E46 BMW Social Directory E46 FAQ 3-Series Discussion Forums BMW Photo Gallery BMW 3-Series Technical Information E46 Fanatics - The Ultimate BMW Resource BMW Vendors General E46 Forum The Tire Rack's Tire Wheel Forum Forced Induction Forum The Off-Topic The E46 BMW Showroom For Sale, For Trade or Wanting to Buy

Welcome to the E46Fanatics forums. E46Fanatics is the premiere website for BMW 3 series owners around the world with interactive forums, a geographical enthusiast directory, photo galleries, and technical information for BMW enthusiasts.

You are currently viewing our boards as a guest which gives you limited access to view most discussions and access our other features. By joining our free community you will have access to post topics, communicate privately with other members (PM), respond to polls, upload content and access many other special features. Registration is fast, simple and absolutely free so please, join our community today!

If you have any problems with the registration process or your account login, please contact contact us.

Go Back   E46Fanatics > E46 BMW > General E46 Forum

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!

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Rating: Thread Rating: 2 votes, 5.00 average. Display Modes
Old 01-10-2014, 02:57 PM   #1
Devakya
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jan 2014
Location: Florida
Posts: 9
My Ride: Ford explorer
Going to be buying my first e46...maybe

Little background...22 years old, new to forum, huge driving enthusiast, never owned a BMW, looking to buy a 325Ci. Simple.
I currently own a Ford explorer and I hate it, it's a lemon but I've done a few repairs to make it manageable, but by no means is it a pleasure to drive. (For a driving enthusiast anyway). It was bought for me by my parents for my first car when I was 16. I am planning on giving this jeep to my brother for his fist car, and getting a different car for myself. I want something that I love driving, and I've always loved the BMW 325ci.
My request, is for you current owners to explain the difference in owning the 325ci (in terms of reliability, cost of ownership, etc) to other more traditional options like an Accord, or Toyota Camry of the same year range (2000-2003). My family seems to think you have to be an attorney or doctor to own an e46. The idea of owning a "BMW" freaks them out. They think they're unreliable, expensive, pieces of junk that rich people enjoy wasting money on. Which is funny because they both drive cars that are constantly having problems, but they still insist are reliable brands. Their thought process is "If my old Nissan Altima is having this many problems, I can't imagine how many problems BMWs have! Whoo, glad I didn't waste my money on one of those!"

They insist on me spending the same amount of money to buy a nissan or a ford. Which would be fine of I could find a 240sx or a mustang GT in good condition for the same price as a 325ci. I do almost all maintenance myself btw. I think the misconception of "you have to be rich to own a BMW" comes from people that have very little knowledge about working on cars or simply don't want to do the work themselves, so they have to take their car to the shop for everything. Duhhh of course a BMW cost more when it's taken to a shop, everything's more expensive in a shop. Sorry for the rant, but like I said, please explain to me in detail, the difference in owning an e46 and a name brand like ford.
Devakya is offline   Reply With Quote
Ads by Google

Guests, get your FREE E46Fanatics.com membership to remove this ad.
Old 01-10-2014, 03:22 PM   #2
tonycajjo
Registered User
 
Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: Central CT
Posts: 98
My Ride: 2006 330Ci
what's you budget, and can you drive a manual?

i've had two e46 330Ci, both have been fun to drive and neither had major expenses. i do maintenance myself.

