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LiamGTR

DC5 to E46 325/330 Ci

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Hi all,

Having spoken to a guy called Jim over on the GTR register about these cars he recommended I register on here.. So here I am.

The long and short is:

*23 years old

*Going to Uni in Sept'

*Selling the DC5 on Saturday

*Looking at buying a BMW

*£3k budget (No room for increase)

Questions:

1. Would you recommend them?

2. Maybe know of any common faults?

Only reason I'd initially thought BMW 3** Ci is they look sporty enough and is an auto, comfy and better mpg than my DC5.

I've had all the lowered, rock solid coilovers, body kits etc. so I'm looking for a sensible, comfortable, sporty-ish but practical car to see me through Uni... Not much to ask, right?

Any info is greatly appreciated,

Thanks.

Oh and here's the obligatory picture of my DC5 (New owner is picking it up on Saturday.. I'm gutted)

image.jpg

Click to enlarge.

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They are great cars, i would be biased towards a manual rather than auto but that's personal preference.

Common faults include wishbone bushes (need to replace full wishbones at around £180 rather than just replace the balljoints/ bushes)

Cooling systems can some times cause issues aswell as oil usage, although bmw recommend 1litre every 1k is acceptable.

As with any car, just check the basics along with the biggies above and you wont go far wrong. Oh and don't be put off by high mileage :)

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Rust is your main concern at this age now. Front wings, rear arches, around the windscreen, bottom of the bootlid, usual places. They're not the greatest at fighting back tin worm.

I would probably be looking at a 320cd sport if I were you.

At £3k, you're well in 325ci & 330ci sport range, if you don't mind the fuel consumption as well as Uni beer consumption costs.

I would definitely recommend one though.

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316 or the 330, everything in-between is a waste of time, or if you are a real hero and can afford the insurance the M3, and if you like tractors (quick ones tho) it has to be the 330d

With the price of the E90 having come down so much now I would personally skip the E46 all together now tbh........as much as I loved mine.

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Yea I noticed a lot of cars with rust which is fair enough, nothing I haven't encounter before what with owning a Ford Escort back in the day haha. I'm usually quite good on general maintenance what with owning the DC5 and being so worried and checking it over all the time so I'm hoping this will be the same.

Regarding the E90 comment, I'd have to look at them as I've no idea what shape that is I'm not up on BMW this is my first venture into them

Insurance isn't an issue, I know I'm only 23 but u already have 5 of my own NCB as I took the cash hit when I was you get and always got my own policy for this exact reason.

What's the average MPG you guys get from the different engine size of E46? I've been told it's not much difference.

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Welcome, mate :) Thought I might see you pop up on here after I gave you War & Peace on the GTR forum lol.

They're brilliant cars when properly looked after, but like all cars if you neglect them they'll cost you more in the long run and become less reliable. So long as you're not shy with a spanner you'll find that they're actually pretty easy cars to do DIY work on for most jobs - the only job I've done that I was unable to do myself was the clutch/flywheel - simply because I don't have a ramp or a pit to work with.

Maintenance costs aren't too bad. I've done quite a lot of the "mid-life" job that generally need doing around 100k/10 years, including clutch, flywheel, starter, new shocker, new discs & pads all round, handbrake shoes, full cooling system overhaul, aux belts and tensioner, and oil level sensor. I've done those over 2 years/30,000 miles and the total parts cost was barely over £1,100. All jobs were easily DIYable except the clutch/flywheel, which cost me about £300 labour. I also do an oil service every 7,500 miles (twice as frequently as recommended, due to my using LPG which acidifies the oil over time - hence I change it more frequently).

A normal oil service will cost you around £30-40ish. A "big" service (if you DIY) should cost you no more than about £80ish in parts and oil (so long as you aren't a brand name whore). Eurocarparts and carparts4less offer some pretty good prices on parts, and if you shop around you can usually find 4l bottles of Castrol Edge for under £25 too.

I've had my car 2 years and covered just under 30k. In that time I've done 4 oil services and one big service (all filters, etc.). I've also put 4 tyres on it. Tyres were about £260, service parts were about £170 max and maintenance/repairs has cost me £1,100 plus £300 labour. That's £1,830 in total for 30k, and that includes some pretty big maintenance jobs (cooling system and clutch/flywheel representing £1,000 of that). If you get a car that's had the cooling system overhauled and had a recent clutch/flywheel then you shouldn't need to worry about that for a good many years. Taking those costs out of my calculation would leave me with a running/maintenance cost of £830 over 30,000 miles, or 2.8p per mile (excluding fuel, of course). For someone doing 10k per annum that's less than £300 a year.

