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Old 08-29-2013, 03:05 PM   #1
BlackMagic
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Buying an e46 325i ZHP?? - Your opinions Please

Hello all,

Well I've always owned Hondas and truthfully I was actually in the market for an Acura TSX but I'm very picky with those cars and have had no luck finding what I want. I stumbled across a pretty decent deal for a 2003 325i 5sp manual sedan and I'm really thinking of buying it.

I have done a lot of research and searching but I feel a bit confused so I apologize if some of this is redundant.

I have a few questions in terms of what to look for:
- the subframe tearing issue. I've read so much about this... apparently they switched metal sheet suppliers in 02 which made the issue less prevalent. Is it really more common among the 1999-2001? I've also read that it is less common among the 323 and 325 in comparison to the m3 or 330. Can anyone confirm this? I suppose the smaller engines put less stress on the frame...
- window regulators - anything I can do to identify signals of possible wearing out?
- replacing control arms and their bushings, engine belts, as well as the subframe bushings
- maintenance on water cooling components such as tstat, water pump and expansion tank


------------------------------
HERE IS WHERE I'M CONFUSED:
------------------------------

The seller says it has the ZHP package but it's my understanding that the 325 didn't come with a ZHP package (only the 330 did right?). Also we're in Canada... so either the seller is confused and it's actually the M Sport package available here or just a regular 325i with a bunch of the ZHP / M performance / M tech parts on it. Can someone confirm this? I honestly don't even care if it's a legit ZHP or not, I just don't like people lying.

My understanding is that in Canada we have these packages:
- M sport - similar to US ZSP but can have m tech body parts - available on all models
- M performance (clubsport?) - similar to US ZHP without the engine upgrades - available on 330 only??

What can I do to ensure that it's originally equipped with the M Sport or M Performance / ZHP package if it is indeed available on the 325 since I can't identify this from the VIN?

Here's what I noticed about this car:
- sits a bit lower than the base models
- "m" badge on the steering wheel and shifter
- has sport seats
- different front and rear bumper from the base model. These look like the ZHP / M tech bumpers
- has a lip/spoiler on the trunk
- I noticed the dash trim is solid silver as opposed to having a carbon fiber pattern on it which I think confirms that it's not a ZHP

So what do you think? Is it a 325i with M Sport pkg or 325i with M tech or ZHP parts from a 330? I'm going to put him on the spot and see what he says. I'm pretty sure it's a 325i with the M Sport package because apparently that came with the m tech bumpers also (this is what I'd like someone to please confirm)

Car looks exactly like this but with amber turn signals:
http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthread.php?t=1003480

I read this thread but everyone is talking about the 330:
http://www.maxbimmer.com/forums/showthread.php?t=116547

I have spent plenty of hours digging through forums and have found a lot of helpful information, but I want to make sure I have all my bases covered. Is there anything else I should keep in mind or know about these cars?

I would really appreciate your feedback, Thanks!

PS. sorry, this turned out way longer than expected
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Old 08-29-2013, 05:01 PM   #2
pawelgawel
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Actually the facelift coupe 325 had the M pack as well... just dont confuse it with the true zhp... 330 is much better then 325 in power aspect.

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Old 08-29-2013, 05:02 PM   #3
SickFinga
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BlackMagic View Post
------------------------------
HERE IS WHERE I'M CONFUSED:
------------------------------

The seller says it has the ZHP package but it's my understanding that the 325 didn't come with a ZHP package (only the 330 did right?).
Correct

Quote:
Originally Posted by BlackMagic View Post
Also we're in Canada... so either the seller is confused and it's actually the M Sport package available here or just a regular 325i with a bunch of the ZHP / M performance / M tech parts on it. Can someone confirm this? I honestly don't even care if it's a legit ZHP or not, I just don't like people lying.
M Sport package was not available on the sedans. There were 2 M Sport packages for the 325 models in Canada

In 2002 M Sport became available on the 325/330 Coupe and Convertible. Only the 330 models included the M Tech 2 aero bits. In 2003 M Sport was dropped from the 325 models.

In 2006 M Sport returned to the 325 Coupe and it finally started including the M Tech 2 aero bits.

Quote:
Originally Posted by BlackMagic View Post
My understanding is that in Canada we have these packages:
- M sport - similar to US ZSP but can have m tech body parts - available on all models
No, M Sport and ZSP are different. ZSP only included wheels, sport seats and in some cases sport suspension. M Sport depending on the year had much more extensive list of options.

Quote:
Originally Posted by BlackMagic View Post
- M performance (clubsport?) - similar to US ZHP without the engine upgrades - available on 330 only??
It was called M Performance in Canada and it was pretty much identical to the US ZHP and yes, it included engine upgrades. I believe the only difference is that in US you get red needles on the gauges.


