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///M3 Forum
The BMW E46 ///M3 is the M version E46 and puts out an amazing 333 HP and 262 lb-ft of torque at stock specs! There are an amazing amount of modifications for both the coupe and convertible models so read up and get started modifying your cars today!

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Old 06-19-2011, 08:30 PM   #1
Slapshot1
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Considering Going Back To BMW From Porsche W/ An E46 M3 - How Expensive To Maintain?

As the title says, I was once a very happy owner of an E36 M3, then went over to Porsche a couple years back, for a deal I could not pass up on a new Cayman S. While I love the CS, something about BMW always seems to be pulling me back. And, honestly, the deciding factor may well be that I'm scared to death of Porsche repair costs down the road when the warranty runs out. And extended warranties that are reliable for Porsche's are very difficult to find. Also, I have a great, independent BMW mechanic that I have a long relationship who is available to me and thats a serious factor.

So I have been seriously considering making the decision to sell the Cayman, and buy a mint, low miles, perfectly maintained, E46 M3 Coupe (likely an 05-06 w/Competition Package).

Then, I start reading through threads here in the forum and seeing horror stories about E46 maintenance and repair costs, and I'm worried that I'm not any safer than I would have been keeping the Porsche in that regard.

Here are just a couple comments within current threads here in the forum, from experienced owners, that have me concerned:

"the M3 will bleed money, so make sure you love it if you do it. You can PM me about my experiences Its been easy $500 a month to keep it on the road."

"a VANOS repair can cost as much as $6k to fix if it fails"

"valve adjustments are encessary every 30k and are very pricey"

"try closer to 9 thousand for the vanos repair"

"it seems like m3s are hit or miss. The harder you drive it the faster it breaks"

"have the wallet ready to pay to maintain an m3. Was a little surprising to me...but you gotta pay to play."


So my question is this. Are E46 repair and maintenance costs really that excessive? I've driven good cars, and expect a certain amount of cost, but these comments have me concerned an E46 is in the same league as the Porsche to maintain and repair, and that's my reason for wanting out of that game.

What's the real truth here? The E36 M3 guys all warned me that E46's were way too expensive to keep maintained and repaired, but I assumed that was just bias.

What can I honestly expect in terms of yearly cost to keep an E46 driven 8k miles a year maintained and performing as expected?


JC
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Old 06-19-2011, 09:04 PM   #2
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Nah, I don't think its that much worse than your E36 M3...As you know parts are more expensive for M3 than Non-m's...

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Old 06-20-2011, 02:37 PM   #3
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I would keep the Porsche until your warranty runs out or sell right before. Better to have a warranty then an older car without. As for performance I would give the nod to the Cayman, but not by much. It's a totally different car as you know. For maint costs, it's hit or miss. You can get away without paying much with a nicely maint'd M3 or terrible if it was abused and expensive stuff breaks.

I have had two M3's. One was beat up and cost a fortune to repair (warranty) and the second has been a dream to own. I would not be to scared though if you get a low mileage car. They last a long time and since you got a good mechanic you should be golden. You can get parts online and DIY if you got time and the ability.

Glad to see your coming back to BMW's. The great thing about the M3 is its got performance, luxury, backseats, and a trunk. One of the best all around cars for the money. Good luck with your decision.
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Old 06-20-2011, 03:59 PM   #4
DSilk56
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The Porsche Cayman is a more reliable car than is the BMW M3. Moreover, whatever e46 M3 that you buy will be at least 2 to 3 years older than your Cayman S, and will have been driven and maintained by somebody you don't know. That having been said, it will cost you more to have work done on the Cayman, for the simple reason that the mechanicals aren't nearly as accessible. M3 parts can be expensive, but the same is true for Porsche parts, and normal wear and tear items will last about the same length of time on either car.

Lack of accessibility can result in a huge cost increase when it comes to repairs. As an example, our Audi A8 is in the shop right now. The main accessory belt failed, and demolished the pulley along with it. To do any work on the front of the A8, you need to remove the entire front end of the car (including bumper, grille, splitter, radiator, fan, oil cooler, etc.). As a result, the cost of a new pulley and belt for our A8 will be over $2,600.

