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Old 10-30-2011, 01:22 PM   #1
stueyyy
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Question A couple q's on how to approach body work and other issues

Hello everyone, long time reader, first time poster. I've searched and read as much as possible, but I'm looking for opinions, so go easy.

I've recently acquired "Lulu", a 2000 323i saloon from another member on here. It's been fantastic. The car has close to 280,000 km on the odometer, yet runs strong with no oil smell, on the original transmission and motor, and most other parts. The previous owner did oil changes every 5000 km, that may have something to do with it.

It's by no means stock, however. Details in the sig.

So here's my set of problems. Think of this as a case, where I need recommendations. Recently, I was driving on the 407 when someone's flat tire came out from under the vehicle in front of me, which I hit head on. Damage to the front bumper ensued. I have sourced a new front bumper, but I do need fender liners, as the driver's side seems to be cracked (and I'm worried about the CAI in the winter).

Second, an unfinished parking garage incident led to serious scraping and and slight indentation to the driver's side rear door.

Third, for the past month an intermittent "tick" sound (that is speed-sensitive, ie. faster the faster I go) has started. Sometimes it begins with whistling sound and then the tick starts. It's not loud, and I don't feel anything different with the car. There is an associated smell and some light smoke, which is not dissimilar to the smoke and smell I got when the brake pads were replaced upon acquiring the car. I had a brake inspection this weekend, and there was no indication of anything wrong, although the backing plates were noted as a little close to the rotors.

Fourth, had the car on a hoist and it looks like there is an ever so slight minor leak from the diff. One mechanic suggested its a seal from the drive shaft to the diff, another suggested it's the drain plug.

Fifth, ATF fluid was last done around 120,000 km. Is it time, and how should I approach this? What else should I do before the winter?

Lastly, there is rust in several areas of the car. Both rear doors, the front right fender and trunk lid are the most serious. I've attached pictures to better show what I'm talking about.

As a student, I'm on a budget. I'm thinking of sourcing the door frame, and perhaps other parts rather than fixing them, and then repainting the whole car. Any thoughts are much appreciated. Thanks in advance!










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Old 10-30-2011, 01:43 PM   #2
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From the pictures i can tell the car was repainted, thats why its rusting so much. Get as much original body panels and replace. Even then, you might have a never ending battle with rust (on the parts that you just cant replace, like 1/4's and rockers). If it was my car, at this point i would consider starting fresh with a cleaner base.
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Old 10-30-2011, 01:44 PM   #3
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the ticking sound could be your hydraulic lifter valves. Sometimes people report that this sound can go away by using a higher octane gas. You should already be using 91 so try 94 and see if that helps.

As I understand it though our cars automatically adjust the timing to account for different octane gas so this may not give you any improvement. Ticking can be related to so many things though so best thing to do is use a piece of long tubing and use it like a stethoscope to track down where the ticking noise is coming from, being especially careful of rotating parts. That will give you a better way to diagnose the problem.

For the rust and body damage I hope that the front bumper is at least covered under insurance. If so if you know of any body shops or have friends with a body shop they might be able to give you a deal by fixing up some of the additional damage while its in there.
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Old 10-30-2011, 02:06 PM   #4
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Thanks for the responses.

Eurostyle, the car was one owner, and I was assured it has never been repainted, and has no signs of overspray. It gained most of its mileage by commuting from Markham to the Bruce Power Plant, so it's seen substantial weathering. However, the door and trunk rust was obviously patched up at some point.

Vander, I run nothing but Ultra 94 in the car, and the prior owner used either 94 or Shell V-Power. There IS a separate ticking sound from the motor, but it goes away after idling for a period, or driving for about 10 minutes, and I think that's just the valves (and/or perhaps the lifters you mention). The noise I'm referring to however, only comes in when I'm driving, so it's difficult to narrow it down at a standstill, and as mentioned, it gets faster the faster I go. I'm 90% sure it's coming from the front (my bets are on the right side).
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Old 11-01-2011, 11:58 AM   #5
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That's a lot of rust.

