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Alpina B3 (E46) Questions

 
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Jakg



Joined: 30 Mar 2014
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 31, 2014 12:14 am    Post subject: Alpina B3 (E46) Questions Reply with quote

I've been thinking of a BMW E46 330i/330ci on LPG for my next car.

I've been looking exclusively at manuals as the automatics appear to have a pretty poor reputation.

I came across an Alpina B3 on eBay which looks very nice - http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/181359262704?ssPageName=STRK:MEWAX:IT&_trksid=p3984.m1423.l2649 (in the time waiting for my account to be activated, this car has now sold) - but the auto gearbox worries me.

Are these any better than the standard E46 items (i.e. not a guaranteed expensive failure)? Is there any Alpina B3-specific faults I should be aware of over the E46?
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Charles
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 31, 2014 8:39 am    Post subject: Re: Alpina B3 (E46) Questions Reply with quote

Jakg wrote:
Are these any better than the standard E46 items (i.e. not a guaranteed expensive failure)? Is there any Alpina B3-specific faults I should be aware of over the E46?

From personal experience, I can confirm that the B3S gearbox wears out after 190,000 miles. A quick replacement of the friction surfaces and a once-over of the valve box and they're as good as new Very Happy
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Kentish man
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 31, 2014 10:10 am    Post subject: Auto boxes Reply with quote

I've driven BMW's with auto boxes for 30 years and never had a single problem! Buy it and enjoy the freedom a switchtronic gives you.
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jonny320is
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 31, 2014 1:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I bought my B3 S with 50k on the clock. 4 years on and its now at 100k. In that time I have changed the gearbox oil twice and the torque convertor has been replaced (at about 85K, hence the second oil change), I don't think there's any getting round that, it just seems to be there life span.
Apart from that I have had no problems, still pulls fine and changes smoothly.

I think as with all things if you do the right maintenance when required (or sooner) and treat them with some mechanical sympathy (no changing between drive an reverse until the car has stopped moving) you should run pretty trouble free.

Of course you don't know how it would of been driven before you had it so at minimum I would change the oil, goes along way to preserving the gearbox.
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Jakg



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PostPosted: Mon Mar 31, 2014 6:05 pm    Post subject: Re: Alpina B3 (E46) Questions Reply with quote

Charles wrote:
Jakg wrote:
Are these any better than the standard E46 items (i.e. not a guaranteed expensive failure)? Is there any Alpina B3-specific faults I should be aware of over the E46?

From personal experience, I can confirm that the B3S gearbox wears out after 190,000 miles. A quick replacement of the friction surfaces and a once-over of the valve box and they're as good as new Very Happy
A lifespan of 190,000 doesn't sound *that* bad. How much is refurbishment?

By comparison I'd imagine that the clutch change, inc master / slave cylinder and DMF (worst case here) would be £1k and would likely of happened before then.

I've often seen e46 auto's advertised with recent £1.8k gearbox rebuilds after only 100k which is quite a lot more worrying.

(I should point out I have a small budget and do a high mileage so I'd be looking leggy examples)
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simon13
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 31, 2014 6:27 pm    Post subject: Re: Alpina B3 (E46) Questions Reply with quote

Jakg wrote:
Charles wrote:
Jakg wrote:
Are these any better than the standard E46 items (i.e. not a guaranteed expensive failure)? Is there any Alpina B3-specific faults I should be aware of over the E46?

From personal experience, I can confirm that the B3S gearbox wears out after 190,000 miles. A quick replacement of the friction surfaces and a once-over of the valve box and they're as good as new Very Happy
A lifespan of 190,000 doesn't sound *that* bad. How much is refurbishment?

By comparison I'd imagine that the clutch change, inc master / slave cylinder and DMF (worst case here) would be £1k and would likely of happened before then.

I've often seen e46 auto's advertised with recent £1.8k gearbox rebuilds after only 100k which is quite a lot more worrying.

(I should point out I have a small budget and do a high mileage so I'd be looking leggy examples)


thats partly due to no one chanigng the oil, because of the utter shite bmw spout about sealed for life!!
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Charles
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 31, 2014 7:17 pm    Post subject: Re: Alpina B3 (E46) Questions Reply with quote

Jakg wrote:
A lifespan of 190,000 doesn't sound *that* bad. How much is refurbishment?

I think it was about £1500 at my Indie who removed and reinstalled the box but the refurbishment was done by specialist that he uses regularly and involved bench testing the valve box and replacing the friction surfaces in the box itself.

I try and change the oil every 60k miles nowadays, despite the "sealed for life" advice. This isn't a complete change as the torque convertor holds a bit after a drain-down, but it makes a big difference nonetheless and should be part of your regular maintenance plans - particularly for a car with higher mileage.
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Charles
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shaziman
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 01, 2014 1:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If you want an E46 B3 in the UK, then it will have to be an Auto as they all are!
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Jakg



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PostPosted: Thu Jul 17, 2014 10:49 am    Post subject: Re: Alpina B3 (E46) Questions Reply with quote

Jakg wrote:
I came across an Alpina B3 on eBay which looks very nice - http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/181359262704?ssPageName=STRK:MEWAX:IT&_trksid=p3984.m1423.l2649 (in the time waiting for my account to be activated, this car has now sold) - but the auto gearbox worries me.
The car (#213, FE51 WKZ) came up for sale again, and so did all the "should I buy it" questions...

http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/2001-ALPINA-B3-3-3-330ci-325ci-330d-LPG-conversion-mint-bodywork-fsh-top-spec-/271550459189?pt=Automobiles_UK&hash=item3f39ab2d35

I think I've decided "no" for the following reasons:

Gearbox - With E46's it seems like it's a cause of "when" and not "if" the autobox grenades in expensive fashion. Fluid changes may help - but after 135k miles I've no security that it'll last forever or go bang tomorrow. But I still love the sound of an automated manual.

Engine - I love the sound of a 3.3 280HP straight 6 engine - but (from what I can see online) they like oil. Again, I don't know what the history of the car has been and it may of been left too long without being checked until it was running very dry. Also, I can see that the over-boring process has been linked to HGF etc (although this may just be the B3S model).

LPG - I do 17k a year, and I'm tight - I can't really justify spending £thousands more on fuel for a petrol, so LPG was what originally drew me to the car. But thinking about it, if the engine is already quite highly stressed, LPG is likely just to exacerbate the situation.

E46 - Underneath it's a 2001 E46. Which means the potential for rust (although this car says its ok) and rear subframe issues. Supposedly the later cars ironed this out a little - but with my budget I'm not going to get the facelifted E46 in Alpina trim.

Of course if my budget was slightly higher, and I could afford to take it on the chin if the box / hgf failed / wings go rusty then I'd probably be handing over the cash right now...
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