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E46 M3 (2001-2006)

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  #1  
Old 06-12-2007, 07:09 PM
FloridaMan FloridaMan is offline
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Question Is bad reliability a myth?

Hey everyone, I'm new to this site, but I'm hoping you all can clear up a common phrase used to describe bimmers. That being, "Bimmers have horrible reliability and are a money pit when it comes to repairs." Is this true? I am just to the point where I'm selling my Ford Mustang with an engine swap and trying to get out of the cops tunnel vision. I'm thinking a 2001 BMW M3 might give me the safety, gas mileage, quickness, and sophisticated look that my current car fails to give me. Now having said that, I can afford an 01, but I can't afford to take it to the shop every other month, know what I mean? I have thought buying the oldest car in a generation in any car a better investment for any car, as it looks the same as the 4 year newer model and costs way less. Sounds like a better deal to me, if it has low miles that is. So I'm looking at an 01 with about 70k ish miles, coupe, extra clean body/interior, and hopefully a navigation system for under $25,000 Am I expecting too much of a E46 M3? All imput is welcome. Thanks.

-Weston-
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  #2  
Old 06-12-2007, 07:44 PM
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Under $25k?

Wow, you're looking for a high mileage one then.
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  #3  
Old 06-12-2007, 07:57 PM
FloridaMan FloridaMan is offline
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How so? I've seen MANY in that price range. Maybe not with the navigation but here is one that I saw right off the bat:

http://www.autotrader.com/fyc/vdp.js...000&cardist=22

Anyhow, I know they ar there. That one is $24,500 and has 12,000 miles remaining on the warrenty which is the first time i've seen one with the 100k mile warrenty under $25k. But regardless, I've seen a ton around 60-70k mile range. Are M3's unreliable?
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  #4  
Old 06-12-2007, 07:59 PM
FloridaMan FloridaMan is offline
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Even Better:

http://www.autotrader.com/fyc/vdp.js...00&cardist=199

Its listed at $23,990 with 59,000 miles. Maybe its even possible to install my own nav system with the extra money.
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  #5  
Old 06-13-2007, 08:44 PM
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Realize, if it is the BMW extended warranty, it is also limited to 6 years, so will be OOW by the end of the summer.

Some cars have had problems, others have not. Mine has been very trouble free (knock on wood). A friend's had lots of trouble. An M3 IS a highly tuned, high performance car, and will not run without care like a lower performance car.
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  #6  
Old 06-14-2007, 06:40 PM
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I see, so It's kind of a hit and miss? By "troubles" or "needing care", what exactly do you mean? What would possibly be the problem with an 01? Like new tranny, or are you talking extra oil changes? I'm really a newb when it comes to BMW's, so I'd appriciate any info you can give on what I can expect. I'd be really dissapointed if I bought an 01 M3 and it ended up needing $3700 in work, I'd be screwed and without a car.
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  #7  
Old 06-14-2007, 06:50 PM
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Early '01 M3 had engine problems. Engines were replaced under warranty. Those who did not have engines replaced were given 100K mile warranty. If you find one you like, check the VIN at the dealer to locate its history first. Just surf the internet for information. Start here...

http://www.mbmw.com/e46_m3_engine_failure.htm
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  #8  
Old 06-14-2007, 09:50 PM
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Thanks I appriciate it! Is '01 also the year they started the 333 hp engines and the 8,000 rpm max? Would you reccomend an 02 with higher miles then?
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  #9  
Old 06-15-2007, 12:19 PM
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I had mine since 2002, well I had problems with the SMG, rod bearing recalls, worn out shocks, RTABs and Control arm bushings...but so far as for the engine..and SMG, exactly knock on wood...no issues so far with 80k miles on my car.

I run it hard on the freeway..and from zero to 60, I accelerate it hard, but it really takes the pounding of my stop and go's..

I hear it can last until 170k miles..if taken care for...just the adjustments, like shocks, bushings, and perhaps the SMG relay...which may get corrosion if driven in bad weather constantly, and others like brake pads, rotors, etc, tires..which wear out at 20k or less miles, just the maintenance items themselves are not cheap.

thats my take on the machine.
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  #10  
Old 06-15-2007, 12:24 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FloridaMan View Post
Thanks I appriciate it! Is '01 also the year they started the 333 hp engines and the 8,000 rpm max? Would you reccomend an 02 with higher miles then?
if I were you...and I have an 02..and as long as the owner is as anal as I am with my car....and he or she is selling as an enthusiast for cars to another, it would be a good deal to go for an 02. so I prefer an 02.
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  #11  
Old 06-15-2007, 04:05 PM
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I bought an 02 vert last summer with 25K miles on it. Since then, I've had a battery problem, an engine misfire that was an electrical part (forget the name), a set of tires worn out in 4 K miles without driving hard on them, then found out the rear control arm bushings were bad ($500, mostly labor) and ANOTHER set of tires and an alignment. Now my SMG paddles are working intermittenly (switch probably worn out). All pretty expensive so far.
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  #12  
Old 06-15-2007, 06:08 PM
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Dang, thats for the info guys. I dont know if I wanna tackle this now. I have quite a few friends that work in the mechanics field, one a mechanic for 20+ years, but is it true bimmers are hard to work on and about impossible unless you've worked at a BMW dealership?

