My E30 Project Finally Has Rear Suspension That Doesn’t Make Me Want to Sell It

Photo credit: Brian Silvestro
Photo credit: Brian Silvestro

Earlier this year, I bought a 1991 BMW 318i with the hopes of turning into a track and autocross beater. Over the summer I’ve been fixing things here and there while upgrading items like the tires, wheels, brakes, and most recently, suspension. It developed an idling problem last month that proved difficult to solve, even after replacing the hose I was convinced was the problem. I’ve replaced even more parts now, but I can’t get it to idle any better. And it’s driving me a bit crazy.

If you’ve been following this project closely you’ll know I found a cracked, crumbly hose going from the idle control valve to the car’s intake manifold. I tried to replace it with a hose I had lying around in my garage, but that didn’t work. I finally got a new OEM BMW hose in the mail so I popped it into the car and, much to my dismay, it actually made the car run worse. So I ordered a new idle control valve to see if that would fix the problem and—big surprise—it didn’t. My old one was working just fine.

Photo credit: Brian Silvestro
Photo credit: Brian Silvestro

At this point, attempting to find the source problem would be more expensive and time-consuming than I’m willing to put up with. So I put the old, cracking hose back onto the original idle control valve, slapped some electrical tape to hold it together, and called it a day. It runs a bit rougher at idle than it should, but at least it idles. Good enough for me.

Photo credit: Brian Silvestro
Photo credit: Brian Silvestro

On the bright side, I finally got around to installing new shocks in the rear. Since I bought the car they’ve been making some pretty unpleasant sounds over bumps, and they’ve only gotten worse after a few months of driving on NYC streets. Thankfully replacing rear shocks on an E30 is about the easiest job on the planet. All you need to do is unscrew the nuts holding the top hats to the body and one bolt each on either knuckle to remove the shock. You don’t even have to take off the wheels. It only took me about a half-hour to get the job done, and now, the car rides way better. No more clunking or vagueness from the rear.

One new issue that’s popped up is the steering. It was, at one point, a power-assisted system, but the power steering pump has been deleted and the lines have been blocked off. I’ve gotten used to the extra weight but the rack has begun to make some horrific sounds, almost as if it’s about to fail. It still works just fine, but the noise is bothering me. I probably won’t address it until it gets worse.

Other than that, I still want to get the A/C working. There are some wiring improvements I can make and if I can figure out the parts, source a clutch replacement kit for the compressor. Stay tuned.

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