In Reply to: more potential buyer questions posted by Dave on October 26, 2001 at 09:31:46:
There are two main "forks in the road": First, the two main types of street M3s you can buy AND Second, the-who-will-do-the-service issue.
1) Two tiers of Street M3s. Low cost cars that are likely to need lots of money invested. 5-6-7-8 thousand or so. And the cars which have never wanted for much, have good records and clean carfaxes. These cost about 50-100+% more and many feel they are or can be cheaper in time and money than the first type.
2) Service. If you don't do it yourself, you MUST have an E30 M3 maven within a half hour of your home or work. Even most BMW dealers have little experience with the s14 these days. A guy like Brett Andersen (Koala) in Ohio or Don Fields (Autosport) in NJ are worth their weight in gold if they are close to you. Any local E30 M3 owners can tell ya where to go so to speak.
If you do your own service there is nothing that is really all that hard and plenty of help, advice and info is available. The SIG email list is a great resource and they even have YEARS worth of searchable archives covering about nearly anything M3. Things like the control arms are a service life issue for heavily tracked cars. It's a nonissue for street cars - just replace when the joints go like any other E30. The chain tensioner swap to the late E36 part can be done in less than an hour and cost me about 75 bux. Valve adjustments are not difficult but you need the $90 tool from BMW. Setting base idle, resyncing the TBs, etc is just not that hard but is seldom done properly. Most of the little issues are common to other BMWs. For example nearly all bimmers have issues with the rear shock mounts. Various stronger parts are available and swapping is easy.