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Thread: What to look out for when buying a BMW.

  1. #1
    Join Date
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    What to look out for when buying a BMW.

    2003 BMW 330 ZHPs For Sale
    2004 BMW 330 ZHPs For Sale
    2005 BMW 330 ZHPs For Sale
    2006 BMW 330 ZHPs For Sale
    Made this list somewhere else.....helping someone else out.....and thought I would throw it up over here.

    Just a good general list....for someone buying a car.

    The below was in response to...."What would a car be like that was heralded as being maintained properly?"

    BOLD = Common Problems.

    The following would be completed with records:

    1. Cooling system overhaul. > Expansion tank/hose/WP/T-Stat failure are all common failures. Kits can be procured for ~$300-$500.

    Typically, when one components fails, the rest will be soon on their way out.....so my advice is to replace them all.

    2. VANOS seals and anti rattle kit.

    Can be procured from www.beisansystems.com. ~$180 for all the parts. The individual seal cost is $60, and anit-rattle kit is $60. The rest of the parts needed to make repairs will run you around $60

    3. Pulleys(3) with belts. Pullies can fail in as little as 100k miles.

    This includes WP Tensioner (Can either be hydraulic or mechanical), Idler pulley, and AC tensioner

    4. Pads/rotors/fluid flush.

    5. Spark plugs. Should use NGK BKR6EQUP. ~$60

    6. Battery. > Good for 5-7 years typically. Any older, and you're playing with fire. ~$150

    Recommend OEM or 49DL. If you have a vert....you may need a different one.

    7. Oil changes regular. > Every 7500 miles with LL-01 spec'd oil. Oil list => http://www.bmwusa.com/Standard/Conte...ngineOils.aspx

    8. Diff and tranny fluid done. Do not use RP in your Tranny...imho. Redline in both or Pentosin in the tranny makes sense here.

    9. Power steering flushed. Can use the Turkey baster method to suck out and refresh the fluid (Use M1 ATF here). Should use the entire bottle for about 3 re-fills. Run the car for a couple of days between flushes. Fluid should be nice and red when done.

    10. Wiper inserts new. Bosch ICON's rock.

    11. In cabin and intake filters replaced. For a great price on filters hit up www.germanfilters.com

    12. Suspension replaced. Endlinks, CAB's and Control arms have a high failure rate, at higher mileages (75k-100k miles)

    13. Exterior swirls at a minimum with a nice coat of wax.

    14. No rash on rims and tires show a fair amount of tread left.

    15. Car complete. Full tool kit, under engine bay splash shield, oil pan trap door.

    16. Trunk inside should look new.

    17. Small amount of wear on seat bolsters.

    18. No scratches on trim... Interior or exterior.

    19. Steering wheel has no chips or scratches.

    20. All glass is Pilkington.

    21. Wiper fluid is full.

    22. Headlight lenses are NOT faded. New ones are about ~$60/set.

    BMW lenses will cost more, but will last longer. I typically go with www.khoalty.com lenses.

    23. No SES light or BOW's.

    24. All windows and sunroof operate smoothly with no binding or sluggishness. > window Regulator failure is common. Each window regulator is about ~$100.

    25. Under car exhibits no evidence of "drips", leaks or rust.

    Common oil leaks here are: 1. Oil Filter Housing Gasket (OFHG), and Valve Cover Gasket (VCG).

    26. Door threshold trim looks new.

    27. Pre-cat O2 sensors. ~$200

    28. Subframe and tail light recalls.

    29. FSR (Final Stage Resistor). ~$100

    30. Pillar felt sag. About ~$220 for the A,B and C pillars (6 pieces)

    31. DISA valve breaks. ~$200

    I recommend the G.A.S. kit from German Automotive Solutions.

    32. ICV gets dirty. Clean it with Carb Cleaner. ~$5

    33. Upper and lower intake boots tear/rip/crack. ~$50 for both upper and lower boots.


    Tons more info at the below link
    http://www.bimmerfest.com/wiki/index.php?title=BMW_E46

    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    List from JupiterBMW

    As requested... This is a list that I gave to Rich (Bimmernut) when he went and checked out my '03 sedan for me. I'm by no means a BMW expert, so I'm sure this list isn't complete, but it was everything that came to mind when I thought about what I would want looked at. I created this list based on things I've learned since becoming part of the Mafia, and also based on little things with my last ZHP that I'd want to check on a prospective new car... It worked out great though and Rich did an awesome PPI for me.

    Use this as a guideline, and feel free to add to it!



