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E46 (1999 - 2006)
The fourth generation 3 Series (E46 chassis) was introduced in 1999 and set the standard for engineering and performance during it's years of production including being named to Car & Driver's 10 best list every one of those years! ! -- View the E46 Wiki

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  #1  
Old 09-02-2012, 08:21 PM
semockr semockr is offline
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Unhappy 323i member

I became a bimmer when my 17yo daughter suffered love at first site with a white 2000 323i with 105k mi sitting on the North Central Ford used car lot for $6991.
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  #2  
Old 09-02-2012, 08:38 PM
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smolck smolck is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by semockr View Post
I became a bimmer when my 17yo daughter suffered love at first site with a white 2000 323i with 105k mi sitting on the North Central Ford used car lot for $6991.
Welcome. I'm in a straight shooter mood tonight so here is some feedback you probably don't want.

1. You overpaid by a good $1500.
2. You bought one of the most problematic versions of the E46
3. It probably needs at LEAST $1000 worth of parts to make it "reliable" and then another $1500-2000 per year after that.
4. If the subframe is cracked the car will be a MAJOR expense (like $5000) to get it fixed
5. If your daughter isn't paying attention and it ever overheats for more than about 2 minutes the engine will be ruined
6. A bunch of other stuff you will learn as you go along.

Bookmark us, you are gonna need us.

All that said, the E46 is a fine vehicle and when running properly, they are quite impressive. And on the bright side, it is one of the safest cars your daughter can drive.
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Originally Posted by Fast Bob View Post
now, go burn your Man Card, and buy yourself a Camry....

Last edited by smolck; 09-02-2012 at 08:49 PM.
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  #3  
Old 09-02-2012, 08:58 PM
semockr semockr is offline
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Previous owner worked out the kinks

I expect that the previous 11yr owner has corrected the issues or finally went broke trying.
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  #4  
Old 09-02-2012, 10:19 PM
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bmw330ci04 bmw330ci04 is offline
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welcome!

id have to agree with smolck on this one, that does seem like a lot of money for an old 323, but thats just me, and would have to agree on everything else on his list.. but fix whats wrong with it (if anything is) and it'll be a great car

good luck!
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  #5  
Old 09-02-2012, 10:27 PM
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Originally Posted by semockr View Post
I expect that the previous 11yr owner has corrected the issues or finally went broke trying.
Don`t bet on it....

Try to get a maintainance history from a BMW dealer, and you need to investigate the subframe issue ASAP to find out if that car was inspected, repaired, or whatever. They will run your VIN through their system to check.
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  #6  
Old 09-02-2012, 11:21 PM
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crowz crowz is offline
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Good luck on your purchase. Sounds like you did good considering you have one of the models with #1 track record for most miles with least problems vs all the other e46's since its the same model I have

Oh and my 2000 323i is getting close to 300,000 miles now.

Last edited by crowz; 09-02-2012 at 11:22 PM.
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  #7  
Old 09-03-2012, 07:49 AM
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smolck smolck is offline
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Originally Posted by crowz View Post
Good luck on your purchase. Sounds like you did good considering you have one of the models with #1 track record for most miles with least problems vs all the other e46's since its the same model I have

Oh and my 2000 323i is getting close to 300,000 miles now.
How can you say he did good? He overpaid by a LOT.

Don't forget, while you took a break from the forum for a couple years my 99 323i went to 254k miles. But, in that time I had to replace EVERY piece on that car. The trans broke, the subframe ripped out, the cooling system was replaced three times, the control arms were replaced multiple times, the problematic luk 20 power steering pump failed twice and so on and so on and so on.

I know you love your car, and it has been amazing, but just because you have experienced that doesn't mean all owners will. I am seeing more and more and more subframe failures on e46fanatics, it is bad enough where I tell EVERYONE to NEVER buy a pre 01 model.
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now, go burn your Man Card, and buy yourself a Camry....
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  #8  
Old 09-03-2012, 12:36 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by smolck View Post
How can you say he did good? He overpaid by a LOT.

Don't forget, while you took a break from the forum for a couple years my 99 323i went to 254k miles. But, in that time I had to replace EVERY piece on that car. The trans broke, the subframe ripped out, the cooling system was replaced three times, the control arms were replaced multiple times, the problematic luk 20 power steering pump failed twice and so on and so on and so on.

I know you love your car, and it has been amazing, but just because you have experienced that doesn't mean all owners will. I am seeing more and more and more subframe failures on e46fanatics, it is bad enough where I tell EVERYONE to NEVER buy a pre 01 model.
The degree I shift in posting that stuff has to do with the fact that yes some of you have had problems but I havent had any problems at all besides bushings needing replacing and normal wear items. He did overpay but thats water under the bridge so I didnt mention that part.

