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TCMdocs944's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: St. Petersburg, Florida
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Thinking of coming to the Dark Side(porsche to bmw)

I am thinking of buying a 1994 bmw 325ic as a project.
My daughter is going to be driving in a few years and I think it would be a perfect first car and fun for me in the meantime.

I have a thousand or so posts over on the Porsche forums from modernizing a 944 years ago...something I really enjoyed. It gave me a love and appreciation for the German automobile and engineering.

Tomorrow I go to take a look at this thing.

Any Big things that I should be watching out for on this particular model?


Thanks in advance,

M
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83 944 white w/Boxster wheels
Planned mods- custom leather interior, 968 antenna, soundsystem, 968 style rockers, clear sidemarkers
Old 07-27-2012, 10:00 AM
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Location: Sacramento CA
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I have strong opinions about giving a convertible to a 16-year-old, but you did not ask about that.

On the up side, it is a pretty solid car with an engine and transmission that will likely go a quarter million miles with reasonable care. With an 18 year old car, though, there is a lot of history. It will definitely be a project car. The big thing is to look for big problems that would render the car not worth your time and money. Is the chassis straight? Is there any patched-over rust?

All I can see from the pics is that at some point, someone was taking nice care of it, as they repainted the skirts to match the car, but recently, the owner has not cared so much, as they did not repair the damage when they banged up the front air dam. A good indicator is the inner fenders and the plastic panels under the front end. If those are missing, then the car has been patched together for a while so it could have many unpleasant surprises. I would assume that they have not been keeping up with the decaying rubber parts, so you will be putting in a lot of suspension bushings and so forth (as you already expect). Plan on replacing the whole cooling system. That is routine maintenance on these cars.

It does not look like the driver door is shut in the pic. Does it fit properly? Does the roof work properly and is it in good shape? Do the driver and passenger windows drop as they should when you pull the door handle? Does it have a proper battery for a convertible (the battery is the mass for a vibration dampener) or does it have a discount battery in it that is the wrong weight and design?

If it has the 'upgraded' HK sound system, plan on completely replacing it, wiring and all. Those were terrible.

At the risk of sounding elitest, the fact that it is parked in front of a couple of manufactured houses and a trailer does not bode well for the level of care it may have had in the past few years.
Old 07-28-2012, 08:10 AM
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Thanks for taking the time for such a complete response.



I have the car in the driveway!

BTW- Cooling system, COMPLETE, was just recently replaced! I was kind of shocked and surprised to see all new hoses, rad, WaterPump, overflow etc!
On a bad note, seems to be overheating......runs, pulls very strong, no exhaust smoke, oil seems clean..... I think they did not bleed the system properly.


First things -

change out the wheels with an updated, used set
Flush, fill and bleed all fluids (who knows what they have put in there)
Check all fuses and relays
Remove Stereo (non working aftermarket)
clean, clean, clean to include engine bay especially
Make a proper prioritized list of "things to do"
Order "101 projects" from pelican


I will be checking in with all as I modernize this project.


Thanks again,

Mark
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83 944 white w/Boxster wheels
Planned mods- custom leather interior, 968 antenna, soundsystem, 968 style rockers, clear sidemarkers
Old 08-02-2012, 08:02 AM
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Join Date: May 2011
Location: Antioch, IL
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Already took the plunge...

My project....( for wife ) 1997 328ic...

Tips:

16" sport wheels are a good compromise of looks and ride quality...and they were designed for the E36.

Suspension, suspension, suspension.... Very touchy on all Bimmers... Most likely it will all need some amount of attention soon.

Top drains and "dandruff" issues... Look them up and read up on them to make sure you won't have trouble. Top can be temperamental but lots of documented fixes, etc.

Cooling systems on all older BMWs are prone to failure... Good that yours is taken care of...they go about 60-70k miles

Ditto on stereo and also interior trim... Can be fragile. This was the first "modern" BMW that wasnt designed to go 300k.

Good luck! They are easier to deal with than a Porsche, and I have yet to feel an engine smoother than a BMW I-6.
Old 08-02-2012, 11:02 AM
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I had (have) a '98 323iC that became my son's. I moved in the other direction to a '97 Boxster that magically upgraded to an '01 Boxster S. Both cars are wonderful in their own right. Way back I had a 944 that I loved as well, with many years of 'normal' cars in between. And more than a few Jeep CJ/YJ's too!
I bought the 323iC with 78k & gave it to my son at just under 100k. It's at 128k now. I put new tires on it when he got it. This summer we replaced the rad, fan clutch, rad shroud & the hoses, also the idler pulley. I just ordered a Rokkor set of shocks/struts/springs; it is technically a lowering set but at a 1" drop, it will probably be taller than with the very well-worn original equipment that's in there now! We replaced all four rotors & pads this summer as well (previous owner had gone cross-drilled & all that did was glaze the surfaces & rust; pads were barely worn but the feel is so much nicer now). Over-all, he's put close to $2000 into it this year but it will last him for several more years.
Quote:
Originally Posted by TCMdocs944 View Post
Thinking of coming to the Dark Side(porsche to bmw)
Both sides are pretty cool! But the dark side has cookies....
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2001 Boxster 'S' : even my motorcycle was a 'Porsche', '03 Harley V-Rod
1997 Boxster Base; my (former) DD, now resting in peace
1998 BMW 323iC; my son's DD.....now sold
1985 (early) 944; gone now, but not forgotten
1974 Fiat X-1/9; my first mid-engine car
Old 08-12-2012, 02:49 PM
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