010
11-09-2004, 10:50 AM #3remooning, comencicon
Originally Posted by Pinner
- Join Date
- May 2002
I had an '85 318i with 150k on it. I think I got it for $2k, it was a grandma/grandpa car in immaculate condition.
The thing you have to go in knowing when buying a car like this is that yes, it is an old German car. Parts and people who can install the parts may be hard to find and/or expensive. That being said, my 318 was very reliable. I am not immediately aware of any known issues with the 2.5 engine, but you can find plenty of info here: www.bmwe30.net
These cars are some of the best handling and braking cars ever made. They're peppy, not overly fast. Small, so good for city driving and parking. I had some all season Bridgestone Potenza's (RE910's great tire) on mine and it was decent in deep midwest snow and slush, as long as I had some sandbags in the trunk. (light rear wheel drive car)
The only real problem I had with my 318i was a trunk leak, and it was fixable for decent amounts of time, then would come back. It was coming in through some fastener holes in the sheetmetal and around the taillight assembly area, it was never really due to rust. I know the taillights are different on the '91 compared to the '85 so that may not be a problem anymore. But like I said, check out that bmwe30.net website and you will be able to find all the things and telltale danger signs to look for on this vehicle.
If the 318 didn't die in an accident, it would still be with us, kicking ass. (RIP)As I rained blows upon him, I realized there had to be another way.
11-09-2004, 10:50 AM #4
I hear ya. This thing, however can be had for about the cost of a laptop, so even if I only get 20,000 miles out of it, I'm still ahead of the game. Plus lots of shadetree (ie: shady?) mechanics in Denver will work on this thing cheap.
*Pinner = got 25,000 miles out of an $1100 Subaru with 198,000 on it at time of purchase. Trade in value was $300 because it still had original owners manual and floor mats.Ran on three cylinders, burned oil. Radio and power windows worked great.
11-09-2004, 11:05 AM #5
i think cantdog knows a lot about bmw's, keeps some junkers in his front yard for spare parts or so i've read. pm that fool.
11-09-2004, 11:26 AM #6
The 91 325is is a hot little car. Most desirable of the 325is, because it has the late plastic bumpers instead of the big aluminum diving boards, plus an airbag.
The biggest thing with those cars is to get the timing belt replaced immediately. The engines are pretty bomber, but a lot of people beat on those cars in particular, so be careful. I'd run a compression test and a leakdown if you can, and get underneath and check out the condition of the rear main seal, and see if anything else is leaking.
Check out suspension bushings/engine mounts for wear, rear main shock towers go pretty easily ,and the trunks can leak, but thats fixable by replacing the taillight gaskets and the trunk gasket. Interiors are pretty solid, the dash cracks easily, but the seats are phenomenal.
Overall they are bomber, really fun little rwd cars to have. I'd love to own another, or get the cash and rebuild mine(again).
I'll try and think of some other stuff to look for tonight, BobMc is another guy to talk to about bimmers.
11-09-2004, 11:59 AM #7
PM BobMc, Pinner. He's a mechanic and Beemers were his specialty as far as I know.
Beyond that, I have nothing useful to add.Balls Deep in the 'Ho
11-09-2004, 12:11 PM #8Originally Posted by 13
bimmer = car
beemer = motorcycle
Short of having somebody who knows there shit check out that car, you really don't what problems could come up on a car with over 150K miles on it... Maybe BobMc can make a housecall for you to look at it.
Last edited by hyasakyte; 11-09-2004 at 12:32 PM.
11-09-2004, 01:43 PM #9Registered User
Originally Posted by hop
- Join Date
- Oct 2003
11-09-2004, 01:54 PM #10Originally Posted by cj001f
My Nissan truck (aka The Silver Goat) is pushing 250,000 miles and 10 years and it still on it's stock clutch.
11-09-2004, 03:16 PM #11
Go for it.
Fun cars. I really miss mine. 187k isn't worth worrying about; condition is.
If it starts having mechanical issues, but the unibody is sound, and the entire thing is more-or-less rust free, you can always find a buyer looking for a project car in which to do this:
If it's in central Denver, I'd be happy to look at it for ya.
11-09-2004, 03:33 PM #12
You da MANG! It's in the Highlands, my neighborhood, so once I get an appointment set up with the chick, I'll give you a call. hauler_us AT yahoo.com for the digits exchange.
Nice link. I read a link this morning about a guy who built a Frankenturbo for his. Looked like a shitload of work, but hey why not.
