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Discussion Starter #21
Oh boy. I didn't even look at the ad until now.
No under car photos, no engine bay photos. No list of what has been done to the car.
Decals = likely not someone who put maintenance first. I would not buy that car.
Yes i know but im going to inspect everything before i buy it with my mechanic friend,
 

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Discussion Starter #22
Depends on who owned it, a well kept E46 is always your best bet. Just make sure its had its oil changes and cooling system done on time so it doesn't crack the cylinder head or strip the bolts that the head connects to the block. Love my 325i facelift, great car I got with 94k miles. Currently has 112k miles. Also check window regulators. There are so many things, just do a basics check along with a PPI from a reputable indy bmw specialist. Hope this helps. -Jordan
Yes yes i know me and my mechanic friend will check all of that out,
 

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Discussion Starter #23
The M Packet odes include the M Tech II bumper, but since that car doesn't have the matching rear bumper or side skirts it's likely that that's a replica bumper.

OP, that's not an M Packet car nor is it a ZHP as that was a North America only package that incorporated the M Packet goodies and added some slight performance.

These cars are great, provided that you can work on them yourself. Do you have tools and a space to do so? Are you mechanically inclined?
Yes i have the tools to work on this car and i know something about cars but i have a friend thats a really great mechanic that can help me out
 

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Discussion Starter #24
Generally, E46 is one of best cars BMW ever built and it is still up to date and could outperform many modern cars with its handling, comfort and reliability. However, as it is not new car, there are certain things you will probably face/ need to fix. Read BUYERS GUIDE
Parts for E46 are widely available, as well as DIY guides. Most of works can ( and should!) be done by yourself with set of base tools and no lift required. M54 3L engine is truly ''last of the mohicans'' of naturally-aspirated engines which was engineered with pride and built to last.
Mileage is relative thing, and general condition of car usually more important than just a digit on odometer.

For that particular car, there are M3 rims (not sure if 19 inch fit non-M fenders, so maybe it is 18' replica? Somebody correct me ) and M-tech II front bumper installed, all of that is not stock, just FYI. Doesn't mean car is bad though.
I cannot say if that price is reasonable for such car in Macedonia.
Is there any chance you could lift a car and inspect it for rust/ leaks/ subframe tears, etc? Condition of breaks/ discks as well as tires is important for price negotiation in case you need to replace them soon.
Thank you and yes i will inspect the car when i see it in person if i see any cracks leaks tears rust i will negotaite for a lower price.
And thank you for the Buyers guide link it helped me a lot <3
 

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I think a e46 is a great 1st car. might Want to pay a shop to inspect it before purchase. you could fix most problems with zero experience as long as you research. jap cars are obviously more reliable and makes more sense, but you’ll be glad you got the Bmw every time you drive it.
+1, Im 23 and I got my 325i with 94k miles in 2017 when I was 18. Not my first car but my first german car I owned after I got my dads Pontiac Trans Am WS6 running. Great daily drivers if you do oil changes every 5k miles or 12 months if you less than 5k miles. And coolant flushes every two-three years. The M54s are bullet proof. A mint conditioned E46 is always a plus compared to ones that aren't.
 

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2003 M3 6MT Slicktop
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OP...please be careful with your emotions...they've already made the decision for you, but you need to look at a car dispassionately...objectively...

You want a first car. You want it to start and not consume your life and/or money. If you have means and a backup car to get parts, and are emotionally intact from covid, then you have 'my' blessing, not that you need it!

But, it's likely not going to be a great car for you and it might turn you off bmws forever. It is a 20 year old car--you will be rebuilding it. If you are planning on working on the car yourself, I like the opinion above to have $2,000 usd extra for the first year, but it could be more easily.

Rust hides and then invades. Why are the owners selling the car? Are they idiots or wealthy?

If you want a reliable ride...not to have to change plans because of a car. Guys are complaining about the decals...and I agree. It is a sign. A bigger 'sign' is the blue headlights. The PO cared about how it looks on the outside; I'd wager he spent less time maintaining, or if he did mechanical things, he did some 'hacking'--the wrong things. :(

Honda, Toyota, Kia... spend less money on a reliable car for the next couple of years so you can focus on driving--stay here and read up on the e46 and buy one in a couple of years--save money and profit!
 

