BMW 3 SERIES 1988 E30 Workshop Manual
Page 1 of 228
BMW 3- & 5-Series
Service and Repair Manual
A K Legg LAE MIMI and Larry Warren
316 (83 to 88), 316i (88 to 91), 318i (83 to 91), 320i (87 to 91), 325i (87 to 91).
Also Touring and Convertible versions of these models
518 (81 to 85), 518i (85 to 88), 525i (81 to 88), 528i (81 to 88), 535i (85 to 88), M535i (85 to 88)
518i (90 to 91), 520i (88 to 91), 525i (88 to 91), 530i (88 to 91), 535i (88 to 91)
1596 cc, 1766 cc, 1795 cc, 1990 cc, 2494 cc, 2788 cc, 2986 cc & 3430 cc
Does not cover Diesel, dohc or V8 engines, or four-wheel-drive models
© Haynes Publishing 1997
A book in the Haynes Service and Repair Manual Series
All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted
in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including
photocopying, recording or by any information storage or retrieval system,
without permission in writing from the copyright holder.
ISBN1 85960 236 3
British Library Cataloguing in Publication Data
A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library.Printed by J H Haynes & Co. Ltd, Sparkford, Nr Yeovil,Somerset
BA22 7JJ, England
Sparkford, Nr Yeovil, Somerset BA22 7JJ, England
Haynes North America, Inc
861 Lawrence Drive, Newbury Park, California 91320, USA
Editions Haynes S.A.
147/149, rue Saint Honoré, 75001 PARIS, France
Haynes Publishing Nordiska AB
Box 1504, 751 45 Uppsala, Sweden
1 2 3
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LIVING WITH YOUR BMW
Safety First!Page 0•6
Anti-theft audio system Page0•7
Instrument panel language display Page0•7
Jacking, towing and wheel changing Page0•8
Routine Maintenance and Servicing Page1•1
Lubricants and fluids Page1•3
Maintenance schedule Page1•4
Weekly checks Page1•7
Every 6000 miles Page1•11
Every 12 000 miles Page1•16
Every 24 000 miles Page1•23
Every 60 000 miles Page1•26
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REPAIRS & OVERHAUL
Engine and Associated Systems
In-car engine repair procedures Page 2A•1
General engine overhaul procedures Page2B•1
Cooling, heating and air conditioning systems Page3•1
Fuel and exhaust systems Page 4•1
Engine electrical systems Page5•1
Engine management and emission control systems Page6•1
Manual transmission Page7A•1
Automatic transmission Page7B•1
Clutch and driveline Page 8•1
Braking systemPage 9•1
Suspension and steering systems Page 10•1
Bodywork and fittings Page 11•1
Body electrical systems Page 12•1
Wiring DiagramsPage 12•10
MOT Test Checks
Checks carried out from the driver’s seat PageREF•1
Checks carried out with the vehicle on the ground PageREF•2
Checks carried out with the vehicle raised PageREF•3
Checks carried out on your vehicle’s exhaust emission system PageREF•4
Tools and Working Facilities Page REF•5
General Repair Procedures Page REF•8
Fault FindingPage REF•9
Conversion factors PageREF•17
Automotive chemicals and lubricants PageREF•18
Buying spare parts and vehicle identification numbers PageREF•19
Glossary of Technical Terms PageREF•20
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The E30 3-Series range first became
available in the UK in March 1983, and
continued in production until April 1991, when
the revised E36 3-Series range (not covered
by this manual) was introduced. Convertible
and Touring (Estate) models were introduced
for 1988, and these models have continued in
E30 form to date.
The E28 5-Series models were introduced
in October 1981, and were superseded in
June 1988 by the revised E34 5-Series range,
Touring versions of which became available
from March 1992. Throughout this manual,
E28 models are also referred to as “old-
shape”, while E34 models are designated
The models covered by this manual are
equipped with single overhead cam in-line
four- and six-cylinder engines. Early 316 and
518 models are fitted with carburettors, but all
other models are fitted with fuel injection
systems. Transmissions are a five-speed
manual, or three- or four-speed automatic.
