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Old 01-29-2010, 01:07 AM   #1
2nd Gear Member
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Toronto
Posts: 84
Issues with my E46 Coupe

So I'm completely new to bimmers, been a Japanese car guy my whole life. There are no newer rwd Japanese cars that look as cool as the e46 coupe. I owned an e30 briefly, it was amazing, thought I would give the e46 a go. I think this car is an over-rated slow and heavy POS. I guess I'm not used to these newer heavier cars.

Oh well, it looks DAMN good, hopefully with some tuning and weight reduction it may be able to take a corner and be some fun. I have owned my 323ci for a few months now and I have a shitload of little things that just annoy me, wondering if they are common or not, easy to fix?

First off I cannot stand the ABS system; it is so shitty, kicks in way too early for no apparent reason. It actually makes the car dangerous to drive by elongating my braking distance quite drastically (I drive her quite hard). It kicks in on dry pavement? It was even worse in the snow, I have no problem braking without abs in 5 inches of snow, I have done it all my life. But with the super sensitive abs system, it takes 39457945656 miles to stop the car without going 5km/h. I want to completely disable it, I’m sure someone has been down this road before. How would I go about completely disabling the system? I wouldn’t mind (would actually prefer) completely removing the system and components if it will save me some weight? This car is a HEAVY.

A couple of weeks ago my car can go over train tracks and it felt like I went over a pebble, now driving over a crack in the road it seems every single damn bushing is worn in my car. I mean it literally feels like every bushing is gone. What is the life of suspension bushings on these cars? I’m sure my driving style doesn’t help but it was all so sudden. Should I look into poly bushings for longer life or will new oem ones last me a good while? To be honest I prefer to mod the car as things start to go instead of replacing with stock parts. But from what I heard oem control arm bushings come with the control arms, are there any decently priced performance stuff out there?

As for the traction control system, I find it quite retarded as well, 99.9 percent of the time I drive with it turned off as it really doesn’t allow for any “mildly spirited driving” and just makes the car jerk around. I find I do need it if I get stuck in the snow though as I’m too cheap to buy winter tires and the car is just too damn heavy to move if your stuck. My problem is 90 percent of the time when I start the car the TCS is automatically off, and I cannot turn it back on. I can start the car later and randomly it might be functioning. I find there might be a trend to wet weather and the system working or not. When it’s wet out, the system is disabled, when its dry, it works). I’m assuming a sensor needs changing? Any weight benefits to be had by removing the whole system from the car?

-Pedal potentiometer/EML dash light
I don’t know if these two issues are related, I hope they are so it’s not a serious issue. One day it felt like I just blew my car’s tranny, the car would jerk randomly as I gave it some throttle. I pulled over and checked for leaking fluids and such. My check engine light was on along with the EML light. After reading the manual I noticed it to be a timing issue, which scared me shitless because I assume these are interference motors? Anyways, after restarting the car a few times the EML light would go away and the car ran fine. Then the EML light and jerking issue kept occuring more and more often. So I finally get around to getting the code pulled and according to google my throttle position sensor (potentiometer) was supposedly fubared. I had the mechanic delete the code and ever since the check engine light has been gone I have yet to have the problem again. Very weird as it was happening at least 2 or 3 times a day before I got the code deleted. Should I bother changing the potentiometer or just run the car and see if the problem comes back. How hard is to change? I assume it’s located near the pedal within the cabin? What would an oem sensor run me? Oh, and does it make sense that it was related to the EML issue (this makes no sense to me).

-Oil level sensor?
Light comes on and off randomly. Usually when I start the car for a bit and then turns off after a few minutes, then randomly when I’m driving. The oil level is fine. I assume it’s just a sensor? What do they run for a new oem one? Where is this thing located on the block, is it easy to access?

-Warming up
It seems my car takes forever to warm up, keep in mind I have nothing of the same class to compare this car to, almost every car I have owned has been an ae86 or other Toyota and they take less than a third of how long it takes the e46 to warm up. Then again I had an e30 for about a week and I think that thing took a while too, but don’t exactly remember. Anyway is this normal? Also, a fellow maxbimmer member told me that it’s a horrible idea to leave these things idling to warm the car up due to the oil pump not functioning as good as it should. Is this true? I will admit I have been sort of ignoring that tip as it gets colder and colder. I usually don’t wait for the car to warm up initially but I drive around a lot in a day and I often keep the car idling when I’m parked wherever I go (after the car has been driven around and warmed up). Is this just as bad for the motor?

