carmudgeons.com  

Go Back   carmudgeons.com > Automotive Forums > Car Talk

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 07-30-2020, 10:36 PM   #1
Terry Kennedy
There and back again
 
Terry Kennedy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Carmudgeonly Ride: 2003 BMW 325xiT; looking for a new fun car
Location: New York
Posts: 2,655
E46 repairs / longevity / I love my car

Inspired by the "Gunna be a good driving day today !!" thread...

I'd been having unexplained coolant loss (none when parked, but filling before starting would give me an intermittent "add coolant" warning light when running). Plus, it was coming up on an Inspection II (AKA "give us all your money) at 17.5 years / 135K miles. I took it to my local BMW-centric independent shop with the expectation that the leak repair was going to be "replace everything between the fan and the engine block" and it was. Aside from that and the Inspection II there were a bunch of other mostly-minor things, but the out-the-door price was $5300 ($3000+ in parts alone, either BMW or aftermarket depending on where the better quality is found). This on a car that generates automated trade-in offers of between $700 and $3000. Of course, that doesn't take into consideration that it was the highest-spec 325xiT ever sold by BMWNA (confirmed by them - actually spontaneously commented on when I was at a BMW event at Lime Rock years ago and Tom Purves happened to notice my car). And that's before all of the Euro-only options I added, etc. For those who want to catch up, a lot of my mods are documented here.



Anyway, the shop owner commented that my car still drove like a new car and commended me for keeping it. I told him I never intended to sell it.

The shop ends up with a bunch of cars that end up with them due to being much more expensive to repair than they're worth, so the shop pays some small amount and fixes them up to be loaners. The loaner I ended up with while my car was in the shop was a 2005 E90 330xi. What a piece of crap. Aside from the original buyer's terrible taste in color (very light blue exterior, yellow/brownish interior leather and plastic, pecan dash wood) it was far less ergonomic than my E46. Particular complaints include the downward-sloping driver's door armrest with all of the controls bunched up at the far end, 1st-generation iDrive, a generally floaty suspension, etc). The only improved thing I noticed in my 2 weeks with it was the exterior door handle puddle lights, and that is a bit of a gimmick, not a real feature. It had navigation but no disc, so I burned the 2015 (last disc for that generation) DVD and added the shop as the one saved destination as a favor for them.

I never really looked at newer BMWs other than at a 5-series at the New York Auto Show (with some other folks from the 'fest and here), which was the year they replaced the spare tire with a piece of styrofoam that held lots of expensive electronics and that the roof gutters drained into, causing a very expensive non-warranty repair until BMW got slapped with a class action suit. I also looked at importing a new Euro M5 Touring during the last year of production, but there were a bunch of obstacles not worth overcoming. [Yes. there's the 25-year rule. But I know the top lawyer in NJ for vehicle title / registration issues and he can get just about anything done by stipulation, but $$$$.]

When I bought the E46 I'd heard that BMW learned how excessively they'd de-contented the E36 and that most of it had been fixed on the E46. Looks like they forgot that lesson on the E90. Maybe it is like the saying about Star Trek movies, that every other one sucks. But BMW has drifted so far away from their enthusiast roots that I can't see myself ever looking at (let alone buying) a current model.

The only out-of-the-blue repairs (once BMW fixed the wiring harness error when I first bought the car) were 2 window regulators (one failed in the middle of the winter in a blizzard, the other in Death Valley on a dirt road) and a bumper crop of CV joints (which were replaced at no charge after the first 3 as goodwill). The latest CV joints have been good for 60K miles or so now.
Terry Kennedy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-31-2020, 11:09 AM   #2
lip277
The old cranky SOB....
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Carmudgeonly Ride: several cars... way too many....
Location: Near Seattle
Posts: 4,223


I am there with you.. and why I have put way too much into my parents old E38. It is beyond rational... But, it is only money. lol

Seriously - There is nothing out there now (BMW or other) that remotely comes close to what I would want to have in my garage.

I do think after about 230,000 miles now though, the 2001 E38 I have is going to have to go somewhat soon. Don't know what I will replace it with though - but as I have the 997 and E23 to use (plus the E9 and Mustang and PSD - lol) - I have choices of what to drive while I make up my mind (if/when I part with the 740).

