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E30 first project car

  • 15-11-2018 11:05pm
    #1
    Registered Users Posts: 100 ✭✭✭ Dkhuts


    So just bought myself my first classic car a 1990 bmw 320. Im a novice classic car owner so was just wondering of any ideas from some more experienced folks of What I should do to prolong the life of the car and get the best out of it. The car itself is in decent shape with a bit of surface rust here and there and the odd few lights not working. However I'm suspecting I've got a blown gasket... drove it home 300km after buying it with no hassle, temperature was steady and so on but just as I was reversing into the garden loads of steam shot up from under the bonnet, it was coming from the coolant reservoir. Inspected it next morning and saw that there was no coolant in the system at all and when I added more it would bubble out along with some white smoke from the exhaust(common symptoms of a blown gasket). Stopped bubbling over after I've added a second round of coolant though. Im gonna take it to the mechanic to get a proper inspection. Was wondering if the gasket is gone, repair would set me back around 600 quid give or take I'd assume? Would perhaps be better to source a m25b25 engine and put it in? I didn't pay that much for the car so am not too disappointed since you get what you pay for. Any ideas or suggestions? Mods? Etc? Feedback much appreciated


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Comments

  • Registered Users Posts: 552 ✭✭✭ enumbers


    the 320 engine not really worth spending too much on , if you can source a decent 325 engine its a much better bet


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,189 ✭✭✭ JabbaTheHut


    enumbers wrote: »
    the 320 engine not really worth spending too much on , if you can source a decent 325 engine its a much better bet

    Personally, I wouldn't myself. Not to diss your suggestion, but by the time you'd have bought the engine, and paid to get fitted, you'd be talking more than a grand.
    Also, it depends on whether the Op wants to keep it original.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 40,086 ✭✭✭✭ Harry Palmr


    Can the M42 4 pot DOHC 1.8 be slipped in without changing much else? That would be a nice mix of power and cheaper tax!


  • Registered Users Posts: 100 ✭✭✭ Dkhuts


    Can the M42 4 pot DOHC 1.8 be slipped in without changing much else? That would be a nice mix of power and cheaper tax!

    Tax isn't an issue since next year it's gonna be vintage. Is that the more modern engine with an ecu?


  • Registered Users Posts: 100 ✭✭✭ Dkhuts


    Personally, I wouldn't myself. Not to diss your suggestion, but by the time you'd have bought the engine, and paid to get fitted, you'd be talking more than a grand.
    Also, it depends on whether the Op wants to keep it original.

    Originally is out of the question as it was a 1.6 originally, as well as the interior being tinkered around with e36 seats. If the gasket on the current engine isn't blown then I'll definitely be keeping it for the time being. However if it gone, a replacement wouldn't be cheap either. Would it be better spending the extra penny and get the 2.5?


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  • Registered Users Posts: 100 ✭✭✭ Dkhuts


    enumbers wrote: »
    the 320 engine not really worth spending too much on , if you can source a decent 325 engine its a much better bet

    Sourcing one will be the main issue i'd say. Was thinking of possibly getting one shipped from eastern Europe as parts are quite cheap and I have a few contacts there


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,189 ✭✭✭ JabbaTheHut


    It's a long long time since I worked regularly on these. The 2.5 will give you more grunt alright, and if you're not in a hurry, keep an eye out and you could get a bargain. See what quote you get from your mechanic for what work is required. At least then you'd be in a better position to see what your next move would be.


  • Registered Users Posts: 100 ✭✭✭ Dkhuts


    Can the M42 4 pot DOHC 1.8 be slipped in without changing much else? That would be a nice mix of power and cheaper tax!

    Just did some quick researching and found out it's the same era engine. Im fairly sure it would fit, but I'd be looking to have 6 cylinders at the least ðŸ˜


  • Registered Users Posts: 5,538 ✭✭✭ Leonard Hofstadter


    It's normal for a petrol BMW to leave out a bit of white smoke from idle - it's only steam. It shouldn't be pouring out, and it shouldn't be a strong white colour (that really would be an indication of head gasket failure), but you will definitely see it especially at this time of year. I've had mine for almost two years now and it's always been like that in the winter. Even on a hot day in summer you'll get smoke if you leave it idle for long enough, but it will go away once the car is driven.

    Those engines, like all straight six petrol BMWs (with one or two notable exceptions), are very reliable and dependable lumps, it takes a fair bit to kill them, the only real weakness is the chocolate cooling system. If it only started smoking as you were putting into the driveway the engine will be fine (assuming the temperature gauge wasn't in the red beforehand).


  • Registered Users Posts: 100 ✭✭✭ Dkhuts


    It's a long long time since I worked regularly on these. The 2.5 will give you more grunt alright, and if you're not in a hurry, keep an eye out and you could get a bargain. See what quote you get from your mechanic for what work is required. At least then you'd be in a better position to see what your next move would be.

