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Go Back   Bimmerfest - BMW Forums > BMW Model Discussions > 3 Series / 4 Series > E46 (1999 - 2006)

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 10-06-2013, 08:04 PM
tjdd tjdd is online now
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about to give up my search

Looking for something new and happened to drive a 2000 328i. Fell in love. Never owned a bmw and have been doing a ton of research here. this forum is great for noobs like me. Very helpful info.

I am not a mechanic, but I am a hobbiest and think I am up to bmw ownership. I now have my heart set on either a 328i or a 330i. The only problem is that I can't find a decent one. For every three I call on, two have a salvaged title. I go look at the one with a clean title, which by the way is usually priced way over kbb value, and its beat to hell! Been doing this for two weeks now.

I really hate to buy something else, but I really need to get another car soon.

Have any of you guys settled and bought one that wasn't as clean as you wanted? Did you regret it?

What really gives in the e46 world? Am I wasting my time??? Are these things really bringing way over kbb value? Even the ones with salvaged titles are listed 1-2k over blue book!!

Really, I must be missing something...
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  #2  
Old 10-06-2013, 08:30 PM
Fishful Thinking Fishful Thinking is offline
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I looked casually for over 2 years, educating myself on the details of this model. When a great car finally came along with a price I couldn't resist, I bought without hesitation. Take your time, learn as much as you can, then buy when it's right. Good luck.
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  #3  
Old 10-06-2013, 08:57 PM
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jvr826 jvr826 is offline
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Don't rush it! Expand your search area and realize there are tons of cars out there that are not on the Internet.

Advertised price is not sale price. Everyone thinks their car is worth more than it actually is. It's worth what someone will pay for it, no more.

Where in Nor Cal are you? I might be able to give you some suggestions.
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  #4  
Old 10-06-2013, 09:08 PM
tjdd tjdd is online now
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Thanks guys...it's just frustrating. I'm just outside of Sacramento and have searched the surrounding 50 or so miles pretty good. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!
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  #5  
Old 10-06-2013, 09:35 PM
heztheone heztheone is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tjdd View Post
Thanks guys...it's just frustrating.
i know that feeling, spent 7 months without a car until i found the "right" one
like they said, don't rush it, when you're meant to find it, you will.
good luck
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  #6  
Old 10-06-2013, 09:54 PM
Cardiac Cardiac is offline
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Been there, doing that. Our 58K mile `02 330 cab' was written off a little over a week ago, it was a beautiful car. Now to find a replacement. I told a vendor Friday we would buy his `01, it's the first one we've seen that's in comparable condition to our old one and its got 51K miles on it. We need a trunk so the later cars are not for us, the trick is to find a car that's winter stored with low mileage. If this one doesn't work out, we'll keep looking
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  #7  
Old 10-06-2013, 09:55 PM
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halltristan halltristan is offline
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Maintenance records are very important! I think a bimmer is worth more if there are very thorough records that come along with it.
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  #8  
Old 10-06-2013, 11:00 PM
mofunk mofunk is offline
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I went 3 months without a car. It was very frustrating ... some hilarious. One time I checked out a E46 at the dealership. He said it wasn't ready and that they would clean it up. He wasn't lying about the car not being ready. Missing key hole should have made me walk away.. but I took it for a test drive. I was afraid to go over 40mph because it felt like it was about to blow. As I turned the corner, the car took me back... back to when cars had no power steering. Brakes were sketchy.. I couldn't see the dealer fixing all these problems. So I walked.


I did find the bmwusa.com site helpful. If you are looking at maybe getting from a dealer, there are a lot of E46 listed there under pre-owned page. I used that a lot to narrow my search down. Cars.com too.. The hardest part for me was trying to find one with the sports package and manual shift.
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  #9  
Old 10-07-2013, 07:57 AM
tjdd tjdd is online now
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Well, glad to see I'm not the only one with these problems. halltristan, I totally agree that a clean bmw with a complete service history should bring a little more money, and am fully willing to pay more than KBB value if I find that one (although, I am definitely looking for the best deal as well). The problem is that all the ones I have looked at or called on are 1-2k over book value, but are total junk or have a salvaged title. In my mind, ones in that condition should be towards the low end of kbb. I won't even look at one with a salvaged title. Heck, maybe I am too old school to think that people still use kbb as a guide to value a car.

I would prefer to buy from a private party, but have looked at a few from dealers as well. Honestly, if I find the right one, I really don't care who I buy it from.

