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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi everyone!

I just purchased a pretty well maintained, 1-owner, Silicon Valley owned 2002 BMW 325i Touring 5-Speed. After seeing one on Cars & Bids I instantly fell in love with the E46 Tourings and knew that I had to have one, especially in the manual variety. I searched the country on CaB, BaT, Craigslist, and Facebook Marketplace for about a month before finally falling on this one from a dealer in Los Angeles.

First impressions:
  • The interior is in amazing shape for a 21 year old vehicle
  • Drives well, from as far as I can tell - this is my first manual vehicle (don't scold me for making this rare car my first :) )
  • The clutch seems to disengage a bit early in the pedal travel. I'm going to have my friend who drives a manual WRX tell me what he thinks
  • There's a bit of a clunk from the suspension when going over bumps. Will need to check bushings, ball joints, etc
  • Rear diff and transmission seem to be a bit sludgy on the outside, possible slow leaks, but expected from a 21 year old, 212k mile car
  • Harmon Kardon sound system rivals my 2014 Lexus GS's sound system - this was a surprise
  • Neither xenon headlight turns on - red drivers side light on dash. Check bulbs? Fuse? LCM?
  • Cooling system seems to be in good shape, temp stays at the middle of the gauge.

All in all - it was love at first sight.

Here's an album of images that I'll be uploading pictures to along the way:

Looking forward to interacting with you all as I'm sure there will be lots of work to do on things I'm not aware of yet! :)
 

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Don't listen to your friend with the manual WRX...whatever he thinks...car is totally different.

You should bring your car it to a non-dealer BMW specialist (not a general mechanic - a specialist) in your area and ask him to do a post-purchase inspection...maybe a $100? He'll put together a list of what needs to be addressed. Then you can tackle items on the list deciding whether or no to do it yourself as you go.

You might also consider joining the BMW CCA if your local chapter is active. I joined the CCA and the Boston chapter periodically sets up FREE under-carriage tech inspections with local dealers and non-dealer specialists in the area.

I would bring one of my five (now three) cars every time and get a list of things to do.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Don't listen to your friend with the manual WRX...whatever he thinks...car is totally different.
He's a close friend and he knows much more than me about all different types of vehicles.. sorry, but I'm going to trust what he tells me.

Will probably still take it to a BMW specialist though. Good advice.

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I figured out what's wrong with the headlights! There's no bulbs.. WTF? I guess the seller didn't think to drive the thing at night.

I added some pics to the drive, it looks like the igniters may be fried - can someone take a look and tell me if they're ok?
 

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'03 325iT Mystic Blau
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I get 15% off parts at my local BMW dealer with my CCA membership. It more than pays for itself there.

Those sockets look pretty toasty. I'd wager that that much resistance has probably smoked the ballasts. I'm not sure how much they go for at the U Pull wrecking yards, but that's probably where I'd start.
 

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That may be a 2002 Touring but it has a 2004 front end. It has facelift turn lights and 2004 fog lights.

Before you invest much in those headlights, you should probably pop them open and examine the reflectors. Those projector housings came with plastic reflector bowls and they tend to get toasted. There used to be a kit you could get out of Europe that had metal reflector bowls. Took a bit of work to get the kit installed, but much cheaper than new housings.
 

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I think you mentioned that the rear differential was greasy? That will be the rear cover. There is no gasket, it just uses oil resistant sealant that gets old after 15 years. You have to drop the differential to clean it up and reseal it. While the differential is out, it is easy to replace the axle and driveshaft seals. Be careful not to drive the seals in too deep. There is no lip to stop them. Hardest part of that job is cleaning the greasy differential. You will want to replace the bushing that bolts to the rear differential cover. The two smaller bushings at the front of the differential last much longer than the big one in the rear.
 

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If you haven't already, you might want to run a carfax on that car, just to learn more about its history...

I have a guy who runs them (carfax) cheaply...msg me if interested.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
That may be a 2002 Touring but it has a 2004 front end. It has facelift turn lights and 2004 fog lights.
Erm.. IIRC, the 2002 Touring/Sedan was the first year of the facelift, whereas 2004 was the facelift year for Coupe/Cabriolet. So I think it’s the correct front end.