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How so? lol
Oil pump nut/shaft failures, low-tension oil rings leading to heavy oil consumption, very low tolerance for overheating, flaky VANOS seals, leak-prone OFHG, etc. And that's just the core of the engine. The CCV system, DISA and cooling systems all have their noted reliability issues. Among others.

There's a lot to stay on top of, but it's worth it, IMO.
 

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lol true. Life is too short to enjoy a car you love. But I understand what you guys are saying. I've been there with the coolant leaks when I got my 325i with 94k miles. Good thing is the motor is still going and never overheated. Amazing car I can say for being my first german car after my dads Pontiac Trans Am WS6.
 

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An E46 is just not the car for a first owner 18yo. I just stopped my 19yo son from buying one myself.

If you want something to play with and learn mechanics on, sure, but you'll need a daily driver car as well as the E46.

Seriously mate, for your first car just get a Japanese or Korean car. I've got a little Kia for the wife, and the thing has done 200k since new with only basic servicing. Never broke down, uses bugger all fuel.
Just got a little hyundai for the wife she needs reilability
 

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How so? lol
the high ratio of catastrophic failure from (basic) overheating is kinda the Achille’s heel of the M54. it’s never been known as a “bullet proof” engine
*See Below for several well known issues
Oil pump nut/shaft failures, low-tension oil rings leading to heavy oil consumption, very low tolerance for overheating, flaky VANOS seals, leak-prone OFHG, etc. And that's just the core of the engine. The CCV system, DISA and cooling systems all have their noted reliability issues. Among others.
 

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2003 330cic, 2003 325iT
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It is not a bulletproof engine, but it is an engine that is capable of turning a massive number of miles. Enough so that a buying a used engine with 150k is a completely reasonable proposition.

The overheating problem is a non-issue if you maintain the cooling system. If you don't, and it pops, and you don't stop immediately, it will fail.

But if you change the cooling system at 100-125k, and then at 200-250k, it really won't happen.

The rest is real work. But huge amounts of it can be done at the same time. I reached a conclusion that if the e46 is 150k or higher you just do it all - cooling, complete intake, starter, Vanos seals, DISA if bad membrane, all of the gaskets, all the steering lines, shocks, struts, control arms and all the bushings including both flex discs and the shifter ones. It is 3 weekends worth of work and $3-4k, and you end up a car that you can just drive and have a ton of fun with (yeah, you will get some random crap like bad actuators or regulators, but the car will still be fun).

If you "fix things when they break" you will definitely save money in the short term, but you will be fixing stuff all the time which is just no fun.
 

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It is not a bulletproof engine...
Agreed.
I reached a conclusion that if the e46 is 150k or higher you just do it all - cooling, complete intake, starter, Vanos seals, DISA if bad membrane, all of the gaskets, all the steering lines, shocks, struts, control arms and all the bushings including both flex discs and the shifter ones. It is 3 weekends worth of work and $3-$4k
how many hours of working you calculated are in these combined 3 weekends?
 

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Agreed.

how many hours of working you calculated are in these combined 3 weekends?
Good question. I did it three times in 2020, and I would say 40 hours total, but I wasn't keeping track. (note, I have not worked on an M3)

With my first e46 I was replacing things when they broke. And I had a bias towards "Change the CCV without removing the intake" or "change the starter from below". So each task was f'ing endless.

Then I swapped an engine and realized how stupid-easy 90% of the jobs are if you have access. So the next time around I just pulled the intake as soon as I got the car and just replaced everything (158k miles). The things that take time:
1. Broken screws and bolts
2. Frozen bolts - especially the exhaust flange bolts (tip - before you start a project that requires removing the muffler, buy studs and nuts then go to a muffler place and pay them to remove and replace)
3. Cleaning out the broken bits of the hard lines from the head
4. Oil pan
5. Removing and pressing bushings without the proper tool
6. Screwing up and not realizing until everything is back together
7. Clearing the dipstick drainage channels

It takes about 90 minutes to remove the intake manifold. It is irritating and boring. Once it is out, it is child's play to do a huge number of tasks that can really help the engine:
1. Replace hard lines
2. Replace crankshaft sensor
3. Intake hoses, caps, and boots
4. Clean IAC
5. Clear out the dipstick drainage channels
6. Replace CCV
7. Replace o-rings on the injectors and air distribution manifold
8. Repair cracked loom
9. Replace OFHG gasket
10. Replace VANOS oil line
11. Replace intake manifold gaskets
12. Replace starter (not that hard with the right wrench/extensions and the manifold off)
13. Replace DISA o-ring

All of this can be done in about 4-5 hours. Any one of them can be 2-3 hours on its own! But folks go to unnatural lengths to not take the intake off. I tend to spend a bit more time because I like cleaning everything.

