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Old 12-05-2012, 01:25 PM   #1
simey_binker
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Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: Toronto
Posts: 5
Greetings, and I need some 2002 325i help

Hey all,

Well, might as well introduce myself; I'm a 27-year-old mechanical engineer, who has mostly driven turboed RWD Volvo wagons (4 of them). The first burnt to the ground, the second crashed, the third went to the yard, and the 4th my wife flipped on the highway. So now I drive a 2002 BMW 325i wagon in manual. nearly 300k kms.

I'll keep this short to avoid any "TLDR"; I've got problems:

#1, when going over bumpy roads, the front suspension "chatters" a little. It was safetied about a month ago, and a tierod replaced. at time of purchase, I inspected those rear a-arm bushings that seem to go in the front suspension (apologies for not the correct term), and they checked out. I haven't crawled underneath yet, but I'm suspecting the anti-roll bar. It sounds like the chatter or knocking you'd get from a strut not seated properly.

#2, on warmup, the idle fluctuates. When the car is cold, it's ok. When the car is warm, it's ok. when the car is nearly at operational temperature, the idle fluctuates, sometimes stalling. I've heard about the plastic intake boots cracking, but wouldn't that affect the car all the time, and also throw a code (no engine light on dash)? I don't want to automatically attribute it to this, but it seemed to arise after I siphoned gas from a parts car which makes me question the cleanliness of said gas. however I've gone through 4 tanks since then, so the only possibility would be the injectors. With all the stories of Vanos going, could it be this? I seem to lose oil very slowly. what are the indications of a Vanos needing fresh seals?

#3, at time of sale, the seller said that the previous owner had put in a shorter gear in the diff (or, he attempted to communicate this to me but I had to read between the lines as I don't believe he understood completely). lower gears don't seem unreasonable, but on the highway and in 5th, the car is operating at 3500 rpm at around 110-120km/h. this means I don't need to downshift to pass, but I'm also skeptical of the fuel efficiency. seems like I cruise around 8L/100km which isn't bad, but perhaps this could be better? what are you guys running?

Other than those things; it's a great car. I'm glad I've put the mid-80s and early 90s Volvos aside to join the rest of the population in the new millenium.

Sim
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Old 12-06-2012, 12:14 AM   #2
pawelgawel
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Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: London
Posts: 351
hello to the forum and why on earth would you purchase such a high mile car, bmw for that matter?

Your rpm is higher then normal, therefore fuel efficiency is gone. I don't understand the point i don't doing that for a dd.
At that mile you are bound to do plenty of refresh on the car. The front noise could be control arms (ball joints) or sway bar brushing. the front FCABs are bad once you notice wheel movement from side to side when braking from higher speed. It could possibly be strut mounts but i would check the sway bars bashing first and the control arms for play.
The rough idle could be vacuum leak. check the boots for cracks and leaks. it could also be ccv. If it was the injectors then it would idle rough from the start. Vanos will get loud in the front valve cover if the seals are bad.

these cars are very nice to drive but you must stay on top with the maintenance and preventive maintenance. If you are capable of working on cars, begin with a general tuneup, change all the oils, inspect all hoses and clean tb.

be prepared to spend a $1000 in parts in the first year.

gl
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Old 12-06-2012, 01:52 AM   #3
jabela
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Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: Toronto, ON, Canada
Posts: 763
I haven't spent too much in parts in owning my 2002 325ci, but I do most of the work myself (mechanical/electrical engineer).

1. Yes, it's likely that one or more of your bushings are shot. It would be best to replace your control arms with Meyle HD arms and bushings. Also could be your sway bar bushings as you said. For sure your FCABs if they haven't been replaced in a while.
Also, get an alignment.

2. Vacuum leaks are likely, especially the intake elbow. It tends to crack and degrade after 100K/6yrs.
Another possibility is one I just had, which is the fuel pump. The engine had a hesitation under acceleration for a while, then it started to fluctuate and stall before completely dying. I would recommend replacing it for under $200 yourself. It's pretty easy.
Vanos usually only causes a loss of performance. Other idle problems could be a busted DISA idle control valve.

3. Sounds like you have your stock diff. At 120kph you should be doing 3500rpm.
I do about 3200rpm at the same speed with my 3.15 diff. I really wish I had a 6th gear for hwy efficiency.
http://www.bokchoys.com/differential/GearRatios.htm

If you do plan to keep it a while, and the previous owners didn't take good care of it, there will be lots of maintenance to do. But then you should have bought the car for a steal, so you should have some cash to make it nice.

