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3-Series (E46, E90) Chat relating to the BMW 3-Series from 1999 to Current. Models include: BMW 316i, BMW 318i, BMW 318Ci, BMW 320i, BMW 323i, BMW 325i, BMW 330i, BMW 328 Ci, BMW 328i, BMW 325i/xi, BMW 330Ci, BMW 320d, BMW 330d, BMW 335d.

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Old 01-10-2010, 11:01 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Newbie coming over from a Wrangler

Hello guys, after being a fan of Wranglers my whole life, I have found that it is time to get something more practical on fuel economy, but is still fun to drive. I have always liked the look BMW's and really it is the only car that I can see myself driving.

I'm in the market for an early E46, 99.5, 00, 01 area.

I have a couple questions though... What should I look for in my hunt for one? also are these cars reliable? What about fixing them my self? any common problems?

Coming from a Jeep I'm used to lots of space to work in the engine bay, not overly expensive repair costs, running things over, and 10MPG.


my budget is about 7500.

Thanks guys
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Old 01-10-2010, 11:14 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Welcome to the Werkz, I'll leave it to someone else to answer your questions. Do plenty of research before you jump in and buy something.
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Old 01-10-2010, 11:26 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Welcome to the Werkz, I'll leave it to someone else to answer your questions. Do plenty of research before you jump in and buy something.
Thank you! Yea I plan on doing a lot of research, that is why I joined this forum. I don't really know much about BMW's and I figured that this would be the best place to start.
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Old 01-10-2010, 11:52 PM   #4 (permalink)
OMFG another one!?
 
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Engine bay will be a tad tight. Look for a car with full service records; cooling systems (including water pump) and some gaskets can be issues. A good example is a hell of a great car though!
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Old 01-10-2010, 11:57 PM   #5 (permalink)
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+1 with witeshark......engine bay is a little tight, but a Great Car! Welcome to the Werkz..........


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Old 01-11-2010, 12:11 AM   #6 (permalink)
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As mentioned, E46's have a relatively tight engine bay and may require you to remove stuff in order to get to whatever you need to replace/repair. This is generally not that big of a deal.

I highly recommend you purchase a car with a full/good service history. I'm talking regular oil changes, common repair items taken care of, and a car that looks to be in good condition.

Some of the common issues with the E46 are failing window regulators, tail lamp wiring faults, the cooling systems have been known to be iffy (failing water pumps/failing radiators), VANOS unit failure/wear. Most of these issues would have more than likely been repaired by BMW during it's warranty (you will be able to determine this by the vehicles service history).

All of the above are relatively minor when compared to subframe failure which plagued the E46 chassis. However, BMW recently settles a class action lawsuit which means they will repair any damage that might occur. The repair kits for the subframe essentially involve welding on a reinforcement plate. Not all E4's suffer from this but it has been known to happen.

There's a really nice Wiki at Bimmerfest that has a ton of information about the E46. It is arguabley the most popular BMW ever produced and it is a fun car.

Click here for BimmerWiki

I will say one of the nicest things about the E46/3 series in general is the mass amounts of upgrades that can be done to them. There is a lot that can be done in terms of cosmetic and performance upgrades.

Best of luck finding your E46 and if you have any questions shoot them our way. I'm sure someone will answer whatever your question you may have.
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Old 01-11-2010, 08:29 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Welcome along to the Werkz....go for an E39 easier to work on....
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Old 01-11-2010, 08:32 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Plenty of reading for you to do on the E46 here

Car review: BMW 3-Series E46 (1998 - 2005)
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Old 01-11-2010, 09:35 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Thanks everyone! I'll be sure to check out that Bimmerwiki. Now I just got to get the Jeep sold!
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