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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 04-03-2013, 10:10 PM
LeatherBoots LeatherBoots is offline
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Concern purchasing 2002 330Ci

Hello everyone,

I'm currently undertaking the exciting task of purchasing my first BMW (or any car for that matter) and need some advice.

I have my heart set on a 330Ci and I found this one close to home:

http://www.usbenz.com/detail-2002-bm...d-9879686.html

Cosmetically, the car looks to be in great condition, although when I viewed the carfax I noticed that the last owner only had the car for 2 months.

I'm planning to go in and test drive the car, and then go to the dealer and get it inspected before I would purchase, but I'm just wondering if this sort of thing should be a red flag?

Any help is greatly appreciated, and if anyone has other advice regarding the car or the purchasing process it's more than welcome!

Thanks_a_
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  #2  
Old 04-04-2013, 09:39 PM
GoForthFast GoForthFast is offline
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Yes it's a red flag, but not the end of the story. Evaluate the explanation that you get when you ask why. And understand that most ones that sound plausible are lies.
Then read the wiki up above so you know lots more about e46's than you do now.


Says manual, but shows automatic. What's the deal? Did you catch that yourself? If not, you're not being observant enough.

And it's a ULEV, that could be a big negative. Explore what that means.

Would have to be one mighty fine car in every respect to come close to being worth the asking.

Last edited by GoForthFast; 04-04-2013 at 09:47 PM.
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  #3  
Old 04-04-2013, 09:43 PM
heztheone heztheone is offline
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a PPI will get u all ur concerns sorted out
if u like BMWs and love to learn about ur car, read the wiki and go through previous posts, they have a LOT of info.
good luck
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  #4  
Old 04-04-2013, 09:55 PM
e46_platform e46_platform is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GoForthFast View Post
Yes it's a red flag, but not the end of the story. Evaluate the explanation that you get when you ask why. And understand that most ones that sound plausible are lies.
Then read the wiki up above so you know lots more about e46's than you do now.


Says manual, but shows automatic. What's the deal? Did you catch that yourself? If not, you're not being observant enough.

And it's a ULEV, that could be a big negative. Explore what that means.

Would have to be one mighty fine car in every respect to come close to being worth the asking.
SULEV would lead to potential problems, not ULEV
most, or maybe all, our cars are ULEV
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  #5  
Old 04-04-2013, 11:08 PM
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bmw330pp bmw330pp is offline
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I would say, DON'T GET THAT CAR!!!!

First of all, they used too much armor all.

Second, the front bumper looks off. There is a pretty big gap in there, and that means there was a potential accident.

Third, it's in a paint booth which means it was painted. Not a bad thing necessarily, but because of my above statement, I'm worried.

Fourth, I'm pretty sure those rims aren't the rims that came with the car. Again, not a necessarily bad thing, but with all my concerns combined, it makes me think its a car that was in an accident, and then pieced bad together with what ever they could find.

Fifth, the door panels have been removed because they are missing the screw covers. Could be because they changed the speakers with the new sound system, but after all my other observations I doubt it.

Sixth, There is a sound system in there, which to me equals a bunch of electrical problems.

Buy a CPO'ed BMW from a BMW dealer if you're going to get a BMW. They come with a warranty for piece of mind, and only cost about 1-2k more than one from a rinky dink dealership. If you buy one from one of these rinky dink dealerships, you will regret it. That's with any car they sell, but you will especially hate your life with a BMW.
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  #6  
Old 04-05-2013, 04:45 AM
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jonathan2263 jonathan2263 is offline
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There are no more CPO E46's. the model is too old.
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Old 04-05-2013, 07:28 AM
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jvr826 jvr826 is offline
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Originally Posted by bmw330pp View Post
Third, it's in a paint booth
That's not a paint booth!

It looks clean, but that's an easy task. Take the others' advice and get a thorough PPI. Find an independent BMW shop, not a dealership, and pay for it yourself. Make sure they will check everything including paint thickness measurements.

At that mileage there are several maintenance items that are due, or should have been done, which you will need to know before making a deal. Read The WIKI for those.

