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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 03-31-2013, 09:31 AM   #1
vmaxup
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Prob my last BMW

I have had allot of cars. But this 2004 e46 325i is just falling apart at 117000 miles.
I bought this car from a dealer after I sold my E36 M3.Allot the same But I figured they would have changed some things. When I bought it I read the record and they put on a new valve cover gasket and replace thermo housing and thermostat. They did a few other minor normal fixes. Figure those jobs kinda sucked on my e36 and the were done

Oh new battery on the way home. dealer paid for it.

Started out with the tailight sensor on dash. Put in ground wires and all good.

Then I noticed a little slop in steering It was the rag joint in the steering shaft. It was actually slop in the rivits. No prob 20 min. went to pull the car out of shop and the power steering pump shaft broke. Why at that exact time I dont know. Never touched it. Replaced the pump.

Next was the loli pops on the front arms really shot. No big deal 1/2hr and done.

Then Next was vibration with AC on. Was watching tv and ALL GIRLS GARAGE had a e46 with this problem. They replaced the motor mounts.
Thought I would one up and replace tranny mounts at the same time. While jacking up engine to get them out. This put pressure on the hose under the power steering resevour and started dropping all the fluid out. I now replaced the leaking resouvour, cap and both hoses to the pump and the radiator...Problem solved.

Brake sensors all replace with new pads. done.

Steering making allot of rubber squeaking when you turn.. Strut tower tops bearings dried out and rubber was toast. Of course while replacing the bearing cups of course new struts needed.

Check engine light was on on. Codes pointed me to both upper and lower intake boots might be cracked.. Ahh they were not, but replaced them any way. While your in that mess you might as well replace them. But the problem was actually a tiny vacum hose that connects a hard tube from tranny to the upper intake tube.. Cant see it unless you pull the connector out of the tube it has a big hose and a small vacum hose it was dried out. reset the codes.. Light is still off for now.

Replaced rear shocks 20 min done they were shot.

Ac blowing hot and cold together. Temperature control valve went to replace while replacing intake tubes. While its all apart.. Can smell burnig plastic after removing intake tubes and air box. Its the pigtail connector to the temperature control valve just melting in front of me wires are cherry red. No pig tail to be found at the store. So I stole the one from the winshield washer tank. Figured ac was more important. Dont forget to swist those two wire together so your washer fluid level light is not on dash.. Dont worry going to order pigtail if I can find one.

So for right now the wife took to work today.. I was thinking like wow. I have never worked on a car so much.
Seems like most problems BMW has is the dont know how to make rubber or plastic.. Everything is brittle. Any us car from the 50s can still run with the original hoses and plastic stuff is still working fine.

Dont get me wrong I like driving the car. And yes it haddles better than ever. I would never buy one with 100,000 miles again. Unless all these things were replaced above.

Also have to remeber were these cars are made. They are already in the junk yards because they dont keep them because of emmision standards. Get taxed more to drive high millage cars I guess.

Still a rattle in front end over small bumps. Im going to replace sway bar end links. Prob do the rear at he same time....Hope Im done for a while or should I just sell it.. Whats next Vanose/Tranny??... Knocking on wood

Ok done with rant but just Wow. None of the stuff is hard to replace of that expensive but just allot of parts and time.

Last edited by vmaxup; 03-31-2013 at 09:38 AM.
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Old 03-31-2013, 09:41 AM   #2
BeMyWhip
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Well, one thing I can tell you...
youre good at diagnosing problems, thats 1/2 the battle.
Good work; yes our cars are high maintenance bitcches, but we love 'em
just like the wives and GF's lol
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Old 03-31-2013, 09:48 AM   #3
vmaxup
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Ha that post just made me smile.. No doubt high maintenace bitches..lol
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Old 03-31-2013, 11:08 AM   #4
klax
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vmax,

You're just catching up on someone elses neglect, unfortunately. You'll probably have a couple more things pop up but eventually will have a well sorted car. And, yeah, the quality of some of the components/materials could be better...

If you haven't looked into the cooling system or have no record of any work being done on it, I would look at that next before you're on the side on the road.

I've got 138,000 miles on mine and it's been just about perfect but I'm the original owner so there's no guesswork as to how the car has been treated.

Last edited by klax; 03-31-2013 at 11:10 AM.
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Old 03-31-2013, 11:11 AM   #5
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guess OP'll soon be off to the Honda dealership to buy the most reliable & most boring car in the world.


EDIT: then maybe OP can get tips on Honda Civics on the Honda forums from my 88 year old mother who's onto her 3rd Civic in her life (she gave away her other 2,...1 to me which I use as a winter beater, & 1 to a then-16yr old grandson). I haven't done a thing to my 1991 Honda Civic in the past 6 years of ownership other than gas & bi-yearly (yes 2-year, LoL) oil changes. Don't even know what UNDER the hood looks like...could be 2 monkeys on a running wheel in there for all I know.

