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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 07-07-2012, 12:08 AM   #21
MercForHire
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I won't deny that. But I was under the impression that the OP is looking for a reliable dd, not a project. Could be wrong though
4k porsche and 4k bmw as a reliable dd

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Old 07-07-2012, 12:08 AM   #22
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My PO was some dude from Armenian mafia. I didnt trust him one bit, until he told me car used to belong to a doctor with gambling debt and that car didnt come with the carpets. How can you not believe anything that guy says after that, joke..
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Old 07-07-2012, 12:13 AM   #23
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Look up 944 timing belt issues.

That should be enough to convince you to get an e36
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Old 07-07-2012, 07:32 AM   #24
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Thanks for all the replies. Peytoracer4 you are correct in that I really do not want a project car. I realize that by only having 4k to spend, I will probably be forced to purchase a car with some issues. My plan is to gradually fix it as time goes on. This would mean, of course, that I need it to run in the meantime. I would love to double my budget and buy a really nice car, but I simply am not in the position to do this.
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Old 07-07-2012, 10:38 AM   #25
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I've had both cars. Several in fact. The Achilles heel in the 944 is the timing belt and rubber centered clutch. I purchased the belt tensioning gauge and tools and was religious about adjusting the belt every 10k miles. Easy to do yourself. Expensive at a shop. The rubber centered clutches also fail. It will need to be replaced with an upgraded clutch. Not a difficult project. Just time consuming. My 944 turbo was a very fun car. Club raced it for yrs. also raced a 944 NA. Early 944s also have a predisposition for the oil bypass pressure release valve to stick and blow the oil filter seal. Messy. The upgraded is expensive. In mho finding a DD 944 that has the problems corrected will be difficult. I have 2 E46s. 330XI dd and M3 race car project. Love them both. I graduated to the M3 for racing cuz I was bored with the 944s. My $0.02. Good luck on your search.
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Old 07-07-2012, 12:12 PM   #26
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944 - Nostalgia, lots of maintenance
E36 - Run forever, with some maintenance
E46 - Not for that price range
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Old 07-07-2012, 12:34 PM   #27
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I get the impression that I should avoid high mileage e46s and go for an e36. Could someone elaborate further about why I shouldn't go for the e46 especially if I buy one with the assumption that it needs tons of maintenance? Thanks for all the help.
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Old 07-07-2012, 12:39 PM   #28
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I get the impression that I should avoid high mileage e46s and go for an e36. Could someone elaborate further about why I shouldn't go for the e46 especially if I buy one with the assumption that it needs tons of maintenance? Thanks for all the help.
I think with a budget of $4,000 you should keep your '03 Civic. $4k barely buys you a nice e30 that will still need a ton of maintenance.
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Old 07-07-2012, 12:48 PM   #29
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I get the impression that I should avoid high mileage e46s and go for an e36. Could someone elaborate further about why I shouldn't go for the e46 especially if I buy one with the assumption that it needs tons of maintenance? Thanks for all the help.
the underlying fact making people suggest E36 is that with that budget you get more for your money.

think about it this way: if you were starving, hadn't eaten for days...would you want one bite of prime filet or a whole Big Mac?

same idea.
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Old 07-07-2012, 12:56 PM   #30
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I know several DIY fanatics that drive 944s... they don't drive them daily though. Belt issues, drivetrain issues, turbo issues (if considering a 944S), and instrument cluster issues (odometer gears always get brittle and break, so very few 944s display ACTUAL miles). Even when doing it yourself, parts are comparably more expensive. A good and trouble-free E46 will still cost 7-12k depending on the model and options. Avoid 323 and 328 (especially the automatics) at all costs. You should be able to find a good E36 for $4000.

Just remember that top-tier brands such as BMW and Porsche can sink you in repair costs unless you buy one that has been maintained.
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Old 07-07-2012, 01:59 PM   #31
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As others have said, the only thing realistic on that budget is an E36. And even that is stretching it a bit if you think the car will not require thousands in maintenance over a year or 2 after the purchase. Initial purchase price is only the beginning, not anywhere near the end of the cost expenditure for the cars you're looking at. You buy a Honda and barely put any more money into it. You buy a 15-20 year old German sports car, and it's a very different story.

