These aren’t cheap but I got one in used condition for less than $100 from an eBay seller. Then I discovered that the adjusters were broken (the beams could not be aimed) and decided that a total aftermarket replacement was the way to go.
I ordered lights from DDM Tuning but while reading about the install process I learned that I could get better, easier to install lights for a little more money. Unfortunately I’d already tried to install the lights and was committed. I went to DDMTuning based on out dated product reviews and because I’d dealt with them previously. Next time I will definitely shop and compare more thoroughly.
The challenges to this install are:
Supposedly two pipes such as those used for plumbing can be used to bend the AC low side tube, but I was able to pick up a tool at Harbor Freight for $5 that proved effective.
Install took about 3 hours but would have taken less time if we’d had the correct turn signal bulbs before starting. The new lights (sans Angel Eye functions) are finally installed thanks to my buddy Ryan Rich who I must confess did most of the work.
My review of Bascom Trim & Upholstery on Yelp tells the story:
“My 1998 BMW M3 had a sagging headliner that would flap in the wind whenever I drove with the windows down. And after 10 years the current headliner had changed from dark grey to purple grey from sun exposure. I called first and spoke to Lucio, then brought my car in for a quote. When I arrived there were already two other BMWs in the shop getting work, which was encouraging.
Lucio helped me pick fabric for the headliner and sunroof, but told me that most customers get new A and C pillars from BMW because they are cheaper to replace than recover. I booked an appointment for the work and paid a deposit for fabric. Lucio even told me I could drop the car off after hours which worked perfectly for my schedule.
Now, Lucio’s advice for the A and C pillars was definitely true for light grey and beige which would have run me about $280, but the dark grey / black headliner is called Anthrazit and runs about $1200 for the four pieces. Once I found that out I called Lucio for advice, in a pit of panic actually. He took down my VIN and called BMW to confirm the colour my car shipped with: Anthrazit, of course.
OEM pre-upholstered parts were totally out of my budget so Lucio agreed to order some extra fabric and reupholster the A and C pillars as well. This required the car to be in the shop for an extra day, but extra work was required so the extended delivery estimate was totally acceptable.
My wife dropped me off to pick up the car today: she’s a tailor and seamstress and was suitably impressed with the work and colour match. I was happy to find out that my invoice came in barely over the original quote for just the headliner and sunroof – it’s like I got the A and C pillars for free.
Great work, clean shop, good folks to deal with.”
This was the first used car I’d ever bought and purchased it in spring 2012. In retrospect I could have done better for my dollar but I was naive and anxious to get a BMW wagon: I overpaid and skipped the pre-purchase inspection which would have revealed numerous poorly performed repairs by the dealer I bought it from. Initially it seemed like I’d gotten a decent car but 6 months later the timing chain guide broke and the engine was practically destroyed – which I paid to fix.
Regardless, my family loves this car and I have big plans to turn it into the wagon of my dreams: M5 style 65 wheels, suspension upgrade, manual transmission swap and Laguna Seca Blue paint.
It’s great for big grocery trips and going to the beach. It has a V8 and takes off like a race car.
I bought this right on the heels of the wagon before anything went wrong. I was still inexperienced. The fact that the wagon seemed like a decent car made me overly confident in my car buying skills. In the words of my mechanic “This car is the reason you’re supposed to get a pre-purchase inspection.” Yeah, it was that bad.
This is my favourite car even though it entered my life in rough shape, was repaired at considerable expense and will never be a show car. I’ve learned a lot about how cars work from fixing this car up even if I haven’t always done the work myself. I got fluent driving stick in this car and have put 20,000 joy-riding miles on it: we have a relationship.
I’ve taken many fun trips with the family in my e30 but after the birth of my 2nd child it became apparent that my noisy blue car isn’t practical for 2 kids in car seats. I evaluated some options and decided that an e36 M3 sedan would be fun to drive, fit the kids and free up the wagon to spend some time in the shop.
I’ve always wanted an M3 and this seemed like the opportunity to get into one. It was hard to find a decent sedan in Estoril blue but eventually one came available in fall of 2013. A lot of maintenance has been put into the car – enough to get it through the next 2 years – but at least it was in good shape to start.
These are the cars in my life right now – thanks for coming along on the ride.
If you look at photos of the intake manifold on a BMW M20 engine in an e30 you’ll see a recurring spot of wear illustrated in this older photo of my car:
This is caused by the black fibreglass hood liner which sags slightly and rubs against the manifold. You can barely see it in this photo:
Also note the red tape that’s being used to protect the powder coated intake manifold which is at best a temporary solution. The permanent solution is to remove the hood liner:
The unadorned hood isn’t ugly but it does allow more noise to escape the engine bay and some armchair mechanics postulate that the heat from the motor will cause the paint on the hood to bubble or wear poorly.
There’s two solutions for this:
Now a few comments about the product:
Installation was straightforward once I trimmed down the panels:
My car was the oldest to run the dyno that day but also the car with the least HP: 121.6. I’m not upset, in fact it puts an extra wide grin on my face when I put my foot down and out-accelerate newer, more powerful cars.
I’d never been to a dyno day before, and I’ve never seen cars spewing black junk from the exhaust pipes before: As I learned, this junk doesn’t accumulate if you hit the rev limiter frequently. Since the dyno day I try to get out on the highway and hit the red line at least three times a week. Since doing that I’ve noticed the car feels like it’s putting down more power at the wheels… and no more black junk.
I made a video of my 3 runs.
I need to reduce my e30 parts cache so I’m selling some things. I’ve had my OEM tail lights in a box for the last 6 months and decided to put them back on and sell the all red junkyard tail lights.
Here’s the junkyard reds: selling them go for $40.
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