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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

View Poll Results: Should I fix this car or sell it?
Is is not salvageable and will die very soon. 1 16.67%
It is salvageable but too expensive (>$3000) to fix 0 0%
it is salvageable but will cost less than $3,000 to fix 5 83.33%
Voters: 6. You may not vote on this poll

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  #1  
Old 03-28-2012, 10:20 PM
01Blau325 01Blau325 is offline
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Tic Tic Sound coming from engine

Posting after a really long time. I have received a 2001 325i from my parents that they garaged (and occasionally drove) for a long time. The car has been driven less than 20K miles in 7 years. A brief history before I get to the core problem: I apologize for the lot of text but you will understand why I am mentioning all off this.

Starting in 2007, I would get a random burning smell (like a plastic or a wire burning) through AC. It would come and go by itself and this happened quite rarely so I never thought much of it. Amber Check Engine light used to come on some times and then a coolant light came on - found out that the coolant was almost empty. I filled it and asked my parents to get it fixed. I guess they never did that because I have topped off the coolant a few times in the car. Also starting in 2007, the car would shake sometimes when started and would seem to lose out more than half the power - press the gas and car would barely move. But it would come and go by itself. Again, my parents never got that fixed or did anything. Also to note, that since car was barely driven, they would change oil sometimes once a year (or less) even though the time period would be over. From what I understand it was Mobil 1 oil from a local mechanic. In 2010, the engine coils were replaced based on sensor fault codes by a local mechanic. Burning smell problem persists to this date. However, starting 2010 the car started making a tic tic sound at idle - enough for it to be noticed. Fast forward January 2011 - my parents gave me this car. I immediately got the radiator bin replaced (there was leakage in it). i asked the mechanic who has always worked on this car about the tic tic sound and he said I should get a new engine. I am not even sure how much that would cost. The tic tic sound has gotten really loud now - to a point I can hear it with windows closed driving at 65 mph. With windows down it is not bearable. The check engine light has come on and off by itself a few times. Even though the car hasn't broken down, I do not feel comfortable driving it anymore. I am scared it will break down any day. I did some research on the forum and it seemed like this is a lifter problem. I have 2 options - fix it or sell it. Took it to a couple of BMW dealers to do a trade in for a 2009 CPO (1.9% APR til April 30th) and they offered me $5,000 after haggling. 2009 CPO with xenons, PDC, Cold weather, Premium and Nav is coming to about $26K. Second option is fix this sucker. I called a local BMW dealer and the SA told me its probably a lifter and ICV issue with about $1,500 in repair (parts + labor) or $2,600 in nightmarish scenario.

Based on the information above:

1. Based on the poor maintenance and long history of this problem, is this car salvageable?

2. Is it worth getting this car fixed? I live in NYC and I do not expect to drive more than 5K miles a year. Hence if this car can be saved and will be trouble free for a while, I would rather do that.

3. Is the BMW dealer quoting a good price for this? I have never dealt with a BMW service, but can this be negotiated and by how much based on your experience?

Thank you so much for your help and reading this. I am a noob and hence do not know much. Any links, advice, tips etc are helpful.

Thanks
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  #2  
Old 03-28-2012, 10:38 PM
JBimmer92 JBimmer92 is offline
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First off...thats a lot of problems and secondly any price you get from a Stealership is going to be (for the most part) Rape for lack of a better term. Best thing to do is take it to an independant shop (that is certified ofcourse) and find out exactly what the problem is. Also, once you figure it out, if it isn't DIY-able don't let the Stealership do it for you, the indi shop should be a bit cheaper. best of luck my friend. (As far as the actual problem, I do apologize, but I've no insight on that )
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  #3  
Old 03-28-2012, 10:48 PM
01Blau325 01Blau325 is offline
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Originally Posted by JBimmer92 View Post
First off...thats a lot of problems and secondly any price you get from a Stealership is going to be (for the most part) Rape for lack of a better term. Best thing to do is take it to an independant shop (that is certified ofcourse) and find out exactly what the problem is. Also, once you figure it out, if it isn't DIY-able don't let the Stealership do it for you, the indi shop should be a bit cheaper. best of luck my friend. (As far as the actual problem, I do apologize, but I've no insight on that )
I understand the point about stealership - but call me lame or lame or whatever, I do not have any experience dealing with an independent BMW mechanic in the area. Since I do not know of any, I do not feel comfortable letting them touch my car. Had a bad experience with a Honda fe years ago when an indi mechanic replaced my good engine parts with shoddy ones so that I will come back to him again. My dealer alerted me about this when i took the car to them for service after i suspected foul play. But if you or anyone know of a trustworthy BMW mechanic in Marlton, NJ (08053) or New York city (10008), please let me know.

I know I am getting raped on trade in (if I do it), but in good conscience, I cannot sell this car to some private person knowing I do not feel safe in it. Would hate it if someone did this to me and I do not want bad karma.