Then there is the whole dishonesty thing from unscrupulous sellers. Don't even get me started on that!!!
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  #10  
Old 10-07-2013, 09:29 AM
GoForthFast GoForthFast is offline
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Hard because we who own the good ones know they are excellent and won't soon consider parting with them. I know mine would be an excellent find for someone, but for me too!

If you can't wait, or don't have the $, not a great car for you. Even a good find will take more $ in short order to build in some quality. Better be able to DIY or learn.

Browse the entire US online to educate yourself and see that there are pristine examples. That will educate you to knowing more when you do find a good one in your area.
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  #11  
Old 10-07-2013, 05:03 PM
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jvr826 jvr826 is offline
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IMO, the KBB values are too high. Edmunds seems more realistic. Everyone advertises for too much, just like dealers do. The car is only worth what someone will pay for it, no more.

You definitely need to expand your search beyond 50 miles. Go state wide at the very least. I've PM'd you a link.
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  #12  
Old 10-08-2013, 09:34 PM
tjdd tjdd is online now
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Thanks for the link, jvr826. Called on a couple more today. One was a definite no. He only owned it a few months, overheated it, put a new thermostat in and put it up for sale. Um, no thanks. I thought the t-stat in these stuck open when they go out? Either way, I wasn't impressed. One seemed ok, but he can't show it until Thursday. One is out of town, so maybe if they don't sell it I can get over there to see it. In the meantime...still keeping my eyes open...
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  #13  
Old 10-09-2013, 05:33 AM
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1972ford 1972ford is offline
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You're on the right track, be patient and keep looking. I was looking all over the northeast for my car, it took about 3 months. I had sold my other vehicle at the time so I was driving my old ford, hence the username - when I joined this forum it was my only vehicle. Fun to drive around in a 40 year-old pickup and test-drive BMWs.

Good luck in your search, and your patience will pay off if you can get through the process.
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  #14  
Old 10-09-2013, 03:25 PM
EconoBox EconoBox is online now
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Mein Auto: 2001 530i (E39) 120k
2 weeks?
Dude, LOL.
Either order something off Ebay, or give yourself 2-3 months.

Save this link.
http://sacramento.craigslist.org/sea...inAsk=&maxAsk=

Ebay
http://motors.shop.ebay.com/Cars-Tru...ies&_sadis=100

Last edited by EconoBox; 10-09-2013 at 03:28 PM.
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  #15  
Old 10-09-2013, 03:26 PM
EconoBox EconoBox is online now
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What exactly is your budget for a E46 ?
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  #16  
Old 10-09-2013, 05:30 PM
tjdd tjdd is online now
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Thanks econobox. I know, only two weeks...but I need a car like yesterday! I originally thought I could get one for $4 - $5k in a couple of days... not so sure anymore though. According to kbb.com and edmunds, I should be able to. I guess my budget is $5k but could add to it if I found a really clean one. Leaning more on the 1999 - 2000 328s or 2001 330s. Possibly even an 01 or 02 325s. That appears to be my only chance at staying in my budget. I just have a really hard time spending more than the online pricing guides suggest.
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  #17  
Old 10-09-2013, 05:35 PM
tjdd tjdd is online now
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I had a small dealer actually tell me that he could not release a car's maintenance records due to the Patriot Act??? I said, huh? I wasn't trying to get a previous owners financial docs, just a maintenance history. Needless to say...I'm still looking.
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  #18  
Old 10-09-2013, 06:10 PM
dragoncoach dragoncoach is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tjdd View Post
Well, glad to see I'm not the only one with these problems. halltristan, I totally agree that a clean bmw with a complete service history should bring a little more money, and am fully willing to pay more than KBB value if I find that one (although, I am definitely looking for the best deal as well). The problem is that all the ones I have looked at or called on are 1-2k over book value, but are total junk or have a salvaged title. In my mind, ones in that condition should be towards the low end of kbb. I won't even look at one with a salvaged title. Heck, maybe I am too old school to think that people still use kbb as a guide to value a car.

I would prefer to buy from a private party, but have looked at a few from dealers as well. Honestly, if I find the right one, I really don't care who I buy it from.

