Welcome! Log In Create A New Profile Recent Messages

Advanced

318is timing chain question

Posted by John Yust 
January 09, 2010 12:24PM
I have a question for the 318is gurus among us. I have spotted a '91 318is on Craigs list for what looks like it might be a good deal. The reason for the good price is this (quote from the ad):

------------------------------------------
The bad: Timing chain tensioner (primary one) went out in March '07 and the chain jumped 1 tooth on the intake sproket. No top end engine damage at all!!!! The chain and sprokets have minimal wear, all it will need is to reset the timing and install a new tensioner. New tensioner is $50.00, but unfortunatey you will need to have a special tool to set the camshafts (about $300.00 on ebay). Total job cost with changing all timing components and gaskets is around $600 in parts. This would make a great platform for an S50/ S52 transplant!

------------------------------------------

What do you think of that? Does that sound reasonable? I don't know anything about this engine, so I don't know if this is a load of BS or possibly true. The thought of digging into the engine doesn't bother me. I just need to know if it really is true that the engine can be repaired by replacing the tensioner and setting the timing or if there's likely to be more to it than that.

I'm planning to look at the car this weekend sometime.

Thanks,
John
rkj
January 09, 2010 03:40PM
Quote
John Yust
I have a question for the 318is gurus among us. I have spotted a '91 318is on Craigs list for what looks like it might be a good deal. The reason for the good price is this (quote from the ad):

------------------------------------------
The bad: Timing chain tensioner (primary one) went out in March '07 and the chain jumped 1 tooth on the intake sproket. No top end engine damage at all!!!! The chain and sprokets have minimal wear, all it will need is to reset the timing and install a new tensioner. New tensioner is $50.00, but unfortunatey you will need to have a special tool to set the camshafts (about $300.00 on ebay). Total job cost with changing all timing components and gaskets is around $600 in parts. This would make a great platform for an S50/ S52 transplant!

------------------------------------------

What do you think of that? Does that sound reasonable? I don't know anything about this engine, so I don't know if this is a load of BS or possibly true. The thought of digging into the engine doesn't bother me. I just need to know if it really is true that the engine can be repaired by replacing the tensioner and setting the timing or if there's likely to be more to it than that.

I'm planning to look at the car this weekend sometime.

Thanks,
John

Hey John

I know I'm going to get a little hate mail from this but yhe E30's are much better off with a lighter, smaller motor. If you really wanted to do an upgrade I would choose a later model four banger, say from a 318ti or so.

The only resource for the smaller Thirtys is [www.esatclear.ie]

Brendan is the most reliable source for the later 318 cars, if you explore his site you will be rewarded with all kinds of information. The car you're looking at is an M42 motor, right?

Rick
January 09, 2010 03:55PM
You don't need to buy the special tools as you can improvise with two crescent wrenches and a vice grip for the cam and the flywheel can be held with the wheel alignment tool in your tool kit. You can read about the whole process on the M42 club. I would guess that you really won't know the full extent of the damage until you actually take the thing apart. My guess would be that the tensioner failed because one or more of the guides failed first. If the sprockets are still good and without pointy teeth then you don't need to change those out. Usually if the car was run with a loose chain for a long time then the teeth are bad. It could get spendy, but if you buy the car right it might be a worthwhile purchase. I have two 318's and I think that motor is pretty good as long as you keep on top of the usual well documented problems. Much easier to work on too!
January 09, 2010 07:17PM
the M42 is a great engine.
the 318ti is a cool car but is an E36 really an "upgrade" over a '91 or '92 E30?

'93 190E 2.6 » days
'92 318ic » weekends
'85 280TE » resto
rkj
January 09, 2010 07:33PM
Quote
ducatipaso
the M42 is a great engine.
the 318ti is a cool car but is an E36 really an "upgrade" over a '91 or '92 E30?

Well, outside of the cam chain adjuster, the M44 is supposed to be the same motor.... but it sure didn't seem like it!

My ti was the fastest four banger I ever drove, and it had 90k on it.... E36 lighter (1997 318ti 5speed)?

My point was to keep the car a 4 cly....... much more fun smiling bouncing smiley

Rick
January 09, 2010 07:59PM
even in the heavy cabrio, it's great fun. smiling smiley

'93 190E 2.6 » days
'92 318ic » weekends
'85 280TE » resto
January 09, 2010 08:25PM
Quote
rkj


Hey John

I know I'm going to get a little hate mail from this but yhe E30's are much better off with a lighter, smaller motor. If you really wanted to do an upgrade I would choose a later model four banger, say from a 318ti or so.