    Exterior
    -Paint condition overall- shine, smoothness
    -Scratches, chips, dings, dents
    -Lower front bumper condition- cracks, chips
    -corner light/Headlights(ZKW/AL?), condition, brightness (burnt bowls?)
    -weatherstripping around windows condition
    -side mirror scratches
    -sunroof trim condition
    -chips on door edges
    -taillight condition
    -paint condition on rear bumper edge/below trunk
    -muffler tip condition (pitted, rusted)
    -wheel condition

    Interior
    -door jamb cleanliness
    -door panel condition (scuffs on lower areas)
    -silver cube condition
    -A, B, C pillar condition (fabric falling)
    -sunroof shade operation/condition
    -homelink?
    -leather condition
    -drivers seat bolsters
    -operation of windows (clicking, speed)
    -operation of sunroof
    -condition of vent louvres
    -shift knob condition
    -autodim mirror condition
    -all 4 floormats?
    -trunk carpet condition/cleanliness
    -navigation operation head unit faceplate motor operation
    -seat heater operation
    -center armrest condition
    -operation of other buttons/features

    Mechanical
    -engine bay cleanliness
    -coolant overflow float color (blood red, light red, white-ish)
    -brake fluid color
    -engine oil color/smell burnt?
    -VANOS exterior condition (look replaced)? Rattle when revving at 2400rpm?
    -DISA condition (replace?)
    -startup- fast? Slow?
    -unusual noises?
    -belts? Look ok?
    -clunks/rattles during test drive? Pulling any when accelerating or braking?
    -shifts smoothly? No transmission noises?
    -clutch is smooth yet grabs well?
    -brakes make no noise?

    Receipts? Looking mostly for coolant system replacements, replaced/repaired DISA or VANOS units, and any suspension work.
    "Flame suit NOT REQUIRED!!!"
    Call Me Dane l 2/2004 330i ZHP l 18x8 ET45 BBS CK's wrapped with Michelin Pilot Sport AS3+ @ 245-40-18 l KW V1 Coilovers in front l KW V1 springs w/ Bilstein B8 dampeners in rear l BMW Performance Rotors l UUC StrutBarbarian l Racing Dynamics Rear Strut Bar l Jim Conforti Shark Injector l Light Birch Interior Trim l Bimmian Celly Mount l M3 Trunk Mat l l e90 Performance E-Brake & Shift Knob l M3 Tri-Stitched Boots l AL Headlight Retrofit with ZKW Lenses l CobyWheel Wrap w/M3 Stitching l LCM sw 4.5 triple blink and rear fogs

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 1970
    Location
    Ocean County, NJ
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    7,275
    Excellent list.

    Stickie status is a must.
    -Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.
    ZHP Pre-Ride Briefing

    2005 ZHP, Alcantara, Silver Cube, Nav, Sharked, BMW Perf Intake, BMW Perf CF Strut Brace, CF Valve/Fuel Rail Covers, Shadowline Grills, CF Splitters, Fog Light Inserts, LED Interiors/Plate Lights, Euro-mirrors, CDV Delete, Beisan vanos, GAS DISA, BP Coded

    2017 Alfa Romeo Giulia Q4; Sport Package, CW Package, Nav, Sunroof

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 1970
    Location
    Lebanon, OH
    Posts
    37,820
    Thanks KG. We can use this help out guys out...as a basic list....then add stuff if we think of it.
    "Flame suit NOT REQUIRED!!!"
    Call Me Dane l 2/2004 330i ZHP l 18x8 ET45 BBS CK's wrapped with Michelin Pilot Sport AS3+ @ 245-40-18 l KW V1 Coilovers in front l KW V1 springs w/ Bilstein B8 dampeners in rear l BMW Performance Rotors l UUC StrutBarbarian l Racing Dynamics Rear Strut Bar l Jim Conforti Shark Injector l Light Birch Interior Trim l Bimmian Celly Mount l M3 Trunk Mat l l e90 Performance E-Brake & Shift Knob l M3 Tri-Stitched Boots l AL Headlight Retrofit with ZKW Lenses l CobyWheel Wrap w/M3 Stitching l LCM sw 4.5 triple blink and rear fogs

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 1970
    Location
    Ocean County, NJ
    Posts
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    Sounds like a good plan, brother.
    -Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.
    ZHP Pre-Ride Briefing

    2005 ZHP, Alcantara, Silver Cube, Nav, Sharked, BMW Perf Intake, BMW Perf CF Strut Brace, CF Valve/Fuel Rail Covers, Shadowline Grills, CF Splitters, Fog Light Inserts, LED Interiors/Plate Lights, Euro-mirrors, CDV Delete, Beisan vanos, GAS DISA, BP Coded

    2017 Alfa Romeo Giulia Q4; Sport Package, CW Package, Nav, Sunroof

  5. #5
    Join Date
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    The Windy City
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    nice
    Call me Seth
    Missing Chicago | Left my heart in Madison
    CURRENT: '17 Acura ILX "Fancy Civic" daily driver
    RETIRED: '08 E90 M3 DCT "GoinHAM3" | '04 E46 M3 6MT "WEGOHAM" | '04 330i ZHP | '11 E82 135i | '08 E90 328xi | 07 E91 328xi SportWagon

    Quote Originally Posted by danewilson77 View Post
    If I wore panties, I'd be dropping them right now.

