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Dave330

Back into an E46 - A project thread, of sorts...

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Well, it's been less than 6 months since selling my glorious 2002 330Ci Sport auto to enjoy a bit of topless, V8 motoring. However, I have spent the last 6 months pottering around London in a CLK430 convertible, wondering why the hell I ever sold my BMW... (truthfully, I couldn't turn down the CLK at the price).

So, idly browsing Ebay, and an ad for a silver 2001 330Ci Sport auto pops up in the Wirral. 93k miles, 2 previous owners, well spec'd, crusty arches, with a BIN of £2k. The next thing to work out was where the hell the Wirral was... (turns out it's near Liverpool, and a bit grim - but that's an aside)

So, after exchanging a few emails with the seller, and working out that the arches had been sanded and primed (badly), that the waterpump had been recently replaced, and that the subframe had been inspected in 2015... I did the obvious thing and bashed Buy It Now on the train home from work.

3hrs on the train saw me deposited in the middle of what could have passed for a post-apocalyptic wasteland, but I was assured that most of the Northwest looked like this. After looking over the car and taking it for a quick once around the M53, it seemed fundamentally solid with a bit of tinkering required. The seller seemed like a nice enough chap (although a little evasive at times - perhaps I had Harry Enfield ringing in my ears...), so I haggled hard and drove away with an extra couple of hundred quid in my pocket.

The 4hr drive home brought a bit of trepidation, but by the time I hit the M6 Toll I was very much back in the groove, and remembering exactly why I loved the E46 the first time around. Getting back to London in the early evening gave me the chance to start constructing a 'To Do' list in my head, to be committed to paper on Sunday (with a raging hangover). This is likely to be a 'slow burn' project and be the subject of some sympathetic improvements, rather than substantial modifications. I've already ordered the centre console cup holders, a RamAir intake and an aux cable, and enquired with a friendly bodyshop to get the arches painted. Two cars seems excessive for someone who only does 4k miles a year - I should probably get on and sell the Mercedes...

I'll do my best to remember to update this thread with my progress. For now, here's the only photo I have with both cars.

330.jpg

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Nice looking motor, in addition I believe you can take some pills to help you overcome any sickness picked up from travelling to the North :)

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After a quote of £900(!) to sand/paint two arches, I'm currently looking for alternative specialists. I've found a few names that I'll be chasing down this weekend.

Getting on the case of ordering some bits to give it a decent service, namely:

  • Oil and filter change
  • PAS fluid flush (syringe method)
  • ATF and filter change
  • Plugs
  • Cabin filter

Other jobs that I'm hoping to tick off at the same time:

  • Lubricate driver's door lock mechanism (sticks once in a while)
  • Swap mirror switch (inoperative)
  • Swap wires around for manual shifting (stupid)
  • Fit the RamAir intake
  • Fit the cupholders
  • Fit aux cable
  • Get OBD codes read
  • Get rid of the exhaust flap

Looks like I've got a long day of faff ahead of me. The OH will be pleased...

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£900 to sand and paint is expensive, all this will do is cover up the problem and the rust will be back inside 6 months.

If you want them doing properly you will need to budget at least £500 a side though the rust will need cutting out and replacing with fresh metal.

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After dropping the car off to a classic restorer in Brixton (recommended by my local garage in Dulwich) this morning, some good news. Looks like it's probably doable for around half of the original quote, and it doesn't need any new metal. There's lovely.

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16 hours ago, Dave330 said:

After dropping the car off to a classic restorer in Brixton (recommended by my local garage in Dulwich) this morning, some good news. Looks like it's probably doable for around half of the original quote, and it doesn't need any new metal. There's lovely.

the rust will return,thats if it dont get cut out,i know theer is paint on anti rust stuff available,but rust is the devils sperm and will return,me id be getting it cut out,unless selling in under a year.

