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Bought an '01 330xi 5 speed with 175k a few weeks ago. High miles but good, not great, condition and a decent price. I had been randomly browsing manual trans BMWs and some other cars for a while (will probably never stop actually), and finally decided that my project/DD 1986 Volvo was getting a bit tiresome to use as a daily and started looking seriously in January, ready to fly (or Amtrak- there is a station 2 blocks from my door, cheap one ways to Spokane, Seattle, and Portland) and drive home. After missing out on an E90 in SLC, a 330xi 5 sp popped up for sale in Helena, 4 hrs away. Called the Wednesday it showed up on Craigslist, guy said he had two people coming to look at, one on Friday, and one on Saturday. I confirmed he had not made any promises to them and convinced my wife to drive me there the next day, test drove it, handed over the cash and drove it home. I missed the rumble from the rear end on the test drive, I think I was so focused on not looking like a fool operating an unfamiliar clutch that I missed it. I thought it was a passenger rear axle as it really seemed like it came from that side, but after replacing the axle, its still three, now I have a CSB and guibo on order. While it was down for the axle, I ordered and installed a pretty complete CCV/intake refresh as outlined by @Archbid in his excellent guide. Despite the intimidation of the most complicated car I've worked on yet, everything went well. On first test drive, it lit up with lean codes 🤬. Smoke test showed a pretty substantial leak from the VCG, I had replaced a week before with no issues til that drive somehow? A dab of RTV to hold it over til a new VCG shows up and its been driving great since!
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Really enjoying driving this, glad I pulled the trigger.
I had always promised myself I'd own another BMW after driving one for a few months in college. Funny to me that the '85 or '86 e30 I owned in 1998 was newer then than my e46 is now, and that I paid $4k for both, 23 years apart! That was one of the cars I wish I had never sold and was looking for one a couple years ago.
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I found they were either trashed, modded wannabe drift cars or super high dollar cars I would feel bad about driving everyday, I ended up with my Volvo, always wanted to try one of them anyway being RWD and manual trans with lots of enthusiast support and easy turbo addition. After 4 years of fun (turbo with manual boost control, LSD, sways, all sorts or suspension work), I realized it would never be the ultimate driving machine, so here I am now!
Thanks to all the contributors here, one of the better car forums I've interacted with. I look forward to owning this, and maybe more (my 13 yr old is smitten with it!).
 

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Nice find! Well worth getting her in fighting trim for the miles ahead. Where in MT? I'm 3 hours west of Missoula and must have missed this in my monthly craigslist searches. How far was your drive home?
 

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I'm up in Whitefish. Not surprised you didn't see it, I was in pretty constant search mode, came up Wednesday, called that night, bought next day and ad was taken down. Very happy to have found it, had all my must haves (manual trans, AWD, cold weather pkg), and most of my nice to haves (3.0, sports seats, xenons, H/K sound). Drive home was 4 hrs from Helena, great chance to get acquainted with the car. Took a while to figure out how to set the cruise control and navigate the crappy aftermarket head unit.
Spent 8 hrs yesterday under the car replacing CSB & guibo, while there replaced most of the shifter bushings. AWD adds some challenge there, even with dropping the transfer case I was unable to get the selector rod joint off. Will tackle that someday, noticed the selector rod seal is leaking, so I know I'll be back in there. Whole project would have been 2 hrs shorter had 2 exhaust studs not snapped, assumed some of them would, but wow, getting them out was a challenge.
 
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