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1985 BMW sitting up for years


I bought a 1985 bmw and I was told car was parked b/c the rack and pinion went out? I cranked the car with a hot battery and the car fired up. Should I clean the tank before running this car (prob sat up for over 4-5 yrs). My friend thinks it just need a high pressure pwr steering hose? I tried to crank it the other day but it sounded like my solenoid was not firing on the starter. The battery was not strong. What should I do to get this car back on the rd? Great body and motor approx. 170k and I pd 400.00 for it.

BMW needs to be on the rd in BAMA


You should change

engine oil and filter
brake fluid
fuel . . . this is EXTREMELY important, or you might wind up ruining the pump, injectors, etc.

If it’s got an automatic transmission, you should also change the fluid and filter, unless you KNOW it was done yesterday

All this is, naturally, in addition to fixing whatever is wrong with the steering system


You’ll also need to go through the brakes, lots of worn/cracked/aged components there. How old are the tires? Probably need new ones.


I’d also take a good look at the struts/shocks for signs of leaks. And engine mounts and bushings.
Everything with rubber parts, and that includes the struts and shocks, should be checked over carefully. A lot of these parts are probably 31 years old now, too old to be taken for granted.

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@db4690 wrote a list of what NEEDS to be done. It’s likely you will start to drive the car as soon as you can, but these fluid changes are really critical to not only getting it running, but also keeping it running. The hardest is changing out the gas, and getting rid of the old gas is a problem. If you live in a place with environmental laws there is some place where you can dispose of it properly. Just start asking around.

If you do start driving it, at least at first take it easy and expect something bad to happen. The first 50 miles or so stay away from other cars if you can, drive when there’s no traffic, drive alone, expect terrible failures, and bring a cell phone and a toolbox. The brakes might be OK, but they might fail. The tires are old and the tread gets very hard and slippery, and they are prone to blowouts and sudden failure. Wiggle the tire valve stems pretty hard because they get old and crack and then can suddenly just break off and you can lose control of the car. If the car shows signs of becoming reliable (starts easily, idles well, nothing is leaking or knocking or banging around) then invest in new tires and new flexible brake lines.

The zebra striped seat covers and fuzzy dice come later.

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