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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 01-22-2017, 05:03 PM   #1
GabrielSalvesen
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Join Date: Jan 2017
Location: Encinitas
Posts: 2
My Ride: 07 Volvo S40
First e46 330ci, advice

Currently I drive an 07' Volvo S40. The car is dreary and absolutely irritating to drive so I'm in the process of trying to get rid of it. Knocking noise every time I start it up, check engine light for O2 sensor, goes through a qt of oil every 200 miles, and the interior feels like its about to just shatter. My family is the one who bought the car for me for 4k, and we got a damn good deal on it so I could probably sell it for around that or more. Has around 140k on the odometer. I'm thinking about getting an e46 330ci. I've driven M3's, M4's, M5's, an i8 and a manual 330ci with the m package and I'm in absolute love with them and how they drive.

I'm tied between getting an automatic e46 330ci or manual. I'm a total newbie at stick and I have no problem with learning. I live in North San Diego and I do commute to LA a lot so I'm worried about the traffic. What are some common mechanical issues with e46's? How much money should I have set aside when I buy one incase something goes wrong? How many miles should I be looking at on one of these cars. My budget is around 5-8k and I intend to daily it and drive it on sundays for a good ol' time. I do all oil changes and basic maintenance by myself and I'm a quick learner so that will save me a bit of money. I'm also interested in exhaust modifications. I live in Cali so I have to be able to pass Smog. Thinking of a muffler delete at least. Any advice or answers would be greatly appreciated.
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Old 01-22-2017, 05:42 PM   #2
HOODY007
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Join Date: Jun 2014
Location: Boston, MA & Dunwoody, GA
Posts: 445
My Ride: '04 330ci
Quote:
Originally Posted by GabrielSalvesen View Post
Currently I drive an 07' Volvo S40. The car is dreary and absolutely irritating to drive so I'm in the process of trying to get rid of it. Knocking noise every time I start it up, check engine light for O2 sensor, goes through a qt of oil every 200 miles, and the interior feels like its about to just shatter. My family is the one who bought the car for me for 4k, and we got a damn good deal on it so I could probably sell it for around that or more. Has around 140k on the odometer. I'm thinking about getting an e46 330ci. I've driven M3's, M4's, M5's, an i8 and a manual 330ci with the m package and I'm in absolute love with them and how they drive.

I'm tied between getting an automatic e46 330ci or manual. I'm a total newbie at stick and I have no problem with learning. I live in North San Diego and I do commute to LA a lot so I'm worried about the traffic. What are some common mechanical issues with e46's? How much money should I have set aside when I buy one incase something goes wrong? How many miles should I be looking at on one of these cars. My budget is around 5-8k and I intend to daily it and drive it on sundays for a good ol' time. I do all oil changes and basic maintenance by myself and I'm a quick learner so that will save me a bit of money. I'm also interested in exhaust modifications. I live in Cali so I have to be able to pass Smog. Thinking of a muffler delete at least. Any advice or answers would be greatly appreciated.
Buy the best one you can find.

Common mechanical issues:

1. Cooling system; these cars are at least 11 years old- budget money for a expansion tank & hoses overhaul if it has not already been done.

2. Suspension (shocks, bushings); The OEM shocks/struts generally last 50K- replace with Bilstein B4s

3. Maintenance- On any car w. more than 50K mls, you'll have to replace your transmission fluid (if an auto, only drain and replace filter- do not flush) and diff. oil.

That's just stuff off the top of my head- the sticky at the top of this forum goes into greater depth.

Cosmetics/ options to look for:

Xenon lights - self leveling since the start of production, Adaptive from 2004-06.

LED taillights - 2004 - 2006 (facelift models)

Harman-Kardon audio - great system, adding a subwoofer, better mids and tweeters, as well as spatial equalization. All cars from mid '01 on are thus equipped.

Navigation system- BMW MK2 on '99-'01s, BMW MK3 on '02s, BMW MK4 from 2003-2006. Great system, and the later Mk4 system (denoted by a DVD icon) can be updated to 2015 maps and a modern, 3D interface not unlike the newer BMWs (this system was used until 2010 in the X3)

BMW Assist - 2004 - 2006. On '05-'06s, included Bluetooth and Voice Commands.

1. Sport package - an absolute must, IMHO, as better, more supportive seats are the centerpiece of this package. Standard staggered 17'' wheels and white indicators are a bonus.

2. Premium package - Most 330s came options with this- wood trim, or, on '04-'06, a no-cost polished aluminum trim, will denote this. This is the package which includes leather. Stay away from the all beige and grey interiors- they don't wear well in my experience.

3. Cold weather package - headlight washers & heated seats. Note that heated seats can be ordered separately.

4. Performance package - denoted by an aggressive body kit, higher redline, lighter cams, and improved exhaust note, as well as exclusive interior bits. An extra 10hp over the "regular" 330. Rare and desirable.

Last edited by HOODY007; 01-22-2017 at 05:45 PM.
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Old 01-22-2017, 05:43 PM   #3
Dogthebountyhunter
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Join Date: Jul 2016
Location: Philly
Posts: 192
My Ride: 02 325xi
Pretty much everyone on here is going to suggest cooling system overhaul for good reason. I would also throw in new belts and pulleys, and flush everything and put in new fluids. Your probably going to have to fix a bunch of vacuum leaks as well. Also I would do spark plugs. If you take care of all that and your engine is solid, you have a reliable car. If you don't, and you only replace things when they break you will be Rollin the dice. Dont forget a good scan tool and any tools you might not have. . I got my 02 325xi for 3k. I'm sure in la you'll prob pay more. I think if you can keep around 1k for repairs you'll be in good shape. If you never worked on cars before you will if you buy a e46
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Old 01-22-2017, 11:21 PM   #4
case600lp
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Join Date: Jun 2013
Location: Oklahoma
Posts: 36
My Ride: 330i imola ZHP
I've put about 150,000 miles on my '04 330i and just love it!

But I tell people, my 330i is about like dating a supermodel! Wonderful when things are good, but sure demands a lot of attention and upkeep to keep her happy! ha ha..

I've replaced valve cover gasket for oil leaks twice, cooling system expansion tank and hoses issue (like everyone else), fuel pump went dead at about 130k, had to replace A/C condensor, oil filter housing gasket, driveline carrier bearing, starter, and DISA control over the last 8 years or so that I've had it.

About to do the oil separator system.

The DIY guides here cover most of the weak points and how to correct all of those things pretty well, and if you are a decent backyard mechanic, you'll be able to handle those (starter was pretty intimidating when first looking at it, but a get-it-done attitude will see you through).

I test drove a car with leather interior, but then bought one with alcantara interior - and I sure like it much better than the leather.

Look the headlights over pretty close! If they are xenon - check them at night to make sure the reflector domes aren't burned! You can replace them, but it is a pain.

I would guess you can easily find a good car in your budget range...


Howard
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Old 01-23-2017, 07:46 AM   #5
BaliDawg
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Join Date: Aug 2012
Location: Riverside, CA
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My Ride: E24 E32 E46 E39 E84
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Originally Posted by GabrielSalvesen View Post
I live in North San Diego and I do commute to LA a lot so I'm worried about the traffic.
Consider riding the Metrolink instead of driving. The OC line goes between Oceanside and LA Union stations.
http://www.metrolinktrains.com/sched...e_id/1152.html
Any connecting transporation in LA is free using your Metrolink pass. And there's always Uber or Lyft.
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