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    first BMW, first E30 1985 318i

    hello everyone, my name is Chris and I am a very new bmw owner

    after spending a little over a week with my new to me bmw, I have decided the car will stay a while, and so i should make a progress thread for the ol girl.

    i have had many different cars, although the theme is usually lightweight.
    a few of my previous cars:

    turbo EG civic sedan
    b16 crx
    FC and FB rx7
    1.6 and 1.8 miata
    '67 Datsun 1600
    sr20 s14 240sx
    sr5 and gts ae86

    ive departed from this slightly with my current car, which sits in my garage:


    the toyota is a slow project for me and I wanted to have something to drive around as a daily, something I can slide around in the rain and also throw 3 bags of golf clubs in. these things are tasks the mr2 does not like to accomplish.

    so for the last few years ive been cruising the streets hard with a honda grom. if you are unfamiliar with the grom heres a pic:


    its a fuel injected 125cc air cooled motorcycle that goes about 65mph and pretty much anywhere you want to go. my friends and I have ridden our groms from where we live in napa down to alices restaurant in woodside and back in a day. those little bikes carve up the twisties pretty hard.
    but I haven't been riding mine much and my fiancÚ sold her grom, so I figured it would make a good starting point for getting some cash together for a new project.

    well after scrolling CL I found a gentleman, who wanted to trade his e30 for a honda grom! and because I didn't know much at the time about e30s, I couldn't figure out why this e30 was being sold for so much less than the ones I see on CL.
    well after some research I realized why.
    diving boards... m10... L-Jet... diving boards...

    but I also read that the early model 318i was pretty lightweight... and that's all I needed to see.
    strapped up my grom to a truck bed and headed down towards the bay with my fiancÚ in tow and aiming to come back up with an e30:


    so that's what I ended up coming back with.
    the readers out there might be wanting to know what my vision is with this beaut…

    I have no idea at this point in time. my initial goals are to get it functioning well enough to handle repeated beatings on our local mountain roads, and just catch up on overall maintenance.
    but it serves a purpose for me that the mr2 does not, and that purpose is having fun. hooning around as the kids call it now days.

    so couple fun things about the car.
    the car and I are the same age.
    the sound system is very decent. I don't usually have nice sound in my cars so this is a nice perk.
    the shifter is the sloppiest ive felt in a car in a long time.
    its lowered.
    it feels faster than it is... the kind fellow I traded the grom to, also has a touring. he wanted the 3.91 out of the 318i, and so he swapped the diffs between the 2 cars.
    when I found out the final drive of the diff he swapped in I couldn't have been happier! 4.27 baby!!! so the car feels peppy as all get out!

    bang through the first 3 gears and feel like your flying... look down at the speedo and your going 45mph... perfect!

    heres some more pics just cause.

    Last edited by skater4145; 06-01-2019, 11:32 PM.
    The beginnings of my early model 318i build

    #2
    so about that maintenance...
    here are the things id like to start with:

    1. intermittent start
    a. sometimes it doesn't start. everything comes on. turn the switch, nothing happens not even a click. last time it happened I left it alone for 3 hours then it started right up... its only happened once so far in about a week.

    2. brakes are mushy and a light scraping sounds comes from the drums when you get hard on the brakes. brakes still work though pretty ok though.
    a. need to bleed the brakes.
    b. need to get into those drums and see what the noise is.
    c. I got some disc rears in the deal. need to get some rotors and wheel bearings and convert the rear end to disc

    3. wont hold an idle from a cold start. the cold start injector is unplugged. has the penny trick done already. has cold start issues.
    a. I want a legit running iacv and cold start injector setup

    4. leak. not sure if oil or p/s, just noticed it beneath the car after work last night. gonna go check it out
    a. well got myself a project car




    P.S. the battery tray is rusted out... so there's that

    Last edited by skater4145; 06-01-2019, 11:30 PM.
    The beginnings of my early model 318i build

    Comment


      #3
      ok most of the time i do like to work on my own cars, i have rebuilt a bottom end of a motor and it ran for a while afterword, but i have never rebuilt a diff or transmission so that is about the limit of my mechanical knowledge. and i suck at wiring.

      since my last and only german car was a mercedes 190e, i figured my first purchase should be a bentley.
      i was trying to download a copy and i came across a version that was available and the person hosting the file had said something like, "this is available assuming this is your 2nd or 3rd copy... pay bentley the money they deserve."

      that resonated with me... and thus my first bmw purchases have arrived.
      i had been lurking here for a few weeks and read a few threads about tuner motorsport and pelican and mergers and things...

