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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 01-04-2015, 09:40 PM   #1
Headmaestro
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Scared!!!

You guys on this forum are making me nervous about being a BMW owner. If I read correctly, my car will self implode tomorrow.
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Old 01-04-2015, 09:50 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by Headmaestro View Post
You guys on this forum are making me nervous about being a BMW owner. If I read correctly, my car will self implode tomorrow.
It will not self implode tomorrow, maybe later in the week!

You have a 11 year old car, if it has not maintained well, you should start reading up on what should be addressed.

You need to start with reading about the cooling system, suspension and check the links below in my signature.

I would be considering fuel pump and filter in the near future so you do not get stranded and have to pay way more for parts, shipping or labor.

Good luck and just drive the car like a car and not a road racer until you get a chance to sort out all the maintenance issues.
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Solve your misfires, lean codes, rough idle - http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthread.php?t=897616

Fuel pump failures - http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthread.php?t=929501

Temp Info - http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthread.php?t=964491

Hidden OBC Menu - Check Voltage, Temp, Fuel Level - http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthread.php?t=239619

E46/E39 GM5 Door Lock Info - www.bmwgm5.com

Lower hose temp switch O-ring - BMW #13621743299
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Old 01-04-2015, 10:39 PM   #3
323i jlviii
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yes, I've been where you are. If you can gleen the information these guys have great insite. Sometimes it seems you get to wait and wait, but you'll have the information you need.
I'd like to have a search panel that is easier to find things, but maybe I'll get a pass to the library? These guys change everything out; then you will not have any issues. I think if the car was dirty and has no service records then it's your call on how you take care of your cars.
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Old 01-04-2015, 10:41 PM   #4
camrydriver111
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They need some TLC but these are pretty reliable cars.

Some people get carried away on the preventative maintenance.
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Old 01-05-2015, 01:52 AM   #5
bmwerkes
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People don't post when they don't have problems, also these are old non current cars. All of.them no matter what brand will have problems... I remember when these cars were new though.. The forum was different then....
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Old 01-05-2015, 02:13 AM   #6
Megalocnus
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Originally Posted by Headmaestro View Post
You guys on this forum are making me nervous about being a BMW owner. If I read correctly, my car will self implode tomorrow.
It used to be different back when the average mileage of the E46 BMWs was less than 100K miles.

But today, yes, your car is likely to implode if you keep postponing essential maintenance the previous owner(s) also ignored.

Last edited by Megalocnus; 01-05-2015 at 02:56 AM.
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Old 01-05-2015, 02:37 AM   #7
Gatriel
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Methinks he should be a Honda owner.
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Old 01-05-2015, 09:52 AM   #8
323i jlviii
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Bottom line - make sure the oils are up to levels they should be. Clean and the right kinds - After that, get into the control arms, motor mounts what make the car safe to drive. Don't want it breaking down - out there ------------------------>

Working on the links I told you about, wonder if the could be pasted or send me a private message to send them to you.

Last edited by 323i jlviii; 01-05-2015 at 09:53 AM. Reason: spelling
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Old 01-05-2015, 10:00 AM   #9
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Old 01-05-2015, 10:05 AM   #10
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haha, i can relate to the title of this thread as i look into getting my first E46 this year. There is a really good thread that talks about recommended maintenance after purchase which i will use as a guideline.
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Old 01-05-2015, 10:19 AM   #11
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If you hang out on a doctors forum you'll think were all about to die!
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Old 01-05-2015, 10:32 AM   #12
Serega91
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If you hang out on a forum for old people you'll think were all about to die!
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Old 01-05-2015, 10:55 AM   #13
erickonphoenix
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These cars do require a lot of maintenance but they're a pleasure to work on. All the parts go back together the way they came apart and generally speaking the systems are engineered holistically so you don't have bolt on BS parts backward engineered from a side car parts bin.
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Old 01-05-2015, 11:44 AM   #14
brea
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I think this is at least partially an effect of people abusing/neglecting to do the requisite preventative maintenance on their e46's then selling them to unsuspecting and under-informed buyers who simply assume, "it's a BMW and people say they're good cars, so this will be the best car I've ever owned and have zero issues." Even though they've just purchased something which cost $35-$40k new for roughly 1/10 of that (Why would something used need reconditioning? This thing is German, it should last forever!). These folks believe that there is no reason why they should have to put another dollar into the car beyond the purchase price because they have just bought a BMW and they've heard that BMW's are the "ultimate driving machine." Then, after a few weeks or months, some neglected part (usually a wear item, like a water pump) fails and said person finds their way here and complains that the sky is falling and their e46 is the worst car ever and BMW's in general suck. We see it all the time on here and are conditioned to respond accordingly.

