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JPTL
06-08-2011, 08:54 AM
My wife's family has had an '88 325i manual convertible that's been going from family-to-family; garage-to-garage since new. Since her brother wanted to reclaim some garage space, my wife offered to take it off his hands. It's bone-stock except for the sound system. It's in fantastic shape except that the black leather sport seats were showing some signs of fatigue. My personal leather restore method took care of that, and now the interior looks new.
My first experience with BMW (cars) was 20 some years ago when I had the opportunity to drive a slightly modified early 80's 318 on a rally track over the course of a few weekends. This 100k car took an absolute beating and just kept going. I have always respected the e30 as being one of the best built and enduring cars ever made - at least IMO. Now I have one :biggrin:

Since this low mile '88 has only seen factory service and the scheduled maintenance had dropped off in the mid 90's it was in need of some deferred maintenance.
A valve adjustment was in short order. I can't believe how easy this job was.
Next, new plugs and wireset (originals from '88 :eek:). Again, all accessible and done in no time.
The ICV needed a cleaning, and of course it popped right off in minutes. A basic cleaning brought the engine to a nice smooth idle.
The only reported issue was that the AC hadn't worked since the mid 90's. After numerous dealer service visits and a lot of $, my in-laws had resigned themselves to no AC. This is part of the reason that it spent most of its life in the garage. I have an excellent AC guy so I was prepared for a 134a conversion; a new receiver/dryer; o-ring overhaul; & a new expansion valve at the least. Probably a new compressor. After Charlie hooked up his equipment, he found that there was a good bit of R-12 left in the system! After it took a lb. of the precious stuff, Charlie had the AC blowing 38! The compressor (Denso - one of the best, according to Charlie) is ridiculously quiet for a 25 year old component that was sedentary for half that time.
Tires & wheels were in order, so TireRack had a new tire/wheel set to my door the next day!

So we're now good to go with this bullet-proof little car. The kids love it, my wife loves it, and I am starting to love it as well (however I still prefer my 'other' Teutonic classic). 90% of the cars on the roads these days have zero character. My daily driver (Explorer) has negative character.
This little car has character.

Two things that have surprised me about this convertible aside from how incredibly easy it is to work on:
I'm getting a solid 30 mpg on the highway. A solid 20 around town. That's a combined 25mpg. That's very respectable. Especially when a couple of big V8 SUVs are our other option.
The e30 convertible is now regarded as a neat, classic 'Beemer' by everyone..kids included. I had always regarded it as a dated, very standard-looking BMW. I suppose that the design of the new generation 3-Series is now so different from the e30's that the cars from the 80's now are classics.
We get positive comments coming from people young and old. My kids' friends love to ride in this 'old Beemer'.
This really surprises me.

J.P. in Potomac

pseto
06-08-2011, 09:22 AM
Welcome JP, hope to meet you at an event soon.

We'll have a big turnout at tomorrow's Columbia social if you want to start meeting people