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E46 M3 (2001-2006)

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  #1  
Old 08-21-2011, 12:38 PM
tjprattctr tjprattctr is offline
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Looking for my first M3 and asking for your help! What to look for!

Hello all,
I'm fairly new to the BMW world. I bought my first one about 3 years ago and absolutely loved it. I bought a 2004 BMW 330CI 6spd. I got it with about 29k on it. This car has been great to me. I have now decided to sell it and pick up a M3 around the same year, since that is what I originally wanted in the first place. I have been looking and for the $25,000 range and decided I can get something pretty decent. I'm looking for all the advice I can get on what to look for, and what I should be getting. I'm not sure what to look for or where my money would be best spent. I'm thinking towards a 2002-2004 E46 w/ somewhere between 50k-100k is what I'm seeing. Is the Dinan that much better than the regular M3? And is the 6spd better or the SMG? I can't imagine buying something that I don't actually clutch. I am addicted to driving my 6spd but have heard great things about the SMG and am noticing most M3's are SMG. What should I look for as far as mileage on these? Are there certain things prone to going wrong with a certain amount of miles? Thank you everyone for your help and I apologize ahead of time for my lack of knowledge on the situation, which is why I come to you!

Last edited by tjprattctr; 08-21-2011 at 12:46 PM.
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  #2  
Old 08-21-2011, 12:45 PM
tjprattctr tjprattctr is offline
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This is what I have now.
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  #3  
Old 08-21-2011, 07:54 PM
CybrSlydr CybrSlydr is offline
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I. Am in the same-ish boat as you. I'm looking at 05/06 though for lower miles, but an 04 wouldn't be bad...

Imread alot about SMG pump and gear sensors going bad often. Also since they won't repair them at dealership, they just replace them - and they don't make anymore.

So, I think 6spd is the wqy to go, but I have a broken ankle. So I'll have to wqit, unless I gamble on an SMG.

Also read that the cooling system (radiator) parts are fail prone around 100k, so keep an eye out with a higher milage car.

On pre... 03?, M3s, something about cracked subframes as well tomlook for.

This is what I can recall off hand. These forums have a great E46 wiki with things to look out for and what is prone to fail.
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Old 08-21-2011, 08:09 PM
tjprattctr tjprattctr is offline
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Those are the reasons I'm looking at 04's. Due to the Sub frame issue and the tail lights being led, as I know you can convert these. Plus my price range won't really let me go much higher. Trying to spend between 23-25g.
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Old 08-21-2011, 08:26 PM
CybrSlydr CybrSlydr is offline
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I'm also looking in the 23-25k range. Did you see the M3 thread in here with a 2003.5 with 26k on it? He's down to 23,750 - and I'm tempted, but Florida is too far away.
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Tool, "Vicarious"

"Credulous at best, your desire to believe in. Angels in the hearts of men.

Pull your head on out you hippy, and give a listen. I shouldn't have to say it all again.

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  #6  
Old 08-21-2011, 08:27 PM
CybrSlydr CybrSlydr is offline
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http://www.bimmerfest.com/forums/sho...d.php?t=562546

SMG though.
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Tool, "Vicarious"

"Credulous at best, your desire to believe in. Angels in the hearts of men.

Pull your head on out you hippy, and give a listen. I shouldn't have to say it all again.

The universe is hostile, so impersonal. Devour to survive, so it is, so it's always been."
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  #7  
Old 08-22-2011, 12:28 PM
tjprattctr tjprattctr is offline
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Yeah, I have decided two things to not compromise on. One is it has to be atleast a 2004. The other is NO SMG! lol
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  #8  
Old 08-23-2011, 11:18 AM
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Love SMG.

And all the years are pretty much the same except for a few minor things. Color choices, LED tail lights, interior trim, and later the Competition Package.

Considering the number sold, spotty reports of failures are to expected.

And finally SMG has a clutch. It just doesn't have a clutch pedal. But neither to F1 cars.
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  #9  
Old 08-24-2011, 11:53 AM
tjprattctr tjprattctr is offline
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I know the SMG has a clutch. It's not that I think it's a bad transmission. I just like the joy of shifting and clutching myself. It adds to the enjoyment of driving for me. I'm well aware that if I'm racing someone with a SMG they instantly have an edge on me. Not what I'm getting it for tho.
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  #10  
Old 08-24-2011, 11:50 PM
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ketchup ketchup is offline
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IIRC the subframe issue affected ALL E46 frames, of ALL years. So make sure to check it.

The bearing recall was for 01-03 models.

Alternator usually goes out around 80k. If not performed already, a valve adjustment and new spark plugs around that time too. Stay away if the motor has a rattle can noise (vanos defect).
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  #11  
Old 08-25-2011, 12:11 AM
tjprattctr tjprattctr is offline
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Well, I think I have decided what I want. I am looking for a 2004-05 M3 Dinan 6-spd Manual. Just can't find one lol. Either way, thank you for the information. I have heard a lot of people talk about the subframe issue but am honestly not sure what it is or how to look for it.
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  #12  
Old 08-26-2011, 01:45 AM
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YOu can add the Dinan, although for every piece they have, there are better ones available from others.

And as has been said, year doesn't matter except for a few minor things and color choice.

I find SMG just as engaging to drive, just in a different way.
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  #13  
Old 08-26-2011, 11:21 AM
tjprattctr tjprattctr is offline
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Well, the subframe issue scares me away from buying anything pre-2004. That's my main concern. Has anyone seen this car? Check this link out. It's a 2001.5 M3 with Dinan and 6spd. The main reason I'm scared of it, besides the miles is the year. The seller said that they never got the reinforcements for the frame because the suspension had to be stock to bring it back in and theirs was not. The seller also said that there is absolutely no issue with the frame however. What do you guys think. Would you consider this car?

http://losangeles.craigslist.org/wst...560065924.html
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  #14  
Old 08-26-2011, 03:09 PM
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Why?

The issue affects all E46 chassis cars.

ANd it can be fixed/prevented by installing the Turner Motorsport reinforcement kit.
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