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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

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  #1  
Old 02-06-2013, 12:52 AM
Benihanaa Benihanaa is offline
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Location: Newhall, CA
 
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Mein Auto: Hopefully a 1998 528i
Unhappy 2000 323ci New Clutch Question!

I am looking to buy a 2000 323ci from a slightly sketchy dealership, the only thing is my Father doesn't think it's a good idea because of the clutch.

They are saying that the clutch is brand new and they have the paperwork to back it, however it feels really light and soft and easy to depress, which from doing some research I found out is totally normal for a brand new clutch. However my Dad's problem is that he doesn't think the car "takes" or starts moving unless he lets go of the clutch completely, since he says a new clutch should take with barely releasing it at all. However when I was driving it I was able to start moving by releasing it just a little bit, and pressing on the gas a little more. This is the first BMW my Dad has driven so is it possible that he just wasn't doing it right? Or does it seem sketchy? I'd say when I was driving it it would take at around halfway.

They're asking $7500 and it has only 86,000 miles.

Thanks!
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Old 02-06-2013, 05:58 AM
JKRIT JKRIT is offline
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Location: Hollis, NH
 
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Mein Auto: '03 525i
A pre-purchase inspection by a knowledgeable BMW mechanic is always a good idea, and could also resolve any concerns about the clutch. More importantly, you need to find out whether the car has the dreaded rear subframe mount failure, which was the subject of a recall. If the car needs this costly repair now, it would be at your expense since the recall has ended.
Also, depending on condition/options on the car, the seller seems to be asking maybe $1,000 over book value. Do your research: carfax or equivalent, look up book value on Edmunds, Kelly Blue Book, etc.
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Old 02-06-2013, 06:45 AM
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smolck smolck is offline
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The answer is surprisingly simple, ALL E46's come with a self adjusting clutch. So in essence it is designed to have the same release point for the entire life of the clutch. It isn't like an old school clutch that the release point starts near the floor and then moves progressively further up as it gets worn down. Additionally the easy pedal feel is again intentional. The E46 has a dual hydraulic clutch. Meaning you have a slave cylinder that actuates the throw out bearing AND a master cylinder on the clutch pedal itself. Easy pedal feel isn't a concern.

BMW clutches last a long time. My ZHP has 174k miles on it and I am still on the OEM clutch. That's right, the one that was installed 174k miles ago is still going strong.

Does any of that mean you should buy the car? NO! Personally I wouldn't touch any 99 or 00 model, especially not a coupe. They are known for massive subframe failures. Google E46 subframe failure.
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Old 02-06-2013, 07:56 PM
Y2K_Bimmer Y2K_Bimmer is offline
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Location: Glendale, AZ
 
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Mein Auto: 2000 323i
I have an '00 323i and my clutch is easy to push. I replaced it at about 100k and now at 165k I have never adjusted it. Listen to Smolk.
And I would never buy a BMW without a PPI, preferably at a dealer. They will scare you with the price of repars but I think they would be very thorough.
Post back and let us know how things turn out.
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Old 02-08-2013, 10:17 PM
Benihanaa Benihanaa is offline
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Location: Newhall, CA
 
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Mein Auto: Hopefully a 1998 528i
Thanks for the helpful replies everyone, I really appreciate the advice.

I've decided not to get the car, the subframe issue is just too scary and costly!

Right now I'm looking at a 2000 528i, hopefully I get it!
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