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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 07-26-2010, 02:20 PM   #1
LLWesMan
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Noob here - shopping for a 330CI

What do I need to be aware of? Questions I should ask before taking one out for a test drive?

Looking specifically at a 2004 with 101K miles - never owned a BMW before, always been an Acura guy.

Thanks! Look forward to becoming an active member on the site and joining the fraternity.
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Old 07-26-2010, 02:32 PM   #2
jerseyfresh
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BimmerWiki - Look at section 2.3
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Originally Posted by trhine View Post
FYI you look like a over weight fortune cookie.
^^^Directed @Kpeng^^^
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Old 07-26-2010, 02:41 PM   #3
jerseyfresh
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Originally Posted by LLWesMan View Post
What do I need to be aware of? Questions I should ask before taking one out for a test drive?
On a personal level, you should be asking yourself (so as not to become the butt of countless flames);

*Am I going tastefully mod this car (should you choose to mod)?
*Do I have a propensity toward large chrome wheels, and cheaply made Chinese parts?
*Will I take the advice of the seasoned veterans of the forum, and trust the offerings of the sponsors, over (Ebay, Amazon, etc...)?

And most importantly... Am I going to be the type of guy to "facelift" the c/o 2010???


Hope it all works out, and we get a decent new member...
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FYI you look like a over weight fortune cookie.
^^^Directed @Kpeng^^^
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Old 07-26-2010, 02:43 PM   #4
Hornswoggler
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Take it to a BMW dealership for a Pre-Purchase Inspection. That should give you an idea of what you are getting into (and possibly a quote for fixing it).

Lots to watch out for:
- Rear subframe: make sure its not torn
- HVAC fan speed controls: make sure they are not going wacky (final stage resistor)
- Any front steering shimmy or vibrations (also check under braking): front lower control arm bushings and/or ball joints
- Check all power windows
- Verify revs are stable at idle or in neutral
- Make sure waterpump has been replaced every ~80k miles.. they tend to explode
- Check headlights if you have HIDs
- Review maintenance records, see when last time the car had an Inspection or Inspection II (this is the name of BMW's maintenance schedule)

I'm sure there are more, but those above can add up in a hurry.
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Old 07-26-2010, 02:47 PM   #5
dakkon
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get a pre-purchase inspection done either at the dealer or a trusted independent company. You can expect to pay between 50-100$ for the inspection. rear subframe.

ask for service records, most of this is just usual stuff for buying any pre-owned car..

I would also recommend calling a bodyshop to see if they will look the car over for any paintwork.. When i bought my car, there was a local bodyshop, that was SUPER cool, and they told all their customers they would look over Any car for them for free if they wanted.

do a little bit of searching, at 100k, if the car has been properly maintained personally i wouldn't worry about it to much... my car has 98k miles on it. and it runs strong, reliable, and fun as Crap to drive..
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Old 07-26-2010, 02:51 PM   #6
dakkon
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Grrrrr i hate that when we all say the same, thing at the same time!! :p
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Old 07-26-2010, 03:28 PM   #7
LLWesMan
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jerseyfresh View Post
On a personal level, you should be asking yourself (so as not to become the butt of countless flames);

*Am I going tastefully mod this car (should you choose to mod)? Absolutely not - do they make altezzas?
*Do I have a propensity toward large chrome wheels, and cheaply made Chinese parts? Cheaply made Chinese large chrome wheels are a must on any vehicle..
*Will I take the advice of the seasoned veterans of the forum, and trust the offerings of the sponsors, over (Ebay, Amazon, etc...)? I plan on taking the majority of my advice from craigslist's personals section.

And most importantly... Am I going to be the type of guy to "facelift" the c/o 2010???I have no idea what that means and thus cannot make a joke about this.


Hope it all works out, and we get a decent new member...
All kidding aside, I'm definitely the type of car person who makes modifications with function in mind - you won't find needless LED's or bodykits on my car.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hornswoggler View Post
Take it to a BMW dealership for a Pre-Purchase Inspection. That should give you an idea of what you are getting into (and possibly a quote for fixing it).

