Daylan C
Daylan C UltraDork
6/12/19 3:22 p.m.

I found a 2002 BMW 330CI with a manual trans, 142k miles and an owner that claims he's looking for trades. Is there anything I should watch for on these cars? Same Vanos and cooling system issues as the E36? Worse?

 

pointofdeparture
pointofdeparture PowerDork
6/12/19 3:37 p.m.

By far the biggest E46 concern is tearing the rear subframe out of the unibody. '99-00 cars were the worst, the design was "improved" in 2001 but still flawed, they never really fixed it at the factory but it seems to be more of a concern for cars tracked hard than street drivers.

Otherwise just typical BMW issues - double VANOS, DISA valve, cooling system, leaking oil filter housings, etc.

I had a 330ci and really loved it but I'm 6'3" and the A pillar always felt way too close to my face. I would buy a sedan if I had another E46 (steeper windshield angle and further forward). Like most European cars of the modern age they require regular upkeep and $$$ injections but you either find it worthwhile or you don't...

Daylan C
Daylan C UltraDork
6/12/19 3:43 p.m.

So basically it's an old German car and I should enter at my own risk. I messaged the seller offering my SN95 convertible as a trade. I have a suspicion he won't bite but that didn't stop the lady that just offered me an Escape for my Mustang either.

ddavidv
ddavidv PowerDork
6/12/19 4:09 p.m.

Window regulators. They must source them from the same factory that made 1st generation Focus ones.

Daylan C
Daylan C UltraDork
6/12/19 4:13 p.m.

Honestly I have my doubts about an other wise stock E46 that has the kidney grills blacked out with the tri color fins... 

buzzboy
buzzboy HalfDork
6/12/19 6:27 p.m.
ddavidv said:

Window regulators. They must source them from the same factory that made 1st generation Focus ones.

I didn't know that about e46s but the e36 ones suck royally. From what I've read BMW used a new type of grease on the regulators that they found out turns chalky and pasty over time causing the regulators to bind and bend. I had a bunch of trouble with my e36 before buying and correctly lubing new regulators.

MazdaFace
MazdaFace Dork
6/12/19 6:29 p.m.

Window regulators. Window regulators. Window regulators. Literally can't say it enough. Mine currently has 196k miles and is serving dd duty until I can get the ms6 on a lift to install parts. Honestly it's been one of the most reliable cars I've ever had. 

Ransom
Ransom PowerDork
6/12/19 11:13 p.m.

How stock is it supposed to be? Looks lowered to me, not that it necessarily makes me feel better about the grille.

Daylan C
Daylan C UltraDork
6/12/19 11:22 p.m.

In reply to Ransom :

I know almost nothing about the car at this point. Description literally just says "Trades?" Owner never replied to my message but I don't think I'll worry to much about it if he doesn't. 

Daylan C
Daylan C UltraDork
6/13/19 11:06 a.m.

How is the automatic in these cars? Car would mostly be a commuter f I did go looking for one so I don't have to have a manual trans in this one if the auto isn't complete junk.

MTechnically
MTechnically Reader
6/13/19 11:18 a.m.

If you are going to look for an auto, I'd definitely look for one with the ZF5HP19. Not sure exactly which cars came with it, but it's much more well regarded than the GM sourced slushboxes. Be wary with any auto BMW of that era, as it's very likely the transmission fluid and filters were never changed.

rslifkin
rslifkin UltraDork
6/13/19 11:32 a.m.
MTechnically said:

If you are going to look for an auto, I'd definitely look for one with the ZF5HP19. Not sure exactly which cars came with it, but it's much more well regarded than the GM sourced slushboxes. Be wary with any auto BMW of that era, as it's very likely the transmission fluid and filters were never changed.

That ZF trans should be in any 01+ (325 / 330).  The 99/2000 (323 / 328) had the GM trans.  

penultimeta
penultimeta HalfDork
6/13/19 2:38 p.m.

Watching with interest. I, too, have wondered how much the auto sucks the fun out of e46s. Near me, there appears to be far more decent and cheap auto e46s than manual e46s. 

pointofdeparture
pointofdeparture PowerDork
6/13/19 4:08 p.m.

Seems to be the opposite of what I'm reading above but when my old man decided he wanted an E39 we specifically sought out a 528i with the GM autobox. It doesn't need expensive unicorn piss fluids and can actually be serviced/rebuilt by your average trans shop.

We ended up finding a deal on a high-mileage one-owner car, it shifted a little goofy with 180k on the "lifetime fluid" but was otherwise flawless enough to take the chance; I did the trans fluid and filter with good 'ol Dexron as specified (the procedure SUCKS by the way since there is no drain bolt, only fill), and the car ran and shifted like new for the next 50k miles until a buddy of his got T-boned in it while pops was using his truck. (The car did its job, he walked away)

That said the earlier 323/328 cars have the worst of the subframe issues along with general "first model years of a new European car" issues so it's a tradeoff for sure.

MazdaFace
MazdaFace Dork
6/15/19 10:51 a.m.

Me: makes post about how great the e46 is doing as a DD

E46: lol watch this 

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