23rd Apr 2015, 20:12

Ah, good ol' Burger - I was the one who recommended him. He's moved premises, by the way, start of the year, on Archer's Road just before you get to the Sunnybrae Road junction.

Thanks for the reply - I've been seeing a few Japanese import 320i's with the rare manual gearboxes, and have been thinking of getting one eventually. Hence I try to observe what usually goes wrong with those cars, and if any faults can be mitigated by replacing some parts before failure. Glad to know that the car does have that self-protection system to get you off the road safely without damaging the engine. I hope the cost wasn't too steep - electric water pumps aren't the norm yet.

24th Apr 2015, 07:56

Great to hear back from you. He is fantastic and I can't thank you enough for passing on the contact. And yes I took it to the Archer Road address. I paid 1668 NZD for an electric water pump, thermostat, wheel alignment, coolant. He also did a thorough check to make sure it's all 100%.

I would be surprised if any authorized dealer can match even close to that.

There are lot of 320is there, but 4 cylinders have poor reputations I gather even from forums. Apart from the auto box, there are known coil, tappet and oil usage issues. But again Internet forums are not necessarily true guidance, as people with complaints mostly write reviews. :)

I would strongly recommend a 323 or 325 instead. Complete different car and great fun. The currently price difference is only 2-3k at most. On open road fuel economy is better with the 325 compared to my E90 320i. In the city it's slightly thirsty, but not by much at all. 6 cylinders are very well built. I will be in Auckland next week. My email id is sunvi.ahsan@gmail.com.

Would be more than happy to catch up :)

25th Apr 2015, 00:35

A 6-cylinder BMW's a no-brainer, really, but the reason I was checking out the 320i's is because they could still be bought as manuals ex-Japan. I in fact checked the BMW Japan website for current models, just to check the trends in upcoming Japanese used imports, and found out that BMWs including the little 1-Series are sold there as automatics only, however the 320i was the only model available as manual (still). No larger engine or turbodiesel in the BMW Japan lineup is available in manual.

After having car after car here which were automatics (only because manuals are difficult to find, or you pay a premium for them), the car I currently have, a "mere" 316TI (1.8, 115 BHP) is the one car I have been most content with. Had it for nearly 5 years now, nearly 70K km after. The manual makes all the difference (to me), I don't have to second-guess what the gearbox will do at a sharp bend, I don't have to merely keep using the brakes to control the car.

Agreed on the coils - had one fail early on then a second 4 years after - so Burger replaced the remaining two. Coils are a Europe-wide supplier problem, because even the VW Group has the same issues. But really, most modern vehicles that have technologies designed to keep them complying with EU emissions regulations, as well as keeping the CO2 g/km very low (for road tax), will have problems. So I just keep tabs on which engine variants, engine codes and build years have specific problems, and keep tabs on them before problems occur.

Will send you an email, would be keen to catch up!

9th Aug 2015, 12:23

Original Reviewer here: The last service was done just over a year ago, but due to a company car I have only driven about 5k over one year. Towards the end the oil light showed up, and it's common needing to top up by half a litre. Also there was some lifter noise on idling. Was told that service should be done more frequently if the car isn't driven much (every 6-8 months), however after service the lifter noise has disappeared. Thought of sharing this just in case if any of you are having similar issues.


10th Aug 2015, 03:12

Take a car out at least every few weeks and drive it for 15 to 20 minutes. That will save you on drying out seals, dead gas, ethanol separation, flat spotting tires, master cylinder and brake loss. Keep a battery on maintainer. I have a short board holding in the clutches. I have the same situation with a company car. I also own 4 of my own. It's kind of dumb to own any when you have a company provided vehicle, but I enjoy weekend car shows and driving something better.

10th Aug 2015, 21:22

Thanks for your tips, really appreciate it. As I took the car for a warrant - I realized my total drive was actually 4000km only over 1 year (although I drive close to 60-70k for my projects and personal use a year) and many months it sat in the garage but not driven. I will follow your advice and keep it running for 15-20mins every fortnight whenever I can. Like yourself, I have 2 in my collection too, and it's more of a hobby than needing a car for A to B ha ha. Although mine has done now few ks since new, but everything is in such a mint condition, and I try my best keep it at its best. Cheers.

Regards, Sunvi.

11th Aug 2015, 12:47

I switched to synthetic on my cars, some driven under 1000 miles a year. You don't have to start a car every week, but every few weeks it's wise. Don't just idle them in a garage. Take them out and bring the temps up. It's good for the braking system. I also use Stabil for gas that can go bad in a few months.

Winter is tough in my area with snow and salt on roads. But usually there is a dry day to quickly take them out. I try to open my garages briefly to let air in as well. The air gets damp.

There's a lot more you can do, but this is a good start.

20th Aug 2015, 22:18

Thanks mate. I already use synthetic oil, but lately I have been just idling. Taking your advice. Every other week - I'll take it for a spin until it heats up (~20km drive).

Would love to hear more tricks or any web sites you would suggest?

Many thanks once again.

4th Apr 2017, 19:11

Original reviewer: done nearly 180k and touchwood! No problems at all so far. Have done services as usual. Nothing outside scheduled maintenance!

7th Apr 2018, 01:19

Original reviewer: I still own the car and not a single thing has gone wrong, and it still drives spotless as it was on day 1. Upgraded the stereo to an Android system which was about 1400 bucks, but totally worth it!

7th Apr 2018, 08:12

Since you've already changed the water pump, you should be OK. From forums I read, mostly in America (where their E90s are practically all 6-cylinders bar I think a 320i in Canada?), it seems that the 6-cylinder ones, especially the turbos, have a disproportionate amount of failed electric water pumps. My local garage in Auckland when I quizzed them, said they've only replaced pumps from 6-cyl cars. If you have a BMW code scanner, apparently the water pump doesn't just fail with absolutely no warning (well, the warnings aren't visible). The scanner throws two codes that indicate variation in motor speed vs. parameters, and I think some communication failure, for a month or two before the yellow light comes on. So as long as you scan the car every month or two, should be fine.

Oh - BTW, one part you should change (if it's like my E46) - the plastic bleeder screw on the radiator hose. Mine just leaked and I only knew because the radiator warning light came on. It leaked in the middle of the screw. Apparently common (but mine happened at 186K km). Part cost NZ$11 at the dealer (mine has two on different ends of the hose). I bought from the dealer directly, because since my original one lasted this long (17 years), and forum complaints on the part were aftermarket, I figured the factory-authorised one should last indefinitely while the car is still on the road.

18th Feb 2020, 23:18

What're the odds that I own a manual Camry, contemplating a manual 06 325, and came across your comment?

20th Apr 2020, 12:25

Haha, I did sell that car and own an M3 of the E92 generation. A 325 if bought in good health is truly a good car. Manual is highly recommended though.