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E90 330i - Third Blue Motor On The Bounce


ClioSport Moderator
So I went and a new car up from @Sir_Dave today, I seem to have a thing for buying the same colour cars one after another...

I may as well do the background as I haven't really posted much car related stuff since getting rid of the Silver Grey 650i.... So after having 4 silver cars, I went and bought a blue Mini Cooper S. I wanted a run around, manual, something fun, and something that could get around London with ease and to not really worry about dents and s**t.

This went... VERY badly.

On the way home I noticed a little more white smoke than I'd like, and then after a few days, at the top end of the revs, you couldn't get it into third from second:


I had a big holiday coming up, so I drove to the airport, dumped the car and worried about it upon return. The drive back made it very clear that something was wrong. Smoke machining my way down the m25. I played silly games with the dealer, but finally managed to convince them to take it back. Bullet dodged.

Naturally, I got in an uber, went north, and found another mini. By this point I just needed a car to get me around that worked. The best one I found just so happened to be blue also:


So, recently, I was heading somewhere near Sir_Dave, so I popped into to take a look at his 330. With 30 mins, I'd agreed a sale with Dave on one of the three BMW's, primarily so he didn't look quite so insane to the neighbors.

I put the mini up for sale and thought it'd shift easy, I was quite wrong. I didn't get a single bite through autotrader or here, then today, I hatched a plan to go get the 330 with @TheEvilGiraffe, I was at work and about to leave, and a chap at work said he'd buy it right then and there...

Naturally, this meant the wonderful Giraffe came and picked me up from work (close to his location thankfully), and we headed off to see Dave.

We got there, picked up the car, had a spot of lunch and off home we headed. The plan was to give the car a bloody good going over as is tradition with pretty much every new car I buy, however, it didn't quite go to plan. 50 miles into the journey, a rotational vibration came from the rear of the car, pulled over, it continued whilst rolling, not when stopped, but I couldn't see anything wrong. I continued on home, it disappeared entirely. Then 3 miles later, it was back, for a mile.

Got the car home, started to investigate. First thing we found was that the rear drivers side brake/wheel area was roasting.

Naturally we had to wait for it to cool down, so we washed it first, and then cracked out the tools:


Cleans up alright, a quick investigation found a stuck caliper, and a nice blue disk:


All free'd off, I hope it was the cause. But we shall see. Regardless, it'll be sorted.

Onto the fun stuff, I had a few plans:

Machine polish the paint. It's in great nick generally, but really could do with a little cutting
Full restore on the headlights (touched on this today but a proper sand back will do them wonders)
Try to restore the exhaust tips to shiny goodness

New ZHP weighted gearknob (had one in the z4, loved it)
New centre caps for the wheels, I change them on every BMW I buy.
New Winscreen (cracked)
Look into the aircon functionality (not currently alive)
Solder radio connection (Dave tells me I'm old if I listen to FM, but I do. :D)

Only other pic from today, I'll take some proper ones tomorrow if I find time/location:


A long read, sorry, but I'll keep this up to date.


ClioSport Trader
Are there any BMW/Mini transactions on here that @Sir_Dave isn't involved in to some degree or another? :ROFLMAO:

Good buy @Rob (y)

Probably not :ROFLMAO:
Just need to fix the 325i touring & sell that to someone now and ill be happy!
Great buy. I never realised that it was such an early one because of Dave's plate.

Very tidy!

Yup, very early, hence the electric folding mirrors as standard (mega geek mode). Best engine/gearbox combo i reckon.

Enjoy it @Rob hopefully a new rear caliper will solve the current problems!

Looks mint clean either way :love:


ClioSport Moderator
So, as is tradition, things have been bought.

First, a bit more diagnosis as to what the whirring was.. New rear caliper to solve the sticking:


Fitted. Fixed. It was just binding a smidge.

Then, I simply couldn’t get on with the shape of the gearknob, very flat on top, harsh angles? Almost like it was designed for RHD?

So, zhp ordered. Collected tonight from a neighbour, will fit tomorrow no doubt:



I’ve also ordered a new boot opening handle/micro switch. The existing one is a bit worn on the rubber, and new centre caps, because I love fresh bmw centre caps.

Proper clean (and interior) will be done this weekend, with some better pics.


ClioSport Club Member
  A4 S Line & Impreza
Fairly bomb proof and cheap to fix these, aren’t they Bobert? I’m looking for cars now 24/7 and keep coming back to a 330i.


ClioSport Moderator
Fairly bomb proof and cheap to fix these, aren’t they Bobert? I’m looking for cars now 24/7 and keep coming back to a 330i.

Extremely on both fronts, if you get an early one the engine is generally more reliable and the timing chain is at the front so even if it goes bang it’s not so bad to fix.

In terms of easy to fix, it’s basically the same as my z4, which I did lots to and found very simple. Parts are very affordable too.
Some bits are and some arent, as youll find out.

Front springs fail commonly and when they do, take out the front tyre because the spring seat is moronic and the spring drops down over it.
Drop links last about 15 minutes up here before theyre audible
The handbrake is awful, but dont ignore it, or youll ruin the inside of the disks and have to replace them for the MOT.
Headlight level sensor brackets corrode and vanish
Rear suspension bushes, especially subframe bushes wear out and make them snappy and unpleasant to drive. Sorting the lot is about £700 in parts.
ABS rings on the smaller engined cars (sub 3 litre) fail regularly due to corrosion of the CV
The pad wear sensors wont actually trigger until your pads are at or below the 1.5mm dangerous fail on the new MOT, so keep an eye, especially inner rears as the pads are small.

Overall, I've now had the Mrs E87 and my E90 for a combined 70k+ and theyve been generally reliable, with the parts which have failed being much as youd exect for age and mileage, but the above issues were unwelcome surprises on both cars.

