Test Drove A 1999 M3 Conv Today... - BMW Forum - BimmerWerkz.com
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#1 (permalink) Old 08-03-2005, 10:19 PM
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In a nutshell, here's the car I test drove today. Silver 1999 M3 Conv with auto trans., black interior and 65,200 miles...asking price is $18,500 from a private seller.

Overall appearance was good with NO noticeable paint scratches, windshield chips, faded paint, scuffed rims, etc.

Overall performance was good (starts easy, idles, accelerates and stops fine, smooth on the highway with no excessive wind noise/no air leaks).

PROS:
Appearance is nice,
New Tires;
Car is all stock except for Dinan CAI,
Never been wrecked according to Carfax report; and
Car has a 6 disc CD player in trunk (an accessory that I really wanted)

CONS:
Seller has no maintenance records and no idea if and when the Inspection 2 service was last done on this car;
No warranty left on this car,
Currently on its 4th owner in 6 years;
Seller thinks it still has the original water pump with plastic impeller; and
Car has several minor flaws that may be expensive to repair when added together including...

1) Brakes make squeal sound when stopping...seller thinks pads may need to be replaced (EXPENSIVE???),
2) Rear Conv Top window is cloudy and small tear along the seam (REAR WINDOW NEED REPLACEMENT),
3) When rolling down the Conv Top, the cover makes loud thump b/c the bottom of the conv top (near window area) collides with the cover that opens up to store the conv top...this collision is NOT enuf to prevent it from working, but it appears to need some kind of adjustment or perhaps new straps??? (NOT SURE HOW TO FIX THIS PROBLEM),
4) "Brake Light Circuit" warning light comes on occasionally (but not during my test drive),
5) Missing driver side floormats (probably need to replace all so as to match), and
6) Tint on one side window (rear) needs to be replaced (probably need to replace all tint so as to match).

Overall, I like the way it looks (good condition) and drives, and feel the above problems are not MAJOR. However, I'm guessing the total cost to repair everthing above as well as to get the maintenance items done (Inspection 2 Service and water pump replacement) will end up costing me $2K or more. I'm assuming that the seller is NOT willing to Fix the above items and NOT willing to drop the price enuf to correct all of the above issues (he tells me that he recently dropped the price to $18,500 to account for the problems it has - but I think he needs to drop it another $2K).

QUESTION:
So what do you guys think of this car??? Should I pass on it and keep looking or take the next step to negotiate with him (I had planned to spend $100 or so for a dealership to inspect the car where they might find even MORE problems)?
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#2 (permalink) Old 08-04-2005, 04:52 AM
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I think that's a good price! A lot of the problems are pretty common and expected. Brake pads are not too expensive. Like $100 for all 8 pads in ceramic!


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#3 (permalink) Old 08-04-2005, 09:40 AM
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Quote:
Originally posted by mikeyboy_esq+Aug 3 2005, 10:19 PM--><div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(mikeyboy_esq @ Aug 3 2005, 10:19 PM)</div><div class='quotemain'>In a nutshell, here's the car I test drove today. Silver 1999 M3 Conv with auto trans., black interior and 65,200 miles...asking price is $18,500 from a private seller.[/b]

That's not bad for that mileage - although preferably argue down to at least $17500 for that. I got mine at 61k miles for $17k flat. Also note, that stock - that is the slowest m car of the e36 m's. Not that it matters. It's still an m. But don't start racing yet...

Quote:
Originally posted by mikeyboy_esq@Aug 3 2005, 10:19 PM
PROS:
Appearance is nice,
New Tires;
Car is all stock except for Dinan CAI,
Never been wrecked according to Carfax report; and
Car has a 6 disc CD player in trunk (an accessory that I really wanted)
Sounds good there. What kind of tires? OEM Dunlops, or some other?

Quote:
Originally posted by mikeyboy_esq@Aug 3 2005, 10:19 PM
CONS:
Seller has no maintenance records and no idea if and when the Inspection 2 service was last done on this car;
No warranty left on this car,
Currently on its 4th owner in 6 years;
Seller thinks it still has the original water pump with plastic impeller; and
Car has several minor flaws that may be expensive to repair when added together including...
Not sure about this, but I thought the impellers were metal after '96? Everything else sounds pretty normal. Get that inspection done ASAP after buying; it will be expensive though. Expect around $800 but the give or take is tremendous. ($500-$1300)

Quote:
Originally posted by mikeyboy_esq@Aug 3 2005, 10:19 PM
1) Brakes make squeal sound when stopping...seller thinks pads may need to be replaced (EXPENSIVE???),
This is normal. OEM brakes squeal like a muddafugga. But they stop you better than anything out there.

