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Nick's Alpine White 1991 318is

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    Nick's Alpine White 1991 318is

    This thread documents my '91 318is upgrades and experiences. I'm new to the site, and new to the E30 world - I bought the only E30 I've ever driven!

    I hope this thread will help others as they consider upgrade and repair options for their E30s. (This thread's format cribs heavily from mike.bmw - thanks for the inspiration, Mike!)

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    Car Info
    Model: 318is - USA
    Slicktop
    Engine: M42
    Transmission: Manual
    Production Date: 5/1990
    Color: Alpinweiss 2 - 218
    Interior: Natur vinyl

    Engine
    Original M42 with a top-end rebuild in 2017 after a blown profile gasket (done under prior ownership).
    Cooling system replaced/refreshed under prior ownership.

    Exhaust
    Stock (a new Supersprint system is in the mail)

    Transmission
    Stock 5-speed manual (far as I know)

    Brakes
    OEM

    Differential
    4.10 LSD

    Suspension
    H&R OE Sport Springs (50404.55) with Bilsteins
    14.5mm rear spring pad swap (0.5" rear lift)
    10.5mm rear spacers

    Wheels
    15" Euroweaves on 205/50/15 Dunlop Direzzas

    Exterior
    Had about 10 small exterior dents pulled in November 2020 (PDR)
    Re-sprayed OEM front iS lip and rear iS spoiler in November 2020
    Re-sprayed front and rear valances and both side mirror housings in November 2020
    Hella H4/H1 headlights installed November 2020
    Rockers repainted black November 2020
    New LED lights all around except turn signals

    Interior
    Crack-free dash swap in December 2020
    Alpine head unit with 6.5" Infinity Reference speakers in rear
    Gearswitch cup holder unit
    New Cocomats in black & tan in November 2020
    LED cabin lighting

    Background / Purchase Story
    I found my way to the E30 via years of wanting either a longhood Porsche or an early Alfa Romeo 105 coupe (GTV). After deciding prices for those cars had become silly, I realized a lot of what I wanted in them could be found in the E30: Light weight, great utilitarian yet sporty styling, compact size, and even a surprising amount of exterior design elements in common with the Alfa GTV (long hood/short rear deck, quad headlights, airy greenhouse...).

    I started looking for a 318is in mid-2019. I missed out on a couple opportunities to buy one online, and nothing was materializing locally. I eventually posted a "wanted" ad on Craigslist, and soon afterwards another member on this site reached out to me offering up the car you see above. It had a few minor cosmetic needs, but was in great shape overall, with about 145k miles on the clock. We exchanged emails and a couple phone calls, sharing some fun "car nerd" conversations, and quickly reached a deal. I picked up the car in October 2020 and have really been enjoying working on it and driving it, particularly as a way to pass time during the pandemic!


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    #2
    Welcome! Your car looks great and it seems you have been busy chipping away at all the little details with a few subtle updates along the way. I will be interested to hear your comments on the Supersprint; that exhaust is one of my favorites on the M42 powered cars.

    Comment


      #3
      Hi Nick, welcome to the E30 ownership. That's a beautiful car. I'm jealous of your LSD differential . These are very hard to come by in Belgium/EU, at least at normal prices...

      I also get your point about the Alfa's & Porsche's.. These cars are legends, 2 of the best cars i've ever driven (Alfa Romeo GTV 2000 and Porsche 911 3.2), but they weren't mine.. I'm still dreaming of one day owning my own 911 SC or 3.2 Carrera model...

      Subscribed to your thread! Keep the iS spirit alive
      Belgian E30 Driver
      /
      //
      1990 - E30 - 318i Cabriolet Brilliantrot
      /// 1988 - E30 - 320i Touring Diamantschwarz (Sold)
      /// 1990 - E30 - 318IS Coupé Lazurblau

      Check out my Rare BMW Music Edition Cassettes Topic

      Comment


        #4
        Awesome! I look forward to following your thread. Looks like a bunch of great work has been done so far. Thanks for the nod!

        Comment


          #5
          Originally posted by AlpinStar View Post
          Exhaust
          Stock (a new Supersprint system is in the mail)
          Excellent first post and first mod!

