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E30 or E28

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    I own both, a 1983 533i and a 1989 325iX. I like driving the e30 more, and I find it easier to work on, but only because the M30 is really crammed into the e28 - you can't even remove the cooling fan without first removing the radiator. On the other hand, you can do an oil change on the 533i without lifting it off the ground at all - oil filter is accessible from above, and there's enough room underneath to fit the drain pan and remove the drain plug without jacking it up. The e28's gauge cluster is much easier to remove, too, along with most of the interior panels. This is a really good thing, as you will almost certainly have to remove it several times to diagnose and repair the odometer gears and all the electrical issues. The e28 has a lot more trunk space (I currently have a full set of 16x8 wheels in there along with a bunch of spare parts, a funnel, and a small gas can, with room to spare). Adults can fit in the back seat, but as the driver, I don't find it more comfortable. The suspension is softer but the seats don't fit me well, unlike the e30's. Also, the e28 HVAC system is completely ridiculous. All the face vents only blow cold air, the heat only comes out the defroster and footwell vents. It has temperature-based climate control (instead of just hot/cold, you set the temperature on the dial) which is powered by a sensor that is connected to engine vacuum. Yes, you read that right, there's a vacuum line from the engine, through the firewall, into the cabin, that is needed for the heat to work correctly.

    In either case, I suggest you avoid the Motronic 1.0 cars, I've been troubleshooting and replacing stuff on that 533i for months trying to get it to run right. I've finally got it running well, but it still has a high idle, and I think I've got bad wiring near the Motronic box, as sometimes it won't start until I wiggle the wires around a bit.

    Oh, and one more thing - the 533i costs more to insure than my other two cars combined (e46 and e30), despite costing way less to buy. The car was $1100, but the insurance is over $1200 a year. I'm in Michigan and we have absurdly expensive car insurance, so yours will probably be less, but get quotes before you buy so that you know what you're getting into.
    Last edited by cscracker; 05-09-2018, 08:00 PM.