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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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#1 (permalink) Old 02-04-2006, 09:23 PM
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Hello!

Hi all, I just picked up a used 1991 318is here in Az for my wife. It has 143000 miles and is all white. We purchased it from the original owner who seemed somewhat reluctant to sell it. He kept all the maint records together and made a spread sheet where he kept track of everything ever done to it.
I have looked into the "timing case profile gasket" issue with this engine, and know it can be a problem. I have found a work record of a head gasket replacement and I am wondering if this is it?
Is/are there any other things I should be aware of with this model?
He mentioned that sometimes at speed the vents don't work, but said he didn't want to have the dash tore apart to get to the problem.
We have known the owner since the car was new, and my wife had made him promis to sell it to her when the time came, he gave us what we think is a very good deal of $2000. Car is garage kept and very good condition, premium stereo, A/C (big deal here) and loads of goodies
Anyhow, I am looking forward to reading up and maybe participating on this forum!
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#2 (permalink) Old 02-04-2006, 11:31 PM
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One more question, The seller said it takes premium gas, is this true?
Wife says she hasnt found anything saying that so far...
I know that putting premium in a car not tuned for it is wasting $ so whats the deal?

1991 318IS
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#3 (permalink) Old 02-05-2006, 12:16 AM
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Starmavin is a jewel in the rough Starmavin is a jewel in the rough Starmavin is a jewel in the rough Starmavin is a jewel in the rough
Sounds like you got a great deal.

I'd advise at least plus gas, 87 octane is the crap you put in your lawn mower, most any car will run better and go futher with plus in it. If you have any doubts check your owners manual.

Leaks are common around the tail lights that lead to the side pockets in the trunk filling with water. Drain lines for the sunroof that broke or popped off also cause this.
The person doing the head gasket could have taken care of the timing cover problem but you'll know if he/she didn't, just look for a small puddle of oil after you park it while running near the front of the car.

P.S. DO NOT USE THIN OIL. In hot areas like AZ, 10W-40 should be the lightest oil you use.
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#4 (permalink) Old 02-05-2006, 01:29 AM
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the general concensus is using 20w50 or 15w45 in most m20 and m30 motors in az.

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#5 (permalink) Old 02-05-2006, 02:55 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Starmavin
Sounds like you got a great deal.

I'd advise at least plus gas, 87 octane is the crap you put in your lawn mower, most any car will run better and go futher with plus in it. If you have any doubts check your owners manual.

Leaks are common around the tail lights that lead to the side pockets in the trunk filling with water. Drain lines for the sunroof that broke or popped off also cause this.
The person doing the head gasket could have taken care of the timing cover problem but you'll know if he/she didn't, just look for a small puddle of oil after you park it while running near the front of the car.

P.S. DO NOT USE THIN OIL. In hot areas like AZ, 10W-40 should be the lightest oil you use.

Yes, we are pleased with the deal, maybe I could post a few pics for you all to see her...
Curious, why so thick? my ford mustang calls for 5W-20W but, it is new...
When I purchased the BMW, it had been sitting a few days in the same spot, I was only able to find about two oil drops under the front of car, this isn't a "puddle" but is this that what you are talking about? So far I havent had a chance to check it since we got it due to my work schedule. I was thinking two drops for a car with 143000 miles was a good sign ?
My older Volvo has less miles, but leaks like a pig. (sons ride)

1991 318IS
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#6 (permalink) Old 02-05-2006, 04:45 PM
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You have to understand what "calls for" really means, under the oil section of your owners manual should have a graph showing what oil to use should be under outside temps, the "recommended" oil covers only "normal driving" under stable temps they have listed. Believe it or not, most car makers consider starting your car and driving it to the store about 2 miles and back is considered "severe driving".

I'm sure you notice that your oil gage is higher when the motor is cold than it is when hot. When oil gets hot it gets runny, thin oil doesn't cushion as well as thinner oil and really hot conditions (100F+ in traffic with the A/C on) you can have a what is called wash out where the oil flows out of the bearings so fast it doesn't stay in the bearing nearly as long as it should to protect what it is being pumped there to protect.
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#7 (permalink) Old 02-05-2006, 05:11 PM
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I understand the chart, and having lived in this state 25 plus years, I also understand viscosity ratings. I was just a little unerved by two respondants in rapid sucession telling me to use thick oil. Is this unique to the engine, or are you just telling me that its hot here and to adapt to it? Like I said, my ford calls for 5W-20W , in this temperature zone.
The info on the drian tubes is good, as it rarely rains here, but everything plastic is subject to sun rot. I will look into those things.
The guy also gave me the front spoiler, he said he took it off because it scraped on curbs and he didn't want to damage it, wondering if I should just leave it off as the wife will prob do the same thing...
The interior is very nice, he kept sheepskin covers on the front seats, which he has wore through in high wear areas, and the dirvers seat has a 1 inch crack just starting... this isn't leather right?
One other thing, the engine idle is "rough" not a miss or laggy, just seems a little like it has metal motor mounts or something, not as smooth as I'm used to.
Like I said, not a miss, or lopey, just that you can feel the vibration, is this normal?
Lots of questyions I know, but please bare with me, I find these forums to be full of info, and enjoy the comunication.
Thx again

