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E36 BMW Check Coolant Level OBC Message
E30 BMW 3 Series Pre Purchase Checklist
E36/E46 Rear Trailing Arm Bushing (RTAB) Replacement 1
E36/E46 BMW Rear Shock Mount (RSM) Replacement
BMW Control Arm Bushing Replacement Tips
E36 Exhaust Replacement and M3 Exhaust Swap Upgrade
E36 Warped Rotors, Ceramic Pads, and the Fix
E36 Warped Rotors and Brake Pad Deposits
E30 318i and 318is Suspension and Tie Rod Replacement
Replacing your BMW's fuel filter
BMW Cooling System Flush/Refill Part 2
BMW Cooling System Flush/Antifreeze/Refill I
E36 BMW Power Window Problems and Repair
BMW Headliner Repair and Replacement
M50 Intake Manifold Swap for 328i/328is and M3
E28 BMW 5 Series History and Information
More Power for BMW 2002 and 2002tii Part 2
More Power for BMW 2002 and 2002tii Part 1
Replacing E36 and E46 BMW Tie Rods
Hints and Tips for Washing and Waxing your BMW
Performance Modifications for E36 M52 328i and 328is
1991 E30 318is Performance Mods
E36 BMW 3 Series Oxygen Sensor Replacement Instructions Part 2
E36 BMW 3 Series Oxygen Sensor Replacement Instructions Part 1
E30 325i and 325is vs E30 M3: The Better Street Car
Suspension and Handling Upgrades for E34 BMW 5 Series Sedans
BMW Differential Repair, Replacement, and Upgrades Part 2
BMW Differential Repair, Replacement, and Upgrades Part 1
E46 3 Series Wear Items Checklist: What To Expect
E30 BMW 3 Series History and Performance
E34/E36/E39 M50/S50/M52/S52 BMW Engine Coil Replacement
E36 3 Series Wear Items Checklist: What To Expect
From E12 to E39: BMW M5 and M535i History and Development
My BMW Dream Garage
More BMW Radiator and Cooling System Information
BMW Radiator and Cooling System Information
How To Get More Horsepower From 2.7 ETA-engine BMWs
Performance Mods for M20 2.5 i engines
Replacing Sparkplugs and Valve Cover Gaskets
E24 BMW 6 Series History and Development: The Shark
Brief History of the M3: From E30 to E46
E36 M3 vs E36 325is and 328is: Performance Comparison
Replacing E30, E36, and E46 Ball Joints
E36 BMW Slip Ring Replacement and Why It Fails
Buying BMW Parts Online
BMW World
BMW Car Club of America
BMW Car Magazine
Rennlist BMW Site
Ben Liaw's BMW Links
BMW Nation
BMW E21 Info
Bimmers.Com BMW Info
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E30 325i and 325is BMW Engine Performance

Although most BMW car enthusiasts consider the E30 BMW M3 to be not only the high point of BMW's E30 line of cars (Europe 1982-1991, US 1984-1992...the final year convertible cars only), but also one of the most desirable BMW cars ever for its uncompromising design that allowed to be the winningest race car of the 1980s. The fact is, the engineering that made the E30 M3 such a formidable car on the track and in hard street driving also made it somewhat less pleasant as a daily driver, in traffic. The E30 M3 rides stiff and rough. It's S14 2.3 liter DOHC 4 cylinder engine, while making a 195 hp (in US catalytic-converter-equipped trim), does not come alive until 5000 rpm. It gets horrendous gas mileage for a 4 cylinder, despite the car weighing a fairly average 2750 lbs. People who don't use this car for its intended purpose often have a frustrating ownership experience.

