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E46 M3 (2001-2006)

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Old 07-31-2013, 10:32 PM
Kor Kor is offline
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Location: Calgary, Canada
Join Date: Jul 2013
Posts: 4
Mein Auto: e46 M3
First time BMW owner just drove my M3 home


I just bought my first e46 M3, a 2001 with under 80,000 miles. The body is in great shape, as are the electronics and interior. The engine runs like a dream and sounds like a new car. Very excited to own this legendary car.

I did a bit of research before I bought and I made sure to get a car with documented regular maintenance including the valve adjustments. Also checked for the subframe damage that I heard was common.

However after driving the car home there are a couple of mechanical issues on my mind and I'd like some advice from veterans so I can have a talk with a mechanic. I'd appreciate your sage advice.

1. When releasing the clutch into a gear, especially on a hill, it's smooth and grabs just fine but I can hear a clunking from under the car in the rear, almost like something is moving under there! Seems worse engaging reverse. What could this be?

2. Going over small road bumps, into parking lots, over manhole covers, there is an occasional metalic rattle/clunk from under the front part of the car. It's very loud when the windows are down, kind of embarrassing. Ideas?

3. Seems like a whistling wind noise from the drivers side mirror or below it when I'm driving on the highway over 60mph. This common?

4. When I really put my foot down the steering pulls to the right while accelerating. When I brake hard it pulls a bit left. ??

5. I was told that there was never any replacement work done by the prior owner on the cooling system or belts. What's essential at 80,000 miles?

This is quite a lot of issues for my first day so I am hoping you can help put me at ease or at least get me ready to talk to the shop a bit

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Old 08-05-2013, 07:50 AM
Red Coat Red Coat is offline
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Location: Alberta Canada
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 86
Mein Auto: see "my garage"....
Your issues...

First, welcome.
I've had a number of Bimmers. My latest purchase was an '04 M3 convertible Carbon black and grey interior -70,000km.
These are great cars and will last a long time - if they are properly maintained.
I'm not a mechanic, simply an enthusiast who is completely hooked on the brand.

Second, to your concerns;
1 - These cars tend to have a "notchy" feeling to the shift, but this is at the gear box.
2 - This may be worn "A" frames. I had these replaced on my 2000 328 coupe.
3 - Any whistling type of noise may likely be loose trim or in your case the mirror.
4 - This is concerning. Did you have the car inspected before you purchased? The E46 have a problem with sub frame separation. The M3 has a positive differential. If the acceleration is hard, I can see the car shifting to one side to compensate for the road crown, but it's something to have checked
As for braking, could be the same or uneven wear at the brakes.
5 - There's lots that would or should have been done by 80,000 miles (US Car I assume?).
If there were no service records for the car, I'd find a good after market shop in Calgary and have them take a look. Don't have any work done until they tell you what it's going to be.
As a new owner to the brand, have them show you the worn parts and pieces before you get anything done.
I purchased mine in Calgary and the pre purchase inpsection was done in the SE. I'll never go there again. They missed a cracked rim! Send me a PM and I'll give you the name of the shop and the details.

I live in the Edmonton area and I have a fantastic after market mechanic who is excellent.

Red Coat
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