1 2
MCON1294
MCON1294 New Reader
6/8/11 10:25 a.m.

It's finally that time when one realizes the Miata is no passenger car and buying a coupe did nothing to ease the back seat passengers. The word Sedan comes to mind, and being one of those people that cringes at the word civic, I looked in the direction of BMW. The problem was that I had tried this before, searching for a decent E36-E46 3-Series, the Coupe models but all the same nearly impossible to find.

So far the most difficult buying point as a person who loves cars is finding a manual transmission.

The goal is simple: 5k-6k Budget, Passenger Comfort, Manual Transmission, somewhere in the lower east U.S. ( For some reason the majority of decent 3 series cars are located in CA.)

I would be willing to consisder a 5-Series, I would even be willing to consider a high milage car due to the budget.

This post is more about the ways of accomplishing this goal. I have used the power of the internet, almost all of the used car locating sites, old fashioned newspaper classified hunts, even looking locally and browsing the satanist DEALERSHIPS. I am resorting to bothering GRM to see if I can locate one of these cars, and learn more about the proper way to search for the Ultimate Driving Machine.

Help is welcome, even if it is only to tell me off. :P

MadScientistMatt
MadScientistMatt Dork
6/8/11 10:56 a.m.

How many miles do you consider high mileage? They seem to be all over the Atlanta area if you don't mind around 150k-180k or so on the clock. With how well these things cruise on the highway, it seems unlikely to find them with really low miles, but the engine and drivetrain are pretty tough so I wouldn't worry too much about that mileage range. You do have to dig through a lot of listings for slushboxes, but the manual ones are out there.

mad_machine
mad_machine SuperDork
6/8/11 11:02 a.m.

I am unsure of the sedan actually has any more leg room in the back than the coupe. You best bet may be a 5er

nderwater
nderwater Dork
6/8/11 11:21 a.m.

What are your priorities? An E39 makes a much better people hauler than E36/E46, but I wouldn't take one to a driving event.

HStockSolo
HStockSolo New Reader
6/8/11 12:11 p.m.

I am thinking of selling my 1994 325i Sport w/LSD because of how it refuses to turn. Sure, I could spend it into something decent for STX or DSP. I know it is too much to ask a German luxury car to handle well stock. I miss my 1995 Saturn SW2. The sheer shock of a little plastic wagon out handling most of the other cars is worth it. But for similar reasons (i.e., back seat useability) my SC2 has to go.

The 5-series was rather primitive until the E39 (1997+). The M54 powered 530i might be a good choice. It is not much heavier than a E46 330i.

stealthfighter1
stealthfighter1 Reader
6/8/11 12:26 p.m.

craigslist florida

Giant Purple Snorklewacker
Giant Purple Snorklewacker SuperDork
6/8/11 12:33 p.m.
HStockSolo wrote: I am thinking of selling my 1994 325i Sport w/LSD because of how it refuses to turn. ........ I know it is too much to ask a German luxury car to handle well stock. I miss my 1995 Saturn SW2.

This is possibly the strangest series of sentences I have ever read on a car forum. Ok, no it isn't but I like pie. I miss my Trabant.

clutchsmoke
clutchsmoke Reader
6/8/11 12:51 p.m.

Have you searched the bimmerforums? If you want to be able to actually fit people in the back I would get a 530i.

njansenv
njansenv HalfDork
6/8/11 12:52 p.m.
Giant Purple Snorklewacker wrote:
HStockSolo wrote: I am thinking of selling my 1994 325i Sport w/LSD because of how it refuses to turn. ........ I know it is too much to ask a German luxury car to handle well stock. I miss my 1995 Saturn SW2.

This is possibly the strangest series of sentences I have ever read on a car forum. Ok, no it isn't but I like pie. I miss my Trabant.

I think there's something wrong with your specific 325i.

nderwater
nderwater Dork
6/8/11 12:57 p.m.
Giant Purple Snorklewacker wrote:
HStockSolo wrote: I am thinking of selling my 1994 325i Sport w/LSD because of how it refuses to turn. ........ I know it is too much to ask a German luxury car to handle well stock. I miss my 1995 Saturn SW2.

This is possibly the strangest series of sentences I have ever read on a car forum. Ok, no it isn't but I like pie. I miss my Trabant.

Replacing my wrecked Saturn SL2 with an E30 325is was a revelation in how a car could handle. What next, are you going to tell me that driving a Miata makes you miss the crisp turn-in of your old Plymouth Reliant?

HStockSolo
HStockSolo New Reader
6/8/11 1:00 p.m.
njansenv wrote: I think there's something wrong with your specific 325i.

Sure, must be the Koni sports, or too much negative camber in the front. I am currently thinking a smaller front sway bar. The stock sport one is 25.5 mm, so plenty of smaller options--such as an M3 front bar. It is just a heavy car prone to understeer.

92CelicaHalfTrac
92CelicaHalfTrac SuperDork
6/8/11 1:01 p.m.

My stock one was actually somewhat tail-happy, the way i drove it...

Duke
Duke SuperDork
6/8/11 1:12 p.m.
clutchsmoke wrote: If you want to be able to actually fit people in the back I would get a 530i.

My two teenage daughters, neither of whom are particularly small girls, fit comfortably in the back seat of my E46, and I drive with the seat pretty far back.

I found mine on Autotrader, at a BMW dealer in far north New Jersey. Except for being a 325i instead of a 330i, it was exactly what I wanted, and the price was right. I just kept looking for a few months with my eye on the likely prospects.

