By on February 12, 2014

Matthew writes:

So I have a beautiful Topaz Blue 2001 BMW 325Ci with the sport package and Steptronic automatic. It has 226,000 miles but the tranny was rebuilt 19,000 miles earlier (warranty is good for 24,000), the shocks were updated with Koni FSD’s (installed myself) and some fresh Goodyear Eagle F1 Asymmetric tires were added over the summer soon after the shocks. I spent well over $4000 on the car in the last nine months alone.

I hit a deer, crumpling the hood, right front headlight, radiator core support, radiator, etc, above the bumper. Insurance totaled it, so to repair I would have to give back $900 salvage value of the $5100 due me (post-deductible with some taken off for the high mileage) and repair the car with the $4200 remaining. Body shop says it can be done for $4000 with everything except the front bumper, which is intact save for 12 years of stone chips.

In the New York metro area (I live on Long Island), $5100 or slightly more will get you a nice 330Ci sport of equivalent vintage, an E39 530/540i M package or even a 740i sport with nearly 100k less mileage. Even a 2004 Jaguar XJ8 that needs a new nav/stereo/HVAC unit goes for $5500, and the unit can be had for $350 on eBay. Only problem is I don’t trust automatic transmissions after getting burned for $3000 on the last one, even though it held up for 207k. And even then, only reverse gear went out. Still required a rebuild, but could be driven to the shop.

So do I walk away from the car I know or roll the dice on something else?

Sajeev answers:

The question is: do you actually like this 3-series?

Or perhaps…do you like it more than the alternatives mentioned?

Your 3-series sounds easily repairable, and this platform is cheaper/easier to keep running compared to the E39, E38 and the Jaguar too.  I mean, none of these machines are an Accord…but you already knew that. And don’t care about keeping a fully depreciated, executive European machine up and running. So what should you do?

Not an easy question, mostly because of mileage.  I normally suggest to stick with the problems you know, as all of your choices are a huge financial gamble. But again, those 226,000 miles. But still, E38 BMW?  Come on, I love the E38 in theory, but you don’t hate your wallet/mobility that much…do you?

Enjoy a few more years with Topaz Blue, see if anything else attracts your attention next time fate puts you in a complicated position.

 

Send your queries to sajeev@thetruthaboutcars.com. Spare no details and ask for a speedy resolution if you’re in a hurry…but be realistic, and use your make/model specific forums instead of TTAC for more timely advice.

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69 Comments on “Piston Slap: Singin’ the Topaz Blues?...”


  • avatar
    highrpm

    If this were my car, I would fix it myself. The parts you mention are all easy to remove and swap. I just looked on car-parts.com and a hood is about $250 in color. Headlights, radiators, and other small parts are laughably cheap on Ebay (we’re talking $60 for a Chinese radiator or headlight).

    You can put this car back together for less than $500. If you are unsure of how to remove parts like that core support, visit the bimmerforums.com website. They have step-by-step repairs for nearly everything on there.

  • avatar
    Halftruth

    Take the money and be done with it. Who knows what other things might give you trouble after things were shaken up. Cut the cord and take the cash.

    • 0 avatar
      racebeer

      +1 on that, Halftruth. I’ve had 2 cars repaired after fairly major collisions, and everything was great for about 4 months. Then the little things would start to go wrong, and they just nickeled and dimed me to death. Smart move is to dump it and move on.

  • avatar
    danio3834

    Feels burned by an automatic transmission that lasted over 200k miles? People have some expectations!

    If you want my opinion, the car being totaled out is a blessing in disguise. You got $5100 for a car that you’d have a very hard time selling for that price if it weren’t damaged. I say buy another one with lower mileage, AND buy the old car back as a parts car. That way you still have your rebuilt trans on hand should you need it, along with just about everything else.

    • 0 avatar
      prabal34

      +1 If you love your 3 series then get another low mileage one and keep this as a parts car. The older a car gets the harder (and more expensive) it is to find parts.

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      This. Nobody in dey rite minde is gonna pay $5100 for an old, tired 3-Coupe. You did well, walk away and get something else.

      But not an 04 XJ, as that was the first year of the restyling, and there were numerous line assembly issues. I wouldn’t touch one of those XJs before 06.

      And not a 7-Series either, the OP sounds too cheap for that.

      • 0 avatar
        PrincipalDan

        Man if someone could show that a 05, 06, 07, 08 XJ 4.2 sedan was as reliable as the average sedan built during those years, I’d be all over one. Love that styling. But sadly the last time I checked True Delta their weren’t enough registered owners to say their was a real world sample size.

