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A Dutch 325e..

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    A Dutch 325e..

    Hello Folks,

    I could not find a new members section so i'll say hi this way :)

    So I'm Dutch bloke Nico at 31 years and currently own my second BMW e30 which is a 325e that rolled of the production line on the 16th of march 1987 also known as a super eta. My first e30 was a poverty spec '86 316 carb. that eventually ended up on the scrapheap because of rust. Something i still regret to this day because everything else was in great nick so lots of good parts like bleu cloth seats & carpet, bumpers, windows, dash, doors, rooflining etc..
    After that beeing carless for 3 years i needed a car again and by that stage the e30 disease had already set in so i found myself a mint 325e.

    That was 6 years ago and throughout ownership I developed an obsession about customising the car as BMW intended with their factory options to add to the luxury and make it a bit more special & personal. Forums like yours, e30zone UK & & and some German have come in handy with this and the shared knowlege & information is something i can really appreciate. Also the countless hours enjoying other peoples threads is worth wile. Hopefully i can contribute adding my story.

    Anyway, enough talkin, here is the car when I got it 6 years ago..

    Options from factory:
    S215A Power steering, engine-speed-dependent
    S311 Electric passenger side mirror
    S350A green
    S410A Window lifts, electric, front
    S520A Fog lights
    S556A Outdoor temperature indicator
    S682A Rear seat bench in fabric
    + An electric antenna was also present when I bought the car.

    The car when i bought it.

    First job was a new genuine Eberspacher exhaust. First added option were bottle cap alloys replacing the hub cap steelies.
    I got project threads elsewhere with over 800 detailed pics so if you need any advice on any of the options I’ll be happy to help. I also have all the original printed BMW install guides (einbauanleitung in German) in PDF file format for below list including many others. I believe 70 in total off the top of my head and counting :)

    Added so far throughout ownership. Pretty much all of them where new when installed.
    The winter option pack as it can get quite cold here:
    - Elec. Adjustable & heated mirrors
    - Heated washerjets
    - Heated doorlocks

    - Standard BBS 15’s

    - Front spoiler (I believe they call it the Jimmy Hill)
    - Edition rearspoiler
    - The old man’s mudflaps front & rear
    - Black decoration plate between rear lights
    - Foglights

    - Rearviewmirror with maplights
    - Cruise Control with speedadjustment
    - Armrest with the rubbish cupholders
    - Rear headrest
    - Seatcovers
    - Fire extinguisher
    - Glovebox lock & flashlight
    - Bavaria Electronic CD2 (broken at the moment, that’s the 3rd one!)
    - BMW Sound System met 8 way Pioneer component speakers
    - 3 spoke sport steeringwheel
    - Central locking
    - Heated seats (so far only the wireloom, heatmats are hard to find in good nick and a small fortune new from BMW, still looking for matching sport seats, hopefully heated)
    - Floormats deluxe
    - Electric sunblind on parcelshelf for rear window
    - Driver seatbelt height adjustment
    - Altrasonic Alarm system UA201 (Waiting on the shelf as its to freakin cold)

    - Boge Turbo gas shocks front & rear
    - M-Tech springs front & rear

    Probably forgot something :D

    Here some pics of the car in its current state.


    Greetings from Holland :)
    Last edited by NicE30; 03-30-2020, 04:44 PM.


    1991 325iS turbo


      Thats fresh.


        Very nice! Lol these car where actually very nice when new lol
        Our RestoMod Diary!

        El Mustache De La Resistance!


          Holy Clean! Love the front spoiler...doesn't look like anyone has ever sat in any of the seats...nicely done!


            this car is more minty than a mentos!

            BMWCCA #398608
            IG @yagayo38

            "The Best E30's were built with two camshafts four cylinders and sixteen valves!".


              Looking good! Why the 3 power window switches?
              Build Threads:
              Pamela/Bella/Betty/325ix/5-Lug Seta/S60R/Miata ITB/Miata Turbo/Miata VVT/951/325xi-6


                Thanks for the compliments. Yes she's pretty clean but still plenty left to do. For the time beeing it's just regular maintenance.

                Originally posted by VA85eta View Post
                Holy Clean! Love the front spoiler...doesn't look like anyone has ever sat in any of the seats...nicely done!
                Thanks :) The seats are still as new because of the seatcover i installed since day one. Do not want to know how the seats would have looked without the covers. Think they would have been ruined by now. I bought the covers here..

