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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 05-12-2014, 05:49 AM
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I hate to do it but...

Having just turned 200k on my car, I hate to think about selling it, but I happened upon a nice wagon just like mine but obviously newer and lower miles. It's at a reputable local shop for sale, and I am planning to look at it as soon as I get a chance. Of course it's a manual, too. No sport package though - I will miss those seats!

As much as I want to keep driving my car, now knowing its maintenance history so well, I also realize it's a good time to sell it - when there's absolutely nothing wrong with it. With an almost-2-year-old, and another kid coming in September, I think it would be more practical to update my car, than to drive mine into the ground. I'd hate to have to put a transfer case, or a clutch, into my car at this point in its life.

Maybe I'll be fine for another 50,000 miles. Maybe this other car won't work out? Maybe someone here really wants a 2001 325xi 5-speed sport package wagon?

PS I already floated the idea of keeping both to my wife and she didn't hesitate to say no. I had to try, right?!
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  #2  
Old 05-12-2014, 09:30 AM
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I'm just happy your getting another BMW!.
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Old 05-12-2014, 10:46 AM
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Originally Posted by MalibuMafiaV View Post
I'm just happy your getting another BMW!.
Me too! Well, considering I haven't seen the car in person yet, it's hardly a done deal. But they don't come up for sale that often, let alone in good condition. This one looks like it was owned by one person for 10 years, always serviced at the dealer, then someone else had it for a very short time (7 months?) and now it found its way to NH via dealer trade-in and auction. Kinda makes me wonder if the second owner hit a rash of problems or wear items that all came up together and they just traded it for something new because they were sick of spending money on it. 7 months just seems like a short time to own a car. It's not really an impulse buy car, either, like a convertible or a jeep or something. Anyway I'm sure I'm over-analyzing it.

I just need to convince the wife to let me keep the old one. Of course we need a spare vehicle!
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Old 05-12-2014, 11:03 AM
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Well the fact your wanting another BMW is the good part! lol. The wife should say yes, it's a safe car, she wants you safe right? lol.
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  #5  
Old 05-12-2014, 06:19 PM
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I hate to do it but...

It's a great decision. Perfect time to get another car with 50-60k may be?and take it again to 200k. I hear you on wanting to keep this one as a beater, winter, extra, back up or just what ever you want car.

When my car turns 200k, I will not be able to sell it because it already has some rust spots on quarter panels and a couple of other spots. So guess what? I'm just keeping it, getting a newer car and may be entertaining myself with learning some bodywork and fixing those rusty spots.
I look forward to seeing the pix of the new ride!




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Old 05-13-2014, 05:34 AM
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What I really want to do is make my old one into a rally car. I can just imagine how much fun it would be without all the weight of the interior, with a skid plate & rally tires... There are lots of rally cross opportunities around here, not to mention Team O'Neil school being under an hour away. I'd keep the stock driver's seat though.

I've actually fixed a few minor rust spots on my car already. I didn't have the time so I had a professional shop do it. It was right before christmas, so they were relatively not busy and they did a LOT more work than what they charged me for... plus I paid in cash so I think they just used the money as a holiday bonus.

My wife and I have talked a lot about what makes sense for our next car, and in a perfect world, we'd get something with better mileage (she drives ~100 mi/day). But then we both want something solid and safe and capable - we need to be able to get out of our uphill driveway every day in the winter and I hate studded tires - and to get something newer with great mileage like a TDI jetta wagon, it's 20k and up for a nice used one. The older ones are VERY hard to find, and they always have crazy mileage. A new one is over 30k by the time you pick a few options, and that's $350+ a month PLUS a down payment big enough to get a nice used BMW wagon. The payback is VERY long if we're spending that much, and owning an older high-mileage TDI Jetta kinda scares me, and this is coming from the owner of two high mileage BMWs.