1991 318IS
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#8 (permalink) Old 02-05-2006, 05:45 PM
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Starmavin is a jewel in the rough Starmavin is a jewel in the rough Starmavin is a jewel in the rough Starmavin is a jewel in the rough
A rough idle could be from dirty intake valve, and IAC (Idle air control)

And I don't mean to harp about oil types, but the thicker the oil in hotter areas in an older motor is just good protection. I'd follow "recomneded oil" for the frist 80,000 miles then go thicker. Remember car makers don't want your car to live too far beyond its waranty, how else do they sell cars....
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#9 (permalink) Old 02-05-2006, 10:43 PM
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For any interested, this is the car:[ATTACH]Hello!-bmwpass1.jpg[/ATTACH]
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1991 318IS
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#10 (permalink) Old 02-06-2006, 12:41 AM
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good clean car from the looks of it.

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#11 (permalink) Old 02-06-2006, 07:19 PM
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#12 (permalink) Old 02-06-2006, 07:33 PM
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looks to be r14,
By the way, I just checked the owners manual, and he was right, the IS takes premium gas

1991 318IS
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#13 (permalink) Old 02-07-2006, 10:34 PM
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Congratulations on the ride. I've owned the same car for 3 years, 'cept mine's black. I got it shipped from AZ to Cali. It's my first and only car I've ever owned. I've done PLENTY of work on it (I bought it off ebay) and now I finally have it in decent running condition. You're fortunate that car had a good owner, let me tell ya! As an aspiring BMW technician at Wyotech, I've learned a lot from working on my car. It means a lot to me, so don't hesitate to ask if you got more questions.

The profile gasket on that car would have failed long ago if it was bad. They were known to go out after 75,000 miles, so you should be fine. The reason the car takes premium is because of it's 10.5:1 compression ratio. It has no knock sensors either.

If you're having a stumbling idle, check for vacuum leaks. Look for cracks in the intake boot, the ICV (the small metal cylinder closest to the firewall, right behind the cylinder head) vacuum hoses, the vacuum hose underneath the intake boot, PCV hose, hose couplings underneath the intake manifold (if cracked, can leak oil/coolant onto the engine's wiring harness).

Replace the timing chain tensioner (hydraulic, costs less than 50$, is a 10 minute swap) if it hasn't been done so yet. The stock ones were not a good design, and you can no longer buy them. BMW has updated the part. If you hear a high whirring sound from 1500-3500RPMs, it means the timing chain components are worn, which is another issue with these cars. The engine is of the interference type, but the chain is not likely to snap. However, timing could be affected, and that noise is very annoying (still have to do mine =(). It's a huge job, but can be done in one's garage with the right tools. However, if your sprockets/rails/chain are all worn, it could cost upwards of 800$ for just parts.

Try a good top engine clean, that did wonders for mine (if you don't mind lots of smoke for about 20 minutes =)).

Spend about 20 bucks at Autozone or equivalent on a 16oz can of SeaFoam, and some fuel injector cleaner like Techron concentrate, Redline R1 or what have you. Drive the car until the engine is plenty hot. Park the car and have someone hold the RPMs up to about 1500. Remove the vacuum line that leads from the purge valve on top of the charcoal canister and leave it plugged into the intake manifold. With the engine still at 1500 RPMs, start to let the manifold vacuum from the hose suck up the SeaFoam. The engine will start to stutter a bit and want to die. This is normal, but don't let the engine die on you. The idea is to suck up about 3/4 of the Sea Foam so that it sits inside the combustion chamber and soaks into the carbon deposits in your engine. Once there's 1/4 of the can left, let off the gas and completely submerge the hose in the container of Sea Foam. This will make the engine shut itself off while sucking in the rest of the Sea Foam. Let the car sit for about 30-45 minutes and start it up. White smoke will start dumping out of the tailpipe. Drive the car through the entire RPM band until the smoke is gone. Then dump the fuel injector cleaners in your tank. All of this will increase performance and gas milage while decreasing emissions.

http://www.esatclear.ie/~bpurcell/index.html <--- Plenty of good info on e30 318is.

Last edited by and0pand0; 02-07-2006 at 10:57 PM.
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#14 (permalink) Old 02-08-2006, 01:05 AM
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I also own a 318i, its the same engine as urs, just 4 doors. From what i have noticed my car runs the best on 15-50 mobil synthetic oil. If i put anything thinner the car leaks oil.
I had a hesitant idle for a while, did everythign listed above, plus changed plugs and wires.



Nice car though. M42 power.

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#15 (permalink) Old 02-08-2006, 12:41 PM
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Good looking car for sure... I am having the same leaking problem in the trunk of my 97 M3... Gonna have to check the lights and the sun roof drains.

1997 E36 M3 - running stocker style right now...
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