        I’ve read the forums and I know forums don’t represent the real world but the Jag Forums are much scarier for the severity of the things that go wrong.

        • 0 avatar
          CoreyDL

          I know, I wanted to consider one too before my GS purchase a while ago. I just couldn’t make it stick in my mind that it’d work to have only one car, and that one car be an XJ (and still remain employed).

          And for the same money, the A8L is a safer, less expensive option.

        • 0 avatar
          Kyree S. Williams

          The XJ couldn’t have been any worse than the E65 7-Series—which debuted a whole arsenal of new technology that was very much undercooked—or the W221 S-Class. And of course you’d expect to see lower reliability on a flagship European sedan than you would on the “average sedan”, e.g. Camry.

    • 0 avatar
      sproc

      Definitely this, if he can. With 226K and a fair settlement, I would run not walk away from this car.

      Not everybody has the luxury of extra garage/driveway space to keep a hangar queen, though (not to mention a spouse who would tolerate it…)

      • 0 avatar
        danio3834

        “Not everybody has the luxury of extra garage/driveway space to keep a hangar queen, though (not to mention a spouse who would tolerate it…)”

        This is true. I’m just thinking from my perspective I guess. Since it’s fairly obvious the OP really likes this 3 series, and the chances are high he’ll get another one, buying his complete parts car for $900 would be screaming deal if he can manage it. It’ a creaming deal considering the rebuilt trans and the other odds and ends that would cost him a fortune if bought separately.

  • avatar
    highrpm

    @Halftruth, the OP’s description seems to indicate only light damage. The bumper did not get hit, and the bags did not deploy.

    But anyway, if you are worried about long term issues, then consider fixing the car and reselling it. Right now you will collect $4200 if you keep the car. I assumed $500 to fix it which leaves you with $3700. You can sell if for $5100(?) using the insurance estimate.

    So you sell it and have an additional $3700 from the insurance money, or $8800 to work with for you next car. Suddenly you have much nicer options for your next car!

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    Tough question. Personally I’m not trusting any of those other cars as a DD, either fix the 01 BMW because you “know” the car or take the money and put a down-payment on something CPO and reliable.

    • 0 avatar
      danio3834

      226k miles is a lot of wear and tear, on everything. Reinvesting big money into cosmetics on a car that is likely to have other significant repairs on the future doesn’t seem like the best choice. Take the payout and reset the clock by getting a lower mileage/newer version.

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        I can’t imagine how tired the thing looks with those miles. I think the OP is just sadface because he spent so much extra money on things which don’t matter to resale value – and then crashed it.

        • 0 avatar
          krhodes1

          Why would it look tired? I have had German cars with more than 300k that looked perfectly presentable. Properly maintained, 200k is barely broken in.

          I say buy it back, fix it, and run the wheels off it. Negotiate to avoid the salvage title if possible. Though at this point in the cars life, it doesn’t mean much.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            I don’t think it has really been very maintained from how he talks, it’s got rock chips and etc. He drives it daily – not a cream puff!

            It’s been declared totaled by the insurance company, you cannot legally avoid the salvage title.

          • 0 avatar
            krhodes1

            Sure you can. That is quite negotiable. You will get a smaller payout.

            My less than one year old car has rock chips, they are inevitable in the Northeast. Doesn’t mean the car isn’t still in quite nice condition.

  • avatar
    dswilly

    Those crappy German cars! Leaving you in a dilemma like this. Still enjoyable and running at 200k+. Auto tranny went the distance too. If this was about a Honda the answer would be easy, scrap it.

    • 0 avatar
      noxioux

      Yeah, 226,000 miles and all he had to do was spend nearly what the car is worth on repairs.

      $5,600 car + $4,000+ in repairs in a 9 month period = GERMAN CAR FAIL

      • 0 avatar
        Boxer2500

        How is that a knock against German cars? Any automatic transmission will be tired by 200,000 miles and some struggle to make it to 100,000 (some of TTAC’s beloved Hondas come to mind). That $4000 figure also includes new aftermarket shocks and high performance tires, which are considered wear items on every car in the known universe.

        I prefer to see it as a $35,000 car which needed $4000 in maintenance after 12+ years of service. Considering that BMW no longer makes driver’s cars like the E46, I consider that a worthwhile investment in keeping an enjoyable machine on the road.

