1979 BMW 3 Series Review from Australia and New Zealand

1979 BMW 3 Series 323i 2.3 six cylinder petrol

Year of manufacture1979
First year of ownership1999
Most recent year of ownership2004
Engine and transmission 2.3 six cylinder petrol Manual
Performance marks 9 / 10
Reliability marks 2 / 10
Comfort marks 7 / 10
Dealer Service marks 0 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 2 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
4.0 / 10
Distance when acquired185000 kilometres
Most recent distance265000 kilometres
Previous carBMW 3.0 Si

Summary:

When its good it's very very good, but when its bad it's horrid!

Faults:

Where do I start?

A problem with control pressure in the K-Jetronic fuel injection led to the need to overhaul the entire fuel injection system not long after I bought it. This took three months on and off until the problem was diagnosed and fixed by hitting the fuel tank with a hammer.

A problem with residual pressure led to no hot start and turned out to be a dead accumulator.

A cold start problem resulted in the need to replace the warm up regulator.

Another hot start problem led to immense frustration as my mechanic had selfishly retired. After going to three other mechanics, one a BMW "specialist" I made a fuel pressure measuring tool and diagnosed the problem myself as a 20 cent O ring that had died.

The fuel pump failed and was replaced.

The back shocks and then the front shocks wore out and were replaced.

A tiny bit of rust in the door sills let water in and needed welding up.

Oil leaks and blew smoke toward the end.

General Comments:

Despite all the problems I had with the fuel system of this car I loved it to bits.

This car went like a missile, and with lowered progressive rate springs and bigger tyres it handled like a true sports car, sticking like glue, steering accurately and very controllable at the limit.

The build quality was very good and the doors shut like a bank vault, a really solid little car that felt like it was carved out of a piece of solid steel.

I had all sorts of trouble with both cold and hot starts at various times, but it never ever left me stranded.

It looked great, and I resprayed it in metallic dark green, a great colour and it attracted attention everywhere. My kids loved it.

Parts prices are comparable to Japanese cars of the era and cheaper than late model jap parts.

BUT it is almost impossible to find someone who can work on the K-Jetronic fuel injection, even so called specialists seem to have little idea of how it works so you need to learn about this yourself and be prepared to get your hands dirty.

In the end with working 13 days a fortnight and a young family I no longer had the time to look after my baby beemer, and had to sell it. I now have a rock solid reliable tinny jap car that bores me witless.

When I sold this car I cried like a baby (I'm 38 years old) and I still miss it like crazy.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 9th May, 2004

22nd Feb 2008, 21:07

I had a 320i four cylinder with the K-jetronic. Great car, but the K-jet is such a complex system that is basically un- repairable once it fails. I wish you all the best of luck if you own one of these cars! Still miss this wonderful little car, and would probably still have it, if only I could have gotten it to start, once it failed!

Average review marks: 4.0 / 10, based on 1 review