People - please help. I can either put up to $2500 in down for a CPO car or use it salvage this one.
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  #4  
Old 03-29-2012, 03:50 AM
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jonathan2263 jonathan2263 is offline
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New motor? Unlikely. Get a second opinion. Also, take it to a place like autozone where they will scan the fault codes for free. Write down the exact codes they give you and post them here. Without codes your just trusting someone who may or may not be BSing you.
I'm not familiar enough with Marlton to suggest an indie, but if it's like other affluent areas of NJ, there will be a ton of bimmers and plenty of mechanics who know how to work on them. Ask your neighbors, use the google machine or maybe one of the other Jersey guys will chime in here.
And BTW, that oil smell you get through the AC at random times is almost certainly a leaking valve cover gasket, a common and inexpensive problem to fix, which could also indicate what else may be wrong. Doesn't sound terminal yet...
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Last edited by jonathan2263; 03-29-2012 at 03:53 AM.
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  #5  
Old 03-29-2012, 04:47 AM
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av98 av98 is offline
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Find a good BMW Indy mechanic in your area then have them do a PPI to see what needs to be fixed. Also have them do a compression check and leak down test to find out if your engine's health is really that bad that it needs a new one. This should give you a better idea of how bad or good the car is.
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  #6  
Old 03-29-2012, 05:45 AM
01Blau325 01Blau325 is offline
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Thanks guys - any NJ Bimmer owners that can chip in to recommend a mechanic around Marlton, NJ?

Seems like the dealership is going to be a rip off so an indie mechanic will be best bet if I can find one.

On average how expensive is a BMW dealership repair job compared to an indie - trying to figure out how much can I save and if I can negotiate with the dealer should I not be able to find a trusted indie.

I will take the car to an Autozone on Friday (have classes all day today - life of a grad student) to get fault codes and post them here.
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  #7  
Old 03-29-2012, 06:25 AM
01Blau325 01Blau325 is offline
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And here is a video I just made of the sound to give you guys a better idea -
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  #8  
Old 03-29-2012, 06:30 AM
Spikes007 Spikes007 is offline
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Pulleys? DISA valve?

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  #9  
Old 03-29-2012, 07:00 AM
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Doesn't sound like a lifter or anything in the video. I'd pull the belt off and run it for a second to see if the noise is still there. But I don't think the car needs a new motor at all. Also, at this moment, I would have voted salvagable and less than $500 to fix.
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  #10  
Old 03-29-2012, 05:41 PM
01Blau325 01Blau325 is offline
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What do you think it should cost if it's belt and pulleys as you suggested? Also should I still do a fault check?
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  #11  
Old 03-29-2012, 05:42 PM
01Blau325 01Blau325 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by smolck View Post
Doesn't sound like a lifter or anything in the video. I'd pull the belt off and run it for a second to see if the noise is still there. But I don't think the car needs a new motor at all. Also, at this moment, I would have voted salvagable and less than $500 to fix.
Sorry didn't see the cost estimate.
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  #12  
Old 03-29-2012, 06:45 PM
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BMW engines are typically tougher than a two-dollar steak....they *hardly ever* self-destruct. Chances are that it`s something relatively minor and not overwhelmingly expensive to fix.
Given the car`s history, I would flush the engine using a quart of ATF added to the oil immediately prior to an oil & filter change, and replace the oil *with the correct viscosity* for this engine (i.e., BMW-spec Castrol or Mobil 1 0W-40).
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  #13  
Old 03-30-2012, 03:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 01Blau325 View Post
What do you think it should cost if it's belt and pulleys as you suggested? Also should I still do a fault check?
Belts and pulleys should set you back no more than $50ish for pulleys and probably $40 for belts. Where in NY are you, there are several very capable Indys out there. If it's just the belts and pulleys you can do this yourself in less than an hour with basic parts.
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  #14  
Old 04-02-2012, 06:35 AM
01Blau325 01Blau325 is offline
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Saw the post too late. I am in city. I cam down to Mt. Laurel NJ BMW dealership. They told me that it would be 60 bucks to diagnose (as opposed to 350 for manhattan BMW). Seems good. I will post what I hear and get recommendations. Thanks.
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  #15  
Old 04-02-2012, 07:25 AM
01Blau325 01Blau325 is offline
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SA claims that it's lifter. $2300 to replace all 24 lifters - Said 1200 for parts and 900 for labor. Also said that serpentine appears ok but to change it is 120 - will inspect and call me if it needs change. Leak in power steering hose - $400. So asking for $2900 for everything. will replace air filter and wiper blades for free (yea right). Overall nice SA. But are the prices justified - without dealer bashing please?. Please give estimates.
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  #16  
Old 04-02-2012, 09:59 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 01Blau325 View Post
SA claims that it's lifter. $2300 to replace all 24 lifters - Said 1200 for parts and 900 for labor. Also said that serpentine appears ok but to change it is 120 - will inspect and call me if it needs change. Leak in power steering hose - $400. So asking for $2900 for everything. will replace air filter and wiper blades for free (yea right). Overall nice SA. But are the prices justified - without dealer bashing please?. Please give estimates.
You need to perform the ATF flush BEFORE spending a lot of money on what is most likely *not even a real problem*. Virtually ALL BMWs have a little lifter noise....it`s inherent in their design.
If you *don`t* DIY, rape is inevitable....
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  #17  
Old 04-02-2012, 10:22 AM
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smolck smolck is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 01Blau325 View Post
SA claims that it's lifter. $2300 to replace all 24 lifters - Said 1200 for parts and 900 for labor. Also said that serpentine appears ok but to change it is 120 - will inspect and call me if it needs change. Leak in power steering hose - $400. So asking for $2900 for everything. will replace air filter and wiper blades for free (yea right). Overall nice SA. But are the prices justified - without dealer bashing please?. Please give estimates.
Seems like you have your mind made up you need new lifters. I think that is premature, I think Bob has some good advice, I think it is worth it to try. Might just save a lot of money.
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Old 04-02-2012, 10:31 AM
01Blau325 01Blau325 is offline
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Haven't given car for service yet. Paid $60 and said need to think. I am not handy with doing a ATF flush etc - most I have done is top off fluids. Let me watch some YouTube's.

