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Psi5
02-07-2014, 05:43 PM
My 15.5 year old is getting ready to start learning to drive and I am looking for a good, manual transmission car on which she can start. Am I crazy to consider an early 2000s 323 or 325? Want to keep it well under $10k and I am not familiar enough with the E46s to know if they are reliable enough for her. Assuming the car has been taken care of and maintained properly, any reason to avoid these? Any other suggested BMWs? Or should I just buy her a Honda Civic?

P.S. If anyone is selling a car they think might be a good match, let me know. Thanks.

1996 328ti
02-07-2014, 06:06 PM
318ti
You can find them for $3,000. Budget $1000 in maintenance and replacing worn out parts and you have a good dependable, practical car.
And personally unless you know who the previous owner was, I'd budget close to $1000 on any used BMW to bring it up to spec.
Of course I'm bias. :)

Psi5
02-07-2014, 06:50 PM
You selling yours? ;-)

Are they pretty bullet-proof otherwise? I'd be happy to find one for 3-4 and then put 1-2 into it to get it into shape.

John in VA
02-07-2014, 07:05 PM
An E46 could be a good choice. They all will need something. Don't discount the 328i. Here's some highlights:
http://www.bimmerfest.com/wiki/index.php/BMW_E46
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BMW_3_Series_(E46)

razorrod65
02-07-2014, 07:15 PM
I agree with John in VA . the E46 is a great car I bought my daughter a 2001 325xi for her first car and she loves it !! I bought it from BMW of Fairfax found it on their website under preowned cars then cars under $15,000 . They have a 2003 325i on there right now for $3700

razorrod65
02-07-2014, 07:18 PM
http://www.bmwoffairfax.com/bargain/BMW/2003-BMW-325i-fairfax-c4a3f0380a0a00494733fde8ca7755eb.htm it is an automatic

razorrod65
02-07-2014, 07:34 PM
It needs a steering rack!! found one at rockauto.com $171.00-$365.00. Motor Mount about $20.00-$50.00 sway bar end links $15.00 each at eeuroparts.com

1996 328ti
02-07-2014, 08:29 PM
You selling yours? ;-)

Are they pretty bullet-proof otherwise? I'd be happy to find one for 3-4 and then put 1-2 into it to get it into shape.
Never sell mine. I have 2 now. :) I'd get another but am running out of room.

It's as built proof as any other BMW.
Like all BMWs, you can't let them overheat.
Like most E36s, sagging headliner and door regulator problems.

But they are fun underpowered cars.
Do you want your daughter to have more than 138hp? :)

John in VA
02-07-2014, 08:41 PM
There's a 2000 BMW 323i currently for sale in the classifieds here with much recent service:
http://classifieds.nccbmwcca.org/showproduct.php?product=1028

razorrod65
02-07-2014, 09:12 PM
Other common problems with the E46 , power steering lines (leak),window regulators(silicon spray on the tracks helps sometimes ) and expansion tank, Not all of them have this problem but with that being said they are a very solid platform, They handle very good and not real complicated to work on if you have average mechanical skills . buy an ODBII scanner . Part sources I use for mine www.eeuroparts.com , www.pelicanparts.com , www.rockauto.com and http://parts.bmwofsouthatlanta.com southatlantabmw you can get parts for bimmers all the way back to the 1960's .

BOOBEAR
02-07-2014, 09:54 PM
I'm 18 and I bought my '98 540i for 2 grand, but make sure that you have it inspected before you buy it. It costed me close to 3 grand to get it through inspection and registered for ridiculous things. I had to pull out perfectly good sway links and control arms as well as replace an entire windshield because safelite had shot that silicone stuff into it from the PO. At 166k miles the only things that only had to be replaced is the radiator/expansion tank/ fan shroud/ hoses and the clutch slave cylinder which was a defective part. I think a grand is a little low for a repair budget, but then again I'm sure you'll find a healthier car than I did.

Psi5
02-08-2014, 11:26 AM
http://www.bmwoffairfax.com/bargain/BMW/2003-BMW-325i-fairfax-c4a3f0380a0a00494733fde8ca7755eb.htm it is an automatic

Thanks. I'd consider something like that and then put the $ into to it to get it into shape but it has got to be a manual. I want her to learn to drive a manual plus she cannot text and drive and cannot loan it to anyone else because they won't be able to drive it either.

Psi5
02-08-2014, 11:28 AM
I'm 18 and I bought my '98 540i for 2 grand

I had a 98 E39 540 as well but sold it when the cats started going bad ($1500/per at the time). It ate valve cover seals, water pumps, and radiators like they were snack food. Loved the car but put a lot of $ into to it - enough to buy a decent E46...

