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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have been looking for a 325 or 330 that fits my criteria for a long time and I finally found one, but it has problems.

Bottom line is: I'm willing and able to get the car back into it's originally intended glory, and I know that's gonna cost me... but I'm only willing to do this if it's not going to turn into a constant nightmare. Lots of BMW owners (and other car owners for that matter) buy cars just to get them from one place to another. They don't want to have to touch it, or maintain it (they'd rather have someone else do that for them) and they know nothing of the engineering or elegance that is represented by their car. I am not one of those.

We're talking about an '04 330i with the ZHP option and 65k miles.

Trouble list:

1. After market exhaust (and it's rusting).
2. Oil pan gasket (I assume) leak
3. Oil filter housing seal leak (again, I'm assuming these aren't coming from somewhere worse).
4. Rust on the inside of the oil tank cap
5. Rack and pinion boots broken
6. Original emblem replaced by ghetto black emblem which is weathered
7. "330i" on rear cheaply blacked out
8. Discovered cheap radio shack neon light speaker frames and wires under the trunk carpet on the spare tire
9. Two different rear wheels (does this screw up the rear differential?)

Non-Trouble list:
1. Engine sounded/performed great on the test drive
2. Transmission functioned perfectly
3. All electronics functioned normally
4. Cabin heating/cooling functioned normally
5. No other rust/corrosion beneath the car
6. No other evidence of leaks beneath the car


Dealership has agreed to fix all but the pricey stuff (wheels and exhaust). But I want to avoid engine crises, or emergency suspension overhauls.

I'd love to restore this car to it's originally intended glory, but I don't want to be buying a horror story... Would engine diagnostics (compression test on all cylinders, O2 test, etc.) definitively eliminate engine problems? What should I check to make sure rear differential wasn't screwed up by those tires and anything else the dirt bag prior might've done?

I'm not just looking for a deal. I'm looking for a BMW that I love, and I think I could love this one.
 

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Keeping it surreal
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I think the question that BEGS to be answered is:

"Why TF did you buy this piece of crap in the first place ?".... :tsk:
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Aw. My foray into the fest and clowned by the one guy I really wanted an answer from...

I haven't bought it.
I'm thinking about it.

I like working on cars. Just don't wanna have engine problems. If you can expound on your rationale ... I'd really appreciate knowing.
But be gentle?
;)
 

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Keeping it surreal
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Aw. My foray into the fest and clowned by the one guy I really wanted an answer from...

I haven't bought it.
I'm thinking about it.

I like working on cars. Just don't wanna have engine problems. If you can expound on your rationale ... I'd really appreciate knowing.
But be gentle?
;)
OK....let me put this as succinctly as possible....I wouldn`t touch that car with a ten-foot pole tied onto another ten-foot pole....

(my version of "gentle" :p)

I`m sure there`s plenty of better cars to choose from....
 

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I have been looking for a 325 or 330 that fits my criteria for a long time and I finally found one, but it has problems.

Bottom line is: I'm willing and able to get the car back into it's originally intended glory, and I know that's gonna cost me... but I'm only willing to do this if it's not going to turn into a constant nightmare. Lots of BMW owners (and other car owners for that matter) buy cars just to get them from one place to another. They don't want to have to touch it, or maintain it (they'd rather have someone else do that for them) and they know nothing of the engineering or elegance that is represented by their car. I am not one of those.

We're talking about an '04 330i with the ZHP option and 65k miles.

Trouble list:

1. After market exhaust (and it's rusting).
2. Oil pan gasket (I assume) leak
3. Oil filter housing seal leak (again, I'm assuming these aren't coming from somewhere worse).
4. Rust on the inside of the oil tank cap
5. Rack and pinion boots broken
6. Original emblem replaced by ghetto black emblem which is weathered
7. "330i" on rear cheaply blacked out
8. Discovered cheap radio shack neon light speaker frames and wires under the trunk carpet on the spare tire
9. Two different rear wheels (does this screw up the rear differential?)

Non-Trouble list:
1. Engine sounded/performed great on the test drive
2. Transmission functioned perfectly
3. All electronics functioned normally
4. Cabin heating/cooling functioned normally
5. No other rust/corrosion beneath the car
6. No other evidence of leaks beneath the car

Dealership has agreed to fix all but the pricey stuff (wheels and exhaust). But I want to avoid engine crises, or emergency suspension overhauls.

I'd love to restore this car to it's originally intended glory, but I don't want to be buying a horror story... Would engine diagnostics (compression test on all cylinders, O2 test, etc.) definitively eliminate engine problems? What should I check to make sure rear differential wasn't screwed up by those tires and anything else the dirt bag prior might've done?

I'm not just looking for a deal. I'm looking for a BMW that I love, and I think I could love this one.
Thats a low mileage ZHP. Not necessarily a deal breaker and if you say the engine ran fine as well as the tranny.

Its not rust on oil cap..its just condensation of oil gunk. Its normal.

Rusting aftermarket exhaust..big deal! change it.

Most likely its not an oil pan gasket. Its probably OFHG leak. Not a big deal, its common on all M54 engines.

If steering is checked fine then get that boot replaced.

Tear up and remove the aftermarket radio no big deal.

Are you sure the two rear wheels are diff size? If so then they may have put a front wheel on the rear.

