B3 3.3 E46 convertible running costs?

Thinking of Buying one - ask your questions here.
Buying guides, Specific questions about a car, or about a particular model, ALPINA characteristics.

Moderators: Charles, neil, D4

Post Reply
srichards
Posts: 5
Joined: Tue Apr 19, 2016 7:07 pm

B3 3.3 E46 convertible running costs?

Post by srichards » Tue Apr 26, 2016 12:24 am

I've seen a 60000 mile one of these but I have no idea about how much running costs will be. I'd probably do a max of 5000 miles a year. No commuting so all general driving about and leisure use. I'm concerned about parts availability and how much specialist knowledge is needed beyond normal bmw maintenance. I have an Indy nearby but they don't see many alpinas.

What is gearbox reliability like? What sort of costs and frequency are needed to update suspension items?

A rough idea of usual things on older b3s and their costs would be useful to know.

I know it's another string length question but before I just buy something because I like the colour and the seats are good I probably ought to do some research :)

Previous long time owner seems to have had a reasonable time apart from the last year when they had a couple of £1500 bills. Is this normal for one of these? ECU needed repair, lambda sensors were changed and I think the alternator was as well.

Being a cynic I always assume any car for sale is generally full of faults the last owner wanted to avoid sorting out!

User avatar
Charles
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 7053
Joined: Mon Jun 23, 2003 2:44 am
Location: Oxford

Post by Charles » Tue Apr 26, 2016 8:40 am

Normal running costs for the 3.3/3.4 E46 B3 are similar to those of a 328/330i in terms of service maintenance, tyres and brakes. The lambda sensor and alternator bills would have happened whether it was a BMW or an ALPINA and should be seen as time-served replacements rather than setting off alarm bells. The ECU is an interesting one and I would be making sure that it had been repaired according to ALPINA specification.

If it was me, I would be looking to change the gearbox oil - despite what BMW says about it being sealed for life. The gearbox internals should be good for another 100k miles at least.

Shocks should be good for another 40k miles at least, if they are the original ones and springs normally keep on going.

In terms of parts, the majority of items will be BMW and are readily available. The donor car from BMW was likely to have been a 328i (unless it is a late model c2002 when it might have been a 330i) and you will need to check. The easiest way is to run the BMW VIN in realoem.com and see what it comes up with. ALPINA specific items are also available, but are more pricey than the BMW equivalent. However, they are definitely there for a reason as they make the B3 the car it is over and above the stock BMW donor car. Your indie should be able to deal with anything that arises but for anything he is unsure about, this forum generally has the answers :D

If the service history is good and hasn't been skimped on, then bodywork and interior condition will help you reach a price you are happy to pay. A good 3.3 convertible should be in the £6-7k region.

Having covered 275k miles in my E46 B3S, I have seen pretty much all that needs to be changed on these cars and with love and regular care and maintenance, they will keep on going.

Hope this helps

Charles
Charles
Teacher of Chemistry and driver of ALPINAs - not necessarily in that order ;)
B3S Touring (49/116) - been to the moon and now on the way back!
Renault Grand Espace - not mine but the wife's!

srichards
Posts: 5
Joined: Tue Apr 19, 2016 7:07 pm

Post by srichards » Tue Apr 26, 2016 9:10 am

Bodywork seems decent. Interior is the same. Seat bolsters were replaced by previous owner as they were a bit worn.

ECU repair does concern me as well. There was some after market chip that was removed so I'm wondering whether that caused an issue.

Alpinas appeal because they seem to last and I'm hoping alpina will support their cars for a long time. A lot of manufacturers seem to give up once any car is about 8.

Suspension may not last to 100k as my local roads are appalling :shock:

User avatar
Charles
Moderator
Moderator
Posts: 7053
Joined: Mon Jun 23, 2003 2:44 am
Location: Oxford

Post by Charles » Tue Apr 26, 2016 11:13 am

Definitely getting twitchy about the ECU - you will need to be very sure about what repair work was done, why it was needed and who did the work. As I mentioned before, the programming of the ECU is ALPINA-specific and if some tuning monkey has got his hands on it, then goodness knows what state it is in.

When you get to changing the shocks, be aware that these are ALPINA-specific which are not the cheapest things around but they have had Buchloe magic dust sprinkled on them. A number of us here have gone down the Bilstein B6 aftermarket route which appear to offer similar performance for less money, inlcuding me, but I am about to return to original spec ALPINA shocks on my car.