Last edited by beeemerdude; 03-31-2013 at 11:17 AM.
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Old 03-31-2013, 11:12 AM   #6
Blueandwhite85
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Sounds like you just purchased a car that wasn't maintained at all. There are ways to prevent that from happening.. sorry it happened to you.
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Old 03-31-2013, 11:17 AM   #7
mtnbound
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Did it have any aftermarket/non-stock interior parts installed?
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Old 03-31-2013, 11:25 AM   #8
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Here's the thing. You could have bought an E46 with those things already done but look at the bright side. You got to do them the way you want them done. Yes, I bought a E46 that was not maintained but at a discount. I put about $1k into it getting it where I want it and now it's pretty sweet.
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Old 03-31-2013, 11:31 AM   #9
miguelpr0
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Im in the same boat my friend, i bought one three weeks ago, and it will be my last bimmer, dont know how a great company such as bmw put all those crapy parts on a car, if i cant get mine running like it should be ill sell it in the next month, love the car but it has eaten more parts in a month than my 94' integra in 8 years lol.
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Old 03-31-2013, 11:31 AM   #10
WDE46
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Several of those things are just maintenance items:

Brakes
SHOCKS AND STRUTS

+1 **** up while replacing motor mounts.

The other things suck though. FCABs are to be considered maintenance on an E46, but you don't have to do it on any other car, so it's additional. Steering guibo wear you wouldn't even notice on another car I think. Should be a solid joint though me thinks.
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Old 03-31-2013, 12:59 PM   #11
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This is the E46Fanatics forum where folks are crazy about their cars. Not an E46WhinyPeePeePants forum where folks come to complain about their cars because they didn't do enough research to understand what they were getting into. If an E46 is not for you, than move on to something else you'll be satisfied and proud of and be done with it. No need to advertise your mistakes unless something useful can come of it.
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Old 03-31-2013, 01:29 PM   #12
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A lot of parts wear out in 117K, even on hondas and toyotas, but you're right BMW did put a lot of plastic, their intention was to save weight of course.
I also came from E36 M3. It was almost new when I bought it and sold it at 55K, so I didn't have to do a lot of work on it, but it seemed to be simpler, less plastics.
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Old 03-31-2013, 01:41 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vmaxup View Post
I have had allot of cars. But this 2004 e46 325i is just falling apart at 117000 miles.
I bought this car from a dealer after I sold my E36 M3.Allot the same But I figured they would have changed some things. When I bought it I read the record and they put on a new valve cover gasket and replace thermo housing and thermostat. They did a few other minor normal fixes. Figure those jobs kinda sucked on my e36 and the were done

Oh new battery on the way home. dealer paid for it.

Started out with the tailight sensor on dash. Put in ground wires and all good.

Then I noticed a little slop in steering It was the rag joint in the steering shaft. It was actually slop in the rivits. No prob 20 min. went to pull the car out of shop and the power steering pump shaft broke. Why at that exact time I dont know. Never touched it. Replaced the pump.

Next was the loli pops on the front arms really shot. No big deal 1/2hr and done.

Then Next was vibration with AC on. Was watching tv and ALL GIRLS GARAGE had a e46 with this problem. They replaced the motor mounts.
Thought I would one up and replace tranny mounts at the same time. While jacking up engine to get them out. This put pressure on the hose under the power steering resevour and started dropping all the fluid out. I now replaced the leaking resouvour, cap and both hoses to the pump and the radiator...Problem solved.

Brake sensors all replace with new pads. done.

Steering making allot of rubber squeaking when you turn.. Strut tower tops bearings dried out and rubber was toast. Of course while replacing the bearing cups of course new struts needed.

Check engine light was on on. Codes pointed me to both upper and lower intake boots might be cracked.. Ahh they were not, but replaced them any way. While your in that mess you might as well replace them. But the problem was actually a tiny vacum hose that connects a hard tube from tranny to the upper intake tube.. Cant see it unless you pull the connector out of the tube it has a big hose and a small vacum hose it was dried out. reset the codes.. Light is still off for now.

Replaced rear shocks 20 min done they were shot.

Ac blowing hot and cold together. Temperature control valve went to replace while replacing intake tubes. While its all apart.. Can smell burnig plastic after removing intake tubes and air box. Its the pigtail connector to the temperature control valve just melting in front of me wires are cherry red. No pig tail to be found at the store. So I stole the one from the winshield washer tank. Figured ac was more important. Dont forget to swist those two wire together so your washer fluid level light is not on dash.. Dont worry going to order pigtail if I can find one.

So for right now the wife took to work today.. I was thinking like wow. I have never worked on a car so much.
Seems like most problems BMW has is the dont know how to make rubber or plastic.. Everything is brittle. Any us car from the 50s can still run with the original hoses and plastic stuff is still working fine.

