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1981 320 possible buying

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Guest Anonymous

Does anybody know anything negative about these cars. It is not rusty and has had a conversion from auto to a 5 speed. Any help would be appreciated.

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Does anybody know anything negative about these cars. It is not rusty and has had a conversion from auto to a 5 speed. Any help would be appreciated.

This is a 2002 forum but many members know these cars well because they have either owned or do own one, and many of the parts will swap over to our cars as an "upgrade". They are for the most part very reliable cars. I have owned an automatic and a 5-spd and they were both wonderful cars. I had the manual in LA for a summer and had no problems with the heat or running and I owned the Auto. in VT where it was used as a winter driver (yes the automatic) I used Hakkapilita II studded snow tires X4 and a 50lb bag of sand in the trunk and NEVER got stuck. Wonderful cars... Do you have any photos? Was the motor ever swapped out? Is it an IS car?

try looking at www.bmwe21.net/forum

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really qualified mechanics on the system are getting kinda rare, so you may get to learn the ins and outs yourself. It's very different from the Motronics systems on the E30 and later cars, and also from the mechanical FI on the tii.

I owned a beater 320 for several years--had been run out of oil twice by the PO, looked awful but always started and ran. And...I sold it at a profit!

mike

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Great cars. They get no respect. But they were/are great little cars.

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little respect for some reason - probably because they fell in between two of BMW's best models (the 2002 and the E30), and were considered kind of a stop-gap model by many people. The one common problem that does seem to surface fairly regularly is a shake or wobble in the front suspension at 55 mph - it's been an issue since the cars were new, but keeping the front end components in good condition and replacing steering rack bushings with Urethane ones seems to resolve the problem.

That said, they're somewhat more spacious and quieter than '02's, have a/c systems that actually work quite well when they're up to spec and have had a rotary compressor swap, and have a number of bolt-on performance and appearance upgrades available thanks to the European models (323 rear disk brake trailing arms, M20 6 cylinder via the 323 front cross-member), euro bumpers, etc.

I've been driving an '81 with euro bumpers, E30 M3 seats, iS limitd slip and steering wheel, Alpina springs and sway bars and OZ Alpina replica wheels as a daily driver for a couple of years and 30K + miles - it's been dead reliable so far.

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I have owned five E21's (four 320i's and one 323i) and currently have two at home. I'm a big fan of them as daily driver because of their reliability and added comfort (over an '02).

Like Mike said, the FI system is somewhat of a mystery for many mechanics nowadays. I know of a couple of them that have been changed to a carb setup using 2002 parts and work well.

They can be bought for VERY reasonable prices, tops being about $3500 for a low-mileage pristine example.

Some 'net resources are :

Tricord's site :

http://e21.tricord.be/

Bimmerforums E21 board :

http://forums.bimmerforums.com/forum/forumdisplay.php?f=143

Yahoo E21 Digest :

http://autos.groups.yahoo.com/group/BMW_E21_Digest/

HTH,

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