I was actually looking at this this morning...
2003 E39 on BaT

Sorry Ted that your M5 didn't work out for us. The timing wasn't quite right - but the main thing is/was that I really need to have an automatic (for Patty) for her use as a second car. Plus - I was driving the 997 the other day and my left knee was really starting to bug me for some reason... Made me thing about that whole 'getting old' thing isn't just about the cars.... LOL
__________________
Kevin


1970 2800CS - - 2001 740iL - - 2006 997.1 - - 2012 Escalade
1968 Mustang GT Convertible - - 2003 Ford F250 PSD - - 1985 728i
lip277 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-31-2020, 12:48 PM   #3
3LOU5
Slacker Extraordinaire
 
3LOU5's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Location: Reno, NV
Posts: 3,131
Quote:
Originally Posted by Terry Kennedy View Post
Inspired by the "Gunna be a good driving day today !!" thread...

I'd been having unexplained coolant loss (none when parked, but filling before starting would give me an intermittent "add coolant" warning light when running). Plus, it was coming up on an Inspection II (AKA "give us all your money) at 17.5 years / 135K miles. I took it to my local BMW-centric independent shop with the expectation that the leak repair was going to be "replace everything between the fan and the engine block" and it was. Aside from that and the Inspection II there were a bunch of other mostly-minor things, but the out-the-door price was $5300 ($3000+ in parts alone, either BMW or aftermarket depending on where the better quality is found). This on a car that generates automated trade-in offers of between $700 and $3000. Of course, that doesn't take into consideration that it was the highest-spec 325xiT ever sold by BMWNA (confirmed by them - actually spontaneously commented on when I was at a BMW event at Lime Rock years ago and Tom Purves happened to notice my car). And that's before all of the Euro-only options I added, etc. For those who want to catch up, a lot of my mods are documented here.



Anyway, the shop owner commented that my car still drove like a new car and commended me for keeping it. I told him I never intended to sell it.

The shop ends up with a bunch of cars that end up with them due to being much more expensive to repair than they're worth, so the shop pays some small amount and fixes them up to be loaners. The loaner I ended up with while my car was in the shop was a 2005 E90 330xi. What a piece of crap. Aside from the original buyer's terrible taste in color (very light blue exterior, yellow/brownish interior leather and plastic, pecan dash wood) it was far less ergonomic than my E46. Particular complaints include the downward-sloping driver's door armrest with all of the controls bunched up at the far end, 1st-generation iDrive, a generally floaty suspension, etc). The only improved thing I noticed in my 2 weeks with it was the exterior door handle puddle lights, and that is a bit of a gimmick, not a real feature. It had navigation but no disc, so I burned the 2015 (last disc for that generation) DVD and added the shop as the one saved destination as a favor for them.

I never really looked at newer BMWs other than at a 5-series at the New York Auto Show (with some other folks from the 'fest and here), which was the year they replaced the spare tire with a piece of styrofoam that held lots of expensive electronics and that the roof gutters drained into, causing a very expensive non-warranty repair until BMW got slapped with a class action suit. I also looked at importing a new Euro M5 Touring during the last year of production, but there were a bunch of obstacles not worth overcoming. [Yes. there's the 25-year rule. But I know the top lawyer in NJ for vehicle title / registration issues and he can get just about anything done by stipulation, but $$$$.]

When I bought the E46 I'd heard that BMW learned how excessively they'd de-contented the E36 and that most of it had been fixed on the E46. Looks like they forgot that lesson on the E90. Maybe it is like the saying about Star Trek movies, that every other one sucks. But BMW has drifted so far away from their enthusiast roots that I can't see myself ever looking at (let alone buying) a current model.

The only out-of-the-blue repairs (once BMW fixed the wiring harness error when I first bought the car) were 2 window regulators (one failed in the middle of the winter in a blizzard, the other in Death Valley on a dirt road) and a bumper crop of CV joints (which were replaced at no charge after the first 3 as goodwill). The latest CV joints have been good for 60K miles or so now.
Wow, your car is still in showroom shape !!

