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General E46 Forum
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Old 11-14-2012, 01:08 PM   #1
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Test Driving a Car-Help Identifying Problems

I am test driving the car for a couple of days and want to know what needs to be replaced so I can talk down the price.

1.There is steering wheel vibration during drivingo at both low and high speeds and the vibration seems to get a bit worse when braking. The seller mentioned that he went to get an alignment but was told he needs to replace a bushing in the front before the alignment can be done. Could the vibration be caused by the Front control arm bushings w/ bracket, part# 31126783376?

2.Also I noticed a hose looked a bit dodgy which I believe is an SAP vaccum line.
It's the curved hose in the top left hand corner of this diagram, connecting items 1 & 3 (thanks jfof). But, I can't seem to find a pn, can anyone help me out?


3.There a very slight noise that seems to come from the fan... after some research it seems like the bearings need to be greased? Not sure about this one.... I will post a video once I get home

Thanks for reading!

Last edited by noobsthename; 11-14-2012 at 01:09 PM.
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Old 11-14-2012, 01:40 PM   #2
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take it to a BMW dealer and get a PPI. Or at the very least a BWM shop.
If you try to save the $300 or so for the PPI now, a neglected or abused BMW will cost you thousands.
This is not a Japanese or American car. BMW's are different.
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Old 11-14-2012, 02:01 PM   #3
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CABs could certainly cause the issue you have...but the CAs might be bad also...lots more stuff you think will probably need doing and if you don't have tons of money, you should spend some of it on a professional PPI, which includes a proper subframe inspection.

In the meanwhile, you can remove underskirt and look for other oil leaks, coolant leaks, PS fluid leaks...check fluids conditions...open up trunk and look under floor mat, maybe remove a cover in the back to look at shock tower condition (and in front too).

Also, when you drive, attend to one or two things at a time...see if it tracks, if you hear bearing 'whooping' in turns, track mpgs/mph,
get codes read for free at Autozone.

There's lots you can do. But, take it to a dealer, I'm confident that they'll be able to come up with a solid $1-3,000 worth of work...which work, might translate into $500 in parts and a few weekends of your time.

You didn't say specifically, but is the car you're testing the 2001 330i? How many miles? What records, if any, do you have from seller of repair history (which, btw, a dealer could print out for you and you'd at least know what the car went through in its early days while under warranty).
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Old 11-14-2012, 02:13 PM   #4
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Is there a way to visually inspect the CABs by just jaking up the car? I was considering a PPI, but i can't decide if it's really necessary since the coolant system was overhauled this year and I will be most likely replacing the entire suspension, and draining and replacing all fluids within the next few months.

There are no leaks, and fluids checked out. I'll check out the trunk and shock tower later today.

Not really sure I understand what you mean by seeing if it tracks... but I kept my ears pried for any sounds and hear nothing other than that slight fan noise. Not spitting out any codes.

It's a 2001 330i, 99k miles. It was in an accident in '04 and declared a slavage, motor was replaced in '09 so it is considered "rebuilt" and the new motor only has 50k miles on it. The thing is I am getting this car for pretty cheap so I am not opposed to spending a bit of money on it over the next half year or so to bring it to tip top shape.
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Old 11-14-2012, 02:29 PM   #5
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I've been looking at e46 the last month too.
Of the dozen I've looked at, 80% had bad CAB. I just grab the front tire and try to move it back and forth. If it moves an inch in each direction (Fwd and backwards) and goes clunk...

You can also look down from the front to the back and see the CAB and watch it smack the case.
That will be a 1st job on whichever one I buy.
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Last edited by tjyak50; 11-14-2012 at 02:30 PM. Reason: Clarity
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Old 11-19-2012, 06:16 PM   #6
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Can anyone help me identify the hose in the following picture?


It is attached to item #1 in the following picture


Last edited by noobsthename; 11-19-2012 at 06:34 PM.
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Old 11-19-2012, 06:45 PM   #7
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This is the part number for the SAP hose in the photo: 11727555681
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