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  • Priorities

    Hey Guys,

    So I am trying to figure out my maintenance priorities for my car this summer. I bought it about 2 and a half months ago, and since then I have replaced the rear shock mounts, and the fuel pumps.

    Outside of those two, the car doesn't have any glaring issues. I have some minor rust at the bottom of the windshield that I would like to take care of, and my mechanic has also told me that the clutch is probably the next thing he would take care of (along with replacing the RMS).

    The only thing is, I am not 100% sure if the timing chain has been replaced, the car just turned over 120,000 miles. Is there anyway I can figure out if it has been replaced? The previous owner didn't know, so I am assuming no.

    I currently have ~$1,800 set aside for maintenance this summer, should I hold off on the clutch/RMS and take care of the timing chain?

    Any input is much appreciated.

    Thanks, Will
    1988 M3
    1987 325i (287,000 miles and counting)

  • #2
    does the clutch feel ok? I am all for preventative maintenance but clutch isn't one of those items that needs to be addressed before it's starts going. Also as far as I know there is no pressing reason to replace the timing chain, others with high mileage could give you a better take on this.

    How old is your ignition system? That's a relatively cheap set of items that can make a pretty good difference.

    - Tire is the other control arm bushing.


    • #3
      I would be more concerned with the timing chain tensioner than the chain itself.
      Do you get timing chain rattle at start up?
      Chris L.

      Spray paint and tire shine doesn't equate to a "restoration!"


      • #4
        The clutch feels ok, as far as I can tell.

        I don't necessarily hear a 'rattle' at start up, but when the car starts, and sometimes when it idles it sort of chugs a bit? I guess the best way to describe it that is sound like the rpms fluctuate up and down a bit, and after a second or two it all levels out. Besides that it sounds pretty good.

        As far as the timing chain tensioner, is the labor the same as replacing the timing chain? Or is it a smaller (less expensive) procedure?

        And as far as I know the ignition system is original.
        1988 M3
        1987 325i (287,000 miles and counting)


        • #5
          tensioner alone is way easier to replace than the chain. The chain is not like the timing belt on regular E30s.

          I would take a good look at the coil/wires/cap/rotor/plugs and replace ones that look tired, it's a relative cheap tune-up. Other than that, sit tight on your budget and "get to know" the car. ... trust me, you will need every penny at some point.

          - Tire is the other control arm bushing.


          • #6
            The rusty scuttle panel is a good start, they all do it and some are very good at hiding how bad they've got.

            Then, ignition (leads, plugs, distributor and cap), fuel filter, and work your way through the suspension bushes and ball joints.
            If everything seems under control, then you're just not going fast enough...


            • #7
              Radiator, Coolant hoses, thermostat, suspension bushes, brakes, ignition wires. These are the most common wear items. All fluids if age unknown.
              There'll be Spandex jackets one for everyone ...


              • #8
                Rod bearings, oil pump, baffle, non-cork pan gaskets, adjustable V12 chain tensioner, fluids, P/S pump reservoir, valve adjustable then the rest on the window cancer as long as nothing else come up.

                Originally posted by drinaldis
                I dated a girl who used to do the reverse grind. I kinda liked it.


                • #9
                  Thanks for all of the feedback guys.

                  The bushings and cooling system seem to be in very good shape.

                  I think I am going to go with refreshing the ignition system, timing chain tensioner, and the clutch. Also, I was thinking about going with a lightweight flywheel, chip and evo airbox. I was on the VAC motorsport site today and saw their 'stage 1' kit that included a lwfw and their chip. Is a lwfw on these cars really what it is hyped up to be? Also, is the evo airbox worth it? Or should I hold out and go with a full CF setup?

                  Thanks for all the help!
                  1988 M3
                  1987 325i (287,000 miles and counting)


                  • #10
                    If you find no documentation regarding any rod bearing replacements, I would recommend that you get those done ASAP.



                    • #11
                      For the chip go iigo, the best there is, search this site for more info.

                      Hey NMark, what is the mileage at which rod bearing should be replaced as a preventative measure?

                      - Tire is the other control arm bushing.



                      • #12
                        I don't know of any factory recommended mileage.
                        I'm of the opinion due to experience with several S14 engines, that they need to be replaced ASAP if not recorded once the car hits 100k miles and is used as an M3 and not furniture.
                        Around the 90-120k mileage is when these cars tend to change hands.
                        There's nothing as fun as using your wheels/bling fund to rebuild an engine due to a spun bearing.

                        Much cheaper to replace the rod bearings and make sure the oil pan is baffled.



                        • #13
                          Don't worry about the timing chain or the rails. I've seen plenty of 150-180k+ motors with OE stuff run fine. For $100 put in a new tensioner.

                          Rod bearing....due an oil analysis for $20. That will give you more info if you need to do bearings and how soon.

                          Chip: iigo from marques. Don't bother with anything else.

                          Clutch: If it ain't slipping, leave as is. Newer clutches/pp from Sachs are not as good as the OE ones. If doing lightweight flywheel for perfomance mod, look at bimmerowrld's kit with upgraded pressure plates.

                          Cap, rotor, relays always good things to update. motor/tranny mounts as well.

                          Have fun!