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E46 M3 (2001-2006)

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Old 07-24-2013, 07:20 PM
HeavyComponent HeavyComponent is offline
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Location: USA
Join Date: Jul 2013
Posts: 1
Mein Auto: 2003 BMW 530i
Few PPI questions!

Hey everyone! New to this site and I've been doing some reading around here because I'm VERY VERY interested in 02-06 BMW M3 E46 if the price is right.

On my way to a dealer spot here in NYC, I couldn't find the dealer and out the blue my eyes landed on another E46 M3 for sale at a gas station! Small dealer spot that has a few cars parked at this gas station. So in shocked I ran over.

Silver 2003 BMW E46 80K Mileage - $13,9K. They wouldn't let me look at the car cuz they were closed!!

I asked the owners if they accept PPI and he said "Yes we can get it done for you".

Should I just find my own spot?
If so how do I get the car over to them?
Is it ok for them to get it done their way and I just be there when it's getting inspected?
What's the right way to get this going?

Sorry for the newbie questions, I have no knowledge about cars and BMW's at that. I know little newbie things because I own a 2003 BMW 530i.

What I do know is I'm in love with E46 M3 and I want one! Always have! When I get one this will be the car that will make me learn everything about it.

Thanks guys!!!
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Old 08-13-2013, 09:21 AM
ccates21 ccates21 is offline
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Location: Saint Peters
Join Date: May 2013
Posts: 9
Mein Auto: E46 M3
I just went through this! They should allow an independent shop to do a PPI. If not, beware. Its like taking it out for a test drive.

Here is the list of things I was looking for in a PPI. Most are borrowed from the Inspection 1/2 checklists, and can be checked fairly easily.
It'll cost you a couple hundred bucks, but well worth it to save you from buying a car that needs $5k worth of work right off the bat. (Unless you get a really good deal!)

Super Important:
- VERIFY SERVICE RECORDS TO SHOW ROD BEARING RECALL WAS DONE!!! (I think this was still an issue with the 2003's. Double-check with a dealer or on these threads about that.)
- Verify all "Inspection 1 and 2" services were performed at the correct intervals, with documentation. (Insp1 every 30k - Insp2 w/ valve adjustment every 60k)
- Check rear trailing arm bushings. (rear end sway under heavy acceleration)
- Check front control arm bushings. (will ruin tie rods and cause tire wear)
- Check rear subframe for cracks/tears. (This was a known E46 M3 issue)
- Check transmission for leaks.
- Check rear axle for leaks.
- Check differential for play (bushings - thunk sound when shifting).
- Check steering for absence of play, condition of suspension track rods, front axle joints, steering linkage.
- Check engine cooling system/heater hose connections for leaks.
- Check brake and clutch system connectors and lines for leaks, damage, and incorrect positioning.
- Check flex disc (guibo) for play/cracks. (Vibration under center console area, rattle when shifting. If this is cracked, expect center support bearing to be bad too.)

Less "intensive/important":
- Half shafts: Check for leaks at flexible boots.
- Visually check fuel tank, lines, and connections for leaks.
- Check condition, position, and mounting of exhaust system. Examine for leaks.
- Check power steering system for leaks.
- Check coolant level and antifreeze protection level.
- Check level of brake and clutch fluid.
- Check air conditioner for operation.
- Check heater/air conditioner blower, rear window defogger.
- Check condition of tires and brakes. (New, newer? Needing replaced soon?)
- Check condition of belts/hoses.
- Check basic functions of the electrical system.
- Check the convertible top and its mechanics, if convertible.

- Always perform compression test!!! This will make sure all cylinders are at roughly the same pressure, and you won't be staring down the barrel of an engine rebuild...

Also, do some searching on here and youtube for the symptoms of Vanos bolts shearing off. Learn what it sounds like, at what RPM range, and how to kind of diagnose it by how it sounds. Then share that with your PPI mechanic, if they aren't familiar. That is a costly repair if they all shear off and fail. If caught in time, it isn't a super hard fix and will really ease your peace of mind.

Good luck! Hope this helps.
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