Runs well, needs work, good DD or project car.
Price: - Item location: Bethel Park, Pennsylvania, United States
- Make: BMW
- Model: 3-Series
- Type: Sedan
- Trim: Base
- Year: 1991
- Mileage: 293167
- VIN: WBAAJ9312MEJ02299
- Color: Brilliant Red
- Engine size: 1.8 liter DOHC
- Number of cylinders: 4
- Power options: Limited Slip Differential, Anti-lock Brakes, Air Conditioning, Cruise Control, Power Locks, Power Windows
- Fuel: Gasoline
- Transmission: Manual
- Drive type: RWD
- Interior color: Tan
- Drive side: Left-hand drive
- Options: CD Player, Leather Seats, Sunroof
- Vehicle Title: Clear Want to buy? Contact seller!
1991 BMW 3-Series BaseTL;DR
Neat old BMW, fun to drive and cheap to run. High mileage...but it's been well cared for. She has a lot of life left in her. Only needs new rear brake hard lines to be fully roadworthy. Runs great. If it wasn't for the leaking rear line, I'd drive it anywhere.
Need more details? I know this car inside and out, ask away. Here's a few details why I'm letting her go after more than nine years of ownership:
We don't really drive this little car much any more, so instead of watching it rust it's going to a new owner. There aren't a lot of these DOHC BMW E30s running around, the sedan version was a one-year-only special. Not a lot of people know about these final E30s...they're a cult classic & well-kept secret. Never available with an automatic transmission (nor most other E30 options) this is the stripped-down sedan counterpart of the E30 318iS coupe.
This car has run flawlessly for me over the last decade. Revs beautifully, shifts like butter, loves the curves. The car is very close to stock, but I have added a few minor OEM upgrades to improve an already-great little car. All original paperwork is included...BMW owner's manual, BMW service guide, etc.. I'm a little retentive about my cars...I have loads of records from the PO dating back to the 90s along with a complete maintenance spreadsheet including all repairs and (almost) every fill-up the car has ever had. I've always used synthetic lubricants in the car, the results speak for themselves. Currently I'm running Mobil1 0w40 synthetic "Euro Formula" motor oil, Valvoline Synthetic ATF in the gearbox (as spec'ed by BMW) and Valvoline full synth 75w140 in the diff. Used oil reports are all reasonably good, no major wear has been detected.
Engine is still the original M42 1.8 liter. That's right, it's run almost 240K miles withoutany major work at all. BMW massively overbuilt this engine (except for the cam drive & cooling system). It's a gem of a motor in the lightweight E30 chassis...loves to rev, tucked back in the engine bay for excellent weight distribution. I've added a COP kit with hotter coils and some NGK nickel plugs to pick up a few MPG. I also have spare coils and upgraded four-hole fuel injectors that'll go with the car.I've resisted the urge to swap a more modern motor into this car, but I have to admit it'd be an ideal candidate for a swap...the E30 is such an entertaining car to drive. They really are a winner with virtually any motor.
I also resolved a few of the original weak spots of this car. The cooling system is 100%. I deleted the throttle body preheater, installed a new lower-temp 80degC thermostat with the matching OEM 80/88C fanstat, new OEM BMW coolant manifold neck, radiator expansion tank, all o-rings & seals, aux fan/resistor and viscous engine fan clutch. I even swapped out the heater valve and installed a new OEM Behr heater core. The water pump and radiator were both replaced by the previous owner, so it's all more or less new. I replaced all the rubber vac lines with silicone rubber hose to eliminate the vac leaks that drive the M42 crew crazy.I've also upgraded the battery to a bigger group 47R(?). Many more CCA than stock. I think the battery is on the way out, goes flat fairly quickly, but it'll still accept a charge happily.
Full set of five 14x6.5" BMW "bottlecaps". Originally the car had steel wheels with hubcaps. Three tires are like-new, all four have good tread.
Front struts are stock Sachs, rears are old OEM BMW M-Tech Bilstein monotubes. Stock BMW springs. They're all functional but certainly well past prime time. A nice set of H&R springs & Bilstein Sports would work wonders, I'm sure.
Medium case 3.73 limited-slip differential. The car's a little slower from a dead stop but it gets better fuel mileage and is very livable on the highway.
Stainless steel brake hoses installed too. I still have to drop the fuel tank to get the last two installed (not looking forward to that). Very recent Ate 'blue' DOT4 fluid too.
Recent Lemforder front control arms & outer tie rods. New sway bar links too. The car does need an alignment eventually, my attempts at stringing the car are only a ballpark guess.
