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3-Series (E21, E30) Chat relating to the BMW 3-Series from 1975-1983 and 1984-1991 line. Specific models: BMW 315, BMW 316, BMW 318, BMW 318i, BMW 320/4, BMW 320i, BMW 320/6, BMW 323i, BMW 320i. E30 Family models include: BMW 325e, BMW 325i, BMW 325is, BMW 325ix.

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Old 04-10-2005, 05:43 PM   #1 (permalink)
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I need some help. Have an 83 320i, that i purchased a few months ago. I have been trying to do some preventative maintenance, such as a fuel filter replacement. I went to Schucks and ordered one. It came in yesterday, picked it up today and went to put it in. My Haynes manual says the filter is on the left side of the radiator..., so i removed the "filter" from that location, to find it did not look like the filter i purchased, or the filter shown in the haynes book. It also did not have the threaded connections, like the new one. It is large, has 2 nipples on one end, and a purolator label. However, back by the fuel tank, there appears to be a filter that looks exactly like the one in the book, which does have the threaded connections. Is the Hanynes book wrong? I kinda think so. If so, what is that thing in the fuel line up by the radiator? It sounds like it is a sand or charcoal filter, because the material inside is heavy and shakes around. There is no mention of it in my repair manual. Please help.
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Old 04-10-2005, 07:53 PM   #2 (permalink)
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I always buy those kind of parts from an import shop that sells aftermarket BMW parts. Sounds like the wrong filter???!!!
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Old 04-11-2005, 02:32 PM   #3 (permalink)
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I think you've got it right. That can up by the radiator is probably the charcoal canister. In my '85 325es, the fuel filter was on the drivers side near the fire wall, and there was no mistaking it, because about 4 gallons of gas came out of it. (ok, not that much) I do think that the older E30's had the Fuel Filter in the back near the driver's rear wheel. I would think that Haynes would have that locked on for you. You should also get yourself a Bentley Manual. It's better to have 2 reference sources than 1. Good Luck!
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Old 04-11-2005, 02:55 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Originally posted by ldsbeaker@Apr 11 2005, 11:32 AM
I think you've got it right. That can up by the radiator is probably the charcoal canister. In my '85 325es, the fuel filter was on the drivers side near the fire wall, and there was no mistaking it, because about 4 gallons of gas came out of it. (ok, not that much) I do think that the older E30's had the Fuel Filter in the back near the driver's rear wheel. I would think that Haynes would have that locked on for you. You should also get yourself a Bentley Manual. It's better to have 2 reference sources than 1. Good Luck!
[snapback]330176[/snapback]
I have both a chiltons and haynes for every car.
Haynes on more then one occasion has been flat out WRONG on some things although is sometimes more descriptive when they are right(which is 98% of the time). I hear good things of bentley so for my next car thats definately the one I am going to be buying.

On late e30's the fuel filter is under the car, under a black cover that is held on via 3 plastic nuts which is appx 2 feet fore of the drivers rear wheel. When replacing it, definately replace the fuel lines. They get cracked over time and I've had at least one e30 burst into flames from a brittle/cracked fuel line.

It went something like this...
driving up to my friend aarons house...
my friend aaron outside with a beer in his hand.
i step out and greet him.
he looks over my shoulder and asks casually "hey rich, is your car normally on fire?"
i blink and reply "why, no, no, its not usually on fire. why?"
calm as can be:"oh, because it is."
i turn around to see my lovely 325's engine compartment up in flames. was able to get it out, at the expense of losing all the gorilla hair off my right arm, and saved the engine, but lost some of the electronics and it killed the AFM.

lessons learned: when you replace the fuel filter, dont go cheap and not replace the fuel lines. they arent THAT hard to treplace, they arent very expensive, and they are CERTAINLY less expensive then the alternative.
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Old 04-11-2005, 05:50 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Good point and to add to that. Make sure you buy fuel injection line not just regular fuel line. And it is about $5.00 a foot. You wont need more than 7 feet of it for an E. I know you have an I.....
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Old 04-12-2005, 05:27 AM   #6 (permalink)
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I agree with all that been said, especially about the rubber fuel hose. I would guess that on a car the age of you’re the fuel filter si mounted on the left inner wing below the inlet manifold, it was only the last E30's that had them under the back of the car, I think what you're looking at is the fuel pump there're very similar to look at but if it's got wires going to it it's the pump (be careful with petrol)
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Old 04-12-2005, 11:07 AM   #7 (permalink)
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the fuel filter for the E21 is right up by the radiator if i am not mistaken, cause it is CIS and the CIS usually has the filter right by the fuel dizzy.......i will check my E21 this evening when she comes home to begin the motor swap
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