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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Thinking of getting my first BMW 2006 X3 (owned lots of Audis) and the X3 has caught my eye. I have done some searching here and watched almost every YouTube video. I think I know some of what to look for (DONT OPEN THE SUNROOF LOL) but should I even consider this one? We do have a generic OBD2 scan tool that we use on all our Mercedes. Thanks
 

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2008 BMW X3
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I鈥檇 go for the 鈥07-10 modes if I were you.

If the sunroof works then use it!

Just like any car they have issues but are nice cars. relatively easy to work on
 

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Exactly like Q4 said. Those models are better imo. Also 鈥渃alibrate鈥 the sunroof by press and holding the button. If it breaks on the lot, then you can tell the car dealer it broke as you tried it...lol.
I also like Carly app since it鈥檚 used car check is pretty good tells u how long the car was driven in automatic and manual mode
 

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OP: There usually is a lot of expensive deferred maintenance on these E83s. Before making an offer, definitely take it to a mechanic who is well-versed on these. Then still plan for doing a lot of work which will be very expensive. Or maybe you'll get lucky, and it is a car one of us here is selling, after that work's been done. :)
 

BeeemerBro
5,4,6 BMW X3 All...196K +
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For you a good "kick around" car the 06 e83 some of them are called the last of the analog cars. The M54 is a strong feature. The motors can out last the various components on the car...example: sunroof.
When I got mine and first took it to the dealer...the sa says, "these cars are like tanks and if you take care of it, it will take care of you"! He couldn't have been more accurate!
That was in 2014 when I got my 05 e83.
Best you learn about it so you can do the repairs. Very costly if you pay for someone to do the work. I've seen "Mechanics" run and hide from older bmw (e83) work.
Have you seen this one?



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Certifiable BMW Whackjob!
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Before you commit is the best time to use the sunroof, as well as every other thing on the vehicle. Finding out something doesn't work after you buy it will be up to you to fix.
 

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Do you need an SUV?
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Thanks everyone, yes i want an SUV for those Alaskan winters. I'm tired of my FWD Passat. We have a big 2 car garage with all the tools to work on it so that's not a problem. Haven't seen it. Waiting on the sellers reply. He said it's available but that's it. Keep you all updated.
 

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Personally, I like the esthetics of the 2006 model in particular because of the painted front and rear bumpers. They are similar to the "sport" models, minus the side skirts, fender arches and front reflectors. The pre-lci models are equipped with the M54 engine that was used in the 2000-2006 model 3 series, some 5 series, some X5 series, later Z3's and early Z4's. The great thing about these engines is that every fault known has already been discussed in the forums and overall I鈥檝e found it quite easy to work on. Easier than an e46. Mine has never left me stranded but that being said, so far I鈥檝e done
1. Front and rear brakes
2. Front and rear tires
3. Front and rear driveshaft with new Giubo and center support bearing
4. Vanos seals
5. Valve cover gasket
6. Transfer case gear actuator
7. spark plugs and ignition coils
8. Camshaft position sensor
9. Water pump
10. Sway bar end links
11. Oil filter housing gasket and new vanos line.

if you do the work yourself, you鈥檒l save plenty. Again, this platform (e83 chassis) is great because there are lots of diys available on this forum as well as YouTube.
my sunroof is completely operational and truthfully my kids enjoy the panoramic sunroof since it reaches so far back. I think it鈥檚 a plus to have and make sure it works on the test drive. Not just sliding back but also the tilt function. The tilt is what usually fails first.
Chances are the carpet floors are wet - these cars are notorious for that... I used that to bargain off a few bucks as well as oil burning smell coming off the exhaust manifold from a leaky valve cover gasket. Many bmws have oil leaks so be on the lookout and use that as another bargaining chip.
Lastly I highly recommend a bmw specific obd code reader. The generics won鈥檛 do. A cheap one is the Creator c310. I think I got mine on eBay for around $35-40 bucks. Best of luck and post a picture of the 06 if you are fortunate to get it.
 

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Couple of other extra pieces of info that I think are important to know:
1) There is NO battery registration. Since this vehicle was my first bmw, a mechanic tried to sell me battery registration. Even told that if I don鈥檛 register the battery, the battery will die soon. 5 star independent mechanic...lol.
2) If shopping 06-08 models, look up lifter tick. Avoid any vehicles with this issue since the fix is replacing the camshaft hook ring seals with the updated bmw part. Many believed the 15K mile oil change interval, that鈥檚 why sludge and lifter tick developed in some vehicles. Some vehicles may have snapped Cylinder head bolts and this would be reflected in rough running etc...06-08 in general quite a bit of manufacturers had snapped head bolts same for 11...quality control issue.
3) bring a cd to check the CD player if that matters to you.
4) check the transfer case as that is a weak spot if previous owner never changes the fluid.
5) cooling system check, the water pump would have a date stamp or not have a bmw logo...that鈥檚 how you know if it has been changed or not. Getting service records to confirm that is even better.
 