Lots to watch out for:
- Rear subframe: make sure its not torn
- HVAC fan speed controls: make sure they are not going wacky (final stage resistor)
- Any front steering shimmy or vibrations (also check under braking): front lower control arm bushings and/or ball joints
- Check all power windows
- Verify revs are stable at idle or in neutral
- Make sure waterpump has been replaced every ~80k miles.. they tend to explode
- Check headlights if you have HIDs
- Review maintenance records, see when last time the car had an Inspection or Inspection II (this is the name of BMW's maintenance schedule)

I'm sure there are more, but those above can add up in a hurry.
Quote:
Originally Posted by dakkon View Post
Grrrrr i hate that when we all say the same, thing at the same time!! :p
Excellent, I'm assuming most of the things on this list will be checked out by the dealership when I take it in? Thanks for the replies!

Couple extra questions - what price should I be looking at paying? The listing I'm checking out is asking $12,500. I've been told $10-11 is more reasonable based on auction values. Thoughts?
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Old 07-26-2010, 03:32 PM   #8
phamt02
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I bought a 2004 330ci with 33k miles on it this past month from a Lexus Dealership, I live in Northern VA and paid 17k for it. Clean title, no accidents basically an old retired dude that drove it half the year. I would say $12,500 is high, keep looking I've seen some cars in my area in the Selling part of this forum that go for a good price. I am sure you will find the same.
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Old 07-26-2010, 03:44 PM   #9
dakkon
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Originally Posted by LLWesMan View Post

Couple extra questions - what price should I be looking at paying? The listing I'm checking out is asking $12,500. I've been told $10-11 is more reasonable based on auction values. Thoughts?
if you get an auction car, then you can go off of the auction values..
if you are not getting an auction car, then you can use that as a baseline, but not a hard value.

ex. if i was going to sell my car, i would want at LEAST 20-30% more than the auction values...

the reason for this is,
i have FULL documentation of ALL maintenance done on the car since i bought it. A motor oil report done within 2k miles. I would also do a compression test on all cylinders prior to listing the car for sale. Between the motor oil report, and the compression test, there will be NO surprises as far as the internals of the motor goes. All my receipts have date purchase, date install and milage at install, they are also in chronological order, so anyone reviewing the receipts will be easy to follow the history of the car.


having a full maintenance history of the car is a pretty big deal, especially when a higher milage car. Depending on who you ask, the maintenance history of the car depending on the completeness of it will add around 20% to the value of the vehicle. Again if the maintenance has been kept up on the car, there should not be any big deal with buying it...


at the end of the day, you need to decide what the car is worth to YOU, as YOU will be making the payments.... as long as you get a car you dont mind making the payments on, you cant go wrong, EVERY car is a depreciating asset, so to a certain extent its all money down the drain, might as well enjoy it!!!!!!!!!

12.5k$ sounds fare if there is a comprehensive documentation of the maintenance history. if not then around 8-10k

Last edited by dakkon; 07-26-2010 at 03:47 PM.
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Old 07-26-2010, 03:47 PM   #10
N89
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Check the control arm bushings, most likely if these haven't been replaced you'll need to do it, but it's a common occurrence so don't let it steer you away, expect to pay around $700 for this at a shop, you can use it to lower the price.

The coolant system is not something you can really factor into the price, but it is something you should replace as soon as possible. $315 for parts from Tischer, cheap insurance, do it.

Last edited by N89; 07-26-2010 at 03:52 PM.
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Old 07-26-2010, 04:10 PM   #11
dakkon
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Originally Posted by Nineteen89 View Post
expect to pay around $700 for this at a shop, you can use it to lower the price.
this will prevent the 700$ bill......

http://www.amazon.com/BMW-E46-Servic.../dp/B000AP44WK

http://www.fcpgroton.com/

http://www.bavauto.com/

http://www.pelicanparts.com/

http://www.turnermotorsport.com/

http://www.sears.com/


if you follow all those links, you will get everything you will ever need.....
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Old 07-26-2010, 06:21 PM   #12
LLWesMan
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Originally Posted by jerseyfresh View Post
I just read the entire Wiki. A ton of great information but also a number of concerns that make me think I might be better off just splurging and going with a 2007 335i. I guess it will depend what kind of deal I can get on this.

