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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 12-08-2012, 07:52 AM   #21
dmax
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I'm at 241K and I don't have my love kit in the trunk anymore!

OP...I'm in NJ...don't know where you are...but if it's close(ish) and the schedule permits, I'd be happy to have a look at the car with you...unless you know enough to do a PPI yourself.

I used to drive to school in St. Louis also...20 hour drive or so...so you need to make sure the important things are taken care of...and, I don't believe anyone mentioned subframe.

You don't want to buy a $2500 that needs $2-4,000 work to ensure your rear axle doesn't fall off. Subframe. Also, make sure the car wasn't raped before too badly--suspension, engine 'upgrades,' or too much in the way of electronic gimmickry.
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Old 12-08-2012, 08:40 AM   #22
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The ad says that it has a new clutch and expansion tank.
be very careful! At least drive it and check afterward for misfire codes and get a compression test.
Expansion tank replacement means a possible overheat, could need a new head gasket or possibly more.
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Old 12-08-2012, 08:47 AM   #23
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yes and know

I have 215k on my E46 and operates like NEW. My E30 had 275k on it when sold and was in perfect condition (engine and body). But one needs to check it out to make sure it is not a DOG. Has the car been maintained properly. I would be most interested in just the engine since that is the big dollar item, so oil changes and tune up regularly. You can sense something may be wrong just looking if the wires belts and hoses look real bad, or if it has signs of a gasket oil leak that has been there for a long time----most likely it has not been maintained--but see if he has the records.
If that checks out--you will need to be ready in the next several months to incur certain cost that is normal and may not happen for years: hoses, belts, window regulator, LCA's, brakes, tune-up, tires--BUT this is minor considering the good price that you are getting as long as the engine is sound. May also want to check for the E46 rear end tear --not sure if that affects your model year (cost about $800 to fix).
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Old 12-08-2012, 10:32 AM   #24
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When I opened your thread, I noticed 325 posts on your profile.. Based on this, I would say - do it!!

With all your due diligence in checking out the condition of the engine, transmission, suspension, interior, body of course



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Old 12-08-2012, 12:00 PM   #25
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I'm at 241K and I don't have my love kit in the trunk anymore!

OP...I'm in NJ...don't know where you are...but if it's close(ish) and the schedule permits, I'd be happy to have a look at the car with you...unless you know enough to do a PPI yourself.

I used to drive to school in St. Louis also...20 hour drive or so...so you need to make sure the important things are taken care of...and, I don't believe anyone mentioned subframe.

You don't want to buy a $2500 that needs $2-4,000 work to ensure your rear axle doesn't fall off. Subframe. Also, make sure the car wasn't raped before too badly--suspension, engine 'upgrades,' or too much in the way of electronic gimmickry.
I might take you up on that offer in 1.5 weeks dmax! The car is in Bayonne and I'm in a town near Parsippany.

I'm just hoping that the bushings on this car are fine with no immediate clunking. I only have 2 weeks back from school before I need to go back so I can't DIY it myself. In the summer, I"ll have plenty of time to do all the work on the car. To spend $300 in bushings after 6 months of driving is fine for me.
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Old 12-08-2012, 04:22 PM   #26
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Are you prepared to spend a thousand or so on it right away to fix up things you need...or are you capable of diying lots of stuff.

I wouldn't drive to St. Louis without pulleys, belts, lots of cooling system stuff...and there has to be something else going on somewhere that you might as well attend to...a leaking PS hose, new plugs, air filters...

I'd give it techron...but first...I'd have a good, skeptical look at it. Let me know when you get closer and get specific dates...Bayonne is always beautiful this time of year! ha!

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Old 12-08-2012, 04:59 PM   #27
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Not to throw water on this idea...

...but isn't Bayonne awfully near where Dandy inflicted a lot of damage?

222K isn't necessarily too many miles on an engine. My working assumption is that any car that is a dozen+ years old and pushing a quarter million miles is going to need attention.

Like when I took my car with 220K (a DD) to the airport. I intended to leave it there for 2 weeks. It ended up staying there for 6 weeks. Started right up without needing a jump. Alas, the rear main seal failed about 12 miles into the (180 mile) drive home. It was annoying and to have to stop to add a quart of oil every 25 miles! Lesson: older cars need to be run to keep everything properly lubricated.

BTW, that engine ran more than another 100K (did the oil pump while in there), without needing any further attention.
While this didn't stop me from getting home, it was aggravating and all those stops certainly added time to the trip. I'm not saying at all that this will happen, but, this is an example of something that wouldn't necessarily stop you in your tracks, but would be very inconvenient. If this were to occur on the way to St. Louis, for example, you would run through a tank full of oil getting there. And 17 gallons of any oil is a lot of money and would still need to be fixed once you arrive.

That car ran another 100+K without further engine work, and all we did at the time was replace the seal and oil pump, since we were there.

In short, as someone mentioned, there can be nothing more expensive than a cheap BMW. The car may very well be fine. Just do your due diligence before purchase.
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Old 12-08-2012, 05:26 PM   #28
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I think I can DIY a lot of the things, but my problem is time. I only have 2 weeks before I have to go back to STL so I need to have a solid driver in that short amount of time. Hopefully this car doesn't have any leaks that need sorting anytime soon so I can wait it out until May '13 when school is out.

I've never done cooling system work but I've seen the DIY's. I have to do a thermostat replacement on an E39 M5 when I get back to NJ and I will DIY that. I don't mind any control arm/trailing arm bushings as I can do that but subframe bushings I might need an extra set of hands.

