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Not feeling the love anymore

Discussion in 'E46 (1999-2006)' started by Swooz, Jun 9, 2008.

    Swooz guest

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    I always wanted a BMW and when I purchased my CPO 2002 325i back in the summer of '03 it was love at first sight...until the free maintenance and extended warranty expired. After experiencing a power window problem, sloppy steering (worn bushings and ball joints), continual sunshade issues, and mysterious squeaks coming from the rear (I don't even want to know what that is), I've decided to part with my Beamer. After a recent detail, it's sitting in the garage looking pretty awaiting a new owner, perhaps one that will 'bond' with the car more than I and be willing to spend countless hours working on it or shuttling it back and forth to the garage. I can't say I wasn't duly warned about the cost of maintaining a BMW, but I guess I thought these previous owners were exaggerating. I came from a Honda and Acura family and have rejoined them with open arms. My shiny new Acura TSX offers me several options my 325i could not - navigation, Bluetooth, and the comfort in knowing I'll spend a lot less of my paycheck maintaining it. So if anyone is looking to adopt an Alphine white 325i let me know and we'll work a deal.

    jayton guest

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    depends on what part of the country you are in.
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    TeamStowell We love driving!

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    It is a tough burden to carry. As I am pulling apart the rear brakes for the umpteenth time to replace rotors and pads, I look over to my best friend's driveway. He doesn't have his Acura TL torn apart. Come to think of it I never did much to my 89 Integra. But then again, they don't feel the same when I am driving them. I guess when I get the 540 back together, I'll find out why the 635 temp guage stopped working the other evening. There is a high price to be paid for this relationship, but all the good ones demand it.

    OnRails guest

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    Have fun with the PlasticTSX, FWD FTL
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    nopcbs

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    Please...it's not the customer, it's the car manufacturer that is the problem

    What, exactly, is the point of your making fun of the fellow's choice of a reliable Acura in trade for his BMW as a response to poor build quality in the BMW that he bought and (for a while, at least) liked a lot?

    And as for plastic...there is plenty of plastic in my 2003 330i zhp. Your Beemer does not have a lot of plastic parts? When did you get it, decades back? Cut the nonsense. Acura builds fine sedans...although I grant you, it would be nice if they were RWD.

    It irks me no end when BMW over-the-top loyalists defend BMW from deserved charges of poor build quality from other BMW owners who have suffered from that poor build quality.

    I've been lucky, so far, out of warranty a year and only a few minor things have gone wrong (at 27,000 miles) and those I can live with. I totally avoid using the sun-roof and minimize use of the power windows because I know what will happen if I don't. It should not be like that from a company that brags about its engineering ability.

    JAMAICAN TWIN TURBO guest

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    You just scared me....what will happen if I keep using my sunroof, and power windows on my 2003 530? You are absoutley right though about BMW quality. We should expect more. After my warranty expires, it's bye bye 530! Maybe the 335 next?
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    bcweir

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    I'd say it's a little bit of both..

    Roundel columnist Mike Miller put it really well last month. It goes something like this, borrowing liberally from his column (sorry and thanks Mike).

    On one hand, way back in the day (pre-1990's), BMW was mainly an enthusiast brand of automobile. BMW made about 30,000 of these cars a year, and they were built specifically for enthusiasts out of metal and aluminum, not plastic. Then starting around the early 1990's, BMW became desperate to sell more cars. So the cars were softened up and de-Germanized, fitted with automatic transmissions for American buyers who never learned or were too lazy to appreciate the traditional manual transmission American and European traditionalists had come to expect. Steel parts were replaced with plastic parts to fatten up BMW's bottom line since most Americans leased these cars anyway, abandoning them quickly before the warranty ran out.

    History lesson aside, I think most people have an unrealistic expectation of these cars. They expect them to run forever like [fill in favorite Japanese brand here]'s maintenance free. Sadly, that's no closer to reality than expecting the tooth-fairy to turn your old E46 into an new Avalon (sorry for the sarcasm). BMW's are just not going to meet or exceed Toyota's or Honda's build quality. Nobody can. I'm not being critical here, I'm just telling you like it is.