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On 7/6/2016 at 15:23, Dave330 said:
  • Oil and filter change
  • PAS fluid flush (syringe method)
  • ATF and filter change
  • Plugs
  • Cabin filter

Other jobs that I'm hoping to tick off at the same time:

  • Lubricate driver's door lock mechanism (sticks once in a while)
  • Swap mirror switch (inoperative)
  • Swap wires around for manual shifting (stupid)
  • Fit the RamAir intake
  • Fit the cupholders
  • Fit aux cable
  • Get OBD codes read
  • Get rid of the exhaust flap
  • Sort rear light earth (incorrect dash warning showing)

Bit of an update, after a successful Saturday morning of tinkering. None of the jobs was too onerous, and knowing my way around the e46 certainly helped. One small job added.

Hoping to get the oil, plugs and cabin filter changed this weekend (and have a look at the driver's door lock), ahead of a drive to West Wales. Once that's done it's a case of sorting the paintwork blemishes and the ATF change, and we're there with a usable car that is taking me to the South of France and back in September!

Edited by Dave330

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Small update. The 330 was pressed into long-distance duties on a family visit last week, covering more than 800 miles in 8 days. The journey was a mix of motorway, London stop-start and some rural lanes - the car performed well (apart from one copybook blot - see below), averaging a calculated 31.3mpg!

However, a fly in the ointment was the demise of reverse gear in the rural wilds of West Wales - a relatively common, and seemingly random, ZF autobox fault which I hadn't encountered during my research. Thankfully it doesn't appear to be too debilitating (I've still managed 300-odd miles since), and a replacement box is currently with my tame mechanic for a refurb. Such is life.

Work, life and my track/hillclimb project (and selling my CLK) have managed to absorb a good chunk of my free time of late, meaning that I haven't made as much progress as I might have liked with the 330. However, a 2,000-mile trip to/around the Pyrenees in September has put a bit focus on the remaining mechanical jobs, now including a regas to bring the aircon back to freezing rather than just 'cold'. The list now looks like:

On 7/6/2016 at 15:23, Dave330 said:

Major jobs:

  • Oil and filter change
  • PAS fluid flush (syringe method)
  • ATF and filter change
  • Plugs
  • Cabin filter
  • Aircon regas (Had a great experience in the past with wechillanycar.com, and will be using again)
  • Rear arch painting

Other jobs:

  • Lubricate driver's door lock mechanism (sticks once in a while) is now locking fine, but not unlocking - how odd
  • Swap mirror switch (inoperative) might well just live with this, given that I haven't had need to use it yet
  • Swap wires around for manual shifting (stupid)
  • Fit the RamAir intake
  • Fit the cupholders
  • Fit aux cable
  • Get OBD codes read
  • Get rid of the exhaust flap
  • Sort rear light earth (incorrect dash warning showing) Change rear numberplate bulbs
  • Give the poor thing a bloody good clean (or rather, get my local Albanians on the case)

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It's been a busy month, both for me and the 330.

In other news, I decided to sell my CLK430 as I wasn't using it much - a lovely old chap drove from Devon to take it away on the back of a flatbed, to add to his "collection"! You couldn't make it up... The 206 is being prepped for hillclimbing/sprinting next year, and ran well on its maiden/shakedown outing.

The recon gearbox was fitted by my tamed mechanic, and all-round good bloke (he's in North London, if anyone is interested in his details). I collected last night, and it appears to be running seamlessly - fantastic news, as I have a 1,400-mile drive ahead of me with two bikes strapped to the back (Saris Bones is an amazing piece of kit). I also got the aircon regassed (to help with said drive), and swapped the cabin filter at the same time (easiest job ever) to help with its breathing.

However, no sooner than I tick a few small jobs off, another seems to raise its head - the front-right ABS sensor has failed, leaving me with the three orange lights of doom! Without time to get this done before I go off on my Euro-jolly, it can go on the list for when I get back. Thankfully parts are dirt cheap, and the guides make it look like an easy job. Even more thankfully, unlike my previous cars, this failure doesn't preclude the Cruise Control from working.