Sometimes overlooked, though not by real BMW enthusiasts, are the 1987-1991 BMW 325i and 325is 3 series models. These mainstays of the E30 3 series lineup are tremendous cars in their own right, and generally low prices, great real-world performance possibilities, durability, and aftermarket support make the cars powered by the 2.5 liter 168 hp BMW M20 SOHC 6 cylinder engine a great buy. The M20 is the 'baby six' derived from the M30, the 'Big Six' that was developed in the 1960s and saw duty in many BMW models up to the E34 535i. The M20 first saw action in 2.0 liter form in the E21 BMW 320/6 and then as a 2.3 liter engine in the E21 323i, making 121 and 143 hp. The E30 3 series BMW premiered in the US with 2 engine choices; the 101 hp M10 1.8 liter 4 cylinder and the 121 hp 2.7 2.7 liter M20 6 cylinder 'eta' engine.

Forget about those cars for now. Let's talk about the later M20 2.5 'i' cars. If you drive one of these BMW's, you don't need to look lustfully to the original M3 for great performance. The 87-91 325i and 325is need only a few basic modifications to be a better street car than the M3. The 'i' E30 3 series cars usually have a 3.73 rear differential. Swapping to a 4.10 limited slip differential will wake the car up in a big way. Those who do a lot of highway driving might wish to compromise with a 3.91 differential from a 325ix. Despite the 2 valve/cylinder head design, the M20 2.5 power delivery is surprisingly peaky, so the more aggressive differential really lets the engine shine. A differential swap, and chip (I like the Jim Conforti/Turner Motosports/Mark chips best) are the best 2 first performance mods for these cars. This engine really requires intelligent modification for further HP/TQ/power delivery improvent.

E36 BMW Valve Cover Gaskets & Sparkplugs

I did not become a BMW Nut by chance. My father also drives BMW cars, though not exclusively. He has driven a 1992 325i for close to a decade now, and has passed on many helpful hints, tips, and ideas. As I drive a 1995 325is, this means we both own E36 BMW automobiles, and between our two cars have racked up a combined 350k+ miles. We also tend to our own maintanence whenever possible. Both of our Bimmers have lately been exhibiting low rpm stumbling under load. He replaced his spark plugs (He was running Bosch F7 LDCR spark plugs for the last 30,000 miles) with NGK BKR6EK plugs. Immediately, the stumbling and stuttering engine issue was resolved. Noticing that I have not changed my plugs in at LEAST 50,000 miles, I made a mental note to replace mine as soon as possible.

I also knew that with over 160,000 miles on the 325is, this would be a good time to replace the valve cover gaskets (one for the cover, and 2 3-ring inner gaskets, typically sold as a set. Usually around $45 or $50. FYI- I bought mine locally. gets around $44 for the set, same quality as OEM). I decided to go with the NGK BKR6EK plugs, which are pre-gapped. It's not a bad idea to change your oil at the same time. I jacked up the car, blocked the rear wheels, loosened the oil pan drain plug, and drained the nasty 3,500-mile-old 5w-30 oil (it's winter here in New England! Otherwise, I'd be running 15w-40 oil in this or any E36 BMW. Dino juice -not synthetic.

While the oil was draining (and of course I had let the car idle for about 5 - 10 minutes to warm up the oil on a 30 degree F day to make it flow a little easier), I popped the hood and went to work....I like to organize fasteners and items removed and place in plastic bags, with labelled masking tape if possible.
1. Pop off the 4 smooth caps on the two plastic engine covers with a flathead screwdriver. Underneath are two bolts and two nuts. Remove with a 10mm socket.

2. Remove the oil cap if you have not already. Both plastic covers should lift off and forward. On the one that is closer to the passenger side (the one that more covers the valve cover), make sure you don't loose the two plastic and rubber pieces that dampen vibration. Actually, its no big deal even if you do. :)

3. Each of the coils on your E36 BMW are removed individually. This goes for all six cylinder cars powered by derivates of the M50 engine (M50, M50TU, M52, S50, S52 etc). Each coil is held down by 2 10mm nuts. Remove. Notice that coils for the #4 and #3 cylinders have wiring guide supports on them. Notice that there is a ground wire on the innermost coil. Don't lose it when you remove it later and remember to sit it on the post.

