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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hey everybody,

About a month ago I purchased a 2004 330Ci with 73k and I'm super stoked to be a BMW owner! I've spent my years growing up working on classic restoration projects and diesel semi trucks with my dad, I'm generally an overall gear head! This E46 hasn't disappointed thus far!!





I hardballed a dealership down to $12k on this baby and I think I did pretty good (or give me your opinion I guess). Right off the bat it needed a new air intake boot 15$, and it's got a ball joint on the left front lower control arm that I'm going to replace this weekend. I've put about 2k mi on it in the last month! I typically drive ~10k/yr (my wife hates my coupes so we take her Camry everywhere).

The vehicle doesn't really have any maintenance records so I decided I would just go all the way through it and get it up to speed so that I know what I'm working with: tranx flush/filter/gasket, fuel filter, brake bleed, pwr steering flush, rear diff (with cooling cover upgrade from ECS Tuning), sparkplugs, valve cover gasket, oil change, K&N air intake, I'm also going to need a radar detector :eeps: .... :excited:(got a escort 8500 en route). Sound like an adequate tune up to you guys? I found Kpeng's guide to maintenance and I was really glad to put a schedule together on my google calendar! Thanks again Ken if you're out there!!

This summer I'm going to do coolant, belts, pullies, hi flow water pump, and swaybars + strut bracers.

Winter: steel rims w/winter tires, urethane tranny & engine mounts.

Spring: Bilisten coilovers @ ~85k mi

Summer 2013: headers, and magnaflow exhaust & cams.

I'm looking to stay NA mostly because I don't want to end up spending more on upgrades than the original purchase price! haha! But when it's all said and done I'd like to be putting around 220-230hp to the ground. Anybody think that's an unreasonable expectation based on my schedule above?

Glad to be part of a community that understands my need for power, performance, speed, and style! hollar back just to say hi!
 

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Welcome to another Iowa City fanatic. Graduated from West High (1987, old timer I suppose) and dabled a little at U of I before moving on. Memories of downtown Iowa City are absolutely crazy.

Congrats on your 330. 12k is not horrible for dealer price, especially for low miles. Your car looks to be in outstanding condition from what the pics show. For comparison my son just bought a 2004 330i with 114k miles for 10,100 which was about right for private party sale in excellent condition here in Atlanta. Car looks brand new inside and out. You wouldn't believe the pieces of junk for sale at the same price.

Sounds like you have an aggressive list of upgrades to do. I have a 330 convertible with the Bilstein coil overs and love them. Have fun and welcome to the forum. Lot's of DIY's available here if you need them.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Yep I've been enjoying the plethora of DIY threads and info here at E46fanatics!

Haha yeah a lot has changed in Iowa City since then, parties are still good, the injection of new flesh each fall is titillating, only problem is it's a fxing liberal mecca! I thought that this car would be a babe magnet but so far the best looks I've got were from guys ogling the finish! lol. I just graduated from the University of Iowa double majoring in Evolutionary Biology and Environmental Hydroscience. What were you majoring in? (or end up in?) I'd love to get a job outdoors but I'm making pretty good money working in the clinical laboratory setting. I've got a part time job doing some research in the geoscience department on scleractinians (coral). I also crank some cash out farming corals. Always burning the candle at both ends!

This ride really is in outstanding condition! Whoever had it last really babied it. Problem is, you can never tell if somebody takes care of a car mechanically just because they care for it aesthetically. I figure that's probably okay though since 75k isn't too late to catch up on maintenance. I can tell at least it's had oil changes! A jack-of-all trades like myself shouldn't have a hard time getting it up to speed. The only problem is that my aquarium bone yard is blocking my air tools! I gotta clean out that fxin garage! lol You can always kbb the price on something, but until you hear it from another owner you can never really tell if you did alright on your purchase! Glad to hear that I'm doing ok!

That 330 you've got looks pretty sharp with the red interior! But convertibles and four doors have never been my style! haha What are your roads like down there? Did the coil overs sacrifice much ride comfort?

Thanks again! -ANdy
 

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Welcome! I am from a neighboring state and hope to make it down to Iowa this summer! Your car looks nice, and you seem to be headed in the right direction.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Minnesnowda huh? Atmosphere fan much? haha, my mom lives in Mankato. I hope I can keep it looking nice but I keep drooling on the paint, I gotta stop drinking redbull, that **** is like battery acid....on acid. lol
 

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haha thats funny. I dont get the Atmosphere reference but thats ok. Mankato is a nice town, I will be going there next week.

I am an Ag Business Major at the U of M so I hope to visit a few biotech farms this summer down in Iowa!
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 · (Edited)
If you've recently bought your E46 and/or have 60k miles or more on your stock cooling system: replace the entire cooling system.
Is that advice from experience? What have you guys seen happen? (I'm afraid to know) Are you talking about the water pump with the plastic impellar and the plastic water pump pulley? and...by ENTIRE cooling system do you mean pump, pulley, hoses AND radiator AND expansion tank?

I'm stealing your sig layout (The Ultimate Driving Machine) love it. Sorry lol
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
haha thats funny. I dont get the Atmosphere reference but thats ok. Mankato is a nice town, I will be going there next week.

I am an Ag Business Major at the U of M so I hope to visit a few biotech farms this summer down in Iowa!
Atmosphere, Aesop Rock, Eyedea & Abilities = lyrical hip hop about REALITY (full of anti-establishment cynicism and irony) Atmosphere (Sean Daly) is from "Minnesnowda."

Cool I should have majored in Ag science. I'll probably go to veterinary school and major in piscine disease pathology, I'll need to move somewhere with more fish farms. I'm looking at NCSU, Wisconsin @ Madison, and Washington State.
 

