E46 New Owner advise
I have only had the car for a few days now and overall i'm really impressed. Ive been extremely busy with xmas stuff - so hadnt had much time to read up. I just have a few questions:
1. Foggy Windows : It was raining the past few days in Toronto and the windows fogged up like crazy -almost as if i was passionately making out with someone- i fiddled around with the ac/heat - front and rear were fixed but side windows impaired visibility. Is there a way to fix this quickly - I have never experienced this in any of my previous cars.
2. DSC : I plan to keep the car for a while so wanna take good care of it, so today for the first time i switch off dsc and gave it the beans on a slightly snow covered road - man that was fun, the 330 definitely has some decent power. I would just like to know what would be considered too harsh on the drive train/engine - and what is ok?
3. Mirror Discolouration : Im assuming this is somehow related to the mirror heating - which leads me to the question - are they always heated? And is it as easy as just replacing the glass?
4. Seats : This is prolly the worst one for me, before purchasing this car i was under the impression that BMWs made the best seats - boy was i wrong, or maybe its just my specific car - the cushioning seems hard. Ive tried to contort my body into different shapes and positions but just hard - maybe the sport seats are better.
5. Music Options: Im assuming that the standard deck only plays audio cds and not mp3 cds, the deck on my other car (aftermarket) has a usb option and since im so used to it hard to go back. I want to keep this car as stock as possible - what other audio option do i have?
6. Future Services : The car has about 73k (mainly because it was stored for a while) apart from the basic maintenance (fluids/filters etc.) what are some major services that might potentially burn a deep hole in my wallet?
Thats all for now, More questions later.
I drive an e46 myself and during the cold/wet weather I experience the same fogggy window thing. What I have done to solve this is very simple.
1) I close my center vents, open the two outside vents and aim them right at the window, I then select the top two blower features (directions), top windshield vent and middle or dash vents ( I do not use my front window defrost button at all since it takes away from the dash vents). If you want feet too knock yourself out. This has solved my issue for the most part say 90%.
2)It is not stronger than most or weaker, drive reasonably and expect obedience :) Obviously abusing the clutch will result in the same repairs as any vehicle.
3)Common, glass can be replaced yes.
4)Seats are base I assume, a little flat and stiff for ya, I agree. Sport seats are nicer of course BUT narrower so if you are a big guy you may not like them.
5) I have no clue about this area, not a big radio tech guy :)
6) Most e46's share the same group of common issue you will run across. Non what you would call major per say but here is a short list.
-Vac. leaks ( Usually from intake elbow(s)
-Oil Housing Filter Gasket Leak
-Power steering line leak
-Valve cover leak
-Brake sensor (not that common but can need replacing from time to time)
-Cooling system (Rad hoses, plastic elbows and resevoir like to leak from time to time)
-A frame bushings (These can be pressed out and in by most good bmw shops, if I recall the dealer will not do so and force the purchase of a new arm)
-DISA valve (Not that big of an occurance but I see it time to time, it is the small box located on the intake side of the to manifold, it directs air flow to runners)
There are maybe 2-3 other common things but just about any e46 owner who has driven his or her car 100,000-300,000+ kms has likely experience a large majority of the above at some point.
Other stuff like brakes, shockers and wheel bearings can be expected but more so as you would expect.
The only major issue I see is over heating and continuing to drive. If you over heat STOP the car. You blow a gasket, warp a head etc it is motor out time!
Lastly for the love of god change the oil every 10000-12000 km's, the 25000 recommended is obsurd!!!!!
1. Honestly E46's have a very poor defog system, not much you can do. Just make sure all wents are working.
2. Too much!? I highly doubt you will hit that on the street!
3. Mirrors are only heated when cold. Its just a bad design/quality; back in the 80's you would never see this problem! You can just replace glass.
4. As for seats, have you been in a Toyota lately!!??? Sport seats are even harder (tighter).
5. For audio, after 03 you have the option of adding an AUX cable to the back of the deck, this will increase your options.
6. Just dont cheap out on ANYTHING!!! Even the smallest problem can cost you far more in the end! Change all fluids, upgrade cooling system, etc.
