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Fixin' Up My E30

I bought an E30 that is in good mechanical condition, but in need of some work here and there. Most of what's needed is electrical, some cosmetic.

Illustration for article titled Fixin Up My E30

So far I have repaired:

- Dome lights: fuse was blown and one bulb burnt. I'll have to replace one of the light assemblies as the switch is broken. Ultimately I'd like to add a third interior light because BMW put both lights behind the B pillar and they illuminate only the back seat. The third light would go right next to the sunroof crank;

- Dash lights: only the light on the right hand side was working, and even that had a very dim bulb. I replace both of them with new bulbs of slightly higher wattage. The gauges are nice as red as can be seen above;

- Hand brake switch: the switch was loose on the hand brake lever and the movement was stiff. I cleaned it up with an electrical cleaner and put some WD40 to free it up. I'll add some lithium grease later;

- Antenna grommet: the one in the car was dry rotted and cracking, allowing water into the trunk. A trip to the local BMW dealer found they stocked the part, and that night it was repaired. After last night's heavy rain I deemed my work a success as my trunk showed no new water;

- Shift boot: the car had its original shift boot that was in a deplorable state. Eventually I'll spring up the cash for a nice leather shift boot, but for now I just needed something better looking than the trash that was in the car. A trip to the ricer section of Advance Auto Parts and I found a $9 leatherette boot that will do for now. Doesn't look half bad:

Illustration for article titled Fixin Up My E30

There is a small list of things to do:

- Replace rubber boot on top of shifter unit (below shift boot): part ordered;

- Replace hood strut that is dead: part ordered;

- Aim headlights (slightly off in low beam, high beams are cross eyed);

- Find out why rear windows aren't working (I suspect it's the switch that locks the rear window, I'll have to take the switch apart and check it out. Thankfully most E30 switches are repairable);

- Re-attach driver's window pane to elevator inside door;

- Repair or replace fog light switch (stuck on pressed position), then get fog lights to work again;

- Replace speakers and stereo (I want a modern unit with SD card, USB and Aux input, will most likely install the same Pyle PLR34M I have in my Peugeot 205 GTI);

- Repair passenger's seat (back frame is a bit twisted), perhaps replace both front seats with E36 chairs;

- Repair tacho and temperature gauge;

- Repair odometer (get new gears from Garagist;

- Replace sunroof crank (plastic part broken but still functional);

- Replace front lower spoiler that is cracked and missing a small piece.

- Re-attach the 325 rear emblem (I don't care for the debadged look on regular cars).


It's quite a list but it's mostly stuff that can be put away for a later date. I am enjoying driving and working on this car. Late 70 and early 80 vintage cars are my favorite (the E30 was designed in this era even though this one was made later) because of their ease of work with modern rides and safety features. The E30 is as easy to work on as my old Saab 900, and quite a comparable car, although in some areas the Saab was a better car. Later on, as I gathe rmore seat time daily driving the E30, I want to write a comparison between the two cars.

Meanwhile I''ll just drive the lil Bavarian.

Illustration for article titled Fixin Up My E30

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