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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 03-25-2017, 05:11 PM   #1
Llave
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First Time E46 Owner - Advice Please!

I wanted to say hello and hopefully get some input from more experienced owners!

I am purchasing a 2004 330ci ZHP 6-Speed Manual w/ 73,000mi. It is my first BMW. I live in Scottsdale Az!

It was gone over by a local shop, and they highlighted some potential items. I say potential because when I spoke with the mechanic, he said that the car is in over-all great condition, and that some of the issues they highlighted (leaks) are 'normal' and that it depends on the degree of the leak, or, that they weren't able to conclusively troubleshoot without looking deeper into them.

For example, they said the water pump looks like a new replacement, but, because it was dirty, it was hard to tell if it was leaking.

Other items noted include:

1) Differential Bushings look like they have been done before but the rear is starting to leak and the front has light cracks

2) Oil Pan Gasket is leaking. Recommend replacing Motor Mounts at same time w/ no additional labor.

3) Oil Filter Housing Gasket has light leakage.

4) Left rear convertible top 'shark fin' is hanging. Needs repair

Any input / advice is greatly appreciated! Thank you in advance!
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Old 03-25-2017, 05:24 PM   #2
jfoj
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The first thing you want to buy is the OBDFusion App and proper VeePeak interface from Amazon for under $30.

You will thank me the first time the SES/CEL/MIL comes on.

Android - https://www.amazon.com/Veepeak-Bluet...peak+bluetooth

iProducts - https://www.amazon.com/Veepeak-Scann...s=veepeak+wifi
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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 03-25-2017, 05:47 PM   #3
Llave
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Thank you!

What are the practical applications? I am assuming this tool will explain sensor warnings and check engine lights?
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Old 03-25-2017, 05:55 PM   #4
jfoj
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You have a 13 year old BMW, while it may look nice, you are right at the point everything plastic and rubber under the hood will start failing on you.

Chances are you will have a SES/CEL/MIL on in the first 3 months of owning the vehicle.

https://www.obdsoftware.net/software/obdfusion

These 3 links will be your best friends:

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

If you want a problem free vehicle, you will start a "restoration" of everything under the hood along with the suspension.

Good luck.
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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

Last edited by jfoj; 03-25-2017 at 05:57 PM.
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Old 03-25-2017, 06:13 PM   #5
Llave
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Wow!!! Thank you very much for sharing. Those are incredibly impressive, and informative threads my friend! I should be taking possession of the car in the next several days and will be sure to head your advice and purchase that piece of equipment.

I truly appreciate your valued perspective!

Are there any good engine 'restoration' threads that highlight and prioritize the items I should consider replacing?

Thank You!
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Last edited by Llave; 03-25-2017 at 06:55 PM.
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Old 03-25-2017, 06:42 PM   #6
Alex323Ci
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wow that car looks clean. as for the leaking pan, that is more often the Oil Filter Housing Gasket that leaks down. i would fix that first then assess the leaks.

you have low miles, you'll be safe on many things. but inspect things and work from there.

diff bushing leaking..never heard of that.
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CF CSL LIP - NAV- BMWP CF STRUT BAR - BMW GROUP N MNTS - GRUPPE M CF INTAKE - SUPERSPRINT - UUC S/S LINES, RTABs - H&R SWAYS - 4.10 M-SPORT DIFF
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Old 03-25-2017, 06:53 PM   #7
Llave
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Thank you for the feedback Alex! I am a complete newbie and have very little experience working on cars so I truly appreciate you sharing your experience with me.

My initial game plan is to clean the engine really well (steam clean?) and see how much oil I lose within a specified time frame (1 month?).

Could this be an effective strategy to gauging the degree to which components are leaking?

Thank you!

P.S....your ride is gorgeous in that pic brother!
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Last edited by Llave; 03-25-2017 at 07:10 PM.
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Old 03-25-2017, 07:16 PM   #8
Alex323Ci
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Llave View Post
Thank you for the feedback Alex! I am a complete newbie and have very little experience working on cars so I truly appreciate you sharing your experience with me.
My initial game plan is to clean the engine really well (steam clean?) and see how much oil I lose within a specified time frame (1 month?).
Could this be an effective strategy?
....your ride is gorgeous in that pic brother!
well the Oil Filter Housing Gasket is a rather common leak area. certainly you could wait. i don't suggest changing parts and spending money on before diagnosing a problem. some others like to throw money at all parts thinking they will fail. i think somewhere between the two is a reasonable place. putting in a part that is new over a part that is working well does not always mean it will last longer than the OE part installed. that is an assumption.

anyhow, here is a link to spots that leak on the E46s.
http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthread.php?t=882732

oh and thanks for the compliment. very kind of you.
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CF CSL LIP - NAV- BMWP CF STRUT BAR - BMW GROUP N MNTS - GRUPPE M CF INTAKE - SUPERSPRINT - UUC S/S LINES, RTABs - H&R SWAYS - 4.10 M-SPORT DIFF
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Old 03-25-2017, 07:20 PM   #9
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Awesome! Thank you for the advice ....and the link to the leaks!!
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Old 03-25-2017, 09:51 PM   #10
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I'm new the forum and just moved to Phoenix Arizona. I'm about to purchase a 2004 325i with 142k on it for 1400 but have had 3 bimmers in the past. I've driven the 325i once it once and noticed it idles high. Any suggestion on what's the cause of the high idle ? The body is great and the interior is in good condition just needs to be detailed.
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Old 03-25-2017, 10:01 PM   #11
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Sweet deal.
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Old 03-25-2017, 10:03 PM   #12
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Shop

What shop is fixing your bimmer ? Are they resonable on prices ?
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Old 03-25-2017, 10:15 PM   #13
Llave
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What's up Mezy! Congrats on the new ride and welcome to the Valley of the Sun!

