View Full Version : 318 BMW Performance Question

08-04-2009, 09:31 PM
I am trying to consolidate my stable of cars and I am looking to get a used BMW. I was looking at older 5 series, but there's a lot of 318s for sale for dirt cheap. My previous daily was a Mazdaspeed3 GT so I know I am not going to have the same power on tap, but is the 1.8 going to be painfully slow? :(

On the other hand, the 5 series seems like more of a pain in the ass to get low.

Thanks for any help.

08-04-2009, 09:49 PM
First of all, you posted in the wrong section.

Secondly, what years are you looking at, an e21 is far from a e36. Likewise with the 5 series.

Whats you're budget, how low do you want to go, what are your goals for the car?

08-04-2009, 10:14 PM

I've never driven a 318, but I would imagine it is REALLY slow

08-04-2009, 10:19 PM
I was going to put it in Off Topic but this section is described as "The general style discussion forum, as well as a place to post your car, or any car for that matter." I panicked! :(

I am still kinda learning the chassis codes (every car I've owned since 2002 has been a Mazda) but all the cheap ones I see for sale are E36es. After selling my MS3 and RX-7 I have $2000 cash in hand with extra cash left over for tax, title, and tag.

That gets me cars like this (I would only get a manual though):

Should I be looking for an older chassis? I am stuck either driving the gutted Miata or borrowing the truck from my mom. Both are lame options for a daily.

Thanks for any advice, I appreciate it.

08-04-2009, 10:22 PM
Get an e30 318 :)

Pleazse please please DO NOT get a Ti

08-04-2009, 10:26 PM
I will expand my search, any mechanical things to look for besides the obvious?

B Rod
08-04-2009, 10:46 PM
Do your best to find a '90-'91(I think some '89s as well). Those are the E30s with the M42(dual overhead cam) engine as well as the more desirable plastic bumpers. I want a '91 318is sooooooo bad I think it's unhealthy.

08-04-2009, 10:59 PM
I might just settle for a 1.8, are they pretty well tuned from the factory or would the usual intake, header, exhaust do more than make noise? I keep telling myself I want to go slow and low but deep down I know I am going to ruin this car somehow.

08-04-2009, 11:34 PM
So this is pretty close to me:


It seems like a fair price but you guys are kind of saying I should go older for maybe one with a less than slow engine?

08-05-2009, 12:03 AM
318's are pretty slow little cars. They are respectable for what they are, but it is going to be almost painful compared to the Mazda's you have now. There isn't much to gain power-wise either; BMW seems to do a pretty good job of getting the most out of them from the factory.

5's generally are nice cars. If the choice came down to either a 318 or a 5, I would take the 5 even not knowing which one. And that is coming from a 318is owner.

08-05-2009, 12:38 PM
If you get a 318, just swap an M50 in to it.

08-05-2009, 12:54 PM
you could swap in the 2.5 liter engine from the 325, or if you want power, swap in the 2.5 and turbo it

or just swap in an M50

08-05-2009, 01:27 PM
I guess I COULD swap the 'big' engine in down the line, would the 5-speed from a 318 match up with a larger 3-series engine? I know these sorts of questions should be pretty newbie stuff but I figure you guys know the straight dope for this kind of thing. :o

08-05-2009, 02:08 PM
Did some searching while I am at work:

Engine swap in 3 series.

08-05-2009, 07:51 PM
Bleh, the 1.8 seems pretty weak when turbo charged too. What a shame, BMW. :(

08-05-2009, 08:03 PM
You can't expect much from a 1.8 liter but in 1990. There are plenty of easy swaps for them though!

08-05-2009, 08:12 PM
Just trying to get a realistic mindset. You can pop 300hp from the 1994 Mazda BP 1.8 out of a Miata on stock internals so I started in this new BMW world with this grand expectation of getting by on German engineering, but I guess I'd have to get something in a M series or be willing to spring for a better starting platform.

I am also spoiled with getting crazy easy power out of rotaries.

08-05-2009, 08:39 PM
The power a rotary engine can produce is insane! especially when you slap a turbo or two on one of those bad boys!

A buddy of mine has a FC vert that I love to death, I got to deliver pizzas in it once :rofl. I set delivery time records that day.

08-05-2009, 09:40 PM
The money in the BMW fund was going to go towards a 20b swap in my FC coupe. I was looking for a minimum 500hp then decided I should have a regular car for a while.

08-06-2009, 03:49 AM
If you want a smaller car go for an E30. You should be able to find a good 318 or 325 in you're price range, hell if you look hard enough you can prolly find an E36 325. But if you want an E36 don't get a 318, especially a ti.

08-06-2009, 10:38 AM
What's so bad about the Ti?

08-06-2009, 10:58 AM
Do your best to find a '90-'91(I think some '89s as well). Those are the E30s with the M42(dual overhead cam) engine as well as the more desirable plastic bumpers. I want a '91 318is sooooooo bad I think it's unhealthy.


The 325i/S is a better car...

08-06-2009, 12:01 PM
What's so bad about the Ti?

Its gaytarded

08-06-2009, 01:54 PM
My favorite car is a Mazda Miata so I am all about the gay cars. I think any 3 series with the weak 1.8 is going to be pretty gay no matter the body style (ducks).

08-06-2009, 02:07 PM
Oh no, I started looking at Tis and I like them, this is awful!

08-06-2009, 02:33 PM
Oh dear... lol

08-06-2009, 03:30 PM
None are for sale right now, so I guess I lucked out. I've seen a lot of nice 'verts but they are all automatic or red, and I refuse to own a red car.