So if I've had my car for 5 years and paid 9k and it's worth maybe 3-4k now, that's a pretty good depreciation curve if you ask me. Gas mileage is certainly a factor but if I'm spending thousands for the privilege of saving hundreds on fuel, then what am I gaining? It's a selfish perspective on the environmental impact of my driving, but around here if you're not driving a 3/4 ton pickup, you're practically an environmentalist. I feel like Jeremy Clarkson declaring that the best car in the Amazon is an old Range Rover - is it possible that an old BMW isn't more expensive than any other car, when you buy right and sell right? And do your own work? Probably not, but it's very nice to drive in any case.
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Old 05-14-2014, 09:36 AM
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My car's got 285K, and it doesn't seem that there was a steep cliff I jumped off of regarding maintenance expenses... More is worn out on the car now, but I'll drive it to 300K at least.
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Old 05-14-2014, 11:42 AM
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Originally Posted by czarmar View Post
My car's got 285K, and it doesn't seem that there was a steep cliff I jumped off of regarding maintenance expenses... More is worn out on the car now, but I'll drive it to 300K at least.
That's fantastic! I think if I lived where rust wasn't an issue, I'd be able to keep the car for much longer. But even when there are no mechanical defects, there's rust looming in the background, threatening to greatly diminish the value of my car when (not if) it starts to appear.

The difference in someone's expression when looking at a used car is incredible when there's visible rust. "Well the car runs and drives perfect, service history is excellent, oooohhh there's a little bubble. I'll give you 5 dollars."

In fact, in terms of maintenance, going back to a car with lower miles I'll probably have to do all the same things I've done to this car.
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Old 05-15-2014, 07:56 PM
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I kept mine a little longer, but it was very expensive the last few years.

Now I'm in an F30 and poked my head in here because I'm unhappy with it.

Is there life after E46?

For now I have lost my passion for driving. I view my car as an appliance for the most part.
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Old 05-15-2014, 10:18 PM
FredoinSF FredoinSF is offline
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So when are you looking at this car? I hope you can keep the E46 dream alive.
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Old 05-16-2014, 05:23 AM
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Originally Posted by FredoinSF View Post
So when are you looking at this car? I hope you can keep the E46 dream alive.
I guess it had a minor dent that they were having fixed at a body shop. So when it comes back, I'll get to go see it, maybe this weekend? Meanwhile I've been fixing little details on my car, so I'm really loving it right now in its current state. It's a little like looking for a job when you're content with your current job, but maybe looking for a pay raise somewhere else? You're good either way, really. So I'm not in a rush.
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Old 05-16-2014, 06:24 AM
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Keep driving your car. You're worrying over a car that you say has nothing wrong with it so you plan to buy another car that might have a lot wrong with it.

My daddy's (and others - probably Will Rogers for all I know) old adage: "Buying a used car is buying another man's problems".

But anyway if you're buying another same model why not swap the seats before your old one goes on the block?
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Old 05-16-2014, 08:02 AM
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Buying from this shop means that they will go over it with a fine-toothed comb, and fix anything wrong or nearly wrong with it, before I get my hands on it. I could also potentially get it for less, if it needs brakes or something and I just choose to do that myself. Because the brakes are old now on my car, and it's easy work for not a lot of money in parts, this is something I'll likely be doing to either car. It's also been 80k miles since I did a lot of suspension work to my car, so some items might be coming due again soon.

While there are a lot of high-mileage E46's out there, I don't think a lot of them are xi's; I know for a fact that I have some play in the transfer case. It's fine now, but it's a distant concern. Rust is another one, which is mostly out of my control.

Another factor is that the "new" car has had only pretty much only one owner and looks to have an excellent service history, which will be harder and harder to find as time passes, especially since they stopped making them almost 10 years ago. If I want another E46 that isn't a maintenance nightmare, I am feeling like I should jump on this one. You're right that "buying a used car [CAN BE] buying another man's problems," which is actually why I'd like to sell my car when it's running perfectly. It's so much easier to sell, and I can shake someone's hand knowing I'm NOT doing that to them, and they can get a good car that will not break tomorrow. The selling process is much smoother that way, when you're trying to sell privately.

