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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 04-06-2012, 07:55 PM   #1
keninirvine
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Reliability after 115k miles

My girlfriend has a 2004 325 sedan which she purchased new and now has 115k miles of Orange County driving on the Odometer. The car is really clean and runs great. Mechanics have recently noted a leaking oil pan gasket, and have quoted about $1000 to replace, which seems normal. I'm suggesting she leaves it a while since there is no evidence of oil dripping on the garage floor yet. She is wondering whether it is time to consider selling the car, as it is getting to the stage where there could be continuing maintenance issues as the miles increase the car continues to age.
Question: Are there any major items that typically start to fail after 100k miles, such as struts, fuel pumps, etc etc? If not, she'd like to keep it as she likes it, and doesn't mind paying for smaller miscellaneous repairs that might come up.
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Old 04-06-2012, 07:59 PM   #2
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Sell and buy Honda
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Old 04-06-2012, 08:00 PM   #3
Solidjake
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Yes, search the forum and you will see what the E46 entails maintenance wise. Average cost of maintenance can be about $1000 a year at that mileage.
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Old 04-06-2012, 08:20 PM   #4
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http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthread.php?t=843731

Check in here. It might give you some idea of what to expect.
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Old 04-06-2012, 08:38 PM   #5
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It's not the oil pan...it's probably some combination of vcg, ofhg, ccv leaking...dripping onto underskirt and blowing back...and also, some PS fluid leaking from under the reservoir too...check ps fluid level now!

DIY this with her and make a vid for our entertainment!

$1000 to replace a pan that undoubtedly isn't leaking? How about $40 for vcg, $5 for ofhg, and $140 for CCV...and a day diying with gf, impressing her with your knowledge?

Oh, and you can run all you want with a dripping oil pan anyway. VCG and CCV would present issues eventually, though...so attend to them...and PS leaks also...usually those can mostly be solved for $5--a few screw clamps and reservoir gasket.
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Old 04-06-2012, 08:43 PM   #6
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agree with dmax. i myself would say the oil filter housing gasket doesnt last very long. mine was replaced at 90K and i replaced my neighboors aswell around 110k.
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Old 04-06-2012, 08:46 PM   #7
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After replacing my oil filter housing gasket, thinking that was the source of an oil leak, it turned out it was the oil pan gasket. Local BMW dealer quoted around $995 to replace the $30 gasket, so I did it myself. Anyhow, your question for your girlfriend ... maintained BMW's can easily go double the miles she has already, however, there is maintenance expense that goes with that. Lot's cheaper than a new car....
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Old 04-06-2012, 08:50 PM   #8
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Do ur regular maintenance (preventative)for the car to ensure longer life span! It can do double her mileage as ^^^Sansho stated. give lots of TLC!!!!
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Old 04-06-2012, 08:59 PM   #9
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Clean the side of the engine and keep tabs on the easier-to-fix usual suspects for a while, and confirm it's not them before jumping into a oil pan gasket.

