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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 07-08-2012, 09:36 AM   #41
BAMxi
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Haha I was starting to get surprised that my thread had made it this far without a disagreement between posters.
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Old 07-08-2012, 09:41 AM   #42
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Haha I was starting to get surprised that my thread had made it this far without a disagreement between posters.
The way this forum portrays these cars, its as if they're ticking time bombs. You obviously wouldn't buy a car with blown shocks, worn-out clutch or worn-out bushings, so listing all those items to replace is silly. I mean you'd be buying a used car, so obviously these may be issues, but a lot of it is subjective. Sure, you could start replacing un-worn out bushings to improve road feel, but it has nothing to do with the reliability of the vehicle.
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Old 07-08-2012, 10:16 AM   #43
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The way this forum portrays these cars, its as if they're ticking time bombs. You obviously wouldn't buy a car with blown shocks, worn-out clutch or worn-out bushings, so listing all those items to replace is silly. I mean you'd be buying a used car, so obviously these may be issues, but a lot of it is subjective. Sure, you could start replacing un-worn out bushings to improve road feel, but it has nothing to do with the reliability of the vehicle.
Yes I agree. I think that was the main reason for this thread was that I honestly couldn't tell if the cars really were ticking time bombs or just needed regular maintenance like any other aging car. Any worn items needing replaced I identify when looking at a car would of course be a concern. I doubt that every part on any car simply breaks without warning. I likely wouldnt buy a car that required extensive repairs up front, but different people have different opinions. Same stuff happens on e90post, which is essentially a battleground between 335 guys and us lowly 328 drivers.

But yeah...to an earlier post: I don't entirely agree that if I have a certain budget, I should just go buy a Honda or Toyota. If that were true, none of you would be here, unless you had a completely unlimited budget when you bought your 3er, and now just mysteriously choose to keep it, even though you could go buy any new car you want off the lot. As an enthusiast, I appreciate the way BMW designs all of their cars, and think that I could enjoy an older model just as much as my e90. I am not one of those guys that has to keep upgrading to the newest model, as far as cars go (obviously). Getting into an e46 would not be done to please others or retain some form of "status" as a BMW driver. It would be my choice to stick with a brand that I love and appreciate, and still have a car designed with driving dynamics at the forefront. I couldn't care less what people think of me as far as if I'm wealthy or whatever...I own a BMW for the engineering.

I'm reminded of a post I read several months ago where a guy traded his e60 m5 for a new 2011 328i. People were reaming him for it because he couldn't keep up with the maintenance cost of the m car, and wanted something simple and cost effective. He had a similar attitude to me in that, if he could get into a car that he could still enjoy, but also satisfy his budget, what's wrong with that? Even I would have a hard time making that big of a change, but I could certainly see where he was coming from.

All that being said, who really knows what I'll end up doing? All of this is contingent upon me finding someone who wants to pay a fair price for my car, while around the same time finding the right e46.

I do appreciate all the advice and the detailed calculations of maintenance things to watch out for. You guys have a great community and wealth of knowledge here.
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Old 07-08-2012, 10:25 AM   #44
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I bought my ZHP in December for $10k. I am a BMW mechanic on the side and had been maintaining it for three years prior to buying it. Even though I put all new brakes, cooling system, VANOS, and OFHG on it before buying it I still have spent $1770 on it in 7 months. That means I have been spending $250 a month just on maintenance items and I do ALL MY OWN WORK! And I still have another $1500 or so to go (clutch, motor mounts, control arms, DISA, 02 sensors, the list continues) before it will be "good" for a while.

My point, a used E46 is expensive to PROPERLY maintain. Sure, you can let stuff go, but then the ride quality and reliability suck. Just make sure you get a GOOD used one.
Half of that stuff is not requires just yet. YOU just want it to be in TIP TOP SHAPE...

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BTW: I think I should call myself a BMW Mechanic now. Since, I work on BMW on the side

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Old 07-08-2012, 10:48 AM   #45
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All E46 have spare tires except for the ///M BAM. Yes, you should take your time to find an excellent example. Hopefully one that already has it's rear subframe reinforced There are great examples out there. I'm sure you will find yours Good luck
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Old 07-08-2012, 12:27 PM   #46
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Get an e46, DIY the common problematic items if you can and it will be a very reliable daily driver. I have almost 4 years with my car and I love it.
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Old 07-08-2012, 09:07 PM   #47
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I apologize on behalf of our fellow Canadians.
The immigration office has let too many angry nut cases into our border in the past few years. Good thing they are starting to tightening up the requirements recently.
The nut cases must be coming in from your southern border then...not that we've seen much of a decrease of them here.
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Old 07-08-2012, 09:43 PM   #48
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These cars are getting older... its just a fact that we're all dealing with at once. The E90's are a max of like 5 years old, so I could totally see them starting to have more and more age related issues, on top of millage issues.

