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Knurled
Knurled GRM+ Memberand UltimaDork
2/24/15 7:09 p.m.

Yes, E46s are really cheap for what you get. Which is why Knurled has them on his shortlist, which is in reality "awesome cars in the $10-15k range which is the budget for awesome cars that have some shred of responsibility so I can justify getting a loan for one"

Also, M3s make me bounce between talking in the third and first person.

Put another way: For the same price as a used Focus ST, or RX-8 R3, or early Subaru WRX STi, or a really ratty Evo VIII, you can have a m-----f-----g BMW E46 M-berkeleying-3. 333 horsepower of naturally aspirated ultimate expression of BMW inline six attached to a chassis that drives a heck of a lot better than its weight says it should. This should end any arguments against the concept of buying one RIGHT THERE.

thatsnowinnebago
thatsnowinnebago GRM+ Memberand Dork
2/24/15 7:13 p.m.

In reply to Knurled:

Your logic is inescapable

dyintorace
dyintorace GRM+ Memberand UberDork
2/24/15 7:45 p.m.

I think the Cinnamon interior is absolutely stunning. Would love an e46 M3 and would love it to have that interior!

Osterkraut
Osterkraut UberDork
2/24/15 7:57 p.m.
dyintorace wrote: I think the Cinnamon interior is absolutely stunning. Would love an e46 M3 and would love it to have that interior!

You sold your M5 without asking if I wanted it!

Congrats on the Porsche, though.

dyintorace
dyintorace GRM+ Memberand UberDork
2/24/15 8:16 p.m.
Osterkraut wrote:
dyintorace wrote: I think the Cinnamon interior is absolutely stunning. Would love an e46 M3 and would love it to have that interior!
You sold your M5 without asking if I wanted it! Congrats on the Porsche, though.

Sorry! I'll sell you the 993 if it makes you feel better.

atm92484
atm92484 Reader
2/24/15 9:27 p.m.

In reply to HiTempguy:

IIRC the original lasted 40k miles. I wouldn't entirely rule out driving habits as a contributor though; just because the tach only goes to a certain number when the engine is cold (cold being the same as the ambient 15 degrees on a cold winter's night) doesn't mean the needle is supposed to explore that area of the gauge - let the damn thing warm up! On that note, this is high on the list of things I fear about buying used performance cars.

ZOO
ZOO GRM+ Memberand UltraDork
2/25/15 5:15 a.m.

This "the rod bearings are a maintenance item" is not a universal belief. I spoke at length yesterday with a local shop that builds race prepped cars, and specializes in the S54 after reading this thread and developing some paranoia.

The owner said that it has been his experience that if the recall had been done on affected cars, or if the car had the revised bearings after the date of manufacture, that he wouldn't worry about it at all. He cited numerous examples of his race cars running stock S54s from wrecked cars with no concerns. He did stress the importance of proper maintenance, and using the right oil.

I don't know anyone in my circle with an E46 M3 who sees the rod bearings as a maintenance item as indicated. Not that that proves a point, but it isn't perhaps the issue that many fear.

As for the VANOS, I rebuilt mine for less than $500 in parts after core charge return. It can be catastrophic if it goes, but as long as it hasn't it is easy to correct the issue that may be a concern. It was totally worth the rebuild for the reclaimed torque.

Maybe GPSWcan chime in on his S54 thoughts from the race community?

D_Eclipse9916
D_Eclipse9916 New Reader
2/25/15 8:14 a.m.

In reply to ZOO:

All the NASA GTS cars consider it routine maintenance about every two to three years. At a minimum, should be done before you race the car. I have raced with GTS over the past 4-5 years and it's fairly common, and the bearings that came out are not very pretty.... compared to a "normal-wearing motor".

I really don't know of many shops at least here on the East Coast that don't recommend replacing them.

(who still has to do the rod bearings on his mom's E46 m3, but I don't think it's a "OMG death sentence" but is normal maintenance)

Giant Purple Snorklewacker
Giant Purple Snorklewacker MegaDork
2/25/15 9:21 a.m.
ZOO wrote: Maybe GPSWcan chime in on his S54 thoughts from the race community?

Most bone stock motors on street or mild sticky DOT slicks seem to hold up pretty well. I know guys who just DE that have hundreds of track days on them. If the bearings were an unknown at purchase I'd run a few thousand street miles and have the oil evaluated. If I was planning on it being a track toy I'd just go ahead and update them while I was "in there". THe pan is coming down anyway for other prep and it's a cheap, relatively easy job for a guy with a torque wrench who already has the pan off.

