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Suprano
05-27-2008, 10:45 PM
Hey Guys,

So I'm moving to LA in July and I'm looking at e46 bimmers as a serious possibility; maybe even a vert. However, I've heard that e46's have a number of problems and aren't as reliable as e36 BMWs. The price on many of tese cars has dropped significantly, especially in the LA area. To the point where I would consider one over an e36, so long as they're reliable cars.

If any of the e46 guys on here want to chime in with their opinions/experiences with these cars. Also, what are some of the common issues to look for when buying an e46 and are there certain models to stay away from like a 323, etc???

Cheers,

Robert

Boots R
05-27-2008, 10:49 PM
stay away from 320's.

HoldenC
05-27-2008, 10:55 PM
stay away from 320's.

I don't think 320's are sold in the U.S.

Soldo
05-27-2008, 11:21 PM
They're good cars, just stay away from the first 2 years of the new models. That is when i noticed the most glitches were found.

Also, stay away from the auto tranny on the E46's. I've heard from more than a few people problems with the auto ZF tranny's and have experienced it myself with my moms E46!

diezel06turk
05-28-2008, 02:14 AM
like Soldo said stay away from 99 and 2000s. btw go for a 330 bro they got ballz. i got an 01 325 its pretty good but i wish i had a 330.

Sneaky
05-28-2008, 04:54 AM
http://www.bimmerfest.com/wiki/index.php?title=BMW_E46

Bartacus
05-28-2008, 11:00 AM
I was told to avoid 2001 models too, due to electrically assisted steering or some junk.

Boots R: where the hell were you when I bought my 320i?!?!?! :) Mine has actually been pretty reliable (bought it new, 201,000KM now, 2002 sedan). It drinks oil much more than 325/330s for sure. What bad things have you heard?

Bart

ZHP_Bimmer05
05-28-2008, 01:12 PM
get a 330i bro!, and you can prolly find a good one with the ZHP package. They are tons for sale on e46 Fanatics for good prices.

Suprano
05-28-2008, 01:57 PM
Thanks for the info guys. Ideally I would like to get a 330ci vert because my wife likes them also, but it will have to be auto because she is not able to drive manual.

So what are the probs with the auto trannies and steering? Also, any issues with the power tops?

Rob

Sneaky
05-28-2008, 02:47 PM
Boots R: where the hell were you when I bought my 320i?!?!?! :) Mine has actually been pretty reliable (bought it new, 201,000KM now, 2002 sedan). It drinks oil much more than 325/330s for sure. What bad things have you heard?

Bart


The 320i is the Porsche Boxter of the 3 series...we get no love or respect! Everyone hates on 320i for being the cheapest model but I still dont regret getting one....especially at the gas pumps. :D

Bartacus
05-28-2008, 02:55 PM
The 320i is the Porsche Boxter of the 3 series...we get no love or respect! Everyone hates on 320i for being the cheapest model but I still dont regret getting one....especially at the gas pumps. :D

Me neither. I know the 2.2L burns oil, but that doesn't add much to the cost of maintenance. I don't regret mine either. :) At the time, it didn't make sense to go up to a 325i or 330i, especially considering the price difference.

Are there known issues with 320i's that we're not aware of? Boots got me curious now!

Either way, the definetly don't sell it in the USA, so the OP doesn't have to worry. :) OP: sorry for threadjacking!

Bart

Sneaky
05-28-2008, 03:10 PM
Me neither. I know the 2.2L burns oil, but that doesn't add much to the cost of maintenance. I don't regret mine either. :) At the time, it didn't make sense to go up to a 325i or 330i, especially considering the price difference.

Are there known issues with 320i's that we're not aware of? Boots got me curious now!

Either way, the definetly don't sell it in the USA, so the OP doesn't have to worry. :) OP: sorry for threadjacking!

Bart


There are no problems besides lack of features...manual climate control, non power seats, its like a CSL'd out 3 series. hahahaha minus the engine. Every feature my car lacked that I wanted I retrofitted in.

p.s. Buy my steering wheel...once you can change radio stations or ipod on the steering wheel you will never want to go back.

Boots R
05-28-2008, 03:17 PM
Are there known issues with 320i's that we're not aware of? Boots got me curious now!

LOL nothing that I know of. Just that they are base model e46's, and slow.

Bartacus
05-28-2008, 04:01 PM
LOL nothing that I know of. Just that they are base model e46's, and slow.

That they are, but believe it or not, the 320i isn't much slower than the 325i. There's 14hp difference, which isn't much, and the torque difference is around the same I think. But yeah, it isn't fast by any stretch. Does a smooth 200KM/h though, just takes longer to get here. :)

Bart

diezel06turk
05-28-2008, 04:55 PM
I was told to avoid 2001 models too, due to electrically assisted steering or some junk.

