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Panici's long awaited E30

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    Panici's long awaited E30

    Hey guys,

    I've been looking on and off for almost 6 years, and finally picked up an '86 325e yesterday!

    It's a little rough, currently doesn't run and has been sitting for a few years. The body is pretty clean considering I only paid $520CDN for it.

    It does need a really good cleaning!

    Needs a rear taillight, bumper, gas door.
    I've got two matching spare wheels and tires that hopefully hold air.

    Has the normal E30 dash cracks, but the rest of the interior trim is in good shape.

    Drivers seat is the worst of the three. One ripped seam and two holes. All can be fixed.
    Looks much worse in pictures then it actually is.
    Other seats are in good shape, just need to be re-dyed.

    Plan is to get the car running, fix rust where I can, and essentially do a resto-MOD that I can daily drive. I don't want to swap the diving boards, or "rice" the car out. I want it (relatively) quiet and comfortable.

    Without further ado, some pictures!

    Last edited by Panici; 10-01-2020, 07:27 PM.

    Did a little poking around just now.

    Found inside the car, newer/better condition grille and headlight surrounds.

    Also inside the car, most of the rear bumper, and what appears to be a front or rear lip.

    Looks a little less junky without all the parts in here.
    Also found some Subaru floor mats to use for now.

    Yellow reflector was in the trunk. Put it in the bumper. Technically the first thing I've fixed. xD

    Some sort of mushroom growing in the trunk carpet.

    Trunk is getting wet in the rain. Will investigate further.

    Temp antenna hole fix. Some water was definitely getting in here.

    Worst of the rust.


      My two spare wheels appear to be holding air, so I'll be putting those on the car this week.

      Today, I put a battery in the car, and checked the electronics.
      -Passenger window doesn't open (motor clicks, so it's probably getting power)
      -Radio has no power (fuse is fine)
      -OBC doesn't work (it's probably the hole that was drilled into it above the screen)
      -The lower heater settings don't work, but the HIGH setting does work, along with all the vent adjustments
      -Lots of sticky interior switches, that push down and don't come back up

      Also, I think the car is wired for fogs. There's a switch, a dash light that comes on, and fuses in the box. I think some Hella 450s are in order EVENTUALLY.

      The sunroof opens!
      Tracks and gears could use a good clean and lube though.

      Unfortunately, when I went to close the sunroof, it didn't even budge! Hoping it was just the switch, I took it apart and was just about to look up the pinout to jumper the wires, when something told me to check the glovebox.

      In there was 3 old window switches in various states of operation. One of them had a working close button, and the sunroof closed, barely!

      I put a mix of ATF and light oil in the cylinders yesterday, to make sure the pistons are nice and lubed/not rusted to the cyl walls after sitting for so long. Going to crank it over on Tuesday and see what's what.


        -Drained the old gas out of the tank today.

        -Swapped rear wheels with my spares. Both hold air! Also have a full set of center caps that I put on.

        -Passenger side dust shield just pulled off

        -Sprayed engine bay with simple green and rinsed off.

        -Found out why the radio didn't work. All of the wiring was cut. Easy enough fix.

        -Fixed the non-operational ebrake button. Looks like it was glued in.


          Looks you got your work cut out for you!

          Originally posted by SpasticDwarf;n6449866
          Honestly I built it just to have a place to sit and listen to Hotline Bling on repeat.


            Originally posted by Panici View Post
            Also inside the car, most of the rear bumper, and what appears to be a front or rear lip.
            Actually, I'm pretty sure that's the center piece of the bumper surround, not a lip.


              Originally posted by lambo View Post
              Looks you got your work cut out for you!
              It's a project that's for sure. It makes me really happy to be fixing a classic like the e30. It was headed for the scrapyard according to the previous owner.

              Originally posted by YosemiteSam View Post
              Actually, I'm pretty sure that's the center piece of the bumper surround, not a lip.
              Are you talking about the bumper plastic center piece?

              Hard to see in the picture, but it's L shaped.


