1988 BMW 3 Series 325 2.7 Super Eta from North America
Why doesn't BMW make them like this anymore?
The air conditioner was damaged by a piece of road debris. Repairing took several attempts and cost thousands of dollars.
The shocks needed replacement around 70,000 miles. I replaced them with Bilstein HDs, which worked great for the remaining time I had the car.
The driveshaft wore out at about 128,000 miles. This was about $800 to replace with all the related components.
The front lower control arms wore out. Strangely, the right side one was needed at about 80,000 miles. 70,000 miles later, both of them were equally worn out again. All four ball-joints had serious play, and they require replacement of the control arms when they're worn.
The outside temperature display started displaying erratic readings. I live with it.
The power steering hoses needed replacement at about 145,000 miles.
The alternator and starter both failed at about 128,000 miles. I'm sure this simultaneous failure was somehow related.
The car was stored for 3 years, and putting it back on the road cost thousands of dollars. The starter, alternator and drive shaft all failed shortly after. After that, it ran great until the front suspension and power steering needed attention 25,000 miles later.
The driver's door lock cylinder wore out around 100,000 miles. The one on our 1994 BMW only lasted about 75,000 miles. Most older BMWs seem to have this problem.
I had the limited slip differential, and a mechanic checked it while the car was on a lift and basically told me that it was no longer controlling slip.
I loved this car, which was why I stored it while I was working in Manhattan for three years. It is also why I bothered spending a fortune putting it back on the road.
This was a brilliantly functional car. I used it to tow my sailboat hundred of miles, to commute, to drive accross country twice, and to zoom around on mountain roads. It was always up for whatever I threw at it.
Fuel economy was good for the performance of the car. 24 mpg around town and 30 on the highway were the norms, and I usually drove it briskly.
Fitted with winter tires, this car was fine in the snow. Without them, it was basically stranded.
I hope the new owner enjoys this car as much as I did.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Don't Know
Review Date: 18th April, 2008
I've owned both an 86 325es (same eta motor, just not as performance-oriented as the super eta) and currently an 88 325is (which performs better than the super eta, yet doesn't yield the same mpg ratings).
I do agree that these old cars are robust and can take a beating, but I don't think they are very costly to repair if you do most of the maintenance yourself. Considering how primitive these cars are by today's standards, most things can be completed by a DIY backyard mechanic.
Happy motoring to all you fellow BMW drivers out there :D.