        • 0 avatar
          Kyree S. Williams

          I’m with you on that one. Besides, if you really love something—as the letter-writer obviously loves his Bimmer—the cost vs. monetary worth proposition isn’t always the deciding factor. I also agree that you should take the issues you know over the ones you don’t. If the cited issues are really it—and if he didn’t bend the frame or something—I’d recommend putting it back on the road. It probably won’t cost $4K to do so, either.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    This OP sounds like someone who truly wants a drivers car and is willing to put up with little issues. If the OP is not then seek something vanilla and safe.

    However if you want fun and cheap the X-type small Jags I’ve heard are not as unreliable as the naysayers say. Especially toward the end of production. Get the V6 AWD and have fun.

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      If you can live with how the later X-Type looked, then go for it! The “shrunk and cheapened the XJ” interior really puts me off.

      Maybe he can find an X-Type estate. I’ve seen ONE.

    • 0 avatar

      Man, i’ve heard horror stories about the X Type. Everyone’s mileage may vary though. Mostly related to the transfer case and axles.

      • 0 avatar
        ellomdian

        X-Types are fine – the transfer case can be an issue, but many of them were replaced under first-owner warranty. The big issue is finding someone who will sell you their Ford Mondeo at Ford Mondeo prices. The leather is not bad, but every other touch surface in the car will make you cringe. The V-6 is nice though. I know there is a lot of exhaust trickery to make it sound meaner than it is, but it is a very nice highway engine.

        Having said that, I think the OP should run as fast as possible away from the 3. High mileage/documented accident damage means your resale is non-existent. It is possible to find an e39 with a manual in decent shape for the ~$5-7k you sound like you are looking to spend, but stick to the 6-cylinder – 540i’s are VERY fast cars, but the maintenance difference is astronomical if you do your own wrenching.

        But above all else, do not buy a e38. They are great looking cars that have a wonderful highway ride and are very nice driver’s cars (for their weight,) but you will bankrupt yourself fixing it, and they are effectively toast at 150k.

        • 0 avatar
          CoreyDL

          Isn’t it just the Taurus 3.0L?

          • 0 avatar
            ellomdian

            It’s actually a special variant of the Duratec, with direct-mechanical tappets. Its the same engine they used in the LS. It’s got VVT and a 4-valve head.

            In the Jag, it’s good for ~30 more hp and ~15 more ft/lb.

            To be fair, the X-type is a reasonably bespoke car considering it’s origins – but I don’t think that’s really an upside on the secondary market.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            “Its the same engine they used in the LS”

            This would already have me uneasy.

          • 0 avatar
            PrincipalDan

            I’ve always heard the V6 in the LS was OK, it was the tiny 3.8ltr V8 that was the one to watch out for.

          • 0 avatar
            NoGoYo

            I thought the problem with the LS was the wacky 3.9 V8 that was only used in the LS and Thunderbird…

  • avatar
    Zykotec

    I’d say buy the wreck, and keep it for spares/strip it for spares. An almost freshy rebuilt transmission, and the Konis will probably be worth more than 900 bucks, and there are always other small parts you can use on your next E46.

    • 0 avatar
      boomhauer

      +1 on stripping the wreck himself. If he parted it out, he could easily recover his out of pocket for the $900 and probably pull in another $2k atop it all for straight doors, unbroken glass, etc. Selling the bare frame for scrap would net at least $300.

      Put that and the other insurance $$ toward a lower mileage car is the way to go.

  • avatar
    bikephil

    I would have run away from this car before ever buying it.

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      In his defense, this was the best combination of modern 3-Series styling + coupe.

    • 0 avatar

      yes, because all BMW’s are terribly unreliable heaps of crap that blow up past 150k and cost a fortune to maintain.

      *Waves from driver’s seat of perfectly running cheap to maintain ’97 328i 5-speed sedan with 205,000 miles, as I pass a 98-02 Accord with a blown transmission on the shoulder*

      The anti-european slant on this site is hilarious at times, people spouting the same crap everyone tells them without having any actual experience or knowledge on the subject.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        More anti-German than anti-European.

        • 0 avatar
          Kyree S. Williams

          “More anti-German than anti-European.”

          This. People always seem willing to put up with British car quirks—even the ones that have Lucas electrics.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Swedish ones generally don’t get as much hate, either.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            That’s because they’re less prevalent than zee Germans. Also, they don’t HAVE but one make any more. AND, they don’t have full-size luxury offerings. Not since the 940 and 9000. And those were barely full-size.