BMW has a problem with metal seams. Where metal is folded to form an edge, like the bottome of doors, bottom of trunks, sunroof, they start rusting from the inside out. GM has the same problem (worse). E30, E36's can be seen with this issue, as little as 5 years of age.

The car has 280,000KM. I'd get a used trunk, and two rear doors (rust free) and have CarStar paint just that (plus the bumper). They match the paint much better than most.

After the bodywork, rustproof the car!
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Old 11-05-2011, 04:59 PM   #6
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I hope you didnt pay more then 1000 bucks for this car to tell you the truth. No need for 94 gas LOL, its not a ferrari , get off your high horse buddy.

Leak could be from the axle seal or rear diff seal, check both to see which one it is.

The tick noise could be SOOO many things , no one will ever be able to diagnose the noise without hearing it first. Sort of stupid to expect people to know the cause of the noise without listening to it first, dont you think?

Leave the rust alone, the car aint worth the trouble. Someone already tried to fix it, but only did worse then it was. Leave it alone, ist a 15 year old high mileage car, not a museum piece.

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Old 11-05-2011, 05:49 PM   #7
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ticking sound can go away if you use right oil and moly slip.
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Old 11-05-2011, 06:53 PM   #8
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The tick you're describing, it is very loud even form outside of the car? I had a similar issue a few years ago, turned out the wheel bolts were a bit too long and kept hitting the backing plate/dust shield with every wheel rotation, causing it to deform; and the rate of ticking increased with wheel speed obviously...
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Old 11-05-2011, 07:11 PM   #9
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what i do on my car for the rust is take a wire brush to it on a drill, get some bondo if you need it and a can a primer, some acetone helps to clean the surface, it wont look pretty but it wont become worse. because its too cold for the paint to cure properly, leave it just primerd for the winter and wait till warmer weather to put paint on.

for your dif- put some teflon tape around the plug threads, if it dosn't cure it then it doesnt matter where the leak is coming from because you gonna have to take the diff out anyway to change whatever seal is bad, and you might as well do all of them.

Change the oil whenever you can I dont think its urgent, if your going to try and put some tape on the drain plug threads, since your car will be jacked up anyway you might as well change the ATF

also I wouldnt put too much into it until you figure out that ticking, if it goes away when the engine warms up I'm sure its something internal, could be valves, but I'm not so good at diagnosing those problems.

other winterizing stuff- have snow tires, wash car often (or just get it rustproffed at krown or equivilent)
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Old 11-06-2011, 07:32 AM   #10
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Leaving it in primer all winter is a terrible, terrible idea.
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Old 11-06-2011, 09:47 AM   #11
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Personally, I wouldn't spend another penny on the car, but rather drive it into the ground while counting my pennies which I would use to buy something nicer(even if it is older) later on.

I've made the mistake in the past of trying to bring cars up to snuff, it is a never ending battle you simply cannot win.

At the very most, I would spend the winter reading up on the internet and watching youtube videos on DIY body work. After the winter, I would go to CT, spend 100$ on materials and do my best to make the car look a little more presentable. From then on, refer to my statement above.

Personally, I do not understand this unfounded desire for people to drive new(er) beat up cars (3ers mainly), vs driving an old(er) car which is in great shape.

If I had a limited budget, I would go and find myself a CLEAN, well maintained e34/e32 and laugh, everyday, to the bank and point my finger at all those suckers driving their rusty e46.
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Old 11-06-2011, 10:48 AM   #12
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Leaving it in primer all winter is a terrible, terrible idea.
why?
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Old 11-06-2011, 07:23 PM   #13
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Primer is porous.
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Old 11-06-2011, 07:49 PM   #14
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Quote:
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Primer is porous.
+1.

A lot of people don't seem to understand that the paint is what actually seals up the metal. It makes me laugh when I see people with primered up parts on their cars. Might as well leave it bare, especially when winter comes around. It won't look much different in the spring!
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Old 11-06-2011, 07:59 PM   #15
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well you learn somethin new every day thanks guys
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