3 Series Sedan five to eight years (or high miles) later?

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I would like to hear experiences from folks who bought a 3 series between maybe 2003-2005 or so, or have 100k+ miles on it.
What is the cost of repairs like late in the lifecycle? How has the
car measured up, in terms of reliability, to other vehicles you've owned? Why would you or why would you not buy again?
Being historically an owner of Japanese cars over the last 20 years, I'm eyeballing a 3 series and wondering how the cost of repairs is going to be down the road. I typically keep a car 7-8 years but I like knowing that if I want to go 10-12 I can without rediculous expenditures.
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On 2010-03-30 06:02:24 +0200, Greg Vandersen said:

I have a 2003 wagon 330xd. no problem so far, 135000 kms only standard revisions each 30000 kms or so one driver airbag changed, under warranty. one tie pressure monitor changed also, some 50 euros... wont chnage the car soon...
regards,
--

Jean-Yves.


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I traded in my '01 330xi with 145K miles late last year on a new 335d. These cars easily go to 200K miles *IF* 1) you replace suspension components around 100K (~$1,000) 2) you replace cooling system components around 100K (~$1,000) 3) the auto transmission doesn't fail (~$4,500)
I was only left "on the side of the road" once, by a front differential failure - extremely unusual failure. It had the original clutch, shocks, no engine problems.
They are no more expensive to maintain than a Toyota, IME (and we own three Toyotas currently.)
FloydR
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annual,oil change WHATEVER the experts say (ensure its the correct long life stuff)- In the UK the cars computer can stretch it to almost two years / 19k mils but not worth it in the long term, the autoboxes do give up the ghost -it can be the reason the older car is written off so I would sugest changing the atf every 4years(here bmw state its sealed for life but the bmw mechanics when they set up their own garages suggest strongly its changed) , also a good idea to change coolant twice as often as BMW state.
Regarding parts prices - they are sometimes more expensive but ocasionally delightfully reasonably priced so check with your BMW dealer as well as the more reasonably priced places If you need a new "thingy"
I guess the USA don't bother with the diesel thanks to the price of "gas"? If however you do get one - change the oil twice as often as advised
Over here the 2.0 diesel is faster and you get 50+mpg
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Strange - I use AMC, one of the best and best known BMW specialists in London, and they don't recommend this.
Of course any mechanic may recommend changing things that aren't broken. Called human nature.
What's needed before wasting money is proper scientific proof. Not a gut feeling.
--
*INDECISION is the key to FLEXIBILITY *

Dave Plowman snipped-for-privacy@davenoise.co.uk London SW
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snip
sorry guys - Daves a troll who keeps following me around like a lost (killer) dog :( and would disagree with me even IF I dared suggest day follows night
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I'm no troll. I'd like you guys who insist they know better than the car maker when it comes to oil changes to justify those claims. Because when proper oil testing is done, they are shown to be false. I'm not suggesting oil changes should be ignored. Just that the maker likely knows better than you...
To put things in perspective, I've owned cars since 3000 mile engine oil changes were the norm. And perhaps two engine overhauls in the life of a car. Now, despite much longer service intervals, barring an unrelated failure, most engines outlive the car.
--
*Don't worry; it only seems kinky the first time.*

Dave Plowman snipped-for-privacy@davenoise.co.uk London SW
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Yes, Dave, you are (a troll). Somebody said so.... ;-)
And how dare you suggest to people that car makers know better than some of the World Experts here...
BTW, have you moved? Weren't you in Shepherd's Bush or Ealing before? Now you state "SW" in your signature.
DAS
To reply directly replace 'nospam' with 'schmetterling' --
London SW

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I often read the extended intervals came in with inclusive servicing. May have done in the US - but not everywhere. Extended intervals happened at the same time, model wise.
I also wonder just how many get the 'benefit' of more frequent oil changes by buying a car new and running it to a vast mileage. Very, very few is my guess.

I did once have a flat in Ealing briefly - in the '60s. ;-) But have lived in this area since.
--
*I just got lost in thought. It was unfamiliar territory*

Dave Plowman snipped-for-privacy@davenoise.co.uk London SW
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It's amazing how common this misconception is. In the US, inclusive serving (nice term, BTW) and warranty covered 3 years/36,000 miles when I purchased my 97 Z3. The average oil change interval was 7,500 miles and the car came from the factory with non-synthetic oil.
For the '99 models, the switch was made to OEM synthetic oil and that promulgated the approximate doubling of recommended oil change intervals. Sometime thereafter, the "free" maintenance and warranty were extended to 4 years/50,000 miles.
But it seems easy to bash BMW online by relating the covered maintenance to the longer oil service intervals, so I guess that particular urban legend will continue.
Tom
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I've had my early 528 for over 10 years and it's had lots of problems. Or rather more than I'd hoped for. And non could have been prevented by more frequent servicing...
--
*White with a hint of M42*

Dave Plowman snipped-for-privacy@davenoise.co.uk London SW
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thomas wrote:

Right. That's why I've never heard of you, while Dave's been posting in here since forever.
Dork.
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Floyd Rogers wrote:

You're lucky if you make it that long, with the front bushings.

What's this? The whole radiator?

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Front bushings will not last 100K, but the shocks may well last longer, so I bet it evens out more or less.

Yes, probably hoses and the water pump too.

Get a manual and it runs forever. --scott
--
"C'est un Nagra. C'est suisse, et tres, tres precis."

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The front bushings on my '01 lasted somewhere around 110K, but the 'xi bushings/suspension is slightly different than sedan/coupe.

The water pump was still original when I traded in my '01 @ 145K. Don't forget the expansion tank - if it fails you have less than 10 seconds to stop the engine to prevent probable damage.
FloydR
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Floyd Rogers wrote:

So "the wisdom" is to replace all that at around 100k, even if everything is working OK?
That's got to cost well over $1000.
My 2000 323 has 110k miles.
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That's the philosophy of MTBF and maintenance. You replace things before they fail. That's why they replace helicoptor blades at xxx hours. That's why you replace oil at intervals, rather than test it continuously and replacing it only when the total protection goes below a certain %.

The radiator, expansion tank and hoses cost a total of about $500, the labor to replace about the same.

Rather low miles. But don't forget that rubber wears out as it ages, and that may be many cycles, which impacts longevity.
FloydR
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Well, my feeling is that you should check it all for cracking and see what condition it's in. I doubt you will find a radiator that doesn't have cracks around the hose nipples at that point, but if you get lucky, you get lucky.
In the case of the water pump, you can't tell it's going until it fails catastrophically. So there is a good argument to replace it preemptively on models that are known to have pump issues.

It probably would if you took it to the dealer. You can probably do it all yourself for a little more than half that if you shopped around for parts.

What does the radiator feel like? --scott
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I'm on my fourth in 10 years or so. First two leaked - last one disintegrated. So none with the famous broken plastic impeller syndrome. ;-)
--
*It's not hard to meet expenses... they're everywhere.

Dave Plowman snipped-for-privacy@davenoise.co.uk London SW
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Which model, though?
It does seem like an awful lot of BMW models have water pump issues, but different models have different and seemingly-unrelated issues. --scott
--
"C'est un Nagra. C'est suisse, et tres, tres precis."

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