Writing a book like this is the most long winded thing I’ve ever done, and has taken a year of my life. Originally it was planned as a restoration guide but it sprouted from there and has covered a great deal more; it is at its best when combined with a Bentley Publishing workshop manual (see details on page 170 and 175), probably the best manual on the market anywhere. Inspiration has come from many places but the guy who spent days taking digital pictures and really started the ball rolling is my good pal Alf Dickhaut from Germany, an M Power specialist who also distributes stainless steel brake hoses. When he should really have been with his better (and prettier) half Sandra, he spent time in a cold workshop taking many of these photos - about 130 in all. Thanks Alf. Next up comes Paul Wager from Total BMW Magazine who took the rust pictures of a particularly nasty 325i amongst others - thanks to him and the magazine for all their help. Brendan Purcell from the BMW Car Club’s Irish section donated lots of 318iS knowledge including the sections of timing chain replacement which saved me a lot of grief. He also wrote the foreword which sums up the E30 nicely. Next we have almost the entire crew from for various pearls of wisdom and yet more inspiration - Ian Haynes, Ant Woodjetts, Adam Patchton and just about everyone else there I think. Peter Walsh from PMW in West London gave hours of time with questions about E30’s and the M3 in particular. Neil Waterhouse of All Gears in Worksop allowed me a week of workshop space and the use of facilities to build a 2.8 litre engine. Julian Smith helped with this engine (and the section on 2.7 builds) by telling me about shortening the pistons, thus saving me grief later. Then we have BMW (GB) who allowed us to use so many technical drawings and illustrations plus access to the electronic parts catalogue (E PC or ETK) to answer many of the questions. Thanks also to Bridgegate BMW, my local BMW main dealer in Chesterfield. In particular the guys in the parts department who answered many annoying questions -thanks to all the guys there for all the hassle, Dean, Rob, John, Adrian and Mike in particular. Because these guys were there in the eighties when the E30 was a new car, they remember an awful lot and old habits die hard! Last but certainly not least is the Brooklands Books team who of course made all this possible by agreeing to publish what seemed an unknown quantity - I think the term ‘leap of faith’ sums it up. Many hours (days!) was spent poring over the manuscript and they really are a pleasure to work with. Other helpers include Phil Crouch for technical advice and of course photographer Craig Pusey who donated some of his excellent photographs from various Total BMW and BMW Car magazine shoots. Thanks also to photographer Matt Harvey, plus Richard Dobney at BMW GB for the loan of his photos taken at the E30 press launch in 1983. Thankyou all.

Andrew Everett


Introduction to the E30
Chapter 1E30 - The Models
Chapter 2Buying an E30
Chapter 3Keeping Your E30 Alive!
Chapter 4Body Restoration
Chapter 5Suspension and Steering
Chapter 6Brakes
Chapter 7Transmission
Chapter 8Engine Types
Chapter 9Cooling and Heating
Chapter 10Fuel System
Chapter 11Electrical System
Chapter 12Interior Restoration
Chapter 13Restoring Other Parts
Chapter 14Modifying the E30
Chapter 15The E30 in South Africa
Chapter 16E30 Standard Specs
Useful Names and Addresses


Every once in a while, a manufacturer produces a car which is a sure fire classic. To be a classic, a car has to be an indelible part of a generation - the Morris Minor, the early Minis, a vinyl roofed Mark 3 Cortina or in the case of the eighties, the E30 BMW 3 Series. Why the E30? It’s simple.

Before the seventies, BMW was a very upmarket, ‘old money’ maker of very expensive cars whose appeal wasn’t immediately obvious. In a style conscious middle class Britain, anything with a vinyl roof, a bit of wood and leather trim was considered upmarket - the Cortina Ghia was a case in point. The fact that it wasn’t actually that good didn’t deter buyers.

By the eighties though, a new breed of young and upwardly mobile go-getters were appearing, Thatcher’s children or ‘Yuppies’ to coin a well worn phrase. They were looking for something new with a prestige badge, expensive enough to dissuade the ‘value-for-money’ seekers but not so expensive as to be out of reach. Helped along by BMW’s ad executives, the E30 was just the right car at the right time and definitely a car of its time. Wealthy housewives, city boys on their way to their first 911 Turbo, Sloane Rangers and the plain old style conscious all bought E30’s. This really was the beginning of BMW’s crusade to capture this market and today, the 3 Series is still the car in its segment to own. The E30 enjoyed an exceptional twelve year production run which was only bettered by the 6 Series Coupe.

Ten years after the last 316i Touring rolled off the line, the E30 is now hovering on the edge of classic status but it still has a foot firmly in banger territory. Despite building a well over 2.3 million cars, old and neglected E30’s which are still saveable are now ending up in scrap yards for want of a bit of loving care - which is where you come in.

E30’s are still a very DIY fixable car, the parts are plentiful and cheap new or used and a really nice one is still a distinctive car that has worn its years well. Workshop manuals don’t tell you everything and so the aim of this book is to help you get the best from your E30, both in terms of preservation and restoration - use it with a Bentley manual and you’ll be unstoppable.

A secondary aim is to make the cars go faster, something owners have been doing for twenty years. Now that the E30 is a cheap old car, the bits are old and cheap too and building something with 200+bhp, with sorted handling and brakes, is an inexpensive recipe for a bundle of laughs a description you cannot really give to a modern E46, as wonderful and accomplished as they are.

