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Discussion Starter #1
I'm looking at this particular BMW model, the 2009 328i Convertible

It's absolutely gorgeous, gray exterior with rare red leather interior.

I viewed it last week and test drove it, no off sounds, everything works. They have all the service records and I'm coordinating setting up a mechanic inspection before I make any offers.

It's selling for 19k with 62k miles on it.

I would like to know if the car would be worth it, does the model have any reliability issues?

It just had a tune up in the last two weeks (oil change, spark plugs, etc.)

Is the car going to be a reliable, fun and exotic use or just a stressful money pit with future problems to come.

I can provide the VIN number for anyone looking to dig. My first BMW, so all advice is greatly appreciated!

Car guy since 1968
1,478 Posts
Go for it. No on's crystal ball can tell you what's going to happen. If possible, get service info and check its history through a dealer - YOU can do that with the VIN.

9 Posts
Laundry list follows for E90 series 328i's (including convertible E93) common issues in the first 100k. These include things to look out for and things to expect. You need an inspection by an independent BMW tech - a service history from a dealer won't tell much. There are good independent techs on the Front Range with BMW experience and the required BMW compatible code reader(s) for proper inspection.

First, know that the N52 (the 328i engine) is wonderful machine - one of the last of the line of great BMW naturally aspirated (NA) straight-sixes. But, there are some significant weak links to be aware of, and that should be planned for expense items. Note that the 335i's N54 and N55 turbo-charged engines have other particular issues.

The biggest concern is that the valve cover gasket (VCG) and associated seals have not failed. Unfortunately, this is a general defect of the E90 series. (And one that I wish was better highlighted when searching buying advice for my 2007 E91).

The VCG, Valvetronic motor gasket, ESS gasket and possibly the Eccentric Shaft Sensor itself can leak at 40-100k. This can lead to oil contamination of the plugs and even the DME if not caught.

To top it off (so to speak) the valve cover itself can be cracked, typically around the area of the Valvetronic motor (VVT) and require replacement.

The easy first check is to look for oil leaking out from under the engine cover on the passenger side at the rear of the engine. And pull the engine cover off (10 minutes) to inspect the ESS, VVT seals and the valve cover.

It is recommended to proactively replace the crankcase breather hose and the oil filter housing gasket (OFHG) during the VCG job. Spark plugs and ignition coils can also be done at this time if you are seeing codes for the coils, or if you want to be proactive. Plugs are reliably good for 100k, but coils have been an issue for some at this mileage.

The Vanos solenoids (2) are liable to be clogged by this time and best replaced (as cleaning only provides temporary fix). Indicated by surging at lower RPM's and codes (search forum). Easy DIY.

(Search for "camshaft ledge" problem also. A low probability fortunately).

Water coolant pump can go at 60k-100k. Usually forewarned by throwing codes (search forums).

Accessory drive belt, pulleys and tensioner should be replaced proactively at this age/mileage. (Inexpensive and easy DIY).

Transmission fluid change is due (manual or automatic) as the dealer will not have done this (per BMW's "lifetime" fluid spec - which means 100k is end of car's life). Likewise the differential fluid. The brake fluid should have been done every 2 years.

You will want to begin following the "old school" engine oil change intervals of 7500 miles (versus BMW dealer 15,000 mile intervals).

Batteries typically last ~5 years. So check the service history.

A power steering fluid flush is good practice but not typically performed. Ideally should include a new reservoir (which has an integrated filter and is inexpensive). Check that the power steering hoses are not leaking.

Coolant, ideally, should be replaced at 2 year intervals, but can got to five.

Tires are good for 5 years or 50k. So, this car should have pretty fresh tires.

Brake pads should have been replaced around 50k. (Rotors are good for 2 sets of pads ~ 100k).

The service history should also show that the air filter and cabin microfilter have been replaced.

Performance drivers will be anticipating shock replacements upcoming.
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