Here's hoping that my efforts to date will ensure that my roadtrip is pain-free - although I'm taking plenty of fluids and a decent toolkit, just in case! The list of jobs stands current stands at:

Major jobs:

  • Oil and filter change
  • PAS fluid flush (syringe method)
  • Plugs
  • Cabin filter
  • Aircon regas (Had a great experience in the past with wechillanycar.com, and will be using again)
  • Rear arch painting
  • Gearbox replacement
  • Front-right ABS sensor

Other jobs:

  • Lubricate driver's door lock mechanism (sticks once in a while) is now locking fine, but not unlocking - how odd
  • Swap mirror switch (inoperative) might well just live with this, given that I haven't had need to use it yet
  • Swap wires around for manual shifting (stupid)
  • Fit the RamAir intake
  • Fit the cupholders
  • Fit aux cable
  • Get OBD codes read
  • Get rid of the exhaust flap
  • Sort rear light earth (incorrect dash warning showing) Change rear numberplate bulbs Sort numberplate bulb earth.
  • Give the poor thing a bloody good clean (or rather, get my local Albanians on the case)

Guess that only leaves me to share a small, but gratuitous photo of it on a recent camping trip to West Wales.

 

Pano - West Wales.jpg

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Well, after covering precisely 1,892 miles in a week, the 330ci proved its worth by putting in a faultless performance to the scorching South of France and back, including a number of jaunts into and around the Pyrenees. Even with outside temperatures in the low/mid 30s, she slogged up and down the autoroutes (around 1,400 of those miles) at a cruise-controlled 85-90mph. Initial fag-packet maths suggest an economy return of around 27mpg for the entire trip, which is staggering considering it was laden with two bikes and all of the OH's 'travel necessities' (and a metric s**t-tonne of wine on return - did I mention we were in vineyard country?).

I think it's perhaps time to give it a bit of TLC, and to finally tick off the remaining few bits on my list (before potentially moving it on in a few months). One thing that did rear its head on the drive through the Pyrenees (in 30-something degree heat) was that the fan occasionally appears quite noisy, with a 'whirring'/'whooshing' noise rising and falling with the revs. The temperature was absolutely rock solid (although I know this can be deceptive), and only on a few super-steep, hairpin-laden climbs did the fan actually kick in, which is reassuring. The fan blades are in good nick and the water pump was replaced last year, so amateur diagnosis would suggest some sort of failed bearing. Or am I over-simplifying?

Thought I'd share a gratuitous photos of her waiting for the return ferry yesterday afternoon.

 

e46 at Calais.jpg

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A long-overdue update, I suppose. It's rapidly approaching a year of ownership, and this is the longest I've kept a car in some considerable time. The 330 has been plodding along dutifully; not really putting up much protest at infrequent use and long drives. Having ticked over 100k miles recently I found myself in the usual 'stick or twist' dilemma, but I think this one is going to be with me for a while.

With old age comes various grumbles, as expected. An engine light (not the "CEL") popping up on the dash was traced back to a cracked intake trunk, leading to slightly lumpy running when cold. My awesome mechanic managed to track a genuine BMW item down for only ~£20, which seems like a bargain. While he had the bonnet open, he noticed a small weep from the rear of the rocker gasket - so it was replaced along with the bolt gaskets (pattern parts here - BMW wanted a king's ransom!). Another oil/filter change and new (Brembo) front brakes in anticipation of a Highlands roadtrip (more about that shortly) were also in order, along with the ever annoying front ABS sensor to get rid of the 3x orange lights of doom.

My Le Mans group have talked for a long time about going a Top Gear style driving trip around Scotland, and we decided that 2017 was going to be our year. To some it might not seem like much of a commitment, but living in London and being generally busy (all tend to work long hours etc.) meant that timing was going to be tricky. We settled on a long weekend in April, diligently planned out a route, then set about praying to the collective gods of reliability and weather.

