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New Member + Rookie Questions

Posted: Tue Nov 13, 2018 6:16 pm
by ejrb
Hello, happy to be registered after a fair bit of lurking... Some of the build threads are absolutely incredible..

I am looking for an E21 as a 4 seat, more reliable replacement for an MG BGT (don't even start, I got it for free!)

One of the main things I'd like to be able to do is longer road trips/holidays in the car, I would never dream of taking the MG to Europe as it would probably die before we got to the channel. Even driving it up the motorway is headache levels of noisy.

My girlfriend does not like.

That said I drove an e28 520i the other day and found it too refined in comparison, a bit boring on the B roads, too boaty and nice if you know what I mean..

I've heard that the e21 is more of a drivers car, would an alright example give me a good balance of reliability and fun without melting my brain at 3500 rpm? i'm not going to be able to afford a powerful model, so a manual 316 or a 318 will be what I'm looking to get, perhaps swap in a bigger lump in the future..

I know this is a proper annoying piece of string question, so If anyone in London or surrounding area would let me have a look/listen at theirs I'd be super grateful..


Re: New Member + Rookie Questions

Posted: Tue Nov 13, 2018 8:35 pm
by Jeroen
Welcome! Fully agree, if you'd have the chance of test driving before you buy then at least you know if its going to make yourself and the mrs happy. Old stuff is never 100% reliable but BMW's come pretty close, if you do your maintenance right. And the 4 cylinder models are already lively indeed, especially as the kerb weight of these cars is low compared to modern day tin. The 6 cylinder models will be even more comfortable but they will required a larger budget over the full widt of the spectrum (purchasing, maintenance, insurance, fuel consumption, etc.).

Re: New Member + Rookie Questions

Posted: Wed Nov 14, 2018 6:01 pm
by ejrb
Thanks Jeroen, good to know re 4 cylinder cars, hopefully I will be able to get into one soon!

Re: New Member + Rookie Questions

Posted: Wed Nov 14, 2018 7:33 pm
by Wilmo
One aspect with reliability is of course the fuel preparation. Most models are with carburettors and those are not maintenance free. The Weber (DGV32/36) swap is done often here and I thought as well it is a nice upgrade with proven reliability. There is as well a 318i, it has K-jet, so it is not at the top of the reliability list, but you get a bit more grump.

However, most of the BMW engines don't fear the range 3000-6500 RPM... That's where the fun is (or starts, gheghe).

Re: New Member + Rookie Questions

Posted: Thu Nov 15, 2018 12:09 pm
by ejrb
Cheers Wilmo,

Yeah I was imagining putting a weber on for peace of mind and then swapping in a later engine with reliable injection and a bit more power in the future when time and money are less of a factor..

Having difficulty finding a car in the first place though!

Re: New Member + Rookie Questions

Posted: Thu Nov 15, 2018 6:25 pm
by Wilmo
M10 from a late E30 318i or 316i (318i was renamed to 316i with the introduction of the M40) is with L-jet and better than K-jet.

I get about 140ish HP out of that little bugger.

Re: New Member + Rookie Questions

Posted: Sat Nov 17, 2018 9:55 am
by petroscf
Hi and welcome
I too agree that your choice -starting with a good 316 or 318- is possibly pretty close to the right way of thinking.
And converting it to a weber will give some reliability (more than you expect imho) and, also some power and torque if you find the right carb and the right person to properly jet the carb (or if you know what you're doing), compared to the factory carb.
Of course finding a good car won't be the easiest thing, however, stay tuned, occasions pop up from time to time here.
We wait for your build thread ;-)

Re: New Member + Rookie Questions

Posted: Sun Nov 18, 2018 7:07 pm
by healeyneil
That's why I converted mine to relatively modern fuel injection etc. Proof of the pudding was a recent 1250 mile trip around the south of Ireland without any problems. Such a pity I have to sell it now !

Re: New Member + Rookie Questions

Posted: Tue Nov 27, 2018 3:30 pm
by ejrb
Talking of fuel injection.. What kind of MPG are 323i owners seeing and does the K-Jet make it a less reliable car than it should be? Do they need regular attention like carbed engines can, or should I be able to forget about it for a while once nicely sorted?

I'm a bit torn between finding a cheaper low spec car that I can convert for reliability in the future without feeling any guilt, maybe even change colour and interior (!?!?!?!) to suit my tastes (no slammed neon or anything, but perhaps not OEM)


Buying a slightly more expensive higher spec car that will be a 'better' investment, but I won't want to mess around with...

Thanks for all your help so far, sorry for all the vague questions etc

Re: New Member + Rookie Questions

Posted: Wed Nov 28, 2018 8:51 am
by Jeroen
Oh man you're asking a lot of questions :D

With my 323i, that I do drive in a spirited manner most times, I get abt 26 MPG. I think that a well sorted K-Jet requires less attention and is more reliable than the average carb. In most cases, and that's the same for carb and injection, issues are caused by a maintenance backlog. After decades of just adjusting, it doesn't sound strange to me that you may need to overhaul some bits or fit new fuel injectors for example. And if a K-Jet is adjusted properly and you won't leave the car parked for a couple of years, it will be fine, even after hibernation. So any conversions for reliability, I don't see a reason why. Getting more horses, that might be a good reason to fit a more modern engine from an E30 or E36 for instance.Even though I still have a lot of fun from my (originally) 143 horses. Don't know how many still alive these days haha.

What to do... up to you! But conversions, mechanically or optically, are hardly worth while if you think about resale value, people want originality and that is valued, the rest is seen as hobbybob tooling imo. Higher spec cars will beep their value much more easily, especially the 6 cylinder models. The top of the line 323i may be more of an investment, but values will only be going up in the upcoming years so if you maintain it well you will not loose any money on a 323i. And in the UK they're still quite affordable. If you wat an original classic, get the best you can afford. It will pay off.

Re: New Member + Rookie Questions

Posted: Thu Nov 29, 2018 11:33 am
by ejrb
Sorry for all the questions Jeroen! You have answered them perfectly though, thank you.

I am looking at a few cars in the coming weeks so hopefully I'll have a thread going soon :D

Re: New Member + Rookie Questions

Posted: Thu Nov 29, 2018 12:54 pm
by Jeroen
Keep us posted and feel free to share some ads so we can give some inputs