The transmission is mounted to the back of
the engine, and power is transmitted to the
fully-independent rear axle through a two-
piece propeller shaft. The final drive unit is
bolted solidly to a frame crossmember, and
drives the rear wheels through driveshaftsequipped with inner and outer constant
The front suspension is of MacPherson
strut type, with the coil spring/shock absorber
unit making up the upper suspension link. The
rear suspension is made up of coil spring-
over-shock absorber struts, or coil springs
and conventional shock absorbers,
depending on model.
The brakes are disc type at the front, with
either drums or discs at the rear, depending
on model. Servo assistance is standard on all
models. Some later models are equipped with
an Anti-lock Braking System (ABS).
All models are manufactured to fine limits,
and live up to the BMW reputation of quality
workmanship. Although many of the models
covered by this manual appear complex at
first sight, they should present no problems to
the home mechanic.
Note for UK readers
The greater part of this manual was
originally written in the USA. Some of the
photographs used are of American-market
models, but the procedures given are fully
applicable to right-hand-drive models (or have
been amended where necessary).
Thanks are due to Champion Spark Plug,
who supplied the illustrations showing spark
plug conditions. Thanks are also due to
Sykes-Pickavant Limited, who provided some
of the workshop tools, and to all those people
at Sparkford who helped in the production of
this manual. Technical writers who
contributed to this project include Robert
Maddox, Mark Ryan and Mike Stubblefield.
We take great pride in the accuracy of
information given in this manual, but
vehicle manufacturers make alterations
and design changes during the production
run of a particular vehicle of which they do
not inform us. No liability can be accepted
by the authors or publishers for loss,
damage or injury caused by any
errors in, or omissions from, the
The main project vehicle used in the
preparation of this manual for the UK market
was a 1988 BMW 318i with an M40/B18
Introduction to the BMW 3- and 5-Series
BMW 320i Saloon (E30)
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BMW 518i (E28)
BMW 325i Touring (E30)
BMW 535i (E34)
BMW 325i Convertible (E30)
Page 6 of 228
Working on your car can be dangerous.
This page shows just some of the potential
risks and hazards, with the aim of creating a
• Don’t remove the radiator or expansion
tank cap while the engine is hot.
• Engine oil, automatic transmission fluid or
power steering fluid may also be dangerously
hot if the engine has recently been running.
• Beware of burns from the exhaust system
and from any part of the engine. Brake discs
and drums can also be extremely hot
immediately after use.
• When working under or near
a raised vehicle,
jack with axle
stands, or use
under a car which
is only supported by a jack.
• Take care if loosening or tightening high-
torque nuts when the vehicle is on stands.
Initial loosening and final tightening should
be done with the wheels on the ground.
• Fuel is highly flammable; fuel vapour is
• Don’t let fuel spill onto a hot engine.
• Do not smoke or allow naked lights
(including pilot lights) anywhere near a
vehicle being worked on. Also beware of
(electrically or by use of tools).
• Fuel vapour is heavier than air, so don’t
work on the fuel system with the vehicle over
an inspection pit.
• Another cause of fire is an electrical
overload or short-circuit. Take care when
repairing or modifying the vehicle wiring.
• Keep a fire extinguisher handy, of a type
suitable for use on fuel and electrical fires.
• Ignition HT
voltage can be
people with heart
problems or a
work on or near the
ignition system with
the engine running or
the ignition switched on.• Mains voltage is also dangerous. Make
sure that any mains-operated equipment is
correctly earthed. Mains power points should
be protected by a residual current device
(RCD) circuit breaker.
Fume or gas intoxication
• Exhaust fumes are
poisonous; they often
monoxide, which is
rapidly fatal if inhaled.
Never run the
engine in a
such as a garage
with the doors shut.
• Fuel vapour is also
poisonous, as are the vapours from some
cleaning solvents and paint thinners.
Poisonous or irritant substances
• Avoid skin contact with battery acid and
with any fuel, fluid or lubricant, especially
antifreeze, brake hydraulic fluid and Diesel
fuel. Don’t syphon them by mouth. If such a
substance is swallowed or gets into the eyes,
seek medical advice.
• Prolonged contact with used engine oil can
cause skin cancer. Wear gloves or use a
barrier cream if necessary. Change out of oil-
soaked clothes and do not keep oily rags in
• Air conditioning refrigerant forms a
poisonous gas if exposed to a naked flame
(including a cigarette). It can also cause skin
burns on contact.