Psi5
02-08-2014, 11:33 AM
Thanks for the feedback. I'll keep my eyes open for a decent E36/E46 and if anyone comes across one or has one to sell, send them my way. I'd certainly feel safer having her in a BMW than most other cars (plus it'd be fun for me) but I don't want to get into my E39's territory where I am dropping multiples of the car's cost on maintenance every year.

razorrod65
02-08-2014, 10:05 PM
check their site from time to time they always add E46's updated almost every week !! Here you go I found 21 E46's with manual trans under 7 grand within 100 miles of DC . Not to mention a sweet M3 in New Jersey with 60k but it 15 grand !! http://www.autotrader.com/cars-for-sale/cars+under+7000/BMW/Lothian+MD-20711?endYear=2005&makeCode1=BMW&maxPrice=7000&mmt=%5BBMW%5B%5D%5B3_SERIES%5B%5D%5D%5D&modelCode1=3_SERIES&searchRadius=100&showcaseOwnerId=597281&startYear=2000&transmissionCode=MAN&transmissionCodes=MAN&Log=0

razorrod65
02-12-2014, 04:02 PM
still looking BMW fairfax has 323ci manual trans $3981 . 122K http://www.bmwoffairfax.com/bargain/BMW/2000-BMW-323Ci-fairfax-267cbf450a0a00e04af9985d55fd2f5f.htm

1996 328ti
02-13-2014, 05:01 PM
still looking BMW fairfax has 323ci manual trans $3981 . 122K http://www.bmwoffairfax.com/bargain/BMW/2000-BMW-323Ci-fairfax-267cbf450a0a00e04af9985d55fd2f5f.htmThe car listed is being sold 'AS-IS'. This car does NOT pass Virginia State Inspection, and may or may NOT pass Virginia State Emissions. The car is being sold in the condition that it sits, and no repairs will be made to the car by the dealer. All repairs and State Inspections will be the responsibility of the new owner, regardless of any oral statements made. Test drives are not allowed. You may start the car, and put it in drive and reverse only. We will do our best to describe the car in the condition it is currently in, but there may be issues/problems/damages with the car that are not listed. It is up to you to determine the condition and functionality of the car. You can NOT finance this car.

KNOWN Inspection Issues:
*Air Bag Light is ON – Fails VA insp
*Seat Belt Pre-Tensioner
*Front Brake Rotors – below VA insp spec – pads OK
*Rear Shocks – leaking – Fails VA insp
*Guibo Joint – Drive Shaft Bushing – torn – Fails VA insp
*Oil Pan Gasket – leaking
*Valve Cover Gasket – leaking
*Transmission Shifter output Shaft Seal - leaking

AND that is what they KNOW. Imagine what they don't know?
Why would they even attempt to sell a car like that?

razorrod65
02-13-2014, 05:05 PM
he was looking for a fixer upper !! I bought a fixer upper there and i fixed it myself and now have a great E46 325xi

R3411y
02-14-2014, 08:46 PM
Does it have to be from a dealer or can it be a used car sale?

razorrod65
02-15-2014, 12:03 AM
Does it have to be from a dealer or can it be a used car sale?

I don't think it really matters if it is private seller or dealer . He said he was looking for an E46 but has to be manual trans . I bought mine from a dealer because I know there will not be any problem with the title , leans, misprint number ,seller sign in wrong place, forged co-cowner who didn't want to sell- that actually happened to me one time a long time ago. I have messed with graigslist a few times a lot of scams and spams . For older BMWs I can find them at dealers . I am not scared to turn a wrench so I am fine with fixer uppers . BMW of Fairfax is my #1 first pick and BMW of Tenafly is #2 , Tenafly always has good deals even if they are not fixer uppers but they are in New Jersey . In the last 2 months I have seen 2 E46s on Tenaflys website that only had 50,000 mi on them . Surfing the web for used bimmers is one of my favorite pastimes

Psi5
03-09-2014, 11:10 AM
Still looking although she does not have her permit yet so there is no big hurry. For me, I'd buy from a BMW dealer or a private party if it is someone I know (or someone I know knows them). My only "no way" purchase would be from an independent or strip mall used car lot. Those cars I do not trust regardless of the brand. I guess my hope is that someone in NCC has a nice, meticulously cared-for car that they would be happy to part with in service of teaching a youngster to drive and to love BMWs.