11-09-2004, 04:09 PM #13Fucking Modarater
- Join Date
- Apr 2004
The "IS" model is sweet...leather and all the other options, and like Cantdog said, newer style bumpers and assorted body stuff. The power locks and windows have issue's at times. Usually east coast cars with corrosion on the electrical connections.
Check in the trunk under the battery for rust, I have seen battery's fall out through the rusted out trunk well. Look under the carpet where the spare tire is too. The sunroof drains and trunk deck lid seal are the usual cause. You can do that kinda shit yo'self.
Look for any sign of water on the floorboards, front and rear. That's pretty common too on the '80's E30. Not sure about '90-'91
Listen for any unusual suspension/steering noise(as stated b4, common problem). Also, listen for any drivetrain noise, run the shit out of it on a test drive if possible.
Learn to love working on your car
I don't know jack about cars btw...I'm a dentist
11-09-2004, 04:30 PM #14
Ah yes, I forgot about the electrical gremlins, things like the OBC light will die, and my power windows would only work sometimes, never could diagnose it. But they are an absolute blast to drive. Mine gave me a few solid seasons of autocrossing, rallycrossing, driving schools, and general abuse.
Definately put some snow tires on it, without em they like to swap ends. Throw a bag of sand in the back as well and you'll be set. Looks like Innominatus is gonna help ya out, post some pictures if you can!
And yes, if you need parts, let me know. I've got three sets of wheels and tires that I would sell(new snowtires on steelies, basketwheels with older contis, and bottlecaps with falken azenis) plus tons of other assorted stuff.
Join bmwcca as well, you get a good monthly magazine and discounts at the dealership, which is helpful when you need a part the same day.
11-10-2004, 06:36 PM #15This Space For Rent
Originally Posted by hyasakyte
- Join Date
- Nov 2002
- Behind the Zion Curtain
That one always kills me. You've been reading too many "bimmer" message boards. I've been working on beemers (the car) since 1986. Every mechanic and person involved around them I've known calls them beemers. As near as I can tell, someone on the internet decided they were now bimmers. Heh.
Anyways, Pinner, Cant has pointed out most of the flaws with these cars. I'd definitely recommend a 1991 325is, that was the last year of the E-30 bodystyle, as usual by then they had it pretty well figured out. BMW typically will run a bodystyle for about 6 years. I always recommend if you're buying a used car to get the latest year of a bodystyle. These years will always be the most rock solid of the model.
187k really isn't that bad, keep timing belts on em and they'll last just about forever. The 2.5 is prone to a few oil leaks but they're not that hard to fix. Usually it's only a cam seal or oil filter housing, at the worst an oil pan gasket. Check the power steering reservoir hoses for leaks, quite common and an easy cheap fix. Consider the front ball joints to be a wear item, they will wear out and develop play (replace if they have play). Check for any low speed vibration or clunking on acceleration, you do see driveshafts go out occasionally. If it is a 5-speed check for leaks at the trans output or shift shaft seals. These are both located on the rear of the transmission and quite common to leak a bit. It's not really a big deal as long as you keep the trans fluid topped off.
Definitely have someone look at it before buying. Just like any car there are bad examples out there. Other than the things mentioned above by me and others you should be good to go for a while.
11-10-2004, 09:20 PM #16Originally Posted by Pinner
Wait, is that the truck that sounds like a lawn mower? I remember hearing that thing putter up L-pass last year and thought to myself, "Is that a freakin' lawn mower coming up over the hill?"
11-11-2004, 02:00 PM #17Registered User
Originally Posted by Innominatus
- Join Date
- Dec 2002
- The Garden State
11-14-2004, 09:09 PM #18
I bought an 86 528e beater with 133k on it for $2200, drove it across the country twice, got studded snows and drove it up and down I-70 all winter sold it 2 years and 40,000 miles later for 2 grand and never had to fix a thing. Started first time every time. As for parts and repair, these things are made in Germany not Mars so the technology isn't that difficult. It might take an extra day or two for a bmw specific part but they exist and the internet is a fast and cheap place to order them up. Go for it, believe it or not they aren't that bad in the snow with decent tires.live the life.
11-15-2004, 03:55 AM #19
528e was as terrific car...fun to drive, good gas mileage, very reliable, and not really a hot-rod, so the used ones tend to be in pretty good shape.
11-15-2004, 12:33 PM #20Originally Posted by BobMc
Just a tidbit of useless info on a slow Monday morn...
Last edited by hyasakyte; 11-15-2004 at 12:35 PM.