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Old 12-28-2016, 07:29 PM   #1
M10Power
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Unhappy Seeking a little local reassurance and/or guidance

Hey all - new to the E30 club and it's been a bit of a rougher ride than expected these last three months.
Bought an 84 318 from a local seller who'd only had the car a few months. A college kid, she said her folks bought the coupe for her in the spring for local transportation but she found that she wasn't using it much. Car came with a few years of records, and though the SI panel is out, the records show the car has about 160K on the clock. It ran a little rough and rich when I got it but I figured for $1400, it'd be worth putting a few bucks into it. It's rust-free and quite clean after all.
I drove it for about six weeks before the lack of fuel system maintenance caught up with me when it stopped running in the driveway. Towed to the shop and learned that a failed ground wire was causing the fuel injectors to stay open. An adjustable valve was put together and the rough and occasionally high idle was remedied. Bill: $793 including some work to improve the muffler mounting.
Then the snow began to fall. Cold starting became really problematic and finally impossible so I had it towed once again. This visit uncovered fouled plugs, and no power going to the cold start jet. This fix was $386.
Brought it home but it was still starting hard so I dropped it back off and now I am told the injectors need to be replaced. I was quoted $200 each for injectors plus $300 labor. $1100 seemed pretty steep even without any real knowledge of these cars; sure enough, these injectors start at $40ish on Pelican.
Mechanic says he'll do the work with customer-sourced parts but won't warranty the work. Including his labor, the fix drops to about $500-600 but that's still a chunk of change. Not to mention my better half is a bit skeptical of these escalating costs. I figure a well-maintained 318 of this vintage is worth $3000ish, so I'm still ahead of that cost with the work I have done so far. But it will need new suspension sooner than later, and while I have the resources to do that work myself, how much more will I uncover before I get there?
What would you do?
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Old 12-28-2016, 07:32 PM   #2
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Old 12-28-2016, 07:52 PM   #3
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(Current plate redacted just 'cuz)

Last edited by M10Power; 12-28-2016 at 07:53 PM. Reason: Added images
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Old 12-28-2016, 07:54 PM   #4
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if you had the plugs, i would have put them in for a hamburger, or a rootbeer...

buying any car for the first time is like this.
Many of us just replace alot of it right off the wack.
Suspension, engine refresh, etc. Seek out any locals
you may have near you, most will help for gas $ or beer.

Others will do it for waaaaay cheaper then a shop, if they
wrench for $. Come to meets, network, lots of people have had
similar issues, or owned the same car ( i had an 84 318i as well )
learn as much as you can, and learn as you go.
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http://www.r3vlimited.com/board/showthread.php?t=358170
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Old 12-28-2016, 07:59 PM   #5
M10Power
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Pluggin' away

Thanks, Matt. I've got reinforcements at the ready for the suspension work. Convinced that's a great weekend project. As for injector work, I feel that's above my pay grade...

I should add this is my daily so while I'm committed to coming to events, making connections etc, I do need to solve the immediate issue of getting to the office without using the wife's wheels. :/

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Originally Posted by Matt-B View Post
if you had the plugs, i would have put them in for a hamburger, or a rootbeer...

buying any car for the first time is like this.
Many of us just replace alot of it right off the wack.
Suspension, engine refresh, etc. Seek out any locals
you may have near you, most will help for gas $ or beer.

Others will do it for waaaaay cheaper then a shop, if they
wrench for $. Come to meets, network, lots of people have had
similar issues, or owned the same car ( i had an 84 318i as well )
learn as much as you can, and learn as you go.
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Old 12-28-2016, 08:30 PM   #6
george graves
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A 318i (in the US was sold in 1984 and 1985 - I think in Europe it was sold in late 1982 or early 1983 too) is the lowest powered e30 you can buy. It's got a m10 motor, and not exactly a collectors car at all. 103 HP is all you got(and with age, it may be at all of 80 HP by now). But is most like the lightest e30 you can buy.

(EDIT: There will be some confusion here, and some r3v'er won't even know the e30 came with a m10 motor, and assume you got your build date wrong and think this is a m42 powered car - NOPE!)

It's a great car for someone 16-20, as it's hard to get in over your head with the power, and it really, really teaches you how to carry speed through the corners. I drove one for a few weeks, and kinda fell in love with it's lack of power. It reminded me of karting when I was a kid. You either learn to drive it fast with the limited HP, or you're going to hate life. Down side, is if you ever have to go over a steep pass, you'll be in the slow lane, with the trucks

With that said.....it's not worth 3k unless it's really in excellent condition(but most cars from 1980's are not!).

Also, my heart goes out to you, but....old cars like this are a money suck if you don't learn to work on them yourself. You can keep dropping money on it, or....don't use it as a daily, and think of it more as a "project car" - and that's the good news, as if you wanted to learn to work on a BMW, a e30 M10 car is about as basic as it gets!

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Originally Posted by M10Power View Post
I was quoted $200 each for injectors plus $300 labor. $1100 seemed pretty steep even without any real knowledge of these cars; sure enough, these injectors start at $40ish on Pelican.
First thing, shops *hate* it when you bring in your own parts. It's puts them in a real predicament, of installing them, and they might not fit/work right, might clog up their work flow, and they still feel responsible for getting the problem sorted. Plus, they also make a bit of money on selling you the part from their vendor - and that just normal shop business. But $200 for an m10 injector. This shop isn't looking out for you. Stop using them ASAP.

