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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Taking over the family 323ci and wonder if I should putting in the Money to fix her up... or just use it until she drops? Any advice would be great! I'm not very knowledgeable with cars, so anyone can venture a guess to how much it will cost to fix all of this? :thumbup: Thank!

Lots of problems for this car and lots of work needs to be done
1. Airbag indicator light is on... sensor/electronic problem?
2. Left indicator light works only when it wants to...
3. interior rubber trim de-glued itself
4. Windshield cracked, needs replacement
5. Brake pad and disc needs replacement
6. Passenger side window malfunction (Window regulator problem??)
7. Needs complete new paint job, previous major repair looks like glossy spray paint...
8. AC filter needs to be replaced (Never changed since new)

Good thing is that engine runs well at 150k, both bank 1 and 2 sensors are replaced. Transmission seems to be pretty good as well.
 

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1. Airbag indicator light is on... sensor/electronic problem?
This is the biggest problem on your list. It is potentially costly to repair, but could be easy.



2. Left indicator light works only when it wants to...
Remove the Rear Tail Light Housing and look inside the connector on the housing side and on the vehicle side. Pull the cover back on the vehicle side to see the wires, look at the pin where the brown wire is, then look inside the housing and see what the mating pin looks like. If burned, you can easily install a jumper around the bd connection.


3. interior rubber trim de-glued itself
Glue it back on, or ignore it.


4. Windshield cracked, needs replacement
Call the glass company to install a new windshield.


5. Brake pad and disc needs replacement
Put new brakes on the car. 4 rotors and two sets of pads should be available for about $300. Buy the Brake Wear Sensors if you need them. Buy them anyway, you'll need them some day.


6. Passenger side window malfunction (Window regulator problem??)
This is easy to fix.


7. Needs complete new paint job, previous major repair looks like glossy spray paint...
Ignore the pain. You're getting the car for free...


8. AC filter needs to be replaced (Never changed since new)
??? This can be replaced in something like 2 minutes. Maybe less. The fact that this is even on your list of concerns means maybe you should scrap the car and move on to something that will clearly cost more but might be more reliable. This is like wondering it the house you are thinking of buying is gonna give you trouble because the porch light doesn't work. Seriously.


Everything on your list is something that you can easily fix at home, with the possible exception of the airbag light, and that might be easily fixed, just not at home. There is an issue with the early cars (yours is an early car) where the firmware that was loaded into the computer had some values set that were too close to the normal parameters of the vehicle systems, and a normal event could trigger a fault. The fix is to "reflash" the car, an authorized BMW service center can connect a diagnostic computer to the car and download an upgraded program to it. Among the parameters of the faulty program is the airbag (Supplemental Restraint System) that can set a fault by driving over a pothole.

Look on the driver side door pillar for the Production Date. If the date is earlier than Mar. 2000, then you should give serious consideration to flushing the transmission and getting fresh fluid put in. Old, dirty fluid can contribute to the car deciding on occasion that it does not want to go into Reverse, despite any desire on your part that it do so.
 

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How major of a repair are we talking about? Bent frame or suspension parts?
As for gas prices rising, you will like the mpg's out of it?
 

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How major of a repair are we talking about? Bent frame or suspension parts?
As for gas prices rising, you will like the mpg's out of it?
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks jdstrickland. I think the car is post Mar 2000, so far the transmission haven't given any problems. Do you know if bmw dealer will upgrade the firmware for free or at a nose bleeding premium charge?
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
haha I might've sounded more serious than it is. When my parents drove the car in a underground parking, they scraped driver side back door against the corner of the concrete wall. It was severely dented and scratched. When we did the repair, 2/3 of the car was repainted (include other small dents and scratches) for $800. As a result, the car now looks like a glossy spray pain finish...
 

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Thanks jdstrickland. I think the car is post Mar 2000, so far the transmission haven't given any problems. Do you know if bmw dealer will upgrade the firmware for free or at a nose bleeding premium charge?
Dealership does almost nothing for free. I need to have my DME (engine computer) updated, and they quoted me between $125-350 depending how long it will take.