    Point blank, people who aren't very knowledgeable about the maintenance requirements of these cars are simply unrealistic about BMW's. The car is approaching 7 years old. That's old age for any car. It's going to start requiring replacement of those wear and tear parts, especially if they're made of plastic. That's just the way the world goes around.

    Personally, I've got as much use for a Toyota or a Honda as I have for a sixth finger on each hand. I've seen them and driven them, old and new models. Reliable? As sure as the sun comes up. But they've got no personality. No soul. IMHO, driving a Pacific-Rim car is as much fun as a divorce. But that's just me. Enjoy your plastic Japanese front-wheel drive APPLIANCE. The rest of us will soldier on with our Ultimate driving machine, recalcitrant sunroofs, window motors and all.

    Sign me as proud to be a BMW owner/enthusiast. They can have my 1988 750iL car keys when they pry them out of my cold, dead fingers.
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    nopcbs

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    ***************************************************************************************************

    You are doing it again...there is absolutely NO reason that BMW cannot make interesting to drive cars and cars that are as reliable as your average Hyundi is. You give no reason why they can't...because there is none. It's just the same "just because" we used as kids when we were explaining to our mom why we did not WANT to do something.

    There is no rocket science in designing a window mechanism that is reliable (Mike Miller says they finally managed that trick after 2004, by the way), or a sunroof shade panel, or a water pump impeller, to name a few. Instead, BMW wastes its time on the idiotic I-Drive that absolutely no one asked for and many loathe.

    They are just sloppy in some of their design work and no one should make excuses.

    By the way as to boring Japanese cars, you ever drive a Supra TT or an RX7, or an STI, or an EVO? There are lots of other examples.
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    az3579

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    Well he does have a point about Japanese cars. I've come close to driving an STI. It was a regular WRX but still close, with the exception of the engine. Through the corners it's like driving a box; I've gotten some noticeable understeer. My mother's car, a Nissan Sentra (by no means a performance Japanese car) is probably the most soul-less car I've ever driven, an automatic 4-pot beater that handles like crap and is slow to boot. The car I did my driving test in, a Toyota Corolla, is obviously not a driver's car either. It sounds horrid; it's engine sounds like it's straining its neck and the veins are popping out, even at low speed, and the pedal area is badly designed as well, with my foot always getting stuck under the plastic above the pedals. Reliable as a rock, but simply not a driver's car, any of them.

    But the BMW; their "lowliest" models, like the 318i, are still a blast to drive. Sure, sometimes trim pieces fall off or window regulators stop working, but come to expect that when you start mass-producing cars. BMW isn't made from a fountain of money so they can't just put the best of everything into their most-sold vehicles and expect the price to stay where it is. It's the driving experience that keeps most of us planted in the marque. There is not a single manufacturer out there that is without fault in one way or another, especially in build quality. I'm sure you'll find something wrong with your average Corolla as well, we just don't know about it because we're busy taking corners a bit too enthusiastically.
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    bcweir

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    Are we talking about NEW cars or are we talking about 7 year old individual car models? After 7 years, ANY car is going to have wear and tear on it, INCLUDING anybody you want to name, and especially MOVING parts like windows and sunroof motors. BMW ranked 7th on the JD Power Customer Service Index. Not exactly at the top of the dogpile, but they're not scraping the bottom of the quality surveys like American car makers (if you want a discussion on car makers who really need the help building a quality automobile, let's start there, especially since they're the ones fighting for their financial lives right now).

    As far as I-Drive is concerned, have you seen the sheer number of BUTTONS on a Japanese car in the same price class? Again, another apples to oranges comparison. What's YOUR preference, learning the functions of some three dozen BUTTONS or navigating FOUR MENUS? Let's not lay the blame for auto complexity at BMW's feet. This is an industry wide trend. Consumers are demanding more features of their cars, and car makers are putting them in there to remain competitive. Then there is the simple fact of life that the more stuff you put on a car, the more you are putting on a car that can break!

