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Offline wiz043


  • Joined: Jun 2010

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Hi---I am looking at buying a second hand BMW in the near future and I am trying to learn more about them so I can select the right car. At the moment I am keen on a 330i sedan around 2001 to 2004 in the $20,000 to $30,000 range. I believe from late 2005 they were E90's and were more expensive due to the more powerful motor.
I am looking for a reasonable mileage car (60,000 to 120,000km.). Another option may be a similar model 325i.

I am now retired and mainly want the car for touring holidays with my wife. Am I on the right track re price etc. and is there anything in particular I should look out for? Any help would be appreciated.




Offline mhh

  • Chief Test Pilot

  • Joined: Feb 2006

  • Location: Adelaide
Hi---I am looking at buying a second hand BMW in the near future and I am trying to learn more about them so I can select the right car. At the moment I am keen on a 330i sedan around 2001 to 2004 in the $20,000 to $30,000 range. I believe from late 2005 they were E90's and were more expensive due to the more powerful motor.
I am looking for a reasonable mileage car (60,000 to 120,000km.). Another option may be a similar model 325i.

I am now retired and mainly want the car for touring holidays with my wife. Am I on the right track re price etc. and is there anything in particular I should look out for? Any help would be appreciated.

The 3 series is a very well sorted car. I reckon a 330i would be a great choice for a couple to tour in. Please don't spoil it all by towing a caravan with it! The extra torque of the bigger engine would make me favour the 330i over the 325i any day. I wouldn't buy anything other than a low km car as getting service work done out in the sticks won't be easy in any BMW - they are regarded as a rare exotic once you leave the big smoke.

You need to go to carsales to get an idea of values and to the specialist BMW forums for technical info.  Most of the guys here wouldn't have a clue. :p



Offline RS


  • Joined: Feb 2008

  • Drives: AMG
  • Location: Sydney
and as with all 2nd hand car, not just low K but a good service history.

In a major city usually a few BMW specialist spread around that may be able to do a pre-purchase inspection on a vehicle as well to give a  better idea on what was going on.

good luck, did the touring thing quiet a few years ago with my parents (6 months worth  :doh:) , got to see lots of the country
Convict by heritage, Guilty by Choice



Offline wiz043


  • Joined: Jun 2010

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and as with all 2nd hand car, not just low K but a good service history.

In a major city usually a few BMW specialist spread around that may be able to do a pre-purchase inspection on a vehicle as well to give a  better idea on what was going on.

good luck, did the touring thing quiet a few years ago with my parents (6 months worth  :doh:) , got to see lots of the country

Thanks to both of you. Will take your advice and look for a low mileage 330i with books. Some dealers are offering their own warranty or an aftermarket warranty which sometimes can be dodgy. They cover everything unless it is engine or transmission related so if you happen to lose a valve cap or a tail light bulb blows you are covered---ha-ha!



Offline CortinaD


  • Joined: Jan 2008

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e46 look out for cracked rear subframe, common problem. They had a class action lawsuit on this in the states that says BMW must cover the repair of all failed e46 regardless of age. No such thing here but if there is a problem, squeezing the dealer would likely see it repaired.
if its an early 330i it will have a GM tranny and as BMW have "lifetime" fills on their gearboxes if the oil hasn't been changed you will most likely be up for gearbox repairs in the near future. The later models had ZF and they didn't seem to have the same reverse failure problems. Reverse failed on my old 330i at 70k kms, the drum split, was an 8k rebuild.
Replace the Rear Trailing Arm Bushes (RTABS) as soon as you get one, they will 99% be shot.
Check the thermostat as well, mine failed at approx 40k kms, they are plastic and will leak from one of the sensors.
Also stay away from the ones who have had only dealer recommended servicing. 25k kms is too long between oil changes, it has been proven many times.
Other than window regulators failing on sedans regularly and the occasional failure of the final stage resistor for the climate control, sunroof shade clips & window seals dropping in the summer, the e46 is pretty much bullet proof.

Definately go the 330i if you can afford it, but if the difference is a high milage 330i and a low milage 325, go for the 325.




Offline wiz043


  • Joined: Jun 2010

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e46 look out for cracked rear subframe, common problem. They had a class action lawsuit on this in the states that says BMW must cover the repair of all failed e46 regardless of age. No such thing here but if there is a problem, squeezing the dealer would likely see it repaired.
if its an early 330i it will have a GM tranny and as BMW have "lifetime" fills on their gearboxes if the oil hasn't been changed you will most likely be up for gearbox repairs in the near future. The later models had ZF and they didn't seem to have the same reverse failure problems. Reverse failed on my old 330i at 70k kms, the drum split, was an 8k rebuild.
Replace the Rear Trailing Arm Bushes (RTABS) as soon as you get one, they will 99% be shot.
Check the thermostat as well, mine failed at approx 40k kms, they are plastic and will leak from one of the sensors.
Also stay away from the ones who have had only dealer recommended servicing. 25k kms is too long between oil changes, it has been proven many times.
Other than window regulators failing on sedans regularly and the occasional failure of the final stage resistor for the climate control, sunroof shade clips & window seals dropping in the summer, the e46 is pretty much bullet proof.
Definately go the 330i if you can afford it, but if the difference is a high milage 330i and a low milage 325, go for the 325.
Thanks a lot for info CortinaD. Do you know of any problems with the later model 330i E90 released in late 2005? These have a bit more grunt but are a lot dearer but I may spend the extra if it is worthwhile.



Offline CortinaD


  • Joined: Jan 2008

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Thanks a lot for info CortinaD. Do you know of any problems with the later model 330i E90 released in late 2005? These have a bit more grunt but are a lot dearer but I may spend the extra if it is worthwhile.

No problems. I haven't had a E90 so I have no idea about the problems they have.



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