if you find a well maintained e46 you'll be off to a good start. take a look around the forums and see what's what.
tonycajjo is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-10-2014, 03:39 PM   #3
Devakya
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jan 2014
Location: Florida
Posts: 9
My Ride: Ford explorer
My budget is 5000 max. And yes I can drive manual, and love driving manual in certain cars but I don't want a manual in a bmw unless it's an M series. I read the entire "first time buyers guide" and it was great. But the author mentioned something about $4000 a year in maintenance costs for a daily driver. I have a hard time believing owners spend nearly $300 dollars a month on maintenance alone, doesn't sound right, and if that is true about the e46 then that's a deal breaker for me just for how ridiculous that would be. I've found a few in my area for about $5000 or less. One in specific is a 325ci $4900 with 120k.
Devakya is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-10-2014, 03:49 PM   #4
philliplong
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jan 2013
Location: Norman, OK
Posts: 615
My Ride: 2002 325CI
Quote:
Originally Posted by Devakya View Post
My budget is 5000 max. And yes I can drive manual, and love driving manual in certain cars but I don't want a manual in a bmw unless it's an M series. I read the entire "first time buyers guide" and it was great. But the author mentioned something about $4000 a year in maintenance costs for a daily driver. I have a hard time believing owners spend nearly $300 dollars a month on maintenance alone, doesn't sound right, and if that is true about the e46 then that's a deal breaker for me just for how ridiculous that would be. I've found a few in my area for about $5000 or less. One in specific is a 325ci $4900 with 120k.
Its no where near that. If you nibble on preventative maintenance then you might be looking at 1-2k the first year. Mine cost 5k and it has been a great car so far. It was well maintained by the po.
__________________
philliplong is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-10-2014, 03:57 PM   #5
Devakya
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jan 2014
Location: Florida
Posts: 9
My Ride: Ford explorer
I guess to sum up my question, just describe your e46 ownership experience as detailed as you can. Don't use statistics or biases, or average, round numbered maintenance costs. Just explain YOUR story of owning an e46. Including prices and issues you've ran into while owning it. I would much rather hear people's stories, than to just trust a "star rating" on some car reviewing website.
Devakya is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-10-2014, 04:01 PM   #6
Neight
Registered User
 
Join Date: May 2013
Location: Redwood City, CA
Posts: 102
My Ride: 2004 325i
Guess which car I prefer.
__________________
1986 Mustang 5.0 hatchback- Stroked/blown/E85 No cage= No time slips
2004 325i sedan- Just looks

Neight is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-10-2014, 04:01 PM   #7
Devakya
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jan 2014
Location: Florida
Posts: 9
My Ride: Ford explorer
Quote:
Originally Posted by philliplong View Post
Its no where near that. If you nibble on preventative maintenance then you might be looking at 1-2k the first year. Mine cost 5k and it has been a great car so far. It was well maintained by the po.
That's more the price I was thinking, how many miles did yours have on it when purchased?
Devakya is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-10-2014, 04:05 PM   #8
Devakya
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jan 2014
Location: Florida
Posts: 9
My Ride: Ford explorer
Quote:
Originally Posted by Neight View Post
Guess which car I prefer.
Haha I really would prefer a 5.0. Just for the "BAD MOTHA****A" factor. (Think pulp fiction) but I also want something I can drive everyday that still offers an engaging experience.
Devakya is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-10-2014, 04:12 PM   #9
Neight
Registered User
 
Join Date: May 2013
Location: Redwood City, CA
Posts: 102
My Ride: 2004 325i
Quote:
Originally Posted by Devakya View Post
Haha I really would prefer a 5.0. Just for the "BAD MOTHA****A" factor. (Think pulp fiction) but I also want something I can drive everyday that still offers an engaging experience.
LOL. I'll tell you this, a STOCK 5.0 with a T56(6-speed trans) will get 30+ MPG's and they'll take the beating all day and start right up every time. Trust me, I daily drove my Mustang for 2 years straight, 7 hour trips no problem. Not once has it been on a tow truck since I owned it(3 years now) and I've had my E46 for about 9 months and it's been on a tow truck once. Don't mean to talk down on E46 or any BMW but I've done maintenance on my E46 and I swear every stock part I buy is like just a few bucks shy of buying the aftermarket part for my Mustang. I hope to sell my E46 maybe this year and get me a new Coyote for a daily driver.
__________________
1986 Mustang 5.0 hatchback- Stroked/blown/E85 No cage= No time slips
2004 325i sedan- Just looks

Neight is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-10-2014, 04:13 PM   #10
tonycajjo
Registered User
 
Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: Central CT
Posts: 98
My Ride: 2006 330Ci
Quote:
Originally Posted by Devakya View Post
My budget is 5000 max. And yes I can drive manual, and love driving manual in certain cars but I don't want a manual in a bmw unless it's an M series. I read the entire "first time buyers guide" and it was great. But the author mentioned something about $4000 a year in maintenance costs for a daily driver. I have a hard time believing owners spend nearly $300 dollars a month on maintenance alone, doesn't sound right, and if that is true about the e46 then that's a deal breaker for me just for how ridiculous that would be. I've found a few in my area for about $5000 or less. One in specific is a 325ci $4900 with 120k.
that 325 may be trouble free for 30K miles or maybe you need cam position sensors, or a new disa, or lose a coolant hose, who knows... but if your budget is 5K i would either make sure you the car is a gem, or save a few k over the next months to do maintenance. a "lemon" explorer beats a broken down bimmer.
tonycajjo is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-10-2014, 04:13 PM   #11
philliplong
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jan 2013
Location: Norman, OK
Posts: 615
My Ride: 2002 325CI
Quote:
Originally Posted by devakya View Post
that's more the price i was thinking, how many miles did yours have on it when purchased?
138,000
__________________
philliplong is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-10-2014, 04:22 PM   #12
dmax
Registered User
 
dmax's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: NJ
Posts: 23,670
My Ride: '99 328i 300K miles
Any bmw you can afford with around 100K miles...well maintained...will need, easily, a thousand dollars in the first year or two. Double that if you really want to maintain it...triple it if you want it driving and handling really well.

I got mine with 140K miles on it. It's now at 260K miles...and I've easily spent $7,000 or more on it...much in the first two years...and it would have been more if I didn't learn how to do a lot of the work myself.

So now I have an almost perfect machine...and it's been that way for years. Oh, btw, I had the dealer do my subframe repair for free under the settlement...which bill would have been another $5,000.

Don't spend your $5,000 on a bmw. Spend $3000 on it and the $2,000 might get it decently handling within a year or so...plus or minus. But, the car you buy at around 100K miles or a little more, won't have had anything done to it but oil and filters...unless the owner can show you receipts...unless he or she can show you the subframe was repaired...properly.

You'll need lots of work...though you might not know quite how much since you're coming from a jeep. This is all ballpark. If you read my threads, you'll see what I did and when I did it.

Cooling system, brakes, tires...just that is a thousand if you diy it. It 'can' be the cheapest brand you'll ever own if you look at it long term and rebuild it slowly to factory condition.

Oh...your saying that you wouldn't get a manual unless it's an M3 sounds sort of ill informed. If you can drive a manual, you should get it in any car you get. You can't afford an M3 on your budget. Get an auto bmw non-M and you'll be missing out on a lot. I'm on original clutch still, btw.

Read fanatics more and you'll get a better idea of what you're getting into.
__________________
Upcoming comedy shows: April 23, Tierney's Tavern, Montclair, NJ, 7:00 p.m. See Facebook for other shows and PM me if you can make one...love to see you there!

Facebook.com/DMAXstandup
Mangofy your E46!
dmax is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-10-2014, 04:24 PM   #13
rwall
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: WA
Posts: 308
My Ride: 2004 325ci
Since you have a working vehicle, I suggest you really take your time shopping for the right car. A BMW that has been well maintained over it's life will probably provide you with years of reliable transportation. But I think these cars are more susceptible to breakdowns if they've been neglected than, say, a same year and mileage Honda. My well maintained '04 325ci has not cost more to maintain than my '04 Accord (except I buy really great tires for the Bimmer, because racecar). So, find a car with complete maintanance records, get a pre-purchace inspection from a qualified BMW tech, and trust your gut.
rwall is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-10-2014, 04:28 PM   #14
Devakya
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jan 2014
Location: Florida
Posts: 9
My Ride: Ford explorer
Quote:
Originally Posted by tonycajjo View Post
that 325 may be trouble free for 30K miles or maybe you need cam position sensors, or a new disa, or lose a coolant hose, who knows... but if your budget is 5K i would either make sure you the car is a gem, or save a few k over the next months to do maintenance. a "lemon" explorer beats a broken down bimmer.
Good point.
Devakya is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-10-2014, 04:34 PM   #15
zheka130
Registered User
 
Join Date: Aug 2013
Location: Toronto
Posts: 304
My Ride: 2004 ZHP
Bought my 330i ZHP about 1/2 a year ago.