I used BMW USA's car finder site, Autotrader, CL, the Jaxed SiteMash, and general searches. Sticks are hard to find and I drove 2.5 hours to get mine, though I did find a few closer.

nderwater
nderwater Dork
6/8/11 1:51 p.m.
Duke wrote: My two teenage daughters, neither of whom are particularly small girls, fit comfortably in the back seat of my E46, and I drive with the seat pretty far back.

LOL - don't let them hear you describe them that way, or there will be hell to pay.

The back seat of the E46 is a better fit for teens than for infant carseats.

mad_machine
mad_machine SuperDork
6/8/11 1:51 p.m.

odd.. understeer is not something you usually hear about with a BMW. I wonder if maybe it's the LSD pushing you into the corners.

my Ti has one of the last LSDs stuffed into a non-M car from the factory. I find it doesn't plow at all.. and never did, not even with the suspension was so rotted it fell apart in my hands

RossD
RossD SuperDork
6/8/11 1:57 p.m.

Use this to stay on top of your state's craigs list:

http://www.statewidelist.com/

nderwater
nderwater Dork
6/8/11 1:57 p.m.
mad_machine wrote: odd.. understeer is not something you usually hear about with a BMW.

I disagree - a little understeer is inherent in the factory setup. I don't remember having a problem overcoming it with throttle modulation, but is there. However, I would never say an E36 "refuses to turn in" unless maybe it had an alignment issue. My M3 has great turn-in, even despite the narrower front contact patches in the staggered tire setup. My Miata is better, it's also lots lighter and pretty modified.

Javelin
Javelin SuperDork
6/8/11 2:06 p.m.
HStockSolo wrote:
njansenv wrote: I think there's something wrong with your specific 325i.
Sure, must be the Koni sports, or too much negative camber in the front. I am currently thinking a smaller front sway bar. The stock sport one is 25.5 mm, so plenty of smaller options--such as an M3 front bar. It is just a heavy car prone to understeer.

Honestly man, I think there's something actually wrong with your car. Have you ever had it up on a frame rack at a body shop? I wouldn't be surprised if it has a tweaked nose rendering your hard work useless. Look deeper, chances are there's a problem.

Giant Purple Snorklewacker
Giant Purple Snorklewacker SuperDork
6/8/11 2:23 p.m.
Javelin wrote:
HStockSolo wrote:
njansenv wrote: I think there's something wrong with your specific 325i.
Sure, must be the Koni sports, or too much negative camber in the front. I am currently thinking a smaller front sway bar. The stock sport one is 25.5 mm, so plenty of smaller options--such as an M3 front bar. It is just a heavy car prone to understeer.

Honestly man, I think there's something actually wrong with your car. Have you ever had it up on a frame rack at a body shop? I wouldn't be surprised if it has a tweaked nose rendering your hard work useless. Look deeper, chances are there's a problem.

+2

ProDarwin
ProDarwin Dork
6/8/11 2:31 p.m.
Giant Purple Snorklewacker wrote:
HStockSolo wrote: I am thinking of selling my 1994 325i Sport w/LSD because of how it refuses to turn. ........ I know it is too much to ask a German luxury car to handle well stock. I miss my 1995 Saturn SW2.

This is possibly the strangest series of sentences I have ever read on a car forum. Ok, no it isn't but I like pie. I miss my Trabant.

LOL.

But seriously HS - you comparing the SW2 on 225 V710s vs the E36 on all seasons? Neither car handles great stock, but the E36 should be no worse than a Saturn.

clutchsmoke
clutchsmoke Reader
6/8/11 5:11 p.m.

In reply to Duke:

I've sat in the back of a couple E46 coupes. At 6' 170 I fit with relative comfort, but it was by no means roomy.

I personally let my passengers suffer whatever limited comfort awaits them when they ride with me.

njansenv
njansenv HalfDork
6/8/11 5:13 p.m.
HStockSolo wrote:
njansenv wrote: I think there's something wrong with your specific 325i.
Sure, must be the Koni sports, or too much negative camber in the front. I am currently thinking a smaller front sway bar. The stock sport one is 25.5 mm, so plenty of smaller options--such as an M3 front bar. It is just a heavy car prone to understeer.

I found that a bigger front bar REDUCED understeer, unless you have lots of spring... Body roll = lots of camber loss on these cars. Heavy is relative: 2870 isn't bad by today's terms.

MCON1294
MCON1294 New Reader
6/8/11 10:16 p.m.

In reply to MadScientistMatt: I suppose high mileage for that era would be 175k+ Then again the only two cars I own are only 75k and 103k so most would be considered high mileage to me. Like you said though the parts are solid, I would still consider those close to the 200k mark, the parents on the other hand might not.

MCON1294
MCON1294 New Reader
6/8/11 10:17 p.m.

In reply to nderwater: I was considering a sedan that I could take to track events and properly outfit for basic safety specifications, as it would replace my main AutoX'er

MCON1294
MCON1294 New Reader
6/8/11 10:19 p.m.

In reply to clutchsmoke: I know of two basic Bimmer forums that seem to be lacking a definitive classified section but that is still what I would consider. I will look for more specific forums. I like the idea of buying from someone on a forum as opposed to trying my luck with the local dealership, that is if a proper 5-speed ever shows up.

1 2
bJJNAcM1suIXeqFfh0wgDIXXyxFjQxCD