FIVE WAYS TO MAKE IT BET­TER

Classic Car Weekly (UK) - - Buying & Selling -

1 STAY RUST-FREE

With cor­ro­sion be­com­ing an is­sue, it’s worth keep­ing a close eye on the body­work, and deal­ing with any out­breaks as soon as they ap­pear. Spe­cial­ists also ad­vise a reg­u­lar check of the un­der­side, look­ing for rust on the brake and fuel lines, the for­mer be­ing es­pe­cially vul­ner­a­ble – re­place­ment is around £500. If they are a sound, then a lib­eral coat­ing of pro­tec­tive wax or oil will keep them that way.

2 A PER­FECT DRIVE

Taut han­dling is an M3 trade­mark so re­place any sloppy sus­pen­sion bushes. Bud­get around £250 to re­place worn rear shock ab­sorber top mounts, while front wish­bones bushes come in at around £100 each. Orig­i­nal parts are best and done on a pre­ven­ta­tive ba­sis, costs aren’t pro­hib­i­tive and it’ll trans­form the way an M3 drives.

3 EN­GINE MAIN­TE­NANCE

There’s al­ways the po­ten­tial for bot­tom end wear, so if an S50 en­gine has cov­ered 100,000 miles then re­plac­ing the con­nect­ing rod bolts and main bear­ing shells is a wise pre­cau­tion. Up­graded parts are avail­able but OEM bits are per­fectly good, and you should bud­get around £1000 at a spe­cial­ist. The work can be done with the en­gine in situ, too.

4 KEEP IT COOL

A cool­ing sys­tem that’s de­te­ri­o­rated through age and mileage is risky for such a pow­er­ful mo­tor, so an over­haul is worth­while. The ex­pan­sion tank can frac­ture, so a BMW re­place­ment at £90 is a cheap fix and while the £370 cost of an OEM wa­ter pump is heftier, it’s a wise move in the longer term.

5 GO ORIG­I­NAL

Mod­i­fi­ca­tions to the brakes and sus­pen­sion were pop­u­lar, but many pre­fer orig­i­nal­ity so you might con­sider a re­turn to stan­dard spec. Orig­i­nal BMW brakes all round are £880 for the parts, with springs and dampers com­ing in at £1500. Not cheap, but it will add de­sir­abil­ity should you come to sell.

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