                Originally posted by Julien View Post
                Looking good! Why the 3 power window switches?
                Thanks you! The 3rd window switch is for the electric sunblind on the parcelshelf ;)


                  While the rest of the world is going on a lock-down because of a virus (even though there is a patent on it) i was happily working on my armrest.

                  As you see the original armrest was going tits up and it was time to do something about it.

                  After 10 years of service the foam was really coming off leaving foam residue all over the carpet and my elbow.

                  So it was time to find a solution. At BMW the original e30 armrest is NLA for a few years now. On ebay they are still available but they cost a few bucks.

                  So i though to give this a try. A genuine leather cover from JF Customs for less then half the price then a new foam cushion which i found also on ebay.

                  Some foam to fill up the wear on the cushion, which is advisable in any case because the leather needs to stretch through pressure from the inside. It took a few attempts for me to be satisfied.

                  I chose for the white foam in the middle to fill the cover from the inside so it's nice and tight on the outside.



                    After being satisfied with the fill-in foam, i stretched the leather over the armrest en secured it with tape for a day or 2 so the cover could get used to its new home before getting glued down permanently. The tape method was also used when gluing the cover so it didn't come undone.

                    Used Bison spray glue to glue everything in place. After spraying you have to wait for a few minutes for it to get sticky before stretching the leather to its final position using the tape to secure it until dry.
                    I only glued the underside not the sides or where the elbow rests. What an improvement!

                    Also SUPER comfortable but it always was. Especially with an autobox.
                    I have to say, even though it's an afterthought, I think the e30 armrest is a unmissable super robust top option to have.



                      Some things that might be of interest.. OEM manufacturers.

                      After almost 1 and a half decades of ownership, working on, maintaining & servicing the 325e on my own i compiled a list of the brands BMW used as 'Original'.

                      You can find most of these brands elsewhere much cheaper then at the BMW dealers. You're local parts store can probably get their hand on these brand if you ask for them. Otherwise eBay always is an e30 owners best friend!

                      So in case you're interested..
                      Boge: Shocks, bushings, top mount.
                      Sachs: Shocks, clutch, fan clutch, bushings, top mounts, central locking parts.
                      Febi Bilstein: Shocks.
                      Lemforder: Control arms, bushings, drop links, tie rods, top mount.
                      Bremi: Distributor cap & rotor. Ignition leads.
                      Karlyn STI: Ignition leads.
                      Bosch: Lots of electrical stuff, from spark plugs to headlights, ECU, ignition coil, switches, sensors, relais etc.
                      Hella: Headlights, switches, sensors, relais, taillighthousings, headlight carriers, other electrical- plastic and metal parts.
                      Jurid-Textar-Ate: Braking parts like discs, pads, booster, master & slave cil.
                      Lucas Girling-Ate: Brake calipers/rear cylinders.
                      TRW: Repair kit calipers
                      Eberspaecher-Boysson: Exhaust.
                      SKF: Wheelbearings & other bearings.
                      ZF: Gearbox, steeringrack & pump.
                      Vickers: Steeringpump.
                      Behr: Radiator & thermostaat, Airco pomp, Fan clutch.
                      Goetze: Headgasket set, other gaskets, pistonrings.
                      Mahle: Pistons.
                      Contitech: Auxilairy belts, timing belt.
                      Mann-Mahle: Filters.
                      Wahler: Thermostat.
                      Getrag: Gearbox.
                      Motometer: Instrument cluster & gauges.
                      VDO: Instrument cluster & gauges.
                      Hirschman: Antenna.
                      Blaupunkt: Radio units.
                      Brose Electric motors power windows.
                      Ebasto Electric motor roof.
                      Metzeler: Aerodynamic accessories (M-tech) like spoilers, skirts etc.
                      Pfeba: Aerodynamic accessories.
                      Gerhardi:Facelift Edition side skirts.
                      Stabilus: Gas struts bonnet & adjustments seats.
                      Ribe: Headbolts.
                      Langerer&Reich Oil cooler.
                      Don't know which brand they use for the waterpump other to say i saw the writings THL in the casting together with a BMW stamp. Personally i would not use anything other then SKF for M10 & M20. For M40/42/44 i would also go for SKF or Geba as they have a metal impeller.

                      And just to give you an example..

