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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, 08:24 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, 08:30 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, 08:31 AM   #3
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Buy it. You'll be our next Dmax
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Originally Posted by Arsevader
Sorry to hear about your mirror. This is what happens when you don't change your mirror fluid at the recommended intervals.
For Sale: 1. OEM used headlights and corners, see link http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthread.php?t=884565
2. 2 brand new Bosch post cat oxygen sensors
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Old 10-04-2011, 08:39 AM   #4
lax18xal
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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, 08:41 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, 08:47 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, 09:30 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, 09:33 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by MercForHire View Post
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, 09:42 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, 09:45 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, 09:51 AM   #11
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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

Last edited by Brinkley; 10-04-2011 at 09:55 AM.
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Old 10-04-2011, 09:53 AM   #12
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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, 10:00 AM   #13
lax18xal
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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, 10:26 AM   #14
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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, 11:28 AM   #15
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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, 11:35 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by restore View Post
$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, 11:43 AM   #17
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Here is a list of things you must do or already done.
Subframe reinforcement kit plus installation $150 + 8-10 hours labour welding shop. Total: $1000
Cooling system overhaul $300 parts + 3-5 hours labour. Total: $600-800
Ccv hoses. Not sure how much but $500+ job for shop and at least few hundred in parts for diy.
Random other fixes $1000

Total everything and see if you can afford.
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Old 10-04-2011, 11:43 AM   #18
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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Old 10-04-2011, 11:48 AM   #19
moiz21
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Originally Posted by MercForHire View Post
Here is a list of things you must do or already done.
Subframe reinforcement kit plus installation $150 + 8-10 hours labour welding shop. Total: $1000
Cooling system overhaul $300 parts + 3-5 hours labour. Total: $600-800
Ccv hoses. Not sure how much but $500+ job for shop and at least few hundred in parts for diy.
Random other fixes $1000

Total everything and see if you can afford.
Aside from the subframe kit, the rest are easily DIY. No reason to dish out that insane amount of money, for simple jobs. CCV is only ~$150 and a 2-3 hour job. You are giving this kid an unrealistic outlook. Especially considering he said his dad is an engineer/bimmer fanatic. So in all likelihood will be doing the jobs at home.
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Old 10-04-2011, 12:04 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MercForHire View Post
Here is a list of things you must do or already done.
Subframe reinforcement kit plus installation $150 + 8-10 hours labour welding shop. Total: $1000
Cooling system overhaul $300 parts + 3-5 hours labour. Total: $600-800
Ccv hoses. Not sure how much but $500+ job for shop and at least few hundred in parts for diy.
Random other fixes $1000

Total everything and see if you can afford.
wow... that's a little too much. My mechanic did it for $200
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Sorry to hear about your mirror. This is what happens when you don't change your mirror fluid at the recommended intervals.
For Sale: 1. OEM used headlights and corners, see link http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthread.php?t=884565
2. 2 brand new Bosch post cat oxygen sensors
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