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From digest.v6.n471 Wed Apr 2 18:15:39 1997
Date: Wed, 2 Apr 1997 17:17:17 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Re: Failed in-tank transfer pump? on E30

J.C. Hanes" <>
writes the following:

Subject: <E30> Failed in-tank transfer pump?

Hello folks,

My main fuel pump in front of the left rear wheel is making an awful buzzing racket that can be heard quite audibly even within the car, which is an '86 325es. From reading the FAQ, it would seem that this means my transfer pump in the tank has given up the ghost. Before I start ripping my back seat out, I'd like some opinions on the matter. The reason why I'm confused is that the pump doesn't buzz all the time (maybe 4 out of 5 trips), and it's been buzzing, albeit not this loudly, for quite some time and the FAQ says that a dead transfer pump will cause quick failure of the main pump.
Also, assuming (I know, I'm ahead of the game) that it IS the transfer pump, what are my options? I'm an extremely impoverished college student who can hardly afford the ~$85 transfer pump at this particular moment in time, much less the ~$150 main pump. I read on the FAQ something about a generic pump from Pep Boys that not only fit but seemed to have even greater fuel throughput than the OE part, for about $30.

<snip ><snip>-------------%

Hey J.C.

I also have a 86 E30 that had the same exact symtoms. I went to the AutoZone store here in SC and told them that I wanted a 1976 Chevrolet Vega "in tank" fuel pump ... and I want the OEM replacement, not the universal block that mounts under the chassis.

I then proceded to argue with the stupid redneck behind the counter as he wouldn't even use his computer to look up my "76 Chev, Vega OEM replacement pump. He was trying to tell ME that Cheverolet did not have fuel injection on their cars in the 70's and that what I wanted is a mechanical Diaphragm pump that works off a cam lobe.

I told him to look It up now or loose my (and all my friend's) business. -

  • - -

As he looked it up... He was suprised that most all Vegas and all year models have an "in tank pump". He was so sorry. He brought it out from the shelf and it is the same as the BMW transfer pump although the BMW one has a plastic case, the Chev vega one is metal case (NICE). My cost for the Chev vega pump = $26 What a deal!!!

I THEN told him that I'm putting this into a '86 325 and then he started looking up a pump for my BMW in his computer. WOW $139 and must special ordered. He says If this works you just saved over $100 in parts.

I also bought a new sump screen - - BUT GET BMW 325 SCREEN.

Well, I took this home, removed the old pump. used a grinder (or file) to shave off the rivets on the motor electical terminals to keep the wire ring-end terminals. When you mount the pump, you have to twist the pump around a little but it fits right in place. Finally, I use two electrical cable "Ty-Wraps" to hold the pump to the assembly.

After dropping in the tank, I had to cycle the ignition key several time to cause the fuel pump relay to re-prime or fill the gas line.

The car runs beautifully now and its idling is steady and the buzz is gone.

BTW if you ever need an Oxygen Sensor for that model E30, ask the guy behind the counter for a 1990 Ford Mustang, with 5.0L engine. His screen will probably show 3 sensors with the only difference being the length of wire. Just buy the cheapest one and use the connector from you sensor in your E30. Cutoff the Ford connector and splice the wires according to their colors, (1-black and 2-white) and you can't go wrong.

The BMW O2 sensor sells for $129. The Ford Mustang is $37. The O2 sensors are the same; the only differences are:

1.) the connector on the ends
2.) the length of the cables
3.) the price
4.) and the line or automobile that it runs in (BMW vs Ford)

If anyone has any other good "kludges" tell the Digest. TNX

Allen Cuthrell
Simpsonville, SC

82' E23
86' E28
86' E30

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