-Oil change
It has been about 5k km since I bought the car, I think its time for a change? I usually change my rollas’ at 3k since I beat the living crap out of them and the oil manages to get quite filthy within 3k. I heard bimmers supposedly don’t need oil changes as often, I don’t see how that makes any sense. Anyways, I’m not one to bring my car to a shop to get it changed, but as I skim through these forums I hear about all these “German oils” and such. Is this really necessary? Also read somewhere about changing oil on e46 M’s while the car is running, WTF? Someone fill me in here. Anyways, I don’t want to cheap out on the oil or filter on my car in any way. How often, what brand, what weight, and what filter? (keep in mind the car sees 6k probably every 5 mins or so). And where to buy all this stuff?

-Steering wheel removal
I have never owned a car with airbags before. I want to remove the oem wheel and replace it with something less clunky that suits my driving style a bit more, I could care less about the airbag (nardi classic ). Am I going to trigger the air bag by attempting to remove it when when the time comes? Is there anything I should know?

-Driver door lock
My keys don’t work in my door. It will turn the mechanism but the door(s) will neither lock nor unlock. I assume its not a mechanical system and rather an electronic one, I am scared I wont be able to get into my car one day because the key’s battery will decide to give out. Common? How do I go about fixing it?

-Passenger door lock
The damn passenger door does not unlock properly with the key remote thinger, I need to unlock, and then lock, and then unlock repeatedly to get it open, it’s sort of like its getting stuck because the motor doesn’t have enough torque to push it open, or for some reason there is too much friction there. This gets seriously annoying in the cold because in order to open the door for my passenger I need to get in, close my door, and then only will the door lock button in the shifter console work. Funny thing is from the center console the passenger door will unlock easier, but I still need to lock/unlock a couple of times (not as much though). I’m assuming the motor needs changing? Or perhaps there is a short somewhere?

-Flimsy driver window
My driver side window is not firm in place, it wobbles if I try to wobble it and opening the door is a bitch because it sort of tilts a bit pulling on the trim when I open the door. I assume this is a common issue, is the mount that holds it in place worn or something?

-Roof lining (where you would attach a ski rack)
Someone stole my entire strip of driver side roof lining a couple of days ago, would anyone have one for sale? My car is silver, if I can’t source one used what do they go for new?

I think my car has HID’s, looks like it. The passenger side will randomly turn off when I’m driving, the sensor on the dash will come on. If I turn the lights off and then back on it will work. This resetting of the lights works 100 percent of the time, which makes me wonder how this could be a loose connection, seems more like a short in the system? However, when I jerk the car around and drive hard it does flicker in direct relation to a jerk and sometimes will even go out, so it’s hard to not assume it’s not a loose connection. It makes no sense to me, unless I have both a short and a loose connection? Another issue is one of my lights are purple and one is blue. My cousin told me hid’s fade over time, maybe that’s the cause, or some num nutz put a different colored bulb in. either way I hate “blue” lights, I want to replace both bulbs with hid’s as close to white as possible, with a quality OEM or better bulb. What brightness number thinger do I want (K)? Where can I get this? What will it cost me?

-Leaving car started
So I thought I figured out a genius way to keep my car warm while I go grab something to eat, or drop in somewhere for a few minutes. I decided I would leave the dealer key in the ignition with the car started and lock the doors with the regular remote key. The car wouldn’t lock. Any way around this? Any other way to keep the car running and lock my doors?

-Harmon Kardon system
I blew (it now cracks annoyingly) the speaker in the upper part of the driver side door. How much is it going to cost me to get a new one? From where?

-Gas mileage
I tried seeing how well this car can do on gas by driving conservatively, once I pulled off 600km (seriously pushing the reserve) lucky I didn't run out as when I filled up the tank it took something like 62.9 litres, lol. I was just stubborn to reach 600. Anyways, without seriously taking my chances with the reserve I have managed to pull off 560 consisting of 95 percent highway. From what I have read this seems quite good, but when I drive city the gas mileage is shot to hell, maybe its my driving style, any tips? What basic things should I do to get my mileage as good as it could be such as tire pressures, plugs, etc?

-Cost of motors/swap?
Every day I start my car with the intention of attempting to blow my motor, still no luck. Anyways, when the time does come, how much work is it do drop in a 330 motor? I find the 323 motor seriously underpowered for this car. What would a shop generally charge for the install, and what do used 330 motors go for? What would the cost be on a basic rebuild on one of these motors (rings, gaskets, seals, etc.)? If a 330 motor is too expensive for my blood, what does a used 323 or 325 motor go for?

Hope you enjoyed my essay, if you really read through all this I REALLY appreciate it (though I really doubt it), any input/help would be greatly appreciated. Look forward to maybe tracking this thing next year, any of you guys make it out? Sorry if some of these were previously answered on the forum, I will use the search when my internet is up and running again, figured I would type this huge list of issues while it’s down. Just picked up an e30 ix (or is it xi?) for my girlfriend with a stupid amount of issues. Dont know why I did, she really liked the car I guess, look for that thread soon, lol.



Last edited by carthik; 01-29-2010 at 02:35 AM.
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