• Asbestos dust can cause cancer if inhaled
or swallowed. Asbestos may be found in
gaskets and in brake and clutch linings.
When dealing with such components it is
safest to assume that they contain asbestos.
• This extremely corrosive acid is formed
when certain types of synthetic rubber, found
in some O-rings, oil seals, fuel hoses etc, are
exposed to temperatures above 400
rubber changes into a charred or sticky
substance containing the acid. Once formed,
the acid remains dangerous for years. If it
gets onto the skin, it may be necessary to
amputate the limb concerned.
• When dealing with a vehicle which has
suffered a fire, or with components salvaged
from such a vehicle, wear protective gloves
and discard them after use.
• Batteries contain sulphuric acid, which
attacks clothing, eyes and skin. Take care
when topping-up or carrying the battery.
• The hydrogen gas given off by the battery
is highly explosive. Never cause a spark or
allow a naked light nearby. Be careful when
connecting and disconnecting battery
chargers or jump leads.
• Air bags can cause injury if they go off
accidentally. Take care when removing the
steering wheel and/or facia. Special storage
instructions may apply.
Diesel injection equipment
• Diesel injection pumps supply fuel at very
high pressure. Take care when working on
the fuel injectors and fuel pipes.
Warning: Never expose the hands,
face or any other part of the body
to injector spray; the fuel can
penetrate the skin with potentially fatal
• Do use eye protection when using power
tools, and when working under the vehicle.
• Do wear gloves or use barrier cream to
protect your hands when necessary.
• Do get someone to check periodically
that all is well when working alone on the
• Do keep loose clothing and long hair well
out of the way of moving mechanical parts.
• Do remove rings, wristwatch etc, before
working on the vehicle – especially the
• Do ensure that any lifting or jacking
equipment has a safe working load rating
adequate for the job.
A few tips
• Don’t attempt to lift a heavy component
which may be beyond your capability – get
• Don’t rush to finish a job, or take
unverified short cuts.
• Don’t use ill-fitting tools which may slip
and cause injury.
• Don’t leave tools or parts lying around
where someone can trip over them. Mop
up oil and fuel spills at once.
• Don’t allow children or pets to play in or
near a vehicle being worked on.
Page 7 of 228
0•7Anti-theft audio system
Anti-theft audio system
Some models are equipped with an audio
system having an anti-theft feature that will
render the stereo inoperative if stolen. If the
power source to the stereo is cut, the stereo
won’t work even if the power source is
immediately re-connected. If your vehicle is
equipped with this anti-theft system, do not
disconnect the battery or remove the stereo
unless you have the individual code number
for the stereo.
Refer to the owner’s handbook suppliedwith the vehicle for more complete
information on this audio system and its anti-
1Turn on the radio. The word “CODE” should
appear on the display.
2Using the station preset selector buttons,
enter the five-digit code. If you make a
mistake when entering the code, continue
the five-digit sequence anyway. If you hear
a “beep,” however, stop immediately andstart the sequence over again. Note: Yo u
have three attempts to enter the correct
code. If the correct code isn’t entered in
three tries, you’ll have to wait one hour, with
the radio on, before you enter the codes
5Once the code has been entered correctly,
the word “CODE” should disappear from the
display, and the radio should play (you’ll have
to tune-in and enter your preset stations,
6If you have lost your code number, contact
a BMW dealer service department.
Instrument panel language display
On some later models, disconnecting the
battery may cause the instrument panel
display to default to the German language
(this does not usually apply to UK models). If
it is necessary to reset the correct language
after the battery is reconnected, proceed as
follows. With all the doors shut and theignition on (engine not running), press the trip
reset button until the panel displays the
desired language. There are eight languages
available. If you wish to bypass a particular
selection, release the reset button and press
again - this will cause the display to advance
to the next language. Once the correctlanguage has been selected, continue holding
the reset button until the display reads “I.O.
Version 2.0”. Continue holding the button until
it reads “H.P. Version 3.4”, then release the
Page 8 of 228
Jacking and wheel
The jack supplied with the vehicle should
be used only for raising the vehicle when
changing a tyre or placing axle stands under
Warning:Never crawl under the
vehicle or start the engine when
this jack is being used as the
only means of support.