On an S54 that sees heavy track use and uses the extra revs above 8k most software gives it is wise to check the oil with blackstone often. Monitor the bearing material in the oil and replace as necessary. The one thing you cannot ever do is over rev even a wee bit. If you are not looking for that last 100th of a second or trying to beat the guy next to you by an inch don't ever rev past 8k. The additional stress of taking the motor up to the 8400 is life lost. Even though the tune I ran allowed it I set my shift lights at 7900 yellow, 8k red to make sure I knew I was beating the E36 M3 out of it the whole time the light was red. If you zing it even a little past 8.4 ... it's going to send a rod thru the block pretty soon. You are stretching things ever so slightly. It might run a day, week... but eventually it's going to go badly.

Guys running bigger power (strokers, hot cams) treat rod bearings as seasonal maintenance. Many who run real radial slicks and big aero (massive cornering power) have switched to dry sump because even with the dual pickup pan and baffles it can't seem stay wet under those conditions. There has been a lot of attrition in this group in the last few seasons as power goes up every year.

The closer you fly to the sun, the more you have to look after your wings ;)

HiTempguy
HiTempguy UberDork
2/25/15 12:05 p.m.

So, another question:

E46 M3 vs 135i?

After my "what new car thread", and seeing both of these cars with low miles for ~$20k or less even in canuckistan, it has my mind wandering a bit from the Focus RS...

yamaha
yamaha MegaDork
2/25/15 12:12 p.m.

In reply to HiTempguy:

Depends, while I love the s54 mill in the e46, I'd rather have it in a smaller car(z3 Mcoupe for example), and I love the 135i for the fact its about e36 coupe sized.

ZOO
ZOO GRM+ Memberand UltraDork
2/25/15 12:39 p.m.
HiTempguy wrote: So, another question: E46 M3 vs 135i? After my "what new car thread", and seeing both of these cars with low miles for ~$20k or less even in canuckistan, it has my mind wandering a bit from the Focus RS...

I am addicted to the torque in my friend's lightly modded 135. It is certainly faster down the straight than my car. But it sure isn't an M3. Drive both. Buy the best you can of the one you like.

Knurled
Knurled GRM+ Memberand UltimaDork
2/25/15 1:05 p.m.
Giant Purple Snorklewacker wrote: The closer you fly to the sun, the more you have to look after your wings ;)

I love this line

Feedyurhed
Feedyurhed SuperDork
2/26/15 6:37 a.m.
series8217 wrote:
thatsnowinnebago wrote: So it looks like E46 M3s are bargains now. Just saw this one: http://losangeles.craigslist.org/sgv/cto/4900918590.html Is that a reasonable car or is something big going to pop soon?
Yes, they are that cheap. That particular car has been on and off craigslist for the past year or so. I think my buddy checked it out (or at least inquired more) and the bodywork was an "issue". I bought my '05 Silver Gray on Black SMG Competition Package car for $15.7k last June. I'd say it was an average deal. It needed Inspection 2 which is time consuming (DIY) or costly (dealer), as well as rod bearings (preventive maintenance!) and some bushings. My friend drove my car when I brought it home and promptly shopped for one. Two weeks later he ended up with an '04 in Alpine White on Cinnamon with the SMG, for ~$19k. It needed all the same things that my car did. The premium he paid was for the color combination, and I'd say it was worth it -- it just wasn't in my price range. The cinnamon interior is GORGEOUS. Rod bearings, VANOS, cooling system (ALL parts), and subframe reinforcement are preventive repairs/maintenance and will cost you ~$3 to $4k so add that to the price of the car you're buying, unless you have clear proof that they've been done already. The S54 engine is also due for a valve adjustment every 30k miles. Anyway... buy one... they're so good! Two weeks after my purchase I went on a 12k mile road trip around the country, hitting major tracks along the way. I spent the first two weeks doing the preventive maintenance, and the car finished the trip without a problem. My '05 as purchased: (currently wrapped matte gray metallic): My friend's Cinnamon interior with some aftermarket parts from Coby Wheel to dress it up: Every time I see his interior I wish I had it in my car!

Just curious. Was your car at the GRM coral at the Rolex?

Jamey_from_Legal
Jamey_from_Legal New Reader
2/27/15 1:27 p.m.