I'd swap the seats except the interiors are different colors. Bummer. Maybe it's worth swapping the sport steering wheel though? That should be pretty easy, right? I'll definitely be keeping whichever wheels I like better. I have nearly new tires on mine and they're the old 328 style, which I love. So we'll see.
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Old 05-22-2014, 06:30 AM
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So I'm going to look at this car on Saturday, finally. If it feels like the right thing, a part of the decision is how much my current car is worth. The all-knowing Kelley Blue Book says "fair" is $3,400 and "excellent" is $4,400 +/-. I guess I'd list it for $4,500 and see what happens? I've said it many times with respect to pricing, you can ONLY GO DOWN so aim high. What do you guys think??

This could be a pretty easy decision if I only have to shell out a few thousand to get this other car. I basically traded my old suburban (in terms of $$) straight up for my current car. $300 difference I think.

I've calculated the total expense of my current car, including tires, oil, parts, labor, AND DEPRECIATION (assuming a $4k value) to about $183/mo. That makes BMW ownership seem quite reasonable, if you buy and sell at the right times.
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Old 07-15-2014, 07:15 AM
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Update:





New car details: 2003. ~121,000 miles. No sport seats. Premium package. 5 speed manual. Everything else is pretty much exactly the same as my old car!

The biggest thing I miss (already) is the short shift kit. I really got used to that, and I'll have to work on fitting that in somehow...

I am planning on selling my other wagon on Sunday, it seems like it's going to a good home. I just fixed a few things, now it's in great shape and running perfectly, so I feel really good about giving it over to a new owner.

My son was a little confused this morning with both cars in the driveway. He's not quite two, and points to the blue one, "Dada car?" yes, that's Dada's car. What's that? (I said, pointing to the black one) "Dada car!? uhh Dada car!" hmmmm
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Old 07-15-2014, 07:38 AM
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Old 07-15-2014, 08:59 AM
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Originally Posted by mr_clueless View Post
I kept mine a little longer, but it was very expensive the last few years.

Now I'm in an F30 and poked my head in here because I'm unhappy with it.

Is there life after E46?

For now I have lost my passion for driving. I view my car as an appliance for the most part.
Is the F30 really that tame? At the risk of seeming to seek validation for having an E46 instead of a newer BMW, I'm curious to hear more about why you're unhappy with it.
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Old 07-15-2014, 10:14 AM
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Originally Posted by mr_clueless View Post
I kept mine a little longer, but it was very expensive the last few years.

Now I'm in an F30 and poked my head in here because I'm unhappy with it.

Is there life after E46?

For now I have lost my passion for driving. I view my car as an appliance for the most part.
I've heard great things about the 335is (E92). But I'm also the type who enjoys driving anything with an engine and wheels. I have fun tooling around in my truck even though, compared to the BMW, the handling is roughly equivalent to a beach ball. Speaking of beach ball handling, I have fun driving the little school buses that my ski jumping team uses to go to meets, because it's huge and gutless but rides over frost heaves like they're not there.

I too, am curious what about the F30 is so disengaging that you have lost your passion for driving.
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Old 07-15-2014, 10:19 AM
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nice man! looks good. How are you liking it so far?
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Old 07-15-2014, 10:36 AM
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nice man! looks good. How are you liking it so far?
Thanks! I like it partly because it's just like my current/old car, which I love. Definitely miss the SSK. If I could get under both cars by Sunday I'd love to switch it over, but I don't think that's happening.
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Old 07-15-2014, 10:43 AM
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Thanks! I like it partly because it's just like my current/old car, which I love. Definitely miss the SSK. If I could get under both cars by Sunday I'd love to switch it over, but I don't think that's happening.
I didn't like my SSK in the Audi when I first got it. But then now I love it!. I get into some one elses car that doesn't have one and I'm like "WHOA these gears are LONG". lol.
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Old 07-15-2014, 11:02 AM
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I didn't like my SSK in the Audi when I first got it. But then now I love it!. I get into some one elses car that doesn't have one and I'm like "WHOA these gears are LONG". lol.
Same here - I got so used to it, now it seems way too long of a throw. I'll start with a shorter shift knob, a friend with a lathe can make me one (or I can use the lathe), so that's at least something.