However SA was pretty adamant that it is lifter's. I spoke to the mechanic as well and he said it is definitely that. I inquired about serpentine and he said he did visual inspection and belt looked fine but I should still get it replaced as its past 60k miles. Bit confused.
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Old 04-02-2012, 12:43 PM
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Originally Posted by 01Blau325 View Post
Haven't given car for service yet. Paid $60 and said need to think. I am not handy with doing a ATF flush etc - most I have done is top off fluids. Let me watch some YouTube's.

However SA was pretty adamant that it is lifter's. I spoke to the mechanic as well and he said it is definitely that. I inquired about serpentine and he said he did visual inspection and belt looked fine but I should still get it replaced as its past 60k miles. Bit confused.
Look,....the dealer`s job is to get money out of you....LOTS of money....the fact of whether this job is even *necessary*does not factor into the equation for them. They just have to convince YOU that it`s necessary. You better smarten up *quickly*....if you can`t even perform a simple ATF flush and oil change on your own, then a BMW is *definitely not* the right car for you !
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Old 04-02-2012, 12:56 PM
01Blau325 01Blau325 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fast Bob View Post
Look,....the dealer`s job is to get money out of you....LOTS of money....the fact of whether this job is even *necessary*does not factor into the equation for them. They just have to convince YOU that it`s necessary. You better smarten up *quickly*....if you can`t even perform a simple ATF flush and oil change on your own, then a BMW is *definitely not* the right car for you !
Ouch! I do love the car. Just not too much into the fixing stuff (very hard to do if you live in NYC). That's why I am here to get advice from the experts. I am watching some YouTube's to see if I can so ATF flushing.

Let me ask you this - the sudden power loss, and shaking of car and "Service Engine Soon" lights that happen quite often (but go away by themselves) - what is that a sign of?

But thanks for all the help - if you have any helpful tips on stuff, please do share. So far, I cannot thank you guys enough!
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  #21  
Old 04-07-2012, 03:26 PM
01Blau325 01Blau325 is offline
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I got a quote from an Indy in voorhees, NJ. He also confirmed it to be lifters and a new pulley. His quote was $250 lower than the dealer. I chose to go with the dealer - negotiated the price and ultimately the 2 year warranty was a great deal.

Anyway - did I get ripped off? I don't think so and I am happy even though it was 150 more than Indy. Thanks guys!
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  #22  
Old 04-07-2012, 03:34 PM
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Originally Posted by 01Blau325 View Post
I got a quote from an Indy in voorhees, NJ. He also confirmed it to be lifters and a new pulley. His quote was $250 lower than the dealer. I chose to go with the dealer - negotiated the price and ultimately the 2 year warranty was a great deal.

Anyway - did I get ripped off? I don't think so and I am happy even though it was 150 more than Indy. Thanks guys!
I think *you screwed yourself* out of $2400 is what the REAL deal is....
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  #23  
Old 04-07-2012, 03:37 PM
01Blau325 01Blau325 is offline
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Eh. Broken lifters, new valves, new belts and new pulleys. I don't think so. But paying that amount def hurt. However indy was no better and def shady.

Onto doing upgrades to car now - changing to d99 dynavin this week, installing pdc and rear camera as well. Next up - sports steering.
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  #24  
Old 04-07-2012, 03:42 PM
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Originally Posted by 01Blau325 View Post
Eh. Broken lifters, new valves, new belts and new pulleys. I don't think so. But paying that amount def hurt. However indy was no better and def shady.

Onto doing upgrades to car now - changing to d99 dynavin this week, installing pdc and rear camera as well. Next up - sports steering.
"Broken lifters"???????????? "New valves"?????????????

WTF (exactly) does that mean ????
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  #25  
Old 04-07-2012, 03:45 PM
01Blau325 01Blau325 is offline
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Valve gaskets not valves. 5 broken lifters. No idea how the hell those broke. Inspected belt - tear on it as well. 2 lose pulleys.
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