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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 10-17-2011, 12:23 PM
ROClark ROClark is offline
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Buy BMW in Cash or Take up Payments?

I have a dilemma, so thought I’d pose the question to you all. I have my eye on a 1999 323i sedan , 129k miles for $4300. The car is in pretty good condition from what I can tell. I’d rate the exterior an 8, and the interior a 7. The Carfax checks out. It’s had three owners, wrecked once in the front with only minor damage. Though I have not had it inspected (yet), the dealer has gotten it visually inspected and scanned the computer. It’s throwing a fault code to replace the Crankcase Vent Valve and hose. So I called my local Stealership and learned worst case scenario, this is about a $500 fix. I’m fine with that.

So my question is this. I will be using the car as a daily driver. I have enough cash to pay for it. I DO NOT WANT PAYMENTS. Would it be wise to purchase the car, make the initial repairs, and have preventive maintenance done, or call up the bank and take up another payment book and get some stinkin Honda for $10k that I know won’t breakdown for a long time. If I do this , I will have to finance about $5k. I DO NOT WANT PAYMENTS, however, if it means it will be the more wise move, I guess I will.

Any advice?

Thanks for any advice.
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  #2  
Old 10-17-2011, 12:33 PM
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Coconutpete Coconutpete is offline
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Before you even go any further - you need to consider:

The 2012's are coming out - that means in terms of model years, this car is 13 years old! It has 130K miles. Are you good at doing DIY work? If no, you may want to consider a Honda.

Is it an automatic transmission? BMW Automatics don't have the best reliability record north of 100K

Has the subframe been inspected? This is the most important part!!!!! (Google it)

Use the search function and search for "CVV" You will find that the CVV can be fixed for less than $500, but the dealer will probably charge you 1/2 of what you are about to pay for that car.
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"Their" is a possessive pronoun. In a phrase like “Susan and Bill's car,” it could be used to to make a new phrase: “their car.”

”They're” is a contraction of “they are.”
“They are” should always be able to replace “they're.”

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Last edited by Coconutpete; 10-17-2011 at 12:34 PM.
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  #3  
Old 10-17-2011, 12:44 PM
ROClark ROClark is offline
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So your answer is no. I should buy a stinkin Honda or Toyota. This does not get me excited.
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  #4  
Old 10-17-2011, 01:29 PM
Chauntalei Chauntalei is offline
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He's not saying 'no'. He's saying there are some extra things to consider before you sign on the dotted line. If all of his mentioned things check out, then by all means, get the car. However, if there is more that needs to be done, it just means your up front costs might be a little higher than anticipated. You just need to do a little more homework first. That's all.
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  #5  
Old 10-17-2011, 01:43 PM
imtjm imtjm is offline
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you should get it checked out by a shop or dealer before you buy, just like you should do the same for the stinkin Honda. Otherwise, how do you know that the $10k stinkin Honda will run forever? my 1984 318i was still running well when I sold it in 2010 (yes, that's 26 yrs). Only you can determine if anything is financially sound decision based upon your unique circumstances and situations.
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  #6  
Old 10-17-2011, 01:51 PM
ROClark ROClark is offline
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True.. I do plan on getting it checked out. My plan, should I decide to buy it, is to get all the upfront maintenance done, then keep up preventive maintenance and drive the hair off its back. I'm just wondering if it would cost more to maintain a paid for BMW, or a stinkin Honda with payments . Whatever I get, I want it to last up to 300k miles. With regular oil changes and preventive maintenance, can a BMW even get there?
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  #7  
Old 10-17-2011, 01:53 PM
Chauntalei Chauntalei is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ROClark View Post
True.. I do plan on getting it checked out. My plan, should I decide to buy it, is to get all the upfront maintenance done, then keep up preventive maintenance and drive the hair off its back. I'm just wondering if it would cost more to maintain a paid for BMW, or a stinkin Honda with payments . Whatever I get, I want it to last up to 300k miles. With regular oil changes and preventive maintenance, can a BMW even get there?
Considering we have a couple folks that have gone well over 200k (Our own Smolck is 250k+ these days), if you get all the potential issues out of the way now, and then just keep up with maintenance as needed, yes. You should easily be able to hit 300k miles and then some.
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  #8  
Old 10-17-2011, 01:55 PM
ROClark ROClark is offline
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I guess life is all about trade-offs. I could get the BMW , or get a stinkin Honda and compensate for my mid-life crisis via lap dances at the local strip joint.... Plus, I already have a Honda lawnmower. It cuts the grass real well.
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  #9  
Old 10-17-2011, 02:05 PM
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djstrachan djstrachan is offline
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Life is short. If driving a Honda will make you feel like you are already beyond having fun in a car...get teh BMW.

