high mileage M3

Hello
I have seen a lot of medium - high mileage (60,000 and above) 1998 M3's where I live. I'm thinking about getting a 1998 M3 in the mid 60k mileage range (for about $15,000). Are the M3's pretty much high
mileage cars (i.e. they can last well over 180k miles without thinking about trading it in for something newer)?
Thanks.
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snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com wrote:

60k on a '98 car is LOW LOW mileage. Average mileage on cars varies between 12-15k/year. Since the '98 was sold in '97, that makes it 10 years old - and 120,000 to 150,000 miles would be considered normal mileage on one.
IF you take care of the car - it will last a LONG time, it's basically a bored-out 328i.. with better suspension. Weak points are the cooling system - plan on replacing the radiator, water pump and thermostat. Hoses last forever - plastic bits don't. No other real problem points unless it's been owned by a kid who beat on it. (NTTAWWT - but I wouldn't want it..) Brakes are a bit more expensive than the 328 brakes, but no harder to DIY.. and figure at around 80,000 it would be a nice thing to have new shocks/struts done.
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60,000 on a '98 is not "high mileage."
Indeed, that kind of number is very desirable, as it is low mileage -- very low. One should calculate a car's normal mileage at 12,000 per year for all states except California, where the number is 15,000. A '98 model year car is 9 years old today, give or take a few months. This car should have 108,000 (at 12k per year) to 135k (at 15k per year).
My '94 3 Series car lasted well over 225k miles before it met its demise in an intesection at the hands of an ole woman with blue hair and a double-knit pants suit. I see no reason for any well-loved BMW to get less than 300k miles. That is, with proper care and maintenance, you should expect a life that exceeds 300k miles.

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You let someone else drive your pride and joy?!?

The real question is do you believe it?
The other thing is M3's, M5's etc. are much more stressed, less likely to endure and officially only a minority of BMW dealers can work on them.
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R. Mark Clayton wrote:

No. He let some old lady drive *into* his pride and joy...
--
-Fred W

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No. Blue hair and double-knit blew a light ...

Well, if I had an M<anything>, I would drive it in the same conservative manner that I drive all of my other cars. I'm very confident that a "high mileage" '98 that has 60k miles has been driven conservatively.
I have no problem estimating the life at somewhere in excess of 300k miles. I do make a host of assumptions that may not be true for everybody, but they would be true for me and I have to think that I am not the only sane person with a fast car.
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snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com wrote:

60k miles on a 10 year old car is not "medium - high mileage". 6k miles per year is very LOW.
With proper care the M3's engine can last as long as any BMW engine. The question in any car buyer's mind should always be, how well was this car treated by its prior owner(s)? M3's tend to attract younger, more aggressive drivers. Just something to keep in mind...
--
-Fred W

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I have 3 M3's I'm looking at, all 3 I did a Carfax on them.
The first one is a convertible soft top, 64k miles, but was in an accident in the front (air bag deployed) and an accident in the rear (no further info given in carfax report). The car was taken to a body shop for evaluation after the fix (as reported on the carfax report). It failed emissions one time. It later passed the day after (as reported in carfax). I checked out the car at the dealership (local trade at a Mazda dealership). Clean inside and out. However carfax reports this has been through a few owners and sold a couple times at auto auctions. The car looks fine inside and out, however the accidents and multiple owners has me wary of buying it. The dealerhsip is asking $14,700, with no warranty.
The second one is a 98 M3, convertible with the optional hard top, 64k miles. Carfax reports no accidents, however from June 2003 to July 2006, the mileage went from 3,600 to 64,037.....that was a red light to me to be wary and maybe avoid. The dealer is offering 30 days/3k miles warranty. $14,995
The last one is a 98 M3 sedan, 66k miles, 1 owner (as reported by carfax), no accidents, clean inside and out. 30 day/3k miles warranty. $15,995
The alternative option to a BMW M3 would be a 2001 Audi S4 hardtop, 47k miles, asking $21,000, from a local BMW dealership (was a trade in). I didnt do a carfax on it yet, going to check it out this weekend.
I'm not into racing the car around hard but wanted to have the chance to drive a "M3" sometime in my life without dishing out the $$$ for a new one or at least drive a high performance car like the M3 or S4.
by the way, this would be a daily commuter, in the mid-Atlantic area on the east coast of the US, where we get maybe like one major snowstorm during the winter, some freezing rain in the winter, ice....it rains average i would say...
appreaciate the comments.
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wrote:

Pass on this one.

