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E46 M3 (2001-2006)

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  #1  
Old 04-05-2012, 07:47 PM
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Din Din is offline
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Ok, so I am seriously thinking about getting an E46 M3 now.. Need advice.

So I really decided I wanted to build a road race car with the e46 M3. I have had an 03 745li before and after 100k miles it started to give me some trouble so I got rid of it. I have always liked the e46 m3 when it came out. My questions are what should I be looking for when I look at a car? What are the known issues on these cars? I am fairly mechanically inclined so I could attempt to try to fix something if it came up. I will be looking at a few 2004's one of SMG and one with 6 speed manual. One is a convertible and the other is not. The convertible has dealer service records and has about 65k miles on it and they are asking 21900. Is that a fair price? The other one is a coupe with 85k miles for 19999. Will I even like an e46 m3? Please let me know what bimmerfest thinks. Thank you.

Last edited by Din; 04-05-2012 at 07:59 PM.
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  #2  
Old 04-06-2012, 06:06 AM
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Pinecone Pinecone is offline
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What do yuo mean by road race car?

In general, convertibles are not desired for track cars. They are heavier and less torsionally rigid.

The one big issue with the E6s is the rear subframe mounting points. They tend to crack and tear where the subframe mounts. Turner Motorsports and some others, have reinforcement kits to repiar or prevent this from occuring.
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  #3  
Old 04-07-2012, 02:30 PM
M34ME M34ME is offline
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Mein Auto: 2002 M3 Cabriolet SMG
Hey Din, I recently went down the same path.

I ended up with a convertible and you can't wipe the smile off my face. The downside is that it's not optimal as a track vehicle. In fact, many tracks won't even allow convertibles.

BUT, you cannot wipe the smile off my face on a beautiful sunny day when I am driving my E46 M3 with the top down!

The only thing you can really watch for in advance is to make sure whatever vehicle you purchased had the recall work done for the rod bearings. You should be able to check with local BMW before purchasing. Usually, any owner would have gotten this done, but it's good to check before purchasing.

As far as the car goes, it's pure joy to drive! I have no regrets.
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2002 E46 M3 Cabriolet - SMG

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  #4  
Old 04-07-2012, 05:44 PM
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im so undecided right now. There is a hot red vert that I want to get but am thinking about the future of taking it on the track. I wont be hard core tracking and I know there are some places that allow verts. Idunno...
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  #5  
Old 04-08-2012, 05:59 AM
MJS MJS is offline
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Personally, I'd get a coupe. I've never been a convertible kind of guy. Especially if you're thinking of taking it to a track. Chances are, when you do, you'll like it and want to do it more. Having a vert will handicap you in that world.

SMG vs Traditional Manual - Personal preference I suppose. I like the traditional manual. I'll leave it at that.

Pricing - will be all over the place depending on mileage and condition.

Known issues/things to look out for:
- Rod Bearing recall. Should be done, none issue.
- Clunk in differential. Fairly normal, but can be annoying at times.
- Vanos. Exhaust cam hub tabs breaking off. Bolts backing out. My car is fine (had it checked at Inspection II), but there seems to be a lot of reports of this on the interwebs lately.
- Subframe cracks. Verts may not be affected by this.
- Normal wear and tear items for the mileage your looking at - RTABs, RSMs, belts cracking, brakes, power steering lines, Inspection II.

Have the car you're looking to buy checked out by an independant BMW mechanic. Even if it's for sale at a dealer.

Good luck.
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  #6  
Old 04-08-2012, 08:56 AM
M34ME M34ME is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MJS View Post
SMG vs Traditional Manual - Personal preference I suppose. I like the traditional manual. I'll leave it at that.
I have the SMG transmission in my car. Truth is I really enjoy it!

There are times, particularily with downshifting that I think I would enjoy the traditional manual. But when I am stuck in slow traffic somewhere, those feelings fade away quickly.

I think it depends on your age. I find the "video game" generation enjoys the SMG transmission more then the old school enthusiasts.

One thing I know for sure, there is a lot of "FUD" (Fear Uncertainty and Doubt) out there around SMG which shys many buyers away. If you decide to go with the SMG unit, use that to your advantage when negotiating a sale price. It helped me.
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2002 E46 M3 Cabriolet - SMG

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  #7  
Old 04-08-2012, 12:30 PM
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1) There was never a recall for the rod bearings. There were two service actions. A few cars came under both, a good number came under the second one. But it only effects the 2002 model years, although some 2003s were included for customer contentment. Very few were not done because failure to comply voided the warranty on the engine. But any dealer can tell you it it was done if you have th eVIN.

2) SMG is very nice, especially at the track. There is a reason that in every racing class where it is allowed, it rules. No matter how good you think you are at downshifting, it takes a substantial amount of thought to do so well. SMG gives you more concentration to nail your braking and turn in.

3) The cracks are in the in subframe, but in the body/chassis where the subframe mounts. It occurs in ALL E46 cars. Not just Ms and not just coupes/sedans.
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'95 Alpine M3 LTW
'00 Dakar M Roadster
'02 Topaz M3
Red/White SRF #4 (Chassis 561)
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  #8  
Old 04-08-2012, 04:03 PM
MJS MJS is offline
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1) Ya ya, I know. My car had both service actions.

2) Not disputing SMG's effectiveness at the track. I'm sure it shines there. "My preference" for a daily driver, or even weekend machine, is the traditional manual.

3) Ya ya, I know. Just using the general term.
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  #9  
Old 04-09-2012, 07:18 PM
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going with the vert . Pick up tomorrow.
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  #10  
Old 04-09-2012, 08:28 PM
M34ME M34ME is offline
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Enjoy!
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2002 E46 M3 Cabriolet - SMG

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  #11  
Old 04-10-2012, 03:06 AM
MJS MJS is offline
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Congrats! Post up some pics.
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