    If you like a car that has a dead steering feel, a heavy laden brake pedal, along with mushy handling, there are any number of cars that can fill the bill, including the ones you just mentioned. These cars barely need to involve the driver at all. All they have to do is DUMB down the acceleration, DUMB down the braking, DUMB down the suspension, and DUMB down the handling. Bingo, you have a Pacific Rim "sports" car. In case you didn't notice, Toyota and Nissan both bailed out of their inline sixes YEARS AGO because they couldn't compete with BMW's in ANY category, which I might add wins engineering awards every year running.

    Nothing wrong with a FWD Pacific Rim automobile IF that's what you want. That's why it's called CHOICE. But i can tell you this, NONE of the cars you mentioned are completely maintenance-free, especially not after 7 years of wear and tear on the electrics. It's the reality of owning an automobile, especially one that was built relatively recently, laden with electrical toys that WILL BREAK eventually. Most Americans don't even want to be bothered with maintenance anymore, which is why most people dump these cars on the used market before the warranty runs out.

    It's another example of car buyers having unrealistic expectations of non-Japanese car makers. Japanese car owners have all of these same issues, especially after 7 years. They just don't pitch a fit about it.

    Last but not least, if Toyota and Honda don't have these same problems after 7 years, why do dealers still maintain a SERVICE and PARTS counter? I guarantee you it's not just to serve coffee to new car customers. Check into ANY auto maker you want and they will tell you the same thing -- the dealership service center remains one of the most profitable areas of their business. What does THAT tell you about the maintenance needs of automobiles in general?
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    nopcbs

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    Quit making excuses, please.

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    What's this seven years stuff you keep repeating? I am not talking about 7 year old cars.

    My 2003 330i does not have i-Drive and does not need it. I just go by the motoring press reports, and NO ONE who reviews i-Drive cars likes i-Drive. These guys al dolts or what?

    You clearly have never driven any of the "Pacific rim" sports cars to write such demonstrably untrue things about them. We will leave it at that. Spend a little time behind the wheel of a previous generation STi and you will eat your words. Has a way better shifter than my zhp, by the way...and better clutch take-up (BMW puts a delay valve in that should not be there).

    Finally, go watch Fight Club. It has a real reality-check moment for hard-core BMW (or whatever) loyalists when a character is reminded that they are not what they wear/drive/etc. It's only a car...one that can and should be made better than it is.

    Bye.
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    bcweir

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    Who are you to say what someone else has or hasn't driven?

    Jeez, man, lighten up.

    Let's get back on focus, OK? If you're looking for someone to champion or defend Japanese "performance" cars, your browser has definitely made a wrong turn at Albuquerque. Of course there's a market for these pseudo-performance machines, just like there's a market for the Ultimate Driving Machine.

    If someone isn't happy with a BMW, post it in the classifieds, and I am pretty certain it will be picked up by someone who understands these machines and their service needs better. If they want to keep it, and wants to spend the money and time getting it set right, I have no doubt you will find all the help in the world here and other BMW enthusiast forums in resolving its issues.

    It's said that the thinnest book in the world is the one on Japanese collectible performance cars, and I believe that. To each their own, but I can tell you that the Ultimate Driving Machine isn't Japanese and it's not Korean either.

    Good luck with whatever you choose.

    Texark guest

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    I will keep my 325i thank you much!

    I am a new BMW owner and new to the board( Howdy!), but can speak to this topic pretty well. I own both a 2004 325i SMG and 2006 Acura TL, both are great cars and yes Acura is very reliable,comfortable etc. Yes maitenance can be costly and at times frustrating. But anyone that drives the 2 cars will quickly see there is a distinct difference between them. The Acura is a fine car and rides and performs well, but it isnt a BMW and never will be. The easiest way to explain it is 1) My wife who knows very little about performance cars will take my 325 anytime she has a choice. She doesnt know why she likes it better, but that it feels like a drivers car should. 2) When my wife had several friends over recently each of them couldnt stop fawning over my 325 while I was washing and waxing them and it is obvious BMW makes a car that people notice and desire. The Acura blends in with the crowd.;)
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    nopcbs