And I think I might go for the '02, thanks, that is if I do decide to go through with this. Again, is there a special package or whatnot that gives the 8000 rpm redline? A few pictures I've seen of the e46's has had a redline of 6000. I was looking forward to getting past my current 6500 rpm redline. Also, all e46's have 333 hp right? Isnt the 0-60 4.7 seconds? I dont want to get any slower of a car and my current ride is at about 5.3 seconds 0-60.

Thanks again guys.
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  #13  
Old 06-16-2007, 11:19 AM
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WRONG, '01s didn't have many problems.

The 02s had the problems. Nov 01 - Feb 02 build cars had hte most problems, but all 01 - 03 cars should have had the rod bearing service action performed (Nov - Feb 02s had two service actions, the second one is the important one). With the service action the engine warranty is increased to 6 years, 100K miles. You can check with any BMW dealer with the car's VIN to find out if the service action has been done.

ALL E46 M3s have the S54 engine, 333HP and 8K RPM redline.
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  #14  
Old 06-17-2007, 09:52 AM
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Oh ok, so lets see if I have this.. All 01's should be fine, as long as they had the 2 recall service things? So I'd be better off with an 01 or 02 not from Nov-Feb? If the 02 has a 100k mile warrenty then I have another year on it, correct? It doesnt just stop? It transfers to the new owner?
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  #15  
Old 06-17-2007, 11:41 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jgriffi1 View Post
I bought an 02 vert last summer with 25K miles on it. Since then, I've had a battery problem, an engine misfire that was an electrical part (forget the name), a set of tires worn out in 4 K miles without driving hard on them, then found out the rear control arm bushings were bad ($500, mostly labor) and ANOTHER set of tires and an alignment. Now my SMG paddles are working intermittenly (switch probably worn out). All pretty expensive so far.
I am just like you. 2002 vert started out with 25k miles on it.

I have had alot of issues. Not very happy that is why I think I will be in a Saleen mustang soon.

I have a 2002 bmw m3 vert build date nov 2001

1. battery issues
2. mis firing of the engine. starter issues
3. tires. god damn tires. Michelins are $ I have gone through so many tires and I do not drive as hard as some.
4. Arm brushings
5. titan shadow interior is cracked and looks like ****
6. oil light comes on and check it. the oil is fine.
7. The eml light always comes and goes on
8. I used the spare key the car started to rev really really funny
9. clutch went out early (thats my ex gf's fault and maybe the previous owner) went out at 33k miles maybe me too. who cares it went out
10. the top has been stuck as one of the convertible arms that helps it fold it was weak


I have had alot of issues. With tires oil changes and issues It has costed me an easy $5000 in just the last 12 months

I am not happy but love the car

I do not know what else to get so I keep on holding on to it. I own it free and clear too so.....

i wish the CLK amg 63 wasnt so damn $. maybe a year from now i can get a uses vert for 65k....thats still too $$$ for me.

I will prob be in a saleen or a used 2004 645 soon
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  #16  
Old 06-17-2007, 08:39 PM
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Actually it doesn't matter as long as the service actions have been performed. ALL 01 - 02 cars had one service action. Certain ones from the bad period had a first service action, then also shold have had the second one done. As long as the one that covers all of them has been done, the car has the 100K, 6 year engine warranty, and once the service action has been done, there have been few cases of problems.

There are also issues with some ignition coils (extended the warranty on them). Some early cars had some diff noise problems (solved with a diff oil change, although some cars got replacement diffs).

Of the above problems:

1) BMW batteries aren't the best, so if you replace on your own dime don't use a BMW one.

2) Coils could be the problem. Also this is a HIGH PERFORMANCE engine, it doesn't run well cold and may not start easily cold. Back in the day, a engine putting out power like this may not ever idle until warmed up.

3) Tires are a driver issue. Drive sanely. I got 25K miles out of the original tires. Also, yo ucould put lower performance (harder) tires on, but then don't get an M.

4) Rear trailing arm bushings are a weak point on all 3 series. replace with PowerFlex urethane bushings or add the Turner RTAB reinforcements. BTW rear shock mount bushings are similarily weak. Ground Control, TC Kline or Rogue Engineering make good ones.

5) Mine is fine.

6) There is a SPECIFIC method to checking the oil. RTFM and do it exactly the way they say. Most cases this solves the "problem."

7) Must be a reason, have it checked out. Each time the light comes on, it stores a code in the DME to read out what is not working properly.

8) If the spare hadn't been used for a while, it may not have a good charge on it.

9) Probably driver error as stated.

10) That's why you don't get a Cab. Anyway they are heavier and less torsonally rigid.
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  #17  
Old 06-18-2007, 01:22 AM
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it is importent to note here that the re-worked engines were NOT warrantied for 100k miles, but rather only the oil bearing surfaces were warantied.

certian VINs up thru late 03 were engine warrantied for 100k. but these were not subject to the TSB for bearing replacement. it was an attempt by BMW to reassure buyers that they were not going to get burned with their purchase.