If you haven't already, you might want to run a carfax on that car, just to learn more about its history...

I have a guy who runs them (carfax) cheaply...msg me if interested.
I ran one before I purchased the vehicle. Service history is basically nonexistent, so I think the car was taken to a repair shop (or repaired by owner) that didn’t report to carfax. But this car wouldn’t have made it to 212k miles in this shape if it wasn’t taken care of.
 

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21 years old, 212,121 miles, 12.1 mpg, I think you have your lucky numbers ; ) Nice buy, the lack of rust is a wonderful thing. I agree to definitely bring it to an indy repair shop (German focused, if not BMW) and have them give you a list. It's really nice to have someone who knows what to look out for.
 

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VIN ends in EZ15_ _ _ ?

Welcome to the club :)

If driven gently, that could be the original clutch, so you might want to check that out.

Suspension clunks from front or rear. Likely some tired bushings in the rear either way. If front, most parts are typical front suspension parts to check. The front control arm bushings in your pictures can clunk if totally shot and are common failure - hard to tell from those 2 pics, but nothing obvious.

Transmission sludge on outside - my first guess would be rear main seal and/or oil pan gasket slowly leaking and blowing back on trans... I just had 2 of mine open and the trans seals were all dry.

Also, check your shifter linkage for slop - very common and a refresh (if not done already) really improves the enjoyment of driving these manuals.

Curious what you paid if you are willing to share.

Enjoy! and welcome to a truly excellent all around car!
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 · (Edited)
VIN ends in EZ15_ _ _ ?
EZ15282 :). I plan on bringing her to a well reviewed BMW shop in town that will do an all around inspection for free. Hopefully there's nothing urgent, but I don't mind dropping a few grand into this car (over time) considering what I paid for it. To your question.. $6500 for the car, $875 to ship.

Suspension wise.. I can't really tell where it's coming from. I'll have to take notes and really listen for it. I do know that it is probably going to need some suspension/steering work done in the front, as the steering starts to wobble a tiny bit at 60+ mph, and there's a bit of a deadzone in the steering in the middle. It also seems to roll a bit more than I expected, maybe the struts need to be replaced as well. The BMW shop will be able to tell me all of these things though.

RE: the headlights. I got some Philips D2S bulbs, went to put them in and.. realized that the bulb retainers are gone. So I'm gonna have to order some of those. That little plastic retainer is $30 a pop on FCPEuro?? That's a bit steep :(. Might try and see if I can get them from the junkyard.

In addition, the shift from 1st to 2nd seems quite a bit notchier than 3rd to 4th. Not sure if this is normal or not.

Also, I'm thinking of names. Might take the color into consideration. Bloo? Something smurfy? Hmm... the beige interior reminds me of my grandma's oldsmobile when I was young. Maybe an old person name.. haha
 

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2003 330cic, 2003 325iT
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EZ15282 :). I plan on bringing her to a well reviewed BMW shop in town that will do an all around inspection for free. Hopefully there's nothing urgent, but I don't mind dropping a few grand into this car (over time) considering what I paid for it. To your question.. $6500 for the car, $875 to ship.

Suspension wise.. I can't really tell where it's coming from. I'll have to take notes and really listen for it. I do know that it is probably going to need some suspension/steering work done in the front, as the steering starts to wobble a tiny bit at 60+ mph, and there's a bit of a deadzone in the steering in the middle. It also seems to roll a bit more than I expected, maybe the struts need to be replaced as well. The BMW shop will be able to tell me all of these things though.

RE: the headlights. I got some Philips D2S bulbs, went to put them in and.. realized that the bulb retainers are gone. So I'm gonna have to order some of those. That little plastic retainer is $30 a pop on FCPEuro?? That's a bit steep :(. Might try and see if I can get them from the junkyard.

In addition, the shift from 1st to 2nd seems quite a bit notchier than 3rd to 4th. Not sure if this is normal or not.

