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Goff12 05-12-2012 08:47 PM

Project BMW
Hi, I'm a college student looking to pick up my first BMW. I was hoping to find an e46 3 series in need of an engine overhaul so that I don't have to spend much money on the car itself, although an e36 is fine as well. I was wondering what kind of price I should expect to pay, and if anyone might have some leads for me, since I'm unsure of where to start looking. I live in Highland, Maryland. Thanks in advance.

Manolito 05-16-2012 11:07 PM

You are not likely to find an e46 in need of an engine overhaul because a naturally aspirated 6 cyl BMW engine is a 300k mile engine. You might find an M3 that missed one too many shifts, but on a budget, you should steer clear of M3s.

What you are likely to find is a car that is 8-10 years old with 100k miles that was allowed to run out of coolant when one of the cooling system components failed.

The difficulty is knowing whether they whole engine cooked (junk yard engine time) or whether they just warped the head. You would hate to replace the head only to discover that the rest of the engine is an anchor.

I don't know what you will have to pay, but if I were in that market, I would expect to pay about $5k for an otherwise clean e46 that would be $10k with a good engine. I far prefer 330s over 325s, but your best hope of finding a bargain will be a 325 because you are bidding against people who want to build track cars but don't want to waste a good BMW engine in the process.

Goff12 05-16-2012 11:22 PM

Do you have any experience with one of these engines that has been overheated? I've been looking online, and it seems like the biggest issue is the head bolts stripping out. But I've talked to a machine shop and they assure me that it won't be a problem to fix that. So I'm wondering if there is anything else that I should be looking for that's a common failure when overheated.

DEATH2000 05-17-2012 05:59 AM

Take a look into a salvaged vehicle if that's your thing. Their a lot cheaper and can ususally be fixed for low costs.

It's common when they have been overheated to see the head gasket blown and in need of replacement. Often the head has to be machined due to warping. Occosially if the overheat was bad enough the head will crack and need replacement. A replacement can be found for under $500

jonnie325ix 05-17-2012 11:56 AM

If the bolts strip out of the head from an overheated enging you will NEVER repair that it is junk, been there done that! the aluminum actually gets brittle and just crumbles as you try to put in helicoils, timeserts or over size drilling and retapping.
If you have the money to do a engine repair put it twords a car thats running.

Goff12 05-17-2012 09:33 PM

Wheres a good place to look for salvaged vehicles? I'm having a hard time finding any leads for cars like that.

Goff12 05-17-2012 09:36 PM

Also I hear what your saying with the aluminum crumbling, but for the most part I'm just gonnna hope that doesn't happen to me. Plus I've heard some people say they've done it successfully. If it does crumble I think I can find a good block somewhere else and it'll still be cheaper, so either way I think this routes the best for me.

DEATH2000 05-17-2012 09:55 PM

Personally I don't think it's a good idea, but I dont know and dot you your mechanical ability. I believe you would be better off buying an older but running vehicle. Depending on where you live a salvaged vehicle inspection can be incredibly detailed and scrutinizing.

If you want to find salvgave vehicles look for auction companies. Insurance companies sell salvaged vehicles to auctions. Certain ones specialize in salvage title vehicles.

Goff12 05-17-2012 10:03 PM

Alright I'll look into that. And I do appreciate your advice on this, I'll definitely think about it some more. I just had my heart set on taking one of these bmw I-6's apart; I think it'll be interesting.

DEATH2000 05-17-2012 10:34 PM

BMW makes phenomenal engines and they are very easy to work on. Remember that the newest E36 is 13 years old. Any car of that age will require basic maintenance to restore to original condition. Such as all the bushings will need replacment. You will still be able to get hands one with the car and the engine. Buy one that's already driveable and running so you can get that experience right away.

DEATH2000 05-17-2012 10:39 PM

I will also add, I have posted several copies of the Bentley Manual for different models in their various sections. They are the most detailed service manuals available. Give them a read to learn more about the car and the various components. It will give you a good idea of the various difficulty levels of certain things.

Goff12 05-18-2012 12:38 AM

Thanks I'll take a look

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