No need to apologize, Im not offended by any means. I come from a different view when it comes to high mileage cars, that’s all.
Don't get me wrong, I understand higher mileage is sometimes better then low abused mileage, but I usually stay away from a 300K gas engine as they seem to (on average) become more frustrating then enjoyment (unlike Diesels). I hope you didn't pay too much for this, as things will begin to add up.
Best way to check for FCABs is to lift the wheel and grab it at 9 and 3 and tug back and forth. If there is play, they need changing.
Stick with OEM or Meyle bushings and control arms. (They give BEST street Performance and lifespan)
Look on E46fanatics for all your information and best resources as that is the most active forum for these cars.
I can tell you that if you plan on doing major overhaul on this car and You are prepared to spend (like I said) $1000, best is to go through US websites like FCPEuro, BMAParts, ECSTuning, PelicanParts, get all your parts shipped to US border like in Niagara Falls and pick it up. You will save $$$ even after your trip and duties at the border. Ive done that plenty of times and still can’t believe the price difference.
For example, the Meyle control arms are $130, Lamforder are $150. Meyle FCABs are $80, Lamforder are about $120.
In the FRONT:
One control arm in Canada will run you close to $300 or more. Bushings on the BMW or OEM (lamforder) control arms are NON changeable, the entire arm needs replacement, while Meyle arms are engineered to have the inner and outer ball joints pressed in but you need a special tool for that as well. Both companies are BEST in that area and will last about 150K on regular roads.
In the REAR:
Your bushings are cheap overall but may be a pain to replace without the PROPER tool. RTABs may be worn out, lower and upper bushings in the rear control arms usually last a long time, and subframe Bushings tend to begin cracking around 200K (there are many bushings on this car just like on VOLVOs).
I must mention BimmerBoys.ca as a good source for parts, you just need to be patient as Pete gets the parts straight form US and it might take up to two weeks time. IF you ask me, it’s well worth it if you want to save $$$, as his prices are the LOWEST. He doesn’t make much on the order… he only does it for marginal profits. Send him an email and he can help you.
Like mentioned before… be prepared for a constant battle with something. CCV $150, DISA $200, VCG $60, Wheel bearing $160/each front and $70/each rear, Flex disc and CB $150, and last but not least the famous COOLING System (if it wasn’t done in the last 200k) $300-400 (wp, Expension Tank, Tstat, hoses, pulleys and belt (maybe Rad)).
The list goes on and on .. I know not all will need replacement, but just so you have a sense of the prices on those little things that you don’t know about YET
I only say this because Im seeing what is happening to some of my customer's cars... One '03 e46 at 260k and one '01 e39 at 280k... they are beginning to show the age and milage, everything is begining to leak slowly and Im getting more business from them.
On the bright side, the car is very easy to work on and it’s a fun car to drive when all works properly.
As for the RPMs, I remember my 323 being at 3000 when hitting the 120km/h not 3500.. that was closer to 140kms… maybe your wheels are off the original size and are messing with your speed??
6th gear is very nice... 120km at 2600 rpm or 140km at 3000... I really like that.