Dont get me wrong I like driving the car. And yes it haddles better than ever. I would never buy one with 100,000 miles again. Unless all these things were replaced above.

Also have to remeber were these cars are made. They are already in the junk yards because they dont keep them because of emmision standards. Get taxed more to drive high millage cars I guess.

Still a rattle in front end over small bumps. Im going to replace sway bar end links. Prob do the rear at he same time....Hope Im done for a while or should I just sell it.. Whats next Vanose/Tranny??... Knocking on wood

Ok done with rant but just Wow. None of the stuff is hard to replace of that expensive but just allot of parts and time.
All that stuff is normal for this car. You either pay someone else to do it, pay a mechanic to do it, pay for the parts and DIY, or buy a new car. Either way, a reliable properly performing car costs money. You will pay somehow. The question is how?

When purchasing a used E46, factor in an extra $3,000 to get it into decent shape.
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Old 03-31-2013, 01:54 PM   #14
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Quote:
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When purchasing a used E46, factor in an extra $3,000 to get it into decent shape.
^This. I'm right at $3k into mine and it doesn't disappoint me because I've fixed everything that was necessary to make it a reliable daily driver. People on this forum recommend buying the nicest E46 with maintenance records but cars like that are few and far between. The ones that are out there typically command a premium over the others so when buying an E46 you have three options:

1. Buy best, cleanest fully maintained E46 in the area. Pay at least $1500-$3000 over another E46 with nothing.
2. Buy car with some records with some work necessary.
3. Buy a car that has had no work done and then spend about $3k to get it right.

I went with option #3 and when I say this car had nothing, I literally mean this car had original EVERYTHING. The car had some cooling system work done that was verified with the dealership. Suspension was original, spark plugs had at least 100k maybe more on them, VCG was leaking, tires were shot, control arms might have been done once so when buying a car like mine having done your research helps out a lot in the end. So when things started going wrong with it I wasn't pissed because I knew it was an old car with 140k miles and it was going to need work. Needless to say 1 year and 20k miles later this car feels like new again. It will never be perfect but it's been quite good to me.
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Old 03-31-2013, 02:38 PM   #15
mach460
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Originally Posted by Mango View Post
All that stuff is normal for this car. You either pay someone else to do it, pay a mechanic to do it, pay for the parts and DIY, or buy a new car. Either way, a reliable properly performing car costs money. You will pay somehow. The question is how?

When purchasing a used E46, factor in an extra $3,000 to get it into decent shape.
Yep soo right I bought a 04 with 122 on the ticker and I knew going into it what it needed and yeah I'm at 2k not bad now its in perfect condition.
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Old 03-31-2013, 02:43 PM   #16
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Yep soo right I bought a 04 with 122 on the ticker and I knew going into it what it needed and yeah I'm at 2k not bad now its in perfect condition.
yup. in the end, 12k+3k=15k. 15k is still cheaper than any new car.
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Old 04-05-2013, 09:33 AM   #17
vmaxup
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Im not saying that things dont need to be replaced..I understand that.. And all of my problems with it are not bad maintainace. Just seems like every rubber and plastic part they made is a problem..Just like my E36 I believe that almost every problem I have seen on the car is related to rubber or plastic parts. They just cant make rubber and plastic.

And then the wife said the check engine light is on again.. I just laughed....

Im sure if we went with the next generation we will see the same problems.

Gona reset the codes and get it movin on down the road with someone else driving it.
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Old 04-05-2013, 04:45 PM   #18
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The rubber bushings and mounts in these cars are designed the way they are to absorb vibrations while still providing firmness for spirited driving. They will wear out. If you want to never have to replace them again, then replace the failed ones with urethane or delrin. Then let us know how the car feels. Unfortunately, you can't have the Ultimate Driving Machine without having to replace bushings and mounts occasionally. I personally prefer the handling characteristics of the original bits and don't mind replacing them once or twice over the life of the car.
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Old 04-05-2013, 06:45 PM   #19
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E46s and well most BMWs were build a bit different then other cars.

You buy the car new, drive it for 100k miles maintenance free BUT if you wish to keep it for another 100k miles you should invest at least 5000-6000 in parts (or if you cant do the labor then its around 9-10 grand including labor) . This will get the car back in shape and you can easily get another 100k miles out of it.

I honestly dont see anything wrong with that. What I see wrong is you whining and crying like a little girl about a 10 year old car that needs a bit of maintenance .

Did you really think that you could drive a premium luxury car and not pay anything at the same time? Make me laugh that you could actually think that.
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Old 04-05-2013, 06:58 PM   #20
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Flame fest... I got the same treatment when I made a post like this. Hahaha! Main point is live and learn, my friend. And just stick with it and keep your eye on the prize!
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