BMW M3 Forum (E90 E92)

BMW Garage BMW Meets Register Search Today's Posts Mark Forums Read

Go Back   M3Post - BMW M3 Forum > BIMMERPOST Universal Forums > General Automotive (non-BMW) Talk + Photos/Videos
European Auto Source
Post Reply
Thread Tools Search this Thread
      11-01-2011, 10:29 PM   #1
Private First Class

Drives: 2002 BMW 330CI
Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: New England

iTrader: (0)

What should I look for?

Since everyone flipped out on me for posting in tech Im making a thread here. I am an older senior in college and in need of some new wheels. I have $3,500 cash to spend and am open to suggestions. I live in a close to Canada northern climate where we get pounded with snow most of the year. I've tried to own FWD cars in this area and once the weather hits... Useless.

What I need/want:

-Something with solid off road capability

-decent on gas, the more mpg the better but I'm willing to sacrifice gas mileage for a better overall rig

-WILL NOT give me serious troubles or leave me stranded. I don't care about stupid quirks or short comings, what I can't deal with is oops you need an engine, transmission, transfer case etc.

-I understand that I'm not going to find perfection with this amount of cash, I am ok with minor stuff and regular maintenance

-I want to be able to count on it for years on basic maintenance and wearable stuff

-Something good looking and functional

I am ok with any brand, but I want a clean well maintained vehicle that I won't have to get lucky to find. What vehicles, year, make, mileage posess these attributes?

I've seen anything from Tahoes, Durangos, full size 4wd trucks etc all in this range. Mostly had 100-200k, I used to drive an 01 XJ w 91k but it's gone.

What should I look for and what should I make sure to inspect or have cleared before I buy?

How should I go about the purchase without losing out for being too slow or too quick and end up missing a vehicle problem?
Thirty Past Three
Appreciate 0
      11-02-2011, 03:01 AM   #2

Drives: 03 TiAG z4 3.0i w/ hardtop
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: SoCal

iTrader: (0)

toyota 4runner?
Appreciate 0
      11-02-2011, 11:38 AM   #3
Private First Class

Drives: 07 335i Space/Saddle
Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: Jacksonville, FL

iTrader: (0)

Send a message via AIM to SpaceSaddle335
Originally Posted by benmoooon View Post
toyota 4runner?
Good suggestion. But can be expensive for a good example. But very reliable in most cases. I bought one with 120,xxx and put over 50k on it with no problems as a work beater.
Appreciate 0
      11-02-2011, 12:03 PM   #4
Major General
KingOfJericho's Avatar

Drives: Yes
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: CT

iTrader: (1)

Garage List
2010 135i Coupe  [2.63]
I would have said 2001 Cherokee (NOT Grand Cherokee) but you've been there.
The views and opinions expressed in this post are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Bimmerpost.

2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee Overland Hemi | 2010 S4 Sold | 2010 BMW 135i Retired | 2006 Lotus Exige Sold
Appreciate 0
      11-02-2011, 12:05 PM   #5
Cyrax91's Avatar

Drives: F80 M3 - Evo IX MR
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: NM

iTrader: (18)

Its gonna be hard finding something for around 3500 that for sure will be reliable. What about an e30 325i or something like that. Classic and cool.
BSM ZCP F80 M3 - Evo IX MR
Appreciate 0
      11-02-2011, 12:34 PM   #6
2006 330i, TSM, Black, manual, sport
TSM330i's Avatar

Drives: 2015 GTI, E86 Z4 3.0si Racecar
Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: Chester Springs, PA

iTrader: (2)

Jeep Wrangler. Great in the snow with the right tires and fantastic in the summer with the top off. If you're up near Canada, you're going to have to go for a true 4x4 in order to get through the snow. An AWD car won't work in the deep stuff.
Take your time, travel a decent distance to find the right vehicle.
I had a 1988 Wrangler a long time ago. I LOVED that thing!
You can fix them with a sledgehammer. They're very simplistic so there isn't a lot that is going to go wrong with it. I know you've already had the XJ, so you're aware how well the heater works in these things.
A friend of mine used to work for Chrysler and he said the 4.0 liter engine is designed to run at least 300K.
Try to find something that at least has some sort of maintenance history. At this price point, you already know it's going to be dicey.
Look at the front frame rails under the hood and right behind the bumper on the outside to make sure they are straight. VERY easy to see. Look for weld marks or areas that have been repainted. Look for overspray too. Do the same in the back of the vehicle.
Before the vehicle moves, check underneath to see if anything is leaking. Also, ask them NOT to have the car warmed up when you get there. You want to start it cold to see if there are issues with it starting and if there are smoking issues.
Of course most of this applies to any vehicle. It's just SO much easier to see on a Wrangler since the frame is so exposed.
2015 GTI S, 6M, LP, Volk TE37SL 17x8.5, Michelin PSS 245/40, HPA SHS Coil-Overs, Peloquin LSD, Sachs SRE, Eurocode F/R Sway Bars, SuperPro Control Arms, Remus Catback, IS38 Turbo, APR Stage 2+ Tune, APR DP/IC, APR CAI, Forge Turbo Blanket, Aero Force Gauge Pod, APR Boost Gauge, Kersher Front Lip, Short Shifter, Tyrolsport Deadset, Stoptech BBK, HPA Dogbone
2008 BMW Z4 3.0si Coupe - because racecar

Last edited by TSM330i; 11-02-2011 at 12:42 PM.
Appreciate 0
      11-02-2011, 02:23 PM   #7

Drives: 2011 Z4 35is Melbourne Red
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: Portland, OR

iTrader: (0)

Garage List
2011 Z4 35is  [5.00]
x2 on the Jeep. 4.0L six is as solid as they come.
Appreciate 0
Post Reply


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

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

All times are GMT -4. The time now is 10:40 AM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.7.0
Copyright ©2000 - 2018, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.,,,,,,,,, logo and trademark are properties of BIMMERPOST