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Thread: E46 BMW 330 ZHP Buyers Corner -- Is it a good deal?

  1. #1151
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    VA/DC
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    12,727
    2003 BMW 330 ZHPs For Sale
    2004 BMW 330 ZHPs For Sale
    2005 BMW 330 ZHPs For Sale
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    ^hi and welcome. Car looks pretty good and I don't think the price is too out of line. I'd definitely pay for a pre-purchase inspection (PPI) for a reputable independent shop. Look on www.bimmershops.com
    As for the clutch, I have 206k on mine.


    ---
    "ZHP is a garbage option anyway- just some cosmetic upgrades with a different cam and diff to claw back some of the performance lost fitting those hideous and heavy wheels. Any 330 with a 3.46 diff will smoke a ZHP every time. The whole Mafia thing reeks of childish behavior." - anonymous E46 fanatic

  2. #1152
    Car looks good pretty good. PPI is a must and the price is not all that high. If he doesn't want to "budge from $9K" i take you can get it for around that amount which would be a good get.

  3. #1153
    Join Date
    Nov 2014
    Location
    Portland, OR
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    5,972
    Quote Originally Posted by mykilleaf View Post
    Hi All,

    I'm new here, located out in the Bay Area. I'm looking at becoming a first time ZHP owner and I just went to go see a car today. I was hoping you all could take a look and give me your thoughts. Here's the link: https://sfbay.craigslist.org/sby/cto/5961919563.html

    Some details:
    It has had 2 owners including the seller. Guy before him took it to Italy and back or something like that. It's still on the original clutch, seller claims he's selling it because it's just been sitting in his garage and he doesn't use it anymore. He had no maintenance records himself but he has the carfax which has all the service records from the dealership (screen shots of the carfax here: http://imgur.com/a/yWEst)

    It doesn't seem to have any packages like cold weather or anything. He put a new nav system in, a backup cam, and a $3,000 speaker system. The tires all need to be replaced and the steering wheel has some wear and tear, otherwise the interior is nice and the exterior is pretty spotless as well--although I'm not particularly savvy on what to look for. The seller is very nice and open to putting it through a PPI.

    Any insight you guys can provide on what to look for or how much you think is a fair price would be very helpful. $10.5k seems high to me but I'm not sure. I'm a little skeptical about the clutch and it doesn't seem like he's done much preventative maintenance. I've been reading stuff starts going at 100,000 miles. He doesn't want to budge lower than $9k.

    Thanks!
    Hey there,

    So first, welcome!

    Second, let's look at the car. The car is Alpine White (relatively rare color - only 92 made in the US with a manual transmission), 92k miles (relatively low), and a manual transmission (preferable for some). The asking price of $10.5k is pretty much on the money for the market only considering miles according to our aggregated data on purchase prices (see below):

    https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets...at=interactive

    As for maintenance, having it serviced at BMW of Fulton does help because you may be able to get records from them. You might not, I'm not sure what their policy is. At any rate, it seems it was serviced most of its life there which means that service will be relatively thin because BMW's maintenance schedule for the E46 itself is/was relatively meager. So the things that will probably be due at the mileage will be:
    • Cooling system refresh - This is a major one, don't leave it to chance. This is not in BMW's maintenance schedule but is a known weak point in the M54 engine. Replace the water pump, upper and lower radiator hoses, thermostat, expansion tank, radiator (optional), and maybe the sensors while you're in there.
    • Spark plugs - Cheap insurance that you have nice plugs
    • Belts - replace every 30k miles or so. Two of them (I'll include a parts list below)
    • Pulleys - I forget the replacement figure on these
    • Air filters - intake and cabin air filters. Cheap, replace ever 10k miles or some such.
    • Fuel filter - replace every 50k miles
    • Shocks - the stock shocks by Sachs only last about 50k miles. Not an immediate thing, but will definitely improve the ride if you replace them. I have a decent thread on a relatively OEM route that uses mostly stock components and a few improved components here and there such as front control arm bushings from a BMW Z4M and Koni shocks that will last much longer (link: http://www.zhpmafia.com/forums/showt...miles-10-years)
    • Other suspension components - the FCABs and RTABs are known to go by this car's mileage, so see aforementioned thread for suggetions
    • Fluids - replace them all. It's cheap insurance to know your car is running good fluids. Do the transmission, differential, oil, power steering, and brake fluid
    • Brakes - Timing for this really varies on driving habits. But stock replacements are fine, or maybe go for a different street pad that produces less dust since BMW stock pads are notorious for dust production.
    • Battery - They can last a while, but as soon as the voltage drops, our cars start doing funny things.
    • Steering wheel - It's 10+ year old alcantara. It's probably gross and worn by now if it wasn't taken care of. Many members have it rewrapped in alcantara by Coby Wheel for $200 or so. I went and got mine rewrapped in a mix of leather/perforated leather for $350.