The shop that went over this car is called Babbitt's in Tempe Az.

I haven't had them perform any work yet, but the service manager was very cool and spent time answering all my questions.

Here's what the interweb turned up regarding high idle:

Malfunctioning Throttle: A malfunctioning throttle system can cause both a high idle as well as an engine stall. A dirty air intake or cracked air intake tube is often the culprit. Computer Malfunction: A computer malfunction can cause a high engine idle, especially the powertrain control computer.
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Old 03-26-2017, 08:55 AM   #14
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Hey guys this is a great thread thx for the posts. Like the op, i just bought my 1st 2003 325ci vert for $1700 with 170k on it. Built alot of musclecars in my time but this is my 1st german so the leak post helped alot.
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Old 03-26-2017, 01:24 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alex323Ci View Post
well the Oil Filter Housing Gasket is a rather common leak area. certainly you could wait. i don't suggest changing parts and spending money on before diagnosing a problem. some others like to throw money at all parts thinking they will fail. i think somewhere between the two is a reasonable place. putting in a part that is new over a part that is working well does not always mean it will last longer than the OE part installed. that is an assumption.

anyhow, here is a link to spots that leak on the E46s.
http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthread.php?t=882732

oh and thanks for the compliment. very kind of you.
I'm in agreement with Alex here. I don't tend to replace parts that are working fine. Sometimes old parts will last a long time if you don't mess with them. Other times you can put in new parts and they will fail rather quickly.

What I've been doing with my car is stocking up on parts to fix common issues. Yes, I'm still spending the money because I know it's a matter of time, and I plan to keep this car as long as I can. I just don't want to disturb working parts if I don't have to. However, once parts in a system go, I feel better about replacing the whole system. I'm in a position to stock the parts, but that hasn't always been so. On my old 328i I replaced as needed. The advantage I have now is when something fails, or starts to fail, I'm not having to wait for quality parts. It's not for everyone, but it usually works for me. Funny side story about this though:

I had two spare new belts from my old 328i, but hadn't gotten to ordering the tensioner pulleys. Of course I lost a pulley (and the belts). It's an easy fix I've done a couple of times in the past, but I was stuck. However, it happened just as I was coming up on a repair shop. Just my luck they had a BMW trained mechanic and the GM was fine with letting him do a job off the books (they were closing in 5 minutes). I got it fixed within the hour, but it cost me about $200 more than it would have to do it myself (included a $50 tip to make sure the guy found it to be worth his while).

Anyway, your list includes items to pay some attention to, but none of them sounds the bell of immediate concern for me, of course it depends just how bad the oil leaks are, so you plan to clean and monitor sounds like a good one. The cracked bushings are hard to assess without pics, but since there are some who thing that sub-frame tear-out may be related to a bad rear diff bushing, it's definitely worth paying attention to. From what I've been told, it's not a repair that can easily be done with the diff in the car.
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Old 03-26-2017, 02:12 PM   #16
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Replace things that will need immediate attention. I wouldn't necessarily replace things just to replace them, but it depends on the part or if it's one of those 'while you're there items'. At 73k you may be looking at spark plugs/valve cover gasket if it hasn't been done already. Vanos will need to have the seals replaced, which you can do when you replace the valve cover gasket. You may also need control arms and/or control arm bushings.

Not sure of your DIY skill, but you'll save a ton of money if you can do most of it yourself.

I picked up my 330i at the end of January with 88k and so far have replaced the valve cover gasket, spark plugs, DISA valve, rebuilt my vanos with new seals, new slave cylinder, flushed transmission/coolant, and replaced the fuel pump. Approximately $610 in parts/fluids but zero labor fees.
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Old 03-26-2017, 02:54 PM   #17
Llave
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Thank you Geo and Shoman! I am very inexperienced when it comes to working on cars. I used to have a 69' Volkswagen bug that i did some work on (to varying degrees of success), but am very skeptical of doing any work that is not really easy to start. I like the idea of having quality parts on hand, even if i have someone do the labor I can ensure that the parts are high quality and potentially save some $. I do have another vehicle so parking it while waiting for parts wouldn't be a big deal for me if necessary.

Geo, could you elaborate on; sub-frame tear-out may be related to a bad rear diff bushing.'

Shoman; how challenging were the repairs you have done?
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Old 03-26-2017, 03:55 PM   #18
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The vanos would have been the most difficult of all mentioned, but it's pretty easy. You'll need a small torque wrench for the unit. Instructions can be found here:

http://www.beisansystems.com/procedu..._procedure.htm

I've pulled the transmission on my E36. Not terribly difficult but did take me all day to remove and reinstall. I can't imagine the E46 will be much more work since they are very similar cars.

Check out my thread:

http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthread.php?t=1124584
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Old 03-26-2017, 04:10 PM   #19
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DO NOT replace the VANOS seals unless there is a CLEAR and SPECIFIC problem related to the VANOS. More problems come up due to people trying to replace VANOS seals just because they have the valve cover and they end up with broken bolts and VANOS/Camshaft errors and noise.

I see a lot of higher mileage BMW I6 engines and I have yet to replace the VANOS seals. There are PLENTY more important things to focus on like replacing the Pre-cat O2 sensors at 100k miles and replacing the fuel pump and filter before year 10!!
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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 03-26-2017, 04:41 PM   #20
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The M54 is better at covering the issue regarding vanos seals than some of the other motors. Whether you want to do it is up to you, but in general, the seals wear out after about 50k (some sites may say less). Some cars may need an anti rattle kit if vanos noise develops.

There's plenty of documentation regarding this issue. Here's a link to 138 page thread on this site.

http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthread.php?t=524336

If you are unsure whether you need to do it, research.
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