Buyers Guide to:
1978 to 1989
BMW Car Club Great Britain
Designed by the talented Paul Bracq, the shark-nosed BMW 6 Series (the E24 as it was known) was launched in 1976. Two years later the 635CSi joined the range, powered by a 3.5-litre engine and featuring larger spoilers and plenty of luxury kit. Revised in 1982, there were new underpinnings shared with the then-current BMW 5 Series along with improved suspension and a new ‘M30’ 3430cc engine. Three years later, a 4-speed automatic gearbox with selectable drive modes was added to the range, and in 1988 self-levelling suspension and more kit, including climate control, improved the stylish coupe yet further. Production finished in 1989.
- Front wings, around the indicators and ahead of the sills
- Door bottoms
- Sunroof opening
- Rear wheel arches
- Rear valance
- For any signs of rust as eradicating it completely will be very expensive. Check the inner wing seams and around the battery, too, while replacement front wings are more than £600 each
- Underneath as corrosion affects the jacking points, oor and footwells, and around the fuel tank. Examine around the fuel filler neck, too
- Inside the boot for signs of damp – leaking rear light seals allow water in, leading to rust in the boot floor
- That the engine isn’t excessively smoky, and that regular oil and filter changes have been carried out. Ticking from cold means the camshaft and rockers are worn, usually caused by a blocked oil spray bar in the cylinder head. Timing chains can rattle but usually last okay
- For any signs of previous overheating - it will cause head gasket failure and warping of the alloy cylinder head. A blocked radiator or failed viscous fan coupling are common culprits
- That the exhaust system is healthy. Genuine parts aren’t cheap, and the manifolds can crack, too. Fuel leaks from perished injection pipework can occur, and check for warning lights on the dash or rough running that signify engine management issues
- The manual gearbox for worn synchromesh or an obstructive shift. If the later 4-speed automatic is fitted, try it in all of the drive modes to ensure everything works properly
- That the differential isn’t leaking oil, and listen for clunks caused by wear in the prop-shaft bearing or worn universal joints
- For worn brake discs and pads. The high-pressure hydraulics use Automatic Transmission Fluid (ATF) which should be changed annually, while a hard brake pedal points to a failed accumulator
- That the anti-lock brakes are working properly. They were fitted from 1982, and repairs will be expensive
- The rear sub-frame and suspension mountings for corrosion, and for cracks around the steering box where it mounts to the front cross-member. Repairs here can be hugely expensive, so be warned. Tired springs and dampers will cause the suspension to sag, so does the ride height look okay?
- The condition of the interior, for scuffed leather and damaged plastic trim. Both cloth and leather seats wear well, but the latter is more desirable
- That all of the gadgets are working. Water ingress and neglect can cause havoc, so it’s important to ensure that items such as electric windows, seats, and the sunroof all operate as expected
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