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///M3 Forum
The BMW E46 ///M3 is the M version E46 and puts out an amazing 333 HP and 262 lb-ft of torque at stock specs! There are an amazing amount of modifications for both the coupe and convertible models so read up and get started modifying your cars today!

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Old 06-26-2013, 12:21 AM   #1
Mercadeus
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Considering buying an M3!

Hi! I'm brand new to the forums, and I have read quite a bit about the M3.
So please don't tell me to use the search button
I'm looking to keep my payments under $300/month so I can mod whichever I choose.

I have owned a '75 Nova and a '03 350z(74,000miles).
I'm currently looking at buying a 2002 M3 with 104,000 miles for $12,000.
No mods, no rust, and a SMG transmission.
With an SMG transmission can you still shift with the stick?
Or can you only use the handles by the wheel?
I have never owned a BMW

I'm also looking at buying a 2005 350z with 57,000 miles for $11,000.
Bodykit, tint, tires, wheels, slotted/drilled rotors, sound system.
I honestly don't like buying peoples cars that they already have done.

I'm no mechanical genius but I can preform simple and advanced repairs.
Everyone told me that the Nissan would cost tons to repair, but I never had one problem. I had to buy new brakes and rotors for the rear and it cost me under $100. I'm fine with these kinds of repairs, no big deal.
I have never owned a BMW and I would never take it to a shop unless I absolutely had to. That said, does it truly cost a lot to own a BMW?
Any insight on the "problems" of the M3? And I'm leaning more towards the luxury aspect of the M3 ( and more hp )

Sorry, for a long post but trying to figure this out ASAP!
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Old 06-26-2013, 12:35 AM   #2
turbo_f22_pilot
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You will be flamed for saying "So please don't tell me to use the search button ".

The Nissan will be cheaper and easier to maintain unless you're mechanically inclined. If you're trying to go "on the cheap", then a M3 is not for you. The M3 usually runs most people approx. $2500/yr in maintenance. Buying a M3 is the easy part. Maintaning one properly is the costly part. Take good care of your "M" and it will reward you with the most enjoyable driving experience of your life.

I would hop on over to here and read up (Stickies)

NOTE: Get a PPI done on any prospective M3, If they can't prove any of the maintenance / service was performed, assume it wasn't. Anything that was replaced with a non-OE/M part is suspect unless replaced with an high grade replacement.
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Joy is future proof
Get your "M" on . . .
Reading is FundaM3ntal




CAR:
2003 TIAG Coupe / Blk Interior / SMG / HK Premium
MODS:
EU-CSL Coded / Macht Schnell intake / OEM CSL Wheels / OEM CSL Diffuser / Dinan Exhaust
Full LED Conversion / HID fog / Aurora AE / RE RTAB FCAB

BMWCCA NCC

Last edited by turbo_f22_pilot; 06-26-2013 at 12:38 AM.
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Old 06-26-2013, 12:43 AM   #3
Mercadeus
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Quote:
Originally Posted by turbo_f22_pilot View Post
You will be flamed for saying "So please don't tell me to use the search button ".

The Nissan will be cheaper and easier to maintain unless you're mechanically inclined. If you're trying to go "on the cheap", then a M3 is not for you. The M3 usually runs most people approx. $2500/yr in maintenance. Buying a M3 is the easy part. Maintaning one properly is the costly part. Take good care of your "M" and it will reward you with the most enjoyable driving experience of your life.

I would hop on over to here and read up (Stickies)

NOTE: Get a PPI done on any prospective M3, If they can't prove any of the maintenance / service was performed, assume it wasn't. Anything that was replaced with a non-OE/M part is suspect unless replaced with an high grade replacement.
Already read those, but where do you get $2,500/year in maintenance?
I can change brakes, oil, plugs, some wiring, wheel bearings, etc.
Only thing I would go to a shop for is something major.

Not going for cheap, but an ~$15,000 M3 fits in my budget at the moment.
And I'm looking for a car that's going to last me at least 5 years.
I put roughly 7,000/year on any car that I drive.
I've used many non-OEM parts on vehicles and have been just fine.
I'm just curious where all these maintenance costs come from?
I'm a bit worried from everything I have read, but I think I should be fine?
It seems like most BMW have their car serviced at the dealership.
Is this why they complain of expensive repairs?

Last edited by Mercadeus; 06-26-2013 at 12:45 AM.
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Old 06-26-2013, 02:09 AM   #4
turbo_f22_pilot
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If you just have a look around at part prices for "M" parts, the cost is more then the usual 3-series part.

Probable yearly maintenance
Oil change ($100+ per change) (BMW - 15k miles)most owners 5k-7.5k miles))
Tires $900 (average 18" brand)
Brakes $350 (front) $375 (rear)
Fluids Genuine BWM / spec fluids

The are other items which have issues that should havebeen mentioned in several of the stickies. The prices are rather low, and don't include taxes, shipping or labor. You can get cheaper items, but most decent replacement items will cost more than the stated prices above. Your time between certain item replacement depends on the item used and how you drive.