The car that I'm looking at has advertised the sport, winter and premium packages - for a 2004 330CI does this include the adjusting headlights? Also - it doesn't look like this one has navigation - how much does that cost to add on?
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Old 07-26-2010, 06:41 PM   #13
N89
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Originally Posted by LLWesMan View Post
I just read the entire Wiki. A ton of great information but also a number of concerns that make me think I might be better off just splurging and going with a 2007 335i. I guess it will depend what kind of deal I can get on this.

The car that I'm looking at has advertised the sport, winter and premium packages - for a 2004 330CI does this include the adjusting headlights? Also - it doesn't look like this one has navigation - how much does that cost to add on?
The earlier 2007 335i's had turbo issues, it was the first year for those. Your 2004 would have already had most of the kinks worked out since it was halfway through the generation already. Every car has it's issues, don't be turned off just because they're all laid out in front of you, if anything that's better so there's no suprises, there's a long list of common failures/issues for every car no matter the make or model, trust me. I didn't end up with an e46 for no reason, I did my research.

Last edited by N89; 07-26-2010 at 06:43 PM.
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Old 07-26-2010, 06:42 PM   #14
Roxlo
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Originally Posted by LLWesMan View Post
A ton of great information but also a number of concerns that make me think I might be better off just splurging and going with a 2007 335i.
Get an e46 M3 then
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Old 07-26-2010, 06:43 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by phamt02 View Post
I bought a 2004 330ci with 33k miles on it this past month from a Lexus Dealership, I live in Northern VA and paid 17k for it. Clean title, no accidents basically an old retired dude that drove it half the year. I would say $12,500 is high, keep looking I've seen some cars in my area in the Selling part of this forum that go for a good price. I am sure you will find the same.
nice find! pics?
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Old 07-26-2010, 07:32 PM   #16
dakkon
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LLWesMan View Post
I just read the entire Wiki. A ton of great information but also a number of concerns that make me think I might be better off just splurging and going with a 2007 335i. I guess it will depend what kind of deal I can get on this.

The car that I'm looking at has advertised the sport, winter and premium packages - for a 2004 330CI does this include the adjusting headlights? Also - it doesn't look like this one has navigation - how much does that cost to add on?

personally, i would want an e46 over an e90, but that is just me.....

an e46 M3 would be MUCH more fun to drive than a 335, however depending on your ability to wrench, the M could wind up costing you more in the long run, if you pay someone to do all the work to it.....

at this point, i think you should go test drive some cars, see what they feel like...see which one YOU like the best.
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Old 07-26-2010, 10:00 PM   #17
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for reference, I just picked up my 330ci coupe with 76k miles on it for $12,500. it came with M3 wheels and he had his stock wheels I will use during the winter months. he had listed it for $12,900 on craigslist and told me his lowest was $12,500. considering there was a similar one with 50k miles, but automatic for $15k local as well, I was happy with the $12,500. This one also was manual and had all the service records compared to the more expensive one. I went ahead and replaced all filters and did an oil change. I will be doing tranny and rear fluid within the month and probably change the brake fluid as well. I did have a friend go with me that was seasoned with these cars and everything pretty much checked out. I also brought it to the dealer and had them look at the subframe.

good luck. I love this car. it handles great as is, no squeaks and rattles like my cobra, is very smooth and not a lot of outside noise. I really can't get enough of driving it. I think I put about 1000 miles on it in the first week I had it.
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Old 07-26-2010, 10:34 PM   #18
phamt02
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Originally Posted by oleo View Post
nice find! pics?
Just finished putting angel eyes on my car, if anyone else owns a 2004 330ci non sport package...man is it a pain to bake the lights open. I just put some CCFL angel eyes in and smoked the corners. Literally its 11:33pm here and I just put everything back together, it would look funny going to work tomorrow with no headlights in. Looks great, will post pictures, but yeah the condition of the car is a steal, there was no way I could turn down the car.
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Old 07-26-2010, 10:45 PM   #19
KILLAJON
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from experienced make sure its not leaking oil check bushings and ask them if they ever did the water pump thermostat and get a car fax
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