Project BMW 318is: What’s Wrong With the Engine?

The BMW 318is came with a 1.8-liter four-cylinder, designated as the M42. After cleaning and inspecting our new purchase, it seemed that the engine was really the only major issue with the car.

Read all about this project car here.


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Streetwiseguy MegaDork
1/15/20 5:16 p.m.

Well, whats wrong with it is, Its an M42. 

But that's just my opinion, I could be wrong.

irish44j MegaDork
1/15/20 5:51 p.m.

Usually the idler gear breaking like that is due to the original chain guide (which your car has) disintegrates (the plastic parts from the metal) and causes the chain to get caught, which then snaps the idler gear, since it's the weakest link. I've seen plenty of instances of the idler breaking, and IIRC about 100% of them are cars with the original chain guide. BMW updated the part at some point in the 90s.


KyAllroad (Jeremy)
KyAllroad (Jeremy) UltimaDork
1/15/20 8:03 p.m.

Our KOTH car is a 95 318Ti which apparently uses the same motor.  

First track day it felt very much like an NA8 Miata.  Underpowered but capable chassis.  Revved to 6,500 but without real enthusiasm on the top end.   For our second event we cut off most of the exhaust (the cat was already deleted and we cut off the restrictive resonator and heavy muffler) running an aftermarket thrush turbo muffler only.  It's a bit rowdy but "racecar" and is downright eager to rev to the limiter.

If your car doesn't have an LSD yet start looking for one, it's really necessary.

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