You'll probably want to do.
Leaky/torn intake tubes,
Fuel filter and pump
parking brake are probably rusted away.
replace all fluids, brake, oil, coolant, power steering, transmission and diff oil.
engine and transmission mounts
the PCV system is pretty flaky, so I recommend using a block heater and/or making sure the oil gets up over 100'C during the winter (ie. longer, harder drives, especially if you have short trips where the car doesn't warm up)
For all your mounts/bushings, I recommend going to Meyle HD mounts or M3 spec mounts as the stock pieces are filled with oil and don't last as long.

I'm just gonna stop there and reference this thread.
http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthread.php?t=743354
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Old 12-06-2012, 10:53 AM   #4
simey_binker
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apologies for my purchase, pawelgawel, for it seems as if it has offended you. perhaps I'm accustomed to older Volvos that run over 500k on the oil that they had from the factory (this is an exaggeration). 300k is "low milage" in the Volvo books. I am surprised as a BMW fan and owner, that you would be so pessimistic.

As for this car; it is improbable to achieve that milage in the city within the last 10 years, so by deduction I can only assume the POs cruised the highways a lot. At least it wasn't thrashed - which is a much greater fear.

I re-inspected the FCAB just now, and it seems like (after a closer inspection than my previous quick check), that they are deteriorated more than I realized, and I should have noticed this earlier. so it looks like I'm in for an entire front suspension bushing swap while I'm at it.

thank you jabela for your reply. an alignment was done after the tierod was replaced by the mechanic during safety. I'm pretty disappointed he didn't notice the very obvious FCAB. but on the other hand, at least I won't be paying him for the swap. I'll need another after I do the job properly.

does $100 seem a little steep for a pair of FCABs with housing? http://www.autopartsway.com/PartList.../pagenum1/tabS

or $80 just for the bushings alone?
http://www.autopartsway.com/PartList.../pagenum1/tabS

the only reason I'm on that site, is because it was referenced as the only Meyle dealer in Canada, by Meyle - however it seems as if Meyle FCABs are not available.

looks like complete bushing kits are available at bimmerworld.com for ~$350. seems like the Powerflex polyurethane is more attractive to purchase then the Meyle - thoughts on this?

http://store.bimmerworld.com/bimmerw...its-p1415.aspx

any reason why I'd need an entire control arm and not just the bushings?

I'll inspect the intake plastic soon - any references for better aftermarket housings? I find it a little embarrassing that the stock stuff is so insufficient.

As for the 3500 rpm at 120km/h being "normal" - is that not madness? what the hell do they do on the autobahn? scream along at redline? geez, I guess I should start looking for 6-speeds *headdesk*.

Alright, I'm starting to get an idea of how much work I've got to put into it, to make it reliable... I think I've gone through denial, guilt, anger, bargaining, depression and finally, acceptance.
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Old 12-06-2012, 12:08 PM   #5
pawelgawel
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Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: London
Posts: 351
hahaha
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.

Last edited by pawelgawel; 12-06-2012 at 12:14 PM.
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Old 12-06-2012, 12:56 PM   #6
jabela
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Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: Toronto, ON, Canada
Posts: 763
Basically echoing above. I get most of my parts int the USA. I ship them to a friend there and pick them up in batches. You'll save like 50%. Makes you feel good about doing PM, rather than waiting for it to break and paying CDN prices in a hurry. It's crazy what we pay here.

I have the powerflex FCABs, they're nice and should never fail. With your bad FCAbs, your alignment will keep changing your toe as you gas/break, so try and change those ASAP to preserve your tires.
You won't believe how good your car will handle after you change all of your bushings.
I think BMW manages to get good handling and comfort with their soft, oil filled bushings, but at the expense of having to replace them more often than other cars.
Definitely your engine and transmission mounts are shot at this point so change those too. Transmission mounts are super easy, engine is harder as you really have to raise your engine up high to get the new, non-squished mounts in place.

I don't think it was mentioned above, but you should definitely change your idler and tensioner pulleys as they'll eventually die and are cheap to replace. May as well do your belts and coolant pump(common failure) while your at it.

323 has a 3.07 diff, so that makes sense with the RPM. That said I do try to run a slightly larger tire for efficiency and correct the speedo, as it's 5-7% slow with stock tire size, except for my track tires, which are slightly smaller for better acceleration.
I think BMW kept the ratio high for better performance. At Mosport, my car barely pulls in 5th gear at 160+ kph. Any lower gearing and it would be even worse. So sad with only 187hp Should've got a 330zhp.

That said, I can get 7l/100km at 120 on the highway, and can get 8.5-9l/100km with 60/40 hwy/city driving, but you want to have a little fun as I often do, I average more like 9.8-10.1 l/100km.
The with the high 5th gear, I can accelerate moderately as low as 45kph if I'm not in a hurry, like slow traffic etc.

It all sounds like a lot to do, but once you do you'll be good for another 150-200K, especially with HD bushings.

