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View Full Version : Considering buying a E46


lvan
02-12-2013, 08:07 PM
I am looking to get a 2002+ 325CI/330ci whatever I find in better shape. This is what I want to know,

-How hard is it to add sportpackage in case if I find low mileage non sport car?

-Should I stay away from the automatics? Looks like clutch jobs seem to be inexpensive to do, so I think I am taking too much risk with auto tranny...

-Cooling system can last up to 100K? That to be looked after as well as the real subframe

-How do I know if the window regulators are on the way out or they just snap out of no where?

I think that's about it.

TF3N
02-12-2013, 11:12 PM
I just bought an E46 in the summer (4 door) so I feel my insight is pretty relevant here.

My criteria:
Face Lift
Low KM
1 Owner
5 Speed
Power Everything
Folding Rear Seats
HK Sound

I bought the lowest KM, best riding car I could find within my budget. I ended up in a 2002 325i(non-sport) 5speed with under 120k for $9700(taxes in).

If I had to do it again? I'd probably pay a little more and get one with the sports package.

It costs a MINIMUM of $700-$1000 to find sport seats in *great shape*, and about $500 for a sport steering wheel with airbag(again, in good shape). That's a minimum of $1300 plus you have to factor in travel and install time.... The $1500-$2000 premium for a well kept car with the sport package is definitely worth it IMO. Also, the sports package is much tighter than the base model. Although this goes out the window if you plan on installing a set of coilovers or upgraded suspension.

I've talked to a few E46 owners with over 175,000KM who have never replaced the cooling system and they've been fine - I've also read stories of them going bad under 100,000km so this one's really a gamble. I'm replacing my whole system this spring for peace of mind - I would definitely recommend any new owner do the same.

As far as regulators go, they have been known to fail without warning. I've also heard that they start to get weak or slow a few weeks before they give up. My opinion? Just assume they will go and have $300 set aside for when they do.

The 330 is quite a bit faster than the 325, so it may be a good idea to hold out for one if you're into speed. Although the 325 is a fun car to drive, it is definitely not fast. I personally didn't care, but I feel it's worth noting.

You'll love the E46 - it's the best balance of style, performance/ride, comfort, and cost of ownership under $20,000 IMO.

Anyways, that's my $0.02. Feel free to ask if you have any other questions.

Good Luck

ac_2007
02-13-2013, 12:52 AM
Buy my car :)

Under 95k original KM

blakneto
02-13-2013, 02:00 AM
I just bought an E46 in the summer (4 door) so I feel my insight is pretty relevant here.

My criteria:
Face Lift
Low KM
1 Owner
5 Speed
Power Everything
Folding Rear Seats
HK Sound

I bought the lowest KM, best riding car I could find within my budget. I ended up in a 2002 325i(non-sport) 5speed with under 120k for $9700(taxes in).

If I had to do it again? I'd probably pay a little more and get one with the sports package.

It costs a MINIMUM of $700-$1000 to find sport seats in *great shape*, and about $500 for a sport steering wheel with airbag(again, in good shape). That's a minimum of $1300 plus you have to factor in travel and install time.... The $1500-$2000 premium for a well kept car with the sport package is definitely worth it IMO. Also, the sports package is much tighter than the base model. Although this goes out the window if you plan on installing a set of coilovers or upgraded suspension.

I've talked to a few E46 owners with over 175,000KM who have never replaced the cooling system and they've been fine - I've also read stories of them going bad under 100,000km so this one's really a gamble. I'm replacing my whole system this spring for peace of mind - I would definitely recommend any new owner do the same.

As far as regulators go, they have been known to fail without warning. I've also heard that they start to get weak or slow a few weeks before they give up. My opinion? Just assume they will go and have $300 set aside for when they do.

The 330 is quite a bit faster than the 325, so it may be a good idea to hold out for one if you're into speed. Although the 325 is a fun car to drive, it is definitely not fast. I personally didn't care, but I feel it's worth noting.

