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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 02-05-2013, 07:14 PM
Famzilla Famzilla is offline
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Location: North Carolina
 
Join Date: Aug 2012
Posts: 14
Mein Auto: 1999 323i E46
99 323i E46 owner - Need advice for fixing up my car

Good evening. The first paragraph is a bit of back story, so you can skip since it is kind of lengthy.

Drive way pics on the day I got my car:
http://imageshack.us/a/img32/4347/20120809193518552.jpg
http://imageshack.us/a/img708/2087/2012080919355496.jpg


So back in August my parents bought me my first car, a 1999 E46 323i. They bought it on ebay for around $4k (including shipping) without even getting it inspected first. Stupid if you ask me, but whatever; they're paying for most of the maintenance. As far as I know right now it has a leaking deferential which might be the only major thing that needs to get fixed now (how critical can this be?). All that is left to do is to clean up the car and get that fixed.

If you see a solution to any of the things below, some help would be greatly appreciated. Also, please excuse my car for being a little dirty.

Problems (No particular order):

1) The car has around 113k Miles on it, yet the "inspection" light comes up with "x" miles overdue and beeps then disappears. I don't know whether or not this is Inspection 1 or Inspection 2, or a totally different thing.

2) I once was able to get my sun roof to pop open like this:
http://i.imgur.com/rsWJc.jpg
How do I do this again, I can't figure it out for the life of me.

3) The wood trim of my car is coming off partially on my passenger front seat door, as seen here: http://i.imgur.com/YIF1h.jpg Is there an easy way to take that off and put it back on without breaking it? I feel like it'll break if I pull on it. Also, will I need to order some new clips for the places where it connects to the door, the ones on the front wood trim along the dash almost all were broken from when they installed an aftermarket radio.

4) The floor mats. I can't figure out how to place them in my car, I'm 90% sure they don't even go to my car, but I don't think placing it like this will hurt anything, will it? http://i.imgur.com/azuoY.jpg The passenger side floormat will not fit either and I can't scoot it back because of the seat.

5) Odd paint damage. As barely viewable here, http://i.imgur.com/o9p3S.jpg there are a lot of white spots on my hood. I can't tell what the damage is from, although I suspect it was salt erosion as my car was shipped from Florida to here in NC. Here is another picture where you can kind of see the damage. http://i.imgur.com/uKTBG.jpg and http://i.imgur.com/ee1p3.jpg (On a side note, what do you guys think I should do for the intake areas, paint the other one silver or repaint both of the actual grills black?)

6) I think it's called a pinstrip, but I'm not sure. Anyways, this: http://i.imgur.com/6hGKZ.jpg Is there an easy way to remove it without damaging the paint on the car? Or would I be better off repainting a new one on there? I don't really like it so I'd rather remove it. Tips?

7) Cracked plastic on exterior. http://i.imgur.com/3EeW4.jpg It's the piece that covers the gap between the front windshield and the windshield wipers is so brittle any force will crack it. How hard would it be to replace this and is it even worth it? Where could I get another?

8) Again, I don't know what this is called, but it's the bottom trim of plastic under the door next to the rear wheel on the drivers side: http://i.imgur.com/cCAro.jpg Here is another pic http://i.imgur.com/rtZGG.jpg How can I repair this, does it just snap back in or what?

9) Does anybody know what this weird pattern is on the bumper of my car? http://i.imgur.com/LK7aF.jpg It's really rough to the touch, as if it was sanded and it looks bad.

10) How critical is this damage? http://imgur.com/odAa6 It's the front, passenger side tire underneath the nose. http://i.imgur.com/72bnC.jpg Should I worry about it?

11) Is there an easy way to clean the inside of the headlights, there is a lot of fogging going on in there and I'd like to clean it out: http://i.imgur.com/GTl7F.jpg (I also just sanded the outside, it looks better but the inside of the lens are still bad)

12) How can I fix this sagging roof? http://i.imgur.com/qJBNf.jpg The roof previously leaked due to an aftermarket antenna installation. Took a while to catch where it was coming from until we plastic-wrapped it an then found out it was that. Since then the leak has been repaired.

13) This frickin fake leather **** on the plastic consoles. http://i.imgur.com/CpM19.jpg I scratched it off as it was in bad condition, is there any way I can possibly get the color back or do you think it looks fine once I continue to peel the rest off?

14) Does anybody know what the average MPG is on this, I average 22-23 driving about 20-30 miles a day going to school and back and I know it's not technically good to drive that little, I don't want to drive any more then I have to and it was more economical than driving my parents suburban to school.

15) How do I keep the black trim, well... black. As seen in a few of the photos, it's not a true black, I use some blackening stuff on it and it looks good until it rains, then it smears down the side of my car and looks like ****. Would I be better off getting some sort of paint and just painting all the black parts black again?

I think that is all I have to say, if I think of anything else I'll add it to the comments.