I think the tires may be JFB, so be careful with it on the test drive.
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  #8  
Old 04-05-2013, 07:54 AM
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OfTheLost OfTheLost is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jonathan2263 View Post
There are no more CPO E46's. the model is too old.
Are you sure about this? A few months back they had a CPO 1997 Z3 at the dealer near me on the show room floor. I think as long as the car was bought and serviced its whole life at the dealer and has no mods it can probably remain a CPO, but you arent gonna get it for just 1-2 grand more.
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Old 04-05-2013, 08:02 AM
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OfTheLost OfTheLost is online now
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And to the OP-

If you already have doubts about the car before you even purchase, I would advise to keep looking. There are plenty of them out there for sale, and I would try to find one from an enthusiast or at least has some documentation of maintenance. This one might look like a better deal up front, but will probably end up costing you way more in repairs right off the bat. Just my $0.02
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Old 04-05-2013, 08:38 AM
vandyboy vandyboy is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GoForthFast View Post
Yes it's a red flag, but not the end of the story. Evaluate the explanation that you get when you ask why. And understand that most ones that sound plausible are lies.
Then read the wiki up above so you know lots more about e46's than you do now.


Says manual, but shows automatic. What's the deal? Did you catch that yourself? If not, you're not being observant enough.

And it's a ULEV, that could be a big negative. Explore what that means.

Would have to be one mighty fine car in every respect to come close to being worth the asking.
The ad says the tranny is manual because the dealer copied the BMW list of standard features. That was very obivious, especially if you have ever looked at edmunds or any other car review that will include mfr's wording for features. And, if you had been paying attention, at the beginning of the ad, where they list the mileage, engine, etc, the following is stated: Transmission:5 Spd Automatic

The car is in excellent shape for an '02. It is priced about $2000 too high, but most used car dealers' initial asking price is usually about that much over book. There is a bit of a gap between the bumper and body and it should be inspected for prior front end damage. Moreover, the radio is stock HK and a sub woofer has been added in what appears to be a pretty decent installation.

There are a lot of good AND bad reasons why someone sold a car after two months. Perhaps it was a salvage car that was rebuilt. Maybe someone had to buy another car and the BMW needed to go. Just have it thoroughly checked out by a good shop and go with your gut.

Last edited by vandyboy; 04-05-2013 at 08:43 AM.
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  #11  
Old 04-05-2013, 08:53 AM
TannerT TannerT is offline
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Just make sure you have the means to maintain it.

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  #12  
Old 04-06-2013, 01:16 PM
GoForthFast GoForthFast is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by e46_platform View Post
SULEV would lead to potential problems, not ULEV
most, or maybe all, our cars are ULEV
Are you sure this is so? My new car sticker shows the average for new cars then to be 1.02 Smog, but mine at .90 Smog. That is not ULEV standards at 50% less than the average.
And nowhere on the whole sticker does it say ULEV. I think if it was, they would state that.
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Old 04-06-2013, 02:17 PM
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MMME30W MMME30W is offline
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I think the car is worth looking at. I like the mileage for a 2002. Pricey, but it is at a dealer. Some wiggle room exists, would be a guess.

1) The missing screw on the door handle might have been due to a replacement window regulator, and someone forgot the trim finisher.

2) Yes, the bumper looks a little off.

3) Those wheels are BMW wheels, but I think from another car. If this has the sports pack (it has the bolsters for the sport seats) I believe it would have had M68s?

4) Yeah, that much shine will get you 15 yards for over use of Armor All classic lol. Tires are JFB for sure

5) Bunwarmers and UGDO are nice.

6) Xenons are good but only if they are AL. If they are ZKW, look out. Check them at night, and BE SURE they illuminate. (ZKW projector bowls were notorious for burning / Desilvering with a huge reduction in light output.)

As was said, that is not a paint booth.

Key on these cars is a thick file of receipts for service work.

Next step: Read the wiki, twice.

Go for a test drive with someone you trust, and if it checks out, expect about $1,500 per year for the next four years for Maintenance.

Then drive it like you stole it.
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Last edited by MMME30W; 04-06-2013 at 02:20 PM.
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  #14  
Old 04-06-2013, 02:27 PM
GoForthFast GoForthFast is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MMME30W View Post

6) Xenons are good but only if they are AL. If they are ZKW, look out. Check them at night, and BE SURE they illuminate. (ZKW projector bowls were notorious for burning / Desilvering with a huge reduction in light output.)
Tell me more. Are OE made from two choices?
Never had a problem in nine years.
How can you tell?


EDIT: Thanks for filling me in next post #15!

Last edited by GoForthFast; 04-06-2013 at 05:53 PM.
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  #15  
Old 04-06-2013, 03:24 PM
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MMME30W MMME30W is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GoForthFast View Post
Tell me more. Are OE made from two choices?
Never had a problem in nine years.
How can you tell?
I stickied it here:

http://www.bimmerfest.com/forums/sho...d.php?t=552978

I also added it to the wiki under item 15.8.1

http://www.bimmerfest.com/wiki/index...st_remember.3F
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Last edited by MMME30W; 04-06-2013 at 03:26 PM.
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