Plenty of good advice here. Blackstone oil analysis is your friend with these cars, unless you only use them as a DD.

I haven't tracked one yet, but my pals that do say you have to get used to the weight. They love it, but they say it's heavy.

For me, as a track car, they cost too much for me to comfortably run them without a track policy. Plus I'm opposed, on principal, to trying to learn track driving in a heavy car.

As a daily, they are possibly the best-looking BMW ever. Especially in Laguna Seca Blue.

ZOO
ZOO GRM+ Memberand UltraDork
2/27/15 1:54 p.m.
Jamey_from_Legal wrote: As a daily, they are possibly the best-looking BMW ever. Especially in Laguna Seca Blue.

Proof that Bangle wasn't completely bonkers, at least.

thatsnowinnebago
thatsnowinnebago GRM+ Memberand Dork
2/27/15 2:38 p.m.
ZOO wrote:
Jamey_from_Legal wrote: As a daily, they are possibly the best-looking BMW ever. Especially in Laguna Seca Blue.
Proof that Bangle wasn't completely bonkers, at least.

Seriously. I love that blue. My girlfriend laughs at me when I get all excited to see them on the street.

G_Body_Man
G_Body_Man Reader
2/27/15 2:38 p.m.

I prefer a pre-2010 135i with a Burger JB4. 400 (claimed) crank horsepower in a baby bimmer? What do you guys say?

16vCorey
16vCorey PowerDork
2/27/15 4:40 p.m.

A friend of mine just told me about this '04 M3 for sale locally for $11k. Supposedly it has performance modifications, all done by a well regarded performance shop.

series8217
series8217 Reader
3/2/15 2:42 a.m.
Feedyurhed wrote: Just curious. Was your car at the GRM coral at the Rolex?

Not mine; my cross-country trip was in June/July of 2014. Been in California since then :-)

iadr wrote: Nothing wrong with that "cinnamon" interior some black leather dye wouldn't fix...before I ever took it home...I'd do it in the parking lot of the store if I had too....argggh

It's easy to sell a cinnamon interior for $2k, or trade for black + cash. The cinnamon interiors are in demand.

Adrian_Thompson
Adrian_Thompson UltimaDork
3/2/15 7:52 a.m.

Wow, this is an eye opener. People are complaining about Porsche engines needing the IMS bearing upgrade, or the cost of a rebuilt Range Rover engine, yet no one seems to be batting an eye at $4-5K in routine work for the S54!!!

Very cool cars, but unless I needed 4 seats, what does the M3 do that a 911/Cayman/Boxster doesn't do better? Or if you need 4 seats, what about a Coyote engined Mustang?

Knurled
Knurled GRM+ Memberand UltimaDork
3/2/15 12:39 p.m.
Adrian_Thompson wrote: Wow, this is an eye opener. People are complaining about Porsche engines needing the IMS bearing upgrade, or the cost of a rebuilt Range Rover engine, yet no one seems to be batting an eye at $4-5K in routine work for the S54!!!

If you want to count parts and labor like that, then you aren't touching an IMS or a rebuilt anything engine.

Plus the Porsches have one major flaw... they aren't BMWs. (And vice-versa, kinda sorta really)

Harvey
Harvey HalfDork
3/2/15 12:40 p.m.

I like how polarizing the cinnamon interior is for people. Personally I love it, but I also loved the magma interior on the E36 and people either loved or hated that one too.

I'll echo Adrian_Thompson's sentiment. I've thought about having one of these as a dual purpose driver, but at the same time if practicality only goes as far as being able to drive it to the track then I'll get a Vette instead. I wouldn't bother having one of these as a third car, because a Porsche Cayman or Vette would be better. Granted the Cayman is more dollars, but not the Vette. You can get a real nice low mile C5 Z06 for $20k.

thatsnowinnebago
thatsnowinnebago GRM+ Memberand Dork
3/2/15 2:28 p.m.

Problem is, I have a dog AND a girlfriend who both like to travel with me. I do like Boxsters and S2000s but it's hard to fit them both in a two-seater.

dyintorace
dyintorace GRM+ Memberand UberDork
3/2/15 3:13 p.m.
Harvey wrote: I like how polarizing the cinnamon interior is for people. Personally I love it, but I also loved the magma interior on the E36 and people either loved or hated that one too.

I like the Magma interior as well. And I always loved Modena too!

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