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E46 330ci purchase help

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53dke View Drop Down
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    Posted: 27 Dec 2017 at 11:25am
I am going to look at a 330ci auto 2003 with 62k is there anything in particular that I should look for problem wise? It has a full service history mainly independent.
I have owned a few BMW but nothing of this age or size they have being mainly 5 series with a x5 and z4 thrown in, this is going to be a weekend car so will not be doing lots of miles in it as I run an F11 D for daily use.
Any advice is appreciated.
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Nick Wright View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Nick Wright Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27 Dec 2017 at 3:21pm
They are really nice cars with a great engine but sadly they get let down by rusty panels and uncomfortable front seats but the real achilles heel for these cars are the weak mounting points for the diff which likes to break away from the rest of the car.
Everything can be repaired though if you find a car you like.
MPG is poor on these 3litre M54's, I get mid 20's dropping to single figures on a trackday and topping out at 29 on steady run.

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53dke View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote 53dke Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27 Dec 2017 at 4:51pm
Thanks for the info Nick.
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NickDE View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote NickDE Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27 Dec 2017 at 6:48pm
The front wings rust from the inside out, so any sign of rust here and you need a new wing. A relatively easy job though so use it as a bargaining tool.
Rear wings can rust too - a bigger issue.
Engine and gearbox should run forever. The VANOS system can play up (rough cold idle and engine feels a bit flat mid rev range), is fixable though.
Suspension is likely to be a bit tired at that age and mileage. New shocks and assorted bushes will transform it.
The cooling system can cause hassles. The bottom of the radiator can bow down and then fail, the expansion tank and hoses can age and split, plus thermostat and water pump get old and tired.
Otherwise just watch out for general neglect. Many E46s are at that age where owners try to avoid investing in repairs. Plan on spending about £500 a year on repairs and replacement parts.
A good E46 is a good choice. I have a 328i Touring and a 330ci. Both are well over 100000 miles and show no signs of stopping.
Darkness gone, go Darknes2, go Frozen, go Tronic
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rpennington View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote rpennington Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27 Dec 2017 at 7:40pm
Hi
When I owned my 1999 E46 323i during the 12 years I owned it, I changed all front rubber bushes possible to powerflex, front lower wishbones due to bushes failing(bushes can't be replaced),rear trailing arm bushes, water pump(precautionary),viscous fan coupling,coolant expansion tank(seam split), front brake calliper (pistons seized), rear shock absorbers,protective tubes,additional dampers & all relevant parts for the top mounts as these are common. Front wings for genuine BMW as pattern panels aren't guaranteed a good fit, I had them repaired but the rust came back again with a vengeance so ended up changing for new ones. The wheel arch liners are too close to the backs of the wings & so rubs the paint off the back of the wings & hence they rust due to wet & muck getting trapped in. The other common problem is the jacking up points corrode & fail.
All the above apart from the jacking up points were replaced between the space of about 80k miles that I did in my ownership & being a daily vehicle before I p/x'ed it.
Apart from general servicing & the above I enjoyed owning the car & if the car has been looked after & maintained properly the 6 cylinder engines are virtually bullet proof.

Regards
Rich

Edited by rpennington - 27 Dec 2017 at 7:45pm
2011-E90 325d M Sport
1999-E46 323i se Saloon - Sold

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