Hi, I am the reviewer.
This is NOT a Singapore import. All E46 sedans are sadly made in South Africa. The coupes (CI) models here are made in Germany (Regensberg). I've heard that models in Germany and some EU countries are made in Germany (4 door).
The N46 Valvetronic does have its issues. The way I knew it was the PCV valve was the annoying rough idle. I think the German models are better put together (the engine seals etc.) I'm so sick of the oil leaks. Hopefully they'll stop once I replace the PCV valve.
Also the ABS/DSC sensors cost 1500 to replace. That is ridiculous. I've owned many other cars that have done over 300 000km that don't even need much replacing (except for the timing belt and oil). I think as a 'premium car', we should expect BMWs to be trouble free till at least 100 000km.
Anyway, this car is just fun to drive, and I will keep it as long as I can! Thanks for commenting.
Hi, I was the commenter - you'd have the facelift version with the newer engine too. You mentioned about the ABS - your ABS unit, correct me if I'm wrong, is located right in front of your brake master cylinder, instead of under the cowl? That would mean that you probably experienced the "Teves Mk 60" common problem not only with that 3-series, but also with the Audi A3, VW Golf, I believe the Ford Focus and the (UK anyhow) Mazda3.
Which area are you in? If in AKL, there's a good ex-BMW mechanic on Wairau Road who specialises in BMWs, and there's a cheaper fix for that ABS problem now, also used in the UK. He should be able to sort out your oil leak. I've used him since 2000 through 4 different cars (Audis, a Galant, and this Compact I have). I hope it's sorted out, all the best!
G'day mate (the reviewer again).
I took the car to the mechanic again... ANOTHER major oil leak. This time it's coming from the back of the engine. The dipstick was leaking too. As for the ABS/DSC problem... I'm still not sure what is wrong with it. When I'm peacefully driving it 60km/h, it starts to beep and the DSC light as well as the "(!)" light in YELLOW pop up.
I must remind you I am no Kiwi... I'm located in QLD Australia. :)
Ah, sorry - I don't know why I thought you may have been in NZ, may have been you having mentioned "South Africa," which is almost never discussed in many reviews, but is a known fact in NZ, as our BMWs are predominantly used Japanese-market second-hand imports. Because most people here (myself having been included with 3 used Japanese-import Audis) own and drive Japanese imports, our independent mechanics tend to be very familiar with these cars (didn't used to be until they became fairly common). I hope you manage to find a good, knowledgeable mechanic. If there are any there who are ex-UK or South Africa BMW mechanics, that would be a good bet.
G'day it's the reviewer again. Sorry for the late reply!
Yeah, it's extremely unfortunate. I was checking to see how much it would be to put in an N46B20 inside the car. Unfortunately it costs way too much. The fact that the breather hoses connected to the PCV valve are plastic and break easily annoys me. This IS a BMW... it should have been better.
The vacuum pump seal has also gone now. It needs a lot of work done to get back to a 100% state. Unfortunately mechanics are annoying here!
Coming in a bit late on this. You mentioned a cheaper fix for the ABS issue. Could you elaborate on this?
Thanks much, Tony.
Hi Tony - I'm a Tony too. There's a repair kit available for BMWs with the Teves Mk 60 ABS unit, but for the life of me I couldn't find it - I'm sure I read it somewhere on Honestjohn.co.uk, under the reviews of cars and what goes wrong. That Teves unit was used also in many VW-group cars, some Fords and even some Mazdas. On one BMW forum I hastily searched, the part number was mentioned, "B126.96.36.1997.896 646 HYDRO UNIT REPAIR KIT Â£144.68+VAT." I'll try to find it and add a reply.
Hi, just adding to my earlier comments, I found a website that mentions "“Repair Kit, control unit DSC” (part number 34516777165)"; website link is http://www.e90post.com/forums/showthread.php?t=272871&highlight=DSC+failure&page=7.
Hope that's of some help.
Hey Tony, it's the reviewer again, sorry for getting back to your comment so late!
