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E46 Xi Forum
The E46 XI was produced from 01-05 in sedan and touring body styles. Powered by either a 2.5L inline 6 in the 325xi or a 3.0L inline 6 330xi. Discuss all thing about BMW AWD E46 'Xi' here.

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Old 09-03-2013, 01:44 PM   #1
kchemers
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Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: frankfort
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My Ride: 2003 325XI
I hate BMW's

2003 325XI bought 4 years ago with 45000 miles. 132000 miles now along with new starter, 2 alternators, 2 water pumps, 2 expansion tanks, replaced belts and hoses twice, tensioner pulley, rear shocks, rear springs, front axles, front left axle twice, control arm bushings, valve cover gasket, radiator, washer pump,sun roof in-operable, needs new motor.
Driven Mercedes for most of my life, C230 275000 miles until rear ended, 300TE 240,000 miles, 240D 280000 miles, current 1987 560SL 102000 miles. I didn't replace half the parts on these 4 as I have on the E-46.
Oh, wait I have to admit that I love driving this car. I have never driven anything as a responsive and fun to drive as the E-46 and 27-30mpg as well.
Thats why I hate BMW's
Its just like a woman, can't live with them, can't live without them!!!!
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Old 09-03-2013, 01:47 PM   #2
kchemers
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I hate BMW's

forgot, I also replaced the starter and the fuel pump!!!!
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Old 09-03-2013, 02:43 PM   #3
sminnich
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I hate BMW's

180k and I haven't had to replace even half the stuff you have.


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Old 09-03-2013, 02:47 PM   #4
SamDoe1
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Did you do all that work yourself or did you take it to a shop? There's no reason that you should have to do most of that stuff once let alone multiple times. I have 125k on mine and it's been a maintenance whore but still reliable.
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Old 09-03-2013, 03:06 PM   #5
e46alfonso
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you must have bought aftermarket junk parts to replace them twice
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Old 09-03-2013, 07:53 PM   #6
White_Knuckles
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^^ yeah, something is wrong with this movie!

Most of us purchasing OEM or OEM supplier parts have no such reoccurring issues. Cooling system components and belts should be replaced every 80K miles with pretty much any car. Not a shocker there but 2 alternators, 2 axles etc.? Find a new shop or parts provider.

As far as Mercedes goes, I've had 'em too and think the 2000+ models are part sucking pigs! I dumped my Merc when a transmission code was an indicator of a $3000 repair bill on the horizon for a trans control module. I can buy and have installed a complete, rebuilt transmission for that number. Merc has crazy prices for their parts. Ask me how I know.
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Old 09-03-2013, 08:18 PM   #7
jmo69
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My Ride: 2003 325xi e36 328is
2003 325xi, 127K, in 14 months I've replaced the battery, alternator and pm belts, fuel pump and filter, fan clutch, water pump and t-stat as pm. Spark plugs and trans filter and oil and t-case refill. I've spent much more on my e36 in the 6 years I've had it and only put 30K on it.
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Old 09-03-2013, 09:36 PM   #8
autoAER
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kchemers View Post
2003 325XI bought 4 years ago with 45000 miles. 132000 miles now along with new starter, 2 alternators, 2 water pumps, 2 expansion tanks, replaced belts and hoses twice, tensioner pulley, rear shocks, rear springs, front axles, front left axle twice, control arm bushings, valve cover gasket, radiator, washer pump,sun roof in-operable, needs new motor.
Driven Mercedes for most of my life, C230 275000 miles until rear ended, 300TE 240,000 miles, 240D 280000 miles, current 1987 560SL 102000 miles. I didn't replace half the parts on these 4 as I have on the E-46.
Oh, wait I have to admit that I love driving this car. I have never driven anything as a responsive and fun to drive as the E-46 and 27-30mpg as well.
Thats why I hate BMW's
Its just like a woman, can't live with them, can't live without them!!!!
Hate to tell you, but whoever you bought it off of more than likely didnt maintain it... by the looks of it, AT ALL

Mercedes for the most part are reliable (as far as i know, from the W203 my parents bought brand new) Repair centers rape you on repair costs though, and its a real pain to work on yourself
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Old 09-03-2013, 11:10 PM   #9
bernie21614
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Re: I hate BMW's

All that is normal and are regular pm items that wear and tear nothing unusual however the parts that were replaced twice were either non OEM or were not installed right.

Just keep up with it and it won't that bad, the title should read: BMW are awesome.
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Old 09-04-2013, 12:11 AM   #10
3coupe
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I hate bmw's too! I have to get new oil like once a year! And then this one timewhen I didn't my engine made this strange sounds and I had to get a new one.