All I can say is "Wow!". To go into detail would probably bore you, and not really do the overall trip justice. Two long days of driving (London-Edinburgh and Glasgow-London) were punctuated by two amazing days and almost 400 miles on some of the finest roads I've ever driven. The 330 acquitted itself very well in esteemed company (TVR, MX5, SL500), and even managed to return decent fuel economy while being pushed pretty hard. Liberating the exhaust of its flap made the car sound a bit more rorty and rumbly in the 2-3k region, but I'm not convinced that it had ever been opening correctly given the amount of crud that was built up behind it. Can't say I've noticed any change in drivability.

I'm having a hard time uploading an image (115kb seems to be over the 1024kb maximum?), so I'll just add it later.

The trip highlighted the fact that the PAS pump was approaching the end of its useful life, so that's been added to the list below. Other than that, the MOT is due next month, so we'll wait and see if anything comes up on that before doing any more significant work

Major jobs:

  • Oil and filter change
  • PAS fluid flush (syringe method)
  • Plugs
  • Cabin filter
  • Aircon regas (Had a great experience in the past with wechillanycar.com, and will be using again)
  • Rear arch painting
  • Gearbox replacement
  • Front-right ABS sensor
  • PAS pump replacement

Other jobs:

  • Lubricate driver's door lock mechanism (sticks once in a while) is now locking fine, but not unlocking - how odd
  • Swap mirror switch (inoperative) might well just live with this, given that I haven't had need to use it yet
  • Swap wires around for manual shifting (stupid)
  • Fit the RamAir intake
  • Fit the cupholders
  • Fit aux cable
  • Get OBD codes read
  • Get rid of the exhaust flap
  • Sort rear light earth (incorrect dash warning showing) Change rear numberplate bulbs Sort numberplate bulb earth.
  • Give the poor thing a bloody good clean (or rather, get my local Albanians on the case)
  • Replace passenger door HK midbass

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No idea if anyone is reading this, but here goes nothing anyway...

Having not really covered many miles since the last update, due to a lot of travel and general busyness, the car hasn't had many opportunities to blot its copybook. Having said that, it's been faultless at being picked up and used after weeks standing idle, and is slowly worming its way into my affections. Lack of use also means a lack of photos - I'm sure you can use your imagination. As my Le Mans group starts to plan next year's trip (we took a year off due to everyone's lives being too hectic), I'm looking forward to doing a bit of tinkering on the 330 to make it much better by the time next June rolls around.

MOT and Inspection time is upon us, and there's good and bad news.

  • The good news: The only job required for it to pass is a set of rear pads. Advisory on the (crappy) front tyres is going to push that up the list.
  • The bad news: The rocker cover gasket replacement hasn't cured the small oil weep, and it appears that the cover itself has warped. Replacements are thin on the ground, and BMW want £350... Time to get hunting around Ebay, it seems!

That leaves us at...

Major jobs:

  • Oil and filter change
  • PAS fluid flush (syringe method)
  • Cabin filter
  • Aircon regas (Had a great experience in the past with wechillanycar.com, and will be using again)
  • Gearbox replacement
  • Front discs and pads
  • Front-ABS sensor
  • Rocker cover replacement
  • Rear pads
  • PAS pump replacement
  • Plugs
  • Rear arch painting
  • Aircon leak diagnosis (and another regas)

Smaller jobs:

  • Swap wires around for manual shifting (stupid)
  • Fit the RamAir intake
  • Fit the cupholders
  • Fit aux cable
  • Get OBD codes read
  • Get rid of the exhaust flap
  • Sort rear light earth (incorrect dash warning showing) Change rear numberplate bulbs
  • Give the poor thing a bloody good clean (or rather, get my local Albanians on the case)
  • Replace passenger door HK midbass
  • Lubricate driver's door lock mechanism (is now locking fine, but not unlocking - how odd)
  • Swap mirror switch (might well just live with this, given that I haven't had need to use it yet)
  • Sort numberplate bulb earth
  • Front tyres (Sport Contact 5 to match the rears)
  •  
Edited by Dave330

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Rocker cover replaced, new rear pads and two rear tyres (Kumho KU31s were a bargain on tyreleader) and the car has an MOT with zero advisories. Insurance is due next month, and I plan to get the hell out of Adrian Flux after paying a 20% premium for rubbish service.