Most dealerships in my area charge between 80-125 per hour.
 

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Yes, its worth fixing. Unless you want to drive something more practical or boring.
But then I'm just being bias. And don't listen to those who say save your money for something better than a 323. Its cheaper to repair than to replace an entire car if you DON'T NEED TO!
Just my 2 cents.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Dealership does almost nothing for free. I need to have my DME (engine computer) updated, and they quoted me between $125-350 depending how long it will take.

Most dealerships in my area charge between 80-125 per hour.
Can this be done other than the dealer or its best to contact dealer?
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Yes, its worth fixing. Unless you want to drive something more practical or boring.
But then I'm just being bias. And don't listen to those who say save your money for something better than a 323. Its cheaper to repair than to replace an entire car if you DON'T NEED TO!
Just my 2 cents.
Can't afford to trade this car for another, so its best to spend some money to fix her up. the 323ci is not a bad car, but the hideous paint job bothers me. Anyways, looks like all those problems are easy fixes, so I will put some time this summer to get them right. If I have extra money, I might even do a paintjob!

I will get some pictures up once I'm done exams.

Thanks
 

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Can this be done other than the dealer or its best to contact dealer?
I would look into an independent bmw/german shop to see if they are capable of fixing/updating it. You might get better rates. Your best bet is to call your local dealer too and see what their rates are, as they differ from dealer to dealer and region.
 

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You THINK?

Open the driver side door and look at the sticker.

An independent shop can reflash the car with the new firmware, They get an hour for the job, but it just takes a few minutes. They can actually look at the fault to see why the car is having a hissy fit at the same time.
 

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Yes. Your car is worth fixing. The only thing that may be expensive is determining why and fixing the air bag sensor. The rest can be handled without too much difficulty...

1. Airbag indicator light is on... sensor/electronic problem?
Need to get the code read first to determine what the problem may be. Could be simple (unlikely) or it may need to be replaced. Who knows at this point...

2. Left indicator light works only when it wants to...
Check the connector to see what kind of shape its in. JDStrickland suggestion about sounds on point.

3. interior rubber trim de-glued itself
Glue it back.

4. Windshield cracked, needs replacement
Get it replaced via insurance.

5. Brake pad and disc needs replacement
Check out youtube videos (e.g. type in e46 diy brakes.) It's not a tough job if the bolts come out easily...

6. Passenger side window malfunction (Window regulator problem??)
Do a search on this site for a solution. There are plenty.

7. Needs complete new paint job, previous major repair looks like glossy spray paint...
I wouldn't invest too much into a paint job for car. It really depends how bad it is.

8. AC filter needs to be replaced (Never changed since new)
It takes a couple of minutes to do and can make a difference. Simply DIY.

Unfortunately it doesn't sound like much preventative maintenance was done for the car. I would start doing some things to keep her running good. Changing of the waterpump, thermostat, expansion tank, and doing a coolant flush will give you peace of mind. I'm pretty much referring to a cooling system overhaul. Do a search. I'm sure you'll enjoy the car. Good luck.
 

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Yes......................its worth fixing!!!!!
Did you think anyone on this site would say no?????????????????????????????// i have built confidence with doing many things on my car diy!! As i can not take it to my mechanic! If you keep coming around here you will learn to do work on your car yourself and it is a wonderful feeling to be able to learn to do some of the repairs myself! Best of luck to you! And your beamer..........................congrats and welcome! :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
You THINK?

Open the driver side door and look at the sticker.

An independent shop can reflash the car with the new firmware, They get an hour for the job, but it just takes a few minutes. They can actually look at the fault to see why the car is having a hissy fit at the same time.
The car is parked at home, I'm out of town right now and so I will take a look when I'm back home. If it is pre March, I will definitely follow up with your concern.

Cheers,
 
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