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1991 318i 5-speed sedan

Make: BMW
Model: 3-Series
Type: Sedan
Trim: Base
Year: 1991
Mileage: 293167
VIN: WBAAJ9312MEJ02299
Color: Brilliant Red
Engine: 1.8 liter DOHC
Cylinders: 4
Fuel: Gasoline
Transmission: Manual
Drive type: RWD
Interior color: Tan
Drive side: Left-hand drive
Vehicle Title: Clear
Item location: Bethel Park, Pennsylvania, United States

1991 BMW 3-Series Base Additional Info:

TL;DR Neat old BMW, fun to drive and cheap to run. High mileage...but it's been well cared for. She has a lot of life left in her. Only needs new rear brake hard lines to be fully roadworthy. Runs great. If it wasn't for the leaking rear brake line, I'd drive it anywhere. The car passed PA state emissions inspection last year but the corroded brake lines failed the PA state safety inspection.
Need more details? I know this car inside and out, ask away.Why am I selling it? Well, I don't really get to drive this little car much any more, my kids aren't interested in learning to shift, and I have a very needy E24 project that's eventually replacing this little car. I figure instead of watching it rust in the driveway I'll pass it along to a new owner that'll give it the TLC it deserves.What's so special about this car? There aren't a lot of these DOHC BMW E30s running around, the sedan version was a one-year-only special. Not a lot of people know about these final 4-cyl E30s...they're a cult classic and a well-kept secret. Never available with an automatic transmission (nor most other E30 options) this is the stripped-down sedan counterpart of the E30 318iS coupe with a more rigid & practical sedan body. You get the new low-maintenance M42 engine along with the incredible build quality of the E30. No more valve adjustments or cam belts! OBD1! Admittedly, it's noisier than an M20, down a little on torque, but it's smooth and revvy.
This car has run flawlessly for me over the last decade. Shifts like butter, loves the curves. The car is very close to stock, but I have added a few minor OEM upgrades to improve an already-great little car. All original paperwork is included...BMW owner's manual, BMW service guide, etc.. I'm a little retentive about my cars...I have loads of records from the PO dating back to the 90s along with a complete maintenance log including all repairs and every fill-up the car has ever had. I've always used synthetic lubricants in the car along with BMW branded Mann or Mahle filters, the results speak for themselves. Currently I'm running Mobil1 0w40 synthetic "Euro Formula" motor oil, Valvoline Synthetic ATF in the gearbox (as spec'ed by BMW) and Valvoline full synth 75w140 in the diff. Coolant is Zerex G05 Euro silicate-free coolant with a little RedLine Water Wetter for improved cooling. Used oil reports are all reasonably good, no major wear has been detected. Engine is still the original M42 1.8 liter. That's right, it's run almost 240K miles without any major work at all. BMW massively overbuilt this engine (except for the cam drive & cooling system). It's a gem of a motor in the lightweight E30 chassis...loves to rev, tucked back in the engine bay for excellent weight distribution.
Upgrades:I've added a COP kit with hotter BMW coils and recent set of NGK nickel plugs to pick up a few MPG. I have spare coils and upgraded four-hole Bosch/Volvo fuel injectors that'll go with the car. I've resisted the urge to swap a more modern motor into this car, but I have to admit it'd be an ideal candidate for a swap...the E30 is such an entertaining car to drive. They really are a winner with virtually any motor.I also resolved a few of the original weak spots of this car. The cooling system is 100%. I deleted the throttle body preheater, installed a new lower-temp 80degC thermostat with the matching OEM 80/88C fanstat, new OEM BMW coolant manifold neck, radiator expansion tank, all o-rings & seals, aux fan/resistor and viscous engine fan clutch. I even swapped out the heater valve and installed a new OEM Behr heater core. The water pump and radiator were both replaced by the previous owner, so it's all more or less new. I replaced all the rubber vac lines with silicone rubber hose to eliminate the vac leaks that drive the M42 crew crazy. I've also upgraded the battery to a bigger group 47R(?). Many more CCA than stock. I think the battery is on the way out, goes flat fairly quickly, but it'll still accept a charge happily. Full set of five 14x6.5" BMW "bottlecaps". Originally the car had steel wheels with hubcaps. Three tires are like-new, all four have good tread. Front struts are stock Sachs, rears are old OEM BMW M-Tech Bilstein monotubes. Stock BMW springs. They're all functional but certainly well past prime time. A nice set of H&R springs & Bilstein Sports would work wonders, I'm sure.Medium case 3.73 limited-slip differential. The car's a little slower from a dead stop but it gets better fuel mileage and is very livable on the highway.Stainless steel brake hoses installed too. I still have to drop the fuel tank to get the last two installed (not looking forward to that). Very recent Ate 'blue' DOT4 fluid too.Recent Lemforder front control arms, inner & outer tie rods, sway bar links too. The car does need an alignment eventually, my attempts at stringing the car are only a ballpark guess.Offset E30 M3 front bushings (also Lemfoerder) to improve handling & turn-in. The car could certainly use camber plates, drop hats & lowering springs, since the current setup is pretty hard on front tires.I have an E36 rack ready to install, but I found the seals are shot. It comes with adapters too, if you're interested. The original rack is still in the car...it also has bad seals, so I've removed the original power steering pump. You'll get a workout every time you park the car.