4. Remove the spark plugs with a 16mm deep socket or a sparkplug socket. Either way works. Check the plug gaps...mine were way out of spec after 50,000 less-than-gentle miles. Forget about regapping them. This ain't your push mower, it's a BMW! The bad news is that the correct spark plugs list for nearly $11 each. Yikes! However, I paid less than $5/apiece, and you should too if you do your homework, call around and shop online. Check the plugs for signs of oil getting past the seals under the valve cover. These seals harden and wear with heat, time, and use. 3 of my spark plugs were so oil covered, it is testament to the quality of BMW engineering that my car even ran at all. Oil acts as insulator, not a conductor, in these situations.

5. If your valve cover gasket and seals are not worn out, you should see very little oil on the coil connectors and plugs. If this is the case, simply install the new spark plugs )taking care not to overtighten them which could lead to a sparkplug breaking off inside your engine and or stripping the threads. Both are very bad. One can be fixed with a Helicoil, the other, well I think you are f#cked if that happens)...and button everything back up. If not...proceed further...

6. Time to remove your E36 (or E34/E39 5 series if you've got a 525i/525it/528i/528it etc) BMW's valve cover. There are 15 10mm bolts/collars with washers that hold down the valve cover. 10mm socket, ratchet, and regular extension works just fine for this. 11 bolts around the perimeter, and 4 in the middle. The innermost one takes an 8mm then a 10mm to remove the ground wire. Remove them all and set aside.

7. Remove the 3 8mm bolts that hold down the coil wire tray so you can lift the coils up over onto the intake manifold. On M50/M50TU engine BMW's, you will see a sensor/plug on the front on the valve cover, unclip and remove. I have no idea what this sensor is. Oh well.

8. Pry up valve cover around the gasket to pop it loose. It will lift off. Remove any pieces of gaskets from the valvetrain area and from mating surfaces. I use simple green and crc brake cleaner to clean all surfaces. Pay attention to which way the gaskets are supposed to go and install your new gaskets. No other surface or mating surface preparation is required.

9. Button it back up, install the plugs, double check torque/tightness of every nut and bolts twice, and take her for a spin. Replacing the sparkplugs in my 95 325is took care of the stumbling/stuttering/choking issue at part/full throttle at low rpms under load. The revs freer now.

BMW 2002 and 2002tii Information

The BMW 2002tii was the high performance, fuel injected, limited edition of BMW's 2002 car model line. It was a two door sports sedan based on the four door BMW 1500/1600 that came out in 1961.
1973 BMW 2002tii
Above: A clean 1973 BMW 2002tii
The BMW 2002 series is important in the history of BMW for several reasons, none the least of which it brought the company out of near bankruptcy in the 1950s and put BMW as a marque on the map in the United States. It was the ancestoral grandfather to the BMW 3 Series and was produced from 1968 to 1976.
BMW's 2002 Series is credited for inventing the category for compact sporting sedans, a category widely popular now through models from various German, Japanese and American makes of small 2-door sedans with high performance engines, suspensions and aggressive sports cars like features.
The 2002tii is considered by many to be the most desirable '02 produced by BMW and imported to the United States. Compared to a standard 2002, a tii offers greater performance and overall value. Thus, a 2002tii is usually worth more, and therefore, more highly touted.
Since the last U.S. tiis were made in 1974, finding one in good shape, without owner modifications has grown increasingly difficult. This is especially true considering the tii's mechanical uniqueness and cost of some of those unique parts. Furthermore, since the 2002 is a "tinkerer's car," many owners have upgraded their regular 2002s with tii hardware, to increase their performance.
Likewise, tii owners sometimes strip their cars of original tii items such as the Kugelfischer mechanical fuel injection system, in favor of cheaper (but not necessarily better) carburetors. These two factors can cause some confusion for a prospective tii buyer.
  • Engine:4 Cylinder
  • Valve linkage:SOHC, 2 valve/cylinder
  • Displacement: 1990 cm³
  • Power: 130 hp (97 kW) at 5800 rpm
  • Torque: 130 ft.lbf (176 Nm) at 4500 rpm
  • Gearbox: 4 speed manual
  • Weight: 2225 lb (1010 kg)
  • Top speed: 118 mph (190 km/h)
  • 0-60 mph: 9.8 s