Finally, don't worry about support for the vehicle - the E46 will be around for a long time to come and so BMW will keep supporting it. As for ALPINA, they never stop supporting any of their cars :D
Charles
Teacher of Chemistry and driver of ALPINAs - not necessarily in that order ;)
B3S Touring (49/116) - been to the moon and now on the way back!
Renault Grand Espace - not mine but the wife's!

srichards
Posts: 5
Joined: Tue Apr 19, 2016 7:07 pm

Post by srichards » Tue Apr 26, 2016 1:15 pm

Sounds like it might a better idea to wait for another that's got a better history then. Seatbelt felt bit slack and the airbag warning light came on during the test drive so I think it might be one to walk away from. Shame as it's such a looker!

User avatar
v8 ego
ALPINA
ALPINA
Posts: 1766
Joined: Sat Nov 20, 2004 10:27 am
Location: Essex, UK
Contact:

Post by v8 ego » Tue Apr 26, 2016 1:21 pm

Do you have any details on the car for sale or a link so that other prospective buyers are aware?
Regards,

James

2012 BMW 520d ED (Gave it back)
2011 BMW 535d GT SE
2008 BMW 730d SE (SOLD)
2007 BMW X5 3.0d SE (SOLD)
2007 D3 Touring 166 (SOLD)
2005 BMW 750i Sport (SOLD)
2005 BMW 730d Sport (SOLD)
2001 B10 V8 Touring 012/1 (SOLD)
2001 B10 V8 saloon 044/1 (SOLD)
1999 BMW 750iL (SOLD)
1997 BMW 750iL (SOLD)

rc944
ALPINA
ALPINA
Posts: 806
Joined: Sun Sep 01, 2013 7:21 pm
Location: London / Bucks

Post by rc944 » Tue Apr 26, 2016 1:40 pm

srichards wrote:
Alpinas appeal because they seem to last and I'm hoping alpina will support their cars for a long time. A lot of manufacturers seem to give up once any car is about 8.

Suspension may not last to 100k as my local roads are appalling :shock:
alpina parts are expensive esp springs, shocks, transmission and exhaust and there is often a lead time on supply and used parts are scarce. otherwise its normal e46 parts bin for most of them
Alpina E46 B3s Coupe
E39 525i Sport Touring (again)
Ducati 748R
E39 525i Sport Touring (sold)
E46 330i Sport Touring (sold)
Porsche 964, 968 CS, 944 S2 (sold)
VW Mk4 R32 (sold)

rc944
ALPINA
ALPINA
Posts: 806
Joined: Sun Sep 01, 2013 7:21 pm
Location: London / Bucks

Post by rc944 » Tue Apr 26, 2016 1:41 pm

srichards wrote:Sounds like it might a better idea to wait for another that's got a better history then. Seatbelt felt bit slack and the airbag warning light came on during the test drive so I think it might be one to walk away from. Shame as it's such a looker!
thats not such a bad list of things to address and there are numerous non critical causes for the airbag light
Alpina E46 B3s Coupe
E39 525i Sport Touring (again)
Ducati 748R
E39 525i Sport Touring (sold)
E46 330i Sport Touring (sold)
Porsche 964, 968 CS, 944 S2 (sold)
VW Mk4 R32 (sold)

rc944
ALPINA
ALPINA
Posts: 806
Joined: Sun Sep 01, 2013 7:21 pm
Location: London / Bucks

Post by rc944 » Tue Apr 26, 2016 1:44 pm

Alpina E46 B3s Coupe
E39 525i Sport Touring (again)
Ducati 748R
E39 525i Sport Touring (sold)
E46 330i Sport Touring (sold)
Porsche 964, 968 CS, 944 S2 (sold)
VW Mk4 R32 (sold)

srichards
Posts: 5
Joined: Tue Apr 19, 2016 7:07 pm

Post by srichards » Tue Apr 26, 2016 2:03 pm

rc944 wrote:http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/2015-02-BMW-A ... Sw-tNXHqmJ

some rather naff trim 'mods'
That's the one I was looking at. It was at 8495 when I looked at it. It's got the angel eyes conversion.

It also had two minor accidents last year so that again makes me wonder whether poor accident repair might have contributed to air bag light being on.

Post Reply