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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 10-02-2004, 03:29 AM   #1 (permalink)
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I am looking at buying an E30 323i. I am wondering if they all use unleaded fuel and if not when did it change? How can I tell, other than via the fuel filler, which particular fuel the car uses?

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Old 10-02-2004, 04:03 AM   #2 (permalink)
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i dont think they even make leaded fuel any more.....

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Old 10-02-2004, 07:26 AM   #3 (permalink)
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88 model year was the world conversion. Some countries long before but in EU it was pretty standard 88.
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Old 10-02-2004, 07:29 AM   #4 (permalink)
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This is a question I raised after a recent head gasket job on my beloved '85 318i.

Down here in Australia, I'd slavishly been using "Lead Replacement Petrol" for over 12 years. This is the stuff the gas companies marketed to be used by pre-1986 domestic and Japanese cars that mostly ran on the old "super" fuel (ie: leaded) which the governent banned. It also cost a couple of cents more more than unleaded but far less than premium unleaded.

LRP is now in the throes of being phased out and within two years probably won't be around. Based on what I now know, I see this as is a good thing.

It turns out I should have been using "unleaded" all along. My mechanics have all recommended I switch to (what we call) premium unleaded (eg: Shell Optimax). They all said that LRP left a fine brown residue everywhere and was basically a bad idea imposed on an unwitting public. Apparently BMW's of my vintage were engineered to not use leaded petrol (like many Japanese cars where I guess leaded petrol was outlawed early?) yet locally built GM. Mitsubishi and Ford were still being designed to run on leaded fuel. It took until 1986 to catch on.

Reassembled, the car ran really badly (after the head repair) which was tracked down to blocked injectors. (same crud?)

So the official line I got is to only use premium unleaded and nothing else - it's currently about AUD$1.13 litre at the pump (about US$0.83)....which after $2,500 in repairs, I'm "happy" to pay the extra few cents if it keeps Heinz healthy.
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