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car novice. buy 1986 325es? fair price?

Posted by arock0930 
October 24, 2010 01:06PM
I love the look of this car and really want to get it! my only concern is that it is old and i dont want to keep pumping money into it and i am not an expert mechanic. Is this a reliable car? here is the for sale post:

We are pleased to offer this 1986 BMW 325es, 5 speed, 2 door sport coupe. The E30 market has become extremely popular in the last few years with clean solid, no rust cars becoming harder and harder to find. This is a clean, good running example with cold air conditioning, smooth 5 speed transmission, good clutch and the high torque 6 cylinder engine. Please note this is NOT a garage kept show car or some little old lady driven example. It is a dependable solid E30 that is fun to drive and very reliable. The previous owner had the seats recovered with oem vinyl and in doing so covered over the front lower and side bolsters on the factiry recaro seats. Please note the adjuster knob on the seat to bring the front bolster forward and backward. We have just installed a complete new cat back exhaust, new guibo center support shaft bushing, new plugs, air cleaner and valve cover cover gasket. Carfax reports a minor accident in 2003. They have also reported structural and frame damage was. We have inspected the car and see nothing that would effect it's safety or roadworthiness. The car has been driven 7 years since the report. Odometer does not work, all other guages work fine, turn signals, headlights, brake lights are all in working order. As you can see in the pictures this is new paint, not show caliber but a very good job. We bought the car with this paint and had it wet sanded and buffed. Sunroof is power and does work poperly. Power windows work.

Price: 3750

is that fair? should i fix anything right away? (new timing belt, etc) if so, how much am i looking at?

thanks so much for your feedback. i love this car but want to make sure its reliable (will last me at least a few years of moderate driving (no rally etc)) and wont cost me more than $5000.
rkj
Quote
arock0930
I love the look of this car and really want to get it! my only concern is that it is old and i dont want to keep pumping money into it and i am not an expert mechanic. Is this a reliable car? here is the for sale post:

We are pleased to offer this 1986 BMW 325es, 5 speed, 2 door sport coupe. The E30 market has become extremely popular in the last few years with clean solid, no rust cars becoming harder and harder to find. This is a clean, good running example with cold air conditioning, smooth 5 speed transmission, good clutch and the high torque 6 cylinder engine. Please note this is NOT a garage kept show car or some little old lady driven example. It is a dependable solid E30 that is fun to drive and very reliable. The previous owner had the seats recovered with oem vinyl and in doing so covered over the front lower and side bolsters on the factiry recaro seats. Please note the adjuster knob on the seat to bring the front bolster forward and backward. We have just installed a complete new cat back exhaust, new guibo center support shaft bushing, new plugs, air cleaner and valve cover cover gasket. Carfax reports a minor accident in 2003. They have also reported structural and frame damage was. We have inspected the car and see nothing that would effect it's safety or roadworthiness. The car has been driven 7 years since the report. Odometer does not work, all other guages work fine, turn signals, headlights, brake lights are all in working order. As you can see in the pictures this is new paint, not show caliber but a very good job. We bought the car with this paint and had it wet sanded and buffed. Sunroof is power and does work poperly. Power windows work.

Price: 3750

is that fair? should i fix anything right away? (new timing belt, etc) if so, how much am i looking at?

thanks so much for your feedback. i love this car but want to make sure its reliable (will last me at least a few years of moderate driving (no rally etc)) and wont cost me more than $5000.

arock

Where are you located, price is a little high but I need pictures (and mileage) to even form an opinion.

Rick
The fact that it has an accident history makes it worth next to nothing. With no accident history, that car might be worth $1500 around here.
[raleigh.craigslist.org]

North Carolina.
Quote
arock0930
is that fair? should i fix anything right away? (new timing belt, etc) if so, how much am i looking at?

Definitely ask when the timing belt was last changed. A broken timing belt will lead to, at least, a new cylinder head, or a whole new engine. If they cannot tell you for sure, the timing belt is your highest priority thing that needs doing. Put a new water pump in at the same time. Then you're good to go, with peace of mind, for the next 50k miles and 5 years. That shouldn't cost more than $300-500. If they don't have proof of when it was last changed, maybe you can bargain the purchase price down by that amount.

It would be nice to see photos of the underside of the car and the engine compartment. Just because it looks nice and clean, with new upholstery and paint, doesn't ensure the mechanicals are in good shape. But from the description, it sounds pretty good. The big thing is to look for rust. Unless you're good at fixing body work and welding, you don't want to start with a rusty car.

I'm not a fan of that lower valance under the front bumper, but otherwise it looks to be in great shape for a 25-year old car. There are little items missing, like one centre cap on the front left wheel, and the bezel around the driver's inside door handle. Stuff like that is available from BavAuto. The odometer is fixable (see [www.speedometergears.com]).

The asking price does seem a little high, but if it's a solid car it's worth it. Sure you can pick up a similar car (like I did 86 325e) for way less, but you could then end up (like I did) spending thousands more trying to turn it into a solid car.

The 325es, I believe, should even have a limited slip differential. There should be metal tag on the diff with an "S" stamped on it. Or, lift the rear of the car with a floor jack under the diff to lift both wheels off the ground. With the transmission in 1st gear, and park brake off, try to turn one of the rear wheels. If it's an open diff with no LSD, when you turn one wheel by hand the other wheel would easily spin in the opposite direction. If it has a good LSD, when you try to turn one wheel the tight diff should try to force both wheels to turn together in the same direction. With the car in gear, in effect you'll be trying to turn over the engine by hand.

Quote

thanks so much for your feedback. i love this car but want to make sure its reliable (will last me at least a few years of moderate driving (no rally etc)) and wont cost me more than $5000.
If you really do love the car, buy it before someone else beats you to it, and then (like I did) spend whatever it takes to keep it running. They're a great car.
rkj
Quote
Ferdinand
Quote
arock0930
is that fair? should i fix anything right away? (new timing belt, etc) if so, how much am i looking at?