The new BMW 3 Series; it’s much better, thank you When the E30 was launched in March 1983 there wasn’t really a lot of opposition. BMWs were more expensive in real terms twenty years ago than they are today and some price comparisons will seem startling. Bear in mind also that a base price E30 came with no extras steel wheels, no sunroof or air conditioning, wind-up windows and non-metallic paint jobs. If you thought the base model was expensive, try adding a few options.

BMW 316£6250 (5 speed £6775)
Ford Sierra 1.6L£5743
MG Maestro 1600£6245
Alfa Romeo Giulietta 1.6£6350
Ford Escort XR3i£6151
VW Golf GTi 1800£6808
Opel Manta 1.8S£5655
BMW 320i£8595
Ford Sierra 2.0 Ghia£8017
Fiat Supermirafiori 2000£5244
Austin Ambassador 2.0HL£6551
BMW 323i£9655
Ford Capri 2.8 Injection£8125
Saab 900 Turbo 3 door£10,995
Porsche 924£10,524

Compared to the opposition, at first glance the E30 did not look overpriced but, as I said, the options could add up. To make an E30 half decent you would need electric front windows, alloy wheels, a sunroof, power steering and a radio. That lot alone would add almost £1400 to the total cost and suddenly an £8000 plus 316 was looking a bit steep especially with the clock in place of the rev counter that some wag claimed was to measure the acceleration! But the buyers just did not care and as a result there are precious few base model cars about. Helped along by some low-key but very effective marketing, BMW then never stooped to the depths of TV advertising as they could sell every car the factory could make, and then some. Discounts were absolutely forbidden and it is thought that in the boom years many cars were sold without the buyer bothering to take a test drive that is what iconic status does.

By 1987 the price of a fully loaded 325i Sport with every option box ticked, leather, air conditioning, cruise control, electric sunroof, Blaupunkt New York with amplifier and ABS, was nudging £24,000. Back in March 1983 that price was just £1000 short of a Ferrari 308GTB. Spurred on by its unstoppable race success, the M3 was the city boy’s favourite but, like the 316, it came with no extras whatsoever. Improve the specification of a 1987 Evolution, with a base price of £27,381, by adding every available extra and you would be paying over £33,000.

The E30 soon gained a hierarchy of models upon which you were judged, although nobody thought the driver of a red 316 with steel wheels was a loser; just someone on the way up the ladder. Imitations of BMW alloy wheels popped up, along with some then-fashionable body kits from Zender and Richard Grant happy days indeed. Yet when the British economy collapsed and cars like Porsche 911s became all but un-saleable, the E30 was still sold in increasing numbers. Although the cars had become a statement of how well you had done, they were not too flash or conspicuous, although for a few years key damage and stolen badges were rife.


M3’s are now appreciating in value - but only excellent examples in original condition

When the E36 arrived in 1991, the E30 appeared to be on the way down, although the Convertible and Touring models lingered on for another couple of years. The early examples were not as rustproof as they might have been and ten years on, as the E30 began its descent into banger territory, there seemed to be an unending supply of scruffy examples.

The E30 22 years on

Compared to most others, the E30 was a well-made car. However, it must be stressed that nothing lasts forever and that model was never as rugged as the bigger BMWs. So even if you go for one of the last 1993/4 cars, it will still need careful maintenance and the odd repair carried out. These cars are now at the age where the attention outlined in a later chapter will steer them in the right direction. A weekend of fettling and rust-proofing will work wonders but if what you want is a car where all you have to do is fill the tank with petrol and take it to the garage once a year an E30 is the wrong car and you should be looking at an E36 instead.

Original specifications

Unlike 99% of car manufacturers, BMW took the time to record details of every car they made. Not only will BMW in Munich have a record of what car you have, but in most countries like Germany and Britain the importers and dealers will have an accurate record too. By quoting the chassis number (or the original registration number in the UK), you can access the information. This is useful to have before travelling many miles to look at a car. Is it Henna red or Zinnober red? Did it have a limited slip diff, brown or green tint glass? Maybe that cheap 325i in the paper is a Sport and the owner doesn’t know.

Where did they go?

As the twentieth and twenty-first birthday of the E30 has come and gone, the search for the first E30s is slowly growing as hardcore E30 enthusiasts try to locate the originals from 1982. As these cars slowly become recognised classics, it is inevitable that the very early Y registration models will have added kudos. There are still some out there, but not that many and few that are not rusty wrecks. The first RHD cars off the line in November 1982 were six-cylinder 320i and 323i models followed in January 1983 by the 316. The very first examples of each model didn’t always come to the UK though; the 320i chassis numbers begin with 743, the 323i with 753 and the 316 with 733.


Where many E30s ended up………

At present, we have details of only a few of the very first batch of cars and so far only one is known to exist. Of the 320i models, the first RHD car was 7435000 built in July 1982 as a pre-production prototype and registered by BMW GB as TRD 413Y. This Sapphire blue car was probably used as a technical training vehicle as it was registered in January 1983 and subsequently written off, either in an accident or sent back to Munich to be scrapped. The next car is 7435001 and this is the second RHD 320i to come to Britain. Built in November 1982, it is also the first of the series production RHD 320i traditionally BMW chassis numbers started with ‘001’. Registered as YSS 999Y in Aberdeenshire, it was a black car that was last used on the road on or before June 1st 1996 and was recently found rusting away in a damp lock up, sadly way beyond any hope of restoration.