      so as much as my purchasing as possible will come from blunttech. i help run a small business and am always voicing my opinion to shop local and small, and so i make an effort most of the time to put my money where my mouth is.

      and here fresh of the truck from blunttech...


      i figured start with the small things first. and that shifter slop is driving me crazy.

      so now for lots of reading.

      took the car out for a mild shakedown on one of my favorite little roads and somehow convinced the lady to go with me. thats rare and suprise... she really enjoyed the car. now she wants to drive it lol!!



      maybe it was more weather than car but hey the more she likes the car the better my chances of keeping it when the kids come along, i'll take it!
      The beginnings of my early model 318i build

      Comment


        #4
        M10 powa~!!!!!
        Simon
        Current Cars:
        -1986 BMW 325e & 1968 Datsun Roadster 2000
        Previous Car Count : 21 ... and climbing...
        Originally posted by Melon
        Let it be known to all. Simon fucking keeps it real.

        Comment


          #5
          Originally posted by skater4145 View Post
          maybe it was more weather than car but hey the more she likes the car the better my chances of keeping it when the kids come along
          Speaking from experience, two car seats fit easily. ;D
          My Cars:
          -1991 BMW 318is - August 2018 R3V Car Of The Month
          -2015 BMW 328xi Wagon

          Comment


            #6
            Get a Miata battery, 325i battery cables and move that stuff to the trunk.
            Simon
            Current Cars:
            -1986 BMW 325e & 1968 Datsun Roadster 2000
            Previous Car Count : 21 ... and climbing...
            Originally posted by Melon
            Let it be known to all. Simon fucking keeps it real.

            Comment


              #7
              Love it, and i don't get why everyone hates the DB bumpers. Maybe its because they are unheard of here.

              keep the diving boards!!

              I drove a 325e across America and now i am shipping it home to London, England

              Comment


                #8
                Nice car! I have an '88 "is" that came with everything for a bumper swap and the forum convinced me to keep the diving boards. . . .for now.

                Comment


                  #9
                  Keep it light, in tune and set your timing for 93 octane.

                  #1 priority: ERADICATE VACUUM LEAKS!

                  Comment


                    #10
                    please change the timing belt soon
                    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
                    '90 325i sedan daily driven
                    '85 325e coupe also a daily

                    Comment


                      #11
                      The M10 doesn't have one (probably the one advantage the M10 has over the M20!)

                      Nice project you've got there - the M10 cars are good daily drives. Sure, they're slow, but once sorted they're very reliable and still entertaining to drive like all e30s.

                      What are your plans for the MR2? I've been toying with the idea of buying one for a while and throwing a 3.5L Camry V6 into it to make a cut price Lotus Evora :)
                      My e30: OEM+ with M30B35

                      Comment


                        #12
                        What are the plans for the M10? I have an old lower pulley for an M10 that has a 36-1 wheel on it. Pick up a Ford EDIS and you can start letting that thing run a bit better without the distributor. Ireland Engineering is a great place for M10 performance parts, and if you look there were performance headers for them a while ago. Combine the lightness of the 84/85 and get that thing slightly hot-rodded and it will be quite fun NA, then theres the whole Turbo option too... lots of possibilities
                        Simon
                        Current Cars:
                        -1986 BMW 325e & 1968 Datsun Roadster 2000
                        Previous Car Count : 21 ... and climbing...
                        Originally posted by Melon
                        Let it be known to all. Simon fucking keeps it real.

                        Comment


                          #13
                          ok so thanks for all the motivation you guys! i hate to say it but sorry you will have to bear with me for a few months as my schedule is crazy and my time to wrench is super unpredictable atm. i will fully explain later but ive got a packed 8 weeks of work followed by a wedding and a 14 day honeymoon. i promise im not complaining!
                          updates may be touch and go for a little while but i really really like this bmw so it is a great motivator for me to work on it.

                          Originally posted by mike.bmw View Post
                          Speaking from experience, two car seats fit easily. ;D
                          this is great news because the kids are coming, we both want them so its only a matter of time, and my fiancÚ isn't getting any younger. neither of us want more than 2 the e30 is all I'll ever need! at least that's what i keep telling my fiancÚ

                          Originally posted by 2mAn View Post
                          Get a Miata battery, 325i battery cables and move that stuff to the trunk.
                          PO already did it. ill post a pic tomorrow with another update

                          Originally posted by benwalsh91 View Post
                          Love it, and i don't get why everyone hates the DB bumpers. Maybe its because they are unheard of here.

