The BMW E30 was your typical entry-level luxury car that started off with a two-door sedan style body. BMW eventually evolved the E30 into four-door sedan models, convertibles, and estate (“Wagon”) models in its later years. The E30 was the first 3 series to offer not only the estate and sedan body styles, but the first 3 series to offer a diesel engine and all-wheel-drive models with the 325iX. The BMW Z1 roadster was also based on the E30 platform. Let’s not forget that the FIRST BMW M3 was built on the E30 platform.
It’s interesting to see the major influence the E30 had on BMW and the entire automotive industry. This is why the E30 has such a cult classic reputation and its popularity continues to grow as the years go by. Ryan Stewart, technical editor for SpeedHunters and good friend of CSF is a huge fan of the BMW E30. Much so that thinking about the car brings him back to his childhood daydreaming that one day he will own one.
Well, if you work hard enough and follow your passion, dreams can become reality and Ryan happens to own a unique E30 built to his personal taste and vision. He’s got a 320i SE with the six-cylinder M20 motor. This may not be one of the most sought out E30 models, however the SE model comes with a list of extras such as pop-out rear windows, electric mirrors, windows and sunroof along with servo-leveling headlights. Since purchasing his E30, Ryan has added a number of mods from interior bits, suspension, brakes and wheels. However, before moving onto performance upgrades, one of the critical things to consider is the cooling system.
In comes CSF along with the relationship with CA Tuned who is known for their restorations and modifications of classic BMWs. Igor has been a great help with incorporating CSF products into their iconic builds, especially with the E30 market. To upgrade the old cooling system to CSF’s Ultimate Cooling Solution for the E30 (Non-M), they’ve come up with a solution by installing an E36 radiator (CSF #3054) that fits snug on all the OEM rubber mounts and still clears the OEM fan. The E36 radiator is much larger than the OEM E30 radiator which will be more than enough to meet its cooling needs.
CSF BMW E36 Radiator Specs (CSF #3054)
- CSF’s Exclusive B-tube technology
- 2-Row 42mm Core Features Ultra-Efficient Fins with a Multi-Louvered Design for Maximum Surface Area Contact
- Slip-on 1-1/2 Inlet/Outlet Connections
- CNC Machined Brackets and Fittings for Superb Fit and Durability
- All-Aluminum Race Style Drain Plug
- 1-Hour “Mirror Finish” Hand Polish
Since Ryan’s 2.0 M20 engine doesn’t benefit from the external oil coolers that the 2.5 models come with, Ryan sought out to upgrade to the factory oil cooler. Considering the age of these E30’s, finding a used one may not be the best route even if you find one fully functional. CSF along with CA Tuned reinvented the BMW E30 oil cooler. If you own an E30 that has this oil cooler, it’s time to ditch the three-decade-old oil cooler (that is probably all banged up, clogged, and doesn’t even work properly) for CSF’s BMW E30 Oil Cooler (CSF #8092).
CSF BMW E30 Oil Cooler Specs (CSF #8092)
- Direct Fit Oil Cooler for BMW E30
- Can Fit Other M20 Engine Swap Set-Ups
- Comes Complete with Fitting Kit for Both OEM Style as Well as -10 AN Male Connections
- High-Performance Bar/Plate Design for Maximum Durability and Performance
- Cast End Tank Design
- Matte Black Finish
- OEM # 1719179
- Direct fit for: 1988-1991 E30 BMW 325i / BMW 325is / BMW 325iX.
OEM to CSF comparison (oil Cooler)
Upgraded CSF BMW E30 Oil Cooler compared to OEM E30 Oil Cooler
The CSF radiator not only outperforms the OEM radiator, but completely changes the look of the engine bay.
As a result of upgrading the radiator and oil cooler, Ryan has seen a 68˚F degree drop in oil temperature and similar results for water temps in brisk driving. However, one significant change in performance is the difference in wide-open throttle pulls. With the stock radiator, the temp gauge would shoot up after a hard pull. With the CSF radiator and oil cooler combo, the temps don’t move at all regardless of how hard Ryan drives the car. I can attest to this as I drove Ryan’s E30 to the Player’s Show in the UK, drove it pretty hard, and had no cooling issues whatsoever. I will add that he’s got it dialed down pretty well, it was fun and comfortable to drive! Check out the video of the installation of the cooling combo below (you can catch me at the 1:00 mark doing a flyby in the E30). Till next time, STAY COOL!!!
For more information and awesome photos on Ryan’s BMW E30, check out his feature on SpeedHunters.