As for the 323i, despite its RHD status chassis number 7535000 did not come to Britain but was probably registered by BMW and used as either a test or press car. 7535001, the first of the series production 323i cars, having been built in November 1982, came here in January 1983 and was registered the same month to BMW GB as TRD 410Y. Baltic blue in colour, it was used last on or before August 31st 1994.

What about the ‘TRX’ cars? For the launch in March 1983, BMW GB registered a series of eleven cars with number plates ranging from TRX 881Y to TRX 891Y. As yet, none of these cars has come to light and it is doubtful that any still exist the last of these cars to be taxed was TRX 889Y, which expired in January 2002.


E30’s make good budget club series racers

For the four-cylinder cars, a pair of two-door, blue 316 models were registered as TRX 892Y and TRX 894Y, the former last being taxed in 2001 and it’s not known if these cars went to the press launch in Spain, although nobody at the launch remembers them. The 316 had a slightly later start to life and although they were launched along with the six-cylinder cars in March 1983, production didn’t begin until January 1983 for the RHD cars. Again, pre-production car 7335000 didn’t come to Britain but the first series production 316 did. Chassis number 7335001 is an Opal Green metallic 316 built in January 1983 but not registered until June 1983. Registered as PSP 310Y in Scotland, the last road tax expired on December 1st 1997.

One lucky survivor was UBL 44Y, chassis number 179, which was registered by BMW GB in February 1983 and lent to MOTOR magazine as a long-term test car. After this the car was sold to BMW Dealer Grassicks in Perth where it underwent a couple of personal number plate changes. Now in the hands of a BMW enthusiast in Scotland, UBL remains in concours condition and was featured in the September 2002 edition of TOTAL BMW magazine. Bracknell registration numbers were AN, BL, CF, DP, GM, JB, JH, JM, RD, RX and TF although thousands of cars were registered as employee cars before being sold on as used cars through authorised dealerships.

Once sold off by BMW GB, the press cars were scattered to the four winds as BMW dealers all over Britain took them. From here they just blended in with the other E30s, rusted and wore out along with the others and eventually ended up in scrap yards. Thanks to BMW’s detailed records, I managed to get information on all the TRX cars. Now it’s up to you to go and find them!

TRX 881Y: 323i, Henna Red, Anthracite cloth, chassis 7535036, built December 1982, registered January 17th 1983. Specification: Power steering, rear headrests, Sport steering wheel, central locking, brown tint glass, electric windows, headlamp wash wipe, alloy wheels, electric sunroof and electric mirrors.

TRX 881Y: 323i, Henna red, Anthracite cloth, chassis 7535036, built December 1982, registered January 17th 1983. Spec: power steering, rear headrests, Sport steering wheel, central locking, brown tint glass, electric windows, headlamp wash wipe, alloy wheels, electric sunroof, electric mirrors.

TRX 882Y: 323i, Henna red, Anthracite cloth, chassis 7535033, built December 1982, registered January 17th 1983. Spec: identical to TRX 881Y but with front fog lamps. Road tested by MOTOR February 26th 1983 and used at E30 press launch Valencia.

TRX 883Y: 320i, Gloss black, Anthracite cloth, chassis 7435155 Built December 1982, registered January 10th 1983. Spec: Limited slip diff, manual sunroof, lockable glovebox, brown tint glass, steel wheels, manual windows. Road tested by Autocar February 26th 1983. Used at E30 press launch, Valencia.

TRX 884Y: 320i, Opal green met, Pine green cloth, chassis 7435116, Built December 1982, registered January 10th 1983. Spec: Limited slip diff, brown tint glass, manual sunroof, lockable glove box, steel wheels, manual windows. Road tested by Drive & Trail July 1983 and used at E30 press launch, Valencia.


The Press Launch March 1983

TRX 885Y: 320i, Polaris silver, Pacific blue cloth, chassis 7435130 Built December 1982, registered January 10th 1983. Spec: Limited slip diff, manual sunroof, manual windows, brown tint glass, lockable glove box, steel wheels. Used at E30 press launch, Valencia.

TRX 886Y: 323i, Henna Red, Anthracite cloth, chassis 7535029, built December 1982, registered January 10th 1983. Specification: as for TRX 881Y.

TRX 887Y: 323i, Opal green met. Pine green cloth, chassis 7535070, Built December 1982, registered January 10th 1983. Spec: Limited slip diff, alloy wheels, green tint glass, electric windows, manual sunroof, headlamp wash wipe, power steering, central locking, front fog lamps. Used at E30 press launch, Valencia.

TRX 888Y: 323i, Gloss black, Anthracite cloth, chassis 7535092, built December 1982, registered January 10th 1983. Spec: Recaro seats, central locking, brown tint glass, electric front windows, headlamp wash wipe, alloy wheels, electric sunroof. Used at E30 press launch, Valencia.