I won't suggest other cars to you. But I don't think your budget is realistic without regular spending on repairs and upgrades.
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Old 07-07-2012, 02:06 PM   #32
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I know several DIY fanatics that drive 944s... they don't drive them daily though. Belt issues, drivetrain issues, turbo issues (if considering a 944S), and instrument cluster issues (odometer gears always get brittle and break, so very few 944s display ACTUAL miles). Even when doing it yourself, parts are comparably more expensive. A good and trouble-free E46 will still cost 7-12k depending on the model and options. Avoid 323 and 328 (especially the automatics) at all costs. You should be able to find a good E36 for $4000.

Just remember that top-tier brands such as BMW and Porsche can sink you in repair costs unless you buy one that has been maintained.
I disagree with avoiding auto 323s and 328s, my 323i has been good to me so far, and it's the cheapest e46 you can buy, luckily mines was fully loaded.
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Old 07-07-2012, 04:12 PM   #33
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If you want to hate your life, get a 944. Otherwise E36.

But if I only had $4k I'd wait, and keep the civic.
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Old 07-07-2012, 04:35 PM   #34
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Thanks again guys for giving me some good things to think about. Unfortunately, my Civic is limping and I do not think I can trust it as an everyday driver much longer. So I must get something else. Perhaps I should consider an e34...
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Old 07-07-2012, 05:07 PM   #35
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Thanks again guys for giving me some good things to think about. Unfortunately, my Civic is limping and I do not think I can trust it as an everyday driver much longer. So I must get something else. Perhaps I should consider an e34...
e30 318is /thread.

Though M30 powered e28s and e34s are extremely reliable.
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Old 07-07-2012, 05:44 PM   #36
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e30 318is /thread.

Though M30 powered e28s and e34s are extremely reliable.
E30 318is suffers from timing case profile gasket failures. If you buy one, either make sure that job was done, or plan on doing it. It can wreck the motor.

Other than that, M42 is pretty darn reliable.

M30 is a great engine indeed. Quintessential BMW I6.
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Old 07-07-2012, 06:01 PM   #37
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E30 318is suffers from timing case profile gasket failures. If you buy one, either make sure that job was done, or plan on doing it. It can wreck the motor.

Other than that, M42 is pretty darn reliable.

M30 is a great engine indeed. Quintessential BMW I6.
You're right, but in his area I think you can find a 318is with an asking price cheap enough that he could also afford to fix those potential issues.

And yes again with the M30. I loved the way that engine sounded in my '86 535i. Plenty of power as well. And efficient on the freeway!
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Old 07-07-2012, 06:09 PM   #38
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You're right, but in his area I think you can find a 318is with an asking price cheap enough that he could also afford to fix those potential issues.

And yes again with the M30. I loved the way that engine sounded in my '86 535i. Plenty of power as well. And efficient on the freeway!


325es would also be a good bet for him. Decent torque, runs forever, and amazing fuel economy.
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Old 07-07-2012, 06:14 PM   #39
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325es would also be a good bet for him. Decent torque, runs forever, and amazing fuel economy.
Yes, that's another one. Just make sure the timing belt is done! I want a 325es sooo bad. Something about the 2.7 eta and the M-Tech kit is just cool.
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Old 07-07-2012, 07:21 PM   #40
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Yes, that's another one. Just make sure the timing belt is done! I want a 325es sooo bad. Something about the 2.7 eta and the M-Tech kit is just cool.
Very cool cars. I had one for a while. The odometer stopped at 230K long before I ever saw the car. It did 30+MPG everywhere it went (I used to keep track of mileage via GPS), and had some decent power for what it was. Big trunk, and even for an '85 it had a power sun roof, power mirrors, AC, OBC, etc. No M-Tech kit on that one though.

They definitely feel old and dated, but are tremendous fun to drive around in.
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