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Go Back   E46Fanatics > E46 BMW > E46 Convertible

E46 Convertible
The E46 vert forum. Talk about dropping your E46 top here.

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Old 07-05-2012, 08:10 AM   #1
dknightd
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2002 330cic ?

I have the itch for a convertible. The obvious choice would be miata, or boxter,
but this caught my attention

http://albany.craigslist.org/ctd/3115135839.html

What do you think?

I'm just starting to read up on it. Guess I need to check cooling system (for leaks?) and subframe. What do I look for on subframe?

Still haven't seen car in person. Should probably find a bmw dealer and see how much a prepurchase inspection would cost (unless somebody knows of a good independent shop in Albany NY)

Last edited by dknightd; 07-05-2012 at 08:17 AM.
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Old 07-05-2012, 04:18 PM   #2
dknightd
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Hmm seller (small independent) doesn't want me to take it to dealer for pre-purchase inspection. My gut tells me to walk away.
But it is a pretty car. Called dealer, they can see it was well maintained
up to 2008, about 50k miles. Had inspection I and II done.

Don't know about last 25K miles and 4 years, except brakes and
belts were apparently done around 71K (from carfax report).

It drove well - I like it . . .
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Old 07-05-2012, 04:47 PM   #3
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Go to the dealer and talk to one of the mechanics and ask them how much would they charge you for an "after hours" inspection of the vehicle. Cars looks good tho. But looks can be deceiving.
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Old 07-05-2012, 04:48 PM   #4
[USMC]Skywalker
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Looks like a nice car, it is in a complete different league compared to a Miata. Boxter is a different story. e46 are very sensitive to maintenance so as long as they are done you should be fine. Insp II has been completed which is good. Around 75K to 80K is when you would have to replace the water pump. It is a manual so transmission issues. Sounds like a good buy.
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Old 07-05-2012, 07:48 PM   #5
dknightd
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Thanks for the feedback. I test drove a new miata, I prefer the used bmw. Haven't tried a boxter yet - might not, but probably should.

I talked to the dealer service rep for some time, very helpful, she said she'd ask around to see if a mechanic was willing to come out and look at the car.
That would be ideal. Maybe a personal visit to the dealer might help (I could try to catch a mechanic on ciggeratte break - but otherwise they don't tend to deal much directly with customers these days it seems). I also emailed the local bmw club to see if they had a knowledgeable person to come see it with me (offered $100, seem reasonable?). I hope I did not reveal my prize to somebody else.

I gave it a good look. Everything seems to work. Probably should give it a more thorough operational check (wipers, cruise, lights etc). There is a small dent on the upper rear passenger fender - have to look close to see it - it does not bother me. Some paint blemishes on hood that might buff out - god only knows why it was not detailed before listing - maybe they are lazy, maybe they are trying to hide something - he said they do not detail till after car is sold, in case it gets dirty again - stupid). There are rust bubbles below truck lock - I hate rust, but it is a small patch (3/4" x 3"), and still felt solid.

Other places I should look for rust?

They will repair the rust spot, and give me a 30 day on mechanicals. I'm really tempted to pick it up before somebody else beats me to it.
Dealer wants $165 for a prepurchase inspection - I'd love to be able to spend that money, but I can kind of understand why the seller
would not (time off the lot, dealer trying to sell me one of their cars instead, yada yada). If it was a $4k car I'd trust what I saw and go for it.
But at 12K I'd really like to get a second opinion. Maybe I should man up and trust my judgement of the car (which is good), or maybe I
should man up and walk away since they will not let me take it in to get checked (I honestly think the check would come back OK - which
is why I'm willing to pay for it - but you never know).

Please share with me any and all thoughts you might have. Thanks!

edit: if the leather was not black I probably would have drive it home. I'm not sure if black leather
is a good choice for a rag top - doesn't it get way hot if parked with the top down?
Driver seat had a thread separation at the top of bolster on seat back near door. Looked like
it could be sewn back up . . .