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Fortunately by now any LCI (07-10) N52 lifter tick issues have probably been taken care of long ago; any ticks nowadays are likely due to maltreatment than maldesign. My lifters and exhaust rockers were replaced under warranty in 2012 at 60k miles. If that hadn鈥檛 worked, the next attempt would have replaced the cylinder head (also under warranty) with an updated version that didn鈥檛 allow the lifters to drain when sitting (the cause of the tick). The N52 can be ticky if the wrong oil is used, the OCI extended, or VANOS screens clogged.

The M54 used in the 鈥04-06 models is solid, as long as you keep oil in it; the rings getting stuck and allowing blow by and oil consumption is a known issue and the engine is IMO underpowered in these pigs. If automatic, those M54 cars have 5 speed transmissions while the LCI N52 cars (鈥07-10) have a 6 speed for slightly better fuel economy. But, many items are give and take: M54- single (failure prone) DISA that has been known to kill some engines, a mechanical water pump that can be changed out in 10-30 minutes and same for thermostat ($50 each IIRC). The N52 has much more robust DISAs but has 2 of them, which are each double the cost of the M54鈥檚 single; the water pump is electrical, costs $350 and takes 30-60 minutes to replace, along with the more expensive thermostat.

The M54 does have a better intake sound under acceleration, which is the main thing I miss about the engine (other than the obviously cheaper parts). The M54 has a removable timing cover and front seal that can be removed with a $5 seal puller, while the N52 has a fixed timing cover and requires a $250 tool kit to do the same job. The N52 starter may be slightly more failure prone. Drivetrain repairs downstream of the transmission are identical, but front thrust arms and ball joints are not. I don鈥檛 know that the older joints/arms are even available, so if you need to replace the thrust arm bushings (you will) and go the easy route and buy loaded arms, you鈥檒l need to buy the newer style ball joints to fit those arms.

My 鈥08 sunroof has 183k miles of use and works fine, but I don鈥檛 touch the button if less than 50*F and clean/lube the tracks twice a year. Also still waiting on most of the 鈥淲ILL fail by 100k mile鈥 items to appear.


Via the interwebs
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Thanks everybody, I went and looked at it today started it up and the service engine soon light was on the coolant light was on and then after I started driving at the oil light came on. It had a shakendor a few seconds till the RPM droppednn It also has the dreaded I drive. Then when I parked it amd looked under it looks like a little bit of oil was leaking on the pavement but it was hard to tell because it was in a busy parking lot. The dip stick had oil on it but looked a little dirty and there was some old oil on the filter housing. For a 2006 with 145k miles i think 5k is a lot
 

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鈥.and that鈥檚 a pass鈥︹f someone won鈥檛 take 30 seconds to fix obvious things before a sale, they sure as Hades haven鈥檛 fixed anything big nor maintained it for shinola

these cars are Sirens, the beautiful rust -free bodies and high quality interiors get you thinking you can get into a luxury brand for <5k , but you can easily get a 5k repair bill before you drive 100 meters
 

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Yeah, there are better ones out there to be had. I bought my wife's E83 despite a murky, mostly unknown past (I should have bought a carfax report). It's okay now, but I had a LOT of things to sort through including a clogged oil pickup tube from an ingested drive belt somewhere in its past.

My last 2 used BMW's have both been essentially one-owner vehicles (both were handed down to a younger family member, so... essentially one-owner). Both of these vehicles have still needed some deferred maintenance caught up, but otherwise show signs of only having been serviced at BMW dealerships. I'd look for something along these lines in your pursuit.

I haven't driven an M54-powered E83, but my E53 (X5) is an absolute DOG with that engine. BMW never should have put that engine in the heavier E53. It has to be a little better suited to the lighter E83, but the N52-powered LCI model is really a nice, peppy little vehicle. You should be able to find an LCI model in that $5000ish range I would think. Remember, just because people are ASKING high prices for their used BMW's, it doesn't mean they're actually GETTING those amounts. Be patient and eventually the right vehicle will show up at the right price. It took me nearly a year to find the diesel E70 I just picked up, but in the end, I got a nice, relatively clean, lower mileage vehicle at a decent price. An E83 would be easier and quicker to find. They're out there - just keep looking.

AM.
 

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I haven't driven an M54-powered E83, but my E53 (X5) is an absolute DOG with that engine. BMW never should have put that engine in the heavier E53. It has to be a little better suited to the lighter E83, but the N52-powered LCI model is really a nice, peppy little vehicle. You should be able to find an LCI model in that $5000ish range I would think.
AM.
Welcome back!

The weight delta between the E53 3.0 and the E83 is only about 600 lbs, so the M54 E83 will move slightly better. The '04-06 has a power:weight of ~0.056, while the LCI's is ~0.064, compared to ~0.049 for your E53. Coupled with shorter 1, 2, 4, 5 gears, the 6l45 tranmission amplifies the perception of power, plus the a taller overdrive. The final drive is shorter on the LCI, adding further briskness (3.73 compared to 3.64).
 
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