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E46 Problems/comment report...(very long but real) (archive)

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Posted by Mark~Chicago on September 26, 1999 at 15:22:55:

In Reply to: Poll:problems w/ e46,post message even if no prob posted by pete on September 25, 1999 at 20:14:47:

: i have read quite a few post about horrible/stupid problems on the e46. i just want to do a survey. please post whether you had trouble or not. maybe we can all get a better idea about the quality/ reliability of this car. thanx.

1999 BMW 328i 5 speed manual
Titanium/Black Leather
Very Early production car-built August 1998/delivered in Sept 1998
Many modification inside & out, including 17" OEM BMW alloy wheels with Dunlop 235/40/17" s
I run Pirelli snows in the winter, also installed on BMW OEM 17" wheels

(Digital Odometer Problem)
- My car actually has about 8500 miles on it now, but it reads 5900.
The odometer started having trouble back in January. 1 day, I came out in the morning, started the car, and the reading was exactly 1000 miles less than the night before. 2 months later, while picking the car up for service, the odometer dropped another 2300 miles. Each time it changed, it affected the service interval indicator in the opposite manner (not good) 1 week later, it jumped ahead this time, about 230 miles. My dealer said they would have to contact BMW to discuss and get back with me. To cut this one down some, they ordered a new instrument cluster from Germany. They had my car for 3 weeks working with it while the BMW techs advised them. This is said to be a common problem on the 7 series. I am supposedly 1 of 3 in the USA who has this problem on an E46. We are currently monitoring the problem to see if its cleared far, so good. (the mileage was never put back to the 'true' reading, as BMW said it is impossible. The car has a redundant mileage storage chip in one of the headlamp assemblies, thats where it gets its reading after the cluster is removed. If both go bad, you start over at 000,000 and they make note of it in your records.

(In-dash HK CD player) skips & jumps around no matter if the car is moving or stopped. They say they cant duplicate it and havent changed it yet. They actually tightened up the head unit and now it skips worse over small bumps in the road. The rep told them next time its in to change it whether they duplicate it or not.
Poor FM stereo reception/sound. I think the diversity antenna should be changed to a power mast.

Note: When properly recorded studio CD's are played, the HK sound system is awesome and worth the extra $$$. I have found that the sound quailty is directly related to the quality of the artists recording. Many CD's sound like total crap, others are beyond belief.

(Steering/braking,etc) I have the typical steering wheel/braking vibration problems, as well as an additional left right 'shimmy' on acceleration and 35 mph cruising in the sterring wheel. I have been working with 2 chief BMW reps from out East and they have me on top of the list when a couple 'fixes' are going to be implemented. They ARE aware of these REAL problems and the engineers are working on them, as there have been many similar complaints. The chief dealer mechanic and zone reps have driven the car on several occasions and agree that these problems do exist.
NOTE: I have had 3 sets of OEM BMW wheels and 3 different types of tires on the car...same problems no matter from day one. (16 & 17")

Had floatiness, but was resolved with tire pressure adjustments. Have noticed that the 17" feel the 'crown' in the road much more than the 16's and since my latest tires are so wide, they do quite easily grab the wheel from me at times when the road changes.The car has a much improved steering feel though with the larger/wider set-up.

The unibody structure is much stronger than the E36, but seems to have loosened up some after this first year. The car now makes creeking sounds at the window blow-out clip areas whenever crossing tracks or bumps with squeaking sounds when the windows are closing in the seals. Never had this in the 540 with its rock solid tank like full frame, not a creek or rattle ever.

(moonroof) Same moonroof problems as others. Seems to be light-sensitive/related with the 'safety-feature'. Have to push the button 3 times sometimes to get the roof to close completely...aggrivating.

(rain-sense wipers) Same 'light' related problems. The wipers do whatever they want to when there's not a drop of rain if the sun is bright and hitting the sensor the wrong way. At these times, I do have to shut them off, but put them back on stand-by asap, this feature is nice. My wipers have been ON ever since purchase and its nice that they take care of themselves with no thought or effort.

I have owned 3 BMW's and over 20 various new & used cars since I was 16yo (now 35yo), including 4 Honda's & 1 Toyota that NEVER let me down ever...on ANY level, Jap cars are amazing for integrity, reliabiltiy & resale value. But, Germans are passionate about cars, designing, building & driving them, on all levels. Once U own one, its hard to imagine driving anything else.

I do not feel I am being picky, I bought one of the best cars out there, and I expect it to be as such. My last car was a 1995 E34 540ia. That car was $53,000 in 1995, and it was PERFECTION! It did have the Midwest US engine failure problems, but strictly related to the sulfur in our fuel here. BMW gave me a new engine without any hesitation or problems.

This E46 was almost $41,000 and, although nothing is infallable, and that it is a brand new production run for an all new car, I expect that something will go wrong. Mainly, I want the steering feel related problems resolved, they make the car feel like its old and needs front end work at times. The small problems come along on almost any car eventually, but again, my Japanese cars were truly flawless.

Overall, I am pleased with this car. Asthetically, I have never owned a car, new or old, that so many people approach me over in parking lots, at stop lights, etc to let me know how awesome or beautiful it is. The car is stunning inside and out. The build quality, perfection. (fit/finish/paintjob,etc.) The levels of safety/luxury/convienience features are amazing.
Personally, I want for a more authentic BME/German rear-end styling. The car looks quite generic from that single view, but my modifications have helped with some of that.

In addition, I continue to be impressed with the way that BMW has top brass people in contact with me directly to follow thru on my satisfaction and problem resolutions, I have never had to hound them down or leave unanswered messages, they contact me it should be. They are genuinly concerned about fixing these problems and seeing where they went wrong to avoid future problems for other customers.
As a company, they are outstanding and continue to have my loyalty.

Thanks all for reading this...take care. Later ~~

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