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Thread: e36/e46 M3 Convertible Tips?

                  
   
  1. #1

    e36/e46 M3 Convertible Tips?

    Hi everyone. I am thinking about purchasing either an e36 or e46 M3 convertible as a second car. I was wondering if there were issues I should be on the lookout for in either case. For instance, I have heard the SMG in the e46 is not particularly reliable and that the VANOS system is prone to fail. Any other items? Also, I've been reading that regular valve adjustments are necessary--any other regular service items above and beyond the "normal" BMW care? A good independent service shop near DC for M cars would also be a helpful recommendation. Thanks in advance!

  2. #2
    Member bobesser's Avatar
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    I currently have an E46 M3 and I have done some reading on the subjects of your concerns. The SMG will occasionally fail the pump which costs about $1k - probably more to replace with labor. I have not seen much lately on the forums, so, not a huge concern, but it will be more than if you had a manual. The 'salmon' colored relay is apparently prone to failure, but, it cheap and easy to replace. Some have taken to carrying a spare in the glove box.

    For the VANOS, if it fails, it can be very expensive to recover from, so, you hear a lot about it on the forums. It seems to be more likely on an earlier car and is due to some bolts backing out. They may have fixed on 05-06 cars, I am not sure. That said, when you take the car in to have the valves adjusted, it is not that much more expensive to have the VANOS inspected and the bolts replaced and held in place with locktite. Oh yeah, solid lifters means you have to have the valves adjusted periodically - not unreasonably so, only about every 30k miles.

    Bob

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    Senior Member mcoupemindy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bobesser View Post
    I currently have an E46 M3 and I have done some reading on the subjects of your concerns. The SMG will occasionally fail the pump which costs about $1k - probably more to replace with labor. I have not seen much lately on the forums, so, not a huge concern, but it will be more than if you had a manual. The 'salmon' colored relay is apparently prone to failure, but, it cheap and easy to replace. Some have taken to carrying a spare in the glove box.

    For the VANOS, if it fails, it can be very expensive to recover from, so, you hear a lot about it on the forums. It seems to be more likely on an earlier car and is due to some bolts backing out. They may have fixed on 05-06 cars, I am not sure. That said, when you take the car in to have the valves adjusted, it is not that much more expensive to have the VANOS inspected and the bolts replaced and held in place with locktite. Oh yeah, solid lifters means you have to have the valves adjusted periodically - not unreasonably so, only about every 30k miles.

    Bob
    And if you are good with a wrench, you can do all the PM above in your garage. Beer variety is based solely on the consumers preference.
    Jonathan Thayer - jonathan.michael.thayer@gmail.com
    '99 Imola Red M Coupe, '08 Interlagos Blue Z4M Coupe

  4. #4
    Thanks! That is very helpful information.

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