E46s can be a pain... They're also awesome. Dont let the good outshine the bad. I urge you to believe in car-karma...ie treat it well and you can expect good results :)
1. So there was.... No passionate make-out involved :p? You're obviously not using your BMW to its full extent! But seriously ya it sucks turn on front and back defogger all the way and wait a minute. Rolling windows down also works
2. Dsc off is fine just be careful! Your 330 will have. Good amount of power for sure :)
4. Seats are uncomfortable after a while. Try adjusting them so upriver seated in a good upright driving position not doin a gangsta lean
5. Dynavin is the most oem looking replacement option, but costs a pretty penny
6. As advised above, do all maintenance as soon as its needed using good oem or better quality parts. Preventative is also good. If anything specific comes up, post here and someone will help you out with insight
Good luck looks like you're already having fun :)
Thanks for the tips guys!
As for the fogging I don't have too much of a problem with it. Certainly if it starts I just turn on the AC and it's fine.
I find cleaning your windows regularly helps. I think RainX makes an anti fogging spray if it's still bad.
How much do you weigh? I'm 175 and I find the manual sport seats sift and comfy but too wide. I could use more bolstering.
Which seats do you have? Maybe the previous owner wore then out?
3 - I bought a good pair off Ebay... but other sites sell them too. Be very very careful when buy stuff off ebay. Best to stick to GOOD and KNOWN online sellers.
5 - You can do a direct plug and play replacement of your BMW deck with a BMW deck that plays MP3s. The AUX option is good. I recently purchased/installed a MediaBridge and like it so far...
6 - Man, I can TRIPLE CO-SIGN on this...
I've had my car for 2 years and I've had the following:
Expansion tank explosion.
Clogged vents! (stupid me drove in Snowmaggedon 2 years...)
Power steering leak. (simple seal)
Front shocks leaking. (Ironically, got damaged driving on the 427 and running over someone else's front shock! SOB!)
and a few others...
Depending on where you go, will depend how much you gotta "blow"...
I personally like RMP, they are pretty straight forward with pricing...
The best thing is to LEARN as MUCH AS YOU CAN about your car.
Don't be ignorant.
And if an IDIOT LIGHT shows, check it out.
I love my car, but I can see why it would turn other people off.
I can see why people like these cars so much - they are really fun to drive, on the other hand there is the cost of ownership thing which is a concern for a lot of people when buying a used BMW.
So far its looking good - hopefully it stays that way.
Did you buy the 2003 Blue BMW on here that was posted up with 70K?
If you do most of the work yourself, it's really cheap to own. The key is avoiding the stealership. Also saves a lot if you can order parts in the USA, our online at the very least. Even with tracking, I've spent less on my car than my friends with Toyotas or Hondas.
If you have to, take it somewhere like RMP. Of the places I've been, they've been the best, even off they're not perfect.
1. The fogged-up windows might also be caused by water/moisture already in the carpet from leaking water inside the car (where you don't see it). Check your front foot-wells (carpet) under the floor mats and even peel the carpet away and look underneith it. I've experienced this problem due to clogged drainage-holes in the A-pillars (leaves). If there's any unwanted moisture inside the cabin (wet carpet or yourself sweating after a gym workout) you'll experience what you mentioned. Also make sure your re-circulation on the climate control is off (fresh outside air helps dry out the cabin... or use your A/C (on warm) to dry out the cabin).
None of my issues were ever a surprise to me. Sometimes the timing sucks and the only real "surprise" was Snowmageddon...
Do your research, ask around... Cost of maintenance is always cheaper than "break-fix".
I agree with the posters above. A couple of other notes: Front CARB's (control arm bushings) will be a common and necessary replacement. Do not neglect to flush the coolant and replace the overflow tank - not expensive but they are prone to fail and when they do you will overheat and melt your engine. Also, when you do a brake job, do not cheap out on rotors - I put Zimmermans on my e46 and they are super - any cheaper and they will warp or vibrate. Check the following sites for parts: "fcp groton" and "bimmerspecialist" - both are WAY CHEAPER than the stealership. Enjoy your fine fine automobile.
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