Quote:
Originally posted by mikeyboy_esq@Aug 3 2005, 10:19 PM
2) Rear Conv Top window is cloudy and small tear along the seam (REAR WINDOW NEED REPLACEMENT),
3) When rolling down the Conv Top, the cover makes loud thump b/c the bottom of the conv top (near window area) collides with the cover that opens up to store the conv top...this collision is NOT enuf to prevent it from working, but it appears to need some kind of adjustment or perhaps new straps??? (NOT SURE HOW TO FIX THIS PROBLEM),
Don't know much about convertible maintenance, never owned one. :P sorry couldn't help you.

Quote:
Originally posted by mikeyboy_esq@Aug 3 2005, 10:19 PM
4) "Brake Light Circuit" warning light comes on occasionally (but not during my test drive),
5) Missing driver side floormats (probably need to replace all so as to match), and
6) Tint on one side window (rear) needs to be replaced (probably need to replace all tint so as to match).
That brake light circuit thing is common amongst all e36's. If you're lucky you can get it fixed for free, otherwise you're looking at a labor charge. The tint shouldn't cost too much, but I'm not sure exactly on price if you're looking to match. The floormats... Well, he probably kept his Dinan mats, it's not too hard for replacements, but it can get pricey ($125?!?!?) for some nice, purty and functional mats.

Quote:
Originally posted by mikeyboy_esq@Aug 3 2005, 10:19 PM
Overall, I like the way it looks (good condition) and drives, and feel the above problems are not MAJOR. However, I'm guessing the total cost to repair everthing above as well as to get the maintenance items done (Inspection 2 Service and water pump replacement) will end up costing me $2K or more. I'm assuming that the seller is NOT willing to Fix the above items and NOT willing to drop the price enuf to correct all of the above issues (he tells me that he recently dropped the price to $18,500 to account for the problems it has - but I think he needs to drop it another $2K).
Pretty good estimate, but I'd place it nearer to about $2500 for maintenance, give or take $500.

<!--QuoteBegin-mikeyboy_esq
@Aug 3 2005, 10:19 PM
QUESTION:
So what do you guys think of this car??? Should I pass on it and keep looking or take the next step to negotiate with him (I had planned to spend $100 or so for a dealership to inspect the car where they might find even MORE problems)?
[snapback]367221[/snapback]
[/quote]
Personally, I would wait. I didn't wait when I picked up my current car, and although I am glad - my current car is an automatic, and I would definitely be having even more fun with a manual or SMG. As the car is a convertible, I would definitely wait on a manual - unless you don't care to much about speed. Then get the automatic. For me, my deciding factor was that it was a sedan - a rare breed of the e36 m3's. In the end, and I know I sound stupid, but what does your "heart" tell you? Could you live with it if you had to fork over the $$$ for maintenance? Could you live with yourself if you waited a bit? Truth to be told, I am happy I jumped the gun and bought this car. It has given me so much to look forward to every day, it is well worth the price. I needed a new break, and bad, and this car was it. It was my dream, I chased and caught it. Do what you think is best.


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#4 (permalink) Old 08-04-2005, 01:02 PM
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You guys have been great! I can't tell you how much it means to get this kind of feedback from well-informed BMW owners like yourselves...the internet is a WONDERFUL thing, indeed.

Anyway, I think my "heart" is telling me to wait...so I am inclined to wait for now. Altho I like the overall performance of a 98/99 M3 Conv, I would probably be just as happy with a 2001 or 2002 330i Conv. for my type of daily driving. The 01/02 330i Conv. has only 15 hp less than the 98/99 M3 Conv, plus it has some upgrades to boot. Problem is that the 01/02 330i Conv are more expensive than the 98/99 Conv right now, so maybe if I don't find an M3 Conv that I really like in the next year, perhaps I can save up enuf coin to get the 330 Conv. instead.

Thanx again for everyone's feedback!

Happy trails...
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#5 (permalink) Old 08-04-2005, 01:38 PM
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Well, in return, you did give us nice, specific information to work with; which is hard to find these days. It wasn't a one line, "What do you think" post. A well informing question gets a well informed answer, yes.
Anyway, I was just going to put another dime and a half in about the car - just to tell you that although a 330 might have only 15 less horsepower, ///m is more than just horsepower. By "downgrading" to a 330 (which is still an awesome car), you lose a bit in terms of maneuverability, torque/acceleration, stability, trim, braking power, steering response, road feel, and of course the pride in knowing your car is part of the motorsport legacy that is ///m.
Of course, if that's not your bag - the 330 is definitely a nice ride. Plus e46's are hot.
And not to mention the sport package decreases that performance gap a LOT.


