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'98 M3 purchase sanity check

Discussion in 'E36 M3 (1995-1999)' started by Max Blast, Dec 2, 2009.

    Max Blast guest

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    Hi all, I need some advice on this one:
    '98 M3 coupe with 160K on it - clear title, but has a front left DOT-R panel. Other side pass door does not have a BMW sticker on it, and no trace of one. Color and wear matches. Do these stickers fall off?
    Two owners, the second of which is selling. He got it from a middleman broker 20,000 miles ago and knows little of the first owner history other than it has been a west coast car its whole life.

    Immediate concerns: Owner reports intermittent VANOS rattling around 4k RPM on part throttle.
    I heard nothing on the test drive and it pulled smooth.
    Oil consumption is 1 qt of quality synthetic per 1000 miles.
    I know these can burn oil but that sounds excessive.
    Whistle at idle (serpentine tensioner?)
    Here's the one that sent a red flag for me but may be nothing - the windshield vin number was obscured by a piece of those paper dealer floormats that had been there for a loong time - yellowed and all.
    Toolkit missing a few pieces. Wheels curb rashed.

    Goods:
    5th gear easy to find when cold. Started, ran, drove and stopped great, felt very tight. Nice looking car with a few skirt scrapes. Everything worked. New brakes. Would be a good looking M3 with a little detailing.

    I've read the posts on this and other forums regarding what to look for, but the VANOS and oil consumption has me leery.
    Thoughts?
    What would be a fair selling price for a car in this condition?
    • Member

    az3579

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    I'd offer him $5500 if the car was well maintained.That DOT-R sticker worries me though, and so does the oil consumption.

    Okay, new figure: $5250. :)
    • Member

    CRKrieger

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    I have never seen the originals come off. Assume the panels are replacements or, at the very least, that the door was repainted and the fender replaced. They don't replace stickers.
    • Member

    tiFreak

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    covering the VIN could have just been some unfounded paranoia some people have that someone can write down their VIN and somehow something bad will happen, I wouldn't worry about that but if you really want to get some tweezers and get the paper out ;)
    • Member

    az3579

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    ^That, and if you drove the car then I'm pretty sure you could get access again and move the thing covering the VIN. ;)

    Max Blast guest

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    Yeah the VIN thing isn't anything I'm sure but added to a DOT-R sticker and a non-stickered door, I don't get that warm fuzzy feeling on this car's past life. A lot of those small things add up to this:
    The car was dumped by its first owner for the reasons mentioned above, picked up by a hack middleman who used all the tricks in the book to sell it at an inflated price to the current guy who is now trying to sell it for more than it's real value. It is a shame but a reality. Pass.

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