I've also posted this on the /r/BMW sub on Reddit which can be found here: http://www.reddit.com/r/BMW/comments...ing_up_my_car/

/walloftext

Last edited by Famzilla; 02-05-2013 at 07:17 PM.
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  #2  
Old 02-05-2013, 08:08 PM
Famzilla Famzilla is offline
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Location: North Carolina
 
Join Date: Aug 2012
Posts: 14
Mein Auto: 1999 323i E46
here are some of the answers I have recieved on reddit:


replace diff seal, diff oil is important.
1.) take it in, pay the $40 for them to tell you and have it reset.
2.)replace sunroof switch, it is likely the culprit
3.) if the clips are intact, some new gromets should hold it in properly
4.) yeah, those aren't E46 mats
5.) bad picture, could be clearcoat damage, or rock chips
6.) yes, google. involves heat a razor and a lot of patience.
7.) buy new wiper cowl, install. southern cars often get warped plastics
8.) rocker panel trim. buy new clips. REALoem.com for part number then dealer or blunttech.com for new parts
9.) looks like probably clearcoat damage again
10.) fender liner. not at all critical to function, but they're cheap and easy to replace.
11.) you can put them in the oven to soften the glue, then wipe them down, then you can take a mild abraisive and wetsand the lens, then polish to remove oxidization, but seeing as its a 323, you probably dont have xenon. get a couple of used headlights that are clear. cheaper.
12.) have it re covered, buy a used one or live with it. common for southern cars that sat outside a lot
13.) pretty typical wear
14.) auto or manual? I got 22-24 when it was an auto now I get 25-28 after converting it to a stick.
15.) bumper paint works if surface is prepped well, otherwise new trim isnt expensive




REPAIR YOUR DIFF! not even a joke. A differential will run you a good chuck of change if you **** up the gearing in there. do that ASAP!
1) forum to reset the inspection light
2) press the sunroof button in. Not forward, not backward. just press it.
4) you have wrong formats. Buy BMW once
5) buff your paint with some compound. pop over to /r/AutoDetailing for more information on that, people there know what they are talking about
7) replace the window cowl. Easy to do.
11) its the outside of the lights. get a headlight restoration kit, or new lenses. Up to you.
12) The issue with the headliner is the foam backing, due to the leak, i am assuming, it deteriorated. You would have to remove the whole headliner and re glue new headliner.
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  #3  
Old 02-05-2013, 08:42 PM
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Fast Bob Fast Bob is offline
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Location: Here, there, everywhere....
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 33,115
Mein Auto: 2004 330Ci ZHP 3 pedals
Have you ever considered switching to decaf ???
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  #4  
Old 02-05-2013, 09:13 PM
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halltristan halltristan is offline
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Location: Tennessee
 
Join Date: Feb 2012
Posts: 638
Mein Auto: 325i and X3
Where are you exactly in North Carolina? You might be close enough to me that I could help you, if you're up for a drive and a day of work.
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  #5  
Old 02-06-2013, 06:35 AM
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SWC SWC is offline
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Location: Upstate NY
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Posts: 281
Mein Auto: 2004 330i
When I bought my 323i - I searched each issue through the wiki and fixed one by one - there's a lot of info on all the items you listed above. Have fun, enjoy the car and try not to get too worked up over every detail (as I did.)
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  #6  
Old 02-06-2013, 08:30 AM
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JayKayo JayKayo is offline
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Location: SoCal
 
Join Date: Feb 2013
Posts: 312
Mein Auto: 2005 330Ci ZHP
I stopped reading the list after I saw you went up to 15. Honestly, your parents made a huge mistake buying a car that they never got to see. Which is still fine as long as you have someone there check it out but with all these problems, fixing it all the right way I imagine, may cost over what was paid for the purchase of the vehicle itself.
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  #7  
Old 02-06-2013, 10:02 AM
Famzilla Famzilla is offline
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Location: North Carolina
 
Join Date: Aug 2012
Posts: 14
Mein Auto: 1999 323i E46
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fast Bob View Post
Have you ever considered switching to decaf ???
Haha I don't drink coffee, but when I do it's caffeinated whether I need it or not.

Quote:
Originally Posted by halltristan View Post
Where are you exactly in North Carolina? You might be close enough to me that I could help you, if you're up for a drive and a day of work.
I live about an hour south of Raleigh. Driving to Kentucky probably won't be an option for multiple reasons. Thanks for the offer though, I'll keep this in mind if I can't figure anything else out.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SWC View Post
When I bought my 323i - I searched each issue through the wiki and fixed one by one - there's a lot of info on all the items you listed above. Have fun, enjoy the car and try not to get too worked up over every detail (as I did.)
Most of the stuff I asked I am pretty sure is not on the wiki, but thanks to some people on reddit they answered a lot of questions and helped with some names for parts etc. IE rocker panel or the window cowl.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JayKayo View Post
I stopped reading the list after I saw you went up to 15. Honestly, your parents made a huge mistake buying a car that they never got to see. Which is still fine as long as you have someone there check it out but with all these problems, fixing it all the right way I imagine, may cost over what was paid for the purchase of the vehicle itself.
The only thing it will cost is the parts if I manage to do everything on my own, which I plan to do (or at least get some help from friends etc)
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  #8  
Old 02-06-2013, 11:27 AM
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SWC SWC is offline
Officially Welcomed to the 'Fest
Location: Upstate NY
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Posts: 281
Mein Auto: 2004 330i
Use the search feature - I'm sure you will find your info.
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  #9  
Old 02-06-2013, 12:27 PM
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JayKayo JayKayo is offline
The UltimatE46 Enthusiast
Location: SoCal
 
Join Date: Feb 2013
Posts: 312
Mein Auto: 2005 330Ci ZHP
Regarding #14, I average low 20's per gallon since traffic is bad on the freeway on the way to school. But without any traffic (freeway only), it can be around 30+. City streets and freeway combined with average non-rush hour traffic, around 24.
It's fine to commute & drive for only 20-30 miles then kill the engine, that's what I do 4 days a week and also to work. What makes the biggest difference is how you maintain it and keep it up to date on maintenance. Even then, I sometimes go for a longer, undisturbed drive on the freeway to "clean out" the system, just in case.

I was an uneducated driver back then and beat the hell out of my previous '05 325Ci but it was still going strong when it was at 128,000 so you should be fine as long as the oil changes are consistent.
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