As far as SMG, you can shift with the stick. (think of it as a joystick, push forward to downshift, pull back to upshift. push to the side to select A / S mode, and move like putting into reverse to go into reverse.) Using the paddles overrides A mode and switches to "S" mode.
__________________
In order to finish FIRST, you MUST first FINISH !

Joy is future proof
Get your "M" on . . .
Reading is FundaM3ntal




CAR:
2003 TIAG Coupe / Blk Interior / SMG / HK Premium
MODS:
EU-CSL Coded / Macht Schnell intake / OEM CSL Wheels / OEM CSL Diffuser / Dinan Exhaust
Full LED Conversion / HID fog / Aurora AE / RE RTAB FCAB

BMWCCA NCC

Last edited by turbo_f22_pilot; 06-26-2013 at 02:20 AM.
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Old 06-26-2013, 04:26 AM   #5
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Since you have told that you normally spend $7000/year on the maintenance of the vehicle then an M3 in good condition won't cost more. Driving a BMW it itself a delighting experience.The spare parts are more expensive than the usual 3 series but the wear and tear depends upon the driving conditions.
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Old 06-26-2013, 07:51 AM   #6
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Something else worth mentioning is mods are going to cost way more as well.
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Old 06-26-2013, 08:04 AM   #7
Leezy321
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Considering buying an M3!

Craziness... When I was just getting my license and into cars 100k miles was the cutoff... You didn't touch a car with 100k miles or over unless it was dirt cheap. Now people are paying tens of thousands of dollars for these high mileage cars!

Get the M3... Better car and nothing drives like a Bimmer. That said, make sure you got a hefty bank account for when things go wrong. And they will go wrong...


Sent from BimmerApp mobile app
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Old 06-26-2013, 08:39 AM   #8
karl hungus
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Leezy321 View Post
Craziness... When I was just getting my license and into cars 100k miles was the cutoff... You didn't touch a car with 100k miles or over unless it was dirt cheap. Now people are paying tens of thousands of dollars for these high mileage cars!

Get the M3... Better car and nothing drives like a Bimmer. That said, make sure you got a hefty bank account for when things go wrong. And they will go wrong...


Sent from BimmerApp mobile app
This. Be prepared to deal with things when they go wrong...

I've woken up several mornings and she throws me a lovely code, better go get the code reader....unlike a lot of other people who own these cars, I use mine daily. I beat on her pretty good and for the most part I've learned this car backwards and forwards to be able to handle most issues. If you can learn to work on these cars (In my opinion they are not the hardest things to work on) it's not too bad
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Old 06-26-2013, 08:52 AM   #9
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www.m3forum.net read the stickies.
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Old 06-26-2013, 09:08 AM   #10
Riverbmr3
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OP goodluck, my regular 3 series has a lot of problems even I do my maintenance on time, recently I replaced 4 tires, shocks and strut, control arms and bushings, fuel pump, rotors and pads, PS hoses and reservoir and alignment..gosh, my bank balance went low...
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Old 06-26-2013, 09:34 AM   #11
choxor
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Originally Posted by raypitter View Post
Since you have told that you normally spend $7000/year on the maintenance of the vehicle then an M3 in good condition won't cost more. Driving a BMW it itself a delighting experience.The spare parts are more expensive than the usual 3 series but the wear and tear depends upon the driving conditions.
He said he DRIVES 7k per year.
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Old 06-26-2013, 09:59 AM   #12
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BMW The ultimate driving machine but you have to pay to play...
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Old 06-26-2013, 10:26 AM   #13
qualicas
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I would never recommend an E46 M3 for a first BMW. Best to get to know the brand first then step up. Things you will probably need to do if you buy this car.
(For 12,000 assume it will be behind on maint.) Valve adjust, replace vanos bolts, inspect/replace vanos hub. New shocks and struts. New ball joints front and rear, front control arm bushings, trailing arm bushings. The suspension stuff is easy and can be done by anyone with some mechanical ability. The vanos stuff is best left to someone with BMW experience.
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Old 06-26-2013, 11:04 AM   #14
choxor
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It sounds like the OP wants someone to alleviate his fears about an M cars being expensive to maintain.

Not going to happen.
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Old 06-26-2013, 11:32 AM   #15
taylor192
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mercadeus View Post
Already read those, but where do you get $2,500/year in maintenance?
I can change brakes, oil, plugs, some wiring, wheel bearings, etc.
Only thing I would go to a shop for is something major.

Not going for cheap, but an ~$15,000 M3 fits in my budget at the moment.
And I'm looking for a car that's going to last me at least 5 years.
I put roughly 7,000/year on any car that I drive.
At that mileage, if these items have not been addressed likely you will deal with them within 5 years:

- Valve adjustment
- Waterpump (they seem to fail more often on BMWs due to the design, the M3 waterpump is pricey!)
- Guibo
- Centre support bearing (CSB)
- Steering line (typical BMW issue, they all leak eventually)
- Constant pressure valve (CPV)
- Vanos solenoid
- Vanos hub tab issue
- Subframe reinforcement (many coupes have developed cracks at that mileage)
- Clutch (SMG is harder on the clutch)

That's potentially $5K+ of maintenance items you may have to deal with, thus why you're getting quotes of $2K/yr of maintenance since that list doesn't include common maintenance items like tires, brakes, fluids, filters, ...