Also, I'm thinking of names. Might take the color into consideration. Bloo? Something smurfy? Hmm... the beige interior reminds me of my grandma's oldsmobile when I was young. Maybe an old person name.. haha
Are you talking about the rings on the headlights that hold the xenon bulb in? I have a spare one if you want it. DM me
 

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EZ15282 :). I plan on bringing her to a well reviewed BMW shop in town that will do an all around inspection for free. Hopefully there's nothing urgent, but I don't mind dropping a few grand into this car (over time) considering what I paid for it. To your question.. $6500 for the car, $875 to ship.

Suspension wise.. I can't really tell where it's coming from. I'll have to take notes and really listen for it. I do know that it is probably going to need some suspension/steering work done in the front, as the steering starts to wobble a tiny bit at 60+ mph, and there's a bit of a deadzone in the steering in the middle. It also seems to roll a bit more than I expected, maybe the struts need to be replaced as well. The BMW shop will be able to tell me all of these things though.

RE: the headlights. I got some Philips D2S bulbs, went to put them in and.. realized that the bulb retainers are gone. So I'm gonna have to order some of those. That little plastic retainer is $30 a pop on FCPEuro?? That's a bit steep :(. Might try and see if I can get them from the junkyard.

In addition, the shift from 1st to 2nd seems quite a bit notchier than 3rd to 4th. Not sure if this is normal or not.

Also, I'm thinking of names. Might take the color into consideration. Bloo? Something smurfy? Hmm... the beige interior reminds me of my grandma's oldsmobile when I was young. Maybe an old person name.. haha
I'd say the price was decent for a rust free, RWD, Manual, Sport - not too many of those. 288 in the US with LCI / facelift to be exact. Certainly many less not crashed or rusty. Mine is EZ15460, Steel Blue and Grey interior.

Wobble at 60 mph has most often been slightly bent wheels for me. Have the runout checked on them.

Dead zone in the steering might be the steering coupler. That was the first thing I replaced on my wagon. I noticed it immediately off the truck. Unless you have some obvious worn tie rod or something.

Headlights sound like they need some attention. I went with entire junkyard assemblies and then rebuilt them. Make sure you get the same brand, these have both AL and ZKW and the parts are not the same. You can check car-part.com for used headlight assemblies if you strike out at your local junk yards. After much searching, I was able to find a source for new plastic bowls or refinished metal bowls if you need it or get that far into it.

Change the gearbox fluid once or twice. Redline D4 ATF has performed pretty well for me. That and the linkage refresh and the gearbox should shift pretty well.

How about Betty or Betty Blue in honor of the timing of your acquisition and Betty White's passing and the Grandma color scheme? ;) Edit: Or how about Betty Weiss mit Blau :cool:
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Are you talking about the rings on the headlights that hold the xenon bulb in? I have a spare one if you want it. DM me
All good, I got some from FCPEuro in a hurry because I need to get this thing inspected so I can get it titled.

Headlights sound like they need some attention. I went with entire junkyard assemblies and then rebuilt them. Make sure you get the same brand, these have both AL and ZKW and the parts are not the same. You can check car-part.com for used headlight assemblies if you strike out at your local junk yards. After much searching, I was able to find a source for new plastic bowls or refinished metal bowls if you need it or get that far into it.
Well.. no need, because I installed the bulbs and to my surprise, the igniters and ballasts are still in working order!

Not sure if I like Betty.. my grandmother's name is Betty. She's still alive so naming my car after her would be a bit weird :D I'll keep thinking about it. It'll come to me.

Next up, windshield wiper fluid pump. Had to take the reservoir out to get the headlight cap on, and the part that the hose attaches to turned into dust. Junkyard time!
 

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All good, I got some from FCPEuro in a hurry because I need to get this thing inspected so I can get it titled.



Well.. no need, because I installed the bulbs and to my surprise, the igniters and ballasts are still in working order!

Not sure if I like Betty.. my grandmother's name is Betty. She's still alive so naming my car after her would be a bit weird :D I'll keep thinking about it. It'll come to me.

Next up, windshield wiper fluid pump. Had to take the reservoir out to get the headlight cap on, and the part that the hose attaches to turned into dust. Junkyard time!
Good news indeed. I have a second set of xenons that I have to rebuild soon - plastic bowls are pretty toasty so the light output is very weak.

Washer pump is super simple and cheap.
 
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