At 120K miles my wagon had a trifecta of leaky OFHG, weeping oil separator lines, and leaky power steering lines. Made a big mess and it sure looked like I had a bad oil pan gasket. Fortunately, that wasn't the case for my car, and my garage floor appreciates it.
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Old 04-06-2012, 09:02 PM   #10
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Well judging by your thread post you are probably not very mechanically inclined but its time to get some tools out and get to know your car because if you DIY you will be saving about 90% in your pocket when you do a job. Get a jack and some stands, get up under the car and see where the leaks are coming from. It's most likely either your VCG, CCV, or your Oil filter housing gasket and it's just making its way down to your oil pan gasket. Just do the work yourself and keep up with the maintenance so you don't just have a bunch of problems building up on you. Preventive maintenance helps to. I just spent around $1k on parts on my wifes 325i and replaced so much, if i was to take it to a shop or dealer it would have cost me around $6k for everything i replaced.
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Old 04-07-2012, 12:11 AM   #11
keninirvine
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PRDesignsTony View Post
Well judging by your thread post you are probably not very mechanically inclined but its time to get some tools out and get to know your car because if you DIY you will be saving about 90% in your pocket when you do a job. Get a jack and some stands, get up under the car and see where the leaks are coming from. It's most likely either your VCG, CCV, or your Oil filter housing gasket and it's just making its way down to your oil pan gasket. Just do the work yourself and keep up with the maintenance so you don't just have a bunch of problems building up on you. Preventive maintenance helps to. I just spent around $1k on parts on my wifes 325i and replaced so much, if i was to take it to a shop or dealer it would have cost me around $6k for everything i replaced.
Actually, I have done a lot of mechanical work on many cars over the years. But I'm getting to the point that I don't feel as inclined to be sliding around under a jacked up car looking for work to do. I totally disassembled and rebuilt a 30 Model A Ford many years ago, and a 57 Ford Thunderbird 20 years ago, as well as exhaust and interior work on my 06 Porsche 911 cab. So I don't mind tinkering. I just don't like the dirty work around old motors anymore. My GF does keep on top of all service work with her car, which is likely why it runs so well. I think I'll take the suggestions here and do some better inspections of oil leak sources before she spends too much money on something that may not be necessary.
Thanks for all the helpful suggestions folks.
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Old 04-06-2012, 10:45 PM   #12
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im approaching 160k with only required maintenance to keep car running (college yields me broke as a joke). I am knowingly keeping for at least another 60k as I know that the engine can push 300k miles while replacing only parts/gaskets that are about to fail. I break out the jack and stands about once a month to inspect the underside of my car. just be sure to have your GF keep up to date with her car and not let problems persist and she can double the mileage shes at now. (sorry for a drunk, non informational post)
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Old 04-06-2012, 10:50 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by keninirvine View Post
My girlfriend has a 2004 325 sedan which she purchased new and now has 115k miles of Orange County driving on the Odometer. The car is really clean and runs great. Mechanics have recently noted a leaking oil pan gasket, and have quoted about $1000 to replace, which seems normal. I'm suggesting she leaves it a while since there is no evidence of oil dripping on the garage floor yet. She is wondering whether it is time to consider selling the car, as it is getting to the stage where there could be continuing maintenance issues as the miles increase the car continues to age.
Question: Are there any major items that typically start to fail after 100k miles, such as struts, fuel pumps, etc etc? If not, she'd like to keep it as she likes it, and doesn't mind paying for smaller miscellaneous repairs that might come up.
Lol...Mechanics sometimes haha - Ya mine told me i got lil leak too when I go between oil changes and see no drips and no change on dip stick for entire change cycle its fine. No biggy. Don't sell it just cause he says that. Even if you drop 1k into it no reason to sell it specially since im assuming its paid off car. Car payment vs dropping 1k for that year - Yup exactly...
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Old 04-07-2012, 04:09 AM   #14
dmax
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Ken,

Perhaps if you send photo of gf, I might suggest she moves to NJ! My car has double her mileage. Give her the option; you, or keeping the car another 8 years at least!

You can help her save $$$ easily--one weekend of work. She shouldn't be paying for spark plugs, cooling work, random gaskets, icv cleaning...all this stuff will be coming up. Pulleys are due if she hasn't done them.

Encourage her to come here and post a list of all the work done on her car and when...we'll help her save money and get a more reliable car than an Indy/Dealer would give her in most cases.

Any shop makes more money by only replacing what's broken...3 trips for cooling system work pays more than one.

The shop might have picked up that she's giving up on the car a bit...beginning not to like the odds on repair costs...and a $1000 oil pan gasket might be there way of getting her to say, "okay, you can buy my car for $3,000 and I'll move on."

Also, have to say that if she has an auto tranny and the shop that's been doing all the work hasn't suggested a trans fluid/filter change yet...or done plugs...or flushed coolant/brake/ps fluid...well...it's the wrong shop.

When you said "jacked up car" I hope you meant 'jack standed up car'!
NJ is very nice, btw...be sure to mention this to gf!
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Old 04-07-2012, 07:02 AM   #15
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To answer your question about reliability after 115,000 miles, it all depends on the level of preventative maintenance. Certainly do some research here on suggested PM items, especially replacement of cooling system components. And follow the suggestions here about cleaning up the engine and then trying to find the source of the oil leaks.