I'd say buying virtually any 10yo+ 100K+ mile car means you need a buffer of $2K+ for maintenance that will be due, then apply the M3 markup.
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Old 06-26-2013, 03:19 PM   #16
Mercadeus
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I think the prices some people list are pretty exaggerated, at least from what I've seen and looked for parts myself.
My cousin is also a technician so anything I really cant figure out, he can help and let me use his shop.
That being said, I think I would rather wait a few years and get a nice low mileage M3.
Especially because I can't find a cheap one without SMG.

This was the one I was looking towards getting:
http://www.autotrader.com/cars-for-s...46395866&Log=0

I'm now leaning towards a 330ci. Any advice on these?
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Old 06-26-2013, 06:46 PM   #17
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Cheap and M3 usually don't go together....
Nothing wrong with a 330ci if you find one you really like.

I've had my E36 M3 for years now and just sold my 325xi and bought an E46 M3. Like everyone else says, be prepared. Mine had excellent service history with it but I've still spent almost 3k in the first 2 weeks I've owned it.
The maintenance costs are a bit higher but if you DIY you can save quite a bit. So far my thought has been to start fresh with maintenance and keep it up THEN if I can't find anything else to fix I can do a mod or 2.

I will say - it's well worth the time and money so far. I smile every time I drive it
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Old 06-26-2013, 07:39 PM   #18
Mercadeus
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Cheap and M3 usually don't go together....
Nothing wrong with a 330ci if you find one you really like.

I've had my E36 M3 for years now and just sold my 325xi and bought an E46 M3. Like everyone else says, be prepared. Mine had excellent service history with it but I've still spent almost 3k in the first 2 weeks I've owned it.
The maintenance costs are a bit higher but if you DIY you can save quite a bit. So far my thought has been to start fresh with maintenance and keep it up THEN if I can't find anything else to fix I can do a mod or 2.

I will say - it's well worth the time and money so far. I smile every time I drive it
Thanks for the input!
Basically this is how I'm thinking. I could get a cheap+high mileage 330i to hold me over or a E36.
A lower mileage 330i/E36 is going to be the price of a e46 with 80-100k miles.
I'd rather have the extra miles imo, because I will most likely be keeping the car for 5-10 years. I dont know whether it's worth it to get a cheaper 330i/E36 at the moment and an e46 later, or just go all out on the e46 now. I would have to sell my 08 cbr600rr though.

These are basically the cars I'm looking at right now so any input would be great

330i: (This is the one I really want, and could get this weekend. But 3 hour drive input is appreciated)
http://www.hamiltonsmrauto.com/2002_..._192206966.veh

E36: (4th owner, unaware of any maintenance except for radiator fan blade..."brakes, tires, and rotors are ok" )
http://www.cars.com/go/search/detail...nal&listType=3

E36: (a little pricey imo, but has all maintenance records and newer clutch)
http://www.autotrader.com/cars-for-s...48237793&Log=0

E36: (yellow because racecar? no idea on records, would need to call the dealership )
http://www.cars.com/go/search/detail...nal&listType=1

M3: (this is the closest one to me. I'm looking for black + 6MT though )
http://www.cars.com/go/search/detail...nal&listType=1

M3: (basically exactly what i want)
http://www.autotrader.com/cars-for-s...48703409&Log=0

M3: (new listing)
http://www.autotrader.com/cars-for-s...48998826&Log=0

M3: (new listing)
http://www.autotrader.com/cars-for-s...49308055&Log=0
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Old 06-26-2013, 08:31 PM   #19
qualicas
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Like I said before, an E46 M3 as a first BMW is not something I would recommend. The 330i would be your best bet. It is reasonable inexpensive. You will get a chance to do all the maintenance and learn on it. Only thing check if that car is rusted. If it has been in Ohio all its life there could be problems.
Interesting though, I have a 2002 E46 M3 that I have been trying to sell here in Canada and I'm not getting any interest. So who knows if you can pick one of the E46 M3s for less than $12,000 if it has no rust it could be a good deal as well. Finally, besides my E46 M3, I have a 97 E36 M3 sedan. My son was home and preferred the E36 and actually so do I. My daughter likes the E46 M3 and is now hoping I can't sell it! (In case anyone cares I have an 135i that is nicer than either of the M3s driving wise)
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Old 06-26-2013, 08:34 PM   #20
Mercadeus
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Hmm, well I don't really need to "learn" for either car because like I said, I have experience working on vehicles.
My prior daily was a nissan 350z.
My car will most likely be in ohio and be driven during the snow too!
Hmm.
Decisions are so hard.
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