I compiled the following list of cooling system temperatures to establish a baseline for monitoring temperature issues and I’ve posted it here in case it’s useful to anyone else. I’m assuming that my car is running at a “normal” temperature and I’m not accounting for ambient air temperature.


In my experience there is no change in readings when switching from OEM to the Mishimoto radiator but the only way to state that confidently would be to account for ambient temperature and engine load.

Thermostat housing temperature varied +/-10˚C over my tests and should not be considered accurate.

65˚C – Thermostat Housing +/-10˚C
80˚C – Top Radiator Hose
73˚C – Water Pump to Thermostat Housing Hose
75˚C – Bottom Radiator Hose

BMW e30 thermostat housing stat temperature
BMW e30 top radiator hose temperature
BMW e30 lower radiator hose temperature

October 16, 2014 mechanical, Uncategorized

They arrived! I will probably install these tomorrow, however I need to hit PepBoys for some amber bulbs for the front turn signals first. California is strict about the colors of markers and signals so having colored bulbs when using clear lenses is a smart thing to do. The side markers came with bulbs.

BMW e30: Clear Sidemarkers & Turn Signals
BMW e30: Clear Sidemarkers & Turn Signals


Sidemarkers: BavAuto.com (Search for Part “E30/32/34 CLEAR”)
Turn Signal Lenses: AbramsMotorsport.com 

Randomly here’s a photo of my e30 next to a 2010 (I think) Dodge Challenger. I’ve always felt that the e30’s lines evoke something of American muscle cars and I think this photo illustrates some of those similarities.

BMW e30: Clear Sidemarkers & Turn Signals

January 12, 2013 Uncategorized


The e30 took us to the coast again this time (near) Natural Bridges SB.

November 26, 2012 Uncategorized

I think I found one (perhaps the only one) of my engine’s vacuum leaks. I noticed that the rubber hose that runs from the fuel pressure regulator to the intake manifold showed cracking on it so I replaced it. It broke off at the FPR when I was removing the old hose and had to be scraped off with a knife. Now the car idles a little better but I (still) suspect my fuel injectors are fouled — so far the car is not stalling on cold start but does still idle low around ~500 RPM. Photo of the hose I replaced (see red arrows):


The inside of the old hose. Odd that the end closest to the regulator has a white buildup inside it, not sure what it means:

Part Numbers:

Hose: 11-72-7-545-323-BOE


Fuel Pressure Regulator (Info)

November 18, 2012 Uncategorized

Took the family for a little outing at Shoreline Lake today. Afterwards we went to Budd Park in Campbell and I parked next to an 80’s era Mercedes. Always interesting to compare the designs of the two competitors – though my car is pretty far from OEM in appearance.


November 4, 2012 Uncategorized

Washed the e30 and took some new photos. Car is bogging terribly on cold starts lately, I know it isn’t a vacuum leak, ICV or plugs so I’m looking into other causes.

November 3, 2012 photos, Uncategorized

This is how my car looks most weekends: hood up, trunk open.

On Thursday I was driving to Los Gatos and the temperature gauge his 3/4ths so I stopped driving and left it in Campbell. I consulted my mechanic and it was discovered that I probably installed a 88C thermostat instead of an 80C. He hooked me up with the correct thermostat (and kindly drilled a hole in it to make bleeding easier) and some coolant so I did the whole operation over again this morning.

The old-new thermostat is a story in itself: I ordered a Walher thermostat from FCPGroton but they shipped me a different brand worth half as much – both in price and function. I still need to call them and sort out my refund for that.

Engine temperature briefly hit 3/4ths after installing the Wahler but dropped back down after I bled out some more air and coolant. I’ll need to drive it to know if I’ve got the system bled correctly and it’s still possible my aux fan is not working.


Update: Temperature briefly went over 1/2 this morning but the guage seems to be jumping around a little more freely (read: inaccurately) now, especially after going over big bumps. Did the following:

– topped up reservoir with distiller water, was a little under the “kald level” indicator
– released any air from the thermostat housing using the bleed screw (done at operating temp. with cabin heat blasting)
– checked hoses for leaks but also for temperature: top rad hose was hot, bottom rad hose was cool
– confirmed that the electric aux fan works by running the A/C. it should only come on if the A/C is on or the radiator gets really really hot but at least I know it’s not broken. 

Noticed my radiator is not firmly bolted in, possibly because I have a newer rad for a BMW e36 instead of an e30 rad. Might have to fabricate my own solution to that. I don’t think it will hit the fan but I like everything bolted down tight.

August 11, 2012 Uncategorized

With the addition of a new HVAC control switch my dash is now clean and complete. All the buttons have decals and working lights. The decals on BMW switches wear very well over time but I’ve noticed that they don’t like to be cleaned with anything but a damp cloth. At some point I’m going to try sealing the decals with matte spray to keep them looking perfect.

August 7, 2012 Uncategorized

Seller has a $50 steering wheel they are trying to sell for $140. This is the same model of steering wheel I got from Pick n’ Pull for $15 which I restored and re-dyed. For reference, this page has the canonical e30 steering wheel guide with prices which is where I got that $50 price from.


Oh look, here’s another one. I guess ridiculous prices on these are pretty common… maybe I can get $140 for mine once I’m done with it.


August 7, 2012 Uncategorized

Symptoms: Car is running cold, the temperature guage never goes all the way to 1/2 no matter how hard it’s run even on the hottest day.

Diagnosis: Probably the thermostat is stuck open, so the engine never has a chance to heat up properly. Coolant was being pumped in all the time, instead of only after the engine reaches the optimal 80C operating temperature.

Side Effects: High fuel usage since the car is always running rich and trying to get warm which will eventually foul up sensors, cat and other parts.

Drama!: I thought this would be a 30-minute job. Got up at 6AM to be less conspicuous, drained the coolant using the release valve at the bottom of the rad and removed the 3 bolts from the thermostat housing. I’ve done this before on an e30 at the Pick n’ Pull just to see what I’d be in for and it was pretty easy.

I stick the business end of my screwdriver under part of the thermostat’s armature to pry it out and the arm just peels right off! Uh-oh. A little prying later and… it’s really stuck! Either the housing has contracted around the thermostat or the gasket is so old it’s turned to epoxy.


See that photo? It shouldn’t look like that. Went to Home Depot, got a mallet and a cheap screwdriver and tried that combo on the edge of the thermostat: nope, not going to budge.

Times up, family is going out. We visited friends Nichole, Jonathan and their daughter for brunch. Watched Jonathan do a control arm replacement on his e30 M3 racer using liberal amounts of 4lb sledge hammer and with his encouragement decide this is the solution to my problem.

More Home Depot later I’m hammering away on the edge of the thermostat with the cheap screwdriver and the sledge (hopefully I didn’t knock too much crud loose into the engine). After 10 minutes I jam the screw driver into the thermostat, heave a few times and pop it loose.


Put the new thermostat in (which way is up? I’m not sure… I took a guess. The new thermostat (looks like I was actually shipped this one instead) doesn’t seem to have “up” marked with an arrow like the old ones) and started straining and refilling the system with the old coolant.

Car is no longer running cold, it’s now running a little hot so I must have an air bubble in the system. I’ll have to work on that by running the system + cabin heat and trying to bleed it out. But at least the car is back together and seems to be running.

Update: Topped up the reservior with distilled water then bled the coolant system of air last night then a little bit more today. Seems to be running at the right temperature now.


August 6, 2012 Uncategorized

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