TRX 889Y: 323i, Opal green met, Pine green cloth, chassis 7535064, built December 1982, registered January 10th 1983. Spec: Limited slip diff, headlamp wash wipe, alloy wheels, electric sunroof, Sport steering wheel, central locking, brown tint glass, electric windows, front fog lamps. Used at E30 press launch, Valencia.

TRX 890Y: 323i, Baltic blue met, Pacific blue cloth, chassis 7535079, built December 1982, registered January 10th 1983. Spec: Limited slip diff, alloy wheels, green tint glass, electric windows, manual sunroof, headlamp wash wipe, power steering, central locking. Used at E30 press launch, Valencia.

TRX 891Y: 323i, Bronze, Nutria cloth, chassis 7535107, built December 1982, registered January 10th 1983. Spec: Limited slip diff, headlamp wash wipe, alloy wheels, electric sunroof, Sport steering wheel, central locking, brown tint glass, electric windows. Used at E30 press launch, Valencia.



It is amazing to think that time has passed by and that the second BMW “3 Series” has achieved such status that it warrants this special book on its 21st anniversary. Maybe it is due to the sheer longevity of its design, its ability to satisfy the keen driver or its iconic status - but, whatever it is, there is no doubt that the E30 is one car from the past that will stay with us into the future. It is a pending classic and prices for well kept models have started to escalate; furthermore, there is a core of well cared for cars out there requiring basic attention by their dedicated owners.

As a result, there has never been a better time for a book of this sort. By focusing on the common faults which crop up repeatedly and by giving detailed, simple instructions regarding repairs, this book will be uniquely invaluable for owners who wish to try their hand at their own maintenance, especially those who may previously have been prevented from doing so by a lack of technical know-how or specific knowledge.

When Andrew invited me to provide an input to the preparation of this book, I immediately agreed as I am all too aware of the many people who are looking for simple advice to fault find and repair their cars through my involvement in forums, my own website and BMW clubs. I feel this book is an excellent reference for those people who are deeply passionate about these cars, now three generations old.

Being a fellow E30 owner, I am well aware of the devotion they continue to instill in the face of modern machinery. All of the models have the essence of character, put the driver first, have great depth to their performance, are well styled, classy, are robust, surprisingly cheap to run and quite easy to work on. They have all the qualities I like in a car; so much so, I do not envisage a day that I will be without my own car.

I’ll end with this note: when you are out driving next, look around for cars from the ’80s. The E30 is one of the very few models of that decade which can be seen every day on our roads - and there is no better statement than that.

Brendan Purcell


The Press Launch Team March 1983


Abarth Road Test Portfolio 1950-1971

AC Cars 1904-2009

AC & Cobra 1962-2011

Alfa Romeo Giulietta Gold Portfolio 1954-1965

Alfa Romeo Giulia Berlina Lim. Edit. Extra 1962-76

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Alfa Romeo Spider Ultimate Portfolio 1966-1994

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Alvis Gold Portfolio 1919-1967

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Auburn Cord Duesenberg - A Brooklands Portfolio

Audi Quattro Gold Portfolio 1980-1991

Audi TT Performance Portfolio 1998-2006

Austin Seven & Ten Road Test Portfolio

Austin-Healey 100 & 100/6 Gold Port. 1952-1959

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Lagonda Gold Portfolio 1919-1964

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NSU Ro80 Limited Edition

Oldsmobile 1948-1963 Limited Edition Premier

Oldsmobile Muscle Portfolio 1964-1971

Cutlass & 4-4-2 Muscle Portfolio 1964-1974

Opel GT Ultimate Portfolio 1968-1973

Opel Manta Limited Edition 1970-1975

Packard Automobiles 1920-1958 - A Portfolio

Pantera Ultimate Portfolio 1970-1995

Panther Gold Portfolio 1972-1990

Plymouth Limited Edition 1950-1960

Plymouth Fury Limited Edition Extra 1956-1976

Barracuda Muscle Portfolio 1964-1974

Plymouth Muscle Portfolio 1964-1971

Pontiac 1946- 1963 Limited Edition Premier

High Performance Firebirds 1982-1988

Firebird & Trans Am Performance Portfolio 1993-00

Pontiac Fiero Performance Portfolio 1984-1988

Porsche Sports Racing Cars UP 1952-1968

Porsche 917 • 935 • 956 • 962 Gold Portfolio

Porsche 912 Limited Edition Extra

Porsche 365 Ultimate Portfolio 1952-1965

Porsche 911 1965-1969

Porsche 911 1973-1977

Porsche 911 SC & Turbo Gold Portfolio 1978-1983

Porsche 911 Carrera & Turbo Gold Port. 1984-1989

Porsche 911 Ultimate Portfolio 1990-1997

Porsche 911 Takes On The Competition 1990-1997

Porsche 911 Ultimate Portfolio 1998-2004

Porsche 914 Ultimate Portfolio

Porsche 924 Gold Portfolio 1975-1988

Porsche 928 Gold Portfolio 1977-1995

Porsche 928 Takes On The Competition

Porsche 944 Ultimate Portfolio

Porsche 968 Limited Edition Extra

Porsche Boxster Ultimate Portfolio 1996-2004

Railton & Brough Superior Gold Portfolio 1933-1950

Range Rover Gold Portfolio 1970-1985

Range Rover Gold Portfolio 1985-1995

Range Rover Performance Portfolio 1995-2001

Range Rover Takes on the Competition

Riley RM Series Pathfinder 2.6 A Brooklands Port.

