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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 03-20-2017, 01:23 AM   #21
Orion7884
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Lol just stay away from volvo s80 t6's..my girlfriends 2008 S80 AWD turbo (T6) is a headache to work on and turned into a money pit..just saying..good luck

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Old 03-20-2017, 11:44 AM   #22
goodmanr
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I recommend a Honda Civic.
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Old 03-20-2017, 11:50 AM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Knight View Post
Not into DIY. No garage. No tools.

I cannot, in good conscience, EVER recommend an E46 (or any old car) to someone in your shoes.

Seems like you are doing everything else right. Spare yourself the headache and focus on the more important things on your plate.

These cars can be made into reliable daily drivers, but you need to the time, funds and ability to do most of it yourself for it to be a worthwhile experience.
+1, coming from someone who got an E46 in high school. I paid the price. It did motivate me to start my own business, because it was either that or get rid of the car, but if you're not that motivated I wouldn't. A part time job at minimum wage will have most of your income go to the car
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Old 03-20-2017, 01:09 PM   #24
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Before you even consider an e46, you have to buy the tools and have workspace. I'm 20, bought one last year, and go to school full time. But my saving graces are that I don't use the car as a daily driver, and I have the space to work in my dad's warehouse. Secure those two things, and you'll be set. A good all around metric and imperial set of wrenches, sockets, ratchets, breaker bar, and a ftlbs torque wrench would be a good start for tools, plus gloves and safety glasses. Also, oil trip tray. Send me a pm, I'm in Canada as well and can help you out with some of the things I did to make owning an e46 work for me.
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Old 03-20-2017, 04:03 PM   #25
Birdmedic1701
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The E46 is a very reliable car if you keep up on your maintenance. There may be certain things that go wrong that you will not be able to fix. labor can hurt your finances. I aswell as many other members here on the forum believe that you may want to hold onto your Jetta. You're young, and You will have plenty of time to buy cars in the future. The E46 is a great car to own. If you are going to get a BMW remember, it is the ultimate driving machine, it is also ultimate leaking machine, and if you're not careful you may get yourself into a complete **** show. ( Break my wallet). An E46 can easily cost you in between $2500-$3000 a year to drive. You are 17 and your insurance may be fairly expensive depending on many factors. It is a great car to own. And I do mean own, as in you hold the title.
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Old 03-20-2017, 05:14 PM   #26
CalVol
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eval: "I'm not much of a DIYer, I can hardly change my own battery. I'm all for learning and looking at threads but there's a couple reasons that set me back: 1) I have no garage. I live in a townhouse with a dirt backyard. (We plan on building a garage in 2018). 2) I have no tools"

If you were my son, I would say, it's not the time for an E46. Learn to DIY your Jetta first, or sell it and buy a Corolla and go to college and study hard in something you like. Many years left for owning an E46 or something like it.
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Old 03-21-2017, 12:34 AM   #27
bobnagga
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Don't listen to these naysayers. Get it. Just do it. Go all in.

Just stay away from 2.5 liter engines and awd transmissions.

Contrary to popular belief, the 328 keeps up nicely with the 330, so... might be something to look into if you can find one.

Get a real good feel of the major body styles, too. I have a prefacelift car, and I can't even imagine owning a face-lifted e46, Ick... you might be the opposite.

If I had to do it again, I'd get a 328 and slap on an m54 intake with catless headers.

Last edited by bobnagga; 03-21-2017 at 12:36 AM. Reason: No ragrets
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Old 03-21-2017, 01:59 PM   #28
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Originally Posted by bobnagga View Post
Don't listen to these naysayers. Get it. Just do it. Go all in.

Just stay away from 2.5 liter engines and awd transmissions.

Contrary to popular belief, the 328 keeps up nicely with the 330, so... might be something to look into if you can find one.

Get a real good feel of the major body styles, too. I have a prefacelift car, and I can't even imagine owning a face-lifted e46, Ick... you might be the opposite.

If I had to do it again, I'd get a 328 and slap on an m54 intake with catless headers.

I just don't want to be screwed financially at age 17. Im most likely gonna hold off until after summer where I'll have some funds. I'm in agreement with everyone else. It's not really a practical decision. I don't really need this E46, at all, and I don't really even need a Jetta or any other German automobile. But it's fun. Also, my conditions kinda discourage me. Not having a garage sucks, especially for winter. Mornings are the worst when it's -35 C downward with the wind chill. And just wanting to do my own damn oil change.

What's wrong with the 325i? I'm having troubles finding a 330 that has reasonable mileage, manual, sedan and not an xi. This even goes for my neighbouring provinces. I know it's a pretty big upgrade, but the 325 can't be that bad.

I agree with the AWD, staying away from that.