          Also that format looks familiar?
          Simon
          Current Car:
          -2000 330i Estate, the dad-mobile
          -2002 MR2 Spyder, the solo-mobile



          Make R3V Great Again -2020

          Comment


            #6
            Welcome! Very tidy looking 318is. Curious why you resprayed the front lower IS lip black instead of white?

            Looking forward to see what you do with this one moving forward!

            Comment


              #7
              Originally posted by mjweimer View Post
              Welcome! Your car looks great and it seems you have been busy chipping away at all the little details with a few subtle updates along the way. I will be interested to hear your comments on the Supersprint; that exhaust is one of my favorites on the M42 powered cars.
              Thank you! I'll definitely post an update when I get the Supersprint installed. Glad to hear it's a favorite of yours.

              Originally posted by PieterVN View Post
              Hi Nick, welcome to the E30 ownership. That's a beautiful car. I'm jealous of your LSD differential . These are very hard to come by in Belgium/EU, at least at normal prices...

              I also get your point about the Alfa's & Porsche's.. These cars are legends, 2 of the best cars i've ever driven (Alfa Romeo GTV 2000 and Porsche 911 3.2), but they weren't mine.. I'm still dreaming of one day owning my own 911 SC or 3.2 Carrera model...

              Subscribed to your thread! Keep the iS spirit alive
              Thanks, Pieter - I saw your posts re: the LSD, interesting to hear what sourcing parts is like in a different part of the world. Keep at it! And yes, a 911SC would be just about the sweet spot - classic style and less expensive than a Longhood or 964/993. Just subscribed to your thread as well!

              Originally posted by mike.bmw View Post
              Awesome! I look forward to following your thread. Looks like a bunch of great work has been done so far. Thanks for the nod!
              Definitely, Mike - I found out about your thread from the guy who sold me my car. We all have the same taste in mods for sure - kind of an OEM+ mentality. I used your thread to do the rear spring pad swap on mine last weekend, and it was super handy. I look forward to watching your thread continue to develop as well!

              Originally posted by 2mAn View Post

              Excellent first post and first mod!

              Also that format looks familiar?
              Thanks for all the work you put into this site - I've seen a lot of great posts from you already. And yep, the format certainly is familiar - why change a good thing, right?

              Comment


                #8
                Originally posted by cagedbunny View Post
                Welcome! Very tidy looking 318is. Curious why you resprayed the front lower IS lip black instead of white?

                Looking forward to see what you do with this one moving forward!
                Thank you! The lower "IS" lip was black on the car when I got it - it appeared to be just black plastic, unpainted. So I cleaned it up (sanded down the rock chips) and sprayed it trim black. Do you happen to know why some of the lip spoilers apparently came in black and some in body color? I'm sort of confused about that topic - I tried to research it before painting it but couldn't find a definitive answer, and I've seen photos of IS cars with both black and body-colored front lip spoilers. Curious to hear if anybody knows any more history on this.

                At any rate, it'd be pretty easy to pull it off the car and paint it white at some point. I'm flirting a bit with the idea of adding what folks seem to call the "IS" side skirts in body color white, in which case I'd definitely spray the front lip white as well. Without the side skirts, though, I thought the lines of the car flow a little better with the lip in black, though the lip also does kind of disappear in black.

                Comment


                  #9
                  Originally posted by AlpinStar View Post

                  Thank you! The lower "IS" lip was black on the car when I got it - it appeared to be just black plastic, unpainted. So I cleaned it up (sanded down the rock chips) and sprayed it trim black. Do you happen to know why some of the lip spoilers apparently came in black and some in body color? I'm sort of confused about that topic - I tried to research it before painting it but couldn't find a definitive answer, and I've seen photos of IS cars with both black and body-colored front lip spoilers. Curious to hear if anybody knows any more history on this.
                  The late-model cars came with the lower IS lips painted body color originally, so yours technically should be white. It really is a strange thing, that the rockers and rear lower valance were black from the factory, and the front lip body color, but.. that's how BMW did it!
                  The IS skirts definitely help tie it all together. The only recommendation I would have there, if you go that route; the IS skirts have tabs that locate them on the very bottom, and said tabs are the lowest points of the skirts. Mask and paint those black, or it looks like the skirts are hanging low/weird/missing chunks when viewed from low.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    cagedbunny - thanks for the info! Over time, it seems a lot of people have gone with the black front lip, probably both because it's easier to paint/maintain that way and because it looks a bit more balanced if you don't have side skirts.

