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E46 Convertible
The E46 vert forum. Talk about dropping your E46 top here.

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Old 09-20-2017, 03:59 AM   #1
bmpassion
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Need help in deciding to upgrade or sell

Hi All!

I need some advice from you all regarding my ride. I am not sure if I should keep it and spend money upgrading it or selling it and getting a new car - I am not sure if financially it makes sense to keep the car and spend so I can keep the car for another 3-4 years, though I know a new (slightly used rather) car will cost $ as well. But anyhow here are the facts and questions below, thanks for your help!

Current Car:

BMW E46 330ci Black Soft Top 2005

Mileage - 202,000 KM (126 K Miles)

Condition - Reasonable but needs upgrading and repair work

Repair Work Needed (estimates - labor is fairly cheap where I live, parts expensive)

- Right side small dent needs fixing (USD 350, Paintless removal)
- Side mirrors need to be fixed do not move into folded position (USD 200)
- Seats need to be reupholstered (USD 275)
- AC gas slow leak, compressor or evaporator needs replacement (USD 600)
- One xenon light needs replacing (brighter than other lens) (USD 275)
- Rear window actuator (USD 150)

Total Estimated - USD 1850

Upgrade work needed to keep car fresh and modern for next 3-4 years (not sure yet what the upgrades may cost totally, but a buddy said maybe in 8K USD ball park with labor)

- new front set of headlights with casing and angel eyes as mine are yellowish and foggy
- sport exhaust Akon - $500
- convertible top replacement fabric - 1200$
- rear small spoiler -$200
- body kit .. bumper and skirts - maybe $600
- black kidney grille - cheap
- ideally 18/19 inch rims with new Tyres - would I need new springs etc with putting bigger tyres? Presently stock 17 inch - 1500$
- Maybe some mods to make steering tighter?
- optional tuning of chip
- new sound system with speakers - any suggestions on decent ones that will fit the console and speakers? Rear camera nice to have not essential

So my questions are now as follows:

1. Is it worth to address the repairs - my thinking is that yes it is to keep car running smoothly?

2. Is it worth to keep the car considering the mileage and possible future major repairs? What else could go wrong at higher mileages? The transmission was replaced at 175,000 kM with a used one. Engine is fine consumes littl oil no leaks. Cooling system was a pain has been addressed for now though

3. The current price I could maybe get for selling the car with the fixes above is about 5-6000$ max as the used car market is bad

4. Insurance is cheap about USD 400 per year for comprehensive

5. Are the upgrades worth it to keep the car for few years? I really want a modern fresh look car for work as well, but is it worth it to put potentially $8K - 10Kto upgrade?? And if there was an accident God forbid I am sure the insurance companies will not restore my mods, so it will be back to stock again. Also, if you were going to keep and do some upgrades what upgrades would you personally do? I have attached current images of the car to help you on this?

6. Does it make more sense to do minimal repair and try and sell it off and then buy the new car. I am thinking of getting a C300 coupe with AMG kit, 2016 model for about 48000 $ and I would keep the car for a long time maybe 6-7 years. I can pay a 40% downpayment and then monthly payments for 3 years max would be in the range of USD 820 pr month - no need to worry with warranty and a service plan is included till 2019. How are these cars after maintenance wise? BMW was a money pit to be honest. Alternative car is 2016 Audi A/S 5 coupe which I can pick up for $ 32-39k with warranty and service plan.

Thanks guys!
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Last edited by bmpassion; 09-20-2017 at 04:02 AM.
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Old 09-20-2017, 06:32 PM   #2
taylor192
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You're comparing buying a $50K car with putting $10K into a $5K car... there is no comparison. One scenario you're out $10K, the other you're out $45K. One scenario you're throwing away $10K you may never recoup, the other you'll suffer $20K of depreciation in a few years.

Pick how much you want to spend/lose.
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Old 09-21-2017, 12:56 AM   #3
bmpassion
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Originally Posted by taylor192 View Post
You're comparing buying a $50K car with putting $10K into a $5K car... there is no comparison. One scenario you're out $10K, the other you're out $45K. One scenario you're throwing away $10K you may never recoup, the other you'll suffer $20K of depreciation in a few years.

