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david.cole

Looking into buying a 318i E46

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Hi,

I'm looking into buying an E46 post facelift (got my eye on a nice 318i and 325i at the moment) and it will be my first BMW. I've heard plenty of horror stories about the maintenance on BMW cars from friends but against any instinct I have I have kept looking at them since I adore them and have to start somewhere.

How much would I be looking at spending after first purchasing the car to replace the basics (water pumps i've heard of) and what sort of servicing would be required afterwards/would I be able to do it myself? Will the 318i be sufficient? I'm not looking for power in any means so the 1.8 sounds good to me.

If it seems like too much I will have to look into a jap as i'm only working part time at the moment.

Thanks!

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Buy a 6 cylinder.

If you do get a 4 cylinder completely avoid the N42 or N46 motors as they will empty your wallet and still leave you stranded.

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No point buying a BMW if you're going for the bottom of the range. You're paying Euro car maintenance costs and getting no more performance or luxury than a cheap Jap car. 

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e46 325i is good.  I've run mine for 5 years.  Essential would include:

- belts, water pump/thermostat/sensors/hoses/reservoir and of course genuine bmw coolant.

- transmission service (sealed for life is a croc)

- PCV system service, get in early and avoid vacuum leaks and misfires.

- oil leaks - if not already done it'll probably need the oil filter housing gasket done, the valve cover gasket, and the power steering reservoir done

run it on 95 or 98

you can easily change oil & filter yourself with the right hand tools, air filter and cabin filter are easily done too.

plugs and coils are easy enough to change with basic hand tools

they're not a cheap car to run if you want to maintain it perform and drive as it should.  Better serviced by a BMW specialist than a corner garage. 

If you're interested in more, or want the full list of 5 years of maintenence by a slightly unlucky owner who always gives the car what it needs - and sometimes more - just sing out.

The e46 is a neat car, way under-rated and leagues ahead of the venerable e30.  They suffer from exciting uses for plastics that we're learning about now.  Much more fun than the equivalent Toyota or Nissan.

Welcome to the forum, you should find us a helpful bunch.

And please, pay heed to Zero's advice above.  If you want a 320i, ensure it's an early one before they inflicted the N42 or N46 on us.  The early 320i is rudimentary, reliable, economical, if lacking a couple of cylinders and a bit of kick.

 

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3 minutes ago, Olaf said:

And please, pay heed to Zero's advice above.  If you want a 320i, ensure it's an early one before they inflicted the N42 or N46 on us.  The early 320i is rudimentary, reliable, economical, if lacking a couple of cylinders and a bit of kick.

 

320i is the 2.2litre 6 cylinder.  Its the 318i in the e46 which had the four cylinder motors.

Personally I think any 6 cylinder e46 is fine if you dont want crazy performance.

My wifes 320i is fine to drive.

Of course if you are after performance get a 330i

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Cost of facelift 320i: $4000

Cooling system failure: $2000

Suspension parts starting to wear out: $1000

Enjoyment of owning a BMW: Priceless

For everything else, there's Mastercard.

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6 minutes ago, zero said:

320i is the 2.2litre 6 cylinder.  Its the 318i in the e46 which had the four cylinder motors.

Personally I think any 6 cylinder e46 is fine if you dont want crazy performance.

My wifes 320i is fine to drive.

Of course if you are after performance get a 330i

Oppps!  I keep forgetting that!

I meant the 318i non-valvetronic motor.  D'oh! Yep, the 320i is the baby six, nice work if you can get it.

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Early E46 318i got the M43TU19 engine - solid, reliable and easy to work on and maintain.

I'm driving an E36 318i - M43B18 engine - on a daily basis. It's not going to set the world on fire with it's performance, but the economy is excellent (over 15km per litre, 1000km on a tank is possible if you're really careful), and the maintenance costs (4 spark plugs vs 6, less leads, and so on) are lower than with a 6-pot, especially if you DIY.

Certainly heed @zero's advice re N-series engines in the E46. A search on here will reveal a sad tale of his woes.

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Thanks heaps guys, i'll defs try find a nice 6-cyl otherwise go the jap route. If I do end up with a bimmer, how much should I put aside just for the initial replacements of the cooling systems etc? Don't want to purchase one and then not have enough to fix it up.

