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Old 03-22-2016, 07:44 PM
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Default Buying an E46 M3 -- school me on what to look for

Looks like we may be trading in our E46 325i for an M3; Anisa wants to get back to the track and the 325i just ain't cool enough I guess.


I'll start doing some research for what to look for but would like to ask the collective opinion of the Dorki Brain Trust to see what your perspectives are.

The key item I'm familiar with that distinguishes the M3's maintenance from the 325i deals with the VANOS, I believe. What should we look for here?

Also, I seem to recall the bushings were made out of porridge and needed replacing ever 14 days...or something to that effect.


We'll be looking at cars with fewer than 75k miles on them, so presumably low enough miles that they haven't been overdriven (assuming street-only) but they'll probably be coming up on some maintenance soonish.
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Old 03-22-2016, 09:24 PM
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Lane would be the real expert since he has one, but I do know that the early M3s had a lot of rear subframe cracking problems. In fact when I was doing research on the issue for my impending rear subframe drop, many of the cars that people were working on were M3s. Apparently the early cars didn't have enough reinforcements in the rear sheet metal + additional torque of M3 = lots of cracked sheet metal.
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Old 03-22-2016, 11:20 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ausgeflippt951 View Post
The key item I'm familiar with that distinguishes the M3's maintenance from the 325i deals with the VANOS, I believe. What should we look for here?
Another one is valve adjustments. S54 motor has solid lifters, so regular valve adjustments are part of the deal. I'd be wary of any higher mileage cars that don't have receipts for this.
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Old 03-23-2016, 01:46 AM
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Another one is valve adjustments. S54 motor has solid lifters, so regular valve adjustments are part of the deal. I'd be wary of any higher mileage cars that don't have receipts for this.
Best part about the S54 valve adjustment is the $500 kit of shims you need to DIY.
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Old 03-23-2016, 08:06 AM
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Good point about valve adjustments. I wouldnt touch one w/o good history there, you never know how long it will last. Last time I checked ECS sold a kit for a decent price but either way its not a simple affair like most cars.
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Old 03-23-2016, 08:29 AM
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Other than those items discussed above, there is a some what common oil line that feeds the VANOS system that can crack and leak. There was an older recall that involved replacing a seal for the control solenoid, which records would show if completed. Really just have the VANOS system inspected during the pre-purchase inspection (for rattles/noises/erratic-ness) and check into service history. I'd make sure 10W60 synthetic was used religiously.

Another issue is the failure of ABS modules which can be sporadic, but dealt with it before a couple time.

Just like any other BMW the power steering systems can develop leaks over night (lol).

And yes bushings: they go bad, develop slop, can make noise, and/or just need replacing or upgrading. Usually its the front control arms bushings and the rear trailing arm bushings.

Only other thing that sticks out would be if buying a SMG (automated manual/flappy paddle gearbox) trans M3, they can have issues with the pumps that make the magic happen inside the trans. Would advise to go with a manual as they are a very solid setup.
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Old 03-23-2016, 09:25 AM
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Old 03-23-2016, 11:24 AM
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I think its SOP to replace the main/rod bearings too (can be done in car.) Eric (magnetic1) has done a number of them. He's been through a 'few' E46/E90 M3s Can't remember if he has an E90 or E46 coming up for sale soon - might want to contact him.
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Old 03-23-2016, 01:02 PM
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Old 03-23-2016, 01:06 PM
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Good point! Fixed that!
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