In other news, I watched a civic blow it's ET (or their equivalent) and after feeling smug in my e46 for 30s I panicked and started praying to the BMW gods.
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Old 09-04-2013, 07:12 AM   #11
bikesandcars
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My Ride: 2002 325xi-sport pkg
the infuriating part about BMW's is that the attention to most details is very good, and the attention to some small details like cooling expansion tank plastic, window regulator clips, and VANOS seals is abysmal... fixing all those problems at the factory so they wouldn't happen would be less than $500 on a $35,000 + car.. It's like they take care of the big stuff but the small stuff they cheap out on.

+1 to BMW for their interior though, mine at least has held up much better than other european car's I've driven.

but I digress... besides doing axles and suspension when I got mine with 94K it has been trouble free for the last 30,000 miles... maybe I should sell it?

Last edited by bikesandcars; 09-04-2013 at 07:13 AM.
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Old 09-04-2013, 12:18 PM   #12
kchemers
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My Ride: 2003 325XI
hate BMW

for all you authorities out there, I use OEM or BMW parts, order from 2 different BMW parts suppliers. The parts are junk and the car is made like ****. No reason for half these parts to fail if they were made in Germany instead of China and then packaged like they came from Germany. You won't find that with Mercedes parts, packaged and manufactured in Germany or Austria. Much better engineering, much better car. Face it the BMW is too expensive and completely over-rated. Look at the new ones, after the warranty expires no one wants them, the dealers can't get rid of them. Look at the 7 series, the original owner takes almost a 50% hit in value the 1st year.
FYI. I do all my own maintenance.
It still is the best driving machine I have ever owned, just can't get over the cost of keeping it running.
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Old 09-04-2013, 01:06 PM   #13
Hogan773
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kchemers View Post
for all you authorities out there, I use OEM or BMW parts, order from 2 different BMW parts suppliers. The parts are junk and the car is made like ****. No reason for half these parts to fail if they were made in Germany instead of China and then packaged like they came from Germany. You won't find that with Mercedes parts, packaged and manufactured in Germany or Austria. Much better engineering, much better car. Face it the BMW is too expensive and completely over-rated. Look at the new ones, after the warranty expires no one wants them, the dealers can't get rid of them. Look at the 7 series, the original owner takes almost a 50% hit in value the 1st year.
FYI. I do all my own maintenance.
It still is the best driving machine I have ever owned, just can't get over the cost of keeping it running.
Yeah well who wants to buy a land-yacht like the 7 series anyway. Maybe if you own your own executive chauffer company.
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Old 09-04-2013, 01:07 PM   #14
Hogan773
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180k and I haven't had to replace even half the stuff you have.


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Yeah well Mango replaces that whole list of stuff every month on a prophylactic basis.....
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Old 09-04-2013, 01:09 PM   #15
3coupe
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kchemers View Post
for all you authorities out there, I use OEM or BMW parts, order from 2 different BMW parts suppliers. The parts are junk and the car is made like ****. No reason for half these parts to fail if they were made in Germany instead of China and then packaged like they came from Germany. You won't find that with Mercedes parts, packaged and manufactured in Germany or Austria. Much better engineering, much better car. Face it the BMW is too expensive and completely over-rated. Look at the new ones, after the warranty expires no one wants them, the dealers can't get rid of them. Look at the 7 series, the original owner takes almost a 50% hit in value the 1st year.
FYI. I do all my own maintenance.
It still is the best driving machine I have ever owned, just can't get over the cost of keeping it running.
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Old 09-04-2013, 01:42 PM   #16
SamDoe1
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^ What he said...

If you bought OE or OEM parts from either BMW or their supplier, there's no reason your stuff should have gone bad that many times in that short of a time unless you messed up the install or something. I can see doing all of those things once, but not multiple times.
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Old 09-04-2013, 02:28 PM   #17
rcsummers
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kchemers View Post
for all you authorities out there, I use OEM or BMW parts, order from 2 different BMW parts suppliers. The parts are junk and the car is made like ****. No reason for half these parts to fail if they were made in Germany instead of China and then packaged like they came from Germany. You won't find that with Mercedes parts, packaged and manufactured in Germany or Austria. Much better engineering, much better car. Face it the BMW is too expensive and completely over-rated. Look at the new ones, after the warranty expires no one wants them, the dealers can't get rid of them. Look at the 7 series, the original owner takes almost a 50% hit in value the 1st year.
FYI. I do all my own maintenance.
It still is the best driving machine I have ever owned, just can't get over the cost of keeping it running.

you obviously did something wrong, because no one here has had that many multiples of the same problem with that little mileage. Either you don't know what you're doing, or you abuse the **** out of this thing. It seems like you're a benz guy, preaching to a bunch of BMW guys about how much their cars suck when none of us have had that frequency of issues. You're going to get nowhere doing that on here.