There are silicone intakes, but they're really expensive, just replace with OEM. I taped black duct tape around the bad elbow area to slow it from happening again.
Here's what mine looked like
http://www.e46toronto.ca/forums/atta...1&d=1211375632

You'll probably also break this F connector, so get a new one too.
http://www.e46toronto.ca/forums/atta...1&d=1211303061
http://www.realoem.com/bmw/showparts...05&hg=13&fg=15

Here's a good thread on common issues.
http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthread.php?t=897616
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Old 12-06-2012, 01:13 PM   #7
ac_2007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by simey_binker View Post
Hey all,

Well, might as well introduce myself; I'm a 27-year-old mechanical engineer, who has mostly driven turboed RWD Volvo wagons (4 of them). The first burnt to the ground, the second crashed, the third went to the yard, and the 4th my wife flipped on the highway. So now I drive a 2002 BMW 325i wagon in manual. nearly 300k kms.

I'll keep this short to avoid any "TLDR"; I've got problems:

#1, when going over bumpy roads, the front suspension "chatters" a little. It was safetied about a month ago, and a tierod replaced. at time of purchase, I inspected those rear a-arm bushings that seem to go in the front suspension (apologies for not the correct term), and they checked out. I haven't crawled underneath yet, but I'm suspecting the anti-roll bar. It sounds like the chatter or knocking you'd get from a strut not seated properly.

#2, on warmup, the idle fluctuates. When the car is cold, it's ok. When the car is warm, it's ok. when the car is nearly at operational temperature, the idle fluctuates, sometimes stalling. I've heard about the plastic intake boots cracking, but wouldn't that affect the car all the time, and also throw a code (no engine light on dash)? I don't want to automatically attribute it to this, but it seemed to arise after I siphoned gas from a parts car which makes me question the cleanliness of said gas. however I've gone through 4 tanks since then, so the only possibility would be the injectors. With all the stories of Vanos going, could it be this? I seem to lose oil very slowly. what are the indications of a Vanos needing fresh seals?

#3, at time of sale, the seller said that the previous owner had put in a shorter gear in the diff (or, he attempted to communicate this to me but I had to read between the lines as I don't believe he understood completely). lower gears don't seem unreasonable, but on the highway and in 5th, the car is operating at 3500 rpm at around 110-120km/h. this means I don't need to downshift to pass, but I'm also skeptical of the fuel efficiency. seems like I cruise around 8L/100km which isn't bad, but perhaps this could be better? what are you guys running?

Other than those things; it's a great car. I'm glad I've put the mid-80s and early 90s Volvos aside to join the rest of the population in the new millenium.

Sim
Adding to above posts:

1) Top strut mounts, and end links (loose, broken or deteriorated) fit these symptoms. If its been 100k+ km since your last suspension refresh, its already time for new struts and shocks, rear shock mounts, FCABs, LCABs, etc. if you're doing it by the book.

2) Could be a torn boot or vacuum leak as mentioned. I would also go ahead and replace the voltage regulator on the alternator (Hopefully your have a 120a Bosch - cheap and easy), as this is not only preventative maintenance, but will also solve a plethora of other electrical, idle, and misc. E46 personality quirks you're bound to have. Oil consumption even if 1 quart every 4k is within spec and I'd expect it for such a high mileage engine. At the bare minimum I'd replace the Valve Cover Gasket (VCG).

3) Use the differential calculator the other poster linked. Sounds like at 120km/h you're a bit high. I know at that speed I'm less than 3500rpm. If you're running the appropriate 91 octane WITHOUT ethanol (Shell V-Power ftw), you're achive better fuel economy figures.
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Old 12-07-2012, 02:38 PM   #8
simey_binker
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Join Date: Oct 2012
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Thanks guys for all the advice and helping me get on top of all this. For those curious, the reason I bought the car was that it was a manual wagon (extremely difficult to find), and cost $3400 with a new clutch installed. Granted, it has 300k on the clock, but we'll see how much I can squeeze out of it. And it's clean. really clean.

Actually, more clean than I thought. So I have to go back on my previous statement once again; this time I jacked up the car, and took a CLOSE look at the FCAB, and shook the wheels like Michael J Fox on steroids, and they don't budge. I should have trusted my mechanic who certified the vehicle. The reason why I questioned their integrity (other than the noise), is because when you look at the end of them - even brand new ones - they look like they've been torn up:

http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3561/3...9cd34e6d_o.jpg

because I jacked up only one wheel at a time, there was no real telling if it was knocking noise was sway-bar related, as it was always under stress. There were no torn boots at least. I will continue my detective work, and it's good to know that my 3500 RPM highway driving is not abnormal, despite inefficient.
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Old 12-07-2012, 04:45 PM   #9
jabela
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Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: Toronto, ON, Canada
Posts: 763
That's certainly not a bad price. Takes some pics of your car so we can see. A manual wagon is a great find.
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