When changing a wheel, the vehicle should
be on level ground, with the handbrake firmly
applied, and the wheels chocked. Select
reverse gear (manual transmission) or Park
(automatic transmission). Prise off the hub
cap (if equipped) using the tapered end of the
wheel brace. Loosen the wheel bolts half a
turn, leaving them in place until the wheel is
raised off the ground.
Position the head of the jack under the side
of the vehicle, making sure it engages with thepocket made for this purpose (just behind the
front wheel, or forward of the rear wheel).
Engage the wheel brace handle and turn it
clockwise until the wheel is raised off the
ground. Unscrew the bolts, remove the wheel
and fit the spare.
Refit the wheel bolts and tighten them
finger-tight. Lower the vehicle by turning the
wheel brace anti-clockwise. Remove the jack
and tighten the bolts in a diagonal pattern to
the torque listed in the Chapter 1
Specifications. If a torque wrench is not
available, have the torque checked by a BMW
dealer or tyre fitting specialist as soon as
possible. Refit the hubcap.
Vehicles with manual transmission can be
towed with all four wheels on the ground, if
necessary. Automatic transmission-equipped
vehicles can only be towed with all fourwheels on the ground providing that the
speed does not exceed 35 mph and the
distance is not over 50 miles, otherwise
transmission damage can result. For
preference, regardless of transmission type,
the vehicle should be towed with the driven
(rear) wheels off the ground.
Proper towing equipment, specifically
designed for the purpose, should be used,
and should be attached to the main structural
members of the vehicle, not to the bumpers or
bumper brackets. Sling-type towing
equipment must notbe used on these
Safety is a major consideration while
towing. The handbrake should be released,
and the transmission should be in neutral. The
steering must be unlocked (ignition switch
turned to position “1”). Remember that
power-assisted steering (where fitted) and the
brake servo will not work with the engine
Jacking, towing and wheel changing
Page 9 of 228
When jump-starting a car using a
booster battery, observe the following
4Before connecting the booster
battery, make sure that the ignition is
4Ensure that all electrical equipment
(lights, heater, wipers, etc) is
4Make sure that the booster battery is
the same voltage as the discharged
one in the vehicle.
4If the battery is being jump-started
from the battery in another vehicle,
the two vehcles MUST NOT TOUCH
4Make sure that the transmission is in
neutral (or PARK, in the case of
Jump starting will get you out
of trouble, but you must correct
whatever made the battery go
flat in the first place. There are
1The battery has been drained by
repeated attempts to start, or by
leaving the lights on.
2The charging system is not working
properly (alternator drivebelt slack
or broken, alternator wiring fault or
alternator itself faulty).
3The battery itself is at fault
(electrolyte low, or battery worn out).
Connect one end of the red jump lead to
the positive (+) terminal of the flat
batteryConnect the other end of the red lead to
the positive (+) terminal of the booster
battery.Connect one end of the black jump lead
to the negative (-) terminal of the
Connect the other end of the black
jump lead to a bolt or bracket on the
engine block, well away from the
battery, on the vehicle to be started.
Make sure that the jump leads will not
come into contact with the fan, drive-
belts or other moving parts of the
Start the engine using the booster
battery, then with the engine running at
idle speed, disconnect the jump leads in
the reverse order of connection.6
Page 10 of 228
Puddles on the garage floor or drive, or
obvious wetness under the bonnet or
underneath the car, suggest a leak that needs
investigating. It can sometimes be difficult to
decide where the leak is coming from,
especially if the engine bay is very dirty
already. Leaking oil or fluid can also be blown
rearwards by the passage of air under the car,
giving a false impression of where the
problem lies.Warning: Most automotive oils
and fluids are poisonous. Wash
them off skin, and change out of
contaminated clothing, without
The smell of a fluid leaking
from the car may provide a
clue to what’s leaking. Some
fluids are distinctively
coloured. It may help to clean the car
carefully and to park it over some clean
paper overnight as an aid to locating the
source of the leak.
Remember that some leaks may only
occur while the engine is running.
Sump oil Gearbox oil
Brake fluid Power steering fluidOil from filter
Engine oil may leak from the drain plug......or from the base of the oil filter.
Leaking antifreeze often leaves a crystalline
deposit like this.Gearbox oil can leak from the seals at the
inboard ends of the driveshafts.
A leak occurring at a wheel is almost
certainly brake fluid.Power steering fluid may leak from the pipe
connectors on the steering rack.