Hope that helps.
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Old 12-28-2016, 09:11 PM   #7
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Save yourself a lot of hassle, cut your losses and put an m20 in it.


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Old 12-28-2016, 09:20 PM   #8
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Save yourself a lot of hassle, cut your losses and put an m20 in it.


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The guy doesn't even know how to change injectors (no offense OP).

Where are you located? And what exactly are you trying to get done on it? Message me if you'd like!
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Old 12-28-2016, 09:29 PM   #9
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For the money he's spent he would save on an m20 in the long run


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Old 12-28-2016, 09:47 PM   #10
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For the money he's spent he would save on an m20 in the long run
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You're obviously not understanding. If he's going to be doing the work himself, I don't think this thread would exist. But since he's paying people to do the work, changing out an entire drivetrain would cost much more than what he has spent.
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Old 12-28-2016, 09:48 PM   #11
M10Power
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Mulling this over

Thanks for the frank guidance.

I was certainly apprehensive about asking to bring in parts that I sourced. I used to work in a bike shop for years - oh, the tales I could tell about customers bringing in stuff they found on the web! I was straightforward when I brought it up, citing my respect for the shop's bottom line, and I think he was great in his response. He said he'd tacked on a hundred bucks to the labor to make up for the loss of margin. He was up front about it, so I'm fine with that.

The correct injectors have been cited throughout this forum, so I am as sure as I can be about the parts not being a hassle for the shop. But the upcharge to $200 per cylinder kinda chaps my rear, and the mechanic's assessment that cheaper options to be found online [must be] remanufactured and thus 'unreliable'... I don't exactly want to drop the shop over this, but I am torn. (Also, living in Bellingham limits my options for repair locations considerably.)

I should add that I have no designs on making this a track vehicle or any kind of performance car; I just want a unique, fun, sorta-simple daily driver. My commute is less than 20 miles a day on secondary roads. I don't intend to do much in the way of highway driving and almost no mountain passes. (I woulda sprung for a more powerful car if those were my needs.)

I feel now that if I choose to sell the car, I'm not going to recoup much of the $1400 I paid because it's not starting reliably. (I'm not driven by profit, just trying to mitigate losses) More importantly, I can't sell it without FULL disclosure now that I have posted it here with these issues! So it seems I either take it in the shorts, or put in $600 to see if this solves the starting issues once and for all. (Then do my mellow commute on blown dampers for a few months.)
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Old 12-28-2016, 09:52 PM   #12
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Clarifying the Issues

You are correct - I am not trying to do this work on my own, no offense taken. Engine tuning is out of my league (as is dropping in an M20 or other).

I'm in Bellingham, and my quandary at the moment is that the car needs new injectors.


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You're obviously not understanding. If he's going to be doing the work himself, I don't think this thread would exist. But since he's paying people to do the work, changing out an entire drivetrain would cost much more than what he has spent.
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Old 12-28-2016, 09:53 PM   #13
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I do understand, he isn't doing the work himself, the car still doesn't run. Paying someone to make an m10 run right is a never ending ordeal especially since no one seems to know how to fix them, I currently have an m10 car that's been sitting for a year because I've already dropped too much money and no one can figure out what's wrong with it. If you do it right you can swap for around 1500$ paying someone.

I picked up an m20b25 full swap everything from the radiator to the driveline for 400 bucks. It will bolt right in, change a few wires, there's plenty of people willing to help for a few bucks.


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Old 12-28-2016, 10:02 PM   #14
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Conditioning the Conditions

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Pics and condition of car? That makes all the difference.
Car appears to have avoided stationary objects so far. I checked the body throughout for rust and cannot find any. Trunk is mostly dry and the liner is very clean and unstained, wheelwells and rocker panels are all clean and dry. Interior is 8/10 - small tear in vinyl drivers' seat, other seat surfaces are great. Heat works, blows nice and hot through all vents, floor, dash, and defroster. SI panel shot so the odo and trip meter are dead, mpg gauge and tach bounce around a little, but speedo seems accurate and reliable. Interior trim is good, headliner is bone dry, hand crank for sunroof is fine, track is dry and rust-free, power windows work fine as well as the rear defroster. Has pop-out rear window option - frames and tracks are dry and clean. Carpet needs a deep clean but no evidence of dampness underneath. A few dash cracks but tolerable. Wipers work and headlamps are aimed perfectely. Washer nozzles don't function at the moment, and I removed the foglamps as the lenses were cracked. Has a cheap aftermarket stereo with crap speakers. All exterior lighting works save for a glitchy left turn signal in the bumper.
Clear coat is pretty sad and tired but from 10' the whole car presents nicely. No major dings or dents.
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Old 12-29-2016, 09:18 AM   #15
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Avoid using the rear defrost as much as possible, they're known for shattering the rear window. If you were closer I'd throw those injectors in for you for free in less than an hour. There are a few members here that are in Bellingham, hopefully some of them will be willing to help you out.
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