Last edited by dknightd; 07-05-2012 at 07:53 PM.
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Old 07-05-2012, 09:09 PM   #6
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The top has a few scrub looking areas on the outside. An area of concern? ? ?
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Old 07-05-2012, 09:17 PM   #7
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That looks pretty clean. Swap out the steering wheel for an M3 wheel and replace the shifter with a smaller ZHP unit, and you're all set.

Don't worry about the black leather- it'll be fine unless you live in Dubai or Arizona.
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Old 07-05-2012, 09:36 PM   #8
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Looks good, but dealer probably lied about the detail. If someone (previous owner?) is going to take the time to Armour all the engine, they would have also done the cabin filter cover, at least used some Black Wow on it. also in the same pic the molding at the bottom of the windshield is cracking. Common issue, but if they are going to maintain the engine looks to that extreme, I would think the cracks would have drove them bonkers. just my 2 cents
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Old 07-06-2012, 06:17 PM   #9
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Any reputable dealer should be willing to let you take it for inspection. I wouldn't touch it.
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Old 07-07-2012, 10:12 AM   #10
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Car looks good...30 day mechanical warrantee? I would be more concerned about the dealers reputation to honor it. Make sure everything is in writing as verbal guarantees or promises mean nothing. Make sure roof works 100%, windows drop etc.
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Old 07-07-2012, 10:55 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by halohead52 View Post
Any reputable dealer should be willing to let you take it for inspection. I wouldn't touch it.
This, or use the fact the seller won't let you determine its true condition, as a negotiation tactic.....still a dice roll though.
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Old 07-07-2012, 12:04 PM   #12
dknightd
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I'm going to try to find a bmw mechanic who will come with me (paid of course) to at least get second opinion.
No PPI makes me nervous. The dealer has been around for years and years, but who knows how many times
the ownership has changed during that time. Guy seemed straight up, but I can judge cars better than I can judge people.

If it ain't in writing, it does not count for much, unfortunately. Even written can leave wiggle room. I expect to buy as is.
In the unlikely event there is problem with engine/drivetrain I'll try to hold them to 30 day and see what happens.

All windows go up and down smoothly. Top goes up and down - it is a little jerky in its motion - I'm not sure if that if that
is normal (as it goes through various stages) or points to a problem. If I go back, I'll run it up and down a couple more times.

My understanding is the subframe mounting cracks are less common on 330ci convertibles. Anybody know of this
ever being a problem on the 2002 or later 330 convertible? This is actually one of my bigger concerns - it is not something I can
fix in my driveway, and apparently it is not something that is easy to detect without having car on lift and at least partially
dropping subframe.

Maybe I'll try to get him to specifically write in rear subframe mounting points into his 30 warrentee.
If he does this I'd be much more comfortable . . . In fact, that is a good idea. PPI or include subframe
and mounting in 30 day written warrentee. - especially if somebody can point me to this ever being a problem on a convertible (it is possible
that what ever bmw does to make the convertible stiff also makes this area less likely to crack - anybody know anything about this?

It is a 10 year old car with 75k miles. I do not expect perfection. It looks good for its age. It was serviced by a local dealer for the first 6 years.
It drives well, but I have not compared to similar bmw.

I expect to have to do cooling system, and possibly suspension bushings. These are things I think I can do in my driveway (when the weather cools down a bit)

In the end, I guess I'll either
1) find a mechanic to go with me
2) insist on PPI or subframe clause in warrentee (then I take it in for PPI after purchase . . .)
3) I'll decide to take my chances
4) I'll take so long to decide he sells it to somebody else.

Thanks for all your feedback. This conversation is really helping my decision making process.
Continued comments and feedback more than welcome. Thanks
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Old 07-07-2012, 04:34 PM   #13
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open the trunk and look for the battery on the right side. See if it is the correct one or some bastard size. Or if it is original (!)
The top makes a few stops on the way up and down, that is normal. It is not supposed to smoothly open and close in one continuous motion.
How many key fobs come with? Do they all work?
Rust is like cockroaches, if you see some, there are plenty more hiding elsewhere.
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Old 07-07-2012, 05:54 PM   #14
dknightd
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I hate rust. Any tips on where it might be hiding?
Obviously I'll check again, but I think the battery was under the hood, next to the engine.
Is this unusual?