Offset E30 M3 front bushings (Lemfoerder) to improve handling & turn-in. Car needs some camber plates, the stock upper mounts are pretty hard on tires.
Dashboard has a single tiny crack on the right side, otherwise it's near-perfect. Glove box latch is still good too, lock cylinder matches the door keys.
I replaced the VDO gauge cluster with a more accurate Motometer unit, sync'ed up the mileage and installed new lithium batteries. Every gauge and bulb works perfectly, even including the 'Check Engine' light and all the Service Interval functions. Until this week, thatis...now the odometergears are shot). I did replace the Check Control panel (above the mirror) with an older unit. It's not hooked up.
Glove box flashlight is also there but the batteries have died.Six-button OBC with exterior temp sensor also fully works but the display is on the fritz.
Aftermarket Blaupunkt CD/USB/MP3/BT head unit. Matches the interior pretty nicely. I can remove it if you had a different idea in mind.
OEM BMW front sport seats in natur (tan) leather. Driver's seat has a lot of cracking in the finish and a small tear in the driver's squib. The left upper bolster needs a stitch or two.Passenger seat is OK. Both need new pneumatic springs but the eight-way mechanisms work well.
OEM BMW rear headrest seats with center armrest & ski bag/trunk pass-though, I think they're pearl beige, they're a shade or two lighter than the front seats.
Rear BMW Premium Sound speakers. I don't have thefront tweeters or their special corner housings.
I added a three-spoke BMW sport steering wheel, but the leather has worn through at the top. The original plastic airbag wheel and controls are not available. Honestly,you won't miss them, they're pretty crappy.
Genuine leather shifter knob & E36 leather handbrake grip. I like leather...what can I say?
I also mounted an E36 center console for the cupholders & armrest. I kept the original E30 center console, it's not perfect but is included with the car.
Near-complete toolkit as a bonus. I pieced it together from a few other cars. The pliers are very rusty, but I was lucky to find them.
Power sunroof upgrade, recently repaired. It retracts and flips up but still needs some minor adjustments. Makes an annoying buzz when fully open and doesn't stop at the midpoint.
I've upgraded the headlights to genuine E30 US-market ellipsoid capsule units(Hella)as available in the 325iS. Sylvania SilverStar Ultra halogens give great visibility. I prefer the halogen light pattern over LEDs or HIDs.Both foglights are in good shape, no cracks. Hard to find those little things these days!Functional cruise control added, works gear except for the 'slow-down' function. Never did figure that out. Regardless, cruise control was never available from the factory as an option for the M42 cars.
Rust is just starting into the front driver's corner, some perforation in the rockers around the rear passenger jacking point, hole in the battery box, and the aforementioned rear quarter bodywork. Nothing has gotten into the frame members, it's all cosmetic damage as far as I can tell. Rear brake lines are rough too, but otherwise it's a pretty darn clean little car, very solid and ready to go. Car was originally from Florida, came to me via Tennessee.
I've spent a lot of time cleaning the car up and checking everything out. She still runs great, but there's a long list of minor projects. Here's what you're in for, at a minimum, in no particular order:
Odometergear JUST died (I'm not kidding, I still have the fuel receipts to prove it)Front passenger window switch is bad (motor is OK). Rear passenger window is not working, your guess is as good as mine.
Leaking rear brake line, temporarily plugged at the ABS pump.
Passenger rear turn signal occasionally refuses to blink
Cracked front turn signal lens
Misc. front motor oil leaks, the usual M42 leaks. Oil filter housing, timing chain case. Gaskets & o-ring come with the car.
Noisy ICV, doesn't seem to cause trouble. Slightly loping cold idle until it's warmed up.
Squealing HVAC fan
I'm not a BMW Master Tech nor some professional restoration shop, just a relatively competent dude that likes driving & fixing BMWs. Check out my reputation here on eBay. I can also share my forum nickname if you're not convinced. I have been doing BMW restoration for a while now, saving stuff from the scrapper. It's been rewarding and massively fun.I'm available on most of the BMW forum sites, so if you need some help with your decision just reach out via an eBay message. IMHO this is a pretty decent car, I hope the price is right. I'm OK with taking more pics, recording a video, WebEx, whatever. The car starts, stops and rolls so it's easily loadable on a transporter. I can help with loading. While the car does run and drive, I wouldn'tadvise driving it cross-country or anything rash like that. I can, however, meet you at the airport (PIT) or bus terminal (Pittsburgh) if you're interested in taking a chance on over-the-road summer adventure (and saving a lot ontransport charges).
I'm hoping to put this car into the hands of another enthusiast, might that be you?Thanks for checking out my ad, have a great day!