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      08-19-2010, 09:05 AM   #1
sam2428
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Late 80's 325iS?

Hey everyone,

So I want to start learning more about cars, how they work, how the engine is put together, etc. I dont really have any prior experience other than some basic maintenance for my e92 and some previous vehicle's.

I figured what better way to learn than to purchase an old car and play around with it, take things apart, and do some restoration on my own if possible. I'm just looking for a new hobby, something I'd like to spend time learning about on weekends, as i already have a full time job M-F.

My question is, would getting an old 325iS (I saw a 1987 w/ 123k miles for about $1900) be a good start? Any problems with it or any other suggestions for cars i should look into that could potentially be a good project car?

Any other suggestions for me, things i might need, etc would be greatly appreciated! Thanks!
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      08-19-2010, 10:08 AM   #2
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You are better off learning on a older Ford, Chevy etc. The parts are going to be more expensive and harder to find for the BMW.
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      08-19-2010, 12:47 PM   #3
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You are better off learning on a older Ford, Chevy etc. The parts are going to be more expensive and harder to find for the BMW.
yea...i guess i didnt really think about that...
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      08-19-2010, 12:57 PM   #4
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For cheap and easy, get a Beetle. They're air cooled, so no radiator or coolant to deal with. Plus they're pretty fun to drive.
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      08-19-2010, 01:37 PM   #5
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You'd be fine with an E30. I've been thinking about doing the same thing.

They're fairly easy cars to work on... parts are readily available and won't cost you an arm and a leg. You just have to search around on other enthusiast forums and craigslist. You'll find what you need--- theres a huge following for e30s.

I can't speak for specific problems since I haven't owned one or seriously looked into it too much but I'm sure some of the other guys on these boards will chime in.
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      08-19-2010, 03:28 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by JoosyJoos View Post
You'd be fine with an E30. I've been thinking about doing the same thing.

They're fairly easy cars to work on... parts are readily available and won't cost you an arm and a leg. You just have to search around on other enthusiast forums and craigslist. You'll find what you need--- theres a huge following for e30s.

I can't speak for specific problems since I haven't owned one or seriously looked into it too much but I'm sure some of the other guys on these boards will chime in.
Hmm thats true too...i guess i'll do some research and see what all i can find. I've been considering getting a ford/chevy/etc but at the end of the day it would probably be a lot more fun to work on the E30. I always think you'll do a better job and put in more effort when you care more about something. And if it takes me time to find certain parts, its not too terrible. I would just be working on this on weekends/spare time any way. Its probably going to take me a longg time as it is.
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      08-19-2010, 05:02 PM   #7
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You could also look at the 2002 cars. Non-computer vehicles have less to deal with. In 87 I think the 325is was a dohc cam motor and the 325i was a sohc. Whatever you buy invest in a shop manual for it. With that most repairs are nothing more than replacing parts. Off with the old and on with the new. Most of what you learn on an older vehicle will apply to new ones as well. Strut/spring replacement, brakes, etc. Learn the basics and the rest is pretty easy.
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      08-19-2010, 09:27 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Silver-Bolt View Post
You could also look at the 2002 cars. Non-computer vehicles have less to deal with. In 87 I think the 325is was a dohc cam motor and the 325i was a sohc. Whatever you buy invest in a shop manual for it. With that most repairs are nothing more than replacing parts. Off with the old and on with the new. Most of what you learn on an older vehicle will apply to new ones as well. Strut/spring replacement, brakes, etc. Learn the basics and the rest is pretty easy.
E30's are good cars to learn on. BMW still supports parts for these cars as there are still a lot out on the road. The car is quite easy to work on as late 80's cars and BMWs didn't have near the computer control late model cars do. I owned an '89 325i for 18 years (bought it new) so I'm quite familiar with them. Get the Bentley repair manual. They make great track cars. There are plenty of aftermarket parts for them too.

The '87 325is and '89 325i have the same motor. Up until 1988 there was the "is" with the M20 non-eta motor, and the "e" with the "eta" M20 motor. Both have te same engine block, but different heads. The eta (127HP?)motor was less powerful and tuned for gas mileage. The "is" motor had more power, higher redline, and faster revving. The "is" (168HP) M20 engine became standard in 1989 for both the 325i and 325is versions of the E30. Both are SOHC engines. I'm not exactly sure but I think the eta engine had an iron head, where the "is" motor is iron block/aluminum head. The E30 never had a DOHC inline 6.
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      08-20-2010, 10:36 AM   #9
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how about you save the $2000 and enroll in an adult-ed auto shop class? I'm sure your school district offers adult Education class'
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      08-20-2010, 11:16 PM   #10
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how about you save the $2000 and enroll in an adult-ed auto shop class? I'm sure your school district offers adult Education class'
lol i actually considered this...and still am
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      08-21-2010, 07:28 PM   #11
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an E30 is a great place to start. if you're looking for a bmw to work on, its the best choice. the enthusiast crowd is big and there are many forums devoted to the E30. to be honest, there are times that i wish i had an e30 instead of my e92. that way i could just tear it apart and turn it into a track monster. GO FOR IT!!!
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      08-21-2010, 07:44 PM   #12
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An e30 325is was the first car I turned into a track car, they are great cars and fairly easy to work on, but as some said parts can be hard to find. But if you stick to ebay and forums you can find pretty much any used part with not too much trouble. I think its a great idea, you can learn about stuff in a classroom but you really can't learn anything until you experience it hands on. Keep us posted on what you're doing, GL!

Here's a shot of her getting a tire rotation at road america, only picture I could find on my computer
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      08-22-2010, 08:05 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JoeyBananaz18 View Post
an E30 is a great place to start. if you're looking for a bmw to work on, its the best choice. the enthusiast crowd is big and there are many forums devoted to the E30. to be honest, there are times that i wish i had an e30 instead of my e92. that way i could just tear it apart and turn it into a track monster. GO FOR IT!!!
I actually gave away my E30 last summer. It was my DD up until May '06 when I got my E90. I sold the E30 to my neighbor with 256K on it and his wife drove it for a few years and racked up another 40K miles on it. One day they let their daughter's boyfriend take it down the street to the store (we live out in the country) and somehow the kid managed to put it through a cow fence, which tore up the right front pretty badly (up until that point the car had never been damaged). Long story short - the car ended up overheating at some point and cracked the head. My neighbor sold it back to me for $1, with 295,000 miles on the clock in the spring 2009.

I was going to make it a street racer with a hot engine and suspension, etc., but realized I just don't have the time to do that and maintenance on all my other vehicles. So it sat, and then the mice moved in and ate a bunch of the wiring harness under the hood, and it smelled like mouse piss really bad.

So this guy who did some work on my house with me last year, asked if he could buy it. I liked the guy and he was a gearhead and was really excited about it, so I gave it to him. He hasn't finished it yet.
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      08-22-2010, 10:19 AM   #14
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MIATA... a couple of my friends recently picked up project Miatas for cheap
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      08-22-2010, 12:24 PM   #15
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I teach auto shop in a high school.

IMO...
buy the E30. They are mostly built proof. Lots of fun to drive. + they use the same parts network as your current BMW (never a bad thing to have a good relationship with a good parts guy).

I hope you have a knack for electrical trouble shooting (or at least a will to learn) as BMW's of this era were full of electrical gremlins that pop up as the cars age.

Buy the Bentley Manual: its well worth the money! There are NO better manuals out there.

Have fun.

Remember: German cars are designed by obsessive engineers: you will be amazed at some of the solutions they came up with while working on your new toy.

There is no better way to learn than by getting your hands dirty and figuring things out while you follow the detailed procedures in the Bentley.


Good-luck
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