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E30 M3 checklist for pre-purchase inspection?

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  • E30 M3 checklist for pre-purchase inspection?

    Can the knowledgeable board members help me out with a checklist to execute when I go look at E30 M3s? How accurate is carfax?

    Beyond the obvious neglected maintenance and poor condition of the car overall what are some key areas I should look at?

    Why is it preferred to get a car with original paint?

    In addition to driving the car I plan on taking my rhino ramps with me and looking at the undercarriage thoroughly to look for leaks and possible damage.

    Any help is appreciated.

  • #2
    Check you PM


    • #3
      Just to get the list started. Things to visually check/ look for:
      • windshield cowl rust (peel back the gasket & look for rust under the gasket, mainly around the cowl area)
      • license plate lights/ plate grommet holes- (look for rust in these areas)
      • under the battery tray- (look for rust starting under the tray)
      • original body panels (all US car panels will have a VIN sticker on them)

      Keep in mind these cars are approaching 20 years old, so original paint *might* be tough to find. Overall, drive the car- make sure it runs through the gears w/ no problems. Maintenance is *key*- preventative is preferred. Check to see what kind of maintenance history the car has- suspension/ engine, etc.

      Let us know what you are looking at & what has been/ needs to be done on it. We will try to help you out~ PPI's are highly recommended by a mechanic familiar w/ these cars.....

      Don McAdams
      1988 E30 M3
      "E30 M3 Owner & Enthusiast"


      • #4
        For me it was,

        No rust ,
        A clean title (no salvage title)
        No major front or rear end collisions.

        Anything above that is a bonus to me.
        {Oh, and it had to be White}
        I can fix about anything else.
        But there is really no getting around those 3.
        Also, mileage didnt matter much to me as the cars are almost 20 years old. Things are going to need, or have needed attention by now for most of these cars. A rebuild at 125,000 miles will cost about the same as one with 200,000 miles IMO.
        The above was my rational / criteria for what its worth.


        • #5
          here's an overview I compiled from pictures available on and when trying to find out the state/condition of a body that's being offered to me.
          Forget the german, the pictures speak for themselves:

          - Beifahrerseite vom Motorraum, mit Laengstraeger

          -und bitte ein weiteres Bild von direkt daneben, sodass diese Stelle drauf ist:

          -von dieser Stelle (links aus dem Bild verschwindet der Kabelbaum in den Sicherungskasten)

          vom radhaus aus gesehen:

          - Bild vom Eck wo der Ausgleichsbehälter sitzt

          diese stelle von unten:

          -2 Bilder vom Windlauf links und rechts:

          -Innenseite von den beiden vorderen Radhäusern:

          - vordere Hebebühne udn Wagenheberaufnahmen links und rechts

          - von beiden Radläufen hinten

          - Vom Bodenblech und Übergang Bodenblech-Türschwelle

          -Batteriefach von der Unterseite

          -Bild von Kennzeichenbeleuchtung und Schraublöcher für das Kennzeichen:

          [img]!GTm7bOpw1zo*DjNclcE*lPI69irdAR3rdiH8WOR fFMvIEw6k9RlS*QKiC1b8oA*mOyrNAbykItZSCC9PGs9SoI96c U93L*UArssKwO5tlGyg/Roest%20voor.jpg?dc=4675482773686181621[/img]

          -Stelle unter C-Säule und Seitenwand hinten an beiden Seiten:

          beide Türen:

          Türscharniere an A-Säule an beiden Seiten:

          Übergang A-Säule oben zu A-Säulenfuß an beiden Seiten:

          Einstiege am B-Säulenfuß an beiden Seiten:

          Übergang B-Säule zu Dach an beiden Seiten:

          - Kofferraum:

          vom Fahrerfussraum hochguckend richtung Durchbruch/Manschette für den Kabelbaum:

          und auf der Beifahrerseite hochguckend:

          Perhaps this is worth a sticky or a permanent spot in the FAQ's?


          • #6
            Maybe you ask the people who's car you are showing first...


            • #7
              I dont like the way your reply sounds to me.

              maybe I should have, maybe not... as all the pictures are shown using their original links through which they were shown by the owners themselves in the first place on public domain.

              If someone (you yourself perhaps?) does not like his pictures to be used for purposes other than initiated by himself, I believe he should not post them in the first place, especially since I am not (using them for) making a profit of them.
              Quite the contrary: I am sharing something I could have kept for myself. Something that is readily available doing a search and spend the time sorting out the relevant info.

              BUT perhaps I should have drawn up an overview with links to all the threads containing these pictures, as the context in which these pictures were originally shown is lost in my overview? If that is your point I can see it. I would appreciate to be addressed in a different way, however.

              On the other hand what is the difference to the common practice of posting someone else's image and ask 'what wheels are these' or anything similar and that happens without replies like yours?

              The site administrator(s) can decide & no hard feelings.


              • #8
                Some of the pic are mine. I don't mind.



                • #9
                  Can I just say damn you D///M3 for confusing the hell out of me when my computer makes wookie noises!

                  - gabor
                  October 1987 build date.