1991 BMW 3 Series 318i Convertible 1.8L M42 from North America

Summary:

Sweet car, expensive parts

Faults:

One rear spring was broken when I bought it.

Front suspension completely worn out, bushings, ball joints, strut mounts.

Sway bar bracket broke.

Alternator failed.

Timing chain tensioner wore out.

Steering column bearings worn, squeak and rattle.

Seals for convertible top worn, noisy at speed.

Intermittent lights in dash.

Power steering leaks, oil leaks.

Water pump wore out.

Fuel level sending unit broken (indicator fail).

Fuel pump seal broken, leaks fuel on slopes and smells on a full tank.

General Comments:

Awesome car, but expensive to maintain because of the parts cost. I can't complain about the problems I've had, because it's an old car with a lot of miles, however the price of parts is something to bear in mind when considering this purchase.

I do all my own repairs, and have found this car is very easy to work on, and also that it is very well engineered and built. It is my first BMW, and I must admit I am impressed with their engineering. There are no cheap plastic tabs holding things together, and everything comes apart and goes back together easily, unlike other cars I've owned that are all plastic tabs and rivets.

Also a note on convertibles. This was my first convertible, and I will advise buyers to pay more attention than I did to the condition of the top. It looked good at a glance to me, but I later realised that the seals and cloth were pretty worn out, which can be expensive and a hassle to replace.

It's a stylin' car that gets attention, and is a blast to drive. It makes up for a lack of power with incredible balance and handling, coupled with a really nice ride for such a small light car. Also, there are a great many mods for the M42, so power can be achieved if desired. It gets excellent gas mileage, and aside from the hurt on my wallet every time I need to replace something, the car is a real joy.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Don't Know

Review Date: 8th July, 2011

1991 BMW 3 Series 1.6 from Estonia

Summary:

BIG NO NO

Faults:

Everything.

General Comments:

The biggest piece of s.. t I've ever driven in my life.

Gave it away to some stranger who said that he had a 3.5 litre engine lying around, and he needed some bucket to install it in, so he can go drag racing.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 21st June, 2011

1991 BMW 3 Series 325i Straight 6 from North America

Summary:

Classic BMW

Faults:

As far as breaking down since owning it for 4 years... The crank position sensor wiring got corroded and broken, causing the car to stop running. Part was $100 new, but found a good used one for $30 and fixed it right up. Took 5 minutes to change.

Tranny would get stuck in first one time in the morning, and then was fine the rest of the day. I never messed with it. Carrier bearing went out. $120 part.

General Comments:

Remember this car was a complete beater. Trashed seats, ugly interior. And still went like stink.

Purchased the car for $300 to stop it from going to the salvage yard to be crushed. I ended up falling in love with it. Handles like a dream. Engine sounds wonderful.

The older BMW's are little strange in design. Notice their mufflers are always mounted in a weird spot. My hood opened backwards. The Germans hated cup holders back then. The dash was corrected mounted to be driver oriented.

Easy to work on. Although one of my old bosses said the water pump is tough. I don't know. But it's a really nice motor. Torque comes on midrange, and keeps pulling till the red line, which it shifts very hard.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 26th November, 2010

1991 BMW 3 Series 318i 1.8 from North America

Summary:

4 cylinder tank that keeps on going

Faults:

New fan clutch and radiator - $250.

New vacuum hoses - $45 - easily replaced by myself.

New blower motor - $40 used - easily replaced myself.

General Comments:

This car is a tank. Gets great mileage. I drive it everyday to work and have even taken it offroad on mountain trails hauling camping gear. Nothing seems to kill this car.

It just recently started to burn a little oil, but its from the valve seals, not the piston rings, so power and compression are still good and the engine is still strong.

I plan on driving this thing until it dies. My last BMW was an 87 325i and it was also super reliable and tough to beat. I drove it until it had almost 300,000 miles, and then put a newer engine in it. These are amazing cars and well worth the few dollars you can pick them up for. A little maintenance goes a very long way!

I picked this up from a college kid who abused it, so I had to do a little maintenance to get it running good again, but not much. Been running strong for 2 years now.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 20th March, 2010