                Originally posted by Panici View Post
                Are you talking about the bumper plastic center piece?

                Hard to see in the picture, but it's L shaped.
                The trim surrounding the rear bumper is in three pieces in the rear. I believe that one to be the center piece, #3 in this diagram.


                  Originally posted by YosemiteSam View Post
                  The trim surrounding the rear bumper is in three pieces in the rear. I believe that one to be the center piece, #3 in this diagram.
                  I think your right! Thanks!


                    Did a ton of work on the E30 today.

                    -Put in a new T fitting and fuel lines under the hood. Purged the system of old fuel.

                    Long story short, power from the fuel pump relay isn't getting to the fuel pump fuse.
                    When I jump 12v to the fuel pump fuse, both pumps turn on.
                    I made a thread about it here.

                    -Also found out that i'm getting water in my back seat area. Mat under the seat cushion was wet on one side.

                    -Called the dealership and got a code for my radio.
                    Then took it apart and soldered in an AUX input. (Took a lot of trial and error to find the right connection points.)
                    CD quality sound, for free!
                    (Quick DIY here:

                    -Found a hole in a fuel pump hardline. Is this the filler neck? (very bottom of picture)

                    -Also sharpie'd my front badge. It'll do until I get some new ones.

                    Last edited by Panici; 03-27-2014, 07:34 PM.


                      You got a good lil project ahead of you! make her pretty again!
                      Originally posted by Ty13r
                      if you scream while doing it you'll gain extra power. worth a try.


                        Good luck man! You definitely do have your work cut out! Hope to see it shine.


                          oh me oh my!

                          'the harder the battle, the sweeter the victory!'

                          Keep up the good work. lots of stuff to clean and replace!
                          My previous build (currently E30-less)

                          A 2016 Toyota Tacoma TRD 4x4 Offroad in Inferno is my newest obsession


                            Yesterday, I blew out the ATF/oil that I had sitting in the cylinders (to clean/free them up after sitting for so long)

                            Good news is, the motor isn't locked up, and the starter works well!
                            Bad news is, I don't have spark (or fuel either, as I discovered previously)

                            Trunk is dry in the rain now, except for a little water coming in from the driver's side taillight.

                            Also found out that my floorboards are getting wet when it rains (front and rear). Passenger side is worse then drivers side. Briefly checked some of the pinch seam drains. I'll do a more thorough job this week.


                              After looking at a few wiring diagrams, I realized that the large cable going into the junction block is also +12v. The block was so dirty that it previously measured at 0v, and I thought it was a ground.

                              I dug in my multimeter probe, and got +12.xx volts. I then measured the smaller wire, and had +11.8x volts.
                              I knew both of these should be directly connected to the battery, and should have the same voltage.

                              Tore apart the trunk and found the fusible link. Sure enough, it was corroded, and came apart in my hands.

                              Replaced it with some 16ga wire (for now) and probed relays for +12v. Check.
                              Tested for fuel at motor. Check.
                              Tested for spark. Check.

                              Put the plugs in and the motor came to life!

                              It was quite smoky (burning off the ATF and light oil I had sitting in the cyls). After a few minutes, all the smoke disappeared, and the misfires are mostly gone!


                              Couple points to mention.
                              -Brakes are very rusty. Probably will need to machine or replace rotors.
                              -Ebrake locks up the drivers side rear tire. Passenger side ebrake appears to brake little to no amount.
                              -All my transmission gears work, shifts relatively smoothly. Clutch seems good.
                              -Went full throttle a few times without problems. (Except such a low redline!)
                              -Power steering doesn't appear to be working. Fluid res is empty. Will fill it and go from there!
                              -Throttle cable is sticking a little.
                              -Exhaust leak from under the car.
                              -Brake light switch sticks on.

                              Also poked a few rusty spots into holes. Sprayed some rust paint, these will be patched with new metal.

                              Scraped and painted some rust on the bottom of the hood as well.

                              Last edited by Panici; 01-31-2016, 04:43 PM.