  6. #6
    Join Date
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    Quakertown, PA
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    Great list DW! I wish I had full records when I bought mine. I however bought my ZHP with no knowledge that any of those items had been done. So I was in the dark a bit. That said, I consider my purchase a steal. Here's why with my two cents.

    To me your eye, nose, and hands will tell you if the vehicle you want to buy has been taken care of. The first thing I did when I walked up to my car on the lot was observe the overall condition with a skeptical eye. I looked for shopping cart dents, key scratches around the door handles, rock chips ya know all the little things. I then checked for any wavy or buckling on both doors, fenders, and quarter panels by crouching down at the back corner of the vehicle and staring down the length of the car. If there was any body work done to those areas mentioned above, you very well could tell by doing this. If the body work was performed at a high level it would be difficult for some people to see but if a hack did it, you would know. Paint overspary should also be visible if a subpar paint fix was done. Then what I did is simply check tire wear, (simple enough) and rotor wear by checking the edges of the rotors for lips, and checking the brake pads by crouching down and eyeing up in between the rim and the rotor, again very simple. My car passed all those tests with flying colors. New tires, fairly new rotors, no body problems, no key scratches or nicks, and very little rock chips.

    So the exterior passed. Then I opened the drivers door and popped the hood and trunk of course I then got a great shot of the interior and the first smell of the car. It had a soothing leather smell that was real, not sprayed on. Super +1 right there. No cigarette smell at all, and no burn marks near the window trim where a smoker would flick the ashes out. The ash tray and cig lighter, brand new. The seats had zero wear on them, the bolsters were perfect the rear seats looked like they never had been sat in. The tracks the hold the seats to the floor are perfect, no spilled sticky stuff no french fries packed in them. Again amazingly clean. I stuck my head undernetath the seats and nothing, just super clean carpet and that's all. No pixel issues with the stereo and dash. So the interior was flawlessly clean and smelled like a showroom and of course the car will be clean to show it, you can tell if it's clean up to show, or it was kept clean.

    So the big part next would be to check for welds under the hood or trunk along the frame indicating more body work. The rivets that connect the body panels to the frame under the hood and trunk. This is the place to check. If welding was done, indicating front or rear impacts, you would notice it there. And of course as soon as you open the trunk and hood you want to smell it. I smelled crayons at my trunk +1..haha love that, and you should not smell anything when you open the hood, no oil or gas smell at all. That would be not good. Simply look at the areas that hold some sort of fluid. Are the belts stained indicating oil or coolant, pull the dipstick to check the oil, check other fluids while your there. Go back and open the glovebox and use the bmw flashlight and shine that sucker down in the engine bay (that's what I did anyway ) to check for more oil stains. Simple stuff I realize but a must. Then and only then take if for a test drive. Then when you get back open the hood again and go over it again with the flashlight.

    I did these simple things and I think I hit a home run. Now I did have to replace the CAB's, no biggie. And I did replace all filters including fuel and will replace the water pump and t-stat within a week or so but that's part of the deal of owning a BMW. But if you can take comfort in knowing some of the items on DW's list are done, then that's a plus.

    2002 330XI Saloon
    2005 ZHP
    2013 XC90 R-Design

  7. #7
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    This is but one example of why this forum is a fantastic place. Awesome thread Dane and great follow-up points John.

    Not only did Dane list out the various issues, he also provided the links/prices for fixing/replacing. That is incredibly helpful for prospective buyers!

    With members as helpful and as nice like this, no wonder I keep visiting this every other day. Much appreciated.

    Mods - Given the value of this thread, I wonder if we should refrain posts like mine (however sincere in praise they are) from being posted here so that we can keep the thread 'pure', i.e. restrict it only to posts that contain info what to look out for when purchasing a bimmer and of course, any Q&A and experiences that other members think are valuable to share. What do you think? Thanks!

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by BimmerRules! View Post
    This is but one example of why this forum is a fantastic place. Awesome thread Dane and great follow-up points John.

    Not only did Dane list out the various issues, he also provided the links/prices for fixing/replacing. That is incredibly helpful for prospective buyers!

    With members as helpful and as nice like this, no wonder I keep visiting this every other day. Much appreciated.