Quote:
Originally Posted by BlackMagic View Post
What can I do to ensure that it's originally equipped with the M Sport or M Performance / ZHP package if it is indeed available on the 325 since I can't identify this from the VIN?
Actually, VIN will tell you exactly what you want to know, so post the VIN
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Old 08-29-2013, 05:05 PM   #4
SickFinga
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pawelgawel View Post
Actually the facelift coupe 325 had the M pack as well... just dont confuse it with the true zhp... 330 is much better then 325 in power aspect.

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Made another reply with more details.
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Old 08-29-2013, 05:47 PM   #5
damonchoy
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SickFinga covered everything I wanted to say.

I'd look for a 330 M-Sport. It's identical to a US ZHP minus the exhaust, camshafts, +300 redline and red gauge needles.

... not that I'm biased or anything...
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Old 08-29-2013, 10:44 PM   #6
BlackMagic
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Thanks so much all.

SickFinga, I really appreciate the detailed reply. I had looked up the VIN, but the first return wasn't very detailed and only gave me the model. After what you said about the build sheet, I was able to find it so thanks for the suggestion. Turns out the sports steering wheel, suspension and seats were from the factory but nothing else is.

I really like the car, but I can't decide. Originally when I first looked at it he told me it was a 325xi with awd. After I left and looked up the VIN the first time, it identified it as a 325i and my insurance told me the same thing. Now that I have the build sheet, it is for sure a 325i.

So I talked to him an hour ago... told him it's not a zhp and it's not awd. He argued it was and insisted it's got a ZHP package on it. After I gave him some more info, he seemed a bit confused and kept saying that's what the dealer told him when he bought it. So either he didn't know what he was driving for 5 years or he's lying. Don't know how you couldn't tell if you were driving an awd, especially in the winter. Also makes me wonder about the maintenance that was apparently done.

I'm really on the fence about this specific car... I told him I'll think about it.

I do like the E46 a lot, don't know if I should buy this one or search for another. Hmmm.
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Old 08-29-2013, 11:48 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BlackMagic View Post
Thanks so much all.

SickFinga, I really appreciate the detailed reply. I had looked up the VIN, but the first return wasn't very detailed and only gave me the model. After what you said about the build sheet, I was able to find it so thanks for the suggestion. Turns out the sports steering wheel, suspension and seats were from the factory but nothing else is.

I really like the car, but I can't decide. Originally when I first looked at it he told me it was a 325xi with awd. After I left and looked up the VIN the first time, it identified it as a 325i and my insurance told me the same thing. Now that I have the build sheet, it is for sure a 325i.

So I talked to him an hour ago... told him it's not a zhp and it's not awd. He argued it was and insisted it's got a ZHP package on it. After I gave him some more info, he seemed a bit confused and kept saying that's what the dealer told him when he bought it. So either he didn't know what he was driving for 5 years or he's lying. Don't know how you couldn't tell if you were driving an awd, especially in the winter. Also makes me wonder about the maintenance that was apparently done.

I'm really on the fence about this specific car... I told him I'll think about it.

I do like the E46 a lot, don't know if I should buy this one or search for another. Hmmm.
I would NEVER buy a car from someone like this;
A: He is talking out of his a$$, misrepresenting the car.
B: He has NO clue about cars, and I would seriously question any maintenance.

IMO walk away from this one!
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Old 08-30-2013, 10:15 PM   #8
BlackMagic
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Eurostyle View Post
I would NEVER buy a car from someone like this;
A: He is talking out of his a$$, misrepresenting the car.
B: He has NO clue about cars, and I would seriously question any maintenance.

IMO walk away from this one!
You know, I woke up convinced to do just that. The more I think about it the more sketchy it becomes. He was a little pushy on wanting a deposit right away.

Anyway, thanks for the input. The search shall continue or maybe I'll save for an e90.
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Old 09-01-2013, 10:56 PM   #9
mr ilia
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With 325 you have a plenty of cars to choose from, so do not settle on something you do not like. Just keep moving forward until you find something you like.
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Old 10-18-2013, 05:49 PM   #10
4doors
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Eurostyle View Post
I would NEVER buy a car from someone like this;
A: He is talking out of his a$$, misrepresenting the car.
B: He has NO clue about cars, and I would seriously question any maintenance.

IMO walk away from this one!
Agreed regarding A and B but walking away from it is still up to you. As others mentioned, the ZHP is a performance upgrade for the 330i. I can't recall all items in the ZHP upgrade but new cams are one, a software reflash (for increased speed limiter) is another, lighter flywheel, etc. The 3.0 liter engine in the 330i is not the 2.5 liter in the 325i so you can't cram every part from the 3.0 into the 2.5. I think the guy is confused between the ZSP and ZHP (SPort vs. High Performance).

The 330i ZHP sedan was sometimes referred to as the e46 M sedan by enthusiasts (not BMW). It's not exactly an M but ZHP owners swear it not that far off.
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