I suspect there is a keystroke error here. But, assuming the car had less than 4k miles when it was 5 years old, it went 20k miles per year for 3 years. My guess is that the car had 36k miles in '03. That makes the rest of the miles work out okay.

This one looks like it deserves more of your time and effort.
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not my keystroke error, error on the carfax report I'm assuming. This went through 2 owners, or at least 2 different title registrations.

yeah that was what I was thinking,....

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It is most certainly NOT your error, sorry if it sounded like I said it was your error. There was a keystroke error when the data was entered that you subsequently viewed.
If I am right, then this car sounds like a good one too, by the way.
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did the 1998/99 M3 have engine problems that needed a recall? I saw this article on MSN and will paraphrase what it said about the engines:
"A general problem with this vehicle is the failure of the Intake Air System. Problems due to leaks in the Intake Air System can result in a poor running engine, and can cause the Malfunction Indicator Lamp to illuminate. An occasional problem on this vehicle is the failure of the Motronic Control Unit. Failure of the Motronic Control Unit is due to water intrusion. This condition is identified in TSB #41 03 93. The failures of the Intake Air System are not specific to any one part, so the $ cost of repairs will vary. The cost to repair the Motronic Control Unit is estimated at $1075 for parts and $26 for labor. All prices are estimates based on $65 per flat rate hour and do not include diagnostic time or any applicable sales tax."
here is the original article:
http://autos.msn.com/research/vip/Reliability.aspx?year 99&make=BMW&model=M3&trimid=-1
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snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com wrote:

No
I saw

As with lots of things on MSN - it's inaccurate. The first year of the E36 body style had problems with leakage into the ECU compartment under the hood causing failure of the DME (motronic). This was fixed around 1993 or so..
As far as general failures of the Intake Air System - not common at all unless someone installed a pieceofshit K&N filter - which contaminates the Mass-Airflow-Sensor.
What you do watch for is cooling system problems - these are much more common on this year/model - but can be preventively avoided by replacing the radiator and water pump before they fail.
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On 22 Feb 2007 17:40:59 -0800, snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com wrote:

If the S4 is a B5 chassis with a manual trannie it totally kicks the NA E36 M3's hiney in both performance and appointments. It's not even close...
/daytripper '00 s4 6spd
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actually I misread the car ad, it is a 2002 with 49k miles....I don't know the chassis...

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snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com wrote:

OK, pass on that one. You seem to have sopme better options (below)

I would not be alarmed at a car gaining 60k miles in 3 years. It only means it was used as a commuter. I used to put 30k a year on my cars when I was commuting via the interstate. Highways miles are the easiest on the car.

I would go with this one because it is a sedan. I prefer these, though they are not as sporty as the coupes. To me with the 4 door M3 you get the best of both worlds (so long as it is NOT an automatic)

I'm not a big Audi fan. Never have been, never will be. Can't really comment on the proposed S4

Although I mentioned that I would not shy away from one if the mileage was commuter highway mileage, I would not intentionally buy an M3 as a commuter car, unless your commute is a rural/suburban one. If you will be driving in the city much the M3 is not the best tool, IMO.
I'd like an M3 as a second car and maybe a 530i w/ steptronic for the daily commute. YMMV
--
-Fred W

