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Ke70Daves New Euro Toy


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Hello All,


Well after coming back from Canada a few months ago i was on the hunt for a new project car.


After i sold my ke70 in about 2011 (damn that is like 5yrs ago...) I had a WRX, and S15 and a suzuki sierra.


I really wanted the ke70 feeling again, small car RWD, old school cool.


But i wanted a more modern version perhaps, and something with a bit of power out of the box...


So last weekend i bought a 1985 323i e30 coupe with 156,000kms on the clock. I think the kms are real based on exterior condition but everything is still 31yrs old so it needs some work thats for sure.


I chose this particular car because it has no rust, paint is pretty good, body is very straight and the interior is very nice for the age. It has been sitting for around 12mths unregistered so i got it for quite a good price.


Unfortunately the car was not running great when i got it. Dizzy cap, rotor, spark plugs and draining the fuel tank seems to have made a significant improvement, but it still idles a bit funny. I have driven it up the street a bit and it seems to drive ok.


The BMW of this era run a fairly crude efi system. It has a regular distributor with vacuum advance and then an airflow meter and a few sensors that run an analogue (!!!) ecu to run the injectors. Idle control is taken care of by a sophisticated mess of vacuum lines and actuators.


Unfortunately it seems that someone has made a fairly poor attempt at repairing the vacuum lines and i am currently studying diagrams in order to put it back to how it is supposed to be, with hopefully some simplification along the way.


The car is auto but i have purchased complete manual conversion "kit" from a guy parting out a car. I just need to buy a new clutch, machine flywheel and some bushes before fitting it.


As for plans for the car, I aim to clean it up, convert it to manual before registering it. Then track down an LSD, some shocks and springs and some sticky tyres.


I'll see how the oem electronics goes but i have a haltech e8 here that i will probably install to control the fuel. I just need to buy a wideband. I don't put too much faith in the fuel economy of this thing and the cost of replacing sensors is probably higher than getting the haltech running.


I have purchased some oem tail lights as well as some series 2 projector headlights. I just need to sort out the wiring plugs for the headlights.


Oh and it has AC that is pretty cold!


Anyway let me know what you think. Apologies the interior shot didn't turn out great.






Edited by ke70dave
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ha thanks....


So far the main thing i have noticed is that the car is put together amazingly well. I took the door card off to replace the door handle and it took me ages, little clips and what not everywhere. All seems to be designed to really minimize nvh.

Edited by ke70dave
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yeah i sent a few pms to spencer a few yrs ago discussing e30s, he had a 318is at some stage too.


The steel wheels are pretty cool, I'm going to repaint them. Alot of the e30s come with steel wheels with plastic hub caps, i havent seen too many with the silver steelies and bmw centre cap.


down the track id like to get the "euroweaves" wheels, they are an oem bmw BBS wheel.


look like this,



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That's cool mate. :2thumbs: One thing about e30s, they usually have had a better class of owner over the years and compared to a ke70 of the same age it would generally be better condition. Two door 323 not super common either. Most 2 doors you see are 318 and most 323s are 4 doors. Its super clean I really like it.


Big aftermarket for these, you can get brake kits, aero lots of motor options, nice interiors from Is models and factory aero bits from the Is as well, but its so clean, its great as it is.

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Thanks mate.


So today rather than fixing more important things I put in the series 2 headlights. Much better:)




Actually that's not true. I pulled out the mechanical idle up widget and it seems to half work. It's not stuck closed what I thought it would be given it idles so low. But I did find a few suspicious vacuum hoses, so time to replace all of the vacuum rubber hoses.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Right updates!


OEM tail lights!




Did a compression test yesterday which is a potential worry...


1: 170

2: 160

3: 150

4: 165

5: 120 (!!!!!)

6: 165


120 is low, but its not catastrophically low as you might expect with a head gasket failure or worse?


I also completed a cooling system pressure test and it held 1.2bar pressure for a good 15mins, so iit hasnt blown the headgasket through the cooling system.


The spark plug and the compression tester tool came out of cylinder 5 with a considerable amount of carbon bits on them, so i guess its possible that the carbon buildup is effecting the valve seating.


First step is to adjust the valve clearances as i suspect they might be a bit tight (doesn't tick as much as i think it should?).


Then next step is a leak down test. I also have some subaru upper cylinder head cleaner to put through it which should dissolve alot of the carbon.


The car hasn't been driven for about 18mths so it wouldn't surprise me if it came good after a long drive.


I have been chasing a rough idle for a while, found a considerable number of vacuum leaks. I have it to the point now that it idles a bit rough when cold, but it comes good once it starts to heat up.


Really need to get a new exhaust made, it has holes in all of the mufflers which makes it difficult to diagnose issue as all you can hear is an awful exhaust leak...

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  • 1 month later...

MOAR updates.


The car is now manual!


Took me quite a bit of effort to get the old auto out. Put the manual gearbox in that i bought, and it turns out i was sold a gearbox that is missing 3rd gear.......very much feels like the synchro is completely stuffed or the shifter fork is stuffed not pulling the synchroniser back enough to get onto 3rd gear. It goes into gear if you force it but it immediately jumps out unless you really hold it in gear. 4th also has issues, but not as bad. 3rd and 4th use the same shifter fork mechanism, so i reckon thats the issue.


That is the risk i guess with 2nd hand parts. So i am on the hunt for another gearbox. Quite frustrating to be sold something as "known good condition". The seller bought the car specifically to part it out, so its possible he never really drove it enough to know that 3rd gear was stuffed. But i reckon he knew......


I am pricing up a full gearbox rebuild, but its not going to be much change from about $2000....which is....alot.


anyway, clutch all seems to work fine (also second hand from that guy, but has alot of meat on the clutch plate, i think its fairly new). It is a dual mass flywheel, which is fairly cool for an 80s car. I am unsure how long it will last. seemed ok when i put it in. but who knows. I am going to track down a single mass flywheel and keep my eyes out for good prices on new single mass flywheel clutch.


Dual mass flywheels actually use a solid centre on their clutch plate, where as the single mass flywheels have a spring centre.


I do need to bleed the clutch again i think, the pick up point is very low in the pedal travel. might have to take the slave cylinder off the gearbox and bleed it "upright". bit of an odd design. I probably should have bench blead it...


the car runs a 3.45 rear diff, and just driving it up and down my driveway i can tell that it is a rather long ratio.....So once i get all this gearbox business sorted a 3.9 or 4.1 is on the cards. The sporty models came with 3.9 or 4.1 LSD which will bolt into this car, so hopefully i can find one of those easy enough.


anyway, car sits in complete manual working condition....with no 3rd gear awaiting me to pull it apart again! ah cars are fun.

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Sucks about the gearbox mate!

If I wasn't neck deep in my ke25 restoration i'd probably be into a e30 - and modding my e46 325i a bit - but that's the family car so I don't trust my wife enough to put any nice rims on it ha ha

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