Topic: E30 318is

I'm going be shopping for an E30 318is this year and I contacted Jay looking for advice. Jay suggested that no group of people have broken more E30s than Lemons racers.  Having shared the track with dozens of E30s over the years at Lemons events, I have to agree.  So, any buyer's advice you guys might have would be greatly appreciated!  For instance; Where do they rust? What are the common problems to look for?  What are the common failures?  And so on... 

And if anyone knows of a good (i.e. know to be reliable) 318is out there, I would appreciate the lead!


2 (edited by Team Infinniti 2019-01-08 07:11 PM)

Re: E30 318is

Lurking for answers as well, also a e30 virgin and (possibly) about to do a stupid engine/trams swap.

It will be a automatic.

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Re: E30 318is

where do they rust? Not in SoCal or in AZ.

Smartass response, but that is where you want to look for one. These were rusty when I was working at a BMW only shop... 20 years ago. A DD E30 from, say, Ohio, is 100%'gonna have structural rust. It's not one certain spot, it's the entire shell. Much less rust-.prone than a 2002 or 2800CS,though.

MAddening DME/power supply/crank sensor etc faults are really the Achilles heel of the E30. They are really quite solid machines aside from that stuff. HEad gaskets are an occasional problem on the M42 mill, but in the last 25+ years, odds are good that it's been done already.

Haven't raced one, have worked on Euro stuff over 20 years including a bunch of these. I'm an E34 fanboy, myself.

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Re: E30 318is

Thanks for info Type44!  Much appreciated

Re: E30 318is

We raced a 91 e30 with a m42 for 6+ seasons, probably 15 races.  We easily kept up with m20 e30s, a little slower in the straights but faster in the corners. Super fun car, long stints, easy on fuel and brake pads, nimble and often in the top 10.  Its has it quarks but nothing that I can say would make it a car not to consider.  We sold the car to another team who is still running it.

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