It will be a royal pain in the arse if the rear main seal goes out on me. I don't know how to tackle that, but I know I need to remove the transmission to get to it on a M5.

And yes, most of NJ was badly affected by Sandy. I'll probe the seller for more information about the car via emails until I get to see it. I'll ask about hurricane damage, oil consumption, oil change intervals, clunking from the suspension, and overall suspension health.
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Old 12-08-2012, 05:29 PM   #29
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Old 12-08-2012, 07:52 PM   #30
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Subframe bushings you don't care about...you care about the 'subframe' above the bushings. Expensive repair...and if bad, not good all the way to St. Louis.
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Old 12-08-2012, 08:02 PM   #31
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Subframe bushings you don't care about...you care about the 'subframe' above the bushings. Expensive repair...and if bad, not good all the way to St. Louis.
+1

It's the subframe mounting area.
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Old 12-08-2012, 08:05 PM   #32
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But there is no way to see the cracks on the subframe, right? If it is bad enough, it will clunk but if it is just lightly cracked, I won't know, right?

And will I be able to tell if pulleys and belts need replacing on a test drive? If they squeak, I'd assume that I'd need a tensioner and belt. What about pulleys? How do I check the water pump?

This is starting to worry me. I don't want to bring the M5 to STL but it seems that it is the most dependable car at this point, I just know it won't come back to NJ in the same condition it left.
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Old 12-08-2012, 08:39 PM   #33
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The tear in the sheet metal sounded like a creaky metal on metal sound on mine, and you could see the tear.
Aside from obvious squealing, the pulleys would have to be inspected with the belts off.
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Old 12-08-2012, 08:41 PM   #34
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Well what I suggest... Check it out well... Do compression test, listen to the engine... And be prepared to do some works on suspension.

Mine has 250K km on it (about 200K miles or whatever) and I can easily say that itīs in perfect, near-mint condition. Itīs all about maintenants, and some good luck.
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Old 12-08-2012, 08:56 PM   #35
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If you guys do go to Bayonne to look at the car, stop in at Big Apple Pizza on Broadway and about 19th street. Super thin crust pies. An absolute classic.
The Blimpie base on 25th Street is exceptional too. The owner upgraded the cold cuts to Boars Head and Thumann's.

I don't think there was a crazy amount of flooding in Bayonne, not nearly like Staten Island or the shore towns, but it is worth checking out.
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Old 12-09-2012, 10:53 PM   #36
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You can inspect the subframe pretty well, just by getting under the car and looking. Technically, the formal inspection involves removing the two rear bolts in the rear axle carrier enough so you can see above the bushing...but you need to support the rear end to do that before lowering it.

Belts you should put on anyway. But, if you have a running M5, do you really want to throw the dice on a car you've had for 2 weeks and drive it to St. Louis? Actually, the odds are, it would make it...but you can increase the odds substantially with good PPI.

Let me know if you want me to find things wrong with the car you want to buy!

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Old 12-11-2012, 01:59 AM   #37
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I don't want to take the M5 to STL. School, a parking garage, and winter just isn't a good combo and I won't be able to keep the M5 in the same shape it is in now. The M5 would make it, but it just means too much to me to bring it to STL where it will get neglected. Heck, I might even sell the M5 next summer if I get a good enough beater that won't break down on me.

The seller of the E46 has stopped replying to me. No matter, I'll email him once I return to NJ and ask to set up an appointment to see the car. Finals has me so stressed out so taking a break and looking at cars is a nice way to relax.

I'm still on the hunt for some E36's that fit my budget. I also found an E39 that seems nice but it is nearly $5k. I'll deal with all of it when I go back to NJ though!
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Old 12-11-2012, 02:10 AM   #38
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Old 12-11-2012, 03:32 AM   #39
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I don't want to take the M5 to STL. School, a parking garage, and winter just isn't a good combo and I won't be able to keep the M5 in the same shape it is in now. The M5 would make it, but it just means too much to me to bring it to STL where it will get neglected. Heck, I might even sell the M5 next summer if I get a good enough beater that won't break down on me.

The seller of the E46 has stopped replying to me. No matter, I'll email him once I return to NJ and ask to set up an appointment to see the car. Finals has me so stressed out so taking a break and looking at cars is a nice way to relax.

I'm still on the hunt for some E36's that fit my budget. I also found an E39 that seems nice but it is nearly $5k. I'll deal with all of it when I go back to NJ though!
You could do a lot worse than an E36. Had one for a decade. Excellent car. Never let me down. If I could find a good one now I would buy it. Trouble is they are getting on a bit now and the bodywork tends to be shot. That's why I got rid of mine with 250K on the clock. But mechanically? Ace.
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Old 12-11-2012, 10:31 AM   #40
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I can't exactly pop the valve cover on a car that I'm checking out. I guess I can listen for timing chain rattle and VANOS rattle?

I'll have to wait for the owner to reply and tell me exactly what maintenance has been done recently. Maybe I can get the price down $500. I'm not worried about rubber parts as those can be replaced easily with the tools that I have and a few rental tools. I don't want to spend a couple grand on this car but maybe $500 more replacing a few bushings and then start driving this car to St. Louis for school from NJ. This is in no way going to be a mint vehicle but just something that will start up everyday and drive in comfort.
At that mileage, it would probably be nice to drop the rear subframe and do the bushings. There are 17 of them--at least a day or two's job. (if you know what you are doing AND have the right specialty tools from a place that offers BMW-specific tools) Then if the subframe is down you might as well reinforce the attachment points on the body.

If you're willing to do the above and the rest that comes with the car, go for it.

Either way you slice it, a nice-driving and reliable BMW doesn't come cheap.
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