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    $1000 Sedan

    I started searching for an E30 a few months ago after selling my M30 coupe last October. My first thought was holy shit prices are insane now. I'd look on Craigslist and now OfferUp multiple times a day to find a deal since most E30s in my area were priced at about $3-4000 for something that was still going to need a lot of work. I was late on a couple $2-3000 cars that looked like decent candidates. Then last week I went back to a listing that was on OfferUp for about 20 days for a "1987 bmw e30". There was only a few pictures but it was a 325e automatic sedan in lachsilber with a blue comfort interior and no carpet. The price was brought down from 1800 to 1500. It was an auto sedan with no info in post so I offered 1000 and they accepted the next day! I said screw it and set up a time to see it.

    They drove the car to meet me which was a great sign. Once the car pulled up I was really surprised. The body is almost perfect with only some small dents on the rear passenger door and on the front fender near the headlight. Its missing part of the rain trim on drivers side and has caused a bit of rust to appear. The paint is original with the side stripe. The bumpers and sunroof are painted/plastidipped? black so I'll have to see if anything is under that but the bumpers have all the trim and it lines up well. The dash has no cracks with only a tiny blemish on it. All lights/locks work. Door cards look perfect and the seats will clean up well. OBC works but needs a new light. The carpet is missing but I was able to see that there is no rust on the floor easily. Some hoses on the engine weren't original but it worked. It needs a new valve cover gasket. Owner wasn't sure about the timing belt or pump. But overall this car was easily worth 1000, registered until October 2021 and clean title.

    I bought it and drove it home from San Jose to Stockton without any issues. The front suspension definitely needs work and an alignment. I'm not really sure what direction I'm going with this car. I really want to manual swap it but if I do that it will probably be worth it to swap the engine at the same time. I loved the M30 but I would definitely have to have AC and a heater this time. On the other hand I think I'd like to have an M42 car again. We'll see I'm in no rush with this E30.









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    1989 M30 Alpine Coupe

    #2
    I've had a good amount of free time these past few days so I started to really look around on the inside and also lifted the front end to get a better idea of what I'm working with. I found some cool things and some not so cool things.

    I found this in the glovebox. It's a first out of the six e30's I've owned.



    And on the inside. Tape deck cleaner, antenna cleaner, "Intro" tape, handbook plus all original pamphlets.



    A bunch of service records. Latest I found was a transmission fluid change in 2013 on another page.



    Underneath everything looked pretty good. All bushings looked to be changed from the originals at some point with no cracks. Oil pan looked to be fixed but no leaks. Brake pads and rotors were fine. Hub dustcap looked new. Then I started looking at the pinch weld area on the drivers side.



    Some of the undercoating had worn off and caused an area of the frame rail to accumulate some rust. I picked off most of the undercoating to reveal the problem area then went at it with a wire brush and sandpaper.



    After about 30 minutes of going at it I thought it looked ok. I cleaned the area and sprayed it with sandable primer followed up with 3m undercoating. It should hold up until I get a house next year and can do a proper teardown.



    I also went ahead and ordered a timing belt/water pump and other little maintenance items.

    1989 M30 Alpine Coupe

    Comment


      #3
      Looks like a good canvas, and there's no harm is keeping a cruiser around if you end up going that route.

      As an aside, if you want more texture out of your undercoating you can lay it on as normal, dab it with a rag or paper towel to create texture, wait for it to dry, and apply another coat.

      Comment


        #4
        Deals are still to be found. My last one was similar. I had all the records going back to the floor mat purchase when the car was bought in 87. Nice pickup. Get the Timing belt and water pump done, get the A/C ready for summer and then you’ll have plenty of time to decide what to swap in.
        Simon
        Current Car:
        -2000 330i Estate, the dad-mobile
        -2002 MR2 Spyder, the solo-mobile



        Make R3V Great Again -2020

        Comment


          #5
          Originally posted by 2mAn View Post
          Deals are still to be found. My last one was similar. I had all the records going back to the floor mat purchase when the car was bought in 87. Nice pickup. Get the Timing belt and water pump done, get the A/C ready for summer and then you’ll have plenty of time to decide what to swap in.
          Just started the work on the belt and pump. The fan was on there good so had to order a tool from amazon which did the job for $20. Best thing about being in the Central Valley is getting packages in a day or two.



          Earlier I decided to go to Pick N Pull for the first time in a year or so. I saw Modesto got a 86 325e in dark blue a few days ago so I was hoping to score a carpet. I arrived at about 1pm and saw a red 325 cabrio in the lot so thought the parts would be gone but when I pulled up to the car the carpet was still in there. To my surprise it was indigo like my interior. Luckily I brought my impact and quickly pulled the interior.



          I guess it helped that the person that got here first broke everything and made the tear down easier. BTW if you're in the area I removed the black comfort seats as cleanly as possible and left them on the rear bench of the car if you need them.



          $20 FTW. Quick shot of the daily.



          I vacuumed the carpet when I got home and left it out to dry since it was wet. Tomorrow I'll clean it with a kit I got online and let it dry one more day before installing in car. Still need to clean the seats as well. It was a good day.


          1989 M30 Alpine Coupe

          Comment


            #6
            Still waiting on the water pump and belt. Today I went over the carpet with a brush drill-attachment and vacuum. Most of the gritty spots started getting better. I think after a few more passes tomorrow it'll be super clean and ready to install.

            1989 M30 Alpine Coupe

            Comment


              #7
              I got a couple hours of sun today which was a nice break from the fog. No parts yet so I pulled the rest of the interior to clean it up before installing the carpet.