I wouldn't call my BMW my "mid-life-crisis" car, I decided if I wait any longer, I will never experience something I waited years for.

I am doing my own maintenance and will attempt most of the bigger stuff ( I also have a good indy trained at BMW if I need to go there).

The advice to dig deep and understand that these cars need TLC and more "maintenance" is good. The financial advice is hit and miss as only you know your situation.

If the journey to your deistination is as important or more-so than arriving...get the BMW.

3 years for me and i still am constantly looking for excuses to go for a spin.

As Cat Stevens said when receiving sound responsible and conservative advice..." but I might die tonight".
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2004 325i - Sport package - 5MT- clears - CDV mod - M3 gauge faces w/silver gauge rings & red needles - SS exhaust tips - strut tower brace - Hotchkis anti-sway bars -50% tint - shadow grills - roof spoiler - silver CF trim

Last edited by djstrachan; 10-17-2011 at 02:06 PM.
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  #10  
Old 10-17-2011, 02:25 PM
imtjm imtjm is offline
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my 26 yr old 318i had over 200k when I sold it. that doesn't mean the stinkin hond or this bimmer will last that long or to 300k. i wouldn't be buying a car with over 100k with the intention that it will last to 300k. i would be buying something with less miles with the intention of busting mid 100k.
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  #11  
Old 10-17-2011, 03:49 PM
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MalibuMafiaV MalibuMafiaV is offline
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Just do your own work on it and you'll be fine.
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  #12  
Old 10-17-2011, 04:28 PM
Variocam Variocam is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MalibuMafiaV View Post
Just do your own work on it and you'll be fine.
Yes, as I've said many times before, buying an older BMW means you're buying a hobby as well as a car. If you can't, or simply don't enjoy, doing your own work on it, you're asking for major financial trouble. If you can, you'll likely get a long, reliable life out of the BMW.
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  #13  
Old 10-17-2011, 05:07 PM
ROClark ROClark is offline
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Yes, I will be doing some of the work on it myself. For projects beyond my ability / resources, I have an awesome and trustworthy BMW mechanic. I just wonder if the maintenance costs will be equal to or exceed having a car payment over the long run.

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  #14  
Old 10-17-2011, 05:13 PM
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djnadina djnadina is offline
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I think you answered your own question: You Don't Want Payments!

If you are a good DIY fixer, then get the BMW :-)
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  #15  
Old 10-17-2011, 05:29 PM
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MalibuMafiaV MalibuMafiaV is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Variocam View Post
Yes, as I've said many times before, buying an older BMW means you're buying a hobby as well as a car. If you can't, or simply don't enjoy, doing your own work on it, you're asking for major financial trouble. If you can, you'll likely get a long, reliable life out of the BMW.
I agree 100% with what you said. If you can work on these yourself there cheap to maintaine and fun to work on. I enjoy working on mine. I plan to change my intake manifold gaskets and DISA next week. Oh and a oil change.
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BMW 2006 M5 - REALLY LOUD
Audi S4 2000 Stage 3 - Dat turbo spool
BMW 2000 3-series - Supercharged Because race car SOLD
Maserati 2004 M128 GT - HREs/tint/straight piped SOLD
BMW 2006 M3 - stock - SOLD
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  #16  
Old 10-17-2011, 07:19 PM
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jmanscotch jmanscotch is offline
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They really are easy cars to work on: Inline 6 with RWD...a dream over many others. It will need worked on though and early model runs are known to be just the bit more problematic. That said, taking out a loan for something else or a slightly newer, better maintained one, isn't always bad. Loans improve credit score, credit score helps in life...just depends if you could use that or not.