Pick how much you want to spend/lose.
Hey thx for the reply. Well you're right on that. I guess a better question would be how long can these cars last. 10 k is much less ofcourse than buying but then I don't know how much more issues can come up in the car given mileage and if it's in the shop a lot it negatively impacts me as I need a reasonably reliable car for work too - new car though costing lot more shouldn't be in the shop technically and would be covered by warranty and service plan . I love the e46 though so it's tough .. I guess with the mods the car would be a joy to drive maybe for another 3 years..
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Old 09-21-2017, 12:01 PM   #4
elmercc
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My previous BMW (an e30 3 series) was running strong when I sold it a few years ago at over 300k miles. The E46 is a great car when it comes down to it as well. I have seen many users on here post high mileage examples.

Many of the things you posted are optional and not necessary, or an immediate need. If you buy a car you have to pay a certain amount of money per month. No questions. If you keep your car you have the option to do those upgrades when the time/budget allows.

If you take care of these car, they'll take care of you


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Old 09-21-2017, 06:59 PM   #5
dknightd
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It sounds like you want a car that looks different. Perhaps a coupe? Or just something different.
Most of us here like our E46 convertibles. We like the way they look, we like the way they drive.
I'd keep mine and do what it takes to keep it on the road as long as possible, within reason.
Once you fix/repair/replace things, they will likely last a long time. If you are replacing parts
on a 10 year old car, that should be expected, and they will likely last another 10 years.
I bought mine 5 years ago. I expect 5 more years of good service. But it could surprise me.
You can probably have the headlights cleaned, and top re-stained, if that is what bothers you.
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Old 09-22-2017, 05:16 AM   #6
bmpassion
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dknightd View Post
It sounds like you want a car that looks different. Perhaps a coupe? Or just something different.
Most of us here like our E46 convertibles. We like the way they look, we like the way they drive.
I'd keep mine and do what it takes to keep it on the road as long as possible, within reason.
Once you fix/repair/replace things, they will likely last a long time. If you are replacing parts
on a 10 year old car, that should be expected, and they will likely last another 10 years.
I bought mine 5 years ago. I expect 5 more years of good service. But it could surprise me.
You can probably have the headlights cleaned, and top re-stained, if that is what bothers you.
Hey man, thanks for your reply. Actually to be honest, I love the e46 vert It still turns heads. I also love the new rides with their lush interiors, but for now, I am not being able to justify easily the extra 900 $ a month x 36 month payments plus down payment, even though it will be hassle free (hopefully). I like the C200 AMG for example and the interior is lovely. But again the extra costs I can manage but if my vert does not give me some crazy repair costs next few years Id rather upgrade a bit and keep it and put those car payments into a small property makes more sense.

Now the upgrades I would like to do soon would be at least:

- New rims and tyres and lower with springs, changes the look totally

- DEF need a new top, maybe a burgundy would look sweet with black - my existing one is old and faded due to UV

- Reupholster the worn seats a company here does a great job and decent prices

- Upgrade the screen and sound in car - any suggestions? I posted a image of the type I have and the mechanic said the AC slab can be put lower above the ashtray section

- Paint job (can get a good deal on groupon for like 550$ (can come bit later though)

- New headlights as the ones i have are yellow and cannot be repaired or polished any further

- Sport exhaust would be nice not immediate (any suggestions for a nice deep note)?

- Change front seats to sport seats (not immediate)

- Dash lights to white/red like Audi, is it possible? The orange looks very dated

- CSL rear spoiler and front bumper (which is bit worn out)

- Stainless steel brake lines and parts

- Any upgrades you can suggest for the cooling system? Gen that a weak spot in e46

If anyone can suggest good parts models for the above would be very grateful

Last edited by bmpassion; 09-22-2017 at 05:19 AM.
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Old 09-22-2017, 05:17 AM   #7
bmpassion
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Quote:
Originally Posted by elmercc View Post
My previous BMW (an e30 3 series) was running strong when I sold it a few years ago at over 300k miles. The E46 is a great car when it comes down to it as well. I have seen many users on here post high mileage examples.