Rolls-Royce Silver Clould & Bentley S Ultimate Port.

Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow Ultimate Port. 1965-80

Rover P4 1949-1959

Rover 2000 & 2200 1963-1977

Studebaker Ultimate Portfolio 1946-1966

Studebaker Hawks & Larks Lim. Edit. Premier 1956-66

Avanti Limited Edition Extra 1962-1991

Subaru Impreza Turbo Limited Edition Extra 1994-00

Subaru Impreza WRX Performance Port. 2001-2005

Sunbeam Alpine Limited Edition Extra 1959-1968

Sunbeam Tiger Limited Edition Extra 1964-1967

Suzuki SJ Gold Portfolio 1971-1997

Vitara, Sidekick & Geo Tracker Perf. Port. 1988-1997

Tatra Cars Road Test Portfolio

Toyota Land Cruiser Gold Portfolio 1956-1987

Toyota Land Cruiser 1988-1997

Toyota Supra Performance Portfolio 1982-1998

Toyota MR2 Road Test Portfolio 1984-1989

Toyota MR2 Road Test Portfolio 1990-1999

Toyota MR2 Road Test Portfolio 2000-2007

Toyota MR2 Takes On The Competition

Triumph TR2 & TR3 Gold Portfolio 1952-1961

Triumph TR4, TR5, TR250 1961-1968

Triumph TR6 Road Test Portfolio

Triumph Herald 1959-1971

Triumph Vitesse 1962-1971

Triumph 2000, 2.5, 2500 1963-1977

Triumph GT6 Gold Portfolio 1966-1974

Triumph Stag Road Test Portfolio

TVR Limited Edition Ultra 1958-1985

TVR Performance Portfolio 1986-1994

TVR Performance Portfolio 1995-2000

TVR Performance Portfolio 2000-2005

VW Beetle Gold Portfolio 1935-1967

VW Beetle Gold Portfolio 1968-1991

VW Bus Camper Van Perf. Portfolio 1954-1967

VW Bus Camper Van Perf. Portfolio 1968-1979

VW Bus Camper Van Perf. Portfolio 1979-1991

VW Karmann Ghia Gold Portfolio 1955-1974

VW Scirocco 1974-1981

VW Golf GTI Limited Edition Extra 1976-1991

VW Golf Cabriolet 1979-2002 Road Test Portfolio

VW Corrado Limited Edition Premier 1989-1995

Volvo PV444 & PV544 Perf. Portfolio 1945-1965

Volvo 120 Amazon Ultimate Portfolio

Volvo 1800 Ultimate Portfolio 1960-1973

Volvo 140 & 160 Series Gold Portfolio 1966-1975

Forty Years of Selling Volvo

Westfield Performance Portfolio 1982-2004


Complete WW2 Military Jeep Manual

Dodge WW2 Military Portfolio 1940-1945

German Military Equipment WW2

Hail To The Jeep

Combat Land Rover Portfolio No. 1

Land Rover Military Portfolio

Military & Civilian Amphibians 1940-1990

Off Road Jeeps Civilian & Military 1944-1971

US Military Vehicles 1941-1945

Standard Military Motor Vehicles-TM9-2800 (WW2)