Edit: I only saw one key. two
would be good

Thanks for your thoughts

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Old 07-07-2012, 06:03 PM   #15
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My battery is in the trunk, passenger side. '02 330cic
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Old 07-07-2012, 06:44 PM   #16
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The Craigs list photo of the engine compartment shows no battery there and there shouldn't be; they are in the trunk in the e46. At least get a Carfax report. Car dealers are never, ever your friend and you should not spend a dime on faith in their goodness. Verify.
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Old 07-07-2012, 07:58 PM   #17
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From what I read, Verts are in the minority for subframe issues, due to it being made from a thicker metal. The normal coupe repair of the subframe involved installing a vert subframe. Don't know whether this is gospel, just what I have read.
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Old 07-07-2012, 08:35 PM   #18
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Honestly a BMW is typically viewed as a douch bag car. However according to the internet there are 3 other cars that are doucher than a BMW. I own a 2002 CIC and I love it, I get complements on it all the time. I would go with the BMW, the repair and maintance is way less than the Boxter, and its a much better vert than a Miata

1. Hummer H2 (small penis SUV)
2. Porsche Boxter (total douch bag car)
3. Mazda Miata (women just assume your gay or closet, and you just might be)

The BMW 330 has the perception of being a classy sports coupe.

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Old 07-09-2012, 04:38 PM   #19
dknightd
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Looks like I'll probably buy it.

Took another look at it today. Longer drive - city and highway - top up and top down - windows up and windows down. Near as I can tell it drives perfect. Engine is smooth, pulls hard. No vibrations/shudders - stops straight - no clucks when going foward then backward. No rattles, bangs, or unseemly sounds. Just feels solid. (well the passenger window sqeaks a little
when going up/down - I'm guessing a little silicone spray will fix that)
Top appears to be in good shape. batwings intact. no sign of leaking from hydraulic cylinders. No sign of top leaking. Headliner looks good.
In fact, no sign of leaks anywhere on car (no oil or coolant I could detect).

The top of both outside seat bolsters are pulling apart at seam - but leather looks solid - can probably fix with some black thread. Back of drivers
seat has a couple of small tears - looks like somebody got their keys
stuck on it trying to climb out the back seat.
Veneer on passenger door is cracked - missing a tiny piece.
Apart from the small patch of rust below truck lid no other signs of rust
that I could find. Cosmetically I think it looks good for 10 year old car.

ipod connector on stereo works. Forgot to try cruise control and wipers.
Everything I tried works as expected

Battery appears original! Everlast made in Spain 05/01! Not sure how much longer it can last (it is almost as old as the yellow top in my truck). Battery is clean, solidly mounted.

He would not let me do PPI. Would not write subframe mounts into 30 day warrentee (that would be frame, not running gear, and would be a manufacturer defect - which is of course true). I think I'll have to take my chances on subframe mounts. It does not look raced or abused to me, my
guess is three previous owners used it for nice weather drives (much like I plan) but I could be wrong.

So far have not found a mechanic to come with me. But I have a plan.
I'm going to pay the guy $100 to come in early and spend two hours going over the car with me. He has a lift, and some experience with BMWs.
I'm going to make a check list of things I think we should look at.
It will be good to have some help, and will give me a chance to check
things I can't see from above (at least this way I can have an idea
of current condition, and future needs). If I buy the car I give him $11.5K (unless we renegotiate based on what we find). If I don't buy he keeps the $100.
We shook on it. Wednesday morning I go in for our inspection.
Not ideal, but it seems like a good solution, and, I'm only out $100
and a few hours if I change my mind.

Open to comments and suggestions. Thanks
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Old 07-09-2012, 05:09 PM   #20
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A 10-year old battery is going to cause you all kinds of problems.
Change that thing. If you wait, you will find that it causes all sorts of symptoms that would not be there if the battery was not 10 years old.
I just bought a new one that fit properly for $99, have to check the group. The car takes a very specific battery.
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