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If you read the technical Q/A column in The Roundel (club magazine of BMW CCA http://www.bmwcca.org /) regularly, you will read that the columnist, a very experienced independent BMW mechanic of remarkable candor about his beloved brand, has a pretty low opinion of E36's. He says that the problem was that the E36 was BMW's experiment at seeing how much they could shave in terms of costs in building a small sedan and still get away with it. The problem is that in some areas, that did not work and the cars are trouble-prone. The rear shock tower tear-away is a classic example, as is the silly plastic water pump impeller. The latter was dealt with by a recall and redesign, the former was never dealt with in the E36 lifetime. So owners get to deal with it. My recollection is fuzzy on this, but I think that the M3's may have been reinforced, so the strut problem may not exist in that model.
He recommends the E46 as a better design, although not without its own problems.
Before you buy the E36 M3, go try an E46 ZHP. Overall a better car and extremely close to the E36 M3 in performance. I looked at a pristine 98 M3 with 29,000 miles when I was shopping two years ago and ended up getting a 2003 ZHP instead. There was little difference in acceleration/handling, and the E46 had much better leg room for the driver.
See also:
http://www.unitedbimmer.com/forums/tutorials-diys-faqs/3824-ultimate-e36-common-faults-faq.html

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nopcbs wrote:

Mike Miller is an ATTORNEY who thinks he knows about cars. He's not a terribly successful attorney since he's still driving an E36.

As usual - he's wrong. There are quality problems with the E36 (the plastic in the interior is troublesome around the glove-box door) - but the driving force for most of what he considers economy moves was likely weight. As safety engineering increases weight in some part of the car, other parts are slimmed down in an attempt to keep from becoming grossly heavy.

Which has also been seen in the Z3 and now the E46 series. It's no new news, and the E46 is not immune from it. The majority of cars that were damaged had aftermarket suspension that cause stress on the suspension mounting points that wasn't supposed to be there. On the Z3-Coupe (Z3 and M-Coupe) there is another problem - mostly caused by the increase in power being transferred to the mounting points of the rear-differential. The metal there simply wasn't strong enough. as is

I'm confused - neither of these was the subject of a "recall" and redesign. Not even a BMW "campaign"..
So owners

It still exists on the E36/M3 - except the convertible, which was reinforced to strengthen the body and resist twist. There are double-and-triple layers of steel at those mounting points on the convertible where single layer or at best - double was used on the coupe and sedan.
Other than that - you're more or less right. I've owned both - and prefer the E46 over the E36.. but the E36 was a pretty outstanding ride in it's day and is still a fun car today.
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Uh, the plastic impeller WAS a problem and there` was a recall/redesign. When I was shopping for an E36 M3 I read a Road & Track Used Car Classic piece and they said to make sure that if you bought one it had had` the recall done or had the newer design.
If you are right about Mike Miller being an attorney, good for him, that just makes the guy even more impressive. You look at the column he writes each month, the number of questions he answers, the number of repeat (happy) readers he helps...well, he clearly knows his stuff and has access to BMW technical bulletins.
I doubt that he owns an E36 (based on his fairly low view of the series) since recently he's mentioned that he bought an E46 325 coupe, new. To paraphrase your term, as usual, you are wrong.
Man, you are on a roll. The stuff about the sub-frame tear being mostly on modified cars is simply not true. There is a company that makes a business of selling repair kits for this flaw. There was something about them in a recent Roundel. They have done many cars (and yes early and maybe later E46's do have it, too) and the link to customer mods does not exist.
Finally, never said an E36 was not a fun ride. It is, but anyone who wants one should know that it has issues to watch out for and the E46 has some advantages (and its own issues, granted).
I have been lucky with my E46 zhp and so far only one recall and a replacement of the stupid alcantara steering wheel (free) has been required. I know about the sun-roof issue (don't use it) and under-designed window winders (minimize use). I cross my fingers about the shock mounts hoping that mine is recent enough to not be affected. Hope it stays reliable, with good care, until Bangle retires to that nursing home in Arizona and a tasteful stylist takes over (Please God).
- nopcbs

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