Thanks for the DSC link, but the problem seems to have gone now. Another problem has come up, the sump gasket is leaking. That's going to cost quite a bit, since I can't do it myself. I fixed the vacuum pump quite easily. The driver's side window is also rattling. Those are the issues so far.
Thanks for your input. Hope you're doing well!
Gees, that's good about the DSC - that would've cost you if you went to a mechanic unfamiliar with the repair kit. Those things cost about NZ$1200 for a full rebuild here pre-repair kit. Did it decide to kinda fix itself? Well, keep the link anyhow should you need it. BMW windows don't tend to be a problem here, but then it's cold in NZ so unless we're entering a parking garage, people just leave their windows up. Doesn't sound like a motor, it may just be a rubber stub or something that's come loose. Hope the sump gasket is a cheap enough fix - at least it's not the head gasket. On any car, that's quite a bit. Keep us posted.
It's the reviewer again... well when I was driving on the highway the other day, the DSC light came up with another yellow (!) light coming up after a beep. Coolant sensor light has come up again, even though I replaced it with a brand new genuine one. Yes, this car is still awesome fun to drive, but I'm sick of this bloody engine. But at least I can blame it on my father who insisted I go with the 4 cylinder engine (since he was paying for it). Wish it was the M54B30 in this car. The engine in this car is just a hunk of plastic. Fuel economy sucks as well, probably because the fuel filter needs to be replaced.
Just saw your post today. That DSC light is likely to be the old Teves Mk60 problem - this typing screen doesn't show the "trail" unfortunately, so not sure if I've mentioned this previously. From what I could remember, your car has this combined ABS/DSC unit which can have a problem with some sensor inside of it. If your ABS unit is immediately visible when you pop the bonnet open, that's probably the type. I may have mentioned a part number earlier in this thread.
My one is the "old" type where it is not immediately visible on the left-hand side of the car where the pedal cluster of an LHD car would be. My ex-BMW Sth Africa mechanic has advised me that there is a repair kit for it. The coolant sensor is odd - new and original too, perhaps you might want to get the car hooked up to a scanner at an independent garage, because it may be a software malfunction.
Maybe I've been lucky. I just got my car serviced before Christmas, it's now done 116K km (I got it three years ago with 65K), and save for one coil three months into ownership (and the original 2001 BMW battery finally dying last March), the car's been unusually reliable. I've done some wear and tear and age repairs - reaction bushes, a belt pulley and tensioner, front brakes, rear brake pads - not much else. The clutch will need doing, it's been funny since I got the car and shudders sometimes on standing start, but never got any worse; it happens a bit more now.
I have to do more reading on that engine of yours. I only have the base 1.8-litre 115 BHP engine, I think you have the "updated" engine with 140 BHP (up from something like 122 BHP on the pre-facelift 318i) which is British-made.
Keep me posted on what you find, but do check out the trail for this regarding the repair kit info for the ABS, and certainly you must find an independent mechanic that knows European cars. There are many South Africans in Australia, and many of them are car mechanics specialised in Euros, especially BMWs as they're made there for export.
Addendum, Tony - forgot to add this earlier. Fuel consumption for my car on the average week (moderate peak hour traffic using the motorway only on weekends), no air con, is about 11.5 km/L (8.7 L/100 km), dropping to something like 10.75-11 km/L if I use the air con once in a while. After Christmas, drove down the line to a mate's farm maybe 250-300 km from Auckland, the car averaged 15.7 km/L (6.36 L/100 km), but until I got to the really hilly parts where the bends kept slowing me down to 80 km/h, the car on the flats and straights, at near constant 100-105 km/h, was averaging as high as 17.8 km/L (5.6 L/100 km).
I'm sure my consumption was aided by being a manual gearbox, as none of my previous 4-cylinder cars was anywhere near as frugal, especially in town. Except for that figure at "near constant" speeds on the flats, where I used the slightly optimistic trip computer, I otherwise always measure tank-to-tank.
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