Interior:Dashboard has a single tiny crack on the right side, otherwise it's near-perfect. Glove box latch is still good too, lock cylinder matches the door keys.I replaced the VDO gauge cluster with a more accurate Motometer unit, sync'ed up the mileage and installed new lithium batteries. Every gauge and bulb works perfectly, even including the 'Check Engine' light and all the Service Interval functions. Until this week, that is...now the odometer gears are shot. I did replace a missing Check Control panel (above the mirror) with an older 325e unit. It's not original nor is it hooked up.Glove box flashlight is also there but the batteries have died.Six-button OBC with exterior temp sensor also fully works but the display is on the fritz.Aftermarket Blaupunkt CD/USB/MP3/BT head unit. Matches the interior pretty nicely. I can remove it if you had a different idea in mind.OEM BMW front sport seats in natur (tan) leather. Driver's seat has a lot of cracking in the finish and a small tear in the driver's seat bottom (squib). The left upper bolster needs a stitch or two. Passenger seat is OK. Both need new pneumatic springs but the eight-way mechanisms work well.OEM BMW rear headrest seats with center armrest & ski bag/trunk pass-though, I think they're pearl beige, they're a shade or two lighter than the front seats.Rear BMW Premium Sound speakers. I don't have the front tweeters or their special corner housings.I added a leather-wrapped three-spoke BMW sport steering wheel, but the leather has worn through at the top. The original plastic airbag wheel and controls are not available. Honestly, you won't miss them, they were pretty crappy.Genuine leather shifter knob & E36 leather handbrake grip. I like leather...what can I say?I also mounted an E36 center console for the cupholders & armrest. I kept the original E30 center console & rear ash tray, it's not perfect but is included with the car.Near-complete toolkit as a bonus. I pieced it together from a few other cars. The pliers are very rusty, but I was lucky to find them.The original jack and lug wrench are there, as unsafe as ever, in pretty decent shape. I added a chock and towing eyelet.Power sunroof upgrade, never available with this car. It works well, retracts and flips up, but still needs some minor adjustments. Makes an annoying buzz when fully open and doesn't stop at the midpoint.
Electrical:I've upgraded the headlights to genuine E30 US-market ellipsoid capsule units (Hella) as available in the 325iS. Sylvania SilverStar Ultra halogens give great visibility. I prefer the halogen light pattern over LEDs or HIDs.Both foglights are in good shape, no cracks. Hard to find those little things these days!Functional cruise control added, works gear except for the 'slow-down' function. Never did figure that out. Regardless, cruise control was never available from the factory as an option for the M42 cars.
Chassis:Rust is there but it's all cosmetic as far as I can tell. It'll need some work eventually, I think sooner rather than later. Happily, all the E30's weak spots are clean and solid: the front frame members, windshield pinch seam, sunroof panel, hood & trunk, side sills, rear doglegs, rear fender lips, spare tire well, toolkit well, and even the rear fascia are all in excellent shape. Rust has just started into the front driver's corner, there is minor perforation in the driver's front apron and rocker panel at the rear passenger jacking point. The sealing plugs in the driver's floorboard look a bit crusty and there's the usual hole in the rear battery box. I've also seen a bit of rust in the passenger door seam. There is also evidence of passenger rear quarter bodywork. That corner has two-stage paint, I'd guess they also replaced the rear bumper cover and right taillight. I've also done a bit of bodywork there to fix a taillight leak. The paint job looks great in pics, OK in person. There are some rough spots on the front fascia, front quarters and driver's door make it a 20-footer at best. Rear brake lines are rough too, but otherwise it's a pretty darn clean little car, very solid and ready to go. I never really drove it in the winter, so it didn't get much exposure to road salt. According to my records, the car was originally sold in Florida and came to me via Tennessee. I guess that explains the relative lack of corrosion.
Known Problems:I've spent a lot of time recently cleaning the car up and checking everything out for the next owner. She still runs great, but there's a long list of minor projects. Here's what you're in for, at a minimum, in no particular order:Odometer gear JUST died (I'm not kidding, I still have the fuel receipts to prove it)Front passenger window switch is bad (motor is OK). Rear passenger window is not working, your guess is as good as mine.Leaking rear brake line, temporarily plugged at the ABS pump.Passenger rear turn signal occasionally refuses to blinkCracked front turn signal lens & minor crack in front pumper shellCheap aftermarket front spoiler doesn't fit wellMisc. front motor oil leaks in all the usual M42 places. Oil filter housing, timing chain case. OEM gasket & o-ring come with the car.Noisy ICV, doesn't seem to cause trouble. Slightly loping cold idle until it's warmed up.Occasional squealing from the HVAC fanRear parking brake linkage needs adjusted, shoes may need replaced. The rear rotor grumbles & screeches unless the parking brake lever is up a notch.
I'm not a BMW Master Tech nor some professional restoration shop, just a relatively competent dude that likes driving & fixing BMWs. Check out my reputation here on eBay, I've worked long & hard to keep it pristine. If you're not convinced I'll share my forum nicknames with you. I have been doing BMW restoration for a while now, saving stuff from the scrapper. It's been rewarding and massively fun. I'm available on most of the BMW forum sites, so if you need some help with your decision just reach out via Bimmerforums, R3vlimited or M42Club.
IMHO this is a pretty decent car, I hope the price is right. I'm OK with taking more pics, recording a video, WebEx, whatever. The car starts, stops and rolls so it's easily loadable on a transporter. I can help with loading. While the car does run and drive, I wouldn't advise driving it cross-country or anything rash like that. I can, however, meet you at the airport (PIT) or bus terminal (Pittsburgh) if you're interested in taking a chance on over-the-road summer adventure (and saving a lot on transport charges).
I'm hoping to put this car into the hands of another enthusiast, might that be you? Thanks for checking out my ad, have a great day!