I don't mind either facelifted styles. I like the 2004-2005 models simply because they're the newest ones. I'm really big on rear looks, so I do like the pre-facelift rear, but I couldn't care less the way the headlights are changed. The facelifted styles were introduced after 02, right?
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Old 03-21-2017, 02:19 PM   #29
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Get a Honda.

Seriously.

But if you insist, read here first:

http://www.e46mango.com/2014/10/thin...appeal-of.html

http://www.e46mango.com/2016/10/the-...ool-guide.html
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Old 03-21-2017, 02:29 PM   #30
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Originally Posted by eval View Post
I just don't want to be screwed financially at age 17. Im most likely gonna hold off until after summer where I'll have some funds. I'm in agreement with everyone else. It's not really a practical decision. I don't really need this E46, at all, and I don't really even need a Jetta or any other German automobile. But it's fun. Also, my conditions kinda discourage me. Not having a garage sucks, especially for winter. Mornings are the worst when it's -35 C downward with the wind chill. And just wanting to do my own damn oil change.

What's wrong with the 325i? I'm having troubles finding a 330 that has reasonable mileage, manual, sedan and not an xi. This even goes for my neighbouring provinces. I know it's a pretty big upgrade, but the 325 can't be that bad.

I agree with the AWD, staying away from that.

I don't mind either facelifted styles. I like the 2004-2005 models simply because they're the newest ones. I'm really big on rear looks, so I do like the pre-facelift rear, but I couldn't care less the way the headlights are changed. The facelifted styles were introduced after 02, right?
-35 C? Yikes.

That's perfect weather for these guys (I have one, but not from this image lol)



And yes, she sticks her head out the window at high speeds and eats snow. My son's 2002 325i hasn't had any major issues, other than the stupid window regulators needing to be replaced and the weather stripping too. My sister had a 328i, which was pre-face lift and pretty quick, but she wrecked it.
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Old 03-21-2017, 02:43 PM   #31
eval
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mango View Post

Yup. Getting a Honda would probably make the most sense. Reliable, good fuel economy, easy maintenance, optimal car for a high school student that makes minimal income. Who wants that though?

Quote:
Originally Posted by jealeman View Post
-35 C? Yikes.



That's perfect weather for these guys (I have one, but not from this image lol)







And yes, she sticks her head out the window at high speeds and eats snow. My son's 2002 325i hasn't had any major issues, other than the stupid window regulators needing to be replaced and the weather stripping too. My sister had a 328i, which was pre-face lift and pretty quick, but she wrecked it.
Yeah, Saskatchewan is pretty ridiculous. Nice dogs.
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Old 03-21-2017, 02:53 PM   #32
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Like I said, wait until you have the tools and workspace, after that you can knock yourself out. Also, to find a decent example you may have to look to Vancouver or even Toronto for decent examples, simply because there are more cars on the road there. I got lucky and found one in my area, but it was still a 4 hour drive each way to check it out and pick it up. Avoid chassis rust as much as possible, as the chassis is the part that isn't really replaceable.

Afterthought: Also, if you do find one that is actually in good condition that meets all your requirements, just buy it. These cars are only getting harder to find, and more expensive for unbeaten examples. If all else fails, you can hopefully take transit to work.
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Last edited by 330BCi; 03-21-2017 at 02:57 PM. Reason: Forgot a point
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Old 03-21-2017, 03:03 PM   #33
eval
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E46 for a part-time employee in high school?

Quote:
Originally Posted by 330BCi View Post
Like I said, wait until you have the tools and workspace, after that you can knock yourself out. Also, to find a decent example you may have to look to Vancouver or even Toronto for decent examples, simply because there are more cars on the road there. I got lucky and found one in my area, but it was still a 4 hour drive each way to check it out and pick it up. Avoid chassis rust as much as possible, as the chassis is the part that isn't really replaceable.



Afterthought: Also, if you do find one that is actually in good condition that meets all your requirements, just buy it. These cars are only getting harder to find, and more expensive for unbeaten examples. If all else fails, you can hopefully take transit to work.

Yeah, I'll be investing in tools fairly soon. Maybe I'll convince my mom to start the garage project early.

I don't think I can handle a flight or commute to the bigger provinces like Ontario or BC, then a commute back to SK. Alberta is probably the limit.

There's actually a couple in SK, notably this one:
http://www.kijiji.ca/v-cars-trucks/s...utm_source=sms
No idea why he listed it for 10,000 dollars.

This one is about 8 hours away, where I got my Jetta. From a dealer:
http://www.kijiji.ca/v-cars-trucks/e...utm_source=sms

There are others but they're automatic. I have no problem driving an automatic, but it's just the problems that arise with E46's transmissions I've heard of.

Last edited by eval; 03-21-2017 at 03:04 PM.
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Old 03-21-2017, 03:04 PM   #34
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Old 03-21-2017, 06:24 PM   #35
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eval View Post

There are others but they're automatic. I have no problem driving an automatic, but it's just the problems that arise with E46's transmissions I've heard of.