1996 328ti
03-09-2014, 02:25 PM
Still looking although she does not have her permit yet so there is no big hurry. For me, I'd buy from a BMW dealer or a private party if it is someone I know (or someone I know knows them). My only "no way" purchase would be from an independent or strip mall used car lot. Those cars I do not trust regardless of the brand. I guess my hope is that someone in NCC has a nice, meticulously cared-for car that they would be happy to part with in service of teaching a youngster to drive and to love BMWs.At least a dealer that allows you to test drive it. :)
And I wouldn't discount a BMW independent. The indies that I remember are going to be more honest than a dealership.
Dealerships are looking at turning numbers. High turnover of employees.
Indies need to work harder to keep your business.

Psi5
03-09-2014, 02:42 PM
At least a dealer that allows you to test drive it. :)
And I wouldn't discount a BMW independent. The indies that I remember are going to be more honest than a dealership.
Dealerships are looking at turning numbers. High turnover of employees.
Indies need to work harder to keep your business.

For a BMW Independent, you mean someone like AutoAdvantage in Manassas? I guess a place like that which specializes in BMWs or German cars would be OK (although I had several bad service experiences with Advantage). You know of any others around here that specialize in BMWs?

1996 328ti
03-09-2014, 02:48 PM
For a BMW Independent, you mean someone like AutoAdvantage in Manassas? I guess a place like that which specializes in BMWs or German cars would be OK (although I had several bad service experiences with Advantage). You know of any others around here that specialize in BMWs?No dealer or indie is 100% reliable.
I've always heard good things about AutoAdvantage.
Maybe a want to buy classified?
And buying from a club member is no guarantee. I bought my E30 from a club member. :)
Does the couple with the white E30 convertible still do driving tours? I think they were from Frederick or Thurmont?
Aside being an auto, it was a gorgeous car.

Psi5
03-10-2014, 08:04 AM
Maybe a want to buy classified?
Does the couple with the white E30 convertible still do driving tours? I think they were from Frederick or Thurmont?
Aside being an auto, it was a gorgeous car.

I may try to the Want to Buy option. As for the tours, there has been some turnover although there is a core that attends them all. Ann/Earl haven't bee on one in a while I believe.

razorrod65
03-27-2014, 04:52 PM
BMW Fairfax states no test drive on mechanic special but they will let you drive it at least they let me and I bought it. The good no title problems , 30 day tags the bad dealer processing fee . if you know what you are looking for and looking at you can find a decent car there !!!

Psi5
05-11-2014, 02:22 PM
An update on my inquiry. After much research and test driving (natch), I ended up getting her a 2013 Mazda 3. The budget expanded when Grandma offered to kick in and the Mazda emerged as the best choice for us. Thanks to all for the input. I am sure a BMW is in her future but not just yet.

1996 328ti
05-11-2014, 04:11 PM
An update on my inquiry. After much research and test driving (natch), I ended up getting her a 2013 Mazda 3. The budget expanded when Grandma offered to kick in and the Mazda emerged as the best choice for us. Thanks to all for the input. I am sure a BMW is in her future but not just yet.
Good choice. I've been thinking about a Mazda also.

Psi5
05-11-2014, 05:19 PM
Good choice. I've been thinking about a Mazda also.

I've learned the lineup top to bottom for 2011+ so if you have any questions (trim lines, features, engines, etc.) before I forget it all, let me know. Short version is, fun to drive, slick shifter, excellent build quality, high quality interior materials, and very fuel efficient. I got an almost new but certified used 2013 i Sport Sedan with under 5k miles (a program car) for a ridiculously low out the door price. If you want a hatchback and/or the s line, those are in higher demand and so less room for negotiation. Next step, getting her in the car and driving it!

jhm5
05-12-2014, 03:51 PM
Good choice with the Mazda. Now, when your daughter has a permit and some time behind the wheel, enroll her in Street Survival, a program sponsored by the BMWCCA Foundation. She'll learn some basic driving skills useful for a lifetime behind the wheel. Our chapter conducts several of these events each year.
http://streetsurvival.org/about-street-survival/

Psi5
05-13-2014, 08:39 AM
Good choice with the Mazda. Now, when your daughter has a permit and some time behind the wheel, enroll her in Street Survival, a program sponsored by the BMWCCA Foundation. She'll learn some basic driving skills useful for a lifetime behind the wheel. Our chapter conducts several of these events each year.
http://streetsurvival.org/about-street-survival/

I actually have instructed for Street Survival in the past (and will again in the future). It is a terrific program and I already told her no license until she completes the course. She'll have to be in the car with another instructor though.