I think the E46 has THAT timeless look about it, and is part of the reason why I could never get tired of looking at it.

Many times as I walk away from my car after I parked it in the garage at work, I find myself giving it one last look to make sure it's okay and marvel at what an awesome and fun car it is to drive.

Though underpowered, it still does everything well: looks good, capable mountain carver, decent gas mileage, all wrapped up in a package that is full of safety features.
__________________
2016 Toyota Sienna SE - hers
2002 BMW 325i - his
1994 Chevrolet Silverado K1500 Sportside Z71 - whoevers vehicle is in the shop
2009 Harley-Davidson Sportster XL883 Low (Vivid Black) - his
2018 Can-Am Spyder RT Limited - hers
2007 Harley-Davidson Sportster XL883 Low (Pearl White) - hers (SOLD 02/29/20)
2011 Tao Tao 50 - whoevers bike is in the shop
2007 Reinell 186 FNS - the dog's
1995 Fleetwood Flair 27R - EVERYBODY'S !
3LOU5 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-31-2020, 02:17 PM   #4
wdc330i
dogged
 
wdc330i's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Carmudgeonly Ride: '17 M240i
Posts: 8,475
Gorgeous wagon! Ours was Topaz. My Estoril 2 series reminds me of that color.
wdc330i is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-01-2020, 04:01 AM   #5
Terry Kennedy
There and back again
 
Terry Kennedy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Carmudgeonly Ride: 2003 BMW 325xiT; looking for a new fun car
Location: New York
Posts: 2,655
Quote:
Originally Posted by wdc330i View Post
Gorgeous wagon! Ours was Topaz. My Estoril 2 series reminds me of that color.
Thanks! MY2003 was the last year they offered Steel Grey Metallic, and only up until 2/2003. So you only had from 9/2002 to 2/2003 to get an E46 refresh (DVD NAV, bi-xenon headlights, etc.) in that color. The color was introduced in 9/2000 for MY2001.
Terry Kennedy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-01-2020, 04:11 AM   #6
Terry Kennedy
There and back again
 
Terry Kennedy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Carmudgeonly Ride: 2003 BMW 325xiT; looking for a new fun car
Location: New York
Posts: 2,655
Quote:
Originally Posted by 3LOU5 View Post
I think the E46 has THAT timeless look about it, and is part of the reason why I could never get tired of looking at it.
The later BMW wagons started getting the roof angled down toward the rear. Aside from looking funny, it really reduces the loading capability.

If I wanted a SUV or a hatchback, I would have bought one.

BMW always said that wagons sold poorly in the US. Aside from only offering the 2.5L E46, they never really marketed them. Almost every time I went to a dealer for service, potential customers were always going "Wow! They make this in a wagon?". After I bought mine, the dealership I ordered it from ended up with a couple dozen wagon sales, without any real support from BMWNA, just based on people seeing mine.

Another time I was on NJ 23 at a traffic light, when someone on a test drive from Paul Miller BMW was next to me in an X5. I cycled my side view mirrors (a Euro-only option) and he rolled down his window and said "Did your car just wave at me?" I told him yes, and it had more cargo space than the X5 he was test driving. Hopefully he brought the X5 back and ordered a wagon instead.
Terry Kennedy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-01-2020, 08:37 AM   #7
wdc330i
dogged
 
wdc330i's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Carmudgeonly Ride: '17 M240i
Posts: 8,475
Quote:
Originally Posted by Terry Kennedy View Post
Thanks! MY2003 was the last year they offered Steel Grey Metallic, and only up until 2/2003. So you only had from 9/2002 to 2/2003 to get an E46 refresh (DVD NAV, bi-xenon headlights, etc.) in that color. The color was introduced in 9/2000 for MY2001.
I remember Steel Gray. I think TD had an E46 sedan in that color.

We loved the Topaz—also because it was replacing our Topaz Z3 (after buying a house and getting a dog—we needed some room to haul.) My wife wanted to buy an SUV at the time, but I said, “Let’s just go test drive the wagon.” After driving Ford Explorers, a 4Runner, a Highlander, Volvo X90, and the like, she was sold.

