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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 12-07-2012, 08:03 PM   #1
MINIz guy
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222k on an engine?

I'm looking for a cheap E46 as a DD/beater. I found one in my price range and it is a 2001 325i 5-speed for $2500. The ad says that it has a new clutch and expansion tank.

Given that the maintenance was done, would it still be a good buy with 222k miles? I'm worried about how much the engine has travelled and if there are internal parts that need replacing due to wear.
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Old 12-07-2012, 08:14 PM   #2
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I've heard rumors that BMW engines can easily do 500k if cared for. Let's see what others think?
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Old 12-07-2012, 08:15 PM   #3
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I wouldn't be worried about the engine, as I would be about the suspension/rubber bushings. They must be toast at 222k
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Old 12-07-2012, 08:21 PM   #4
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Mine has 208k and it still runs strong as hell and still gets 28 mpg

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Old 12-07-2012, 08:22 PM   #5
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I'm at 215k but my suspension is so tired. Engine is still strong tho
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Old 12-07-2012, 08:23 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by MINIz guy View Post
I'm looking for a cheap E46 as a DD/beater. I found one in my price range and it is a 2001 325i 5-speed for $2500. The ad says that it has a new clutch and expansion tank.

Given that the maintenance was done, would it still be a good buy with 222k miles? I'm worried about how much the engine has travelled and if there are internal parts that need replacing due to wear.
Hell yes, just plan on spending a couple grand getting things sorted out.
I have 297k and run it very hard in the canyons.

ZChild has 330k and tracks his.

Dmax 260k if I remember correctly.
Drag races his and has a love kit in the trunk.
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Old 12-07-2012, 08:24 PM   #7
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you should be fine, but the best way, IMO, to check the engine health is to pop the valve cover. look at the wear on the vanos gears and the cam shaft lobes.
the vanos gear teeth should not be pointy.
good luck. if all checks out go for it. bmw engines are good engines.
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Old 12-07-2012, 08:42 PM   #8
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My 1988 535i e28 has almost 300K MILES on it.. still running
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Old 12-07-2012, 08:43 PM   #9
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I can't exactly pop the valve cover on a car that I'm checking out. I guess I can listen for timing chain rattle and VANOS rattle?

I'll have to wait for the owner to reply and tell me exactly what maintenance has been done recently. Maybe I can get the price down $500. I'm not worried about rubber parts as those can be replaced easily with the tools that I have and a few rental tools. I don't want to spend a couple grand on this car but maybe $500 more replacing a few bushings and then start driving this car to St. Louis for school from NJ. This is in no way going to be a mint vehicle but just something that will start up everyday and drive in comfort.
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Old 12-07-2012, 08:50 PM   #10
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You could always do a cylinder leak down/compression test. That is usually the least invasive way to check the health of an engine.
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Old 12-07-2012, 09:15 PM   #11
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Take the oil cap off while its running to see if the CCV valve needs to be replaced. You can also see a little bit of metal when you do that. If it looks clean than chances are that the rest of the Engine is clean, but don't quote me on that.
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Old 12-07-2012, 09:59 PM   #12
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Take the oil cap off while its running to see if the CCV valve needs to be replaced. You can also see a little bit of metal when you do that. If it looks clean than chances are that the rest of the Engine is clean, but don't quote me on that.

You only see the cover on the intake cam.
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Old 12-07-2012, 10:06 PM   #13
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Go lower. I paid 2500 for 190k with smoking engine
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Old 12-07-2012, 10:20 PM   #14
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Get a compression test. It should be fine. If it's been run with 15k oil changes to 222k it may be getting tired. If it's been cared for, it should be 100% fine.
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Old 12-07-2012, 10:56 PM   #15
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Sounds like a great deal, especially if there is no CEL or huge obvious faults. I bought an '92 325is with 242k miles on it for $1500 a few years ago from a friends dad, now my brother drives it and last I checked it has over 280k miles on it, hasn't had a single issue since I bought it
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Old 12-08-2012, 01:18 AM   #16
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If I get a compression test, I'd have to pay for a PPI which I don't want to do for a beater. This car is supposed to keep my running cost down and a PPI isn't that beneficial for a car worth $2500 or less.

The seller did get back to me quickly. Said that the clutch was replaced 2000 miles ago. He also doesn't have any service records at all.
I will still ask about oil change intervals and how the suspension feels once he sends me some interior and engine bay pictures. I hope nobody wants a 222k+ mile E46 so I can actually check it out once I return to NJ in 1.5 weeks. This would be a fun car to learn how to replace some bushings on if I can get it for a cheap enough price.
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Old 12-08-2012, 01:23 AM   #17
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Dude, a ppi will cost between 60 to a 100. It is worth it even for a car that cheap. As they say, there is nothing more expensive than a cheap BMW. Or was it a Merc? either way, it holds/
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Old 12-08-2012, 01:46 AM   #18
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I don't recommend spend the PPI. Nothing you can't check under the car yourself.
Check for the front control arms by trying to wobble the wheels for signs of play, look at the brakes, test drive and feel the struts and shocks.

For the cooling system, alternator, battery, CCV(oil separator), pulleys, belts. These you can't check, just have to assume they are shot and replace it all yourself.

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Old 12-08-2012, 04:34 AM   #19
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Originally Posted by MINIz guy View Post
I'm looking for a cheap E46 as a DD/beater. I found one in my price range and it is a 2001 325i 5-speed for $2500. The ad says that it has a new clutch and expansion tank.

Given that the maintenance was done, would it still be a good buy with 222k miles? I'm worried about how much the engine has travelled and if there are internal parts that need replacing due to wear.
250K on my E36 when I got rid because of bodywork corrosion. Never had a problem with the motor. Ever. Silent runner. If the motor has been properly maintained regarding fluids and plugs and not had the arse ragged out of it there is another 250K in there at least. So check its history.
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Old 12-08-2012, 07:04 AM   #20
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Like others mentioned - make sure everything else is in good nick - it's the "everything else" that can cost u a lot of $$$$ also
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