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Old 01-23-2006, 02:03 AM   #1
lupinsea
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Question 1: BMW Longevity / Ownership Issues?

Hi guys,

Hope you don't mind if I seek your input on some BMW related stuff. I have a few questions but figured I'd ask them one at a time so we could focus (I've seen how these threads can go. )

First question involves the long-term ownership of BMWs: Would it be best to get a 330i w/ Sport Package or a 330 ZHP if the car is to be kept until it's 10+ years old?

As a follow up to some a similar topic a few months ago, my fiance and I are looking to consolidate down to a single daily driver. (Yes, still haven't gotten it yet, we're waiting until after we're married and back from the honeymoon and thats 5 weeks away). I've narrowed it down to a BMW 330i ZSP but the ZHP has really caught my attention. However, due to price considerations we'd have to look at 2002 or 2003 model years so the cars would be 3-4 years old to start with.

The long-term owner ship comes into hanging onto the car for probably close to 8 years (making for an 11-12 year old BMW). I figure it'll be 3-4 years before we have a kid when she'd need more of a mommymobile (getting a 2nd car) and I'd just keep driving the BMW for 3-4 years beyond that.

So, with the idea that higher performance cars require more maintenance and / or the more specialized the more expensive the up keep, is the ZHP tuned high enough to warrant second thoughts for keeping the car around until it's 10+ years old? Would it be better to go with a "less stressed" 330i w/ the sport package? Or is the degree of tuning on the ZHP not a significant wear consideration?

How many people keep BMWs that long? Do they break down significantly more than other cars at those ages?

Thanks guys. It's always great to read throug the threads on this forum.
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Old 01-23-2006, 08:03 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lupinsea
Hi guys,

Hope you don't mind if I seek your input on some BMW related stuff. I have a few questions but figured I'd ask them one at a time so we could focus (I've seen how these threads can go. )

First question involves the long-term ownership of BMWs: Would it be best to get a 330i w/ Sport Package or a 330 ZHP if the car is to be kept until it's 10+ years old?

As a follow up to some a similar topic a few months ago, my fiance and I are looking to consolidate down to a single daily driver. (Yes, still haven't gotten it yet, we're waiting until after we're married and back from the honeymoon and thats 5 weeks away). I've narrowed it down to a BMW 330i ZSP but the ZHP has really caught my attention. However, due to price considerations we'd have to look at 2002 or 2003 model years so the cars would be 3-4 years old to start with.

The long-term owner ship comes into hanging onto the car for probably close to 8 years (making for an 11-12 year old BMW). I figure it'll be 3-4 years before we have a kid when she'd need more of a mommymobile (getting a 2nd car) and I'd just keep driving the BMW for 3-4 years beyond that.

So, with the idea that higher performance cars require more maintenance and / or the more specialized the more expensive the up keep, is the ZHP tuned high enough to warrant second thoughts for keeping the car around until it's 10+ years old? Would it be better to go with a "less stressed" 330i w/ the sport package? Or is the degree of tuning on the ZHP not a significant wear consideration?

How many people keep BMWs that long? Do they break down significantly more than other cars at those ages?

Thanks guys. It's always great to read throug the threads on this forum.
Maintenance/wear on the ZHP will be the same as the ZSP--the differences are primarily in the suspension. In fact, the only real difference in terms of maintenance between an M3 and a 330 is the valve adjustments (and the exploding engine), but other than mildly hotter cams the M54 engine in the ZHP is identical to that in the ZSP.

I would get (and did get) the ZHP, just because a) I think the suspension tweaks are worth it alone; b) I like the cloth interior; and c) I like the wheels and aerokit. Either car will likely need a fresh set of shocks no later than 40K miles, so that reduces some of the utility of getting the ZHP in the first instance, but you still get the rest of the package.
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Old 01-23-2006, 08:30 AM   #3
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Has BMW fixed the stalling "ZHP" engines yet?
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Old 01-23-2006, 08:31 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ff
Has BMW fixed the stalling "ZHP" engines yet?
Mine's never given me a hiccup, but that's a good question WRT 2003s.
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Old 01-23-2006, 08:33 AM   #5
John V
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I owned a ten-year old BMW and found it to be very reasonable to maintain. Uninformed folks tend to complain about BMW parts costs but other than big things (VANOS comes to mind) the prices don't seem too bad for brakes, shocks, suspension arms, cooling system stuff, etc.