Good point but it willl limit the pool of available cars if you only consider a manual transmission for purchase.
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Old 03-21-2017, 07:05 PM   #36
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-35 C? Yikes.

That's perfect weather for these guys (I have one, but not from this image lol)


Hmm, fine animals but I don't think the one in the middle can handle -35C ... ha, nice pic!
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Old 03-21-2017, 07:29 PM   #37
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If you want a reliable E46 daily driver that you can drive 12,000 miles a year I suggest you budget around $2,400 USD per year. Some years you may only spend $500 to $1,200 but other years you will spend more like $3,000 to $3,500. And this is just for preventative and routine maintanence for wear items for things like tires, batteries, brakes, etc before you account for the occassional repair. You'll spend more in the first year as you refresh fluids and filters and perform other maintenance typically done to get all service up to date.
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Old 03-21-2017, 11:34 PM   #38
bobnagga
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eval View Post
I just don't want to be screwed financially at age 17. Im most likely gonna hold off until after summer where I'll have some funds. I'm in agreement with everyone else. It's not really a practical decision. I don't really need this E46, at all, and I don't really even need a Jetta or any other German automobile. But it's fun. Also, my conditions kinda discourage me. Not having a garage sucks, especially for winter. Mornings are the worst when it's -35 C downward with the wind chill. And just wanting to do my own damn oil change.

What's wrong with the 325i? I'm having troubles finding a 330 that has reasonable mileage, manual, sedan and not an xi. This even goes for my neighbouring provinces. I know it's a pretty big upgrade, but the 325 can't be that bad.

I agree with the AWD, staying away from that.

I don't mind either facelifted styles. I like the 2004-2005 models simply because they're the newest ones. I'm really big on rear looks, so I do like the pre-facelift rear, but I couldn't care less the way the headlights are changed. The facelifted styles were introduced after 02, right?
Actually, there's nothing wrong with the m52tub25, nor the m54b25 (older and newer 2.5L engines.) Nothing. Not one thing. But you're going to want more just the same. I'm putting a 3L in my 323ci. Nothing wrong with the 2.5 in it. It's amazing. But save yourself the trouble. Especially when you get on here and the default answer to most any question you can think of is "Sell it and get a 330."

Then you get a 330 and the answer upgrades to "Sell it and get an M3!"

You're not going to be winning any races in a 323 or 325 is all I'm saying. They look nice. They drive nice. They're faster than your average compact economy car, but when civics start walking away from you, you're going to kick yourself.

60HP and 40 ft lb of torque extra is nothing to sneeze at for not much more money. Especially considering most parts are interchangeable between the 323/328 and 325/330.

Just a thought.

Although, if it's really that cold around where you live, you might want to spring for that xi model. RWD is shite in the snow. These things break loose if the ground even looks like it's going to frost over.
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Old 03-22-2017, 03:54 AM   #39
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Dear OP:

(I don't like giving people any off-topic advice)

Stick with the car(VW) that you got until you are out of trade school working Full Time with Full benefits and , you are willing to spend an average $1500 per year for regular maintenance(oil, tires, cooling system parts) on your E46, and ready to spend another one-time $1,500 on underbody work (major oil leaks, suspension once the car hits 150,000 miles). If you buy a used E46, try to find one under 125,000 miles before major underbody parts have to be replaced. " Your finishing school is your ultimate ticket to ...."

I've owned my year 2000 E46 new and driven it to 240,000 miles until it hit something on the road and had to be salvaged. It's very reliable and it would have gone to 400,000 miles at least with regular maintenance. But there is nothing special about a BMW or any other car, mostly it's a utility. That might be hard for a teenager to realize but I've been there. Even when I had the E46, I always wanted another faster\more powerful car A, B, C etc. even if I can buy it , but I did not.

Buy the car (E46 or wait then buy a newer BMW) after you are out of school, when you are ready and when you don't have to worry about spending that money to maintain it. It will happen eventually and the BMW won't be your only car.
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Old 03-22-2017, 09:59 AM   #40
asianisafish
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I did it. Got my e46 330 in highschool. currently in college.
The car isnt hard to work on, plus your in highschool, you have alot of time and probably friends you can all work on cars together on a saturday(thats what i did with friends)
I balanced school work and sports and the car so you should be able to be. Parts aren't to expensive, just know when to replace things, before it too late, but dont fix whats not broken. making $18/hr I was able to do almost all of the maintenance I wanted aswell as some upgrades.
If you think you can do it, then do it, but if you have a car right now then maybe its the best to keep it.

Also look for the 3.0 engine AND PAY ATTENTION TO THE OPTIONS vs MILEAGE it really changes the price of the car
for example I got my 330 for 7k with all the options at 135k miles
but my friend got a 325 for 7k base model no option at like 75k miles
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