No subframe issues, no coolant system meltdowns. Heck Im still on the original alternator, transmission and most other parts. I have no idea why I never have problems as I drive the crap out of mine and it basically offroads daily handling my driveway. Still no major issues at all.

So I figured Id let the guy know that the car he bought can be very reliable and give him years of service. Mine has
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  #9  
Old 09-03-2012, 02:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by crowz View Post
The degree I shift in posting that stuff has to do with the fact that yes some of you have had problems but I havent had any problems at all besides bushings needing replacing and normal wear items. He did overpay but thats water under the bridge so I didnt mention that part.

No subframe issues, no coolant system meltdowns. Heck Im still on the original alternator, transmission and most other parts. I have no idea why I never have problems as I drive the crap out of mine and it basically offroads daily handling my driveway. Still no major issues at all.

So I figured Id let the guy know that the car he bought can be very reliable and give him years of service. Mine has
You are a rare breed Crowz, but with routine maintenance (preventive if possible) to the OP, these can be very reliable cars. Crowz probably also kept his car stock while all the others had aftermarket shocks, springs, wheels, etc; which can add to the stress the chassis takes along with other components. Plus I'm sure lots of luck on Crowz car has also played a huge part.
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  #10  
Old 09-03-2012, 02:10 PM
alpinweiss alpinweiss is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by crowz View Post
So I figured I'd let the guy know that the car he bought can be very reliable and give him years of service. Mine has
FWIW, the NADA wholesale value on that car is around $6300 and the retail is around $8800, based on the information provided by the OP. This is assuming it is in excellent condition, and has more-or-less standard equipment. So, it wasn't a huge bargain, but it wasn't a bad deal either.

I think his daughter will love the car.

My E46 (323i) has also given me a lot of years of good service. Admittedly, I am a maintenance fanatic, so I do a lot of work preventatively. The only outright failure I can recall is when my right rear window regulator "exploded" internally.

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  #11  
Old 09-03-2012, 06:11 PM
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I normally dont count the window regulators, if it has bmw on it then its either eating a regulator right now or has just dined on one recently
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  #12  
Old 09-03-2012, 08:47 PM
semockr semockr is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alpinweiss View Post
FWIW, the NADA wholesale value on that car is around $6300 and the retail is around $8800, based on the information provided by the OP. This is assuming it is in excellent condition, and has more-or-less standard equipment. So, it wasn't a huge bargain, but it wasn't a bad deal either.

I think his daughter will love the car.

The dealer showed me the NADA quote and at $6991 sale price it sounded like a good deal. We have been looking at used cars for 3mo and this one was outstanding by far and the way we came by it was fate. It might have been a sales tactic but they said 3 other buyers were queued up waiting to pay cash if I didnt take it, this is the way it is in N.Dallas where buyers have money to burn. I also took it to my mechanic who has 3 bimmers one for each family member and he gave it a clean checkout. The one he drives has 230k mi and he didnt volunteer any horror storys but only said he likes it.
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  #13  
Old 09-03-2012, 08:53 PM
semockr semockr is offline
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ps: the daughter might get to drive it once in a while because the wife likes it too and it looks like she might pull rank and pass her 1991 Trooper on to the kid.
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  #14  
Old 09-04-2012, 07:04 AM
new_kid new_kid is offline
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Please go easy on the new owner and member...
Advice is always great but exercise some balance. His effort is to please his kid, and now the wife, so those are first and foremost.

That said, the vehicle doesn't have to be all that bad, and if it turns out otherwise it can be fixed.

I doubt every single 323i is as described here, and maybe a few owners ended up with a bad unit out from the factory or one harassed/ignored by its PO.

Kudos to crowz. And I have similar experience as you but mine is just 111K now with no serious issues. (knock on wood).



To semockr: Congrats on the buy and many years of safe and trouble-free driving to you and family.
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  #15  
Old 09-04-2012, 07:57 AM
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I wasnt trying to blast the guy. Just speaking the cold, harsh reality of 323 ownership.

Im hopeful the car will be a good one, but see no need to blow sunshine either. Seems Americans as a whole cant handle truth and bad news. Life sucks, get a helmet.

Regardless of my feelings, I promise you I'll be one of the first to respond to ANY posts requesting help. Always do.
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Originally Posted by Fast Bob View Post
now, go burn your Man Card, and buy yourself a Camry....
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  #16  
Old 09-04-2012, 08:29 AM
new_kid new_kid is offline
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I recall as a newbie during my earlier request for advice for the simplest of issues, it would go without a response.