Then there is the whole dishonesty thing from unscrupulous sellers. Don't even get me started on that!!!
If you haven't noticed, a LOT of cars in the Sacramento areas are salvaged titles. Be very careful. Always do a PPI by someone YOU trust. Expand your search to the Bay Area if not LA and San Diego as well. There are lots of cars for sale but only a small percentage are well maintained. Make a checklist of what you are looking for and try to stick to it. I was lucky.We found a great condition wagon with everything we wanted, all service records, and fairly low mileage at a fantastic price. Good luck. It's all about the hunt!
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  #19  
Old 10-09-2013, 06:18 PM
dragoncoach dragoncoach is offline
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Originally Posted by tjdd View Post
I had a small dealer actually tell me that he could not release a car's maintenance records due to the Patriot Act??? I said, huh? I wasn't trying to get a previous owners financial docs, just a maintenance history. Needless to say...I'm still looking.
That's a load of crap. The records may show the previous owner's name and address which could be easily be eliminated from the record. It just takes more time. Most dealers don't have the used car maintenance records unless they are the brand dealer.
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  #20  
Old 10-09-2013, 06:22 PM
tjdd tjdd is online now
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Dragoncoach, it is unbelievable. I swear, if I call on 3 cars listed by private party on Craigslist, 2 of them will have a salvaged title. Really gets frustrating. Then, to have the seller tell me it is only salvaged because of a small scrape on the back bumper, or because someone stole his stereo, really irritates me. True story...I've actually been told that!
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  #21  
Old 10-09-2013, 06:44 PM
dragoncoach dragoncoach is offline
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Originally Posted by tjdd View Post
Dragoncoach, it is unbelievable. I swear, if I call on 3 cars listed by private party on Craigslist, 2 of them will have a salvaged title. Really gets frustrating. Then, to have the seller tell me it is only salvaged because of a small scrape on the back bumper, or because someone stole his stereo, really irritates me. True story...I've actually been told that!
A lot of CL ads say its minor damage that totaled the car. I've even seen 2012 salvaged vehicles that were in minor accident. Really?! A 2012? Unless you personally witness the reconstruction process, stay away from salvaged vehicles. Lots more non salvaged vehicles for sale outside Sac.
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  #22  
Old 10-09-2013, 06:46 PM
mlr mlr is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tjdd View Post
Thanks econobox. I know, only two weeks...but I need a car like yesterday! I originally thought I could get one for $4 - $5k in a couple of days... not so sure anymore though. According to kbb.com and edmunds, I should be able to. I guess my budget is $5k but could add to it if I found a really clean one. Leaning more on the 1999 - 2000 328s or 2001 330s. Possibly even an 01 or 02 325s. That appears to be my only chance at staying in my budget. I just have a really hard time spending more than the online pricing guides suggest.
You're in luck. I have a 2002 330XI,, 5 speed, black on black 210K for 6K. In Connecticut
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  #23  
Old 10-09-2013, 06:57 PM
tjdd tjdd is online now
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Of course mlr. Probably a beautiful car, just a little far from me. Actually, not looking for an xi either, but thanks!
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  #24  
Old 10-09-2013, 07:27 PM
YiMMA2k5 YiMMA2k5 is offline
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Patience friend, rushing it will only make you look like your about to take a blindfolded jump. I've bought a 2003 325xi, wasn't cared for at all, owned it for a year and been left with repairs. Somedays, it wouldn't crank on cold days. E46's are great cars when taken care of, and when running good. If not, beware, the starter motor is a pain in the but to replace and can be up in the high 800's if you have the XI models. If you take your time and continue to save your money, you'll win both ways, as your funds grow for a better e46. I personally believe you should purchase a later model e46, and look out for rear-subframe failures. best of luck!
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  #25  
Old 10-10-2013, 08:08 AM
sunsetcoast sunsetcoast is offline
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Alas, the older a vehicle is, the more likely it comes with "stories".

A former "luxury" car (no, I do not believe that any e46 qualifies as a luxury car) that has sporting pretensions (no, I do not believe that any e46 is a "sports car", with the possible exception of the M3) that also has some design issues that require very good maintenance (or repair...rear subframe mounts) that has sunk into the ~$5K range will present some challenges.

But they are out there. And for a reasonable price. But it is likely to take more than a couple of weeks to uncover good candidates. While we didn't NEED to make our purchase in a given time frame, our search for the sedan took 3 months (and we ended up with the smaller engine) because we placed overall condition at the top of the list. Aside from the cooling system overhaul as PM, it required no more maintenance/repairs in the first 4 years we drove it than any Accord/Camry.

It is far better to wait to get the RIGHT car than it is to settle for an OK one sooner.
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