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Discussion Starter #1
Hi all, I'm a Bimmer noob and I know this is a noob post, but I didn't find any other thread that's exactly like it.

Here's my situation. I drive a 2000 Mercedes S430, passed down to me from my father a few years back, and it's been the most unreliable piece of crap I have ever driven. After dumping money on repairs and maintenance on it, I want to get rid of it this summer, even if it's worth nothing at all (I think things are starting to break again).

I have about $10k to spare, more or less, so before buying a Toyota or Honda, I want to see if I can get away with staying German. It's gonna be a daily, so reliability is priority.

So far, I've done some research, and it appears that 6-cyl (M52s?) E46s and E39s are the most reliable Bimmers within this budget, and even then, BMWs require a lot of maintenance. Can you guys provide some feedback on this?

I also prefer manual transmission, but I will go for whatever is more reliable/costs less to maintain. I'm a DIYer. The only thing that gives me nightmares are intense costs of parts.
 

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Well, If you want reliable then you get a toyota or honda like you said, Or a lexus for more luxury. No German car is going to be comparable to Japanese car's, The most reliable will probably be a 325, 2002+, Manual transmission, and make sure you get it with warantee.
 

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I'd say stay away from early model E46's and shoot for 2002+ 330i and def get it with manual, due to it being more reliable and more fun to drive
 

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Unfortunately you have to pay to drive, and with german cars it will always be a bit more. But it all depends on what you consider "reliable" and what you consider "reasonable." A well maintained stick shift BMW will be plenty reliable and in my book affordable to maintain if the work is done yourself. That said, no BMW will ever be a toyota or honda, thats just the way it is, and if it is a daily driver, and reliability is paramount, you may want to way fun to drive versus what you need and what you can afford.
 

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BMW = Broken Most Weeks

I would say go up in the series or classes in order to get more reliable. A 330 will have slightly better built parts than a 323. From what I have read the sub frame issue is more prevelant on 323, 325 and 328 than it is on 330 and M3. All of them will have fuel pump and cooling system issues though. Like others have written also go manual over auto. Auto seems to fail a lot on all BMW's.
 

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BMW = Broken Most Weeks

I would say go up in the series or classes in order to get more reliable. A 330 will have slightly better built parts than a 323. From what I have read the sub frame issue is more prevelant on 323, 325 and 328 than it is on 330 and M3. All of them will have fuel pump and cooling system issues though. Like others have written also go manual over auto. Auto seems to fail a lot on all BMW's.
The M3 has a much beefier sub frame due to the increase in power, and the sub frame was updated for MY2001, and same year cars are going to have fewer sub frame issues as you move toward the smaller engines, as they put less stress on the drivetrain/sub frame parts.
 

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Sorry the most reliable and cheapest to run BMW has already been taken. I have it. Maybe you can go get a Honda or something ?
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Alright, so what are some ballpark figures for maintanence if DIYed annually?

We already have a Honda in the garage. I'm gonna be sick with two Hondas, or a Honda and Toyota.
 

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BMW = Broken Most Weeks

I would say go up in the series or classes in order to get more reliable. A 330 will have slightly better built parts than a 323. From what I have read the sub frame issue is more prevelant on 323, 325 and 328 than it is on 330 and M3. All of them will have fuel pump and cooling system issues though. Like others have written also go manual over auto. Auto seems to fail a lot on all BMW's.
FALSE, BMW= Brings more Women.
 

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Alright, so what are some ballpark figures for maintanence if DIYed annually?

We already have a Honda in the garage. I'm gonna be sick with two Hondas, or a Honda and Toyota.
If this is the case, then you are the right person to buy a BMW.
 

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With a honda you'll be fine. And honestly, BMW parts arent THAT expensive, especially with the resources on this website. And +100000 for the warranty, and plus, that Bimmer is gonna be a blast to drive after that huge boat of a Benz
 

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Discussion Starter #13
As long as it is much more reliable than the Benz. This thing is worth like $10k, but the repairs cost $1k one at a time. It's stupid to keep this car.
 

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if you are getting rid of your old car because it was unreliable you are not going to want to spend only $10,000 on a BMW. You get what you pay for...
 

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Alright, so what are some ballpark figures for maintanence if DIYed annually?
If you fall in the nooby trap of random maintenance, it will be very expensive from unnecessary maintenance. Then there's the additional cost of repairing the stuff you break from the unnecessary maintenance. Basically, it will potentially cost you an arm and a leg to own one.
 

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If you get an E46 in good condition, manual, MY2001+, then you'll have a huge difference in reliability. My mom drives a 2001 S430 and I see it the same way as you***8211;resale sucks, unreliable, and repairs are incredibly expensive. Not only that, but you can barely DIY that car! E46s are super easy to DIY, and a lot of the fixes will cost you $100-200 + a few hours of work, and those don't even happen that often. The worst problems might be around $500, but you should only experience those once every 20,000 miles AFAIK.
 

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The later model E46 and E39 are the most reliable modern BMWs. Just go with a 2002 or newer.
The automatic is apparently the least reliable part of both the vehicles. The water pumps are bad and need to be replaced around 60k miles ($300 for water pump, thermostat and labor). The front control arm bushings go bad around 60k too ($300 parts and labor). Power window motors go bad ($90 + DIY). Oil changes are cheap if you DIY ($50 from Tischer BMW). Pixels go out on the E39 instrument cluster (Just deal with it). Its' not too bad.
 

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In the past 2 years aside from gas and oil changes,I have put about $200 in repairs.
A 2002 325I. Other than that,4 years that Ive owned it, about $800-$1000.
Its been the best car I have ever owned.And I have had Honda's and Toyota's.
 

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For your price range and what you're looking for, I recommend a Honda S2000. You can get a < 50K miles 00-04 for $11-15K. Parts and mods are ABUNDANT, and the cars are designed well and very easy to work on. Plenty of fun as well, and if you drive reasonably you'll be fine with it as a daily as far as gas mileage goes. From mine and friends' experiences, the M is notoriously difficult to DIY unless you're seasoned with the cars. If you want reliability, go JDM.
 

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Just stay away from the 7 series...:eek:
 
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