Buying an E46 320d - vtecfan
hi again

since my plans have changed a little bit (I'll probably get some extra money) I'm now interested in buying and E46, a 320d sedan to be more accurate. I already read about it a lot but I'm still anxious what problems it has and what to look out when buying one. Does it have any SERIOUS problems? I'm not talking about some electric jamming on the windows, I'm talking about what serious issues it has. Since I'll be buying one soon (next month probably) I need to know just everything before I buy it ;-) are there any owners of a Bimmer like that?

p.s.1. I'm talking about the pre-facelift one, 98 - 2002.
p.s.2. does anyone know where can I get an exhaust like that:
? It sounds incredible....

Edited by vtecfan on 12/11/2008 at 19:52

Buying an E46 320d - adverse camber
Isn't there some major issue with the rear sub-frame on these?
Buying an E46 320d - Pugugly
Have you had a look at HJ's Car by Car Breakdown ?
Buying an E46 320d - Blue {P}
The biggest problem with these cars is failure of the Swirl Flaps in the inlet maifold, they break loose and are ingested into the engine causing immediate and total engine failure. This nearly always requires a replacement engine.

Cures include changing the inlet manifold every 50K or so or removing the flaps altogether which by all accounts shouldn't cause any ill effect. BMW have launched a modified manifold but there seems to be an opinion that even this new manifold isn't perfect.

Also, turbo failure on pre-2004 cars is not a rare occurance so look for one with a new modified turbo.

A general point to note is that the MAF sensor on many older 320d (and indeed many other diesel engined cars) can breakdown causing poor running and economy, fixed by a modified MAF and associated tuning box.

Buying an E46 320d - CJay{P}
The biggest problem with these cars is failure of the Swirl Flaps in the inlet
maifold they break loose and are ingested into the engine causing immediate and total engine
failure. This nearly always requires a replacement engine.

The OP is interested in the 136hp version, and I believe the manifold issues only applies to cars manufactured between Sept. 2001 to early 2004.
Buying an E46 320d - vtecfan
Have you had a look at HJ's Car by Car Breakdown ?


Thanks for all the advices, now I only need to translate what you wrote to polish, understand it and apply it to real life :P more advices are welcome of course.
Buying an E46 320d - former farmer
My experience of an early pre-facelift version of the E46 320d has been excellent. One does see many of these around on the road, but many more of the later 2002> version.

I have had no turbo or engine problems in the past five years, & minimum oil consumption. My current mileage is just short of 150k and quite honestly I have no doubt there is a lot of life left there. Fuel consumption is about 45-46mpg, though on a motorway run top side of 50 is achievable.

You will find a lot more details of the model on the website, where the turbo problems with the later E46 320d is frequently aired. From what I gather it was the early facelift models that had the most problems and the later 2004> were ok.
Buying an E46 320d - vtecfan
thank you for the reply

As I'll be looking one from 98 - 99, maybe 2000 (if I'll find one for the funds I have, but I doubt on that) I'm not interested in the post-lift models.

Now I need to find this Eisenmann exhaust for it (sounds incredible, but on official Eisenmann site there isn't a model which looks like the one from the vid).

Also - I've been told that the space for legs in the rear is really small, like in VW Golf... is that true? Just asking :)
Buying an E46 320d - Vincent de Marco
Yes, it's not very spacious in the rear, modern 'compacts' like Civic or Focus can actually give you more room.

Edited by Vincent de Marco on 16/11/2008 at 14:12

Buying an E46 320d - Vincent de Marco
BTW, Konrad, you can drop me a line on a GG-communicator if you wish: 1763757
Buying an E46 320d - gabble
I had a 2003 320d and had no big issues over about 70k, but there are well reported problems with these that have been outlined above.

If I were after a used 3 series of that sort of age, I'd go for one of the petrol sixes. These are a far better bet in the reliability stakes, and signifcantly more refined. You'll pay more in fuel, but not that much more with the current price difference between petrol & diesel. A 320i or 325i is a really nice thing.

(now drives a 330d!)
Buying an E46 320d - vtecfan
can't buy a 320i - they use much more fuel than the diesels and I'm still studying @ school, so I can't afford the fuel for myself - my parents will be paying for it. That's why I'm looking for a diesel.
Buying an E46 320d - rtj70
If you cannot cover the fuel for a 320i vs 320d.... and your parents are buying the car too (?) can you really afford it? It sounds like you really want a BMW but with increased insurance etc. maybe stick with what you have already, graduate and get a much newer example.
Buying an E46 320d - vtecfan
insurance isn't a problem in Poland, at least not for me since my dad has 50% discount and I can use it. I don't want only the BMW, I'm just interested with great looking cars for 5 - 6 thousand euros. I doubt I'll get a much newer example... since my parents will be selling a land soon we'll buy the car for money we'll get for it. Besides I'm in a bit hard situation regarding the transport to school, since first I have to walk about 2 miles to a bus stop, then get about 15 miles by bus, and then another 1.5 miles to school, walking. That's why I need to buy a car which won't use that much fuel. Since 320i is really not economic (because of it's double vanos system and 6 cylinders) and the diesel is even quiet than the 320i, I'm choosing the 320d.
Buying an E46 320d - gabble

The 320d is great in terms of lazy torque etc and very refined for a diesel, but is nothing like as quiet and sweet as a petrol 6.

What is the price difference between Petrol & diesel per litre in poland?

Buying an E46 320d - vtecfan
sorry that I was not replying on this topic, I was very busy in my life nowadays. I checked a second ago and the price is 0.26 PLN lower for the diesel, which is quite big for someone who hasn't got a job yet. So it's 3,96PLN for the petrol, and 3,70PLN for diesel. That's somehow big difference in my situation since I'll be doing about 45 kilometres a day (I've got about 22km to my school).
Buying an E46 320d - gabble

Then as you say, the 320d would save you some money on fuel compared with the petrol versions. Here in the uk we've moved from a situation not many years ago where diesel was similarly cheaper than petrol, but is now 10-15% more expensive!

Buying an E46 320d - NowWheels
If money is tight enough for you to have to worry about fuel costs when you are doing only 250km per week, why not buy one of the many cars which would cost you a lot less to purchase and to maintain than an aged BMW?
Buying an E46 320d - gabble
I've bought many a "sensible" car that I could afford to run rather than something a bit more exciting. To be honest, I regret it. But I am a bit of a petrol head.

(and who knows, had I bought the 6 year old Alfas early in my motoring career instead of the 3 year old Nissans perhaps I'd regret that too!)

Better an unreliable car you love than a reliable one you hate.

Buying an E46 320d - vtecfan
I expect at least some comfort, so I won't buy a cheap small car like a Corsa - not my type. Actually I'm now also interested in a Honda Civic Sport 1.6 110HP, if they'll become a bit (only a bit) cheaper I'll surely look for one, they're nice except this... ugly kind of gum on the shifter. First thing I'll do when I buy a Civic like that I'll change this to alcantara at once.

Thanks for all the advices for the 320d - I look forward to buy it if my funds will allow to drive it. Maybe you can tell me also something about the Civic? I mean the VII gen., 1.6 VTEC one, 3 doors hatchback.

Ask Honest John

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