              There was a ton of wire crimp leftovers all over the floor. One of the PO's ran speaker wire from the dash along the glovebox to the rear. I didn't remove it but I made it more accessible in case I need to tear it out later. Not sure what I'm doing with the sound system yet. I'd like an OEM radio or another hidden bluetooth amp. I didn't peel the Zumiez stickers as an homage to the PO.



              I cleaned up the seats with my drill attachment and a stain remover from Chemical Guys. The color is already a bit faded on the leather but it got rid of the grime and softened them up. I also found the OEM mats in the trunk. They need a wash bad as well. I couldn't locate the driver's mat unfortunately.



              I've never had an indigo interior before so I'm glad I was able to find a matching carpet even though it's for a coupe rather than sedan. The air ducts that run to the rear were also missing so I grabbed them from the trunk, cleaned them up, and installed them.



              I fitted the carpet loosely and overall it went in pretty easily. Going to inspect it tomorrow before bolting down the seats and console. The interior feels more like home now at least. Getting excited about this car little by little.

              1989 M30 Alpine Coupe

              Comment


                #8
                Coming along nicely. Whats the Chemical Bros attachment? I really want to give my Estates interior a good cleaning, the whole damn car needs it...

                I have a leftover driver "monster" type mat left from the E46 also, in black. Not sure how well the E46 mat would fit in the E30 though
                Simon
                Current Car:
                -2000 330i Estate, the dad-mobile
                -2002 MR2 Spyder, the solo-mobile



                Make R3V Great Again -2020

                Comment


                  #9
                  Originally posted by 2mAn View Post
                  Coming along nicely. Whats the Chemical Bros attachment? I really want to give my Estates interior a good cleaning, the whole damn car needs it...

                  I have a leftover driver "monster" type mat left from the E46 also, in black. Not sure how well the E46 mat would fit in the E30 though
                  Thank you!

                  This is the brush I got. I chose Medium Duty because it was for my Focus ST's cloth interior. For the E30 I probably would have chosen Light since everything is more brittle. This is the cleaner I used. It was my first time doing that kind of cleaning but overall it worked well.

                  Today I removed the water pump and timing belt. I was supposed to receive all the parts today but I only got the water pump. Still need the belt and cam seals. Damn this thing is filthy. The rocker plugs had sealant all around them so I'm glad I ordered new ones as well. But overall everything is functioning well on the original engine.

                  Starting for the day.


                  There was a lot of corrosion on the water pump. It was GMB branded so it definitely was not original. I'll be using blue coolant and distilled water.


                  Filthy



                  I cleaned up a bit but there's still a lot of work to do. I'm not going to do a perfect detail until I get a house next year but I'm still going to hit it with a brush a bit more tomorrow.


                  Hopefully my parts arrive soon before I go back to work so I can smog it and drive it a bit. Other than that I'm glad I got to wrench a bit today,

                  Merry Christmas everyone!

                  Last edited by iso_hi; 12-24-2020, 09:17 PM.
                  1989 M30 Alpine Coupe

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Got like an hour to work on the car today. Cleaned up the block and accessories a bit more. Hopefully I get the timing belt tomorrow. I'll need to replace the thermostat housing eventually it's pretty corroded.



                    My wife also got me this shirt for Xmas. Just need the car now.

                    1989 M30 Alpine Coupe

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Nice score for $1k. The carpet really turned out nicely....you were lucky to find a car at the yard with an indigo interior.

                      That thermostat housing looks clean on the inside so I don't know that replacement is needed. Get a scotchbrite pad to clean the corrosion from the hose connections and you'll be good to go.

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Originally posted by mjweimer View Post
                        Nice score for $1k. The carpet really turned out nicely....you were lucky to find a car at the yard with an indigo interior.

                        That thermostat housing looks clean on the inside so I don't know that replacement is needed. Get a scotchbrite pad to clean the corrosion from the hose connections and you'll be good to go.
                        I took your advice and just scrubbed it out. Eventually I'll get a new one so it matches the rest of the engine but for now it'll do.

                        So my timing belt and cam seals were stuck at Tracy Fedex for SIX DAYS. One of the positives was that I got to spend more time cleaning the engine bay. I scrubbed off a ton of grime until I was able to see metal. Mostly everything was covered in sludge. The camshaft seals had sealant all around them and were leaking so I'm glad I replaced those as well.



                        New timing belt and water pump installed. Also replaced a worn out hood strut. Goodbye bamboo prop stick.



                        After I bled the coolant I took it out for a wash for the first time. The paint on the hood needs a polish but the rear still shines well. I can't believe I got this for $1000. It runs so quiet and smooth as well. Just need to replace some rain trim on the drivers side and eventually an ES spoiler on the front.






                        So happy with the way this is turning out. Next I'm going to replace the shocks and struts before getting an alignment since it's still a little bouncy on the bumps. I'll probably just drive it as is, maybe get a set of wheels with some good tires. I'm not going to consider a swap until I get a garage.
                        1989 M30 Alpine Coupe

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Hate to say it since you already have it back together, but I would replace those stamped cam/intermediate shaft gears ASAP. Car is coming along!
                          1990 Brilliantrot 325iS Build Thread
                          1989 Zinnoberrot M3 Build Thread

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Originally posted by AWDBOB View Post
                            Hate to say it since you already have it back together, but I would replace those stamped cam/intermediate shaft gears ASAP. Car is coming along!
                            What parts are those exactly? I dont think I've done that before.
                            1989 M30 Alpine Coupe

                            Comment


                              #15
                              Originally posted by iso_hi View Post

                              What parts are those exactly? I dont think I've done that before.
                              Those would be the toothed "sprockets" the timing belt rides on, both at the cam, and next to the alternator. They had a higher than normal rate of failure at one point, but it's been fine for a while, and it's an auto ETA, so it's probably cool to leave it.

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