With the help of the forums, very well documented problems and DIYs with the E46 model, it really isn't a huge cost. There is some initial catch up to do on maintenance that will cost you, but outside of that, it will usually be cheaper than a car payment if you DIY it all (which it is all very doable).
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2004 325Ci - 5MT - SOLD & MISSED
2003 3.0 Z4 - 6MT - SOLD
1967 1602 - 4MT - STOLEN
2008 328XI - 6MT - EX STOLE
1995 325i - RUSTED AWAY
2009 135i - COPS IMPOUNDING
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  #17  
Old 10-17-2011, 07:27 PM
imtjm imtjm is offline
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without getting the car checked out, you don't know what it needs right now, so you can't know if the cost now will be less than the honda now. with that said, even if you do work on your own, parts are always going to cost, and if you reach a point of major issues that you cannot do yourself, the $5k difference will easily be consumed.
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  #18  
Old 10-18-2011, 10:09 AM
ROClark ROClark is offline
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I'm getting it checked out this week. If my mechanic gives me the thumbs up, I'll probably buy it. I want to see if I can hit 300k miles.
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  #19  
Old 10-18-2011, 10:45 AM
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djstrachan djstrachan is offline
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Hope it works out for you.

Welcome to the FEST!!
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"It is little use listening to other people as they will either be agreeing with you or saying stupid stuff" - Dogbert

I'm not a pessimist. At some point the world sh!ts on everybody. Pretending it ain't sh!t makes you an idiot, not an optimist.

2004 325i - Sport package - 5MT- clears - CDV mod - M3 gauge faces w/silver gauge rings & red needles - SS exhaust tips - strut tower brace - Hotchkis anti-sway bars -50% tint - shadow grills - roof spoiler - silver CF trim
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  #20  
Old 10-18-2011, 05:01 PM
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jmanscotch jmanscotch is offline
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If it doesn't, consider a Honda S2000. Right price range, reliability and easy to work on layout with RWD (just avoid the HIGH high RPM range years...I see a decent amount of engines getting replaced in those).
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2004 325Ci - 5MT - SOLD & MISSED
2003 3.0 Z4 - 6MT - SOLD
1967 1602 - 4MT - STOLEN
2008 328XI - 6MT - EX STOLE
1995 325i - RUSTED AWAY
2009 135i - COPS IMPOUNDING
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  #21  
Old 10-18-2011, 07:31 PM
mexakin05 mexakin05 is offline
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Just don't trust him too much... LoL! He's thinking money in his Pocket as well...
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  #22  
Old 10-21-2011, 10:29 AM
macjules85 macjules85 is offline
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I bought a
2000 323i - spent a good amount on maintenance so far , I did not know the tranny was bad, I ended up rebuilding the tranny and a whole lot of other stuff, my wife is still pissed about me getting the car but a man wants what a man wants.

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  #23  
Old 10-21-2011, 12:18 PM
stickbuilder stickbuilder is offline
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One piece of advice from an old man: Never finance a depreciating asset.
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  #24  
Old 10-21-2011, 05:39 PM
ROClark ROClark is offline
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So I had the car inspected today. It does need work. Both front rotors have been turned. According to the mech this isn't a good sign at all. The used dealer admitted to doing it. Idiots. However, the only codes it's throwing is the crankcase separator valve and hoses, and airbag module is defective. I'm not interested in fixing the airbags, I only want to keep it running. The mechanic also smelled oil, as if there was a leak, but the gasket has been replaced so we think it was leftover oil from when it was leaking. Aside from that, I need to have some initial tune up and preventive maintenance done, and I think it's a good buy. Any other suggestions before I possibly pull the trigger?

Sent from my ADR6300 using Bimmer
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  #25  
Old 10-21-2011, 05:42 PM
mexakin05 mexakin05 is offline
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Bad things always happen to good people. we just have to keep our heads up. The actual cost will be at least $10K. Good Luck
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