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Old 09-20-2011, 11:45 AM   #16
blakneto
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I guess the sweet spot is 325xi/i or 330xi/i.
Does it matter if its a coupe or sedan?
Pick a price, and go after it. ($10k? +/- $3k)
Check service records.
Take it to a good independent BMW shop. (RMP)

then you'll at least know whats good and what's yucky.
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Old 09-20-2011, 06:13 PM   #17
moto-menace
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Quote:
Originally Posted by blakneto View Post
I guess the sweet spot is 325xi/i or 330xi/i.
Does it matter if its a coupe or sedan?
Pick a price, and go after it. ($10k? +/- $3k)
Check service records.
Take it to a good independent BMW shop. (RMP)

then you'll at least know whats good and what's yucky.
Yea, that's what I've narrowed it down to and preference goes to a coupe but would not out rule a sedan. I have yet to see any xi coupes I'll check if they even exist. I will take that advice and bring it in for inspection after reviewing and especially if there aren't any service records.
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Old 09-20-2011, 07:37 PM   #18
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No xi coupes as far as i know sorry!
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Old 09-21-2011, 08:07 PM   #19
moto-menace
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These looks worth going to see..

http://toronto.kijiji.ca/c-cars-vehi...AdIdZ311577524

http://toronto.kijiji.ca/c-cars-vehi...AdIdZ314532694
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Old 09-23-2011, 12:57 AM   #20
blakneto
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the red one makes me feel queasy... when i hear crap like "It's tough to get rid of this car but I need to upgrade to a family size vehicle" just smells fishy to me. Either way... make sure you get both checked out!
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Old 09-23-2011, 01:29 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by blakneto View Post
the red one makes me feel queasy... when i hear crap like "It's tough to get rid of this car but I need to upgrade to a family size vehicle" just smells fishy to me. Either way... make sure you get both checked out!
It doesn't have to be. A 3 Series is a very small. You cannot put three people in the back. It's very tight...

Ever try putting a baby seat into a 2 Door car.... .pain in the ass.
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Old 09-23-2011, 01:51 PM   #22
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I wouldn't agree with the high-mileage vs low mileage car thing.

As long as the car has not been sitting for 3 years in storage, giving it a good drive every month is far better than the BMW that has been driven every day... rain, snow, salt and wonderful Toronto roads.

Low mileage is the way to go, because as you hit higher mileage, there are way too many things that wear out on these cars.

This is a good list.....

1. - Check the wiper motors on e46 - crazy expensive to fix - part alone is $300-400
1. when the cooling system was refreshed (accs belts, fans, rad, coolant flush)
2. is it still the original clutch and if so how much milage does it have
3. What condition are the shifter bushings in (if your going for a manual)
4. Turn the aux fan to low - and check if it squirlly
5. roll down the windows and check if the exhaust heat shield is cracked
6. Window motors
7. Open the trunk and check for bubbling under the rubber
8. When was the suspension done, ball joints, control arms, bushings, springs, shocks/ struts in that order

Adding Some more.

9. Rust. Despite what people say, BMW's rust. Original paint, winter driven

E46 BMW's rust. Under the hood, bottom of the doors, rear fenders. I'm starting to see a lot of E46's rusting like 20 year old Civics.
I was even told by BMW Service Manager, where to specifically oil/rust proof the E46... because they will rust otherwise.

10. Window Regulators. Move the windows up and down many many many times. You should not hear any noises, and it should be smooth.

11. Door Lock Actuators.... open and close the locks with the key and the central locks. Door

12. Central Locking Module... BMW has as a very bad problem of these failing. Random door lock/unlocking issues will result. Combine this with your failing Door Actuator, and you're screwed.

13. Ball Joints/Control Arm specifically, & Front end - this is all part of the safety, but pretty weak. Higher mileage.. 200K or so... they may starting going again. A lot of people change them when the car is newer....

You'll only know this if you own the car from new. You'll see they wear out early.... I've had a few new ones...

14. Steering Rack Leaks - check for fluid drops...

15. Stay away from automatic E46's..... They have horrible auto's....
Think Chrysler Mini-van


16. Stay away from the early E46's... the rear subframes rip out... Coupes...

17. Vanos (BMW's VTec version of their head - I'd take a Vtec or i-Vtec over double vanos... they don't fail like BMW's does). It starts degrading as you drive.. .pretty bad design.... check out "DrVanos.com" and you'll see. If the motor is noisy, it could be the Vanos unit.

18. If the BMW has a check engine line, walk way.
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Old 09-25-2011, 12:45 AM   #23
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Since I have a similar question to the OP, I decided there is not need to start a new thread. So I am hoping to get help as we continue this discussion

So I am in the market for my first car, and for years I've wanted a BMW. Ideally, I am leaning toward a 2001-2003 5-Series. Nothing fancy, so no 545i for me, just a 525i, or 530i would be fine. But it looks like the 5-Series is a bit of a stretch for a single guy buying his first car, and since I am not tall the 3-Series seems to be a much more suitable choice for me. So I am looking for a 2002-2005 3-Series. I am leaning toward the 325i as I think the power and fuel consumption is just in the middle, and that's just perfect for me.

1) Generally speaking, how much more expensive fixing a 3-Series is in comparison to say a Toyota Camry (Say 2003 325i vs 2003 Camry).

2) How much a year am I expected to spend on a clean/low mileage (below or around 100k) 325i? I understand cars in generals are expensive to to maintain, and a BMW even much more so. But I am willing to spend some money to buy a car I am passionate about--I would say $1,500 and below a year is not bad, in my opinion. But I don't want to spend a thousand every few months, if you know what I mean.

3) How much more expensive it is to maintain a 5-Series vs 3-Series (years and models I mentioned above).

4) I read many prefer the 330i over the 325i because of the extra hp. I am not into racing, or even driving fast, so do you think I will still appreciate the 330i over the 325i? I mean, is it that much of a difference?

Thanks, and I am looking forward to your feedback
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Old 09-25-2011, 05:05 PM   #24
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- Many will say you can buy an E46 for $8K... I wouldn't touch a single 3Series E46 under $10K.

- Comparing a Camry to a BMW E46 will be a night and day difference in cost of repairs.

- Stupid things go wrong on these BMW's.
- You want to you buy your parts from the States, not local places.
- The motor will keep going, but other things will fail!!!!


I've bought High End Jap cars around the same time as my BMW.
The high end Jap car, during the same duration and KM, had way way way less repairs than the BMW.

The 3Series is the most reliable.

(i've had E36's, E46's, E92's.... way more repairs than my Daily Jap Cars... high end ones)
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Old 09-25-2011, 09:59 PM   #25
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Thank you. I hope others will give me insight too
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Old 09-26-2011, 10:14 AM   #26
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Also remember to factor in 91 octane gas!
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Old 09-27-2011, 12:12 AM   #27
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Yes, that's taken into consideration. Thanks.
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Old 10-02-2011, 09:50 PM   #28
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I found a really nice car and I think I got a pretty good deal on it too. Thanks again guys for all the input on this thread and the checklists which helped me know what to look for. Once I take some pictures I'll make a new thread and show it off a bit
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