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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 04-01-2013, 07:57 AM   #1
cleansho93
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Thinking of buying a 99 318i 1.9l - New to BMWs and could really use some help/advice

Hi All, I am new to the forums and am hoping to find some help/advice. I am from the US, but have been living in Hong Kong for the past two years. I have decided it's time to buy a car here. There are many BMWs for sale here second hand. The prices are quite low, as most people who can afford cars here (and afford parking) prefer to drive new cars. As a result, second hand cars seem to not have much value. I found a nice looking 99 318i 1.9l auto for sale for about $3200usd. It has 70000km (about 44500 miles). I have checked the basics - oil, coolant, brakes, trans shifting etc and it all looks ok. The A/C blows cold and the tires are fairly new. However, there is no service record available for the car. With this low of miles, I would assume the car hasn't been due for any major service yet, though I understand that just because the miles are low, it does not mean that it does not need service, because it is after all a 14 year old car.

I've read online and heard others talk about the 1.9l not being a very good engine, and that there are common issues with the coolant system (many plastic parts used such as water pump impeller etc) and issues with vacuum leaks. Also heard of many head gasket issues, though I would assume that would be related to overheating due to coolant system issues. Not sure how accurate this is but would like to know if its true.

So I guess my main questions are:
1. What are the problems to look for when checking out the 1.9l?
2. Is the lack of service record an issue to worry about considering how low the mileage is?
3. If the water pump does need replaced soon, is this a labor intensive job? Whats the usual labor costs at a shop for this?
4. I noticed a part missing from the intake ducting, from other photos i see online its like a plastic box (non electrical part) that attaches to the intake duct near the radiator. The hole it attaches to has just been taped off on this car. I have pics but am new so the forum will not allow me to post them yet.
5. Im aware of the subframe issue and know how to check for it thanks to these forums already. From what I read, this issue is most common with coupes that have the 6 cylinder engine, is that right?

I'm not looking expecting a like new car or to make this like new, just looking for a fun car for the weekends (will not be a daily driver) that is fairly reliable and will not require a ton of money in maintenance costs. So I'm not looking to chase down every squeak and rattle like some guys would be. Ive always wanted to own a BMW. Any advice/help would be greatly appreciated!


Thanks
Byron


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Last edited by cleansho93; 04-01-2013 at 08:09 AM.
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Old 04-01-2013, 07:59 AM   #2
cleansho93
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Heres a few pics of the car im looking at. Ive also included a pic showing the part thats missing from the intake (circled in yellow).



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Old 04-01-2013, 08:23 AM   #3
SilverMayn
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great find, my advise would be to see if you can get the price to come down if they are willing to budge at all. 44k miles on a e36 chassis is extremely rare though. the 1.9l is actually a great engine very relaible indeed. YES the cooling systems are the weakness in these cars but so is the case with any other bmw you could buy. My suggestion would be to offer 3000$.. then take that 200$ savings, get a little dirty and change out the thermostat/waterpump/radiator /resivor & cap and vaccum lines in the next few months.(just to be safe) Also Just because a car has super low mileage doesnt mean its 100% road worthy.It could have sat in some little old ladys front yard for all those years when it should have been subjected to normal wear and tear. Inspect the tires... shocks for leaking and change that engine oil before you put it on the road!

Good luck!
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Old 04-01-2013, 10:29 AM   #4
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44k miles on a e36 chassis is extremely rare though.
Either this is a non sequitur, or you meant E46 chasis

OP - get it inspected and be proactive about the maintenance and you should be good to go. SilverMayn is right, haggle and use profits to change out cooling parts for peace of mind.

Luke
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Old 04-01-2013, 11:07 AM   #5
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I got the same, M43 1.9L '00 with 64K on it. Great car but it's a rule to save some money for the replacements.

So far i changed the water pump w/ coolant flush, both belts, air and cabin filter, tires (225/45r17), front suspension and the interior lights with leds. All of them with "DIY" from this forum.

Soon i need to change the fluids (Differential, ATF w/ filter and Brake Fluid)
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Old 04-01-2013, 11:53 AM   #6
SilverMayn
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Either this is a non sequitur, or you meant E46 chasis

OP - get it inspected and be proactive about the maintenance and you should be good to go. SilverMayn is right, haggle and use profits to change out cooling parts for peace of mind.