Soon after buying it, changed the coolant, water pump and thermostat.
Cost me around $300

Changed the transmission fluid a bit later, another $60 or so

Recently did the spark plugs, $180


So far, really happy with it. Great car to drive.

I think it very important to find them in decent shape. Like any car really.

If you can do most maintenance yourself, it will likely be a good car to own. The straight six engine allows easy access to most things. Unlike the V engines.
zheka130 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-10-2014, 04:51 PM   #16
Serega91
Registered User
 
Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: Moscow, Russia and U.S.
Posts: 612
My Ride: 03' WRX, 07' S2K
Quote:
Originally Posted by Devakya View Post
My request, is for you current owners to explain the difference in owning the 325ci (in terms of reliability, cost of ownership, etc) to other more traditional options like an Accord, or Toyota Camry of the same year range (2000-2003).
Upkeeping a 325ci will be more expensive than upkeeping an Accord or Camry.

Reliability (as in chances that the car will/will not strand you) will depend on how you upkeep it (specifically, preventative maintenance and how long you delay it).
Fact: My e46 has been more reliable than my friends camry (XV30), because the guy and the previous owner neglected the camry (to the point of no maintenance whatsoever, whilst driving on flat tires with seized calipers). The camry had half the mileage of my car and was several years newer.

The failure modes of the e46 are well documented, so by doing preventative maintenance and being wise while finding a good car you will have a reliable e46.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Devakya View Post
My family seems to think you have to be an attorney or doctor to own an e46. The idea of owning a "BMW" freaks them out. They think they're unreliable, expensive, pieces of junk that rich people enjoy wasting money on.
LOL, back in Russkyland every second 20-some year old kid with any sort of job had an old BMW or Mercedes. Most of them didnt even have their own place by the time they bought their car. Mind you cars are more expensive there than they are here, and wages are much lower. The owner of a brand new 760i will not be of the same demographic as the owner of a E36 325is.
Old BMW owner =/= new BMW owner

Quote:
Originally Posted by Devakya View Post
They insist on me spending the same amount of money to buy a nissan or a ford. Which would be fine of I could find a 240sx or a mustang GT in good condition for the same price as a 325ci.
Id be more comfortable buying an e46 with my last money than a 240SX.

I would be even more comfortable with saving some more money, and then having a larger choice of cars to chose from, and some money set aside for PM.

But if you enjoy spirited driving and are just itching to spend those 5K, I would recommend an E36. And one with a clutch pedal. If that still scares you, get a Miata.

Last edited by Serega91; 01-10-2014 at 04:59 PM.
Serega91 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-10-2014, 05:05 PM   #17
Devakya
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jan 2014
Location: Florida
Posts: 9
My Ride: Ford explorer
Quote:
Originally Posted by dmax View Post
Any bmw you can afford with around 100K miles...well maintained...will need, easily, a thousand dollars in the first year or two. Double that if you really want to maintain it...triple it if you want it driving and handling really well.

I got mine with 140K miles on it. It's now at 260K miles...and I've easily spent $7,000 or more on it...much in the first two years...and it would have been more if I didn't learn how to do a lot of the work myself.

So now I have an almost perfect machine...and it's been that way for years. Oh, btw, I had the dealer do my subframe repair for free under the settlement...which bill would have been another $5,000.

Don't spend your $5,000 on a bmw. Spend $3000 on it and the $2,000 might get it decently handling within a year or so...plus or minus. But, the car you buy at around 100K miles or a little more, won't have had anything done to it but oil and filters...unless the owner can show you receipts...unless he or she can show you the subframe was repaired...properly.

You'll need lots of work...though you might not know quite how much since you're coming from a jeep. This is all ballpark. If you read my threads, you'll see what I did and when I did it.

Cooling system, brakes, tires...just that is a thousand if you diy it. It 'can' be the cheapest brand you'll ever own if you look at it long term and rebuild it slowly to factory condition.