                      In the picture below you see 2 head gaskets which i had in my hand during a cylinder-head rebuild. The top one is genuine BMW from the dealership at 80 European Euro's and the bottom one is aftermarket for little over 20 bucks. Both made by OEM manufacturer Goetze which is better quality then Victor-reinz or Elring or any of the other brands. The only difference between the 2 is some extra silicone lines (double layered) on the genuine part.
                      Last edited by NicE30; 03-29-2020, 07:17 PM.


                        Never seen a e30 so clean like it rolled out the factory


                          Originally posted by Mkcustoms88 View Post
                          Never seen a e30 so clean like it rolled out the factory
                          Thx, yes it looked good back then but it hasnt always been that way. When i got the car with 74000km on the clock it was in good shape. The pics above are, as of now, from years ago after damage repair as it was rear-ended in an accident. Shit happens but man that freakin hurt.

                          The damage was repaired by some friends at a professional car repair shop. I was lucky the floor wasnt out of shape.

                          Just 2 panels needing replacement together with bumper hardware and a rear tail light.

                          Outside of adding all the accessory options, a lot of work has gone in this car throughout the years. I decided to do a head rebuilt because the engine never ran right. The problem was the engine felt like you were riding a horse, shaking really bad all of the time at idle except at some rare moments at the stop light. All of a sudden the thing ran as smooth as anything.

                          Now, the plan was just to do a quick head rebuild with some respray on the front radiator carrier but it ended up a full blown all out front end rebuild. Also, it was my first real attempt at working on a car and after studying the Bentley manual my hands were absolutely itching to work on e30 and solve the problem. Well.. got more then i bargained for.

                          Found a hobby space in the city not to far from home for an absolute premium each month. Planned to stay there maybe a month. Turned out to be 8.

                          Took the car apart to do the head rebuild. It also started to rust everywhere so i knew (hoped) there would be just some fresh paint necessary. How wrong i was!

                          Found out the car had accident damage somewhere in its life and they had to replace a part on the corner of the inner fender...which i had to do all over again cause whoever did it, as you can see, screwed it up!


                          The only way to do it right was cutting the whole thing out!

                          Here also, all of the previous repair had to be removed.

                          The left corner also started to rust into holes and needed fresh metal for the new front. All just bad preparation followed by lack of after care in the form of rust prevention.

                          Problem was i never welded before and this was going to be my first weld job.

                          So i took the time to practice a bit..

                          Ended up using cut out parts from a junk yard facelift doner car. Both sides were in good condition with only a small spot at the bottom needed replacement before welding it in.


                          Unfortunately.. when i got the new genuine front from BMW..

                          I realized they have employed a blind baboon from some German zoo to put it together.

                          The quality and finish was to cry about. It took some filing, a dolly and hammer to get this presentable.

                          At least everything fitted after a test-fit and i could start welding the front on.

                          But right before welding the front on i was staring at the block and decided to freshen that up to.

                          No way am i going to have a brand new engine bay after all this work with a rotten old rusty piece of metal hanging in there!

                          So i took all the paint off with the engine still in the car with no possibility to take it out. Took a week to walk straight up again after this.

                          What in the hell am i doing.. First time working on a car.. I didn't even plan for all of this.. Hope this thing ever comes back together.. Hope i know where & how everything goes back in.. I haven't even started to rebuild the cylinder head yet..

                          Considering the block itself does not get hot enough.. Instead of 1 pack engine enamels or heat resistant paint i personally opted for 2 pack paint because you can not scratch it off with the nail once its dry. Also, with fuel, oil and other nasty greasy chemicals in there i thought it better to be 2 pack paints. Looking back after 8 years it was the right choice.

                          But the problem was.. i had no spraygun with compression and budget was getting tight. So i used these 2 pack spraycans instead. Top stuff!

                          It is supplied with a button you can put on the bottom of the can. Shake well, press the button, shake well again. 2 Pack aerosol paint.

                          In the meantime i build one of the most expensive & advances movable spray booths the world had ever seen.

                          After cleaning the block really thoroughly i spashed it first with 2 Pack Epoxy Primer which was sanded down really well.

                          Followed by 2 Pack Satin Black after half a day of cleaning the sanded down epoxy.

                          Followed by some new freeze plugs

                          2 Packed the fuel rail and the ultrasonically cleaned injectors. New rubber o-rings afterwards.

                          Then there was this..

                          That i had powdercoated into this..