You'll love the E46 - it's the best balance of style, performance/ride, comfort, and cost of ownership under $20,000 IMO.

Anyways, that's my $0.02. Feel free to ask if you have any other questions.

Good Luck

I would change cooling at 100k... You can tell its about to go if you see something like steam or smoke coming from under the hood. (dont ask... Trust me)

I would skip sport seats... Use that money to upgrade your suspension.
After the first year then go for sport seats if you really must have it.

Sept 2002 to 2005 is the range you want... I THINK fold down started in 2004...

Get the 330... Anyone who gets a 325 usually wishes they got a 330...

If you can get one that was maintained at one of the dealerships or even better if you can buy from there you are in good shape. Just dont do any maintenance or repairs at the dealership aka stealership.
*th-up*

pearl_iroc
02-13-2013, 02:01 AM
Buy my car :)

Under 95k original KM

Whats your asking price, do you have any documentation to prove original 95km?

Maintenance records?
My bro has been looking for a clean e46 although I don't know if he'd wan a preface lift.

M3habib
02-13-2013, 03:00 AM
Go big or go home .... M3 :cool:

ac_2007
02-13-2013, 01:53 PM
Whats your asking price, do you have any documentation to prove original 95km?

Maintenance records?
My bro has been looking for a clean e46 although I don't know if he'd wan a preface lift.

The condition of the car speaks for itself, but yes the mileage is verifiable.
Never winter driven, and its also a 5-speed.

I have a thick binder on every car that I've owned, the E46's is the most documented.


Price depends if you want the coilover suspension and 18" wheels. PM me for details or to view it. Its currently being stored in my garage for winter.

ac_2007
02-13-2013, 01:57 PM
Go big or go home .... M3 :cool:

Shopping for an M3 in the right configuration (Coupe, 6-speed) is almost impossible, or the owners throw out ridiculous asking prices.

22k is around the lowest price for a moderate mileage M3 in decent condition this time of year. Used car market for this vehicle is horrendous right now.

TF3N
02-13-2013, 02:23 PM
Buy my car :)

Under 95k original KM

I thought you were supercharging it??

ac_2007
02-13-2013, 02:29 PM
I thought you were supercharging it??

The AA supercharger kit is sitting in my basement.

Seller tried to rip me off and the blower arrived seized, among other misrepresentations.
I'm currently waiting for my PayPal claim to complete. I'll be out at least $200 to ship it back to Cali *mumble*

TF3N
02-13-2013, 02:31 PM
I would change cooling at 100k... You can tell its about to go if you see something like steam or smoke coming from under the hood. (dont ask... Trust me)

I would skip sport seats... Use that money to upgrade your suspension.
After the first year then go for sport seats if you really must have it.

Sept 2002 to 2005 is the range you want... I THINK fold down started in 2004...

Get the 330... Anyone who gets a 325 usually wishes they got a 330...

If you can get one that was maintained at one of the dealerships or even better if you can buy from there you are in good shape. Just dont do any maintenance or repairs at the dealership aka stealership.
*th-up*

Thanks?

TF3N
02-13-2013, 02:31 PM
The AA supercharger kit is sitting in my basement.

Seller tried to rip me off and the blower arrived seized, among other misrepresentations.
I'm currently waiting for my PayPal claim to complete. I'll be out at least $200 to ship it back to Cali *mumble*

Aw man that's too bad...

What's next?