The scores on the doors...

Major jobs:

  • Oil and filter change
  • PAS fluid flush (syringe method)
  • Cabin filter
  • Aircon regas (Had a great experience in the past with wechillanycar.com, and will be using again)
  • Gearbox replacement
  • Front discs and pads
  • Front-ABS sensor
  • Rear pads
  • Rocker cover replacement
  • PAS pump replacement
  • Plugs
  • Rear arch painting
  • Aircon leak diagnosis (and another regas)

Smaller jobs:

  • Swap wires around for manual shifting (stupid)
  • Fit the RamAir intake
  • Fit the cupholders
  • Fit aux cable
  • Get OBD codes read
  • Get rid of the exhaust flap
  • Sort rear light earth (incorrect dash warning showing) Change rear numberplate bulbs
  • Give the poor thing a bloody good clean (or rather, get my local Albanians on the case)
  • Rear tyres
  • Sort numberplate earth
  • Replace passenger door HK midbass
  • Lubricate driver's door lock mechanism (is now locking fine, but not unlocking - how odd)
  • Swap mirror switch (might well just live with this, given that I haven't had need to use it yet)
  • Front tyres
  • Get rid of "M" badge sticky gunk
 
Edited by Dave330

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good read, hows the rust issue going, i have the rocker gasket to do , hoping the oil leaks and smell are just from that,, wishfull i know but might be lucky

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No progress on the rust, as I've just been too busy and the car seems to be running well (recent flat battery aside). It doesn't appear to have worsened cosmetically, and the MOT didn't mention anything about it having progressed. Truthfully, I may never get around to it - it's a £2500 car, and spending more than £500 on something cosmetic is not really in the spirit of running cheap, older cars.

If there were a cheap, easy fix that would last 2-3yrs, then I'd definitely be interested. But I'm not spending ~40% of the car's value to sort something you can't notice from >10m.

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Well, I have been summarily guff at updating this, but that's largely because the 330 has been dutifully reliable for the most part. We're now up to 105k, meaning it has covered 12k in a shade under two years - as expected.

It has attracted a couple more minor parking dings (perks of London on-street living), but mechanically has been 100% reliable, aside from a battery which required a charge after not moving for almost a month. Only jobs of late have been to replace the whining PAS pump with a recon unit, and to fit a pair of Toyo T1Rs (bargain at £60 each) to the front.

A couple of minor niggles have raised their head recently to add to the backlog. Temperature on a run, even on hot days, seems to sit towards the lower third of the gauge - internet diagnosis suggests that it's a thermostat, and given what a pig it appears to be on automatics it's going to the garage. I'm also going to get the garage to trace and fix the aircon leak once and for all while they have it, as Le Mans is impending and I don't want to spend an 8hr drive stuck to my seat! I'll probably get them to flush the coolant system and change the oil/filter while it's there, as I'm absolutely slammed with work of late and the latter is due in 2,000 miles.

The most hilarious 'niggle' of late occurred quite at random. The rear electric window switches have seemed to take on a mind of their own - while they still open/close the windows, they also trigger the hazards, door locks and wipers! :lol: Some investigation required...

Some twot has clipped my passenger mirror, and RealOEM suggests that I can't just replace the broken plastic 'collar', so I'll be fitting a replacement from a breaker. On the plus side, having the door apart means that I can finally get at and replace the farty HK mid at the same time (with a used part - not a £150 new speaker!).

That brings us to (impending work in bold)...