Drive the e46 M3 back to back with your Cayman. If you like it better, look for a good, low-mileage example that has complete maintenance records. Whatever you decide, you will be happy if you do your groundwork first.

Last edited by DSilk56; 06-20-2011 at 04:09 PM.
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Old 06-20-2011, 05:52 PM   #5
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I bought my m3 at 96,000km and I've driven it 30,000km so far without a single repair issue and in all previous history there was never a SERIOUS repair, just minor things failing on the car (rear window sunshade, headlight ballast, etc). People will almost always complain about their problems, but those who haven't had any won't mention it very often. If the maintenance is done then you probably won't have to worry about expensive repair bills.
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Old 06-20-2011, 10:55 PM   #6
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My experience with my M3 has been so-so. I have never had any major issues but plenty of dumb issues. The car is an 04' with 39K and I have had to replace door handles, window regulator, Ac control unit, hydraulic canister for the convertible top, and a few other things. I bought the car new and I take good care of the car but I am always doing some stupid repair on the car.

I also have a 330ci vert. with some of the same problems, also purchased new...now has 87k on the clock!
Then there is my Jeep Wrangler...188K not a single issue! Oil, Tires, Brakes and 2 Tune ups!
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Old 06-21-2011, 10:45 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Herbalicious View Post
My experience with my M3 has been so-so. I have never had any major issues but plenty of dumb issues. The car is an 04' with 39K and I have had to replace door handles, window regulator, Ac control unit, hydraulic canister for the convertible top, and a few other things. I bought the car new and I take good care of the car but I am always doing some stupid repair on the car.

I also have a 330ci vert. with some of the same problems, also purchased new...now has 87k on the clock!
Then there is my Jeep Wrangler...188K not a single issue! Oil, Tires, Brakes and 2 Tune ups!
+1

I would just have your bmw work on your porsche he could probalbly handle it they are both high tech cars.

Also the cayman is the perfect car so I would hold on to it or go to an excellent Independant mechanic shop who is highly rated for german cars.
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Old 06-21-2011, 11:13 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by josephmech View Post
+1

I would just have your bmw work on your porsche he could probalbly handle it they are both high tech cars.

Also the cayman is the perfect car so I would hold on to it or go to an excellent Independant mechanic shop who is highly rated for german cars.

Joseph,

I appreciate the perspective. Thanks. However, my BMW guy absolutely refuses to touch Porsche's. He repairs BMW's, Audi's and Mercedes Benz, but will have nothing to do with Porsche's.

I do have a top notch independent Porsche repair facility available to me, where I have a contact I know, in Southfield. Not as handly as I would like, living north of Clarkston, but still workable if I decide to stay with the Porsche.

JC
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Old 06-21-2011, 11:46 PM   #9
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Porsche > BMW.
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Old 06-21-2011, 11:47 PM   #10
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Nah, I don't think its that much worse than your E36 M3...As you know parts are more expensive for M3 than Non-m's...

Welcome Back.
Yes it is, the E36 M was a pumped up 328. Parts cost were the same if not identical between the two.
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Old 06-22-2011, 12:40 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Iceman00 View Post
Yes it is, the E36 M was a pumped up 328. Parts cost were the same if not identical between the two.
Yeah, but not like the forum says.


After all its just a car, and people DD them all the time.
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Old 06-23-2011, 02:05 AM   #12
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Keep the Porsche, you know the history. They aren't dropping like flies are they? I know that the early Boxster and 996 motors had issues which is reflected in residual value as I am sure you know, but I thought by '08 they had done enough stop gaps to remedy the situation. If you don't need more seats and your only motivation is potential repair bills, then just keep running it and enjoy it.
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Old 06-23-2011, 10:05 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by DSilk56 View Post
The Porsche Cayman is a more reliable car than is the BMW M3. Moreover, whatever e46 M3 that you buy will be at least 2 to 3 years older than your Cayman S, and will have been driven and maintained by somebody you don't know. That having been said, it will cost you more to have work done on the Cayman, for the simple reason that the mechanicals aren't nearly as accessible. M3 parts can be expensive, but the same is true for Porsche parts, and normal wear and tear items will last about the same length of time on either car.
X2! Porsche does have the highest reliability rating of any German car brand. I'd stick with the Cayman S. I've even considered it as my next car.
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Old 06-24-2011, 12:05 PM   #14
burrito007
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Originally Posted by Slapshot1 View Post
As the title says, I was once a very happy owner of an E36 M3, then went over to Porsche a couple years back, for a deal I could not pass up on a new Cayman S. While I love the CS, something about BMW always seems to be pulling me back. And, honestly, the deciding factor may well be that I'm scared to death of Porsche repair costs down the road when the warranty runs out. And extended warranties that are reliable for Porsche's are very difficult to find. Also, I have a great, independent BMW mechanic that I have a long relationship who is available to me and thats a serious factor.

