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Discussion Starter #1
This M3 is at a dealership near me in Colorado:

https://www.schompbmw.com/inventory/used-2001-bmw-3-series-m3-rwd-convertible-wbsbr934x1ex20615

Price seems a little high. Would an SMG be more or less expensive? I kind of want a full manual.

It has the xenon headlights, 10 piece speaker system, and cold weather package. I am not sure if it being a convertible is a pro or con for me.

I've owned an N52 X3 and currently have an N55 X5 and have worked on these cars with the help of ISTA+ and newtis.info I read that the S54 is basically a fancier N54 which is the engine the N52 was based on.

What're your thoughts?

Thanks guy!
 

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I sold a 2002 M3 coupe with 115k miles for the KBB price, about $9500, five years ago. I had 200 to 300 inquires after the first one bought it. So, I should have asked more for the car. So, $14k from a dealer doesn't sound unreasonable at first glance. With a car that old, mileage is a stronger factor than age in determining the car's value.

Back when I bought mine new, there was a two year waiting list for coupes and almost no waiting list for convertibles. I suspect that coupes are now more desirable and more expensive, because they're lighter, stiffer, and hold up much better in rollover crash. You'd need to plug it into KBB.com or Edmonds.com. I never really understood high-performance convertibles. Porsche didn't build a 911 convertible until 1983, and then it was mainly for the California, Rodeo Drive market.

Manuals are much preferred over SMG II's. So, they're more expensive. The SMG II is just a conventional manual transmission with a computer controlled clutch, shifting, and rev' matching. It behaves more like a conventional automatic, with slower shifting than a DCT on later M cars. I don't think SMG II was even offered on the 2001 E46 M3's. 2001's were only in production about seven months.

S54's big difference is that they have solid lifters that need adjustment about every 25k miles, and you need a kit (shim tray) and tools to do it.

The early S54's were subject to two recalls. The first one changed the oil pump and connecting rod bearings. The second one changed the connecting rod bearings again. Make sure that one has had both.
 

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Discussion Starter #3 (Edited)
Thanks for your $.02.

I too am generally not a big fan of convertibles. My fiance wants one and the summers here are nice so I could see it being fun.

I've never heard of adjusting lifters before, especially at that interval. The furthest I've got into an engine is a valve cover replacement so I am not sure if I could DIY that myself. Does the head need to be removed? What would symptoms of the lifters needing adjustment be?

This vehicle has just over 88k miles so it's relatively low for the year.



-- Edit --
Just watched a video on measuring and replacing the valve shims, doesn't seem like a big deal. Do you need to adjust the timing when you do this too, that wasn't covered in the video? It looks like to have a pro do the job it's about $450 which every 2 years isn't a big deal.

I've read in the N54 the DISA valves could break and get sucked into the intake, does that happen in this engine?
 

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If the cam-tappet clearance is too much, it causes scoring of the lobe and follower.

If the cam-tapped clearance is too little (when cold), there could be interference when the engine's hot, and the valves will not close completely. This causes a loss in compression and also bathes the valves in combustion gasses, causing them to overheat and "burn."

S54's have solid (not hydraulic, self-adjusting) lifters because of the engine's "radical" or long duration cam lobe profile that holds the valve fully open longer than on a normal engine. That means that the opening and closing motions must occur faster. Throw in the S54's 7900 RPM redline, and hydraulic lifters couldn't keep up.
 

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In Ny, thats cheap for that car.
 
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