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      10-02-2012, 08:08 PM   #1
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About to buy an e46 M3...have questions for the gurus! :)

All,

I've had the pleasure and privilege of owning a few bmw's in the past, but I've never gotten my hands on an e46 M3, which Ive always wanted to own. Today I checked out the one that I will most likely buying, and I have a few questions regarding some things that the car will need.

1) Is it common for the rubber trimming around the rear windows to be coming off? If so, how much would it set me back to have these replaced, between parts and labor?

2) the weather strip that seals with the door on the driver side is also slightly torn...same question as above please?

3) the transmission is a little notchy, which I keep reading is normal, but to what extent?

4) the car sounds and runs amazing, but the valve train tick is a little noticeable. Again, I've heard e92's and e46's m3's do this, but to what extent is it normal?

5) while in gear, when I accelerated abruptly and let to of the gas pedal I could hear some slight drivetrain play. I believe this is differential slack which is normal (the 1M) does it too, but it's a little more noticeable on the m3. Should I worry? There's absolutely no awkward different noises while turning or doing figure eights.

By the way, it's an early e46 M3 that has been meticulously cared for and maintained, has 93k miles, and has had the rod bearing recall taken care of. Again, runs and sounds like a champ!

All input appreciated. Thank you!!
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      10-02-2012, 08:25 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 1SerieStud View Post
All,

I've had the pleasure and privilege of owning a few bmw's in the past, but I've never gotten my hands on an e46 M3, which Ive always wanted to own. Today I checked out the one that I will most likely buying, and I have a few questions regarding some things that the car will need.

1) Is it common for the rubber trimming around the rear windows to be coming off? If so, how much would it set me back to have these replaced, between parts and labor?

yes, weather takes its toll, this is sold as one piece I believe at the dealer and is very expensive, but you can find from a parts car. Check M3forum.net

2) the weather strip that seals with the door on the driver side is also slightly torn...same question as above please?

cheap fix, easy to do

3) the transmission is a little notchy, which I keep reading is normal, but to what extent?

IMO normal and felt worse/notchier than my e90


4) the car sounds and runs amazing, but the valve train tick is a little noticeable. Again, I've heard e92's and e46's m3's do this, but to what extent is it normal?

sound like sewing machine= very normal; be advised these motors use solid lifters and will get really noisy when out of adjustment; that being said, the e46 m3 is more maintenace than the new ones


5) while in gear, when I accelerated abruptly and let to of the gas pedal I could hear some slight drivetrain play. I believe this is differential slack which is normal (the 1M) does it too, but it's a little more noticeable on the m3. Should I worry? There's absolutely no awkward different noises while turning or doing figure eights.

Normal drivetrain lash. Very noticeable in my newer e90 M and whines on and off throttle.


By the way, it's an early e46 M3 that has been meticulously cared for and maintained, has 93k miles, and has had the rod bearing recall taken care of. Again, runs and sounds like a champ!

All input appreciated. Thank you!!



good luck and enjoy. They are very solid, reliable cars. Mine never really gave me any issues.
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      10-02-2012, 10:23 PM   #3
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good luck and enjoy. They are very solid, reliable cars. Mine never really gave me any issues.
Thank you sir! I feel much better to hear that all these minor things are normal with the car...looking forward to picking it up Saturday!!
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      10-03-2012, 03:02 PM   #4
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The drivetrain slop...look at your driveline bushings. The diff and engine mounts are notorious for going bad.

Rear subframe...check that.
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      10-03-2012, 03:08 PM   #5
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Quote:
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The drivetrain slop...look at your driveline bushings. The diff and engine mounts are notorious for going bad.

Rear subframe...check that.
What he said and the driveshaft donut/guibo. Also check to see how often they changed the oil.
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      10-03-2012, 03:43 PM   #6
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Cool, lots of hints...thanks a lot fellas, will be checking it all as soon as I get the car
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      10-04-2012, 01:20 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 1SerieStud View Post
All,

I've had the pleasure and privilege of owning a few bmw's in the past, but I've never gotten my hands on an e46 M3, which Ive always wanted to own. Today I checked out the one that I will most likely buying, and I have a few questions regarding some things that the car will need.

1) Is it common for the rubber trimming around the rear windows to be coming off? If so, how much would it set me back to have these replaced, between parts and labor?

Common

2) the weather strip that seals with the door on the driver side is also slightly torn...same question as above please?

Another amazing common E46 issue. Door seals can be more than expected. Door seal in Canada is almost 400-500 depending on options

3) the transmission is a little notchy, which I keep reading is normal, but to what extent?

Normal to an extent, possible worn selector rod joint + bushings. If gears are hard to engage we have seen broken detent springs in the transmission

4) the car sounds and runs amazing, but the valve train tick is a little noticeable. Again, I've heard e92's and e46's m3's do this, but to what extent is it normal?

Check oil level, type and intervals. Possible valve adjustment may be neeeded based on use of car and previous valve adjustment. Word of advice, when you get it do it anyways and verify the vanos bolts are not backing off on the exhaust hub. Also check the hub itself for a broken tab (very common). Signs of worn vanos are a loud rattle at ~3000rpm. The engine naturally gets louder at this point so it is best to take a BMW tech or contact an indy shop in your area and get a PPI.