Major jobs:

  • Oil and filter change
  • PAS fluid flush (syringe method)
  • Cabin filter
  • Aircon regas (Had a great experience in the past with wechillanycar.com, and will be using again)
  • Gearbox replacement
  • Front discs and pads
  • Front-ABS sensor
  • Rear pads
  • Rocker cover replacement
  • PAS pump replacement
  • Aircon leak diagnosis (and another regas)
  • Oil and filter change
  • Thermostat change and coolant flush
  • Plugs
  • Rear arch painting

Smaller jobs:

  • Swap wires around for manual shifting (stupid)
  • Fit the RamAir intake
  • Fit the cupholders
  • Fit aux cable
  • Get OBD codes read
  • Get rid of the exhaust flap
  • Sort rear light earth (incorrect dash warning showing) Change rear numberplate bulbs
  • Give the poor thing a bloody good clean (or rather, get my local Albanians on the case)
  • Rear tyres
  • Sort numberplate earth
  • Front tyres
  • Replace passenger door HK mid
  • Replace passenger mirror
  • Get rid of "M" badge sticky gunk
  • Lubricate driver's door lock mechanism (doesn't lock or unlock on the remote)
  • Swap mirror switch (might well just live with this, given that I haven't had need to use it yet)
 

IMG_20180316_165946.jpg

Edited by Dave330

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Well, Le Mans is less than a week away, and it wouldn't be the same if I wasn't having some sort of last-minute work done on the car...

My heart sank when I was driving through London a couple of weeks ago and the smell of burning oil returned. I ignored for a few minutes, but after sitting in traffic I spotted a bit of smoke out of the corner of my eye - brilliant! It looks like the rocker cover leak has returned. So, back it went to the original garage for the third repair, barely a week before it was due to make the 900-mile round trip. It transpires that the bolt gaskets which were reused on the last repair had been crushed, meaning that the oil was again running down the back of the block onto the exhaust.

The car gave me a bit of a scare when I collected it. I drove 3-4 miles at high revs to get some heat into the car, and YET AGAIN pulled to a stop with smoke coming from under the car. I was on the cusp of losing my sh*t with my mechanic, who has had 3 attempts to fix, when I realised that the source was a small pool of oil which hadn't been spotted on top of the middle exhaust heatshield. Thank f*ck for that. The same mechanic also replaced the thermostat, meaning that the temp gauge now stays nice and vertical at a cruise rather than dropping towards the left-hand mark as it was.

While the car was 'resting' (before it went to the garage), I had a few DIY successes. Replacing the wingmirror with a matching silver part from an eBay breaker was a 25min job, and I also swapped over the H&K mid in the same door while I had it apart. I also FINALLY removed the 'tar' left over from the horrible "M" bootlid sticker - judicious use of white spirit, a scraper and a nailbrush eventually shifted it.

I also had a bash at lubricating the driver's side door lock with some silicon spray, resulting in the pin responding to the fob again. However, I noticed that I now cannot unlock the driver's door from the interior handle - which, when combined with the electrical oddness in my last post, probably points towards the GM5 unit dying. Balls. Let's add that to the list.

With an oil change to come this afternoon (7L of Wilko's finest 5w30 fully-synth and a genuine filter await), this is where the car stands.

(Gratuitous recovery photo included)

Major jobs:

  • Oil and filter change
  • PAS fluid flush (syringe method)
  • Cabin filter
  • Aircon regas (Had a great experience in the past with wechillanycar.com, and will be using again)
  • Gearbox replacement
  • Front discs and pads
  • Front-ABS sensor
  • Rear pads
  • Rocker cover replacement
  • PAS pump replacement
  • Oil and filter change
  • Thermostat change and coolant flush
  • Aircon leak diagnosis (and another regas)
  • Plugs
  • Replace/repair GM5 unit
  • Rear arch painting

Smaller jobs:

  • Swap wires around for manual shifting (stupid)
  • Fit the RamAir intake
  • Fit the cupholders
  • Fit aux cable
  • Get OBD codes read
  • Get rid of the exhaust flap
  • Sort rear light earth (incorrect dash warning showing) Change rear numberplate bulbs
  • Give the poor thing a bloody good clean (or rather, get my local Albanians on the case)
  • Rear tyres
  • Sort numberplate earth
  • Front tyres
  • Replace passenger door HK mid
  • Replace passenger mirror
  • Get rid of "M" badge sticky gunk
  • Lubricate driver's door lock mechanism (doesn't lock or unlock on the remote)
  • Swap mirror switch (might well just live with this, given that I haven't had need to use it yet)
 

086bf608-fbba-44aa-b0b4-f847d9527d3e.jpeg

Edited by Dave330

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Great thread - reading with interest. 