Parts arent cheap compared to VAG and the design isnt as good in terms of repair and maintenance, the diagnostic software is dreadful, but theyre much nicer to drive.


ClioSport Club Member
  Cup 172
I really want an e90/e91 330i (probably manual but not precious)

They seem really difficult to find in decent spec. I would like xenons and the screen thing.

Le Mans too, maybe silver

Yours is lovely


ClioSport Moderator
I really want an e90/e91 330i (probably manual but not precious)

They seem really difficult to find in decent spec. I would like xenons and the screen thing.

Le Mans too, maybe silver

Yours is lovely

Thanks mate, Dave found it.. I just bought it off him! It drives bloody lovely though, it’s like a big z4


ClioSport Moderator
Stonking hangover today but I got a few bits done...

First of all the boot button was properly manky and split, found one on eBay local, £15 later, much better:





Then I moved onto the inside, old gear knob:


Yanked that off, got the new one on,
The gaitor needs a bit fettling still, but it feels so much better:




Then I gave the inside a proper hoover out, think I could do with new mats, drivers one is a bit tired.. but I have no idea how much genuine bmw ones are? Anyone bought some?


Quick pick in the sunset (it’s windy as s**t outside) to finish it off:



ClioSport Moderator
The cars lovely mate. I would miss the leather though.

I thought the same, I even said to Dave about trading as he seemed to love these weird seats.. But my god they’re comfy, and the heated element gets super hot, and they’ve worn far better than leather would after 14 years and 130k miles


ClioSport Club Member
  Cup 172
True. I’ve kind of given up on the 330i chase. Seem hard to find in this guise. Probably going mk6 golf gti


ClioSport Club Member
  Mk1 Audi TT 3.2 V6
I swapped my leather out for alcantara. A much comfier drive in those.


ClioSport Moderator
Looks great. I'm surprised that you've not binned that 335 badge from the old boot already!

I was hungover as s**t yesterday, or I'd have cracked on. I'm a bit scared of what remains it'll leave also. It'll get done this week, fear not.

I kinda like the 330i badge, so I may just swap the 5? :unsure:

It needs boot badge, new centre caps, and a bloody good polish on the outside. Polish can wait until summer.


ClioSport Club Member
I was hungover as s**t yesterday, or I'd have cracked on. I'm a bit scared of what remains it'll leave also. It'll get done this week, fear not.

I kinda like the 330i badge, so I may just swap the 5? :unsure:

It needs boot badge, new centre caps, and a bloody good polish on the outside. Polish can wait until summer.

Just buy a new badge imo, they're cheap enough and will look nice and crispy. The correct spacing is all set as well.

I need to fit my new boot roundel too, it's got worse over the winter.

Matt W

ClioSport Club Member
  Suzuki Jimny
This thread has inspired me to replace my manky front bmw badge ?
Also interested in the genuine new mats, Renault ones were easy to get!

Love the saloon shape and the colour, very nice!


ClioSport Moderator
So, this is going to be one fucker of an update. I'll split it into two parts.

Firstly, the reason I bought the car, I'd booked to go to Bruges with 5 mates. Two live in mainland europe, so would be making their own way, but I needed to drive four, as between us, no one had a suitable car. Mate 1) Broken Leon Cupra R, keeps overheating. Mate 2) based near to central London, so shares an old fiesta with his mrs, Mate 3) Mk4 Golf GTi that's like triggers broom.

So this left me in my Mini, this wouldn't do (especially as most of us are 6ft or so), So Dave saved the day on that front.

So yeah, first thing's first, bruges:

Car performed faultlessly, what amazed me most is that compared with a lot of other cars I've owned, it didn't really feel like I was fulled loaded with four and luggage. Car was still nimble and fun all the way there and back.

A couple of bruges pics, just because updates suck without them:

Sat in the car at the ferry, the interface (combox etc) upgrades that dave did were great, my mate connected to the car via bluetooth and played DJ all the way from here to Bruges:


Obviously, when on the ferry, the best thing to do is escape from the peasants and head for a fancy breakfast, with a pint to follow:


We stayed in a fully baller air B&B, really recommend this place:


And then there was the views, and the beers:




It's like a f**king fairly tale.

To make matters better (or worse for our health) we were also there for Paddy's day. Find the irish bar and drink nothing but whiskey and Guinness for 12 solid hours (the only day we didn't hit the proper beer):



ClioSport Moderator
So then, three days, later, I'd booked to go the lakes with the mrs.

With the state of my hangover, I couldn't manage to wash the car myself in these three days, so the day before heading off, I popped to the local bos-wash (sorry detailers):


Loaded the car up with enough luggage for a month, despite only being 5 days, and got a move on:


Upon arrival, it was a bit dismal, but a bloody lovely view over the Lyth Valley:

Had a wonderful few days of driving around, doing some great fun stuff, got to take the BMW on some roads I probably shouldn't have:


This was whilst popping down to an amazing Quarry thing:


Popped to the local craft beer brewery at one point, quite lovely:


And generally spent a lot of time doing a lot of miles between wonderful places on some great roads. The weather also picked up considerably:


Including some pubs with cracking views (The Masons Arms):


So after five days of holiday, the stats were quite something:


That's a total of 21 hrs spent driving, 872 miles covered, 33.2mpg! Not bad, especially as on the way up there and back we got stuck in some heavy traffic. The 300 miles home actually averaged more like 38.9mpg!

So yeah, yesterday I thought I should probably clean the car myself, not a lot of photos, but I ordered a new savage Nilfisk pressure washer and got to try it out. Far better than my old one. Popped out to grab some milk and the colour looked great as the evening set in, so just one photo:


If you made it through all of that, thanks.