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my 2001 330xi is getting old

Discussion in 'E46 (1999-2006)' started by bflamm41, Aug 5, 2010.

    bflamm41 guest

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    I have a 2001 330xi with 101k owned it the whole time

    So in March my car's expension tank pops and fluid goes every where.

    In May I had the l/r front axle assemblies replaced and they noticed the right motor mount was crushed and i had the replaced too. after that I noticed when I'm stopped at a light the whole car vibrates loudly and deal with having this issue.

    Couple days ago, i turn my car on and I hear a high pitch whine and the car shuts off. It cost $300 just to figure out it was the intake camshaft sensor for a total of $700. the guy said the faulty sensor was causing the fuse the pop and there are several components using this fuse and needed to troubleshoot.

    The car still vibrates when stopped at lights and the shop said the could adjust the idle to help minimize the vibration.

    I guess its still cheaper than buying a new car for now but its costing me $2500 a year on maintenance
    maybe its time for a peace of mind and buy a new car. Unfortunately I can't afford another BMW

    Anyone else have a thoughts/suggestions. do you think they messed something up when the replaced the front axle assembly?
    • Member


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    I don't know why it's vibrating at a stop - does it happen in neutral (I assume you have an automatic)? The idle speed is set by the computer, and can't be adjusted by techs IIRC.

    The vibration at a stop should have nothing to do with the axle/CVJ replacement. Was the boot only leaking, or had the CVJ gone? It's kind of a finnicky job on the front end and does cost several $hundred a side. It's not unusual for them to need replacement at that mileage.

    As for the expansion tank, that's the most common failure for the cooling system; pretty much everyone replaces them at 80-120K miles (along with radiator and hoses) because they're gonna fail. Hope they convinced you to replace the radiator, as you have to take it out to get to the expansion tank.

    Afraid to say that these maintenance costs aren't out of line, especially since 100K is where a lot of preventative maintenance needs to be done. After you get over the hump it's easy/cheaper again until 200K. Unfortunately, you still have the control arm bushings in the front end; parts cost $500 or more...

    BTW, I had a 2001 330xi that I traded in at 145K, after doing all this.

    bflamm41 guest

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    thx for the response

    My goal is to make it to 150k which would be 4-5 yrs from now before having to get a new car.

    They didn't mention a radiator change just the radiator hose and the expension tank where replaced.
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    Nope. The rough idle could indicate trouble developing in the VANOS unit and is undoubtedly a coincidence.

    I recently sold my 2001 325xi with more than twice your mileage and at one time or another, experienced most of those problems--some more than once. The maintenance section of the BimmerWiki article on the E46 mentions all of these and more. It's worth reading to (re-)acquaint yourself with these cars' foibles.

    The front axles have a comparatively short service life because they are subjected to greater and different stresses than the rears. Mine was on its third pair when I sold it. Camshaft sensors are a known E46 crapshoot--maybe they fail, maybe they don't. Mine never did. Expansion tank failure is a virtual certainty, based more on age and heat-cycling than mileage. Mine sprang a leak at 9 years old on the dot.

    Your car is at an age where a number of substantial components are at, near or beyond their typical service life: Oxygen sensors, struts & shocks, front ball joints and control arm bushings, and maybe the rear springs. Start setting a little aside for these, as depending on your car's individual history any or all of them could be on borrowed time.

    BMWs are not cheap maintain properly, that's a fact--but it's not all bad news. On the other side of the big chunks of work usually required from 90-120k, you've essentially refreshed most of the car. It should hold up quite well for another 100k at least and barring random failures, maintenance costs should drop again for a while.

    If you have the do-it-yourself gene and the inclination, buy the Bentley manual for the car and learn to do routine maintenance and the easier repairs yourself. You'll save major coin.

    No you don't. It's sometimes easier that way but not absolutely necessary.
    That's more like parts and labor, and at dealership rates to boot. The bushings alone are around $50-80 each.
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    I was quoting the 4-piece control arm + ball joints + bushings set, rather than the bushings alone. Easier because you don't need a press - obviously more costly. Most people don't press new ones into the existing arms. YMMV, but I've aged to the easy stage.

    superdave2002 guest

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    I guess its still cheaper than buying a new car for now but its costing me $2500 a year on maintenance
    maybe its time for a peace of mind and buy a new car. Unfortunately I can't afford another BMW

    My first BMW was an 87 535is. Used, 100K. Maintenance cost was about $1200/year.This was back in the early 90's. Figuring in inflation $2500 is about right.
    A wise old man told me "You have to pay rent no matter where you live"
    If you like the car, feed it, and give it love.

    BTW: The last I saw the old "Fiver" it was being driven by an eighteen year old, and had well over 300K. One I maybe should have kept.
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    Absolutely. What kinda' new car are you gonna find for $200/month? None. That's what kind. Heck, even at $300/month, there's nothing worth buying, so why not lavish that same $300/month on your trusty old friend? Just put that much away and plan to spend it on maintenance & repairs.

    I've had five of those old 5ers, none with under 167k miles. The latest one, to your left, has about 250k and should be rolling for O'Fest after consuming about 3 months' budget of timing chain repairs. ;)
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    I'm hope you're not banking on recouping your expenses when you sell it.

    You're past 100k already. These aren't houses - you don't throw a cheap coat of paint on them, then expect to bank a profit by dumping it on someone else later.

    Whether you know it or not, you're facing decision time. Most buyers lease these cars, then bail out before the warranty expires. The age of the car doesn't reduce the price of the parts needed to keep it running. You have to decide if your emotional commitment to this vehicle is backed up by your financial commitment to keep it running.

    The one thing you do have going for you is that the E46 is a particularly popular 3-series model. It will help you a little if you do decide to resell it, providing you are realistic about the price. No one's going to pay you a "like-new" price while the car is in a "needs work" condition.

    The all-wheel drive system in these cars is a double-edged sword. What makes them so coveted is also what makes them so hard to find - their more complicated and more expensive to maintain all wheel drive system. There's a reason you won't see many "cheap" or "parts car" all wheel drive 3's (the older ix's and the newer xi's). The ones who do spend the money on them keep them maintained because they're so useful to the people that own and drive them. The money spent to maintain them is a way to partially protect its value, but don't count on it being an "investment" you can recoup at sale time. For BMW's, aside from a very few collectible models, the math just doesn't work that way.

    You probably should have changed both sides at the same time, even if "eyeballing" it suggests the other one "looks fine". If one motor mount goes, the other is likely not far behind it. This may be the source of your vibration.

    Let us know what you decide. I hope you have kept all maintenance documentation. As expensive as BMW's are to maintain, a buyer is almost certainly going to want to see proof of what maintenance HAS been done on the car. Nothing against you, but they're not just going to take your word for it while you're asking top dollar for the car.

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