Luke
haha yes I ment e46 .. i was half sleep when I wrote this this morning
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Old 04-01-2013, 11:58 AM   #7
Schlag96
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If you're asking about labor costs, make sure you know what you're getting into with an older BMW. They require a fair amount of maintenance. They are a joy to drive, but you either have to spend a lot of time on them or a lot of money. Welcome!
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Old 04-01-2013, 12:02 PM   #8
SilverMayn
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If you're asking about labor costs, make sure you know what you're getting into with an older BMW. They require a fair amount of maintenance. They are a joy to drive, but you either have to spend a lot of time on them or a lot of money. Welcome!
True.. Good thing is the 1.9 is such a small engine EVERYTHING is easy to get to

the electric fan takes up 1/4 of the engine bay

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Old 04-02-2013, 10:04 AM   #9
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Thanks for all the advice guys. I've negotiated down the price to about $2800usd so plan on pulling the trigger. He knows a friend who works at a shop that can put the car on a lift for me, so I will check the rear subframe to make sure all is well (really my main concern at this point). I will also be looking closely at the coolant and checking for any coolant/oil leaks. I hope it all goes well as I'd really like to own this car. Its old, and the interior is a bit rough around the edges in some spots (normal wear and tear) but it still looks good.

I called a couple local shops today and asked them about changing the oil. Being Hong Kong I have no where to work on the car myself. Most of the shops want to do a "full service". They recommend changing the oil, oil filter, transmission fluid w/filter and diff fluid. Im thinking it may not be a bad idea considering the trans and diff oil have probably never been changed in the past 14 years. That and the fact that the trans fluid cannot be checked without dropping the pan. What do you guys think? I'm a bit concerned about them messing with the trans as my past experience with automatic transmissions has lead me to believe "if it's not broke, don't fix it". What do you guys think?
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Old 04-02-2013, 10:07 AM   #10
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BTW: Most shops want around $300~$400usd to replace the engine oil w/filter, trans fluid w/filter and diff oil all with oem parts/fluids. Car service here is quite expensive for most things, but this seems acceptable to me considering. Back in the USA I could have easily done all of this myself in the garage and saved a lot of money in labor...
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Old 04-02-2013, 10:21 AM   #11
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Take a picture of it!.. The force is telling me its a black coupe...?
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Old 04-02-2013, 10:26 AM   #12
cleansho93
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Take a picture of it!.. The force is telling me its a black coupe...?
The pics are posted above, did you see them? Its a silver sedan
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Old 04-02-2013, 11:09 AM   #13
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Quote:
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Take a picture of it!.. The force is telling me its a black coupe...?
The pics are posted above, did you see them? Its a silver sedan
Hahaha the force is not strong in this one....
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Old 04-02-2013, 11:12 AM   #14
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Hahaha the force is not strong in this one....
aww man.. fail... my job restricts these images
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Old 04-02-2013, 02:36 PM   #15
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with that low mileage (although I heard it is very common practice in hong kong and all parts of china to have odomoters on BMWs spinning backwards off the hook. how convenient there aren't any records kept of this thing) and low price, you can't go wrong. I meant, worse case scenario, throw an m3 motor in that biznotch and its still a deal.
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Old 04-02-2013, 02:38 PM   #16
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i don't think there are any laws restricting people from turning the odometer backs in China, so long as the car remained for personal use (some weird law that made no sense and not only had an easy loop hole but you didn't even need to pretend to hide the fact that you're doing it)
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Old 04-03-2013, 11:27 AM   #17
cleansho93
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I'm not sure about the laws in China, but things are very different in Hong Kong. It would not surprise if people were doing it in mainland, but laws are quite strict regarding motor vehicles here. Its quite welk regulated. The cars have to undergo routine inspections for road worthiness etc, and km's are logged during these.

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Old 04-03-2013, 11:28 AM   #18
cleansho93
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So what are your guys thoughts about changing the trans and diff oil? Should I go for it to be safe or just change the oil for now?

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Old 04-03-2013, 11:39 AM   #19
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Change both, the trans must be with a new filter.
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