Boots R: where the hell were you when I bought my 320i?!?!?! :) Mine has actually been pretty reliable (bought it new, 201,000KM now, 2002 sedan). It drinks oil much more than 325/330s for sure. What bad things have you heard?

Bart

i've never had a problem with mine but u could be right i just never heard of any kinda steering issue

Bartacus
05-28-2008, 05:01 PM
i've never had a problem with mine but u could be right i just never heard of any kinda steering issue

Well it wasn't a "problem" per se, but from what I heard, BMW ruined the steering feel for that model year (can't remember exactly what cars were affected, I thought all 3 series in 2001) by adopting some electrically-assisted steering thingamajig. They damn near had a customer revolution on their hands because so many people complained about the steering feel, and how un-BMW it was. Of course, they did issue some kinda service bulletin where people could get it fixed for free. But I'm just regurgitating second-hand info here, I've never driven an 01. Heard it got cured pretty quick though. You don't mess with the steering feel of a 3. :)

Bart

BMW325IS
05-28-2008, 06:40 PM
man go for a 330 or m3. stay away from 01 m3...

Soldo
05-28-2008, 07:59 PM
With the tranny's the problems that i kept hearing about and encountered first hand was a specific gear would blow. In my case it was the reverse gear. I was driving (taking it very easy) and i put it in reverse to back out. No noise, no whining, nothing, engine revs climbed, car went NO WHERE. It was brutal cause i had to plan where/how to park since i couldn't back out.

Ended up rebuilding the whole transmission. I dunno if ALL the E46's had the ZF auto's. If they did, i dunno what else to suggest, maybe try to get the wife to learn standard cause that is honestly one problem i would NEVER again want to deal with (even if you take it in somewhere, it's an EXPENSIVE job).

Sneaky
05-28-2008, 08:10 PM
With the tranny's the problems that i kept hearing about and encountered first hand was a specific gear would blow. In my case it was the reverse gear. I was driving (taking it very easy) and i put it in reverse to back out. No noise, no whining, nothing, engine revs climbed, car went NO WHERE. It was brutal cause i had to plan where/how to park since i couldn't back out.

Ended up rebuilding the whole transmission. I dunno if ALL the E46's had the ZF auto's. If they did, i dunno what else to suggest, maybe try to get the wife to learn standard cause that is honestly one problem i would NEVER again want to deal with (even if you take it in somewhere, it's an EXPENSIVE job).



What mileage were you at and what year was your car? Im hoping this happens to me soon cause my warranty expires next may.

Soldo
05-28-2008, 08:19 PM
Can't remember exactly what it was at but around 120km's which is VERY low to run into tranny problems.

Sneaky
05-28-2008, 08:20 PM
Can't remember exactly what it was at but around 120km's which is VERY low to run into tranny problems.

hmmm maybe you or the previous owner was using the tiptronic too much. Alot ppl beat the shit out of them like they are driving a manual.

StikiGreenZ
05-29-2008, 09:23 AM
The 320i is the Porsche Boxter of the 3 series...

CSL'd out hahahahaha, you keep tellin yourself that buddy! That was funny.

:D

Soldo
05-29-2008, 09:35 AM
hmmm maybe you or the previous owner was using the tiptronic too much. Alot ppl beat the shit out of them like they are driving a manual.

Doubt it, it was my mom's car, and REVERSE was the gear that blew out. How would tiptronic damage the reverse gear? Also, most of the other people i knew were older people that didn't beat on their cars!

Suprano
05-29-2008, 04:18 PM
^WOW, that really has me thinking now. I might just go with a 2003-2004 A4 Cabrio 1.8t. Anyone know anything about those because I have not read any negative shit about them?

As far as e46's go, they seem to have really dropped in resale, especially in the U.S; and that makes me feel like they're less reliable than e36's.

Rob

shimajer
05-29-2008, 05:13 PM
Considering how cars are cheaper in the US, why don't you get the e90 or e92. You can always lease it or finance it. It will be the best choice because you don't have to worry much about maintenance. If you really want the e46, yes they are pretty reliable.

Suprano
05-29-2008, 05:19 PM
^You're right, but I'm not into financing cars. I'd rather buy what I can afford to own outright, rather than going into bad debt. As far as reliability, I can deal with the small stuff, but tranny problems scare me because, as soldo said they're expensive no matter where you go.

I'll have to get some info on the A4 Cab also, and make a decision then.