So I have been seriously considering making the decision to sell the Cayman, and buy a mint, low miles, perfectly maintained, E46 M3 Coupe (likely an 05-06 w/Competition Package).

Then, I start reading through threads here in the forum and seeing horror stories about E46 maintenance and repair costs, and I'm worried that I'm not any safer than I would have been keeping the Porsche in that regard.

Here are just a couple comments within current threads here in the forum, from experienced owners, that have me concerned:

"the M3 will bleed money, so make sure you love it if you do it. You can PM me about my experiences Its been easy $500 a month to keep it on the road."

"a VANOS repair can cost as much as $6k to fix if it fails"

"valve adjustments are encessary every 30k and are very pricey"

"try closer to 9 thousand for the vanos repair"

"it seems like m3s are hit or miss. The harder you drive it the faster it breaks"

"have the wallet ready to pay to maintain an m3. Was a little surprising to me...but you gotta pay to play."


So my question is this. Are E46 repair and maintenance costs really that excessive? I've driven good cars, and expect a certain amount of cost, but these comments have me concerned an E46 is in the same league as the Porsche to maintain and repair, and that's my reason for wanting out of that game.

What's the real truth here? The E36 M3 guys all warned me that E46's were way too expensive to keep maintained and repaired, but I assumed that was just bias.

What can I honestly expect in terms of yearly cost to keep an E46 driven 8k miles a year maintained and performing as expected?


JC
owning an e46 M3 was the most expensive thing I've ever done... well second only to owning a 2000 323i but thats another story.

I had one for 3 years, paid 22k for it, put 40k miles on it traded it in for less than half what I paid, and towards the end I was paying 500/month on repairs. 2k for inspection 2, brakes, problems with the DSC unit, plugs, coils, .... but it was an awesome car.

I miss having it sometimes, but I don't miss the repair costs.
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Old 06-26-2011, 11:22 AM   #15
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Ive found that the cost to maintain can get a little spendy at times. When I bought my car it was due for an inspection II (the one with the valve adjustment). Well, I did all that I could by myself for about $400 then I took it to a shop for a valve adjustment which cost $750. I now know of a much better shop that will do the valve adjustment for $400.

So year one cost was roughly $1100-1200 for maintenance

Year 2 costs... only oil changes and belts: $260.

Year 3 costs... differential seals started leaking, then 2 pulleys had a bad bearing followed by a grinding in the rear which was caused by a slight warping of the dust shield making contact with the rotors. I was in the process of moving so I didn't have time to fix these myself. Shop cost me about $950 to do it all. Im not very far into year 3 yet, hopefully the rest of the maintenance is just oil changes.
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Old 06-26-2011, 12:23 PM   #16
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i think youre gonna hear extreme cases of money pits, to ones that seemingly only needed oil and gas.
from all the M3s ive been around, most have been pretty easy on the wallet. THATS RELATIVE THO. theyre not toyotas obviously.
it seems guys with failed SMG and total VANOS failure have the worst stories, but in reality, of all the M3s out there, how many are having these issues.

i tell you what tho. I am pleasantly hear guys in the know saying the P car is more reliable. thats VERY good to know, as like most here, the P-car is in the sights. Tho id really prefer a 911, but thats not what we're talking about.

i say keep the porsche if your biggest concern is "potential" repair costs. i mean, only YOU know how that car has been so far. if its been in the shop a lot, then get rid of it, as it probably wont get better. if barely anything breaks, why betray it. Its been good to you, be good to it. keep it a lil longer.
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