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General E46 Forum
This is the place to get answers, opinions and everything you need related to your E46 (sedan, coupe, convertible and wagon) BMW!

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Old 10-04-2011, 09:24 AM   #1
lax18xal
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Should I buy it? 1999 328i sedan

I'm a fifteen year old, about to be sixteen, looking for my first car. I love Bimmers, so naturally that's pretty much all that I'm looking at.

I recently found a 1999 328i sedan (5spd manual, 160k) for $5k obo on craigslist. I haven't gone to look at it yet, but I'm planning on going this weekend. From talking on the phone, this is what I've found out: everything is in good condition (clean title, good body, good interior), the seller has owned it since '01, all maintenance has been done at the BMW dealer, comes with winter tires (important because I live in michigan), license plate light is out.

I'm definitely going to have it checked out at the dealer before buying it and I'm pretty open to doing most of the work on it myself (my dad's an engineer/bimmer nut). I also know that they are known for subframe issues, so if that's bad, obviously it'll be a no-go.

What do you guys think?
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Old 10-04-2011, 09:30 AM   #2
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buying a car is not a one time investment, maintenance takes a lot of money and can sometimes exceeds what the car's worth.
however, doing work yourself can save you some money but parts aint cheap for bimmers.
I guess the best way is to do research and see if you can financially afford it.
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Old 10-04-2011, 09:31 AM   #3
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Old 10-04-2011, 09:39 AM   #4
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honestly, money is not much of an issue. i've been saving up for quite a while and i have a consistant income with almost no expenses at all.
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Old 10-04-2011, 09:41 AM   #5
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honestly, money is not much of an issue. i've been saving up for quite a while and i have a consistant income with almost no expenses at all.
well, if thats your decision, then do it.
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Old 10-04-2011, 09:47 AM   #6
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The kid drives a 2003 BMW 530i. I don't think $ or driving skills is a problem. He should be getting a m3 instead.
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Old 10-04-2011, 10:30 AM   #7
lax18xal
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I know that there are going to be issues and that it's going to end up costing more than $5k no matter what, but that's true with every e46. Basically, what I'm interested in hearing from you guys is whether or not you think that's a fair deal. Also, I don't have too much knowledge about this specific model and I'm wondering if there is anything that would make it better or worse than any other e46.
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Old 10-04-2011, 10:33 AM   #8
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The kid drives a 2003 BMW 530i. I don't think $ or driving skills is a problem. He should be getting a m3 instead.
By the way, my parents bought that car, so I'm not as loaded as you think (an e46 m3 is way out my price range).
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Old 10-04-2011, 10:42 AM   #9
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You're on the right track. The subframe and PPI (pre purchase inspection) are 2 great starting points. Know that the E46 is susceptible to cooling issues, certain areas are prone to oil leaks (easily a DIY project), window regulators fail and some other knick knacks here and there. BMW's in general require more maintenance than the average toyota or honda. But if you are willing to DIY, which it seems that you are, then it seems like a decent deal. You may be able to haggle a bit and bring the price down a bit. But otherwise, it seems you are headed in the right direction.

One word of advice though, it is fun to mod the car. Believe me, I know. But make sure to be completely up to date with your maintenance before diving into the mod side of things. Otherwise most here will give you a hard time. Worry about functionality before aesthetics. Your car will thank you for it. These cars will last a very very long time if well maintained.
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Old 10-04-2011, 10:45 AM   #10
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$5000 for a 13 year old BMW e46 with 160k is a tad overpriced. Even if he has receipts and maintenance/repair work for everything done since he acquired it in 2001 (which I highly doubt he does), then you're still overpaying by a thousand or two.

I'd be careful about taking his word for it...get the Pre-Purchase Inspection (PPI) and then judge accordingly.
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Old 10-04-2011, 12:35 PM   #11
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$5000 for a 13 year old BMW e46 with 160k is a tad overpriced. Even if he has receipts and maintenance/repair work for everything done since he acquired it in 2001 (which I highly doubt he does), then you're still overpaying by a thousand or two.

I'd be careful about taking his word for it...get the Pre-Purchase Inspection (PPI) and then judge accordingly.
Not really.
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Old 10-04-2011, 05:34 PM   #12
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Not really.
In the states? ya rly.

For 5 grand look for a 01+ 325 with 100ish. I'd pay 3.5k max for a 323 with 160 on it.
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Old 10-04-2011, 05:47 PM   #13
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In the states? ya rly.

For 5 grand look for a 01+ 325 with 100ish. I'd pay 3.5k max for a 323 with 160 on it.
OP is considering a 328, not a 323.

For his ZipCode, a 328i with that mileage and in "good" condition is $4750, "excellent" is $5225.

Asking price is right on the money.
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Old 10-04-2011, 05:50 PM   #14
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I love my 328, OP, but I've done a lot of work on it. If you want to see my list, I think I published most of it in the thread "200K"--search for me and '200K' in title search.
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Old 10-04-2011, 10:51 AM   #15
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I have owned a 99 328 since 2007. It's been a great car, and for a car that you can pick up for $5k its hard to beat it for all around usefulness/fun to drive. You will have to work on this car, and don't think the dealer has fixed all the things that people on fanatics complain about. But that said, if you are willing to learn I'd say go for it ( I assume that it is a manual transmission otherwise I would pass )

Indeed e46 prices are at a low point particularly early models but da*n a $3k e46 non wrecked must be in pretty clapped out condition

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Old 10-04-2011, 10:53 AM   #16
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I have owned a 99 328 since 2007. It's been a great car, and for a car that you can pick up for $5k its hard to beat it for all around usefulness/fun to drive. You will have to work on this car, and don't think the dealer has fixed all the things that people on fanatics complain about. But that said, if you are willing to learn I'd say go for it ( I assume that it is a manual transmission otherwise I would pass )
+1

Forgot to add that. I bought a steptronic first time around, traded it in 6 months later for a 5 spd. Got bored with automatic fairly quickly.
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Old 10-04-2011, 11:00 AM   #17
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yes, it is a manual. im already bored with my parents' steptronic 530.
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Old 10-04-2011, 11:26 AM   #18
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yes, it is a manual. im already bored with my parents' steptronic 530.
interesting...
I am tired of driving my manual RX8 in traffic.
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Old 10-04-2011, 12:28 PM   #19
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Ah the old step/manual debate I don't mean to get it started again but
manual > step

/nuff said
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Old 10-04-2011, 12:43 PM   #20
lax18xal
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Ah the old step/manual debate I don't mean to get it started again but
manual > step

/nuff said
I totally agree and honestly nobody could convince me to get an automatic.
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