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Just a quick question because I have seen many users refer to others attempting to purchase an e46 to check for subframe issue because its a matter of time not a matter of if it will go bad. I just want to ask if that would be considered a true statement? I have a 2000 323I and *Knock on wood* I have not had any subframe issues what-so-ever. It is my daily driver for the past year with honestly just about 0 major mechanical issues, just oil change, brakes, gas and mods :craig:

I can say that I do need to change tires but besides that, last I recall of any issues I had was when i first purchased it I had to change crank shaft sensor. That's bout it. Im the 2nd owner and previous owner said he only went to BMW dealer for work done to the car and he does remember them mentioning recalls and he bringing it down to them he just doesn't know if it was subframe related.

So bottom line how likely is it that the subframe goes bad? Does EVERY e46 have this subframe issue or is it just some with a loud voice on this board?

Thanks in advance :thumbup:
 

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So bottom line how likely is it that the subframe goes bad? Does EVERY e46 have this subframe issue or is it just some with a loud voice on this board?
I have spoken to a range of veteran BMW Master techs about this, and they are convinced it is connected to how the car is driven. Lots of torque twisting the subframe over a lot of miles greatly increases the chances of damage. Their opinion is that the manuals suffered much more than the automatics. They estimated that a tiny fraction of these E46's actually have the problem.

Two of the dealers went to the expense of purchasing the subframe kits, and after a long time, never used them--despite the fact that countless people brought them in and had full inspections for subframe damage. Had the problems existed on the cars, BMW would have reimbursed the dealer, but still the dealers did not find any damage.

So, I had my '01 330ci 5 speed was supposedly at high risk for this, given what we read, but it has no damage whatsover.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I have spoken to a range of veteran BMW Master techs about this, and they are convinced it is connected to how the car is driven. Lots of torque twisting the subframe over a lot of miles greatly increases the chances of damage. Their opinion is that the manuals suffered much more than the automatics. They estimated that a tiny fraction of these E46's actually have the problem.

Two of the dealers went to the expense of purchasing the subframe kits, and after a long time, never used them--despite the fact that countless people brought them in and had full inspections for subframe damage. Had the problems existed on the cars, BMW would have reimbursed the dealer, but still the dealers did not find any damage.

So, I had my '01 330ci 5 speed was supposedly at high risk for this, given what we read, but it has no damage whatsover.
:thumbup: +1 for me having hope lol...
 

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Just a quick question because I have seen many users refer to others attempting to purchase an e46 to check for subframe issue because its a matter of time not a matter of if it will go bad. I just want to ask if that would be considered a true statement? I have a 2000 323I and *Knock on wood* I have not had any subframe issues what-so-ever. It is my daily driver for the past year with honestly just about 0 major mechanical issues, just oil change, brakes, gas and mods :craig:

I can say that I do need to change tires but besides that, last I recall of any issues I had was when i first purchased it I had to change crank shaft sensor. That's bout it. Im the 2nd owner and previous owner said he only went to BMW dealer for work done to the car and he does remember them mentioning recalls and he bringing it down to them he just doesn't know if it was subframe related.

So bottom line how likely is it that the subframe goes bad? Does EVERY e46 have this subframe issue or is it just some with a loud voice on this board?

Thanks in advance :thumbup:
I also have a 2000 323i. It has an automatic transmission (production date March 2000).

I purchased the vehicle in 2006 with 63,000 miles. It had two previous owners. I received all the BMW service records from the previous owner, so I know everything was up to date when I bought the car.

The previous owner had to rebuild the transmission for $3000 because the reverse stopped working. However I believe that this is more driver fault, due to people putting the transmission into drive while still rolling backwards slightly... I suggest coming to a full stop before shifting and use the emergency brake when parking on hills so the car isn't resting on the transmission.

The vehicle now has 127,000 miles on it. And I have had very few problems. I drive the vehicle every day in all conditions, including snow and salt.

Here is a list of repairs I made:
early on
-replaced camshaft position sensor
-replaced one of the exhaust side O2 sensor
-replaced final stage resistor

nearing 100k miles
-burnt out bulbs
-zip tied window regulator driver window
-re-glued vapor barrier on both driver side doors (water on floor after rain)
-replaced front shocks (one was leaking)
-replaced front control arm bushings
-replaced brake pads and rotors. next change will probably require new calipers
-replaced one wheel bearing and wheel speed sensor (to get dsc working again)

nearing 127k miles

-replaced rear shocks
-replaced rear coils (one broke)
-replaced all rear control arm bushings (only one was dead)
-rust on driver door near hinges at bottom
-driver seat synthetic leather has damage
-turn signal lens clip broke, replaced the lens
-clips on the kidney grill are broken, not sure how that happened.
-replaced spark plugs (preventative)
-replaced a/c belt (wore out)
-replaced drive belt (wore out)
-replaced a/c belt tensioner (pulley went bad)
-replaced fuel filter (preventative)
-replaced wipers
-fixed hazard light button

I cant think of much else. never had any subframe problems
 

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Use advanced/title search..."check subframe"

You'll see it's very easy to get underneath and do a preliminary search. Sadly, if you don't find cracks outside of the rear axle carrier bushings, that doesn't mean you don't have an issue.

Technically, the dealer would look for cracks protruding from the bushings (common tear as I understand it is around left rear bushing...that's where mine was), but if they don't find one, the rear axle carrier is dropped (technically) to look for cracks above the bushings.

I had mine inspected a year before the deadline for the settlement, and then, a week or two before that period ended, I searched myself...and found a tear.

You should look yourself. It's both easy and fun!

So whether the odds are 5% or 95%, you won't know until you inspect. Also, a dealer should be able to tell you if your car had been inspected or not. It may not have been just as a regular part of service, Inspection I or II notwithstanding.
 

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I have spoken to a range of veteran BMW Master techs about this, and they are convinced it is connected to how the car is driven. Lots of torque twisting the subframe over a lot of miles greatly increases the chances of damage.
This makes perfect sense and I believe it is true as well. I got my 330i with 149K on the clock but it was a highway car - no schools or auto-crosses that I know of. Had the car inspected and no issues. I will be looking out for it though as I start to do HPDEs and some auto-crosses.
 

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This makes perfect sense and I believe it is true as well. I got my 330i with 149K on the clock but it was a highway car - no schools or auto-crosses that I know of. Had the car inspected and no issues. I will be looking out for it though as I start to do HPDEs and some auto-crosses.
That's good...if the 'looking out for it' means looking for it.

I had my car inspected and come up clean. A year later, I found a tear myself in about 2 mins.

I'm not saying the dealer missed finding a crack, though it may have; it may just have started and grown in that year.
 

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I have looked myself (and when the car was inspected by a ex-BMW mechanic) as well as a dealer for the lawsuit and none of us have seen anything. Also had another friend who owns several BMWs look as well.

I know I need to look for it so I plan on doing that.... :)
 

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I have looked myself (and when the car was inspected by a ex-BMW mechanic) as well as a dealer for the lawsuit and none of us have seen anything. Also had another friend who owns several BMWs look as well.

I know I need to look for it so I plan on doing that.... :)
Just make sure you clean up well around that bushing. When I checked mine I saw nothing...when I cleaned it and saw the tear, I kept staring at if for a few minutes, wondering if my eyes were deceiving me. I have a thread on that. Man, I got in just before the wire!
 
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