    Recently had an engine changed on my daily and paid 800 for the work. This was for a fairly modern diesel so I'd assume a 90s engine replacement would be slightly cheaper since there's less to mess around with. All together I'd say it would be just over 1k.


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  • Registered Users Posts: 100 ✭✭✭ Dkhuts


    It's normal for a petrol BMW to leave out a bit of white smoke from idle - it's only steam. It shouldn't be pouring out, and it shouldn't be a strong white colour (that really would be an indication of head gasket failure), but you will definitely see it especially at this time of year. I've had mine for almost two years now and it's always been like that in the winter. Even on a hot day in summer you'll get smoke if you leave it idle for long enough, but it will go away once the car is driven.

    Those engines, like all straight six petrol BMWs (with one or two notable exceptions), are very reliable and dependable lumps, it takes a fair bit to kill them, the only real weakness is the chocolate cooling system. If it only started smoking as you were putting into the driveway the engine will be fine (assuming the temperature gauge wasn't in the red beforehand).

    It allegedly has 77k miles on it but that's unlikely. Yeah I was thinking it could have just been condensation. Was just odd that after a 300km drive all the coolant was gone. The temperature was grand all the way, was running slightly cold perhaps. I'll bring it for a drive this weekend and see how things go and get the mechanic to inspect it aswell see what he says


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 40,086 ✭✭✭✭ Harry Palmr


    Dkhuts wrote: »
    Tax isn't an issue since next year it's gonna be vintage. Is that the more modern engine with an ecu?

    The M42 is a motronic 1.7 and features a Bosch 0261203590 ECU.


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,189 ✭✭✭ JabbaTheHut


    The M42 is a motronic 1.7 and features a Bosch 0261203590 ECU.

    So not a simple swap, Harry?


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,287 ✭✭✭ dar_cool


    I also have an e30. Them old m20 bmw engines are tough as boots and before jumping to any conclusion regarding head gasket id top it back up and bring it for a drive. If your still concerned get a sniff test done in a garage.

    I wouldn't be gone on that front bumper but car looks good. If you plan on driving it through the winter I would consider getting it undersealed(basically its a coat of material you spray/paint on that protects the panels from corrosion.
    E30zone is a great place for info, literally 100s of diy and tutorials and a great source for spare parts.
    Best of luck


  • Registered Users Posts: 100 ✭✭✭ Dkhuts


    dar_cool wrote: »
    I also have an e30. Them old m20 bmw engines are tough as boots and before jumping to any conclusion regarding head gasket id top it back up and bring it for a drive. If your still concerned get a sniff test done in a garage.

    I wouldn't be gone on that front bumper but car looks good. If you plan on driving it through the winter I would consider getting it undersealed(basically its a coat of material you spray/paint on that protects the panels from corrosion.
    E30zone is a great place for info, literally 100s of diy and tutorials and a great source for spare parts.
    Best of luck

    Yeah I'm not a fan of the bumpers myself especially the back one. They'll be getting replaced along with the things since the red doesn't match the colour of the car. I believe that the car is understated, that's what the previous owner said anyways, exhaust is getting welded next week so I'll have a look underneath it then. Ill have a look at e30zone, thanks!


  • Registered Users Posts: 8 ✭✭✭ Daniel!


    Those M20 engines are notoriously difficult to bleed the coolant system. I'd get the coolant system checked for a airlock and / or swap the rad for one of the m42 rads. They have the coolant bottle on the side of the rad. They seem to be so much easier to bleed. Any e30 with the separate coolant bottle i have always struggled to bleed. Check the stat too and the fan clutch. These machines like to heat when sitting.

    Warning too if there is air in the system then the temp gauge dosen't give an accurate reading and won't show its heating. Turn on the heat in your interior heater, if it blows hot generally its bled and running right. If its blowing cold then theres more then likely air in the system or low on water.

    Head bolts and a head gasket change shouldn't be too expensive as its really easy to access everything. Worst case scenario you need a head skim. But recommend doing a timing belt change if your unsure of when it was last done. My first 325 snapped the belt a few days after i got it.

    I've put an m52b28 into mine. Moves like nothing i've driven before but if i was to go back again i'd keep the m20 in it. The hassle of it and there are plenty of hidden costs (especially if your not doing the work yourself). But if your hell bent on the idea, put an e36 steering rack in it while your at it and put in the bigger struts and brakes, especially if it has the non vented discs in the front and drums in the back.

    These machines are so easy to work on. Save money and google guides and try out the jobs yourself. Congratulations on the purchase and well wear.


  • Registered Users Posts: 5,538 ✭✭✭ Leonard Hofstadter


    If you were going to go to the trouble of changing the engine I'd put an M54 into it, the 2.5 will give 189 bhp so that will be a whole load quicker. The M54 is such a lovely smooth and refined engine but so much fun to work hard. It's bulletproof once you address the oil leaks and chocolate cooling system. But if your M20 has only 77k on the clock its barely run in so I'd keep it, you should be able to get to 200,000 miles easily with just regular servicing.


