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Go Back   E46Fanatics > Other BMW Models > General BMW Model Discussion

General BMW Model Discussion
All non E46 BMW model questions in here. Look below for E36, E90 and F30 specific forum. For additional model specific forums check out bimmerfest.com!

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Old 04-08-2010, 02:49 PM   #1
Avet4
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e30 owners please chime in

I'm posting this here rather than an e30 forum b/c I want to get the perspective from current e46 owners.

For those of your that also own e30's, how would you compare the ownership experience compared to your e46?

I'm interested in things like,

-Initial cost and the condition at that cost

-maintenance costs

-cost of/available of mods

-reliability

I've heard mixed answers about cost. I'd be looking for a 325 sedan in average running condition.

-and anything else you would like to contribute
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Old 04-08-2010, 02:51 PM   #2
AdamBath
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Well, I can tell you that I bought my E30 because of my E46's subframe mounts ripping out. Can't tell you much else, because both don't run

(well, the E46 runs, but it can't be driven whatsoever right now, and the E30 runs, but theres some issue with the trans, syncros possibly)
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Old 04-09-2010, 01:03 AM   #3
teamdfl
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The E30 325i/is is the most reliable car BMW ever built. Mechanical and maintenance parts are cheap ad still widely available.

As with any older car, buy the best one you can afford. Every extra dollar you spend up front will save you two or three in the first couple years.
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Old 04-09-2010, 08:42 AM   #4
Andrews2nd3
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While I sold my e30 a couple years ago, I think I can chime in here.

I've seen really clean examples of the e30 with some tasteful mods sell for around $5-6k. I think you should plan on spending at least $2-$3k for one in decent shape. I found mine to be super reliable, with plenty of options available for aftermarket maintenance or mod parts. If you're interested in modding (or even keeping pace with traffic...) I would advise you to stay away from the 325e.
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Old 04-09-2010, 08:50 AM   #5
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When you replace a part on an e30, chances are its the last time you will replace that part.
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Old 04-09-2010, 01:39 PM   #6
Avet4
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thank you guys.

I'm in a bit of a tough decision here, as I can only afford one car and my 330i is only worth about the same amount I still owe on it.

I gotta figure some stuff out, but it's good to know that you guys are so fond of the e30.
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Old 04-09-2010, 02:19 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Andrews2nd3 View Post
While I sold my e30 a couple years ago, I think I can chime in here.

I've seen really clean examples of the e30 with some tasteful mods sell for around $5-6k. I think you should plan on spending at least $2-$3k for one in decent shape. I found mine to be super reliable, with plenty of options available for aftermarket maintenance or mod parts. If you're interested in modding (or even keeping pace with traffic...) I would advise you to stay away from the 325e.
325e with a 325I head and a limited slip is a turboers dream, 8.3:1 compression anyone?
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Old 04-10-2010, 10:04 AM   #8
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I have an E30 Cinnabar Red, bought new back in 1989 to replace the 316/E21. 318i M40 engine pretty much bulletproof. Gone through 2 water pumps, 1 fuel pump, 1 blower fan and 2 headlight bulbs. Front seats got a bit worn but replaced with the ones from my E46. I also retrofited an E36 PS system on it and electric windows. It currently has more than 300000miles on it, gets semi-synthetic oil, no cats, run leaded gas from 89-2001 and from 01-today unleaded 98RON.
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Old 04-10-2010, 10:32 AM   #9
tootall
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I have owned both. The E30 is a less complex car than the E46. The E46 is more modern because of DSC, remote locks, navigation, more hp, etc. Those may or may not be important to you. The E30 is much more compact car, but of the cars BMW has made since the E30, the E46 is probably the best compromise between a modern car and a car being too heavy and marketed for the masses, like the E90. My perception is the 335i and up are still great BMWs, but the others keep being given more weight and more luxury to appeal to a larger market that BMW seeks. I like my recently purchased 2005 E46 because it handles well and rides a lot smoother than my wife's E90 even with the second gen run flats we recently put on it.

What is disturbing about the E46 is the lighter weight engineering that went into it resulting in sub frame cracks, more rust, and other items that do not bode well for the car lasting more than 10 years with out more restoration than an E30 would require. So, if you can find an E30 in good or restored condition, it is a great, but more simple car than the E46. If you want one of the best modern cars that BMW produced, and probably not as durable, it is the E46.

This is just my opinion of course. I have owned one E30 (1991 318i bought new, sold after 4 years), and a 2001 330i, 2000 323iT, 2001 325iTx, and presently, 2005 325iT and 2007 328xi. I looked for nice E30s and E36s before I bought the 2005, but just could not find a nice one nearby for a reasonable price that did not require a lot of restoration.
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Old 04-10-2010, 01:34 PM   #10
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I'd tend to agree with tootall - I think it's safe to say that the e30 is going to be a much cheaper car to maintain. Partially just due to the fact that there is less to go wrong. The most reliable BMW I've ever owned was an e28 though...I'd certainly include them in the mix if you're looking to get a reliable old BMW.

To be honest though, I think the novelty would wear off really quickly and you'd begin to miss your e46 like crazy. If you can afford to keep and maintain the e46 I think that is the way to go. If you can't afford to make the payments and maintain the e46, then make the move before the e46 loses much more value.

Oh, the other nice thing about the e28 or e30 is that they likely already depreciated as much as they ever will, whereas the value of your 330i is going to continue to drop.


Good luck
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Old 04-11-2010, 06:09 PM   #11
rThor234
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Originally Posted by poynter View Post
When you replace a part on an e30, chances are its the last time you will replace that part.
Very good point.

I've owned probably 10-12 E30's and loved every one of them. They give back many times what you put in. Maintenance is easy and the cars are dead reliable. My current economy E30 ('85 eta) has about 350k on the chassis and original engine. My hot-rod has 300k on the chassis. Neither of the cars really show any fatigue outside of regular wear items that are easily serviceable.

I'd say that for the most part the E46 is a bit more servicable because it is newer and they usually come apart easier as a result. I work on them all the time and they are pretty easy money. Cooling system stuff fails all the time, but is a lot eaiser to change than the same components on an E30 would be. For whatever reason components that last 150k+ on E30's will wear out in 50k on an E46 (control arm bushings, for example).

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Old 04-11-2010, 09:34 PM   #12
summit56
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I bought a 88 325ix for my winter vehicle and it has been a great car. I paid 2500 for it. It had a few oil leaks, front cv boots were cracked open when i got it and the throw out bearing went out shortly after but i expected to have some issues at 210k. Replacing the clutch was slightly harder compared to my 328ci due to the transfer case. I found all the parts i needed when i replaced the clutch, flywheel, seals, shifter bushings, etc. There is no rust on the body or any major dents, just a few small door dings. All the electrical items work except the dome light when the drivers door is open. As for mods i dont know. I drive the car 120 miles a day for work. So i yea id say its very reliable.
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