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    I have a 2003 330i zhp (6-sp). It's basically an M3 sedan with a 100 hp fewer than an E46 M3. It is the best E46 sedan model ever made. Have had it three years. It's my summer car. I drive a 92 LS400 winters (has snow tires on it). Have had the LS since 1994. My wife drives a 2004 RX330. She loathes my 330i. Says it is rough riding and crude. She formerly had a 1992 Corvette with autocross suspensionoption and 6-sp which she liked...so it's not the 6-sp.

    I like the zhp because of very good (not great) acceleration, very good handling, and good (not great) fuel economy, and just right size. But I am not blind to it's negatives. The 6-sp linkage is not great (we had a Mazda 1983 626 that was better), the clutch it very hard to work smoothly in the lowest gears because BMW put a delay valve in the mechanism for some silly reason, it does ride rough (the standard zhp wheels are very heavy and the tires are very wide and there are limitations to what the suspension can do with those constraints), and it does have it's little fit and finish/build quality annoyances.

    Overall, the 1992 LS400 is a better "sporty" luxury sedan, it has been essentially bullet proof except for a corroded ground problem I had last year (rememebr, it's my winter car and I live in MI). For the days when I just want to get from here to there and relax, it is a better car than the BMW. Far more comfortable and with adequate handling.

    The point of all this, not everyone likes BMW's. My wife loathes mine and she has considered every BMW she has ever test driven a crude device. She loves her RX330 and she might just leave me if I tried to make her drive an X3 or X5. (OK, an exageration.) The stuff about "ooh's and "ahs" of your friends who see your Bimmer...well, let them drive your Bimmer and then let them drive a comparable Lexus model and then ask for a reaction. The performance/image types may well prefer the BMW, but the average driver will prefer the Lexus.

    chll69 guest

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    hey NOPCBS, on your 330i zhp, you know you can take out the clutch delay valve! it frees it right up! Im not quite sure how on an e46 but i know its easy on my e36, my friend did it on his e46 and he said the shifting improved greatly!
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    chicane

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    I hope that wasn't a sales pitch because it wasn't a very good one. I don't know how many miles are on your 325 but these are very common problems and most are relatively to very easy to fix yourself. I have news for you Acuras need to fixed from time to time as well.

    guillermo guest

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    Hello,

    I own a 2001 330 Xi with 140500 miles and the car runs feels great, I'm a mecanic from a Honda dealer and I have drove Accords with the same mileage like my car and trust there is a diference, my car feels solid in contrast with the Accords that feels like not all the way together, and yes Hondas have there problems with windows regulators and all the stuff that normal wear can break, check this from JD Power.

    http://www.jdpower.com/corporate/news/releases/pressrelease.aspx?ID=2008115

    Cwalsh1109 guest

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    I thought this was a forum for dedicated, loyal BMW owners. There is an awful lot of squabbling about things that should not com into play here. And none of you, none of you have suggested that a person that drives a white 325 and refers to it as a Beamer should probably be driving something else in the first place. 7 year old cars need maintenance. Doesn't matter what they are. A 1992 LS 400 is not a sports sedan.

    JAMAICAN TWIN TURBO guest

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    Hahahahahaha, ouch! What's up with a white 325?!
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    nopcbs

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    Hey, if he owns it, he can refer to it as Aunt Louise for all it's our business.

    Also..and this is very important...it's just a car. It lacks emotion and the ability to think. It does not care about you. None at all. And as for the car company, BMW, if you think it/they care about you any further than wanting to get your money...well, let's just say you should think a little longer.

    Finally, if you read the excellent club magazine. The Roundel, you will regularly read people bitching about this and that problem with their Bimmers. Some will even write about how after owning many they are finally "sick up and fed" with poor quality and they are buying no more until BMW cleans up their act. So...I personally think grousing about BMW inadequacies is just as appropriate here as singing their praises.

    - Geo

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