  • Registered Users Posts: 100 ✭✭✭ Dkhuts


    Update:
    Got the car checked over. Needs new suspension so shocks and control arms etc.
    Got the whole cooling system aired out seemed ok when idling and after a short drive but after a longer drive it's still blowing coolant out of the small pipe on the reservoir so it's looking like a head gasket issue. Unless it could be something else? Got a thermometer put in cause it didn't have one. It's running a bit odd which they said could be an intake gasket but not sure.
    Any ideas for the coolant issue? Could those gasket sealers do the job Or are they just a gimmick? Oh and the diff seals are quite worn too along with a few creeks coming from the diff


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,189 ✭✭✭ JabbaTheHut


    Sounds like you'll have tom spend a good few bob even if you don't have a head gasket problem. What did the mechanic say about it?


  • Registered Users Posts: 100 ✭✭✭ Dkhuts


    Sounds like you'll have tom spend a good few bob even if you don't have a head gasket problem. What did the mechanic say about it?

    He said he was expecting a lot worse considering what I paid for it. The underneath isn't rusted but the exhaust could do with replacing. Main issue really is like I said the dead suspension and the coolant problem. It still drives without over heating so I'll just keep adding fluid and live with it until I find a nice m20b25 for sale.(Might try steel seal for the gasket) I'll change the shocks and control arms, shouldn't be too expensive. I'll try sort out the rough idle too. There's also a strong smell of petrol with no leaks so perhaps the air fuel mixture isn't right either


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  • Registered Users Posts: 1,189 ✭✭✭ JabbaTheHut


    So, does it only overheat while idling?


  • Registered Users Posts: 100 ✭✭✭ Dkhuts


    So, does it only overheat while idling?

    It doesn't overheat at all! Temperature is normal just that it pushes the coolant out. Realistically if you keep topping it up every few miles it should be grand


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,189 ✭✭✭ JabbaTheHut


    Dkhuts wrote: »
    It doesn't overheat at all! Temperature is normal just that it pushes the coolant out. Realistically if you keep topping it up every few miles it should be grand

    Maybe just the header tank cap then. Worth getting that checked out.


  • Registered Users Posts: 30,654 ✭✭✭✭ listermint


    Dkhuts wrote: »
    It doesn't overheat at all! Temperature is normal just that it pushes the coolant out. Realistically if you keep topping it up every few miles it should be grand

    Sounds like a split house, may only open when mobile and closes up.

    Id give all the hoses a good going over, remove them and soak them and have a look.

    But first check the expansion tank. They can develop micro cracks. Especially in the bottom. Could be quite simple


  • Registered Users Posts: 100 ✭✭✭ Dkhuts


    Maybe just the header tank cap then. Worth getting that checked out.

    Worth a shot, gonna try that tester kit which looks for exhaust gases coming through the cooling system, then I'll know for sure


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,189 ✭✭✭ JabbaTheHut


    Dkhuts wrote: »
    Worth a shot, gonna try that tester kit which looks for exhaust gases coming through the cooling system, then I'll know for sure

    Well, I think there are 2 valves in the cap. If the one of them is gone it could do what you are describing. The only way I've ever tested them is by using a cooling testing kit, that has a cap tester as part of it. It tests the two valves in the cap.


  • Registered Users Posts: 100 ✭✭✭ Dkhuts


    listermint wrote: »
    Sounds like a split house, may only open when mobile and closes up.

    Id give all the hoses a good going over, remove them and soak them and have a look.

    But first check the expansion tank. They can develop micro cracks. Especially in the bottom. Could be quite simple

    I'll have a thorough look at the whole cooling system. The expansion tank does look fairly knackered so I'll start off there, cheers


  • Registered Users Posts: 100 ✭✭✭ Dkhuts


    dar_cool wrote: »
    I also have an e30. Them old m20 bmw engines are tough as boots and before jumping to any conclusion regarding head gasket id top it back up and bring it for a drive. If your still concerned get a sniff test done in a garage.

    I wouldn't be gone on that front bumper but car looks good. If you plan on driving it through the winter I would consider getting it undersealed(basically its a coat of material you spray/paint on that protects the panels from corrosion.
    E30zone is a great place for info, literally 100s of diy and tutorials and a great source for spare parts.
    Best of luck

    Got a sniff test done and there was no sign of leaking exhaust gasses so next step is pressure testing the whole cooling system


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,175 ✭✭✭ homingbird


    If you are looking for parts i use this website ships from germany so takes a week to come but prices are good compared too motor factors.
    https://sparepartstore24.co.uk


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  • Closed Accounts Posts: 9,546 ✭✭✭ Maxine Red Thunderstorm


    homingbird wrote: »
    If you are looking for parts i use this website ships from germany so takes a week to come but prices are good compared too motor factors.
    https://sparepartstore24.co.uk

    Thats a good site and good prices thanks for that. OP I did up a e30 last year.....good luck its a money pit.


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