VW Kubelwagen Military Portfolio 1940-1990

WW2 Allied Vehicles Military Portfolio 1939-1945

WW2 Jeep Military Portfolio 1941-1945


The Land Speed Record 1898-1919

The Land Speed Record 1920-1929

The Land Speed Record 1930-1939

The Land Speed Record 1940-1962

The Land Speed Record 1963-1999

Can-Am Racing 1966-1969

Can-Am Racing 1970-1974

Can-Am Racing Cars 1966-1974

The Carrera Panamericana Mexico - 1950-1954

Le Mans - The Bentley & Alfa Years - 1923-1939

Le Mans - The Jaguar Years - 1949-1957

Le Mans - The Ferrari Years - 1958-1965

Le Mans - The Ford & Matra Years - 1966-1974

Le Mans - The Porsche Years - 1975-1982

Le Mans - The Porsche & Jaguar Years - 1983-91

Le Mans - The Porsche & Peugeot Years - 1992-99

Mille Miglia - The Alfa & Ferrari Years - 1927-1951

Mille Miglia - The Ferrari & Mercedes Years - 1952-57

Targa Florio - The Porsche & Ferrari Years - 1955-1964

Targa Florio - The Porsche Years - 1965-1973


BMW 2002 - A Comprehensive Guide

BMW 02 Restoration Guide

BMW E30 - 3 Series Restoration Bible

Classic Camaro Restoration

Engine Swapping Tips & Techniques

Ferrari Life Buyer s Portfolio

Land Rover Restoration Portfolio

PC on Land Rover Series I Restoration

Lotus Elan Restoration Guide

MG T Series Restoration Guide

MGA Restoration Guide

PC on MGB Restoration

Mustang Restoration Tips & Techniques

Practical Gas Flow

Restoring Sprites & Midgets an Enthuslast s Guide

SU Carburetters Tuning Tips & Techniques

PC on Sunbeam Rapier Restoration

The Great Classic Muscle Cars Compared

Weber Carburettors Tuning Tips and Techniques


Road & Track on Aston Martin 1962-1990

Road & Track on Austin Healey 1953-1970

Road & Track on BMW Cars 1966-1974

Road & Track BMW M Series Portfolio 1979-2002

R & T BMW Z3, M Coupe & M Roadster Port. 96-02

R & T Camaro & Firebird Portfolio 1993-2002

Road & Track on Corvette 1968-1982

Road & Track on Corvette 1982-1986

Road & Track on Corvette 1986-1990

Road & Track Corvette Portfolio 1997-2002

Road & Track Dodge Viper Portfolio 1992-2002

Road & Track on Ferrari 1975-1981

Road & Track on Ferrari 1984-1988

Road & Track Ferrari V-12 Portfolio 1992-2002

Road & Track Ferrari F355 360 F430 Portfolio 95-06

Road & Track on Jaguar 1950-1960

Road & Track on Jaguar 1961-1968

Road & Track on Jaguar 1968-1974

R & T Jaguar XJ-S - XK8 - XKR Portfolio 1975-2003

Road & Track MX-5 Miata Portfolio 1989-2002

Road & Track on Mercedes 1952-1962

R & T Mercedes SL - SLK - CLK Portfolio 1990-2003

Road & Track on MG Sports Cars 1949-1961

Road & Track on MG Sports Cars 1962-1980

Road & Track Mustang Portfolio 1994-2002

Road & Track Nissan 300ZX & 350Z Portfolio 1984-03

Road & Track on Porsche 1951-1967

Road & Track on Porsche 1972-1975

Road & Track on Porsche 1975-1978

Road & Track on Porsche 1979-1982

Road & Track Porsche 928 Portfolio 1977-1994

Road & Track Porsche 911 Portfolio 1990-1997

R & T on Rolls Royce & Bentley 1950-1965

R & T on Rolls Royce & Bentley 1966-1984

R & T on Triumph Sports Cars 1967-1974

R & T on Triumph Sports Cars 1974-1982

Road & Track on Volkswagen 1951-1968

Road & Track on Volkswagen 1968-1978

Road & Track on Volvo 1957-1974

Road & Track on Volvo 1977-1994

Road & Track - Best of PS

Road & Track - Peter Egan Side Glances 1983-1992

Road & Track - Peter Egan Side Glances 1992-1997

Road & Track - Peter Egan Side Glances 1998-2002

Road & Track - Peter Egan Side Glances 2002-2006


Car and Driver on BMW 1957-1977

Car and Driver on Ferrari 1955-1962

Car and Driver on Ferrari 1963-1975

Car and Driver on Porsche 1955-1962

Car and Driver on Porsche 1963-1970

Car and Driver on Porsche 1970-1976

Car and Driver on Porsche 1977-1981

Car and Driver on Porsche 1982-1986

Car and Driver on Volvo 1955-1976


Chevy 265 & 283

Chevy 302 & 327

Chevy 348 & 409

Chevy 396 & 427

Chevy 454 thru 512

Chevy Monster Big Blocks

Chrysler Hemi

Chrysler 273, 318, 340 & 360

Chrysler 361, 383, 400, 413, 426 & 440

Ford 289, 302, Boss 302 & 351W

Ford 351C & Boss 351

Ford Small Block

Ford Big Block


To see our range o over 70 titles visit


The E30 enjoys good club support


AC Schnitzer: (0049) 241 56 88130.

Active Autowerke (USA): BMW Tuning 001 305 233 9300.

All Gear: BMW, ZF & Getrag gearbox specialist. 01909 478581

A – Trim: Specialist in all BMW interior retrimming, North West London. 01923 228070,

Alpina GmbH: (0049) 8241 50050.

Alpina United Kingdom: (Sytner Nottingham) 0115 934 1444

Bentley Manuals:

Bexley Motor Works: E30 and M3 specialist, Kent. 0208 304 9797.

BMW Car Club GB: Officially BMW recognised BMW club, part of BMW Club Europa 01225 709009

BMW GB: BMW AG owned British importer. 01344 426565

BMW Owners Club: 6, Uplands, Walditch, Bridport, Dorset. DT6 4LE

BMW Mobile Tradition: D-80788 Munich, Germany (0049) 89 382 20028

Bilstein UK: 0208 956 5049.

Bridgegate BMW: E30 friendly BMW Main Dealer, Chesterfield 01246 208681

Brooklands Books: for Bentley Manuals and E30 road test books. 01932 865051.

Chipped UK: ECU remapping 07815 501867

C3: London based E30 M3 parts specialist, 0208 676 8667

CPC Autos (instrument specialists): 07960 280953

Dickhaut Specials: E30 and M3 used parts and new stainless steel brake pipes, Central Germany (Kassel) 0049 562492 6966 / 0049 160 268 0491

E30 Zone: Internet based E30 club. German E30 internet club,

Eta Motorsport: E30 serving, repairs and race car preparation, Kent. 01474 328777, 07974 912139

Fritz Bits: Tuning, parts and service for pre 1988 BMW's in Somerset. 01823 669425

Hadrian Panels: 01373 865684

Hartlake: BMW Specialist, East London/Kent area 01474 326626

Ireland Engineering: USA based BMW performance specialist in California. 001 626 359 7674, e-mail

Lepsons: Kent based alloy wheel restoration specialist, Gillingham, Kent. 01634 580582

MJF Engineering: Surrey based BMW Mechanic, all E30s and M3 cars. 01306713232

Moseley Motorsport: Specialist in M3's, Telford. 01952 503992.