My car has done just about 80k in 16 years and I'm already working on the idea of planned preventative maintenance or having a fund tucked away to pait for inevitable failures. I do about 5,000 miles a year maybe 6,0000 at a push. 

Your point about not throwing £500 quid at a £2,500 car is interesting though.  Over the past 20 years I now realise I've literally wasted a fortune on either Company Car Tax, Financing or Leasing a new car.  That amounts to spending hundreds of pounds every month, every month, on something that I might own/might not, and even if I do decreases in value.

More and more of these cars are being scrapped - M3s are quite often worth more in parts than they are as a whole, and eBay regularly shows new examples of 330s getting torn apart, so the herd is definitely getting thinned.  My brother is in the trade and reckons that values will inevitably climb back up for good examples.

Personally I'm not that bothered about values or re-sale as I don't honestly see myself selling my version - the bigger risk is that at some point in the future petrol cars like these are just taxed out of existence to save the planet [while China and India continue to do what they like...]

Spending money on an old car might seem daft, but I keep thinking that spending the same money on a new car, or operating a new car, is equally if not more daft, if you don't really need a car for work etc.

If I do the sums - which I do - I reckon for about £10-11k, I'll have a mint example of the pre-facelift 330 coupe with every optional extra, auto, supercharged, with LSD, better brakes and , suspension.  Nothing will be irreversible and it could be returned to 'as it left the factory' at some distant point - and the major investments (LSD and SC) sold if ever required.

Keep your updates coming!

 

 

 

Edited by CoupEdin

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Well, to cut a long story short, I took the last-minute decision not to take the E46 to Le Mans. After picking it up from my mechanic, I had a nagging feeling that the burning oil smell wasn't cured, so didn't want to risk it on a 5hr motorway run at 80mph+. The upside was that I got to ride shotgun in my friend's E46 M3 complete with fruity exhaust, which made the many tunnels an absolute pleasure.

After taking the car to another garage (my 'trusted' mechanic was becoming anything but!) after Le Mans, it transpired that the classic engine/gearbox seal was the source of a very small oil weep. To try and resolve this, they have put some kind of additive into the oil which helps the seals to swell and fill the gaps. After a 1hr drive in 28deg yesterday afternoon, it appears that there is some improvement - although there is definitely still oil on the exhaust, as evidenced by the slight smell (but no smoke) when stationary in traffic. The mechanics also did the oil/filter change and were very complimentary about the general condition of the car for its age, which is always reassuring to hear.

The same garage also had a crack at diagnosing the aircon issue. Again a vacuum leak test was done, and again the system showed no leaks. Again, the system was filled with gas, and again it appeared to hold pressure. However, a couple of days later the lovely ice-cold air had disappeared, and the tepid blowers had returned. Balls. I'm on the verge of giving up, simply because the likely expense of a new condenser or rad would be too great a % of the car's overall value to justify it.

The driver's side door lock continues to respond around 50% of the time to commands from the keyfob, which is a nuisance - but it's potentially a nuisance I can live with from the PoV of the faff related to the GM5 repair.

It's entirely possible that this might be the last update I give on this car, as there's a good chance I'm going to be selling it to make way for a car change in the household. Mrs330 wants to start driving out of London to her office more regularly, and I'm not convinced that sinking money into the 330 over a long period of time is going to give us the car that we want/need. In all likelihood, we'll probably sell the 330 and my 206 track car - then we'll pick up a new hybrid on lease (we do the majority of our miles in greater London) and I'll grab a project MX5 to use as a dedicated track toy. It will be a shame to see it go, but I've had a great couple of years of relatively trouble-free motoring.

The MOT is up next month, so I'll probably push it through a test a month early to give 13mths MOT for the buyer. Last year's test was free of advisories, except to note that the plastic undertray had taken a bit of a bashing, so I'd expect more of the same. No ideas on price, but if anyone is reading this and wants to throw me out an offer please feel free.

