In Reply to: Advice on Used E30 M3 posted by John Feng on May 31, 2000 at 16:53:41:
If you are serious about the car, schedule an appointment at a BMW dealer (not the dealer you are buying from) and have the car inspected at your cost. This should also include (usually at additional cost):
- An engine compression / leak down test.
- Cooling system pressurization / check.
These two tests will give you high confidence that the motor is healthy. Otherwise you'll be guessing. New/rebuilt motors are very expensive for this car.
- Inspect for fluid seepage. Minor seepage from rear main seal is common.
- Check subframe for cracks - very common for track driven cars. Later cars 1990+ have slightly different subframe and are less likely to have problem.
- Check motor mounts, tranny mounts for cracks. Its not uncommon for cars of this year and mileage to need these replaced.
- test electrical system for overall health
Cost of the inspection is definitely worth it as these are hard core enthusiast cars and many have been driven hard and put away wet, if you know what I mean. Anything you find gives you more bargaining room. The motors are pretty stout overall, as they were essentially hand built at the factory to very high spec's. Don't buy a car with a marginal motor - that ought to tell you something about how the car was driven / cared for.
As far as which year to buy, all years are good, but 1990/91 models tend to have several small updates.
Just my 2 cents.