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Atmosphere, Aesop Rock, Eyedea & Abilities = lyrical hip hop about REALITY (full of anti-establishment cynicism and irony) Atmosphere (Sean Daly) is from "Minnesnowda."

Cool I should have majored in Ag science. I'll probably go to veterinary school and major in piscine disease pathology, I'll need to move somewhere with more fish farms. I'm looking at NCSU, Wisconsin @ Madison, and Washington State.
Interesting, How old are you? I am just wondering because you are talking about school.

And to answer your question about the cooling system, Many members on here have issues with their cooling systems (mainly the coolant expansion tank since it is plastic and the heat cycles can crack it.) When I updated my cooling system, I simply replaced the Water Pump at 130k miles. I think that his signature is exaggerating a little bit based on my experience, but I would for sure suggest putting on a new expansion tank every 60k miles along with doing a a coolant flush as well. It is for sure cheap insurance (about $130 if you buy all the parts from the dealership). If you want to do the water pump, They are also fairly inexpensive online, but then again, a whole cooling system refresh kit is just over $300 on ECStuning.com
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I'm 27yo, taking my sweet time about college. I worked for a couple of years before I went back, but it paid off because I had no enthusiasm for learning until after a few years of 9-5. Pounded out a 3.4 which is respectable especially with the rigor of the biology program at Iowa. Highly highly competitive. Most of the kids in my courses were pre-med and most of them were here from china or india.

Do they make a metal expansion tank? I'm finding replacements but I can't figure out if any of them are metal. I might fabricate a metal replica.
 

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Interesting, How old are you? I am just wondering because you are talking about school.

And to answer your question about the cooling system, Many members on here have issues with their cooling systems (mainly the coolant expansion tank since it is plastic and the heat cycles can crack it.) When I updated my cooling system, I simply replaced the Water Pump at 130k miles. I think that his signature is exaggerating a little bit based on my experience, but I would for sure suggest putting on a new expansion tank every 60k miles along with doing a a coolant flush as well. It is for sure cheap insurance (about $130 if you buy all the parts from the dealership). If you want to do the water pump, They are also fairly inexpensive online, but then again, a whole cooling system refresh kit is just over $300 on ECStuning.com
you have no experience. when i first started driving/fixing bmws, you were in junior high. dont put words in my mouth. no offense.

yes i have experience. replace your entire cooling system. im going to. modify my sig with more info

Sent from my SGH-T989 using Bimmer App
 

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Your signature pic makes me want to vomit! lol that has to suck dude!
your sig picture is awkwardly cropped. part of bumper and tire are awkwardly cut out. just gonna say if you're going to go through the trouble of putting the bmw logo, make sure its a decent pic first! :p (and i know you're referring to the sig pic of the crashed e46)
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
awkwardly cropped? yeah maybe, I call it artistic, photography is a hobby of mine tho and I kind of like it. Thanks for the constructive criticisim tho, I would agree perhaps that bringing the frame down vertically toward a more low profile spec might improve it's crop even with the missing portion of bumper. Go through the trouble? Photoshop CS6 it's no trouble at all! haha

What are the specs on your ride anyways, have you not done the entire cooling system yet? and how many miles is that baby rockin? I guess personally I don't see why many of the OEM parts would be particularly weak links, I can see the expansion tank, hoses, pulleys, belts and pump, but why on earth would the OEM radiator, and sensor be a weak point? I don't know about that fan blade/clutch, I've seen alot of reference to those on DIY threads and so forth, I haven't seen anything particular about them except that they're a ***** to remove even with the specialty tool!
 

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Of course I've done it. I've also done it on the past few BMWs I've owned. Sold a perfectly mint/restored E36 M3 convertible to a fellow in Virginia. He liked the car so much from pictures, he hunted me down on forums and paid cash for a car he never saw. I don't preach what I don't practice. My entire suspension has also been rebuilt from the ground up. Every fluid and filter is fresh and just about every part that can be cleaned, refreshed, or replaced has been. I even changed the fuel pump for the hell of it. It has 120k miles.

As far as the cooling system goes, just search these forums for radiator failures. Not quite as common as on the E36 M3, but it still occurs.

The reason is this: plastics. The reason you maintain your cooling systems is plastics. Plastics (particularly on these cars) get brittle over time and shrink and expand through heat cycling. This creates cracks. Cracks aren't particularly good at retaining water. The water pump can't circulate water it doesn't have and thus you overheat. Radiator is an aluminum shell which water cycles through to be cooled over the surface area of the metal contacting the air via the fins. The water enters and exits through plastic end tanks. These end tanks are crimped on to the radiator core. Over time, the rubber seal (and the endtanks themselves) are vulnerable to shrinkage and cracking. Not only that, when you use barnyard-style car care such as tap water in your cooling system, deposits form in the radiator making it hard for water/coolant to pass. Think clogged arteries.

The radiator is also only $153 online. Replacing it while you're in there is a no brainer and requires little extra labor.

Why anyone would skimp out on an extremely vital and prone part of the car is beyond me.
 

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you have no experience. when i first started driving/fixing bmws, you were in junior high. dont put words in my mouth. no offense.

yes i have experience. replace your entire cooling system. im going to. modify my sig with more info

Sent from my SGH-T989 using Bimmer App
I wasnt putting words in your mouth. Yes I am young, but I have watched many threads on this forum and I just hate wasting money on things when they could last for a few more thousand miles if not longer. I agree with you that stuff needs to be fixed and maintained but at the same time, its not worth wasting money every time you turn your head!

And OP, I am going to try to fabricate an aluminum expansion tank this summer, so if it works for me, I can let you know!
 
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