The current (and probably final) To-Do list looks a bit like this...

Major jobs:

  • Oil and filter change
  • PAS fluid flush (syringe method)
  • Cabin filter
  • Aircon regas (Had a great experience in the past with wechillanycar.com, and will be using again)
  • Gearbox replacement
  • Front discs and pads
  • Front-ABS sensor
  • Rear pads
  • Rocker cover replacement
  • PAS pump replacement
  • Oil and filter change
  • Thermostat change and coolant flush
  • Aircon leak diagnosis (and another regas)
  • Plugs
  • Replace/repair GM5 unit
  • Rear arch painting

Smaller jobs:

  • Swap wires around for manual shifting (stupid)
  • Fit the RamAir intake
  • Fit the cupholders
  • Fit aux cable
  • Get OBD codes read
  • Get rid of the exhaust flap
  • Sort rear light earth (incorrect dash warning showing) Change rear numberplate bulbs
  • Give the poor thing a bloody good clean (or rather, get my local Albanians on the case)
  • Rear tyres
  • Sort numberplate earth
  • Front tyres
  • Replace passenger door HK mid
  • Replace passenger mirror
  • Get rid of "M" badge sticky gunk
  • Lubricate driver's door lock mechanism (doesn't lock or unlock on the remote)
  • Swap mirror switch (might well just live with this, given that I haven't had need to use it yet)

 

Here's a photo of the old girl looking resplendent on the in-laws' driveway.

IMG_20180521_123422.jpg

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On 10/07/2018 at 03:16, CoupEdin said:

Your point about not throwing £500 quid at a £2,500 car is interesting though.  Over the past 20 years I now realise I've literally wasted a fortune on either Company Car Tax, Financing or Leasing a new car.  That amounts to spending hundreds of pounds every month, every month, on something that I might own/might not, and even if I do decreases in value.

More and more of these cars are being scrapped - M3s are quite often worth more in parts than they are as a whole, and eBay regularly shows new examples of 330s getting torn apart, so the herd is definitely getting thinned.  My brother is in the trade and reckons that values will inevitably climb back up for good examples.

 

It's an interesting discussion, and one I've been part of a few times here. I'm not one for getting excessively emotionally attached to cars (yet!), so I'm more of a pragmatist when it comes to 'investing' in maintenance. I guess my view is that I don't really believe that the non-M E46 is ever going to be a hugely collectable/desirable car, for a number of reasons.

  1. It wasn't a motorsport icon
  2. It wasn't top of the range
  3. It wasn't revered by the press
  4. It isn't a particularly rare car

In saying that, I do believe that there will always be a niche market for the very late, highly-spec'd, Individual 330Ci Sports. But other than that, I suspect the rest of the E46 range will struggle to climb out of the doldrums as the E9x cars become more affordable. To be frank, that suits me just fine - it's a car I like and may own in the future, and the value-for-money continues to be excellent.

Edited by Dave330

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Well, the old girl passed her MOT with flying colours today, with just an advisory for surface rust on the rear springs. Classic MOT man move - couldn't just give it a clean bill! 13 months ticket; thank you very much.

It also seems that the oil additive has had some effect on the seal. Sitting in heavy London traffic this afternoon with the outside temperature approaching 30, I was dying for working aircon. But, while there was still a vague whiff of oil, there was nothing like the histrionics which left me stranded in Streatham.

I popped to see a friend after moving our le mans gear into a vacant garage, and took the opportunity to grab a photo of the car in some slightly more poncy surroundings...

IMG_20180804_151036.jpg

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Well, as with all good things, this story comes to an end. What was supposed to be a stop-gap car has lasted over two-and-a-half years. However, the arrival of a 225xe hybrid, combined with my desire to make a proper job of trackdays in 2019, means that the 330 is actually for sale this time.

I've priced it pretty keenly to avoid the usual cr*p that comes from selling a car online. Let's cross everything that it shifts promptly...

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