Now go buy another Merc, if you hate BMW's so much.
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Old 09-04-2013, 06:13 PM   #18
darksidewarrior
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if you are a decent mechano then this loox like a car that was restored after a massive accident. and all the double repairs you had to perform are not due to lack of quality or engineering. its just too f ucked up and badly restored.
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Old 09-06-2013, 12:51 PM   #19
biglittledog
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kchemers View Post
2003 325XI bought 4 years ago with 45000 miles. 132000 miles now along with new starter, 2 alternators, 2 water pumps, 2 expansion tanks, replaced belts and hoses twice, tensioner pulley, rear shocks, rear springs, front axles, front left axle twice, control arm bushings, valve cover gasket, radiator, washer pump,sun roof in-operable, needs new motor.
Driven Mercedes for most of my life, C230 275000 miles until rear ended, 300TE 240,000 miles, 240D 280000 miles, current 1987 560SL 102000 miles. I didn't replace half the parts on these 4 as I have on the E-46.
Oh, wait I have to admit that I love driving this car. I have never driven anything as a responsive and fun to drive as the E-46 and 27-30mpg as well.
Thats why I hate BMW's
Its just like a woman, can't live with them, can't live without them!!!!
Just my opinions going through your list
starter: not uncommon to replace at this mileage but many cars will go further.

2 alternators: something wrong here as others have mentioned. You should have been able to return the first for a freebie (or you used crap parts) Weird.

2 water pumps: same as above. one replacement at this mileage would be fairly normal although many go further with proper cooling system maintenance which your car may not have had.

2 expansion tanks: yeah, that's a crappy design and something they should have fix...plus the first may have frozen and weakened when the PO didn't have windshield antifreeze in the tank.

hoses and belts twice: normal. You've put almost 100k on the car. I would be replacing these anyway.

tensioner pulley: easy to replace but prolly shouldn't have failed.

Rear shocks/rear springs: most cars shocks or struts are worn out after 100k so this is normal. Not knowing what abuse or road conditions contributed to the springs breaking, can't conclude if it's a PO abuse issue or not.
I would guess that your shocks/struts on the high mileage Mercedes were worn or toast but you don't notice like you do with the BMW. More road conditions than anything else regardless of the make.

Front axles Left one twice: one replacement would easily be normal at this mileage regardless of the car maker. Our Subarus and Jeeps have gone through axles too. The boots split somewhere and let road grit in and it's all over...
Was the left replacement OEM or "remanufactured"? Curious to know.

Control arm bushings: road conditions will let them last or wear them out fast. Normal in my book.

Valve cover gasket: We just replaced ours at 120k but it sounds like most start to weep at about 100k. A BMW six cyl thing but not that hard to do yourself with a new 60 buck gasket set. I agree this could be a better design.

Radiator: with proper cooling system maintenance, this should last longer...BMW could do better.

Washer pump replaced: I would almost guarantee that someone was cheap and put water or water mix instead of windshield fluid into the tank to save 2 bucks. The water freezes and either breaks off the plastic impeller or burns out the motor when it can't turn. I've seen this on lots of cars. Operator error and one of my pet peeves. Buy a 40k+ car and then too cheap or lazy to do the most simple maintenance. Not necessarily you that did it wrong.

Sunroof inoperable: inexcusable BMW design fail. Sucks and I feel your pain.

Hopefully you are caught up now and won't have too much more replacement to do. Remember used cars are always a gamble! The little bastards are fun to drive though...
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Old 09-07-2013, 09:00 AM   #20
Wild72
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I have a 2002 325XiT with 110K miles on her which I bought for my wife about 18 months ago, and have generally been very happy with her.

Sure I have had to take care of some maintenance issues as with any car, but mostly it has been normal wear and tear items that I would expect from any vehicle. (Rear struts and mounts, brake lines, rear sway bar links, spark plugs, valve cover gasket and a thermostat). Yes you pay a premium for genuine parts, but the car is so well built and reasonably simple to perform work on, that to me it doesn't make sense to buy anything other than oem.

Admittedly when I bought the car, it had full service records, and had been well looked after by the previous owners, and I am fortunate that I can do most of any work required myself, but in my short time with this vehicle, I would say the repair/maintenance costs have been less than with previous cars that I owned such as Audi, Mercedes, Porsche, and a Jaguar money-pit.

I usually buy vehicles that are several years old so expect to have spend some money on them, but IMHO, this Bimmer has so far been reasonably kind to my wallet, and my wife loves how it drives and looks and keeping her happy makes my life so much easier.

Last edited by Wild72; 09-07-2013 at 09:01 AM.
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