If you sold your 328xi and bought a E46 you would have to understand that there may be a fair number of things that have to be done to make it as reliable as a new car. You would HAVE to put a few grand aside for maintenance. I don't think people get "stranded" without a car unless the cooling system is allowed to decay, or something strange like a clutch or a transmission goes out (doesn't happen often). What I'm trying to say is that you don't have to replace every moving and non-moving part part to have a reliable car, just pay attention. A little oil consumption and a slightly rough idle are issues that you can deal with later.

FYI, I owned a 70k mile 2004 330Ci for nearly 3 years and it never, ever left me stranded or didn't start EXCEPT for when I started messing with things. (OK, the 7 year old battery had to be replaced... and that was slightly inconvenient)
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Old 07-08-2012, 10:28 PM   #49
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Do not go backwards!!! If you want to get rid of your current ride to save money go JDM. Nissan,Honda or Toyota
Define backwards?

Some days I still think I might have made the wrong choice jumping behind the wheel of my ZHP. It's a great car and all, but I still miss my E36's all the time... old doesn't always mean "worse"... in fact with BMW's I'd almost say it's the opposite, and I'm not the only person who thinks so. Have you seen the price on an E30 M3 lately?
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Old 07-08-2012, 10:32 PM   #50
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Define backwards?

Some days I still think I might have made the wrong choice jumping behind the wheel of my ZHP. It's a great car and all, but I still miss my E36's all the time... old doesn't always mean "worse"... in fact with BMW's I'd almost say it's the opposite, and I'm not the only person who thinks so. Have you seen the price on an E30 M3 lately?
To me, Old = gaskets and rubber components that don't work like they're supposed to. Have your replaced the DISA, Lower intake boot or your oil separate lines yet?
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Old 07-08-2012, 10:40 PM   #51
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To me, Old = gaskets and rubber components that don't work like they're supposed to. Have your replaced the DISA, Lower intake boot or your oil separate lines yet?
DISA I'm doing in the fall, intake boot was done by PO and haven't checked the oil separator lines yet. But my point still sticks. ANY car is going to need these kind of maintenance items done, so I'm not seeing your point...
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Old 08-18-2012, 12:47 AM   #52
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Bam...

I agree with the general consensus. Find a well sorted out car with lots of records and an anal owner....and don't be afraid to go across the country to find the right one (autotempest is great in this regard). Be persistent on making sure the wear and tear items are already done...cars, just like humans, go thru midlife crises between 70k-150k miles...ya want to make sure you find one that been to the right 'surgeon'. Might cost a bit more up front, but there will be fewer surprises. And it might take you 3-6 months...depends on how picky you are for the details (sport package, colors, etc).

Coming from the non-BMW world (Acura, VW, Subie) I think there are fewer dealbreakers (blown headgaskets, electrical nightmares, etc.)..but not putting off maintenance is key. I don't think the cars are ticking timebombs...remember folks who frequent forums are usually those who are passionate about their cars....I think you'll read more preventative maintenance kinda stuff here than you might on other car forums. Directionally the instance on maintenance is the correct things to do...but maybe not necessary RIGHT NOW, if you get my drift. But don't put it off entirely, cause you might pay for it big time (blown hg, rear subframe). BMW's are fun to drive for a reason..but those tight tolerances can be bad, as well as good. :-)

A local, trustworthy indie (and friends who are wrenchers) are essential to lower cost of ownership these puppies. If you haven't already, join your local BMWCCA chapter, you'll meet locals there who can help you (also, bimmerforums has a pretty strong regional section).

Finally, I would suggest getting a 330. I passed on a 3.0 in my z4, (2.5 instead) and I miss the extra 'kick'. However, given you are trying stretch the almighty dollar, I would not advocate getting a ZHP. They command a significant price premium ($1-$5k) for relatively little return on the engine investment....plus they are more likely to be beat upon than a regular 330.

Good luck!
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