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View Full Version : From MINIs to M3


slickfast
07-27-2008, 07:14 PM
Hey guys,

Just thought I'd drop a line to see what you think about this. I've been saving up for an 05 mini cooper s for a while now (2 years) and until recently have only been on the mini forums (NAM). I'm definitely a driver and I'm looking for as much car as 15-17 grand can get me (I'm a college kid).

Anyway, I was walking to work last week and saw a PRISTINE looking plum-colored e36 m3 coupe (manual, the only way i would want one). It had a for-sale sign on it with a phone number and these teasers: 1999, 52k miles, no mechanical problems, 100% stock. I want. I had ventured into getting an e36 m3 earlier but found the only manual versions had upwards of 80k miles on them, not something I'm inclined to get when spending 15 grand. but 52k, now thats more like it...

So for the last couple days I've been doing my reading about the car. KBB.com says $14860 for that very car in excellent condition. From what I've read, the big problems are that the water pump tends to go bad (at least on 95-97 until they had metal impellers), and the cooling system has to be like redone or something? Since I have only been looking really closely at these cars for a couple days, can you guys tell me how reliable yours have been? Moreso, are the parts as expensive as I would expect them to be? This is definitely something scary for me. Also, i'm going to school up in new hampshire so i was wondering if you guys put snows on steelie rims on your cars, and how big the steelies had to be to clear the brake rotors.

im SO excited about the possibility of an m3, i'm jumping out of my skin. I think I can be sure theyll handle as well as a mini cooper s, and theyve got a little more speed to play with. I've always loved them but never thought I would ever be able to get one! Thanks guys!

Bruce
07-27-2008, 07:25 PM
read the sticky at the top of the main forum...if the cooling system hasn't been addressed figure $1k-2k to get it up to snuff. The suspension will be shot by 60k...figure $1k-2k for that as well.

best bet it to get a PPI done on the car to see what the condition really is.

$15k is too much. I wouldn't pay more than 12.

slickfast
07-27-2008, 10:37 PM
wow alright, thats some serious cash for just keeping it going. are these numbers for dealer work or private mechanic? id love to take it to the dealer when possible, i dont want it to be one of the many mistreated M3's im seeing nowadays.

I'll ask the guy about the suspension and the cooling system. It did say no mechanical problems, but he might just not be listening to his car.

In the test drive, what should i be listening/feeling for to make sure the suspension and cooling system are up to snuff? Do the struts knock? Is there a temp gauge i should be watching? Thanks, im really liking this forum! :thumbup:

Bruce
07-28-2008, 07:42 AM
Low numbers are DIY (albeit high for DIY), high numbers are dealer prices

nothing to listen for...they just need to be done. The thermostat housing needs to be aluminum...if it is, the guy probably has had everything else done, if not you are living on borrowed time. Same goes for the suspension, it might feel ok, but all M3s stock suspension is gone at 60k.

BDL
07-28-2008, 11:21 AM
Regarding your question about snow tires. I put on 4 225/45 HR-17 Bridgestone Blizzak LM-25s on my E36 M3 and drove in 6 inches of snow in NH last winter. They are permanently mounted on cheap MSW 17x8 Type 5 silver wheels. They handle okay on the dry and great on snow. My ultra high performance summer tires would never make it.

e30e
07-28-2008, 12:26 PM
Hmm as a college kid with a m3, I'm very much a diy guy and have mechanic friends that being said if I wasn't those things my m3 would be sitting at home broken. Even that car with that low of miles is going to have issues. If you can find a mini for price range with cpo or warranty go for it first. I love my car but there is certain days I'm sure it see's my bank in the red and decides to take a dump on my chest. As for the fun factor, a mini s is ALMOST as fun as e36 m3 and handles ALMOST as well and its a fwd car.

slickfast
07-29-2008, 06:05 AM
Hmm as a college kid with a m3, I'm very much a diy guy and have mechanic friends that being said if I wasn't those things my m3 would be sitting at home broken. Even that car with that low of miles is going to have issues. If you can find a mini for price range with cpo or warranty go for it first. I love my car but there is certain days I'm sure it see's my bank in the red and decides to take a dump on my chest. As for the fun factor, a mini s is ALMOST as fun as e36 m3 and handles ALMOST as well and its a fwd car.

I hear ya man. I'm a DIY'er as well when I'm home, and I've had some damn unreliable but fun cars (85 vw cabrio wolfsburg w/5 speed). I would jump on a CPO mini or any good 05 or later mini but theyre either high mileage or older. PLUS, heres the update: I talked with the owner yesterday and he asked me 14 for it, which is 3k below what I was going to offer him! I'm taking a test drive today, but I am pretty much positive I'm getting it now. Thatll give me some money to play with as in new suspension when it goes as well as cooling system, snow tires etc.

Also, do the snows really have to be that wide? I was thinking like 205's or so, theyre way cheaper and they dont float on the the snow. With steely rims, should I go for 16's and get 50 or 60 sidewalls, which ever equals out to the same diameter as before? I just want to know how small I can go before they start interfering with the rotors. Im going to be in NH for the winter too, so a good set is very important to me.

Bruce
07-29-2008, 07:12 AM
smaller is better with snow tires....but be careful on the rim size as not many 16" wheels will clear the M3 rotors. I'd check with/buy from The Tire Rack as what they sell you will fit.

slickfast
07-29-2008, 11:29 AM
just got back from a test drive of the beast. It's quite a bit quicker than the mini, and has torque available ALL the time. LOVED it. It's in beautiful shape, here are the problems. Its got a buzzing front left speaker, there is a VERY slight dent on the right side (you can only see it when you look along the surface), the button for the govebox falls out, and about once a month apparently the OBD says the brake light is out when it isnt. No heated seats, who needs them. Seats btw are in GREAT condition, only a little wear on the drivers left bolster. Clutch feels perfect, and brakes are unbelievable. We had it going quite fast quite quickly, he was really nice and pretty much told me where the good places were to "try it out" in terms of acceleration and handling. I told him I'll take it, just give me a bit to get some money scraped up, and so were currently making a deposit agreement. I should have it fully in my possession by the end of the month. Cannot believe I am going to own this car. I'll have pictures up when I get it!

Bruce
07-29-2008, 01:16 PM
brake light message is most likely due to the brake light switch....$20 in parts, lots of swearing and standing on your head to get it replaced

slickfast
07-29-2008, 07:42 PM
brake light message is most likely due to the brake light switch....$20 in parts, lots of swearing and standing on your head to get it replaced

sounds awesome. :thumbup:

ill let ya know when ive got it! Thanks guys cant wait to be a part of the family.

philip|bsw
08-06-2008, 09:25 AM
Get the E36. You will NOT be disappointed. I own an E36 M3 and I've driven Mini Copper S's extensively. There is no comparison. Those things suck.

slickfast
08-06-2008, 10:13 AM
They most certainly do NOT suck, sorry. I bought the E36, and I'm completely happy with it. However, the mini is a more agile machine in the tight twisties. At those speeds its probably faster than the e36 as well. While i think the m3 is a higher performance machine all around, the mini is a ball to drive and more tossable around the corners; you just chuck the car into the corners, its hilariously fun. You have some test driving to do I think!

Brian McKinney
08-06-2008, 12:26 PM
what was the negotiated price??