However, knowing that previous owner has questionable mods on the car I would be wary of his maintenance on it. Has the cooling system been overhauled? Has the suspension bits been replaced (control arms, bushings, etc)
 

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Rambling Wreck
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Lots of BMW owners (and other car owners for that matter) buy cars just to get them from one place to another. They don't want to have to touch it, or maintain it (they'd rather have someone else do that for them) and they know nothing of the engineering or elegance that is represented by their car. I am not one of those.
Welcome!

8. Discovered cheap radio shack neon light speaker frames and wires under the trunk carpet on the spare tire
This one worries me. Have you traced the speaker wires to see if the previous owner hacked up the stock wire harness?
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Teklord: that's what I was thinking (OFHG), and dealership will fix the leaks. I've already determined that the AM exhaust needs to go stat, and they're fixing the rack boots. Thank you for feedback on the "rust" that one worried me.
All the lame wiring was pulled out and I think they connected neon light frames to power to make the interior a little more gay... radio doesn't look messed with at all (but I didn't try it. I wanted to hear the car).
I think they replaced control arms and the cooling system is a question mark.
I'm willing to take it to a BMW shop to get diagnostics but I'm still Worried about engine and the result of two diff rear tires...

Fast Bob, succinct I understand. What I'm trying to understand is specifically WHY.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Welcome!

Thank you!

This one worries me. Have you traced the speaker wires to see if the previous owner hacked up the stock wire harness?
Haven't traced the wires. I found them all disconnected in the trunk. Stock stereo and surrounding area as well as all electrical stuff there looked very clean and was all normally functioning... except I didn't turn on the music. Wanted to hear the car.
 

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Keeping it surreal
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Fast Bob, succinct I understand. What I'm trying to understand is specifically WHY.
The content of your post gave me the impression that the previous owner was one who never took proper care of this car, and was likely of the "Drive it like you stole it" frame of mind....

Too many things can go wrong even with a car that has been properly maintained, so buying one that has not been kept up is a bad idea right from the get-go....(JMHO, of course)
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Well I think your opinion counts, and it's pretty standard knowledge too, that if you buy a BMW it needs to be a good one. I'm torn because I really like this ZHP 330, and I don't mind the work. I feel almost challenged to return this to the glory it was intended for...so it's tempting to see if there's any wiggle room on the buy safe rule.
 

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Keeping it surreal
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Well I think your opinion counts, and it's pretty standard knowledge too, that if you buy a BMW it needs to be a good one. I'm torn because I really like this ZHP 330, and I don't mind the work. I feel almost challenged to return this to the glory it was intended for...so it's tempting to see if there's any wiggle room on the buy safe rule.
Is it Steptronic, or stick ? Both can take a beating from a careless/abusive driver, but in general, a manual will hold up better over the long run.

By all means, a thorough PPI should be engaged, and see what their opinion is.

Is there a documented service history for this car ?
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Of course no documentation. That would be too easy. It's a 6 speed manual.
If it was any other BMW I'd have walked away. It has a clean carfax but that doesn't comfort me much considering the lack of care I *can* see...but it just sounded so good and shifted so well...
 

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Of course no documentation. That would be too easy. It's a 6 speed manual.
If it was any other BMW I'd have walked away. It has a clean carfax but that doesn't comfort me much considering the lack of care I *can* see...but it just sounded so good and shifted so well...
The only reason I am not completely negative on this car, is that it seems you have done your research, and you are walking into it with your eyes open.

Take your wildest repair cost estimate, and then double it. I think it is safe to assume that you will spend a few thousand dollars on repairs for this car. But at the end of it, you will have a ZHP with a 6-speed manual, which is highly desirable to many BMW enthusiasts. If you are looking for a budget-minded project, this is NOT it.

Please be certain the rear subframe mounting area is not damaged (more likely if the car was abused). This is very expensive to repair. If there is a problem here, I would bypass this car.

It sounds as if the wiring may have been compromised. This is repairable, but expensive. You may have to replace part of the wiring harness.

Engine oil leaks should be repaired by replacing the offending gaskets. Do not let the dealer do a quickie job by pouring some "mechanic in a can" into the oil crankcase.

The rear differential is an unknown. If the wheel diameters are different in the rear, the differential may have an issue. Replacement is not difficult, but it is expensive.

The entire cooling system (water pump, thermostat, expansion tank, hoses, etc.) should be replaced immediately, if you cannot verify that it has already been done.

The replacement exhaust system will be expensive. If the catalytic converters are missing, this becomes VERY expensive.

If you are willing to do a lot of DIY, you can greatly reduce the cost of this car (or any other BMW).

:drive:
 

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TheMalibuMafia
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Aw. My foray into the fest and clowned by the one guy I really wanted an answer from...

I haven't bought it.
I'm thinking about it.

I like working on cars. Just don't wanna have engine problems. If you can expound on your rationale ... I'd really appreciate knowing.
But be gentle?
;)
My Audi S4 is for sale:)
It's really REALLY fast.
 

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TheMalibuMafia
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Already, Malibu? Wow! On to the next project, eh?
Next project is more property. I've got my eye on a house up north on the beach. Need to sell this thing as soon as I can. Then once it gains equity I'll probably get an F430.
 
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