The only resource for the smaller Thirtys is [www.esatclear.ie]

Brendan is the most reliable source for the later 318 cars, if you explore his site you will be rewarded with all kinds of information. The car you're looking at is an M42 motor, right?

Rick

I'm not thinking of replacing the engine. That's what the guy who who's selling the car put in his ad. I agree with the idea of keeping the engine light in this car. A 325 is probably better to use for the swap anyway.

I've been looking at that website. Lots of good info on the 318is there. That's the kind of thing I need to study before I jump into this project. Thanks for the link. I believe this car does have the M42 engine.

John
January 09, 2010 08:34PM
Quote
wodcutr
You don't need to buy the special tools as you can improvise with two crescent wrenches and a vice grip for the cam and the flywheel can be held with the wheel alignment tool in your tool kit. You can read about the whole process on the M42 club. I would guess that you really won't know the full extent of the damage until you actually take the thing apart. My guess would be that the tensioner failed because one or more of the guides failed first. If the sprockets are still good and without pointy teeth then you don't need to change those out. Usually if the car was run with a loose chain for a long time then the teeth are bad. It could get spendy, but if you buy the car right it might be a worthwhile purchase. I have two 318's and I think that motor is pretty good as long as you keep on top of the usual well documented problems. Much easier to work on too!

Glad to hear I can improvise a way around the special tool. I don't mind buying special tools if I have to, but if it's something I'll only need once a decade I'm all for improvising. Got a link for where I can find this M42 club? I'll do the usual google search, but a link would be nice. I'm going to look at the car tomorrow. The guy says the timing gear teeth are good. If he knows that, then the engine must be open to where I can see it too. Either that or he's making stuff up. A trip to look at the car will get to the bottom of that. I also wonder why he hasn't fixed it himself if it isn't all that big of a job. Once again, seeing what's going on with my own eyes is important.

John
rkj
January 09, 2010 10:37PM
Quote
John Yust
Quote
rkj


Hey John

I know I'm going to get a little hate mail from this but yhe E30's are much better off with a lighter, smaller motor. If you really wanted to do an upgrade I would choose a later model four banger, say from a 318ti or so.

The only resource for the smaller Thirtys is [www.esatclear.ie]

Brendan is the most reliable source for the later 318 cars, if you explore his site you will be rewarded with all kinds of information. The car you're looking at is an M42 motor, right?

Rick

I'm not thinking of replacing the engine. That's what the guy who who's selling the car put in his ad. I agree with the idea of keeping the engine light in this car. A 325 is probably better to use for the swap anyway.

I've been looking at that website. Lots of good info on the 318is there. That's the kind of thing I need to study before I jump into this project. Thanks for the link. I believe this car does have the M42 engine.

John

I think most of them were M42's, the M40 was an earlier model that mainly stayed in Europe (I think), so most of the early 318 cars in the states were the second generation motor.

Yeah, your welcome, BP's site is really the one to read (I'm sure there's other but...) to start your 318 education. I used it smiling smiley I think he will email with you too...

Good luck, these motors are not cheap to fix, all the time, the heads can run into real money but they have always been one of my favorite motors smileys with beer

Rick
January 10, 2010 09:43AM
Quote
John Yust
]

Glad to hear I can improvise a way around the special tool. I don't mind buying special tools if I have to, but if it's something I'll only need once a decade I'm all for improvising. Got a link for where I can find this M42 club? I'll do the usual google search, but a link would be nice. I'm going to look at the car tomorrow. The guy says the timing gear teeth are good. If he knows that, then the engine must be open to where I can see it too. Either that or he's making stuff up. A trip to look at the car will get to the bottom of that. I also wonder why he hasn't fixed it himself if it isn't all that big of a job. Once again, seeing what's going on with my own eyes is important.

John

Just go to M42club.com. One of the biggest problems with a timing chain removal in the M42 is the crank bolt. It has to be tightened to a pretty high torque and most people don't have a torque wrench that goes that high. Also the guides can be spendy to replace too depending on which ones are worn. It really isn't that big of a job, but most weekend mechanics get a little leary of ruining a motor when it comes to timing stuff. Not that big a deal once you do it once!
January 10, 2010 12:55PM
ya, just like doing a valve adjustment on an alfa. you get used to it [shim *under* bucket]

'93 190E 2.6 » days
'92 318ic » weekends
'85 280TE » resto
January 10, 2010 05:40PM
Quote
John Yust


I'm planning to look at the car this weekend sometime.