Best SSK I've used was in my sister's WRX. It was short to begin with; and it wasn't too "notchy" or too hard, fantastic. Felt like about 4" throw from 1-2 or 3-4.
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Old 07-15-2014, 11:06 AM
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Same here - I got so used to it, now it seems way too long of a throw. I'll start with a shorter shift knob, a friend with a lathe can make me one (or I can use the lathe), so that's at least something.

Best SSK I've used was in my sister's WRX. It was short to begin with; and it wasn't too "notchy" or too hard, fantastic. Felt like about 4" throw from 1-2 or 3-4.
That's perfect.
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Old 07-15-2014, 05:32 PM
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Originally Posted by John Davis View Post
Is the F30 really that tame? At the risk of seeming to seek validation for having an E46 instead of a newer BMW, I'm curious to hear more about why you're unhappy with it.
Quote:
Originally Posted by 1972ford View Post
I too, am curious what about the F30 is so disengaging that you have lost your passion for driving.
Let me start this out by saying that when I bought my E46 I was so happy with it I stopped looking at other cars altogether. I was very satisfied with the way it drove and the specs of the car. I started looking at other cars as I approach 100K and decided to take the risk of keeping it out of warranty (I had the extended warranty and service plan to 100K). I shopped again at 150K and decided I'm probably better off staying with it (there was absolutely nothing wrong with the car). At 200K it has started to show its age and I was making too many unscheduled visits to the mechanic and that's why I decided to get more aggressive about replacing it. On the other hand, since buying the F30 I'm still reading car mags and spending time on bmwusa.com wondering if there was a different built that might have made me happier. Right now, since I'm over my passion for driving, I'm thinking of looking at the new MB C300 (forces me to go auto, but what the heck?). On the horizon there's also the Jaguar XE. But I was really hoping I would be done shopping for a car after I bought this...sadly not.

So why don't I like the F30?

- I had ordered mine and it may sound funny, but for some reason I didn't notice this on my test drives -- on the maiden drive of my car I found the exhaust sound very bad (maybe it's because of the way I drive with a manual vs test drives in an auto). But I am over the exhaust sound and it was not a big deal.

- There is MUCH more body roll than the E46 (kind of like a boat feel), but less in sport mode, even though my E46 had a standard, non-sport suspension. That may just be because of RFTs, but I don't remember noticing that in the E90 either. So I have to attribute it to something else in the suspension of the car.

- The steering is NUMB. You don't feel the road at all. The E46 felt like it was driving on rails and was always very planted and confidence-inspiring. In other words, the E46 begged to be pushed. The F30 on the other hand feels no different than a rental car until it is actually pushed. When pushed, it performs, but I don't to be pushing the car to its limits on the way to the grocery store.

Finally there's a whole bunch of little stuff:

- A lot more rattles and squeaks with this car. My E46 had a few rattles initially (nothing like the F30 though) that were worked out pretty quickly. My F30 is full of rattles and squeaks that are intermittent and I can't reproduce them during the 5-10 min test drive subdued test drive with the dealer but which bother me quite a bit of the time.

- I also much prefer the color and brightness of the ambient lighting in the E46. When you lock the E46 (or unlock) the interior would like up in the the bright orange light. Not so with the F30...the ambient lighting when locking/unlocking is very dim, almost non existent.

- It is very hard (nearly impossible) to comfortable see the entire instrument cluster through the top of the sport wheel (I hear this is less of a problem with the m-sport wheel). So now I have it set where I can see the gauges fully, but I can't see the odometer. I have to lean forward if I want to see the odometer. I tried every adjustment of the steering wheel (pulling it out, moving it up/down, etc.). I never had any such problem with the E46.
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Old 07-15-2014, 06:18 PM
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That's a pretty thorough answer, and all kind of 'little stuff' but I could totally see how it could add up. However, it makes me feel good about having just purchased an 11 year old car to replace my 13 year old car. I know exactly what I'm getting and I love the little details. It's a bummer to hear a laundry list of things like that about the latest offerings from BMW because I certainly like the looks of the next two generations and I expect that if I keep this car as long as I kept the last one, it will be hard to find a good e46 by then and I'll have to "upgrade" to a newer gen.


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