                          keep the diving boards!!
                          Originally posted by e30RS View Post
                          Nice car! I have an '88 "is" that came with everything for a bumper swap and the forum convinced me to keep the diving boards. . . .for now.
                          I love the encouragement! thanks guys! i just don't know if i can keep them... they make great drink holders when your chillin outside the car, but they stick out really far. like almost too far... almost
                          but i am definitely keeping them for now i have so many other things to get to first.
                          full disclosure if this was an '88 car i'd have those plastic bumpers on so fast...


                          Originally posted by packratbimmer View Post
                          Keep it light, in tune and set your timing for 93 octane.

                          #1 priority: ERADICATE VACUUM LEAKS!
                          it passed smog but i need to get a timing light on it and see where its currently set at. i know the PO messed with it so it could be stock or who knows. also vac leaks are so gross and i know i have some and just ewwww
                          ugh vac leaks are my nemesis. but they are a high priority for sure.

                          Originally posted by cheffy30 View Post
                          please change the timing belt soon
                          Originally posted by lukeADE335i View Post
                          The M10 doesn't have one (probably the one advantage the M10 has over the M20!)

                          Nice project you've got there - the M10 cars are good daily drives. Sure, they're slow, but once sorted they're very reliable and still entertaining to drive like all e30s.

                          What are your plans for the MR2? I've been toying with the idea of buying one for a while and throwing a 3.5L Camry V6 into it to make a cut price Lotus Evora :)
                          thank you!!! the m10 has character for sure and the e30 handles great as light as it is. it is absolutely entertaining and that's exactly what i was hoping for. and it doesn't do too badly on gas mileage either which is kind of nice for a daily driver. its a great compliment to the mr2 because they handle so differently.
                          you've got my intentions with the toyota pegged. except because of California smog and carb, a 2gr-fse is nigh impossible. at least for my skills. my plans include one of two options, the 3vz-fe or the 1mz-fe, both are v-6 and both came in the camry in California(which is super important for a very stupid reason). neither make more than 200hp but it is a worthwhile swap because the torque curve is ridiculously flat from like 800rpm and above.


                          Originally posted by 2mAn View Post
                          What are the plans for the M10? I have an old lower pulley for an M10 that has a 36-1 wheel on it. Pick up a Ford EDIS and you can start letting that thing run a bit better without the distributor. Ireland Engineering is a great place for M10 performance parts, and if you look there were performance headers for them a while ago. Combine the lightness of the 84/85 and get that thing slightly hot-rodded and it will be quite fun NA, then theres the whole Turbo option too... lots of possibilities
                          i want to hot rod it!!! hahaha i would really like to keep it NA. i think it adds to the overall experience of what the car is about. i very much subscribe to the slow car fast type of driving so i don't need lots of power in this car. i would love for it to make cool noises and give the effect of going fast though!
                          and i am definitely into that lower pulley, i would love to be able to upgrade the ignition system.
                          The beginnings of my early model 318i build

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Originally posted by skater4145 View Post
                            You've got my intentions with the toyota pegged. except because of California smog and carb, a 2gr-fse is nigh impossible. at least for my skills. my plans include one of two options, the 3vz-fe or the 1mz-fe, both are v-6 and both came in the camry in California(which is super important for a very stupid reason). neither make more than 200hp but it is a worthwhile swap because the torque curve is ridiculously flat from like 800rpm and above.
                            Nice - the 1MZ would probably be my pick. The sound + torque would be worth it, and those engines can be had for peanuts.

                            Sounds like good plans for the e30 - a 4 door might have been more practical with the kids on the way. I've found mine good with 2 kids, and used it as my daily until late last year. I daily an e92 now and they clamber in and out of the back of that just fine. Might be a bit annoying in the early years when they're in booster seats.

                            When doing the school run in the e30 surrounded by SUVs, the kids used to say - your car might not be the biggest Dad, but it's definitely the loudest :)
                            My e30: OEM+ with M30B35

                            Comment


                              #15
                              M10 ftw. Welcome! Love the SW20 too. It looks like you're well on your way already. Just a 325 sway bar in the rear will make the car nearly perfect, in my experience.

                              If I recall correctly you actually need the trailing arms from a disc car to convert the drums in the rear. It's been years, so I could be wrong. The early cars also have skinnier front strut tubes, so if you plan to replace them I recommend getting the "beefer" 51mm ones. Check out the dollar bill trick to confirm size.
                              '84 318i M10B18 | 93whp/90ftlbs | 147- Safari Beige | MS2E w/ LC, 2-Step

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