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    What about the BMW 325ti E46?

    I’m commending you on such a great magazine. It really covers what I feel are the cars most of us mere mortals aspire to or do own without having to sell our souls. I love the mix of makes and the direct comparisons that caused such debates when the cars were new in our youth. Indeed, you featured one of my cars (my glorious BMW 850CSi E31) and that issue has achieved cult status on my coffee table.

    I would like to draw your attention to a car you seem to have overlooked, unless I have missed an article somewhere. In fact, the only mention of it appeared two years ago where you tipped it for future stardom. I give you the BMW E46 Compact 325ti.

    It’s about time we looked at the BMW 325ti E46.

    / #BMW-325ti-Compact-E46/5 / #BMW-325ti-Compact-E46 / #BMW-325ti-E46/5 / #BMW-325ti-Compact / #BMW-E46/5 / #BMW / #BMW-E46 / #BMW-3-Series-E46 / #BMW-3-Series / #BMW-3-Series-E46/5
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  • Post is under moderation
    Compact queries / #BMW-325ti-Compact-E46 / #BMW-325ti-Compact / #BMW-325ti-E46 / #BMW-325ti / #BMW-3-Series / #BMW-3-Series-E46 / #BMW-E46 / #BMW-3-Series-Compact / #BMW-3-Series-Compact-E46 / #BMW /

    First of all, thank you for making such a great magazine every month! It must be a very busy job for such a small crew, but you are probably having a lot of fun too. I’ve certainly been enjoying reading every issue since buying my own BMW back in September 2007. My favourite sections are the Buying Guide, Longtermers and all the technical advice.

    The latter may have even saved me a lot of trouble, as I had the chain tensioner on my E46 316ti Compact replaced with the modified type after you wrote an article about it. I did not think there was anything wrong with mine but had it changed anyway and it cured the light chain rattle I occasionally heard on start-up after the car had been sitting for a couple of days. Who knows what might have happened if my tensioner hadn’t been replaced?

    This particular case also provided excellent proof of your expertise: my official BMW dealer did not know BMW modified the tensioner and I had to bring in your article to enable them to source the part with the part number you indicated.

    Most of the tech info in the mag is written by Mr Everett these days, I believe. He does not seem to like the E46 much but it’s very helpful reading his comments on what can go wrong with these cars. In recent issues he repeatedly mentioned the N42 engine has a lot of common problems.

    Personally I know of many, unfortunately from my own experience (oil leaks from vacuum pump, valve cover gasket and Vanos units, and oil separator) and from other sources (ignition coils, Valvetronic motor and eccentric shaft, and plastic chain guides). I was wondering if Mr. Everett could write a comprehensive article on all of the woes that can occur with the N42? I would highly appreciate this and hope and think it could be helpful to many other readers either driving N42-engined cars or looking into buying one. Quite a few are still around after all.

    In the September issue the Tech Focus section was about cooling systems. Very interesting, but it left me with some questions I am hoping you can answer. You advised to replace the radiator every 75,000 miles because the plastic housing tends to crack. Is wear on the cooling system mileagerelated or age-related? Or is it the number of heat cycles it has gone through? My #2002 E46 #BMW-316ti-Compact has 115,000km (approx 71,500 miles) on the odometer at the moment and it still has its original radiator. Would you advise to replace the radiator soon?

    And what about other parts of the cooling system? I already had the water pump and thermostat replaced as a precautionary measure a couple of years ago at about 80,000km (50,000 miles), because those are known to fail prematurely on many BMWs. Last but not least I had the coolant changed at least every five years as specified in BMW’s maintenance schedule. Do you think there is anything more one can do to maintain this everso-fragile cooling system?

    Well, this email got rather long and I hope I did not take too much of your valuable time. After all, you have a magazine to make, haven’t you? Just keep up that excellent work, please! Best regards from an enthusiastic BMW driver and BMW Car magazine reader.
    • Thanks for your kind words Marnix, and we’re glad you’re enjoying your Compact and the magazine. We’ve given some thought to running specific engine gThanks for your kind words Marnix, and we’re glad you’re enjoying your Compact and the magazine. We’ve given some thought to running specific engine guides and perhaps this is something we can commission Andy Everett to do – if this is an idea that comes to fruition we’ll ask him to start with the N42!

      As far as your cooling system is concerned you seem to be doing all the right things, especially replacing the water pump and thermostat as a precautionary measure. How long your radiator will last is a trickier question but they can start to clog as the mileage rises and the plastic parts become brittle with age and heat cycles. As your car has now covered nearly 75,000 miles we’d probably reckon on doing it sooner rather than later… it’s not a hugely costly item and it would be a major inconvenience if it failed on a cold wet night when you’re far from home.
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