What I aim to do is to make someone know that someone is listening with a general response or so, especially when it goes for days without a response.
I don't claim to know anything, but there is information everywhere these days, and with patience and time there can be a solution.

Aren't we making it too personal instead of concentrating on vehicle issues and solutions?
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  #17  
Old 09-29-2012, 06:05 AM
semockr semockr is offline
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Thanks for the unabashed responses. If the 323i year 2000 is so buggy I will have my work cut out for me with repairs and considering my meager budget the mechanic will be me. A first requirement in this case is a good shop manual, what are your recommendations: Bently, Chilton, Haynes, etc?
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  #18  
Old 09-29-2012, 08:06 AM
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jonathan2263 jonathan2263 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by semockr View Post
Thanks for the unabashed responses. If the 323i year 2000 is so buggy I will have my work cut out for me with repairs and considering my meager budget the mechanic will be me. A first requirement in this case is a good shop manual, what are your recommendations: Bently, Chilton, Haynes, etc?
The Bentley Manual is the one to have. They can be found on line for about $85-$90.
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  #19  
Old 09-29-2012, 11:43 AM
semockr semockr is offline
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My ride to hell looks just like this but I dont have a wagon. I got the manual at amazon for $80 with a $30 discount for applying for the visa, 54 bucks total. Im looking for bosch platinum plugs and wires for my first project. Actually the 2nd project because I putting amsoil in but that will be done by a shop with my oil & filter..Danka
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  #20  
Old 09-30-2012, 05:41 AM
Starless Starless is offline
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Welcome!
Bosch platinum and wires??
Amsoil??
Please, read the wiki first...
GL
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  #21  
Old 09-30-2012, 08:44 AM
semockr semockr is offline
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The wiki advises against the use of bosch plugs but is the wiki updated with current info and specs. Maybe the platinum plugs are improved.

AMSoil is listed on a chart with lots of other name brands but it isnt checkmarked as a BMW approved product along with most of the others. This could be due to politics or that AMSoil needs to be more aggressive with BMW in getting their product blessed. I have approached AMSoil about doing this.
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  #22  
Old 10-27-2012, 03:23 PM
semockr semockr is offline
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Water pump down

Quote:
Originally Posted by smolck View Post
Welcome. I'm in a straight shooter mood tonight so here is some feedback you probably don't want.

1. You overpaid by a good $1500.
2. You bought one of the most problematic versions of the E46
3. It probably needs at LEAST $1000 worth of parts to make it "reliable" and then another $1500-2000 per year after that.
4. If the subframe is cracked the car will be a MAJOR expense (like $5000) to get it fixed
5. If your daughter isn't paying attention and it ever overheats for more than about 2 minutes the engine will be ruined
6. A bunch of other stuff you will learn as you go along.

Bookmark us, you are gonna need us.

All that said, the E46 is a fine vehicle and when running properly, they are quite impressive. And on the bright side, it is one of the safest cars your daughter can drive.

The bearing failed recently and threw the serpentine and AC belts, it ran for a few minutes before the heat gage pegged and power steering quit so we had to pull over and called for a tow. I had amsoil in it which probably saved the engine. Repairs ran $450 at my neighborhood mechanic, where the BMW dealer would be twice that much. Next time Ill do it myself.
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  #23  
Old 10-27-2012, 04:22 PM
stickbuilder stickbuilder is online now
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I'd kindly ask all those who are throwing rocks at the 323 to please STFU. First, quite a few of these cars still have not had the living sh!t beaten out of them, and are still in top condition. I've owned mine since early Summer of 2000 and have yet to rebuild the suspension, or the cooling system, or had any subframe problems, or most of the other things that you preach will happen to all of them. Yeah, mine is a touring, and just turned 75,000 miles. It is serviced regularly and has not been Bastardized as most of yours have. I don't think that he overpaid at all. Stick to what you have experience with, and not what you have heard on the internet. The only person who has credibility concerning the 323 on here is Smolck, and if you press him, I think he will tell you that he beat the crap out of his. Maintained it, yes, but still..............Ask the others how many 323 cars they have actually owned.
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  #24  
Old 10-27-2012, 07:13 PM
semockr semockr is offline
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My headlites are adjusted very low so I cranked them up a few turns but it didnt make much difference, do I have to crank them ten turns to see any difference or is there a known issue with headlites on the e46.
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  #25  
Old 10-27-2012, 11:42 PM
lgr122 lgr122 is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by semockr View Post
Repairs ran $450 at my neighborhood mechanic, where the BMW dealer would be twice that much. Next time Ill do it myself.
Many things aren't very difficult to do yourself, atleast if you first search advice how to do it right.
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