    Mods - Given the value of this thread, I wonder if we should refrain posts like mine (however sincere in praise they are) from being posted here so that we can keep the thread 'pure', i.e. restrict it only to posts that contain info what to look out for when purchasing a bimmer and of course, any Q&A and experiences that other members think are valuable to share. What do you think? Thanks!
    I think it's alllll goooooood BR. Pretty easy going around here.

    And thanks for the compli.
    "Flame suit NOT REQUIRED!!!"
    Call Me Dane l 2/2004 330i ZHP l 18x8 ET45 BBS CK's wrapped with Michelin Pilot Sport AS3+ @ 245-40-18 l KW V1 Coilovers in front l KW V1 springs w/ Bilstein B8 dampeners in rear l BMW Performance Rotors l UUC StrutBarbarian l Racing Dynamics Rear Strut Bar l Jim Conforti Shark Injector l Light Birch Interior Trim l Bimmian Celly Mount l M3 Trunk Mat l l e90 Performance E-Brake & Shift Knob l M3 Tri-Stitched Boots l AL Headlight Retrofit with ZKW Lenses l CobyWheel Wrap w/M3 Stitching l LCM sw 4.5 triple blink and rear fogs

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Jupiter, FL
    Posts
    5,152
    As requested... This is a list that I gave to Rich (Bimmernut) when he went and checked out my '03 sedan for me. I'm by no means a BMW expert, so I'm sure this list isn't complete, but it was everything that came to mind when I thought about what I would want looked at. I created this list based on things I've learned since becoming part of the Mafia, and also based on little things with my last ZHP that I'd want to check on a prospective new car... It worked out great though and Rich did an awesome PPI for me.

    Use this as a guideline, and feel free to add to it!



    Exterior
    -Paint condition overall- shine, smoothness
    -Scratches, chips, dings, dents
    -Lower front bumper condition- cracks, chips
    -corner light/Headlights(ZKW/AL?), condition, brightness (burnt bowls?)
    -weatherstripping around windows condition
    -side mirror scratches
    -sunroof trim condition
    -chips on door edges
    -taillight condition
    -paint condition on rear bumper edge/below trunk
    -muffler tip condition (pitted, rusted)
    -wheel condition

    Interior
    -door jamb cleanliness
    -door panel condition (scuffs on lower areas)
    -silver cube condition
    -A, B, C pillar condition (fabric falling)
    -sunroof shade operation/condition
    -homelink?
    -leather condition
    -drivers seat bolsters
    -operation of windows (clicking, speed)
    -operation of sunroof
    -condition of vent louvres
    -shift knob condition
    -autodim mirror condition
    -all 4 floormats?
    -trunk carpet condition/cleanliness
    -navigation operation head unit faceplate motor operation
    -seat heater operation
    -center armrest condition
    -operation of other buttons/features

    Mechanical
    -engine bay cleanliness
    -coolant overflow float color (blood red, light red, white-ish)
    -brake fluid color
    -engine oil color/smell burnt?
    -VANOS exterior condition (look replaced)? Rattle when revving at 2400rpm?
    -DISA condition (replace?)
    -startup- fast? Slow?
    -unusual noises?
    -belts? Look ok?
    -clunks/rattles during test drive? Pulling any when accelerating or braking?
    -shifts smoothly? No transmission noises?
    -clutch is smooth yet grabs well?
    -brakes make no noise?

    Receipts? Looking mostly for coolant system replacements, replaced/repaired DISA or VANOS units, and any suspension work.
    Jon aka "Joop"
    2011 Lemans Blue Metallic/Bamboo Beige ///M3 2013 Alpine White/Chestnut X3///M Sport
    ...Past Love Affairs...
    2010 Silverstone Metallic/Black X5///M
    2003 Alpine White/Natural Brown 330i Dinan3 ZHP
    2014 Mineral White Metallic/Saddle Brown 328d
    2004 Alpine White/Natural Brown 330i ZHP
    2012 Alpine White/Oyster X3///M Sport

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 1970
    Location
    Lebanon, OH
    Posts
    37,820
    Thanks Joopy. Added to IP for ease of use.
    "Flame suit NOT REQUIRED!!!"
    Call Me Dane l 2/2004 330i ZHP l 18x8 ET45 BBS CK's wrapped with Michelin Pilot Sport AS3+ @ 245-40-18 l KW V1 Coilovers in front l KW V1 springs w/ Bilstein B8 dampeners in rear l BMW Performance Rotors l UUC StrutBarbarian l Racing Dynamics Rear Strut Bar l Jim Conforti Shark Injector l Light Birch Interior Trim l Bimmian Celly Mount l M3 Trunk Mat l l e90 Performance E-Brake & Shift Knob l M3 Tri-Stitched Boots l AL Headlight Retrofit with ZKW Lenses l CobyWheel Wrap w/M3 Stitching l LCM sw 4.5 triple blink and rear fogs

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