Many of the things you posted are optional and not necessary, or an immediate need. If you buy a car you have to pay a certain amount of money per month. No questions. If you keep your car you have the option to do those upgrades when the time/budget allows.

If you take care of these car, they'll take care of you


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wow! 300k miles!!! Good to know!
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Old 09-22-2017, 05:18 AM   #8
bmpassion
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Also I really am not a huge fan of the newer BMW style for the 3 series and 4 .. go figure
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Old 09-22-2017, 12:31 PM   #9
Bidno
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Important consider for costs is what has been done over last 30-40,000 miles. E46 repairs are somewhat predicable, so you can get an idea on what might lie ahead. And some repairs can be done preventively with corresponding improvement to reliability.

Last edited by Bidno; 09-22-2017 at 12:40 PM.
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Old 09-22-2017, 08:31 PM   #10
The Thomas J
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These cars have plummeted in price. I wanted to sell my Corvette and BMW and buy a 2005 6 series convertible. My BMW had a few little issues nothing mechanical mind you. Just a couple if easily fixed cosmetic issues and I was getting lowball offers on both cars. I decided to throw a new set of wheels and tires on my BMW and fix the couple of the cosmetic issues on the interior which cost wise was about $100. Now I love the car again. Another contributing factor was anything I buy I would be starting over as far as suspension upgrades, mechanical stuff etc... I just wasn't up for that at the moment.

If your car has $2000 in issues it's going to be hard to get $5000 for it. They just aren't worth what they were 2 or three years ago. You can go out and buy a newer BMW with a warranty for $10,000 or lease a brand new one and have no headaches what's so ever. If you really love the car fix it. If you don't cut ties with it. IMO it needs more work than it is worth. I woud sell it and start over with something newer and keep up with it. Either way it's costing you money.

The Vette was a different story. The AC wasn't working. I fixed it but it cost me $1,200. That hurt. But the cold air reminds me that it was worth it and that's all that was wrong with it.
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Last edited by The Thomas J; 09-22-2017 at 08:37 PM.
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Old 09-23-2017, 03:30 AM   #11
bmpassion
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Originally Posted by The Thomas J View Post
These cars have plummeted in price. I wanted to sell my Corvette and BMW and buy a 2005 6 series convertible. My BMW had a few little issues nothing mechanical mind you. Just a couple if easily fixed cosmetic issues and I was getting lowball offers on both cars. I decided to throw a new set of wheels and tires on my BMW and fix the couple of the cosmetic issues on the interior which cost wise was about $100. Now I love the car again. Another contributing factor was anything I buy I would be starting over as far as suspension upgrades, mechanical stuff etc... I just wasn't up for that at the moment.

If your car has $2000 in issues it's going to be hard to get $5000 for it. They just aren't worth what they were 2 or three years ago. You can go out and buy a newer BMW with a warranty for $10,000 or lease a brand new one and have no headaches what's so ever. If you really love the car fix it. If you don't cut ties with it. IMO it needs more work than it is worth. I woud sell it and start over with something newer and keep up with it. Either way it's costing you money.

The Vette was a different story. The AC wasn't working. I fixed it but it cost me $1,200. That hurt. But the cold air reminds me that it was worth it and that's all that was wrong with it.
I hear you man. That is why I am so undecided. I love the car and with new rims and some cosmetic changes and repairs will set me back $ 7000 approximately. Now the other issue is i like the new C300 Merc a lot (not the rear end so much), and the Audi S5 as the interiors are delicious, but the 330ci vert can look real nice with new rims and lowered. But yeah I hear you and need to decide The vert with top down still gets stares to this day haha imagine 2005 model! Not that i care bout that stuff but just shows how timeless the e46 is.
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Old 09-23-2017, 03:36 AM   #12
bmpassion
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Originally Posted by Bidno View Post
Important consider for costs is what has been done over last 30-40,000 miles. E46 repairs are somewhat predicable, so you can get an idea on what might lie ahead. And some repairs can be done preventively with corresponding improvement to reliability.
Hey, well the work i have done in the last 40,000 Miles, are as follows:

1. Usual brake work

2. Overhaul to cooling system as that dam low coolant light was on frequently so annoying!

3. Spark plugs

4. Engine oil slight leak

5. Replaced blown tranny with used one (Japan BMW)

6. Some suspension parts - control arms, bushings, engine mounts

7. Steering pump

8. Radiator fans, pipes, seals, radiator

9. Rear window actuators

10. New transmission cooler (was leaking so oil was mixing with tranny fluid, hence blown tranny)

Now I need to maybe change compressor or evaporator, and maybe steering rack as per mechanic

What else am i looking at for next 50000 miles? It is at 202,000 KM now.

If its gonna be a lot of expensive bills coming up, not really worth to mod and upgrade the car I reckon?
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Old 09-23-2017, 05:46 PM   #13
dknightd
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If I was going to replace my E46 vert I'd look seriously at the M235i
http://www.caranddriver.com/reviews/...t-drive-review
https://www.bmwusa.com/vehicles/2ser...nvertible.html
My rule of thumb is if I still like a car I keep it as long as possible.
If the repair costs more than 1/2 the value of the car I move on.
I would not "mod and upgrade the car". I'd enjoy it as is, and repair stuff as needed - or before.
I would like to buy my BMW a new stereo, or at least new speakers. That will probably be my project for next summer. I'm guessing about $1k.
There are two things (perhaps more) that a car does:
It gets you from point A to point B
It can be a fun toy (and still get from A to B)
I walk to work most days, and have a running old spare (94 toyota) so my situation is different than yours.
Good luck, and have fun deciding what to do. There is no "right" answer

edit: I have not looked at either of the alternatives you are considering

Last edited by dknightd; 09-23-2017 at 05:53 PM.
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Old 09-23-2017, 10:17 PM   #14
bmpassion
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dknightd View Post
If I was going to replace my E46 vert I'd look seriously at the M235i
http://www.caranddriver.com/reviews/...t-drive-review
https://www.bmwusa.com/vehicles/2ser...nvertible.html
My rule of thumb is if I still like a car I keep it as long as possible.
If the repair costs more than 1/2 the value of the car I move on.
I would not "mod and upgrade the car". I'd enjoy it as is, and repair stuff as needed - or before.
I would like to buy my BMW a new stereo, or at least new speakers. That will probably be my project for next summer. I'm guessing about $1k.
There are two things (perhaps more) that a car does:
It gets you from point A to point B
It can be a fun toy (and still get from A to B)
I walk to work most days, and have a running old spare (94 toyota) so my situation is different than yours.
Good luck, and have fun deciding what to do. There is no "right" answer

edit: I have not looked at either of the alternatives you are considering
Hey dknightd! Thank you for that message.

I have thought about it with a cool head over the last few days, and I agree with you. I am not going to upgrade or mod the car after all. What I might do is get the interior treated at this leather place they do amazing jobs and not very pricey. And I may get my top treated as long as it makes some improvement I am ok with it, as a new top is costing north of $1700 with installation!

The car if sold with some repairs will fetch at MOST $ 5000, bad used car market now. The repair costs - essential - to keep car on the road is approx $1800-2000 (not counting future expenses). So I guess I can fix it for now and keep it for another 12-15 months.

I thought hard about it and have decided I really love the car below (drool), it just does it for me I will try and acquire it by end of 2018 when the 2019 model comes out and 2018 gets decent discount (I really prefer not to go brand new, but it may come down to that as it is hard to find these coupes on the road the sedans are more common, and I love this color). Even if I did get it new, I keep cars for a long time and I would try and keep this car for 7 years.

Mercedes AMG C300 2018
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Last edited by bmpassion; 09-23-2017 at 10:22 PM.
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