On Jul-21-19 at 08:22:03 PDT, seller added the following information:

I wanted to make a few updates before this listing ends since the pics aren't really that great.

  • The rear lower corner of the driver's door is a bit crumpled. I bent the lower corner on a curb and tapped it back roughly into position. It will need some work.
  • There's a small tear in the bottom of the driver's seat, I'm not sure it is repairable. The seats are solid, frames are in great shape, but (like every other BMW sport seat) the driver's outer lower bolster is a little soft, some of the bolster piping has worn through, and the finish is cracking on the bolsters and seat bottom.
  • I'm including the original center console and some spare Bremi coil packs with the car. The current packs are in great shape but having a few spares never hurt anyone.
  • The battery will still start the car easily, but it'll run down after a few weeks or a lot of cranking. If you plan on storing the car for a little while, be sure to disconnect the negative terminal. Don't worry, the car has no parasitic current drain. It's just an old battery. I just carry one of those lithium jump pack/air pumps with the car, I highly recommended them.
  • Speaking of the battery, the case size is also a bit too long for the clamping bolt. The width is perfect, so it really doesn't move around, but be aware that it's slightly loose. The original battery tie-down bolt/clamp is still with the car.
  • The plastic battery case/cover on the passenger side of the trunk is complete and installed. The pictures don't show it installed but it's there now.
  • In addition, I recently cut a stock rear seat back cover to fit around the ski bag in the trunk. It's the fiberboard trim cover that's clipped to the seatback. It's a pretty good fit but not perfect, could still use a little trimming. Be aware that it's a bit delicate if you decide to remove or modify it.