Oh...your saying that you wouldn't get a manual unless it's an M3 sounds sort of ill informed. If you can drive a manual, you should get it in any car you get. You can't afford an M3 on your budget. Get an auto bmw non-M and you'll be missing out on a lot. I'm on original clutch still, btw.

Read fanatics more and you'll get a better idea of what you're getting into.
Roger that Dmax. And about the whole "manual/automatic" thing, I just enjoy the simplicity and convenience of an automatic. Don't get me wrong, I love driving manually and I'm good at it. But I can't for the life of me, drive calmly while behind the wheel of a manual car. I feel obligated to cause hell. And that's why I love manual cars. But that's also why I don't want one as a daily driver, I feel like I would ruin that feeling. And that's just personal preference. But manual cars are something to be savored for me.
Devakya is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-10-2014, 05:14 PM   #18
dmax
Registered User
 
dmax's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: NJ
Posts: 23,670
My Ride: '99 328i 300K miles
You'll have both more fun and more control with a manual...also less expense, better gas mileage, easier time getting out the fan to work on the engine...every way you look at it.

I almost always run to 5-6K rpm in 1st and 2nd to get to speed. Rolling through toll booths in 2nd...all the way up to 69 mph...nothing wrong with that and the car loves it...so do I. I'm an old guy...won't think of an auto until I lose my leg function. Lots of autos here seem to have issues...changing fluid requires dropping oil pan...but more than anything...it's an auto. You'll lose most of the reason for bothering with a bmw if you don't go manual. There's no question in my mind that's what you should get if you get any car and really know how to drive a manual...and in 10-15 years you might get really good at it! Just saying!
__________________
Upcoming comedy shows: April 23, Tierney's Tavern, Montclair, NJ, 7:00 p.m. See Facebook for other shows and PM me if you can make one...love to see you there!

Facebook.com/DMAXstandup
Mangofy your E46!
dmax is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-10-2014, 05:24 PM   #19
peytonracer4
:D
 
peytonracer4's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Valparaiso, IN
Posts: 7,756
My Ride: '00 328i
Not gonna read the responses. I'll just give you my advice.
Buy an e46 with records. Meaning everything that's been done to it. I'd personally look for a 328 or 330 rather than a 325.
If you don't work on it yourself it will be very expensive. A brake job at the dealer is around $1400 I believe. But yourself it's not expensive.

Suspensions need replaced. At this age they're blown. All bushings need done. Cooling system needs done. Power steering system needs new lines. Probably leaking oil from valve cover gasket or oil pan gasket.

Here's the deal. These are GREAT cars. But when they die, they die hard. If someone doesn't maintain it it's going down hill fast. On the other hand, if you get a well maintained one, it will likely be the best car you ever own. Even reliability wise. Bmw engines last absolutely forever. And if you maintain everything else, you'll be worry free.

The name of the game is maintenance. There's a member named mango on here who has some good info in his signature. Search for him. Make a check list of everything he mentions. And when searching for a good car, look for those things to have been replaced. And if they haven't, they need to be.

Not a lot of people put value in a car with spot on maintenance and records. And then after the purchase they realize they need thousands in repairs.

Do it right the first time and find a well sorted model.


Sent from BimmerApp mobile app

Last edited by peytonracer4; 01-10-2014 at 05:26 PM.
peytonracer4 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-10-2014, 05:24 PM   #20
Cowspoo
Registered User
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Chicago
Posts: 849
My Ride: 328Ci
Quote:
Originally Posted by zheka130 View Post

Soon after buying it, changed the coolant, water pump and thermostat.
Cost me around $300
Changed the transmission fluid a bit later, another $60 or so

Recently did the spark plugs, $180

Do you mean the coolant, water pump and thermostat cost you $100?

When did spark plugs become $30 each?
__________________
spacebarissolazy
doesntfeelikebeingpressed
Cowspoo is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Tags
325ci, 325i, buying, first time, reliability

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes Rate This Thread
Rate This Thread:

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On
Censor is ON





All times are GMT -5. The time now is 03:33 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
(c) 1999 - 2016 performanceIX Inc - privacy policy - terms of use