Other "job clusters"
1. Front suspension (shocks and mounts), FCA/FCABs, oil pan, steering giubo, steering pressure line, and engine mounts - 10+ hours
2. Rear suspension and bushings - 4 hours to infinite if you build your own bushing tools or if you are replacing the wheel bearings (worst job)
3. CSB, flex disc, manual shifter linkage and bushings, exhaust flange studs and gaskets - 6-10 hours
4. Cooling system and pullies - 4 hours max
5. VANOS seals and VCG - 4 hours (mostly doing the seals and cleaning the VANOS)

If you don't have any money, then this won't work (I respect and have experienced extreme cash issues, so I am not making light). But the intake refresh ranges from $500-800, which is the cost of replacing an oil level sensor at the dealer these days...
 

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Good question. I did it three times in 2020, and I would say 40 hours total, but I wasn't keeping track. (note, I have not worked on an M3)

With my first e46 I was replacing things when they broke. And I had a bias towards "Change the CCV without removing the intake" or "change the starter from below". So each task was f'ing endless.

Then I swapped an engine and realized how stupid-easy 90% of the jobs are if you have access. So the next time around I just pulled the intake as soon as I got the car and just replaced everything (158k miles). The things that take time:
1. Broken screws and bolts
2. Frozen bolts - especially the exhaust flange bolts (tip - before you start a project that requires removing the muffler, buy studs and nuts then go to a muffler place and pay them to remove and replace)
3. Cleaning out the broken bits of the hard lines from the head
4. Oil pan
5. Removing and pressing bushings without the proper tool
6. Screwing up and not realizing until everything is back together
7. Clearing the dipstick drainage channels

It takes about 90 minutes to remove the intake manifold. It is irritating and boring. Once it is out, it is child's play to do a huge number of tasks that can really help the engine:
1. Replace hard lines
2. Replace crankshaft sensor
3. Intake hoses, caps, and boots
4. Clean IAC
5. Clear out the dipstick drainage channels
6. Replace CCV
7. Replace o-rings on the injectors and air distribution manifold
8. Repair cracked loom
9. Replace OFHG gasket
10. Replace VANOS oil line
11. Replace intake manifold gaskets
12. Replace starter (not that hard with the right wrench/extensions and the manifold off)
13. Replace DISA o-ring

All of this can be done in about 4-5 hours. Any one of them can be 2-3 hours on its own! But folks go to unnatural lengths to not take the intake off. I tend to spend a bit more time because I like cleaning everything.

Other "job clusters"
1. Front suspension (shocks and mounts), FCA/FCABs, oil pan, steering giubo, steering pressure line, and engine mounts - 10+ hours
2. Rear suspension and bushings - 4 hours to infinite if you build your own bushing tools or if you are replacing the wheel bearings (worst job)
3. CSB, flex disc, manual shifter linkage and bushings, exhaust flange studs and gaskets - 6-10 hours
4. Cooling system and pullies - 4 hours max
5. VANOS seals and VCG - 4 hours (mostly doing the seals and cleaning the VANOS)

If you don't have any money, then this won't work (I respect and have experienced extreme cash issues, so I am not making light). But the intake refresh ranges from $500-800, which is the cost of replacing an oil level sensor at the dealer these days...
Couldn't have said it any better.
 

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I wouldn't buy any BMW for my kids first car nor would I give them any of the ones I've made reliable.... and I use reliable loosely here because you have to be proactive and fix things on a bmw before they need fixing for it to be reliable.

I own them because they are fun to drive and because I can fix or replace anything that goes wrong myself. I definatley don't own them because they are practical. They are the exact opposite of practical. They literally just devour all my discretionary income.

They serve two purposes for me. They keep me busy because I enjoy wrenching and they make my wife and I feel good when we drive them.
 
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