                    Thanks for the tip re: the side skirts too; now to figure out a way to mount them with no drilling! I've seen others mount theirs mostly with 3M trim tape, which has potential. Drilling into a very original 30+ year old car gives me anxiety :)

                    Comment


                      #11
                      A few updates on exterior paint cleanup, as it's been awhile.

                      Paintless dent removal

                      After getting the car, I hired a PDR guy to go to town on the hood, front fenders, and trunk lid. It's kinda hard to show the results in photos given the car is white and the dents were fairly minor (like little door dings all over the car), but the guy did a great job, and the car is perfectly dent-free now. Such a satisfying thing to do to a car - the PDR guys really are wizards.

                      Re-painting front and rear valances, mirrors, and spoiler

                      When I got the car, several pieces needed a little reconditioning love. I did not do a good job documenting this paint job in process, but I spent a couple days carefully removing and masking things off, prepping surfaces, primering, and painting. I got custom-matched paint prepared at a local auto paint shop, and bought a bunch of 2k Glamour Clearcoat. All of it from rattle cans. I painted the valances on the car, and the rest (spoilers and mirrors) off the car after removing them. Amazing what you can do with rattle cans if you're patient and take time to do the prep right. I guess all those years of building model cars and working with spray paint paid off :) Hopefully the results hold up over time.

                      I made sure to buy all new spoiler clips before re-installing the front lip spoiler, as the prior ones were toast (amazingly, it was hanging on by two intact clips when I bought it!).

                      Before:

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                      After:

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                      Before:

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                      After (new-to-me used OEM spoiler purchased on eBay, painted by me):

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                      And one of the mirrors after paint (it was in pretty bad shape before, with lots of scrapes blotchy touch-ups):

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                      The car was already in good shape cosmetically, but cleaning up these last few things on the exterior helped appease my OCD.
                      Last edited by AlpinStar; 02-25-2021, 02:30 PM.

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Hey Nick, looks great but i can't see all the pictures. Only the last one with the right mirror housing. Can you check what went wrong? I'm eager to see all the paintwork on the valances and spoiler
                        Belgian E30 Driver
                        /
                        //
                        1990 - E30 - 318i Cabriolet Brilliantrot
                        /// 1988 - E30 - 320i Touring Diamantschwarz (Sold)
                        /// 1990 - E30 - 318IS Coupé Lazurblau

                        Check out my Rare BMW Music Edition Cassettes Topic

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Welcome! Looks refreshingly clean!

                          In for Super Sprint sound clip!

                          I was up above it, Now I'm down in it ~ Entropy - A Build thread.

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Originally posted by PieterVN View Post
                            Hey Nick, looks great but i can't see all the pictures. Only the last one with the right mirror housing. Can you check what went wrong? I'm eager to see all the paintwork on the valances and spoiler
                            Hey Pieter - thanks for letting me know; I think I fixed it, but let me know if the photos aren't showing. I may need to look into other image hosting options; this site's native image hosting seems pretty limited. Thanks again.

                            Originally posted by moatilliatta View Post
                            Welcome! Looks refreshingly clean!

                            In for Super Sprint sound clip!
                            Thank you! Coming soon; I think I should have the exhaust on in next couple weeks. My go-to local shop is pretty booked up at the moment, unfortunately, so the exhaust is just sitting in my garage. If I wasn't doing a new cat as well, I'd just do it myself.

                            Comment


                              #15
                              Nice work on the paint! My old spoiler used to look just like that. I may have to follow suit and paint my front and rear valences as mine are pretty weathered. PDR has also been on my list of things to do (for 5 years now). And nice choice on the exhaust!

                              Comment

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