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M3 e30 1988

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  • M3 e30 1988

    Hi all
    I have recently purchased a flood damaged 1988 M3 E30 Evo 1 from a friend of mine & plan to restore it.. Before I strip it down I would like to get it running briefly as the car was working perfectly before it got flooded. The car has fully dried out over the last few weeks in a warm environment & with the aid of a few dehumidifiers. I have many questions about this car but will start with the ones that initially come to mind as below.

    1) The engine is now turning over but I have no fuel or spark, all dash lights are working & even the radio is asking for a code. I have 12v to the positive side of the coil when ignition is switched on
    2) There is some rust on the bottom of the wings & I was told to repair rather than replace them as they are serial no. matched to the car & replacing would devalue it, is this true?
    3) There are two long splits along the top of the dash, I was told this is a fault, is it repairable or do I need a new dash & where would I get one
    4) Is the chassis number stamped anywhere, all I can see is black chassis number stickers all over the car. Can these be replaced if I remove them in the repair process
    5) Does this car share many internal components with a standard E30 of the year
    6) Can new parts still be bought for this car or where is the best place to source used parts

    I know this is a big ask but any help or guidance on the above would be greatly appreciated as I come to grips with this project
    Many thanks
    Fran Kelleher

  • #2
    1) There could be hundreds of reasons for this, unfortunately. Troubleshooting an E30M3 is pretty much identical to troubleshooting any period EFI equipped car.

    2) Losing the VIN tagged body panels might devalue the car somewhat to some specific buyers. It depends on how bad the rust is and a myriad of other factors. At a minimum, if you repair your existing parts, they will need welding and painting....which in itself raises challenges for saving the VIN stickers.

    3) I would look for a new dash. They might still be available from BMW...I would try there first.

    4) I don't believe so, no.

    5) Very few engine components are shared. Some other mechanical parts are shared with other E30s or other different models of period BMWs.

    6) Many new parts are available from BMW, but the number is dropping all the time. For used parts you are down to this site and internet searches.


    • #3
      A friend of mine considered buying a flood damaged E30 M3. After a lot of inspection he decided against it. This particular one was completely submerged by a flash flood. Fresh water at least.

      Did water get into the gas tank? Needs to be drained and inspected. Drain oil. Remove plugs and turn engine. WD-40 generously applied everywhere in the engine bay. Open and dry out the ECU.

      Problem is weird electrical gremlins could pop up without notice and drive you crazy.
      I’d replace the harness or at least all
      the connectors.

      Good luck!
      There'll be Spandex jackets one for everyone ...


      • #4
        Many thanks for your quick reply & valued information. This is only the start of the road for me & I intend to take my time on this & not do any irreversible damage. I will try & repair the wings if possible. I'm sure you have heard the saying before, a car/motorbike can be restored many times but it is original only once


        • #5
          Regarding item 4 - the VIN is stamped on the scuttle just below the right side wiper. To the right of the VIN another number is stamped. Not sure what this number is, might be a chassis number.
          1990 M3

          Usually it's best not to know how much money you have into your M3


          • #6
            Sounds like a perfect car to make into a race car with zero guilt!
            jimmy p.
            87 E30 M3 Prodrive British Touring Car
            88 E30 M3 Zinnoberot - Street
            88 E30 M3 Lachsilber - Race (#98 SCCA SPU)
            92 E30 M Technic Cabrio - S14 POWERED!
            98 318Ti M44, Base - Morea Green
            04 Ford F350 - V10


            • #7
              Was this a Salt-Water flood or Freshwater?


              • #8
                It was fresh water flood but was immersed for a day. I have drained out all the fluids & put a few gallons in the tank. I will now take out the ECU & dry it out. Plugs are out & engine is turning over quite smoothly. I have no fuel or spark & Im guessing that they are from the same fault source whereever that is!!


                • #9
                  Check the flywheel reference sensors especially if the car was submerged. There are two sensors. If they are faulty the car will not start.
                  1990 M3

                  Usually it's best not to know how much money you have into your M3


                  • #10
                    Lol.... For a car that was in a flood, matching body panel VINs would seem to be the least of the issues for future resale value.... It was in a flood. Underwater. For a day.

                    Strip it. Cage it. Race it.
                    88 M3 Henna
                    95 M3 Orange
                    97 M3 Techno