    That said, there are some other things to look for, and others can chime in on things I missed. If you have the car taken in for a pre-purchase inspection (PPI) (I highly recommend you do), try and take the car to a BMW-specialty shop that is very familiar with the E46 and knows what to look for. If you're not familiar with any, take a look at https://www.bimmershops.com/ to start your search for a local place.:
    • It's rare in late model E46s like the ZHP, but the rear subframe mounts are known to crack.
    • VANOS rattle - others can chime in on this, I haven't had to tackle this issue yet
    • DISA valve failure - same as VANOS
    • Vacuum leaks - common in the upper or lower intake boots at this age/mileage
    • Electrical issues - can be related to any number of things but check EVERY switch multiple times to make sure they work, engine on and off. Many electrical gremlins can be fixed by replacing an old battery
    • Parking brake - often becomes loose. Relatively easy to fix, but be aware that our handbrakes just aren't that good in general
    • Window regulator failure - if you hear crackling or the windows don't go down/up at the same right on each side, it indicates a failing window regulator. Tons of guides on how to do it yourself, etc
    • Sunroof issues - often the sunshade will hop the rail. Pretty easy/cheap to fix. Just know the sunroofs in these cars are a known annoyance
    • oil leaks - can come from a number of places but the oil filter housing gasket as well as a failing head gasket are common spots.
    • power steering fluid leaks - another common leak point

    As for the specific car in general, don't worry about the clutch unless you can feel it slipping. Members here have ZHPs that are over 200k miles and still using the original clutch. I'm not big on aftermarket sound systems in our cars because it requires a different head unit/amp, but if it works for you, then there's no issue. I personally like the car. If the PPI checks out and the seller is willing to go down to $9k, you're in for a decent car (seriously). Alpine white is one of my favorite colors on these cars and while some lament the beige interior, I quite like it. Move on it before someone else does!

    As an aside, will you do your own maintenance or have a shop do it?
    Last edited by BMWCurves; 01-21-2017 at 09:24 PM.

  4. #1154
    Wow, thanks for taking the time to write such a detailed review! I'll definitely get a PPI done and look into those things.

    I'm graduating in May and I need a car to commute to work starting in July. I'm a little concerned about reliability of buying a 13 year old car, though these seem to be pretty reliable if you take care of them.

    Ideally, I'm trying to get into doing maintenance myself both to cut costs and I find the manual labor rewarding/relaxing. I'm a bit concerned I won't have the technical knowledge or tools to do some of the stuff you mentioned. Also might be difficult given I will probably be renting a shack in San Jose without much space/tolerance for working on your car in the parking lot.

  5. #1155
    Join Date
    Nov 2014
    Location
    Portland, OR
    Posts
    5,972
    Graduating from...college? Congrats!

    Plenty of people commute with ZHPs, but they are considered to be more expensive to maintain than say a Toyota or Honda. Reliability-wise, you've pretty much hit the nail on the head. If you stay on top of maintenance, they'll take care of you. There are some odds and ends that can pop up, but nothing should be crippling except for the cooling system failing on you.

    Doing your own maintenance is really a function of three things: having the time, space, and tools. Because the E46 was such a good selling car with a strong enthusiast following, there is a DIY guide online for pretty much any maintenance item (not to mention maintenance manuals like Bentley). Before I purchased my ZHP the most I had ever done on a car was rotate tires, an oil change, and changed spark plugs. Now I've done most of the maintenance on my car. I'm not particularly mechanically savvy, but having all of the aforementioned things does make it doable, and you learn a skill in the process. If I can manage it skill-wise, you and pretty much anyone else can. Not having the tools or space does make it tougher, but the initial cost of buying the tools will be about the cost of labor for any maintenance item but now you have the tool and the new skill/knowledge.

    Let us know how the car goes.

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