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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 06-07-2011, 02:20 AM   #1
JoeFriday
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Advice on buying

Hi, been lurking for a while. I'm thinking about getting a used e46 and have a line on a fairly cheap one that has a couple problems and am looking for a little advice. I found a 99 328 that is pretty nice but is throwing a couple codes for the cam position sensor and mass flow sensor. I can fix these pretty easily if that is all it really is. Starts and idles fine but no power above 3K or so. I'm guessing it is going into limp home mode. From reading I guess it could possibly have a VANOS probem giving the CPS code. I figure not counting my labor changing the CPS and Mass flow are only a few hundred bucks, VANOS would be more. What worries me more is the guy never took it in for the subframe crack inspection for some inexplicable reason (he has the letter). Is BMW still honoring that? I know the period was one year, but have heard they are still doing it. Anything else I should think about? Thanks.

I'm thinking of this as a not too hard project as a father son thing.
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Old 06-07-2011, 03:12 AM   #2
Shmo
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JoeFriday View Post
Hi, been lurking for a while. I'm thinking about getting a used e46 and have a line on a fairly cheap one that has a couple problems and am looking for a little advice. I found a 99 328 that is pretty nice but is throwing a couple codes for the cam position sensor and mass flow sensor. I can fix these pretty easily if that is all it really is. Starts and idles fine but no power above 3K or so. I'm guessing it is going into limp home mode. From reading I guess it could possibly have a VANOS probem giving the CPS code. I figure not counting my labor changing the CPS and Mass flow are only a few hundred bucks, VANOS would be more. What worries me more is the guy never took it in for the subframe crack inspection for some inexplicable reason (he has the letter). Is BMW still honoring that? I know the period was one year, but have heard they are still doing it. Anything else I should think about? Thanks.

I'm thinking of this as a not too hard project as a father son thing.
It may be cheap, you may even be able to afford the fixes now, but you must realize these cars are money pits. Your best bet would be to take a little more expensive car and have a better piece of mind on it. You want a car that at most has some minor mechanical problems and maybe cosmetics.

Take it from me. I got a BMW fairly cheap, but I still haven't got it to normal conditions. I still need VANOS and vcg, just replaced cooling system, need to replace brake parts, and replace all of the headliner. My paint job has rust in some places, dings all along the body, I have bird sh*t stains in some places, water spots that don't go away?, washed out on my rear bumper, and the front bumper is just jacked.

You get what you pay for...but regardless you will do this
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You did pray to your BMW shrine first, asking the Great Roundel for guidance on parts' choices first, right?
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Old 06-07-2011, 10:33 AM   #3
dashoshot
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Before buying I would recommend lurking a little longer and making note of common issues with the e46's. Those codes aren't that bad considering some other issues you may experience down the road. Some issues to consider are mileage, any oil leaks, how are the brakes, how are the control arms, and what parts were replaced at what mileage, just to name a few but search, search, and research. You will not get much power from a 328, but as a daily driver that should suffice. The quality of the car will last for many years if the previous owner maintained it properly. I love my e46 and would not trade it in for anything as I drive mine purely for the experience, and the ingenuity of another classic BMW model. I have gone through my share of problems and DIY's but that's expected from any car as it goes through wear and tear. I've dropped a reasonable amount of cash, not a lot but reasonable, to maintain my e46, but that's the investment I am making to hopefully eclipse 300,000 miles one day, *crosses fingers. IMHO, I would get at least an '02 or any model after, but that's just me being biased towards first gens.

As for the subframe issue, I have no clue. An easy phone call to the dealership should do.

Good luck!
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Old 06-07-2011, 02:09 PM   #4
ac_2007
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I would say pass up the 328i. 325/330 are newer generations with different engines (M54) and can be found for just a bit more money.
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