FWIW, my car is over 12 years old, has over 150,000 miles on it and I would not hesitate to jump in it right now and drive it across the county. As a matter of fact, this winter I had the car as far north as Montreal, Canada (with 4 snow tires on), and then down as far south as Miami (with 4 summer tires on), for a total of about 4,000 miles.

Lately I have started to get an occassional airbag warning light on, so on long trips I have the Peake airbag code reader and reset tool that I keep with me. I did have to reset the code once over the course of my winter travels. And over the years I (perhaps once a year) have had another code that does cause a drivability issue which sets the check engine light on. The fix for this is to shut off the engine, wait 30 seconds, re-start the engine and the drivablility issue goes away. I keep the Peake engine code reader with me at all times and I did have this issue occur once this winter during my travels. I used the code reader to verify the issue and reset the check engine light. My advice to you is at the very least buy a Peake engine code reader and take it with you if you want to be able to take the car on long trips and not be concerned about reliability issues.
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Old 04-07-2012, 07:33 AM   #16
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I think as with all cars reliability after 100k has a lot to do with how well you rook care of the car in the first 100k.
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Old 04-07-2012, 10:54 AM   #17
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That car is good for another 150+ thousand miles. Spend a few dollars to stop the leaks. You are never gonna find another car to replace this one for the cost of the minor repairs it needs.
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Old 04-07-2012, 05:34 PM   #18
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Assume nothing except oil changes and brakes were changed during the first 100k miles.
Now you got the following coming up that are likely to fail soon(this is using my own car as a reference):
Struts and shocks all around
control arms, bushings, sway bar links
wheel bearings and hub
Fuel pump
Alternator and battery
Power steering Pump and fluid change
Ccv or oil separator ( starts burning oil )
Vanos seals and vvg
Possibly couple ignition coils might go bad and cause misfires
All spark plugs
brake fluid bleed
Ebrake shoes rust or cable might malfunction
Ac might not work as well( easy problem - leaking hose , hard problem- ac comPressor
Other smaller problems such as burnt out light bulbs
transmission fluid
Last and not least whole cooling system
All belts

This is all after from 90k-120k miles.
And most of these you don't want to wait until they fail completely before you change them(stranded)
Easily $8000 job from a mechanic
Or $3000 for DIY.

Last edited by MercForHire; 04-07-2012 at 05:42 PM.
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Old 04-07-2012, 05:37 PM   #19
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It's best to sell the car while it still works and mileage still not too high to a poor sucker.
Then rebuy another well maintained E46 from a poor guy who has done all that work for you. Mileage doesn't matter
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Old 04-09-2012, 03:12 PM   #20
threetwentyfizzle
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MercForHire View Post
Assume nothing except oil changes and brakes were changed during the first 100k miles.
Now you got the following coming up that are likely to fail soon(this is using my own car as a reference):
Struts and shocks all around
control arms, bushings, sway bar links
wheel bearings and hub
Fuel pump
Alternator and battery
Power steering Pump and fluid change
Ccv or oil separator ( starts burning oil )
Vanos seals and vvg
Possibly couple ignition coils might go bad and cause misfires
All spark plugs
brake fluid bleed
Ebrake shoes rust or cable might malfunction
Ac might not work as well( easy problem - leaking hose , hard problem- ac comPressor
Other smaller problems such as burnt out light bulbs
transmission fluid
Last and not least whole cooling system
All belts

This is all after from 90k-120k miles.
And most of these you don't want to wait until they fail completely before you change them(stranded)
Easily $8000 job from a mechanic
Or $3000 for DIY.
Can someone shed some light on the ccv and vanos seals/vvc for me while this thread is still relevant? My 325ci just approached 100k on me and it's time for my preventative maintenance projects as well.

So far, I've replaced my fuel pump/fuel filter

Coolant flush

Belts and 1 of the pulleys (alternator or idler I think)

Control arms replaced when I bought car

About to replace clutch/flywheel/trans fluid this weekend

Any other areas I need to bring to my attention besides spark plugs? (I will be doing them within the next month or so)
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