Rob

Soldo
05-29-2008, 06:09 PM
I might catch some serious shit for this. Reliability wise... DO NOT go Audi/VW. Every person i've known has had majour issues with their cars from either manufacturer. To me, it just seems like their all lemons. Usually it's little things, like wheel bearings for example. Friend with his A4 has had them replaced an unusual amount of times, and it's not like he drivers like a race car driver. The A4 cab's could be different, i think the E46 cab's look a whole lot better and i don't wanna try to scare you away from the cars completely because they are a dream to drive. Check it out see if others have had tranny issues with later Auto's. All the people i've known have had issues were with earlier cars (one was even a 98 540 with the ZF tranny. They had it fixed while still under warrenty, reverse gear blew out, and the dealer said it was common with the ZF's!). Not sure if BMW decided to use a different transmission. I think Deep323 on this board had his tranny blow out too on his 323i.

When you do check the cars out, just make sure you know what to look for. With the exception of the tranny, most of the little bugs you can spot right away (if your getting an 99-00). When my dad took the car to mister transmission, they quoted him something stupid like in the 4g's. We ended up towing it home and rebuilding it ourselves. Ever since i vowed never to buy an auto cause it was crazy all the parts that needed to be replaced just for a simpe clutch/gear replacement!

Did you end up selling your car? What d'ya get for it?

Sneaky
05-29-2008, 06:19 PM
Considering how cars are cheaper in the US, why don't you get the e90 or e92. You can always lease it or finance it. It will be the best choice because you don't have to worry much about maintenance. If you really want the e46, yes they are pretty reliable.

Yeah sometimes i think about leasing a car, I wouldn't have to worry about maintenance but I hate monthly fees and it probably wouldn't be worth it down the road. Modding would be harder as well.

Sneaky
05-29-2008, 06:20 PM
CSL'd out hahahahaha, you keep tellin yourself that buddy! That was funny.

:D

It was funny cause it was a joke. WTF is it problem buddy...well besides me having a 320?

lvan
05-30-2008, 02:03 AM
Yeah I am gonna have to agree with Soldo. I would not get used vw/audi. I drove one a4 2.0T. I did not like the sound of the engine.

Going back to driving stick. Why don't you teach her on your e36 before you sell it. Nobody never thought me to drive stick, but I can put it in first gear and engage smooth and throw it in the second. The car would not stall at all. Just give her a shot. My 0.02c

Suprano
05-30-2008, 10:55 PM
I might catch some serious shit for this. Reliability wise... DO NOT go Audi/VW. Every person i've known has had majour issues with their cars from either manufacturer. To me, it just seems like their all lemons. Usually it's little things, like wheel bearings for example. Friend with his A4 has had them replaced an unusual amount of times, and it's not like he drivers like a race car driver. The A4 cab's could be different, i think the E46 cab's look a whole lot better and i don't wanna try to scare you away from the cars completely because they are a dream to drive. Check it out see if others have had tranny issues with later Auto's. All the people i've known have had issues were with earlier cars (one was even a 98 540 with the ZF tranny. They had it fixed while still under warrenty, reverse gear blew out, and the dealer said it was common with the ZF's!). Not sure if BMW decided to use a different transmission. I think Deep323 on this board had his tranny blow out too on his 323i.

When you do check the cars out, just make sure you know what to look for. With the exception of the tranny, most of the little bugs you can spot right away (if your getting an 99-00). When my dad took the car to mister transmission, they quoted him something stupid like in the 4g's. We ended up towing it home and rebuilding it ourselves. Ever since i vowed never to buy an auto cause it was crazy all the parts that needed to be replaced just for a simpe clutch/gear replacement!

Did you end up selling your car? What d'ya get for it?


You know, it's funny because everyone I've talked (even audi/vw drivers) tell me that VAG cars tend to have multiple issues, but mostly centering around the electronics. ie. nothing major. I suppose every car model comes with its own set of issues. I personally prefer e46 cabs in terms of style to the A4 cabs also. It is just a question of reliability because this car will really be hers, since I'm going to wait for the right e36 M3 to come my way. I just want a car that I can maintain that won't have major probs, like a tranny!

As far as teaching her manual, it's not going to happen. She has always been a driver who is easily distracted behind the wheel and being in a new, and busy city like LA, won't help. A manual car will yield accident(S). She is a great driver, but just in auto!LOL

Oh and no, I have not sold the car yet Soldo. I've fropped the price below $10k to generate some interest because I really don't want to bring it with me for the reason stated above.

Rob

Soldo
05-31-2008, 05:42 AM
Good luck on the search. I check Autotrader in the states, and the prices (especially CA) are incredible!

If you want a drop top with reliablity and decent power, pick up an E36 M cab. The price on them is next to nothing and you already know how well the E36's are and any problems they do have, almost all of us know how to fix them.

Good luck on the sale too. You originally inspired me to sell my car, but now you got me a little worried with how much you dropped the price. I wish i could move to LA. If only it wasn't such a pain in the ass for us canuks to get a ****in VISA!

shimajer
05-31-2008, 01:11 PM
Personally, A4s would be something that I would consider down the road too. Just get a mechanic to check over the car before purchasing. These A4s look very sexy imo.