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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm so happy to finally have my dream car. It's a 2003 6-speed with 134k on it for about $16k. I'm excited to be a part of this community and I hope you guys can help me order my list and fill things in where you think they're needed.

The car seems like it was taken care of. I can tell by the condition of the materials, although it has been past down through 5-6 people at this point. So far I paid for a full check up at a nearby town before buying it- everything looked great, at least what could be inspected in 2hrs. I've run a Blackstone oil test after 500 miles of driving it or 1k since oil change (I'll attach below). I replaced all the exterior mods with new OEM BMW parts (even though I know there are more important things to address)... but I planned and budgeted for this.

Maintenance records are spotty. All I can say for sure is bearings were done at 40k, and subf was reinforced correctly.

Here are my to-do's/concerns in no particular order, I hope you guys can help me put these in the right order:
1. Fluids: Oil, transmission, steering, breaks- I'm not sure what needs to be replaced. Oil has about 1k but I can't prove that with anything but a receipt. I'll do anything to make this car last longer so what needs to be replaced?
2. Shocks/spring- right now its on ST and lowered. I'm shooting for koni's with stock springs
3. Planning to switch from 19" -> 18" M rims, used ones will have to do.
4. Tires- I need reliable all-seasons here in the midwest- current ones are shot and drying
5. The tiny tap/click I feel when resting my foot on the clutch- this could be a lot of work/money as I'm not sure what it is. Clutch and trans work great for now
6. I need to reinstall cats to drive where I live...
7. Rear diff seal "seeps" very very very slowly- I've read a new one will do the same thing
8. Throttle reset? Inspection told me when the battery died the throttle needed to be rest, quoted me at $250. I still don't know what this means, but I can tell throttle acts up in M mode.
9. Thorough cleaning in, out, and under the hood.
10. The oil test concerns me a bit because the averages quoted are for 4k miles.
11. Air filter looks a little dirty and its box is missing
12. Check engine light code for gas cap not sealing well

This is mostly what's floating in my mind. I have years to get this done. In my head I'd like to get the tires, wheels, coil overs on to put everything else on the car through a less harsh ride. I hope this will end up being good for the car in the long run.

I would be very grateful for any input from the M3 veterans out here and the well read among us.
 

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Differential fluid.

Spark plugs.

Cooling system refresh.

To save your springs and tires from premature wear and provide factory quality handling will likely need a bushing refresh over the entire subframe and differential.
 

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Here are my to-do's/concerns in no particular order, I hope you guys can help me put these in the right order:
1. Fluids: Oil, transmission, steering, breaks- I'm not sure what needs to be replaced. Oil has about 1k but I can't prove that with anything but a receipt. I'll do anything to make this car last longer so what needs to be replaced?
If you don't have records, it's good practice to swap all fluids after you take ownership of the car.

2. Shocks/spring- right now its on ST and lowered. I'm shooting for koni's with stock springs
Your preference. If the current shock/strut setup isn't leaking, then you can hold off and spend your money elsewhere first.

3. Planning to switch from 19" -> 18" M rims, used ones will have to do.
4. Tires- I need reliable all-seasons here in the midwest- current ones are shot and drying
Why not have a snow and summer set? You can ride 19's with summers and 18's with snows.

5. The tiny tap/click I feel when resting my foot on the clutch- this could be a lot of work/money as I'm not sure what it is. Clutch and trans work great for now
Not good practice to rest your foot on the clutch. Could be throw-out bearing/clutch needing replacement. Is your clutch slipping at all?

6. I need to reinstall cats to drive where I live...
Yikes

7. Rear diff seal "seeps" very very very slowly- I've read a new one will do the same thing
Rear main seal? If so, new ones don't seep. It's a common failure for M3's, should get this done along with csb, guibo, and clutch while you're at it

8. Throttle reset? Inspection told me when the battery died the throttle needed to be rest, quoted me at $250. I still don't know what this means, but I can tell throttle acts up in M mode.
What do you mean by throttle acts up? In sport mode, your throttle should feel a lot more sensitive and twitchy.

9. Thorough cleaning in, out, and under the hood.
N/A

10. The oil test concerns me a bit because the averages quoted are for 4k miles.
Check your VIN to see when your recall on the shells were done. The oil tests are a good indicator, just keep up the the oil changes every 5k miles and make sure oil temperature is operating before beating on it.

11. Air filter looks a little dirty and its box is missing
Yikes

12. Check engine light code for gas cap not sealing well
Cheap fix. Buy a new cap on fcp euro.
Congrats on the new purchase and you have a long road ahead of you with the E46 M3 ownership experience (and costs).
Seems like previous owners neglected the car, e.g., wrong oil, didn't replace a $20 gas gap, missing air intake cover, etc.

Assuming you're doing all the work outlined above at a shop, you're looking at a few thousand dollars to sort the car.
There's probably some other suspension refresh work waiting for you once you start digging in... hopefully the interior looks good!
 

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5. The tiny tap/click I feel when resting my foot on the clutch- this could be a lot of work/money as I'm not sure what it is. Clutch and trans work great for now
I hope by resting your foot on the clutch, this is only for testing as prolong doing this is not good for the TOB, clutch, and crank thrust bearings.
It could be the TOB is on its last leg, or the PP fingers are worn uneven.

7. Rear diff seal "seeps" very very very slowly- I've read a new one will do the same thing
Where exactly? If the leak is at the RHS output flange then maybe the oil seal is worn by too much radial and axial plays on the output flange.

Strongly suggest open the valve cover to inspect the vanos pump drive tabs condition as they can crack and break. Make sure the cam sleeve bolts are Loctited.
 
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