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Old 03-12-2013, 04:08 AM   #1
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Join Date: Mar 2013
Location: Belfast
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E46 What Engine?

Hi All,

So, I am looking at buying an E46, one that I will enjoy like the old E36 I had way back in 2000-2003 after which I have moved on to the E39.

My question is, I was told that some of the E46 Engines come with timing chains and aluminium block engines while others have solid steel as the block engines. My understanding is that the solid steel last longer while the aluminium block engines dont.

I was told to look at 318 or 328 cars.

Am I totally off the right course? Please could you guys advice what engine I should go for that I will enjoy very much like the E36 I had back then.

Many thanks.
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Old 03-12-2013, 10:39 AM   #2
David McMahon
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Location: Suffolk, UK
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My Ride: '99 E38 740iL
I just got a 328i recently couple of things

1, the four cylinder cars are slower

2, I was told to put premium unleaded in and of course costs more

Depends on budget they go from old bangers to very nice late '06 models

The cooling system gets worn on these cars and when gone they warp heads quickly (big 6cyl head)

Wiki has info on the M52 and 54 engines I *think* the M54 is the better engine



Also repost this question in general thats where 99% of posts are and will get more views.
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Old 03-13-2013, 04:59 PM   #3
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Old 03-13-2013, 05:08 PM   #4
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BMW has an inline 6 engine. E46 such as the 3 series run an m52 engine
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Old 03-22-2013, 01:56 PM   #5
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M54 6 Cylinder

Must admit my previous E46 was a 320i 4 cylinder, have now got a 325i 6 cylinder, the 6 cylinder is by far the better engine it runs nice and smooth with good performance, mpg is about 26mpg with mostly short journeys.
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Old 04-02-2013, 01:54 PM   #6
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keep an eye out for the whirl flaps on the newer models, a lot of reports they brake off and cause lots of problems, They can easily be replaced for blanks apparently. The older 320td fuel pumps are well known for going too and quite expensive to replace.
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Old 04-02-2013, 04:37 PM   #7
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Get a 330i. Best option for the e46 but it all depends on budget. I love the strength and capability of the M54B30 engine


2002 Jet Black 330i|ZPP|Hellbeige interior|Carbon Fiber Interior Trim|Alzor 703 CSL Reps|Custom Flowmaster Catback Exhaust|LED Halo Rings|Black ECSTuning Kidney Grilles|Eonon D5150|

Last edited by taveet330i; 04-02-2013 at 04:43 PM.
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Old 04-06-2013, 04:50 PM   #8
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I can only go by experience on this one but i have a 1999 323i which is a 6cyl alloy block m52tub and its never let me down i service it well and replace things when necessary and its got 174000m on it now, i have a heavy right foot and its brilliant and i get 32mpg round town even though its auto!
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