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      08-17-2020, 10:14 AM   #1
hworang00
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I知 being gifted an (I think) E21 323i in need of repairs - any tips?

Hey guys,

I have a family member that's giving of his E21 323i, I believe. He hasn't told me exactly what car it is but that's what it seems like. The interior is garbage, with AC/heater that doesn't work. It's going to be a project car and I'm very excited about it.

Is there anything I should check first to figure out what works and things to replace/fix immediately to make sure it stays in good working condition? I'm not currently in a place where I can do tons of work to it but I do want to keep it around and fix it up as time goes on.

And any tips on how to restore older cars or things to do to keep them maintained until major work can be done to them?

Thanks in advance!
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      08-17-2020, 11:35 AM   #2
chassis
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A project car and you don稚 have a place do work on it? Why are you doing this?
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      08-17-2020, 11:50 AM   #3
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This seems to be a difficult question to weigh in on given that none of us, including you, even know what the car is. Maybe once you have the deets and pictures, people can start to help
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      08-17-2020, 12:25 PM   #4
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Good place to start:

https://www.classicandsportscar.com/...w-e21-3-series
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      08-17-2020, 06:06 PM   #5
hworang00
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chassis View Post
A project car and you don稚 have a place do work on it? Why are you doing this?
Sorry, guess I should've worded it better: I have a place to work on it, I actually have 2, but time is a little tight sometimes, being in residency makes it tough to spare any time other than that.

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Originally Posted by Darth One View Post
This seems to be a difficult question to weigh in on given that none of us, including you, even know what the car is. Maybe once you have the deets and pictures, people can start to help
Yeah, you're right. I guess I was a bit excited and jumped the gun on asking questions, haha. I just don't want the car to just fall apart between me getting time to work on it.

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Originally Posted by cfm56d7b View Post
Thanks so much! I'll read it over before I get the car!
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      08-17-2020, 10:24 PM   #6
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Is the 323 running ?

First thing is to get it up on a lift.

https://www.bmwgroup-classic.com/en/...-services.html
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      08-18-2020, 08:54 AM   #7
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If it is a E21 323i, it us not a US model, so I would be very surprised if it has A/C.

Everything engine and transmission related is different from the US models, so very few repair parts are stocked in the US. When I has a '79 323i I had to import things like the distributor cap, plug wires, fuel distribution pipes, but they look like they are more available now. I had to buy some special Bosch tools to work on the Bosch K-Jetronic injection.

When it was running well it was a blast to drive, and was 3 seconds faster 0-60 than the US version 320i. It also had rear disk brakes where the US versions had rear drums. Mine also had a limited slip differential.

As long as you understand the challenges of restoring and maintaining a gray market car, it will be worth the effort.
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      08-19-2020, 06:21 PM   #8
hworang00
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ScottSinger View Post
Is the 323 running ?

First thing is to get it up on a lift.

https://www.bmwgroup-classic.com/en/...-services.html
It is running. The car is being daily driven right now, haha. They do maintenance on the car at regular intervals. I rode in it once, and it runs pretty well for the age.

Quote:
Originally Posted by m_thompson View Post
If it is a E21 323i, it us not a US model, so I would be very surprised if it has A/C.

Everything engine and transmission related is different from the US models, so very few repair parts are stocked in the US. When I has a '79 323i I had to import things like the distributor cap, plug wires, fuel distribution pipes, but they look like they are more available now. I had to buy some special Bosch tools to work on the Bosch K-Jetronic injection.

When it was running well it was a blast to drive, and was 3 seconds faster 0-60 than the US version 320i. It also had rear disk brakes where the US versions had rear drums. Mine also had a limited slip differential.

As long as you understand the challenges of restoring and maintaining a gray market car, it will be worth the effort.
That's good to know! I didn't realize this car wasn't really available in the US. I know originally the car was bought by my cousin and he bought it to restore then got the engine in a running state and decided it wasn't worth it (he had a lot of life issues going on) and gave it to his dad as an extra car to help them get around. I guessed that it would be kind of challenging and expensive but I'm really excited about it and I can't wait to get my hands dirty again. This is also my first restoration car...so...I'm just kind of lost but incredibly excited!
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      08-19-2020, 06:50 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hworang00 View Post
It is running. The car is being daily driven right now, haha. They do maintenance on the car at regular intervals. I rode in it once, and it runs pretty well for the age.



That's good to know! I didn't realize this car wasn't really available in the US. I know originally the car was bought by my cousin and he bought it to restore then got the engine in a running state and decided it wasn't worth it (he had a lot of life issues going on) and gave it to his dad as an extra car to help them get around. I guessed that it would be kind of challenging and expensive but I'm really excited about it and I can't wait to get my hands dirty again. This is also my first restoration car...so...I'm just kind of lost but incredibly excited!
hworang the first thing you should do is join the BMW Club of America.
There are regional sections.

There are some super nice roads in Northern Baltimore County where even at the speed limit a well sorted 323 would be a really nice drive.
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      08-19-2020, 06:50 PM   #10
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First thing is to find any literatures, photos of the model in order to get acquainted with the car. Second, like someone mentioned, BMWCCA has some plethora of information and people that are knowledgeable; therefore join the club. Third, get yourself some good jacks like 倉uickjack, and good variety of tools.
Tackle any rust that you may find. Then start with routine maintenance. Cosmetics such as repainting or leather replacement should be left last.
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      08-19-2020, 06:50 PM   #11
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sorry, I couldn稚 resist. Good luck and enjoy if a project!
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