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Yeah M43 or bust if you going with the 4 cylinders

Parents have owned their E46 318is with M43 engine for nearly 100,000km. One of the slowest cars on the road but as above are quite reliable and very easy to work on being a older design, They wouldn't have spent more than $1500 on parts since owning. DISA valve was the biggest expense ($300, was $600 for the dealer)

The 6 cylinders are a nice motor but more flaws so more potential $ to spend. The layout of the cooling system and intake system is terrible and makes working on the engine a lot harder than they should be. My V12 is nicer to work on.    

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the best thing to do is to buy one that is sorted already (you can safely assume that NONE of the ones on trademe are well looked after)

If you can do the work yourself then put aside $1000 for parts otherwise $2000 to pay someone to fix it.

Cooling system is a big thing on any secondhand BMW so that alone is $1000 in parts give or take.

The other things are not as urgent so you can do it slowly bit by bit over time

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The lack of refinement the 4 cylinders offer is why I'd avoid them, they seem liked a cut price half arsed engine from the 4 cylinder E46s I've driven, and way down on power. 

If you're not after a fast car, a 320 the baby 6 cylinder 2.0 or 2.2L is the way to go, MUCH smoother engine and a bit more grunty than the 4 cylinder.

 

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Hi guys, where is the best place to source parts? Would I be able to go directly through the dealer to get parts or would I be better going to a 3rd party or even ship the parts over from the US myself?

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I find https://www.schmiedmann.com/ the best. They are nearly always the cheapest, freight is reasonable, and delivery is fast.

 

Just make sure each order is under $400 nz including shipping or you will get stung with gst and customs charges, and it will take longer to get delivered.

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The $400 rule of thumb is not correct.. 

They can tax u on shipments as low as $200. 

Always take the tax into consideration.. there's a website whatsmyduty or something to calculate it.

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33 minutes ago, qube said:

The $400 rule of thumb is not correct.. 

They can tax u on shipments as low as $200. 

Always take the tax into consideration.. there's a website whatsmyduty or something to calculate it.

Theoretically you could be charged on any imported item. However, the normal situation is that you'll not be charged if the total sum of duties, taxes and fees does not exceed $60 - this is because below that figure, more would be spent on admin and collection than would be collected in revenue. This threshold is known as the ‘de minimis’, and is normally adhered to. 'Normally'... 

Some products are subject to GST at the time of import, meaning customs charges could be payable when the value of imported goods exceeds approximately NZ$225.

Bear in mind also that the applicable exchange rate is set by Customs & Excise and may not be the same as that set by international finance or a bank. If you're nudging a payment threshold, this can be important: at $60.01 you can be liable for the duties, and additional costs will apply, raising the payable amount to over $100.
Once duties and GST exceed $60, a Customs Import Entry Transaction Fee (IETF) of NZ$29.26 (GST inclusive), and a Ministry for Primary Industries biosecurity system entry levy of $19.98 (GST inclusive) become payable when an IETF is charged, making the total fees payable of $49.24 (GST inclusive). Yes - you pay GST on the levies.

C&E also watch for multiple packages coming through, so that's not always a way to avoid (tax evasion? Me, sir? A man in my position? ;) ) paying the duties.

The flipside is that you sometimes find a package of significantly greater value slips through somehow.

Over $1000 of imported goods you come up against another issue.
You need a client code which identifies identifies individual importers and exporters. To get one:

  • complete the Trade Single Window - Client Registration Application (NZCS 224) form
  • email or fax to Customs via the email or fax number provided on the Client code application form
  • include the correct proof of identity, for companies and charitable trusts – Certificate of Incorporation, for individuals – passport or driver's licence

It's a helluva faff. And it is your responsibility as the importer to take care of it ahead of the goods arriving in NZ.

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As you can see, easier to use a reputable independent BMW workshop (or even a dealership) and have supply the necessary parts!

for those of us who are either masochistic and do it ourselves, or have Scottish heritage, you'll find a handy guide on the customs website, or an online ready-reckoner at www.whatsmyduty.org.nz 

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