08-06-2009, 03:57 PM

That is such a good looking car, I might get it.

08-06-2009, 04:04 PM
Or get a 10 year older car with 6 cyls...


What should I do?

08-06-2009, 04:29 PM
http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/Used-BMW-Engine-M50-E36-525-525i-525iT-Vanos-1993-1995_W0QQitemZ370238024172QQcmdZViewItemQQptZMotor s_Car_Truck_Parts_Accessories?hash=item5633e7e9ec&_trksid=p4506.c0.m245

So a M50 is less than a grand, interesting.

08-06-2009, 04:34 PM
Someone Carfax this: WBACC9324VEE56583

08-07-2009, 01:52 PM
Gah, sold. The search continues.

08-08-2009, 02:09 PM
I went to look at a 328i 'vert today and the guy wanted $5k for a car with 133k miles and peeling clear coat. The search continues.

08-09-2009, 12:52 PM
The're slow.

like really slow

get a S50 in it.

08-09-2009, 05:51 PM
I might get the 328 if I can get a loan from the bank. Bleh!

08-10-2009, 08:04 PM
Ugh, I have a good deal on a 318Ti California edition. Is that the gayest BMW?

08-11-2009, 12:59 PM
get an e30, but dont bother with an m42. Get the i motor. Boost it or 24v swap. Done.

A buddy of mine did a turbo on a stock internal I motor and put 265 to the wheels on a dyno. Even stock head gasket. ( dont know how long itll last, but it did it)

08-12-2009, 01:08 AM
I met a kid not too long ago who had a home brew turbo kit on his M42 powered E30. I'll say it was more than strong enough to dust a few lightly modded E36 M3's.

08-12-2009, 09:39 AM
Welp I spent 2.5hrs. trying to find a manual 3 series and I give up. I called up 2 dealers and got bait-and-switched when I got there and I think the money is going in to the Miata. The dream is dieing.

08-16-2009, 12:21 AM
Fuck dude. Where do you live?

08-16-2009, 04:57 PM
Oh no I just bought a $1000 1993 318i.. What have I done?

08-16-2009, 05:37 PM
Ok, where do I get a shift knob?




08-16-2009, 09:47 PM
Update: This is the best car I have ever owned.

08-17-2009, 09:34 AM
...And now I can't unlock the doors. Fuck BMWs.

08-17-2009, 10:30 AM
Update: Got door open. :shifty

08-17-2009, 12:41 PM


08-17-2009, 01:41 PM
NEW PROBLEM: Went to go register the car today on my break, and it refused to start after I had gotten to the tag place. Had to walk back in 95*+ Florida heat.

Death to BMW.

08-20-2009, 05:12 PM
if you want a REAL bmw, you must PAY.
that thing is a...skeleton...
you'll have to spend lots to make it alive again:) ask me how i know ;)

08-23-2009, 07:30 AM
That thing is gonna need all sorts of work to bring it back to life, but given it was so cheap, a lot can be done and still come out with a great car for not a lot of money.

08-29-2009, 08:55 PM
Update: Got door open. :shifty

Thanks for the update :rofl

09-01-2009, 01:19 AM
drove a buddies E30 318iS with a 2.93 rearend(the original 4.10 said buhbye back in the winter) even with a transmission in the trunk it still moved pretty quick....fun car I would have an M42 E30 over an M20 E30 any day of the week

09-14-2009, 08:41 PM
drove a buddies E30 318iS with a 2.93 rearend(the original 4.10 said buhbye back in the winter) even with a transmission in the trunk it still moved pretty quick....fun car I would have an M42 E30 over an M20 E30 any day of the week

that must have been terrible with that long a diff ratio

10-30-2009, 02:11 PM
S14 or S52/54 would be better!

01-23-2010, 03:37 PM
drove a buddies E30 318iS with a 2.93 rearend(the original 4.10 said buhbye back in the winter) even with a transmission in the trunk it still moved pretty quick....fun car I would have an M42 E30 over an M20 E30 any day of the week

thats joke right!

09-17-2010, 04:29 AM
Oh no, I started looking at Tis and I like them, this is awful!
they also had E30 interior and E30 rear suspension setup...its sort of a half E30, half E36...with all of the 4 cylinder M4* series engine from BMW...you will need to thrash them if you are a spirited driver lol...

09-24-2010, 08:18 AM
this thread made me lol.

09-24-2010, 12:11 PM
I have an M42 in my E21 (firstest and lightest 3 series chassis). Although extremely reliable... it leaves something to be desired. It's quick in my little car, but I can only imagine how annoyingly slow it can be in an E36.

I think all I've done to the thing is some vac lines, spark plugs, coil on plug, and oil in the 10 years I've had the thing swapped.

The one on the engine stand though.... that's a different story.

09-30-2010, 01:15 PM
S14 or S52/54 would be better!

Even an M50/M52 would be better lol :rofl

10-04-2010, 09:13 PM
i love my ti . and yes it is slow compared to most cars but as far as 90s 4cylinders its quite faster than most .

and yes the common motor swap is very good if you know what to do ..

if i were you id search bimmerforums for most interior parts and bc you have a m42 obd 1 . id search 318ti.org its by far the best most sourceful site for your motor .

and there is a guy "johnnyboy" from ti.org who has a boosted m42 like yours and he is pushing more power than mustangs gt . camaros and most v8s alike .

i will soon do my swap but im finishing the outside then the interior then th motor ,

btw my 96 has over 200k mi and beat it to death .

the bmw is a very reliable car u just caint neglect it .