Differences between the 2002tii and other 2002 models

  1. 1972-1973 US 2002tii VINs begin with 276
  2. 1974 US 2002tii VINs begin with 278
  3. Kugelfischer mechanical fuel injection
  4. alternator mounted down low, under battery
  5. oil return line in block for injection pump, feed line in oil filter head
  6. larger brake booster
  7. 23 mm master cylinder
  8. larger 10.08 in (256 mm) diameter front brakes, larger calipers/pads
  9. larger front hubs and spindles
  10. boxed rear semi-trailing arms
  11. interior clock
  12. 2002tii emblem on rear body panel

VIN information

The vin is found on the metal plate under the hood, on top of the inner fender, behind the upper shock mount on the right side. It is in plain view, and should be easy to spot. On this plate, it will identify the car as a 2002 TII for 1972-73 cars. 1974 cars share the same identification plate as the standard 2002, so the plate will read 2002/2002tii USA. The VIN is the long number which is stamped into that plate.
For 1972-1973 U.S. tiis, the VIN will begin with 276, running from 2760001 (the first '72) to 2764522 (the last '73). 1974 tii's begin with 278, running from 2780001 to 2782929. This number should match the number stamped into the flange on the right front wheel housing itself, next to the fender, behind the hood lock bar, as well as the number stamped into the metal plate on top of the steering column. If the car still has its original engine block, the engine number on the block, above the starter mounting flange, will match the VIN.

Engine compartment visuals

If you're specifically looking for a tii model, and prefer one in original condition, it behooves you to try and purchase a car with this system intact and functioning. The Kugelfischer injection system is what makes the tii special and gives it it's combination of midrange torque and top end power (of course, the higher compression helps here too). The lower front aluminum engine timing cover and alternator mounting location are different from a normal 2002, as well. tiis also have an extra fitting on the intake side of the engine block for an injection pump oil return line as well as an extra fitting on the oil filter head for the injection pump oil feed line.
Finally, an original E12 2002tii cylinder head (late '72-'74 cars) will have no fuel pump mounting holes on it for a standard 2002 mechanical fuel pump. 121/121TI head equipped '72 tiis will have the mounting holes, but with the center pushrod hole plugged. The fuel pump mounting holes are used to mount the intake plenum on '72 cars.


The first clue to this may also be found in the engine compartment. Under the hood, the tii has a larger diameter (23 mm vs. 20 mm) master cylinder, and a larger (actually longer) brake booster. The dimensions of this larger booster are: 6 inches (152 mm) length and 7 inches (178 mm) diameter.
Under the car, the tii has larger front brake discs, which measure 10.08 inches (256 mm) in diameter vs. 9.45 in (240 mm) for the standard 2002. These are accompanied by larger calipers and pads, as well as larger hubs and spindles. The rear drums are the same size as a normal '02, but the wheel cylinders are larger (17 mm vs. 15 mm). In the rear, the trailing arms of tii are boxed, for increased stiffness (instead of the standard C-section).


Inside the car, a clock should be present. It is located on the left most end of the parcel tray.

Trunk emblem

On the rear of the car, above the right taillight, is the 2002tii emblem or badge. For those that are really sharp, and this only works on original '72-'73 tiis, the wheels are 1/2 in (13 mm) wider, and all of this width is added onto the outside of the wheel, resulting in wheel covers that appear to be set in further.

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