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#6 (permalink) Old 08-04-2005, 02:32 PM
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Quote:
In the end, and I know I sound stupid, but what does your "heart" tell you? Could you live with it if you had to fork over the $$$ for maintenance? Could you live with yourself if you waited a bit? Truth to be told, I am happy I jumped the gun and bought this car. It has given me so much to look forward to every day, it is well worth the price. I needed a new break, and bad, and this car was it. It was my dream, I chased and caught it. Do what you think is best.
I don't care what anybody says, this is the spirit of BMW. Or maybe just getting a new car... But this is the same thing that I did with my BMW. Did/do I want an ///M? Yes. But I jumped into something that needed a lot of work, and am learning a whole hell of a lot about BMW. That is reward enough.

p.s. Sorry about talking out of turn in these hallowed halls.

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#7 (permalink) Old 08-04-2005, 02:32 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by 4evrwyntr@Aug 4 2005, 01:38 PM
Well, in return, you did give us nice, specific information to work with; which is hard to find these days. It wasn't a one line, "What do you think" post. A well informing question gets a well informed answer, yes.
Anyway, I was just going to put another dime and a half in about the car - just to tell you that although a 330 might have only 15 less horsepower, ///m is more than just horsepower. By "downgrading" to a 330 (which is still an awesome car), you lose a bit in terms of maneuverability, torque/acceleration, stability, trim, braking power, steering response, road feel, and of course the pride in knowing your car is part of the motorsport legacy that is ///m.
Of course, if that's not your bag - the 330 is definitely a nice ride. Plus e46's are hot.
And not to mention the sport package decreases that performance gap a LOT.
[snapback]367361[/snapback]
4evrwyntr,
Yeah, I know what you mean about asking specific questions on the forums...I am quite active on some ATV (4 wheeler) forums, so I am used to lots of one liner questions that don't give enuf info...can be very frustrating at times.

Good points about the comparison to the E46 330i Conv...and If I end up looking for one, I hope you are right about the 330's Sport Package bridging the gap somewhat to the performance the E36 M3 Conv.

As a follow-up, the new tires installed on this M3 Conv. are FUSION...I am not familiar with these tires and I don't know if that it a good tire or not. I think he said he bought them at a local Firestone shop and that they were not very expensive (paid about $700 - $750 for all 4 tires). Do you have any idea if these are decent tires?

Also, I just called the seller of the M3 Conv to let him know that I like his car overall, but I'm not planning to pursue his car anymore b/c of the total cost of the many repair/maintenance items needed to put his car back into good condition.

I got some local quotes on some of the needed repair work...looks like $1000 (including labor at local BMW Certified shop) to replace pads, sensors and rotors (assuming all items are needed), $500 to replace the rear window with a genuine BMW window, $450 for the Inspection 2 service at a local BMW certified shop and I'm still using the other estimates stated above for window tint, floormats, etc. Total estimates are close to $2,500.

For grins, I told the seller that if he were interested in dropping his price by $2,500 (new asking price would be $16,000), then I might be interested in discussing it further with him. The thing is that he is moving up north in the next few months and does not intend to bring this car with him...so if he still has the car at that time....who knows, I might get lucky and buy this car for cheap. If not, I'll just keep looking.

Happy trails...
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#8 (permalink) Old 08-04-2005, 07:56 PM
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Sounds like you got it all worked out.
I personally have never ridden on Fusions (Those the ZRi's?), but many people on the boards here with e36's have them, and I haven't heard anything bad, so I guess one could infer that they are not bad tires. I will have to say though, that I got Pirelli PZero Nero M&S's for $650 (not including install) and these are no cheap tires (although I have to put more air in my driver side front, poop)! Ah, that's really just a matter of perspective.
And $450 for the inspection? Wow. Maybe I estimated too high. That's how much an inspection for my old 318 was. I figured they'd bump up the price, not including parts. Guess I was wrong.
And ldsbeaker, you are not butting in on anything. Not like you're going to burn in here for not owning an ///m (MODS!!! I GOT ONE!). Are you stalking me? The last 489289754 posts I made you were right after me and in agreement. It's kind of weirding me out.


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