Eurostyle
02-13-2013, 04:48 PM
FYI the window regulators on the coupe are FAR more reliable than the sedan! It's rare for one to go. BUT they do have problems with the switch!

lvan
02-13-2013, 05:02 PM
Thanks for the feedback everyone. Btw AC2007, I am looking for a coupe with sportpack.

ac_2007
02-13-2013, 05:35 PM
Sedan looks better *angel*


http://img827.imageshack.us/img827/6667/img20120826143837.jpg








My advice, if you're getting an automatic - you'll want the 330 for sure.
Anyways, good luck with your search *th-up*

Barnsdale
02-13-2013, 07:54 PM
I just sold my 2004 325i Sedan non-sport. After a year I needed an upgrade in power so I would recommend buying a 330i with the sport package for sure. If you get non-sport and the black is interior you can find seats pretty easily...however if you have tan like I had it's damn near impossible to find sport seats.

I just bought a 2009 128i with sport package and I love it..still getting used to driving it but I have a feeling it's going to be much more fun then the E46.

EricTsang
02-21-2013, 01:15 PM
FYI the window regulators on the coupe are FAR more reliable than the sedan! It's rare for one to go. BUT they do have problems with the switch!

I have an early e46 ci auto grocery getter/dd
Good to know this. Im one of those people who were made aware of the window regulator problems on e46s so I'm continually anticipating the window regs on my coupe to go anytime but so far nothing. Switch problem seems less painful.

The subframe issue, non existent on my car

Imo the waterpump failure on high mileage car is a sure thing like taxes. My mech replaced the pump, thermostat, belts, pulleys but not the expansion tank. Not needed so he said. My car has 200K and the tank hasnt exploded.

Eurostyle
02-21-2013, 03:45 PM
Imo the waterpump failure on high mileage car is a sure thing like taxes. My mech replaced the pump, thermostat, belts, pulleys but not the expansion tank. Not needed so he said. My car has 200K and the tank hasnt exploded.

With 200K i would replace it just to be sure! Its plastic, and if never replaced its only a matter WHEN it goes! Save yourself the hassel of towing, being stranded, etc etc! It will end up costing way more if it actually goes bad, not to mention the potential risk of blowing up an engine (seen it many times!)

PS i got 260K on my coupe, with NO issues for the window regulators, but had to replace the swith! My friend had the same problem on an 05 330ci with only 115K!!!

spoon_civic1
02-21-2013, 10:18 PM
Buy my dads , 2000 323i steel blue 22,000km, yes 22 not 220....5 speed, not a scratch,dent, ding, scuff etc...

ac_2007
02-22-2013, 03:24 PM
Buy my dads , 2000 323i steel blue 22,000km, yes 22 not 220....5 speed, not a scratch,dent, ding, scuff etc...

:D just wondering, what's he asking for it?

spoon_civic1
02-22-2013, 04:19 PM
it would probably be about 13,000

4doors
10-18-2013, 06:16 PM
Look for an enthusiast car over 'Grandma driven'. Read another way, 'Grandma driven' = 'Grandma neglected'. MotoMaster 13-times recycled and Mobil 0W40 are the pretty much same thing for the non-enthusiast.

Most enthusiasts tend to be driving cars in which a third of the parts are less than 2 years old regardless of how old the actual car is.

kidneykill
03-21-2014, 10:05 PM
what's this window regulator issue that might happen?

4doors
03-22-2014, 12:42 PM
what's this window regulator issue that might happen?

On the earlier version of the e46 the regulators were known to die an early death. It seems the later versions of the car (2003-2005) were less prone to this problem (I had a 2005 and never had a single problem with my windows).

If you are worried about getting a faulty regulator, budget around $120+ for a replacement plus labour. Labour will probably be as much as the regulator if not more so if you can do it yourself you'll save money.

see http://www.ecstuning.com/BMW-E46-325i-M54_2.5L/Search/SiteSearch/Window_Regulator/

ac_2007
03-27-2014, 10:25 AM
If you have arms, and a fisher price toolkit, labour should be free.
I did the zip-tie mod before driving myself to the hospital for appendicitis.

You can get aftermarket window regulators for as low as $30 + shipping (amazon, ebay, etc.) And that's if you really need them. A couple zip ties can be used if damage to the plastic bracket isn't too bad.

This is really a non-issue at this point.