                          Turned into these..

                          Even New seals here.

                          And a tiny smear to keep the gasket in place while offering it up to the repainted block.

                          So the engine bay was also Epoxy Primed with 2 Pack after sanding and cleaning every nook and cranny. That alone took 2 days. Only this time in Beige before sanding that down also.


                          Seam sealer was next..

                          I had the top colour-coat and clear-coat done professionally by the guys who repaired the accident damage.

                          And i didnt even touched the main reason the car was pulled apart for. Well, the head, just like the rest of the car had some wonderful surprises.

                          A compression test revealed the problem before the car came asunder. Only option was to take the head off as there was no blue smoke or anything so it had to come from up top not down below in the form of piston rings.

                          Tested Cylinder 1 for valve leakage after taking it off the engine.

                          Yep, bend valve! Hence the reason why the car occasionally ran super smooth at a stop light before hopping like a horse again. The valves rotate as they open and close in the valveseat and when a valve is slightly bend there is a few seconds where it actually seats properly as it rotates and for a few seconds the damn thing is not loosing compression. Those few seconds always were a joy.

                          Also, the camshaft and rockers were completely worn out. Sure the thing was galloping like a horse at idle but it was a miracle it ran as good as it did when driving.

                          So the whole thing was rebuild..

                          Brandnew valveseals, camshaft & seals, rockers, oil squirter, valveseat regrind, the lot.

                          Sandblasted and repainted..

                          Now the question needs to be asked..why the hell was the valve bend in the first place. Was the engine over-revved? Was it just a faulty one? Was there some overheating or burning of the valve? Did something enter the combustion chamber?

                          Well, the answer to that came as soon as i pulled the head from the block..

                          Valve to piston contact... Ahh shit! I suffice to say i thanked god on my naked knees there was no any other significant damage to cylinder walls or anything at all. Just a dent in the pistons with cylinder 1 receiving the biggest knock on the nose. I couldnt afford to take the pistons out and bore the block followed by honing and very expensive over-bore sized pistons so I took the gamble to refresh everything as much as i could and just put it back together to see what was what. Maybe it happened in the poorly repaired accident which i was about to rectify. God only knows!

                          I cleaned everything spotless to be put back on the car.

                          Together with some new parts.

                          And some further refreshing.

                          Should have painted these heat resistant black. Dont know why I didnt and now they are rusty again.

                          Blasted & painted. Not a single thing that came out of the engine bay went back in not refurbished.

                          All of the hoses were replaced. Fuel, vacuum, coolant, everything except power steering. Especially the state of the fuel hoses was shocking.

                          Chased the threats.

                          Turned out to be a good idea.

                          OEM Goetze headgasket.

                          Almost absolutely drowned the front carrier in cavity-wax. Something the previous repair was completely missing. Otherwise i would have to do it all over again within a few years.

                          Finally the car was running again and it was sweeeeet!! With a good valve adjustment it was purring like a kitten and still is nearly a decade later.
                          Last edited by NicE30; 03-31-2020, 08:16 PM.


                            But i still wasnt finished..

                            Because if that wasnt enough, the car had another surprise for me.. The state of the electrics!

                            Wasn't good and needed desperate attention. The wireloom itself was unraveling everywhere.

                            The state of the connectors themselves was getting serious. A whole lot of trouble in the making right there. When the connector is bend or vibrated the wire will eventually be exposed. A fatal design flaw!
                            I think every early e30 will eventually have this problem. It's inevitable!

                            Good thing though that the new wire connectors you can order are a better design.

                            Also, somebody already messed with the wireloom. When i got the car it had facelift headlights which i later changed back to chromies.

                            So i soldered in new wires with the proper connectors to the headlights.

                            Some connectors, no rusted yet, were re-used. Just to be sure i sleeved them.

                            Everything back to the way it is supposed to be.

                            When everything was done i wrapped the entire wireloom from the fusebox with waterproof 3M Scoth T23. The tape needs be stretched and wrapped 'sticky side up' so it starts to stick to itself causing a watertight wrap.

                            After the wireloom was done i only had to mount the refurbished suspension.

                            Lights, front valance and bumper back on.

                            The very last step was for originality. Decals. Doesnt look right without them. Got most of these from

                            So finally under the hood she was as factory fresh as the outside.

                            Last edited by NicE30; 04-01-2020, 08:19 AM.


                              Nice work.