should i buy? what's it worth?

Asked by Apr 23, 2010 at 11:52 PM about the 1986 BMW 3 Series 325e

Question type: Shopping & Pricing

chance to buy a 1986 325e w/ 31k miles. was in storage for 20 yrs. all rubber has been done, so that's not a
concern, but i dont know this model well...how expensive/hard to find are parts? what issues are common to
this model? thanks

6 Answers

75

I would say yes The Mid 80's to early 90's BMW 3 series is refferd as an E30 they where some of the best ever made as far as quality I have a 1988 325i Converitable with over 1040000 miles on it and every thing still works. Parts are not to hard to find I like Bavarian Autosport

145

I had an 86 325e2s. I sold it to a friend and it now has over 450,000KMs on it and is still going strong. Engine is low revving and low power with tons of torque,... BUT you will NEVER kill it! Only trouble area I had was electrical connections at the driver's door. Some of this may be due to corrosive salt in Canadian winters. Still love that car!

2,645

My first (3 series) BMW was an 86 325(e) US model. Bought it with 130k miles and put another 150k before I sold it. It didn't leak nor burn a drop of oil. And this was after installing a limited slip differential from a 86 635Csi. 2.93 ratio to 3.64 ratio plus installed a performance chip. With this ratio it was always close to redline at freeway speeds. These cars are bullet proof, the 2.7 ETA vs the 2.5 325i engine last longer because of of lower revs but same amount of torque.

2,645

A couple more E30 models I had, 88s. 325 (aka Super Eta) 280k miles and 325i convertible 150k miles. Great cars

2,645

Oh forgot to mention; common problems is lower control arm ball joints wear after 100k miiles (have to replace whole control arms) timing belt after every 60k (very important or lose the belt and bend the valves) replace water pump at same time since it's in same location common on earlier models with hex (not star) head bolts can break with high mileage and requires new head bolts installed better to do this before you blow a head gasket automatics will last a long time as long as you service the fluid and filter every couple years my 88 eta was slipping and smoking like crazy at 280k miles (simple fliud/fliter change made it shift like new again) also if some gauges or meters start to fail in the cluster it's usually due to Nicad batteries failing to hold a charge not too difficult, remove cluster and solder in new Nicad batteries can buy batteries and holder at Radio shack I replaced the batteries in my cluster and also installed white face plates that illuminated 3 different colors

145

An additional comment here, to save you something in the pocket book: I now refuse to use "original BMW" wearing parts where possible. and in fact avoid them like the plague. Brake pads and rotors are like butter. BMW calls them "high performance", but any brake pad that wears out at 20,000KM is just plain junk. Their rotors won't take a turning, so they last an equallly short period of time. Switched to 3rd party (Wagner I think) and now get over 100,000KM per set. This is across the board on all 3 series BMWs I've owned - 1986 to current. Same for suspension parts ... after my 2nd set of tie rod ends and lowers on my 2000 323i, I switched to TRW. I haven't looked back! BMW seems to love having you come back for more, and they are the only vendor I've encountered who does not seem at all concerned with abnormal levels of wear, siting"high performance". It's not my driving, and it's not particular to a vehicle, and 20,000K brake parts are NOT high performance for a street vehicle. I'm on my 5th 3 series now.

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