Part of the issue is everyone's unique definition of a "nice" car. I know people (the majority of drivers on the road today) who think the best and nicest vehicles are the ones you never have to think twice about. These people think about cars like appliances, they should just work and when they no longer work it's time for a new one. Then there are people like us fanatics who would rather have a car that even at 80% of it's peak operational capabilities is still a better driving vehicle than most new cars today. We'll invest labor and capital into them because we believe they're worth the investment and in return we get back endless amounts of personal satisfaction and driving enjoyment. There will be challenges, of course, but that is where this forum can help. The chicken little problems arise when the former delves into the realm of the latter without fully knowing what to expect.

Judging from your post though, you've done much of the "required reading" and have some idea what you might be in for. Keep in mind that most people don't decide to sell their vehicles until some major incident or failure occurs, or they've willfully neglected it for so long that something is bound to fail soon. Also, most non fanatics buying these cars are simply looking for a cheap way to get into a car brand they've always aspired to own or been told to aspire to own. These are the people who slap an M badge on the deck lid of their normal 3 series and cruise around telling even less informed people that they drive an M car and should be treated differently by the rest of the world because of it.

With all that said, don't be scared, just know what to expect.
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Last edited by brea; 01-05-2015 at 12:08 PM. Reason: readability
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Old 01-05-2015, 11:45 AM   #15
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Quote:
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If you hang out on a forum for old people you'll think we're all about to die!
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Old 01-05-2015, 05:23 PM   #16
Headmaestro
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Thank guys. I'm replacing the secondary MAF and filter tomorrow. Looks like an easy fix. Next I need rotors, pads and sensors. Finally a BMW major service II.
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Old 01-05-2015, 07:23 PM   #17
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I think that things are not forever on a BMW, regular maintenance is a definite must (and there's plenty to keep on top of). Respect the maintenance schedule religiously, from brake fluid, oil and (various) filter changes, as well as visual inspections of all parts, and then you have a wonderful car.....it doesn't seem to me to be a type of aging car for the beginner DIYer mechanic. Have a keen eye, "feel" and ear to stay on top of it as one failure often seems to take out another part.
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Old 01-05-2015, 07:44 PM   #18
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Just make sure you don't run out of blinker fluid
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Old 01-05-2015, 07:45 PM   #19
ChuckyVee
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Originally Posted by Headmaestro View Post
Thank guys. I'm replacing the secondary MAF and filter tomorrow. Looks like an easy fix. Next I need rotors, pads and sensors. Finally a BMW major service II.

Brakes are absolutely critical so that's a great place to start.

Next, I recommend doing what I did. I picked a Saturday morning and tinkered around and figured out how to remove the mechanical fan (I have an automatic). With the fan removed I was able to get a great look at all of the cooling system components. Each piece has a date stamp of some sort. I discovered that none of it was original and about half had been replaced in the last 12 to 18 months.

If I found a lot of dates from 2000 I would have made a complete cooling system refresh an immediate priority!But since half was new I was able to take my time, research the DIY's, source my parts, and replace the whole shebang on my schedule.

My point being, and I'm sure you know if you've done any reading at all, the cooling system is the single most critical and vulnerable system that when left unchecked can turn your engine into a worthless hunk of aluminum!

My two cents!
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Old 01-05-2015, 08:02 PM   #20
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Having been an E46 owner for the past 11 years, I can attest to their reliability (I really should know more about this car). Things will break, but in my experience, the car will keep chugging along. Just take care of it in a reasonable manner or do preventative maintenance and it'll last you a very long time. Use this forum to your advantage and contribute as much as you can.

-Andrey
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