I'd go with the ZHP, no question.
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Old 01-23-2006, 08:50 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ff
Has BMW fixed the stalling "ZHP" engines yet?
No stalling issues on mine (07/04 build) in a year and a half and 14,000 miles. Clearly no maintenance difference between zhp/zsp. Runs slightly rough at cold start but that's its hot-cammed nature. Just rev to 6800 once in a while

Had it all the way down to -10F, no reliability issues. Engine stronger and more economical than new. The m54 may not be the most exciting engine but it gives me the impression of being built for the long haul.
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Old 01-23-2006, 09:09 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JST
Mine's never given me a hiccup, but that's a good question WRT 2003s.
Other than a few (and I mean 3-4) instances per year on summer days when the revs drop, I have had no issues. Never stalled. And my car is a March '03 build with 38.5K miles.

I'm still on my original alignment, no true rattles to speak of, and overall a VERY reliable car. Only issue was the ignition coils (which now have a recall), and my alcantara wheel that wore too quickly and got replaced.

It doesn't like to sit for a few days when temperatures drop. My shocks *feel* fine despite horrendous roads, low-profile tires, and 38.5K miles.

EDIT: It goes without saying that some stuff still isn't cheap. Like $1K for a set of tires and BMW prices when things need replacing, synthetic oil, etc. But nothing bad. It's just not a corolla, you know?
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Old 01-23-2006, 09:14 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fernando

It doesn't like to sit for a few days when temperatures drop. My shocks *feel* fine despite horrendous roads, low-profile tires, and 38.5K miles.
I'll bet you $1 that your shocks are either shot or nearly shot.
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Old 01-23-2006, 09:16 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by zcasavant
I'll bet you $1 that your shocks are either shot or nearly shot.
Could be. Maybe dirving the Saab in between has fogged my memory.
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Old 01-23-2006, 10:09 AM   #10
rumatt
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ZSP vs ZHP: Doesn't matter much. The differences are subtle. I'd get whichever one was in better condition and had the options I wanted. If the ZSP ride is too soft, you can get some combination of aftermarket shocks, springs, and sway bars. If you plan to autox seriously, the ZHP is currently the car to have. But the difference is subtle, so if you're just learning or not doing it seriously (ie, national level) it's irrelevant.

In terms of long-term ownership, search for a list of "E46 issues" or something like that. Window regulators, etc. Maybe search over at bimmerfest as well.

I think most people who say, "Owning a 10 year old BMW is no big deal" are the people who enjoy fixing cars. Changing suspensions, bushings, fuel filters, steering systems, water pumps, radiators, etc. I had an 16 year old E30 for 9 months and it was a blast. I learned SO much. But I was also in the garage every weekend for hours, and my wife called the car an expensive piece of junk. It's all about your perspective.

I have no idea how long I'll end up keeping my E46, but it's possible I'll keep it a long time (10+ years). However, I'm prepared to deal with a lot of crap and do as much DIY as necessary. I wouldn't recommend this car for someone who freaks out if a repair is needed (my wife is in this category) These people should lease Toyotas.

So far, my car has stranded me 4 times in 2.5 years of ownership. Once for a battery drain software recal, once for bad ignition coils, and twice due to an short in the engine bay where a wire was getting pinched under the washer fluid container. They finally found the bare wire and fixed it right, but my car was at the dealer for 13 days straight while trying to find the short. The idea of something like this happening out of warranty does scare me a bit, but it could happen with any car I suppose.

Silly stuff like brakes, shocks, etc, are going to be a good bit more expensive than for a miata. I think the dealership charges something crazy for a set of brakes and rotors (like $1000 or so), so you'll probably want to do them yourself. The stock rotors are soft so you may need to change them every time.

Howeve,r I still like the car. I drive it daily, do a lot of autox, and will be doing track days this year. It's great car.
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