Definitely ask when the timing belt was last changed. A broken timing belt will lead to, at least, a new cylinder head, or a whole new engine. If they cannot tell you for sure, the timing belt is your highest priority thing that needs doing. Put a new water pump in at the same time. Then you're good to go, with peace of mind, for the next 50k miles and 5 years. That shouldn't cost more than $300-500. If they don't have proof of when it was last changed, maybe you can bargain the purchase price down by that amount.

It would be nice to see photos of the underside of the car and the engine compartment. Just because it looks nice and clean, with new upholstery and paint, doesn't ensure the mechanicals are in good shape. But from the description, it sounds pretty good. The big thing is to look for rust. Unless you're good at fixing body work and welding, you don't want to start with a rusty car.

I'm not a fan of that lower valance under the front bumper, but otherwise it looks to be in great shape for a 25-year old car. There are little items missing, like one centre cap on the front left wheel, and the bezel around the driver's inside door handle. Stuff like that is available from BavAuto. The odometer is fixable (see [www.speedometergears.com]).

The asking price does seem a little high, but if it's a solid car it's worth it. Sure you can pick up a similar car (like I did 86 325e) for way less, but you could then end up (like I did) spending thousands more trying to turn it into a solid car.

The 325es, I believe, should even have a limited slip differential. There should be metal tag on the diff with an "S" stamped on it. Or, lift the rear of the car with a floor jack under the diff to lift both wheels off the ground. With the transmission in 1st gear, and park brake off, try to turn one of the rear wheels. If it's an open diff with no LSD, when you turn one wheel by hand the other wheel would easily spin in the opposite direction. If it has a good LSD, when you try to turn one wheel the tight diff should try to force both wheels to turn together in the same direction. With the car in gear, in effect you'll be trying to turn over the engine by hand.

Quote

thanks so much for your feedback. i love this car but want to make sure its reliable (will last me at least a few years of moderate driving (no rally etc)) and wont cost me more than $5000.
If you really do love the car, buy it before someone else beats you to it, and then (like I did) spend whatever it takes to keep it running. They're a great car.

I agree with Ferdinand but if you really want to have a little fun, wait, and find a 325is; it's about 60 more ponies and if you get a later model- 89 or newer you'll also get the thin bumper car which a lot of people like better. In North Carolina there isn't alot of older Bmw's around so you might have to settle for an E36, which is also a nice car (don't get an early one though), and you'll get the four valve head which is also fun to drive, great legs upstairs. Just make sure that anything you buy is stick shift, again, more fun, unless you sit in traffic alot. If that's the case you'll probably be better off with some econobox honda (not that there's anything wrong with that)!

Good Luck
well, that one sold sad smiley

rkj, i did see a 1994 318is. what do you think about that car?

[raleigh.craigslist.org]

some more info:

The quirks mentioned on craigslist are these: 1. Some interior trim on the passenger side
door bubbling and a small tear in the drivers seat - since I've had
the car for the last 4 1/2 years neither have gotten any worse and are
very typical for this particular model (otherwise the interior is in
good shape - see attached pictures) 2. A small scuff above the rear
drivers side wheel - NOT a dent - almost completely buffs out. A
small crack in the front grill that I has been fixed with fiberglass
(see pictures). 3. A loose muffler that rattles a little bit. 4.
The panel below the rear bumper is missing - its not that noticeable
unless you're looking for it so I just haven't worried about replacing
it. (see pictures). 5. The suspension has 235,000 miles on it - I
recently replaced a rear wheel bearing - otherwise the suspension has
been looked at and deemed to be fine, just a little loose due to the
mileage. The car handles very well.

Overall, this car has been incredibly reliable and it gets great gas
mileage (31 around town, 37 highway). It is mechanically very sound. The paint looks brand new other
than small imperfections from small gravels jumping up. I really hate
to see it go, but need to get a truck. There are no maintenance
issues that need to be taken care of unless you wanted to fix some of
the things mentioned above.


price: 2900

should i get anything fixed? what would be a good price?
rkj
Quote
arock0930
well, that one sold sad smiley

rkj, i did see a 1994 318is. what do you think about that car?

[raleigh.craigslist.org]

some more info:

The quirks mentioned on craigslist are these: 1. Some interior trim on the passenger side
door bubbling and a small tear in the drivers seat - since I've had
the car for the last 4 1/2 years neither have gotten any worse and are
very typical for this particular model (otherwise the interior is in
good shape - see attached pictures) 2. A small scuff above the rear
drivers side wheel - NOT a dent - almost completely buffs out. A
small crack in the front grill that I has been fixed with fiberglass
(see pictures). 3. A loose muffler that rattles a little bit. 4.
The panel below the rear bumper is missing - its not that noticeable
unless you're looking for it so I just haven't worried about replacing
it. (see pictures). 5. The suspension has 235,000 miles on it - I
recently replaced a rear wheel bearing - otherwise the suspension has
been looked at and deemed to be fine, just a little loose due to the
mileage. The car handles very well.

Overall, this car has been incredibly reliable and it gets great gas
mileage (31 around town, 37 highway). It is mechanically very sound. The paint looks brand new other
than small imperfections from small gravels jumping up. I really hate
to see it go, but need to get a truck. There are no maintenance
issues that need to be taken care of unless you wanted to fix some of
the things mentioned above.


price: 2900

should i get anything fixed? what would be a good price?

Mileage is too high for me, and if you decide on this model car (a great one by the way) make it a 95 and newer; the early E36 cars had weak floors (the floors crack in the rear areas.

Rick
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