I went and looked. I was actually hoping that this car would be a pile of crap so it would be easy to decide to leave it alone. It turned out to be a pretty nice looking car. Now I have to decide if I want to deal with it. Here are some pics of it:













It's been lowered. The gauge faces are white (not sure I like that). It has a Bav. Auto chip. It has 4 good tires, all Bridgestone Potenza. The wheels are good looking bottle caps, but not the originals. The guy said two of the original basketweaves were bent, so he replaced them with some aftermarket wheels that he's keeping. No rust and the paint looks good too. It's that nice pink color that turns red toward the lower parts of the car. smiling smiley The carpet is new from Bav Autosport.

I did notice that the cam lobes had some light rust on the tops from sitting out with the valve cover off. I don't like that, but it's probably not a huge tragedy. The timing gears (or sprockets?) looked good. I could see where the chain had been running. It didn't look like it had been run with the chain loose. Maybe you can make that out in the photo. I guess I just have to decide how much I want to gamble on a car I can't drive before I buy.

John
rkj
January 10, 2010 09:52PM
Quote
John Yust
Quote
John Yust


I'm planning to look at the car this weekend sometime.

I went and looked. I was actually hoping that this car would be a pile of crap so it would be easy to decide to leave it alone. It turned out to be a pretty nice looking car. Now I have to decide if I want to deal with it. Here are some pics of it:













It's been lowered. The gauge faces are white (not sure I like that). It has a Bav. Auto chip. It has 4 good tires, all Bridgestone Potenza. The wheels are good looking bottle caps, but not the originals. The guy said two of the original basketweaves were bent, so he replaced them with some aftermarket wheels that he's keeping. No rust and the paint looks good too. It's that nice pink color that turns red toward the lower parts of the car. smiling smiley The carpet is new from Bav Autosport.

I did notice that the cam lobes had some light rust on the tops from sitting out with the valve cover off. I don't like that, but it's probably not a huge tragedy. The timing gears (or sprockets?) looked good. I could see where the chain had been running. It didn't look like it had been run with the chain loose. Maybe you can make that out in the photo. I guess I just have to decide how much I want to gamble on a car I can't drive before I buy.

John

I made a rule, I don't buy cars that don't run. Get this only if you can have it real cheap, 2-3 hundred.
January 10, 2010 10:10PM
Quote
rkj
[

I made a rule, I don't buy cars that don't run. Get this only if you can have it real cheap, 2-3 hundred.

Yeah, I'm cooling off on this deal. I looked up what that carpet kit sells for. It's over $400. The car also has a new stock exhaust ( I looked - it was new, that's another $200). With all those new parts and a fairly easy repair to get it running again, it just doesn't make sense to sell it in a non-running condition. It makes me think there must be something else wrong. The car would be worth a lot more running than the asking price ($1000). I'm happy with the one I have now, which I got non-running for $325, six years ago. I think I'll leave this one for somebody else.

John
January 10, 2010 11:05PM
anything modded like that has had the hell driven out of it. buy it only for parts.

'93 190E 2.6 » days
'92 318ic » weekends
'85 280TE » resto
January 11, 2010 09:05AM
I'd offer him $500 and see if he bites. To me it would be worth the gamble at that price as you could always get another motor for 3 or 4 hundred and slap it in if for some reason the head is cracked or the car has other issues. You could also part the car out and make at least three grand selling the parts on ebay. That may not be what you are looking for, but there sure are alot of guys looking to buy a 318is so it could be worth it to fix and sell.
January 11, 2010 09:14PM
Quote
ducatipaso
anything modded like that has had the hell driven out of it.

It's right on the road to the Tail of the Dragon, so that 's probably true.
January 11, 2010 09:21PM
Quote
wodcutr
I'd offer him $500 and see if he bites. To me it would be worth the gamble at that price as you could always get another motor for 3 or 4 hundred and slap it in if for some reason the head is cracked or the car has other issues. You could also part the car out and make at least three grand selling the parts on ebay. That may not be what you are looking for, but there sure are alot of guys looking to buy a 318is so it could be worth it to fix and sell.

I might try lowballing the price and see what happens. Most likely the clutch and transmission have had a hard life (google Tail of the Dragon). If I buy any car and try parting out in the driveway it better be something I want to sleep in. smiling smiley
Sorry, only registered users may post in this forum.

Click here to login

Online Users

Guests: 2
Record Number of Users: 3 on September 29, 2015
Record Number of Guests: 116 on November 11, 2017