My advice? Shop for a manual car that's had a cooling system and clutch/flywheel overhaul, is rust-free and is free of the dreaded rear subframe/floorpan issues (do a search on here - there's loads of info on it). If you get a car that fits that bill then you should expect relatively low-cost motoring for the next few years. There WILL be jobs needing doing but as I hope I've demonstrated with my numbers above, they're not wallet-raping costs if you can DIY :)

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My MPG in real-world terms on an '03 facelift 330ci M-Sport is about 25-26mpg. That's a combination of motorway and B-road driving. On LPG I get marginally less than that but taking the price differential into account that's like getting 45-50mpg. On a calm, Driving-Miss-Daisy motorway run I can easily get that into the high 60s lol. I think I just piss everyone off on here by letting them know that :thumbup:

320s, 325s and 330s will all be around the same MPG (mid- to high-20s) because they all drag the same 6-cylinder engine block round in them. Any MPG gains coming from the smaller engines is outweighed by them having to work harder to push the same weight of engine lump along.

Personally I'd avoid the 4-cylinder petrol engines (316, 318). Too many problems and too underpowered.

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The engine size really doesn't bother me that much whether it's 3/20/25/330 as long as the price of the car is right.

Appreciate all the info mate and you've gave me pretty much all the questions I should be asking people when buying the car.

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No probs mate. As with all things, this forum is here to help. Feel free to ask people's opinions on any potential E46 car purchase and keep your eyes peeled for longstanding members on here selling their own cars - at least you'll be able to backtrack through their posts and check the TLC their car has received as well as knowing that being on here they're probably one of the more "caring" owners who's more likely to have done the proper maintenance and looked after it better than someone who just buys a smoker, rags it around until it's almost out of tax/MOT/oil and then sells it on.

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That's pretty much why I join ANY forum :thumbup: That's how I bought my DC5

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No probs mate. As with all things, this forum is here to help. Feel free to ask people's opinions on any potential E46 car purchase and keep your eyes peeled for longstanding members on here selling their own cars - at least you'll be able to backtrack through their posts and check the TLC their car has received as well as knowing that being on here they're probably one of the more "caring" owners who's more likely to have done the proper maintenance and looked after it better than someone who just buys a smoker, rags it around until it's almost out of tax/MOT/oil and then sells it on.

This is exactly what I did, before purchasing my car from JWM330CI

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In general are convertibles just one more thing to go wrong? What's water ingress like? Any common issues people have had?

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Can't really say personally re. the E46 convertible but I've seen people grumbling about "Batwings" failing/snapping on them, and being so fiddly and compact they can be a PITA to work on. Someone said that it was a 7hr job just to get to the roof motor to confirm whether it's buggered or not. Plus you have the potential issue of tears/cuts/vandalism to the fabric.

Personally if you're after a low-cost model for E46 ownership I'd stick with the coupe. Not saying that the convertible has any problems etc. but just that you open the door to additional issues and cost over and above the coupe if you plum for a convertible. If you're driving/parking around student/university areas too I'd feel that a coupe is more secure.

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My thoughts exactly Jim but just thought I'd ask for a 2nd opinion. Thanks pal.

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There's only 2 cars to go for in my opinion and it's the 330 in either diesel or petrol.

A remapped 320 diesel can be very cheap and cheerful too but petrol wise I think you would end up disappointed with anything under the 330.

Or you could get the m3 like said above :)

Edited by jammo

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You're probably right but I've got to keep telling myself I'm buying this as a bit more of a money saver so anything I buy is going to be slower and less nimble than the DC5 :(

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Totally different drive than a DC5 so no point comparing in that respect. Closing your door on a BMW and hearing a *THUNK* instead of a *clang* is just one of the differences lol (I come from a Jap car background so yep I know what I'm talking about!). The DC5 was designed to be thrown around a track right and B roads on the very edge. The E46 was designed to thunder along the autobahn and A roads. Two totally different machines, so don't mourn the DC5 qualities that you feel will be lacking in the E46 - celebrate the differences that make them both very capable in their own way.

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Yea I test drove a colleagues E46 today and just had to keep telling myself to drive the car for what it is and no point comparing to what I had.

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If it's within your budget I highly recommend a 330d and get it mapped. The torque will be far more satisfying than the DC5. I haven't driven a DC5, but I did have 3 DC2 jdm spec Type R's once upon a time! :)

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No offence to 320d owners, but I spent the whole time (despite it being mapped and pretty quick) wishing I had saved the extra for the 3 litre, later on I went on to own a facelift E60 530d Sport, it was epic, even at a standard 231bhp, whilst I hate the auto box it works really well with that 3 litre lump, but then you have to worry about when the box might go fubar.

The money these cars are worth now makes it a no brainer, either a 330i or 330d IMHO, anything in between is a waste of time unless it is something extra special and a super good price.

With the price of derv, and given the 330i in mine makes an average of 29 - 31 mpg with no effort, and the big price difference between the petrol and the derv I would lean towards the petrol personally.

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You'll get more for your money with a saloon too, although the seats don't fold if you've got stuff to lug to accommodation

Also to add on sills to the list of rust areas.

I had mine in my final year of uni and it was pretty good to me.

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