5) while in gear, when I accelerated abruptly and let to of the gas pedal I could hear some slight drivetrain play. I believe this is differential slack which is normal (the 1M) does it too, but it's a little more noticeable on the m3. Should I worry? There's absolutely no awkward different noises while turning or doing figure eights.

As mentioned check the flex disc and driveshaft hanger bearing. All driveline bushings = Engine, Trans, Subframe bushings/Diff bushings should be checked preferably with someone applying the load on and off while lifted up. While you are there inspect for any cracks on the chassis above the mounts. Note: The E46 M3 sounds clunky as well on/off engagement of load.

By the way, it's an early e46 M3 that has been meticulously cared for and maintained, has 93k miles, and has had the rod bearing recall taken care of. Again, runs and sounds like a champ!

All input appreciated. Thank you!!
Hope you get a good one! They are a blast to own and drive.
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      10-05-2012, 08:33 AM   #8
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Thank you for the responses everyone! I've done research for about a week and I'm due to pick up tomorrow morning, however, even though I'm extremely excited I can't help but to worry after reading about so many possible issues.

If anyone has more insight or the ability to look further into a car's history, here is the VIN: Wbsbl93431jr10653. All information will be greatly appreciated!!

Thank you!
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      10-05-2012, 09:35 AM   #9
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Check for subframe issues! We have tons of e46's coming in for this repair and the bill is usually 2-3 grand.

As others have said a little play in the differential is normal.
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      10-05-2012, 09:46 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 1SerieStud View Post
Thank you for the responses everyone! I've done research for about a week and I'm due to pick up tomorrow morning, however, even though I'm extremely excited I can't help but to worry after reading about so many possible issues.

If anyone has more insight or the ability to look further into a car's history, here is the VIN: Wbsbl93431jr10653. All information will be greatly appreciated!!

Thank you!
No offense, if you bought the car thinking it would be cheap to maintain you've made a mistake. But an M3 does seem to hold up better than non-Ms since it generally used harder durometer rubber and is built to withstand more abuse. I would consider anything rubber at this point to be worn or getting close to being worn. Besides fluid changes and basic engine maintenace, it comes down to checking the rubber parts in the suspension and drivetrain.
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      10-05-2012, 04:16 PM   #11
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No offense, if you bought the car thinking it would be cheap to maintain you've made a mistake. But an M3 does seem to hold up better than non-Ms since it generally used harder durometer rubber and is built to withstand more abuse. I would consider anything rubber at this point to be worn or getting close to being worn. Besides fluid changes and basic engine maintenace, it comes down to checking the rubber parts in the suspension and drivetrain.
No offense taken I didn't buy it for the cheap factor, after all it's an M machine! But I consider my preliminary concerns to be entirely normal when it comes to an 11 year old car which, as you stated, may have been prone to abuse.
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      10-05-2012, 04:27 PM   #12
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No one has mentioned the Vano's bolt of death. Gotta replace or watch them. $$$ to fix after the fact.
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      10-05-2012, 08:57 PM   #13
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Quote:
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Originally Posted by bigjae1976 View Post
No offense, if you bought the car thinking it would be cheap to maintain you've made a mistake. But an M3 does seem to hold up better than non-Ms since it generally used harder durometer rubber and is built to withstand more abuse. I would consider anything rubber at this point to be worn or getting close to being worn. Besides fluid changes and basic engine maintenace, it comes down to checking the rubber parts in the suspension and drivetrain.
No offense taken I didn't buy it for the cheap factor, after all it's an M machine! But I consider my preliminary concerns to be entirely normal when it comes to an 11 year old car which, as you stated, may have been prone to abuse.
Good. I think you'll be very happy!
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      10-07-2012, 09:42 AM   #14
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Fellas, I got it and I'm loving it so far! The thing handles amazingly and is rather impressive for a stock 11-year-old suspension. The previous owner barely drove the car on a daily basis since he lived only about 2-3 miles from his job, and ended up riding a motorcycle to work instead.

I noticed that as I get familiarized with the car, the transmission does not feel anywhere nearly as notchy anymore...maybe it has to do with me getting used to the gates, or maybe that the car was not driven enough before and now all components are starting to get back into the groove...or maybe even a combination, who knows. The drive train slack is still there and it's a little loud specially during low gear clutch disengagement - I'm taking this as being part of the nature of the beast.

I did read on another thread that these door handles tend to give up after a while? My driver side handle is relatively harder than the passenger side. Should I be concerned? Does anything need to be lubricated or adjusted? It's still fully functional but some folks have reported that their handles just won't open the door anymore.

Other than what I just mentioned, I only have to address the smaller things that I mentioned on my original post, but those I can take my time with. BTW: it appears that I have one of the rare non-sunroof cars? I suppose I got lucky because I tend to prefer no sunroof for more rigidity, and at this point it's one less thing that could possibly break.

Thanks again for all your input, now I just want to drive!
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      10-07-2012, 10:19 AM   #15
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You may have already stated this information, but I did not see how many miles are on the car?
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      10-07-2012, 10:26 AM   #16
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You may have already stated this information, but I did not see how many miles are on the car?
Bought it with 93,555, it has 93,720 at the moment. Has had all the inspections performed, I have a lot of history on the car, clean/clear title/carfax/autocheck. Couldn't ask for more - now just hoping it withstands the task as a daily-driver for next few years.
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