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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 05-21-2012, 10:03 PM   #1
Prineswine
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Join Date: May 2012
Location: Central Oregon
Posts: 6
My Ride: 2002 325cic
Thoughts/advice on a 2002 325cic purchase?

It'd be a first BMW for us, we have owned two VWs over the years but my wife would like something a little more fun to drive when the weather gets warm--convertible is required. It would be strictly a luxury item, so we aren't budgeting for it as if it were a daily commuter (love our tdi for that) and she has her eye on an older 325cic.

She liked the feel of a 325 she found at a local dealership, but was a '94 with 18,600 miles on it, and too costly for our taste (15k!). We are OK with a newer, higher mileage car. I have skimmed previous similar posts and most of the purchasing advice seems to be somewhere between "you'll love an E46" and "that's too much to pay, I saw one with half the mileage for cheaper!"

Anyhow, the one she likes is this 2002 with 140k, well maintained and in great condition to the eye. Going in for a PPI in a few days, but in the meantime thought I would see if anyone here had any great insight, as I know next to nothing about these cars. I assume we'll put a chunk of change into upkeep, but that is to be expected. Drove a cosmetically worse 2004 today with only 110k on it, but the dealer wanted 5 grand more and I would rather put that into maintaining the '02. No, we don't need the power of a 330. She is a fairly conservative driver and I am OK with better mileage and taking a few seconds more to get up to 60mph. Kids will be in the backseat, so a smaller faster two-seater isn't an option.

If you are going to tell me about the one you know of that is local to me, cheaper, fewer miles, and only driven to church on Sunday...please include the location, price, mileage, and denomination of the church it frequented.

Many thanks.
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Old 05-22-2012, 02:04 AM   #2
Ophidian_PR1M3
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Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: Riverton, WY
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My Ride: 2004 BMW 325ci
That seems really steep in price but I guess verts cost more I'm assuming. I paid 11,900k for my 04 325ci with right at 100k on it
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Old 05-22-2012, 02:30 AM   #3
jaymemaurice
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Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Anchorage Alaska or Kitchener, Ontario, Canada
Posts: 757
My Ride: 01 330ci, 03 Passat
Welcome to the forum. Maintenance can be expensive, or it can be cheap.

Common things that go wrong are:
-Intake manifold gasket
-Cooling system parts (they all wear/deteriorate and should be changed at the same time)
-Oil filter housing gasket
-vacuum leaks
-CCV

I find most people who find maintenance expensive on these cars have a story like:
-I replace this, next week I replaced that, next week this part failed/started leaking

The people who find maintenance cheap tell a story like this:
-This broke, so I replaced it and everything connected to it. Haven't had a problem since.

Take for example a job like an intake manifold gasket involves removing all the vacuum lines... lines which are now brittle... you might be able to re use them, but in the act of removing them you probably just gave them more wear then they would have had in months of sitting there... so there is like this ballance where the parts cost is insignificant in comparrison to the part life time and labour to just replace the part "while you are in there" - If you don't have a good mechanic who thinks like this or don't plan to DIY, owning a BMW could be expensive.

Also, your local BMW dealer may or may not suck. I have heard stories both ways and I have major reasons not to like mine...
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Old 05-22-2012, 03:02 AM   #4
DHK
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Location: Estonia
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My Ride: 2002 BMW 325Ci
If you could get them anything under 7k and the car is in good shape that isn't a bad buy at all. But if its just for fun car... then you should get a fun transmission too
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Old 05-22-2012, 03:40 AM   #5
jaymemaurice
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DHK View Post
If you could get them anything under 7k and the car is in good shape that isn't a bad buy at all. But if its just for fun car... then you should get a fun transmission too
Err yeah make sure it can go up a hill in reverse if you get an auto...
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Old 05-22-2012, 08:02 AM   #6
Prineswine
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Join Date: May 2012
Location: Central Oregon
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My Ride: 2002 325cic
Quote:
Originally Posted by DHK View Post
If you could get them anything under 7k and the car is in good shape that isn't a bad buy at all. But if its just for fun car... then you should get a fun transmission too
I'd certainly prefer a manual, but this one is for the Mrs. and she is fine with the auto. I will check on the "uphill in reverse" when we try it out.

Maintenance advice helps, we have a mechanic we trust and I will check to see if his BMW skills are on par with his VW work.

Thanks all for the info, between those bits and a PPI tomorrow I should be slightly more informed.
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Old 05-22-2012, 11:26 AM   #7
KSims1868
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Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: Houston, TX
Posts: 131
My Ride: 2001 BMW 325i
I wouldn't consider buying ANY e46 without maintenance records. Especially not one with 140k miles. If none of the expected items have been replaced and documented...then you can expect them to fail within the 1st few months (or maybe 1st year) of ownership making that lesser expensive car get REALLY expensive REALLY fast.
PPI can come back passing with no problems, but if things weren't maintained I'd consider them all on the edge of malfunction.
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Old 06-08-2012, 07:33 AM   #8
Prineswine
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Join Date: May 2012
Location: Central Oregon
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My Ride: 2002 325cic
Thanks all for the shared wisdom...took it home today!
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