Parkside Garage (Worksop): M3 and M50 conversions 01909 506555

PMW: Mechanic for all E30 especially M3. West London /Bucks/Berks area 07970 645599

Quarry Motors: BMW parts and service in Sheffield. 01142 769076

Rossiters: Specialist for E30 and M3 AC Schnitzer tuning parts both current and obscure. 01485 542000.

Turner Motorsport: USA E30 performance specialist. 001 978 388 7769



ABS63, 67, 152
ABS Light65
AC Schnitzer23
Adjustable Dampers145
Adjustable Fuel Pressure Regulator138
Air Conditioning103
Air Flow Meter110, 113
Air Mass Meter138
Alloy Wheels127, 161
Alternator Bushes116
Anti Roll Bar146
Anti Roll Bar - Fitting a Rear148
Anti-Roll Bar Link60
Arches - Rear53
Automatic Transmission - EH37
Axle Bushes - Rear62
B3 2.721
B6 2.821
B6 3.522
B6 3.5S22
Ball Joint60
Baur Cabriolet14
Big End Bearings - Replacement81
Bilstein Dampers60
BMW 323i13
BMW 324d13
BMW 320iS12
BMW 324td13
BMW 333i161
Body Panels - Exploded View55
Body Restoration47
Bodywork - M356
Bonnet Opening - When Cable is Broken57
Boot Adustment41
Bosch K Jetronic77, 105
Bosch LE Jetronic77, 106
Bosch Motronic106
Brake Discs152
Brake Fluid65
Brake Fluid - Synthetic65
Brake Master Cylinder65
Brake Pads - Replacing44
Brake Pipes - Metal44
Brake Pipes - Rear67
Brake Pipes - Steel32
Brakes65, 152
Brakes - Bleeding65
Brakes - Rear66
Bumper - Chrome32
Bumper - Plastic32
Bumper - Removal47
Bushes - Offset Front146
Bushes - Trailing Arm62, 146
C1 2.319
C1 2.520
C2 2.520
C2 2.721
Callipers44, 152
Cambelt Change - M20 6-Cyl.82
Camshaft35, 134
Camshaft - Replacement90
Camshaft Belt - Replacement92
Camshaft Chain Replacement - M10 Engine84
Camshaft Sprocket84
Camshaft Timing83
Carburettor - 316105
Carburettor - Solex Pierburg 2B4 Series11
Carburettors - Weber Replacement34
Carpet - Removal156
Central Locking120
Central Locking Control Unit122
Centre Bearing37
Centre Console18
Chain Tensioner - E3636
Chassis & Other ID Numbers40
Chassis Legs32
Clutch - Lock-up73
Clutch Fluid44
Clutch Release Bearing70
Coding Plugs119
Coil Springs32
Coil Unit108
Con Rods133
Connecting Rod Bolts133
Conversion - 2.7131
Convertible Hoods127
Converting a 320i131
Converting a 323i131
Coolant Level46
Coolant Level Sensor97
Coolant Loss101
Coolant Temperature Sensor110
Cooling System - Bleeding (M20)99
Crank Position Trigger113
Crankshaft - M52136
CV Joint62
Cylinder Head137
Cylinder Head - Cracked90
Cylinder Head - Removal84, 89
Damper Mounting - Rear38
Dash Bulb - Fitting154
Differential37, 140
Differential - Limited Slip37, 76
Differential Mounting Bush62, 146
Discs - Rear, Converting to153
Distributor Cap83
Door Lock121
Door Mirrors - Electric27
Door Trim - Replacement124
Doors - Repairing53
Drive shafts63
E30 in America25
Earthing points116
ECUs - Carburettor109
ECUs - LE Jetronic108, 109
ECUs - Motronic109
Eibach Springs145
Electric Fan - M3101
Electric Window Motor - Replacement122
Electronic Heater Valve102
Engine - M1034
Engine - M2034
Engine Blocks93
Engine Maintenance and Repair81
Engine Mountings94, 138
Engine Numbers40
Engine Rebuilds93
Engine Removal - 4 cyl. and M381
Engine Swaps91
ETA131, 132, 133
ETA (2.7) Engine131
Euro Car Parts100
Exhaust Manifolds34, 94
Expansion Bottle46, 98
Final Drives76
Floor Repairs49
Foglamps - Fitting153
Fuel Filler32
Fuel Filler Neck148
Fuel Filters108
Fuel Hoses114
Fuel Injection Faults109
Fuel Injection Systems105
Fuel Pumps107
Fuel Pumps Relays107
Fuel Rail109
Fuel Tanks113
Fuse Box31, 156
Gear-Change Pattern - Dogleg36
Gearbox - Automatic36
Gearbox - Close Ratio71
Gearbox ID71
Gearbox Linkages72
Gearbox Maintenance73
Gearbox Oil Cooler44
Gearbox Oil Cooler Pipes101
Gearboxes - Automatic73
Gearlevers - Sloppy36
Grille - Centre Black157
H26 (323i)23
H26 (325i)23
H27 SP23
Heat Control Switch - Removal103
Heated Seats - Fitting156
Heater - Electronically Controlled102
Heater Fan - Replacement122
Heater Matrix100
History of the E3024
Hood - Electro/Hydraulic18
Idle Speed92
Idle Stop Screw110
Idle Valve - Water Heated112
Inhibitor Switch45
Injector Pump91
Inlet Manifold Blocks45