I could be remembering some of this wrong, but I am sure that the repaired motors only cover the oil surfaces... does that jibe with your remembery terry?
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  #18  
Old 06-18-2007, 06:58 PM
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Ok, so let's see if I have this now. Things I can expect to pay and to keep a budget for:
A.) I will probably have to replace the battery, so $60?
B.) Ignition coils or replacement diffs (differentials?) would be covered by warrenty, correct? So, $0
C.) Powerflex urenthane rear trailing arm bushings and Ground Control (or others) rear shock mount bushings, sooo? $150 out of pocket?

I'm hopefully getting a coupe, as I'm not a huge fan of verts, but I'm looking at whatever I can get a good price on with good maintanence records. My other ideas for what I might like to drive were a C5 Corvette (probably an '02 with low miles for the same reason I said the '01 M3) or a 2000 something Mercedes Benz sedan, but not like an S500 even though they are around $24k, the insurance is like $500 a month.
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  #19  
Old 06-18-2007, 07:07 PM
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man, if you are this worried about the costs, you shoudln't be buying this type of car. not trying to be mean here, but an M car needs care and money to do the job. if you just want a hotrod, get something else. or be prepared to bring the cash and the respect that the M badge needs, demands and deserves.
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  #20  
Old 06-19-2007, 01:50 PM
FloridaMan FloridaMan is offline
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Well, my mom awhile ago fell in love with BMW and it has since rubbed off on me. I am a big car enthusiest, but I do have much to learn. Is it unforgivable that I find out all I can about a potential vehicle, so I'm not on here asking why my car isn't starting or sunk down 3 inches on the back rear suspension arm and be super surprised that my new BMW, suposedly a high end and prestigous high performance car had issues? I apologize for wanting to further my knowledge on the suposedly awesome car I'm contemplating getting, I like to know my cars better than the average buyer that is caught off guard by an unexpected mechanical failure.
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  #21  
Old 06-19-2007, 11:09 PM
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dude, there is nothing to appologize for, you can NEVER have too much info.
If peeps give you shyte, just block their posts and enjoy the rest of us... providing I am not in you r blocked list!

BMW is no different than any other car, you will have a few cars that will fall apart driving off the lot and some that will go a half-million liles.

you hear more from/about the "lemons" than the "Gems" but that is true in every cast.

Quick parable:
" there was a boy born to a rich family that grew up never speaking a word. the parents took him to all the specialista and they could find nothing wrong.
on his 17th birthday thay were serving diner when he suddenly exclained, "this soup tasts like ****!"
His mother abd father dropped their spoons at the sound of his vioce.

Mother exclaimed "I thought you were deaf and mute".
Father said "if you can speak, why have you never said anything?"

The son replied... "up till now, everything has been fine!"

so the moral is, people who complain, make more noise!

hth
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  #22  
Old 06-19-2007, 11:41 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kjboyd View Post
man, if you are this worried about the costs, you shoudln't be buying this type of car. not trying to be mean here, but an M car needs care and money to do the job. if you just want a hotrod, get something else. or be prepared to bring the cash and the respect that the M badge needs, demands and deserves.
It's true, my M3 is significantly more to maintain then my 330 was. I don't regret the purchase, but it is worth noting.
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  #23  
Old 06-20-2007, 08:03 AM
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Originally Posted by Cowboy Bebop View Post
it is importent to note here that the re-worked engines were NOT warrantied for 100k miles, but rather only the oil bearing surfaces were warantied.

certian VINs up thru late 03 were engine warrantied for 100k. but these were not subject to the TSB for bearing replacement. it was an attempt by BMW to reassure buyers that they were not going to get burned with their purchase.

I could be remembering some of this wrong, but I am sure that the repaired motors only cover the oil surfaces... does that jibe with your remembery terry?
Nope, ALL the engine extended warranties ONLY cover the engine oil lubricated parts (meaning internal parts). So the intake, fuel injectors, ignition, etc are NOT covered.

So any car with the extended engine warranty is the same. But for those subject to the TSB, they are only covered if the TSB was performed. With the VIN, any dealer can tell you if it has been done, along with any other TSBs that apply.
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  #24  
Old 06-20-2007, 08:06 AM
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Also things to realize. There is only one oil acceptable for this car, and it costs $9 a bottle. It has fairly large tires, and they cost money, and they don't last 50K+ miles. If you drive it hard, it WILL use gas (on the track I get about 5 MPG) and it takes premium. Insurance will be more, it is not cheap and it is a high performance car.

Factor all that in to the equation also. Because if you can just barely afford the car, you will not be able to maintain it and enjoy it.

And Corvettes have their share of problems.

Basically high performance cars require more maintenance. They are tuned closer to the edge and are stressing their parts more.
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  #25  
Old 06-21-2007, 12:38 AM
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thanks terry, I had not meant to imply that the "certain" 03's were FULLY warantied but rather that they were also covered by the same 100k Oil surface warranty, but not subject to the TSB for Bearing replacement.

Once I reread my previous post I see that was inelegantly worded... mia culpa.
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