From digest.v6.n59 Tue Jan 14 14:05:28 1997
Date: Tue, 14 Jan 1997 03:41:11 -0500 (EST)
Subject: RE: <E30> 325e things to watch
The ETA engine (the "e" in "325e") is one of BMW's most durable engines IF
the owner is reasonably consciencious about maintenance ESPECIALLY changing
the cam belt every 50-60k miles. One of its drawbacks is that the valves
need adjusting every 20k miles or so. Also, the car isn't exactly a "rocket"
but it great for interstate trips, etc - great mileage, reasonably comfy
Things that need checking on an E30:
- - Steering rack leaks
- Check this by pinching each rubber boot and trying to rub the inner
the boot together. If this is hard to do, you're ok; Otherwise, the
rack may need
replacing due to leaking seals.
Replacing the tie rods with the rack is highly recommended
Cost (parts & labor) - dealer: $1000-1200; independent: $800-1000
This not a hard job for a reasonable competent weekend mechanic. Parts
various aftermarket outlets run from $200 - $350 (rack) and $80 - $125
Car will need alignment after installation.
- - Front lower control arms and bushings.
- If these have never been changed or they were changed 100k miles ago,
be time. Symptoms - road handling/steering response seems
Costs: dealer $400; independent: similar.
This is a fairly straight-forward job. The only hard part is pressing
bushings onto the control arms. A press is needed. Parts, from the
ran me $260, total, with my BMW(nospace)CCA discount.
- - Guibo and center support bearing
- The guibo is a rubber/metal "donut" at the output of the tranny. Its
job is to
"smooth-out" the slight variations in the engine/tranny output. The
drive shaft is
a 2-piece shaft. The center support bearing does what its name
Does the car clunk when you shift from first to second or second to
be the guibo.
Cost (parts & labor) - dealer: $160-200; independent: similar
With the engine off, jack-up one rear wheel. Rotate the tire and listen
"squeaking" or grinding noise from the under the car. Could be the
Cost - dealer: $175 - 225 (?); independent: similar
If you have to replace the guibo, replace the csb at the same time as
driveshaft has to come off for both procedures.
I assume it's a 5-speed. The tranny may be a Getrag 265. If it is (mine is
- - green "do not change gear lube _at_1200 mile/2000km" sticker), it's near
bullet-proof except for the 2nd gear syncro. Driven with some care, it'll
last forever. I use Redline MTL (manual tranny lube) in mine.
- - Clutch slave cylinder.
- About $25 front various suppliers. Symptoms - you'll brake fluid
brakes and the clutch hydraulix share a resourvoir). Also, the clutch
always disengge fully or may feel soft. Easy fix.
- - Clutch - almost bullet-proof if you don't drag race. Of course, that's a
undertaking with this car!
- - Cooling fan clutch
- To save energy, the mechanical fan (as opposed to the electric fan) will
engine speed only when the engine (and therefore, the fan clutch) gets
up to a
certain temp. Symptoms - in hot weather, while idling at a red light,
guage will creep up towards the red zone. How to check? With the
using a rolled-up newpaper, GENTLY try to stop the fan by pressing the
paper roll against the MOVING (watch the fingers!!) fan. If it chews
the clutch is probably ok.
Easy fix IF you've got access to a 32mm open end wrench! Part is
from various suppliers.
- - Water pump - they seem to last 60k miles which is the mileage interval for
changing the cam belt and tensioner!!! German engineering at its best!
- - Radiator - many discussions about the merits/demerits of the Behr aluminum
plastic radiators. Check at the bottom of the radiator for leaks where
side tanks and the aluminum core meet. New radiator runs about $175.
- - Brakes are reliable although some owners report warping rotors. Use AXXIS
(formerly Repco) Metal Master pads - no dust, no squeal, good wear &
performance. Cost - $65 for all four wheels (from Imparts). Easy to
Change the brake fluid yearly. I use Castrol LMA DOT 4.
Haven't heard anything about rusting. The factory seems to have done their
homework as far as rustproofing is concerned. The car was warranted by BMW
NA for 6 years from original purchase for rust perforation.
Electrics are reliable. There are 5 or 6 grounding points in the car which
should be cleaned every 2 years or so. Also, check for corrossion around AND
under the battery platform in the trunk (!). Ensure the battery is vented to
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While in the trunk, check for evidence of leaking tail light gaskets (about
$10 each side).
Have the strut cartridges and shocks been changed in the last 60k miles or
so? Will affect handling, of course.
I guess that's it. Seems like a lot but these are not atypical for a car of
that age and mileage.
If your friend buys, have him join BMW(nospace)CCA - best $35 I every spent!
1985 325e, 132k miles (a rookie compared to yours candidate!).