Instrument Cluster - Removal118
Instrument Problems116
Jacking Points32
Johnny Cecotto17
Limited Editions15
M10 Engine77
M20 Engine78
M21 Engine81
M3 Convertible18, 56
M3 Europa Meister18
M3 Evolution16
M3 Evolution II16
M3 - Johnny Cecotto17
M3 Roberto Ravaglia Edition18
M3 Sport Evolution17
M3 USA18
M30 Engine - Fitting143
M40 - Engine35, 79
M42 - Engine35, 80
M52 - Engine135
M52 Engine - Fitting144
Master Cylinder69
Model Year 198315
Model Year 198615
Model Year 1986 - Sport15
Offset Top Strut Mounts145
Oil - Gearbox43
Oil - Gearbox and Final Drive45
Oil Coolers138
Oil Filter43
Oil leaks95
Oil Pressure Switch35
Oil Pump85, 133
Oil Seal35
On-Board Computer (OBC)154
Outside Temp Sensor155
Oxygen Sensor110
Paint Codes - Worldwide26
Panel Replacement - Front56
Panel Replacement - Rear54
Pedal Height Adjustment68
Pierburg 2B105
Pierburg 2BE11, 105
Piston Rings93
Pistons - Replacment81
Power Steering Pump83
Prices - Original27
Profile Gasket35
Prop-Shaft37, 75
Radiator42, 98, 100
Radiator Bleed Screw99
Radiator Maintenance101
Radiator Replacement101
RHD ‘Quick Rack’148
Rocker - Broken94
Rubber Coupling37
Rust Proofing56
S14 Engine35, 78
Sark Plugs43
Scuttle - Replacement54
Seat Belts17
Seat Upholstery15
Seats - Repairing damaged124
Service Lights119
Servicing 324td91
Shock Absorber Mounting Turrets - Rear33
Shock Absorbers - Rear61
Shock Absorbers (dampers)60
SI Board118
Sill - Inner156
Sill Replacement48
Sills32, 48
Slave Cylinder69, 70
Sport Evo39
Springs - Rear61
Standard Equipement
BMW 31611
BMW 318iS12
BMW 320i12
BMW 325e14
BMW 325i Sport14
BMW 325i14
Standard Specifications161
BMW 316 1983 to 1988161
BMW 316i 1987 to 1988162
BMW 316i 1988 to 1991162
BMW 318i 1982 to 1987165
BMW 318i 9/1987 on163
BMW 318iS 1989 on164
BMW 320i 1982 to 1991165
BMW 320iS167
BMW 323i 1982 to 1985166
BMW 325e 1984 to 1987166
BMW 325i and 325 ix 1985 to 1992167
BMW M3169
BMW 324d and 324td168
Starter Motor69, 116
Steering59, 148
Steering Rack - M3148
Steering Racks59
Steering Shafts59
Steering Wheel - M Tech II17
Steering Wheels157
Strut Braces - Front146
Strut Mounts - Offset Top145
Struts - Front E30145
Subframe Mounting32
Sump - Removal81
Sump Gasket35
Sump Plug43
Sunroof32, 41
Suspension38, 44, 145
Suspension - M Technic38
Suspension Bushes146
Suspension Geometry147
Tappets - Hydraulic35
TDC Sensor140
Thermostat42, 90, 97
Thermostat Housing99
Throttle Position Switch (TPS)111
Throttle Body111
Timing Chains36, 78
Timing Sensors110
Torque Converters73
Torx Head Bolts89
Touring Tailgates32
Trailing arm bushes62, 146
Transmission43, 69
Trim - Leather125
Tubular Manifold136
Tuning the 318iS138
Tuning the M3138
Valance - Rear15
Valve Clearances44
Valve Guides34
Viscous Fan Couplings83, 100
Water Pumps36, 99
Wheel Arches - Chrome32
Wheel Arches - Rear 32
Wheel Bearings - Front62
Wheel Bearings - Rear63
Wheel Cylinders - Rear67
Wheels - Restoring127
Wheels and Tyres150
Window - Opening Rear Side156
Windows - Electric45
Windscreen - M332
Wing Repairs - Front Inner52
Wings - Front31
Wiper Motor Problems119
Wiring Socket - Motronic 320i & 325i113
Wishbones - Front38, 62


BMW E30 - 3 Series Restoration Bible

Published by





ISBN 9781855209428


© 2011 Andrew Everett and Brooklands Books Limited

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced, stored, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without permission in writing from the publisher and author.

Whilst every care has been taken in the preparation of this book, neither the author nor the publisher can accept any liability for loss, damage or injury caused by errors in, or omissions from, the information given.

Chapter 1



This is, in E30 terms, the bottom of the barrel although it’s a good car in its own right. Powered by the good old M10 engine, production started in January 1983 and ran right up to September 1988 with the last year’s production being the facelift plastic bumper model. Available in two- and four-door versions, you might even find a rare Baur Cabriolet but they are not worth that much.