We had two more BMW wagons after that—until they stopped selling them...
wdc330i is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-01-2020, 10:43 AM   #8
SARAFIL
I like BMWs
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Carmudgeonly Ride: '16 BMW 550i xDrive
Location: Boston, MA
Posts: 5,277
E46 repairs / longevity / I love my car

I wish BMW had offered more variety in the wagons (E46 330, E91 335, F31 340, etc.) but I can understand why they didn’t. I get the “if they had imported it they would have sold more!!” argument but I really doubt there would have been enough additional sales to justify it. Case in point - look at various recent cars where enthusiasts insist on a manual being a “must” but then take rate is low single digits. Many of the enthusiasts online are potential 2nd, 3rd, 4th owners of these cars and that only works if they can find a 1st owner to buy it.

At its peak (pre-crossover/SUV boom) I think BMW sold 75-80k 3-series family in the US, all body styles (going off memory here, might be off a little). Sedans easily 60% of that based on my estimate, ballpark guess of 20%-ish coupes, let’s call it 15% convertible and 5% wagon (that’s probably generous). 3/4-series market has been on decline for past decade as buyers migrate to X3. It’s just hard to make a business case for another wagon variant for what would have resulted in maybe an extra 1000 units per year. The “1000 units a year” business case makes more sense on an exclusive and high $$$$ model like an Alpina 7 or M760.
__________________
2016 550i xDrive Sedan -- Alpine White / Mocha Nappa Leather
SARAFIL is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-01-2020, 10:56 AM   #9
wdc330i
dogged
 
wdc330i's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Carmudgeonly Ride: '17 M240i
Posts: 8,475
Quote:
Originally Posted by SARAFIL View Post
I wish BMW had offered more variety in the wagons (E46 330, E91 335, F31 340, etc.) but I can understand why they didn’t. I get the “if they had imported it they would have sold more!!” argument but I really doubt there would have been enough additional sales to justify it. Case in point - look at various recent cars where enthusiasts insist on a manual being a “must” but then take rate is low single digits. Many of the enthusiasts online are potential 2nd, 3rd, 4th owners of these cars and that only works if they can find a 1st owner to buy it.

At its peak (pre-crossover/SUV boom) I think BMW sold 75-80k 3-series family in the US, all body styles (going off memory here, might be off a little). Sedans easily 60% of that based on my estimate, ballpark guess of 20%-ish coupes, let’s call it 15% convertible and 5% wagon (that’s probably generous). 3/4-series market has been on decline for past decade as buyers migrate to X3. It’s just hard to make a business case for another wagon variant for what would have resulted in maybe an extra 1000 units per year. The “1000 units a year” business case makes more sense on an exclusive and high $$$$ model like an Alpina 7 or M760.
Right! By that logic they should import the M3 Touring to the states. I would not complain about that!
wdc330i is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-01-2020, 11:52 AM   #10
SARAFIL
I like BMWs
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Carmudgeonly Ride: '16 BMW 550i xDrive
Location: Boston, MA
Posts: 5,277
Quote:
Originally Posted by wdc330i View Post
Right! By that logic they should import the M3 Touring to the states. I would not complain about that!

I do agree that’s been a missed opportunity. MB and Audi have cashed in on that one and BMW could have made some $$ with a nice exclusivity premium.
__________________
2016 550i xDrive Sedan -- Alpine White / Mocha Nappa Leather
SARAFIL is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Bookmarks

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Forum Jump

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
n52 longevity equ Car Talk 7 10-07-2007 10:11 PM
Question 1: BMW Longevity / Ownership Issues? lupinsea Car Talk 39 01-24-2006 02:47 PM
E39 Longevity ZBB Car Talk 22 12-14-2005 03:16 PM
Oil longevity article Rob Technical Superiority 7 04-16-2005 02:43 PM
Oil longevity article iiotoko Car Talk 7 01-01-1970 11:34 AM


All times are GMT -4. The time now is 09:20 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.7.1
Copyright ©2000 - 2020, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Forums © 2003-2008, 'Mudgeon Enterprises - Site hosting by AYN & Associates, LLC