      • 0 avatar
        NeinNeinNein

        Yes, the anti-German fever is higher here for sure. It comes from people who fit one of the following profiles:
        1. value a virtually trouble free automotive experience
        2. cannot afford repairs on a car that exceed just a minimum amount
        3. are cheap
        4. cannot fix their own cars beyond perhaps oil/air filter changes
        5. have class envy or something weird about people who drive German
        6. dont care about handling/driving experience –for many reasons

        The people who drive them fit the following profiles:
        1. those who value speed and handling
        2. want a certain look to their vehicle–exterior and interior
        3. have lots of $$ to burn on dealer repairs
        4. are young and Euro use cars as a personal outlet for expression
        5. are middle aged to older and value a quality built product
        6. dont value their time or $$ for repairs

        Cars are different things to different people. Some people who drive Euro cars care not about clothes and other trappings where a value consumer who drives a souless econo-box might value new shoes and quality suits.

        After driving econobox ToyoHundaiHonda cars and now driving a wonderful Audi A4 for the last 50K–I could hardly ever go back. I just couldnt roll like that anymore.

        As for the OP, Id buy back the car for $900 and part it out if you have the time and energy–or put those parts back into another E46–which save for the transmissions (I think they were GM made unless its a ZF unit) and some cooling components are great cars-very easy to work on.

        • 0 avatar
          Kevin Jaeger

          Yeah, there seems to be a lot of envy and resentment. I remember being poor and suffering through crapboxes. I didn’t resent people with nicer cars back then, I aspired to be able to afford them one day.

          And now I finally enjoy having a nice family fleet.

          Dissing the E46 is just ridiculous. It was as durable as almost any car made.

          • 0 avatar
            ajla

            “a lot of envy and resentment.”

            VWs usually get the most heat on the internet and those are hardly luxury items.

        • 0 avatar
          jeffzekas

          Re NeinNeinNein: Not anti-German fever, but anti stupidity-as in “throw good money after bad”. As for your “profile”:
          1. I DO value a virtually trouble free automotive experience- compared to $4,000/yr for constant breakdowns, usually at 3am in a town with no BMW specialist (many independents refuse to work on Bimmers- any guesses as to why this is so?)
          2. I CAN afford repairs on these car. But SHOULD I spent $4,000 on a piece of metal, or take my wife to Paris? Answer: We’re going to Paris.
          3. Not cheap, just sensible. My dad was a multimillionaire, and he swore off BMW’s many years ago. Why? “What a waste of my hard earned cash!” He stayed with Cadillacs until he died.
          4. I can fix my own cars, but I like spending my free time reading or walking or being with my wife- different strokes for different folks.
          5. I don’t have class envy- I grew up in Santa Monica, my dad is a doctor, my mom was a computer programmer. And no, I have nothing weird about people who drive German cars- my grandfather was German (and an engineer) and, guess what? He drove GM products!
          6. I DO care about handling/driving experience –which is why I love the Miata and the scooter in my driveway! Cheap and fun is my motto.

          The people who drive BMW’s seem to fit the following profiles:
          1. those who the value the IMAGE of speed and handling, but drive like old ladies or else act like total wankers whilst driving.
          2. want a certain look to their vehicle– exterior and interior- mainly to impress other fanboys.
          3. have lots of $$ to burn on needless and frequent dealer repairs
          4. are young and Euro ad use cars to impress others
          5. are middle aged to older and value the image of a “quality” built product, but instead, end up with one that breaks down all the time.
          6. don’t value their time or $$ for repairs

          Cars ARE different things to different people. Some people who drive Euro cars are very much about “image” and about clothes and other trappings. Those who drive a “souless” econobox value a good deal and are tired of drama. After marrying and divorcing a supermodel, it’s nice to have the girl next door as your long term spouse.

          I am glad you have enjoyed your Audi A4 for the last 50K– get back to me after you cross 100,000 miles.

          As for the OP: walk away. You did well. BMW vehicles are insanely expensive but are for poseurs. You can have fun driving a Honda S2000 or Mazda Miata for 1/4 the cost. Consider this a learning experience and move on.

          • 0 avatar
            ajla

            “… he swore off BMW’s many years ago. Why? “What a waste of my hard earned cash!” He stayed with Cadillacs until he died.”

            I’ve been elbow deep in enough Cadillacs to find this an odd statement.

  • avatar
    Lie2me

    I would at least look into a E39 530i. I had one, without a doubt the finest sedan I’ve ever owned or driven for that matter. Even in stock form that I6 is sweet. The M5 is considered the perfect sports sedan in some circles, I’m sure for good reason. It’s a totally different experience then the 3 series

  • avatar
    mnm4ever

    This is a car you don’t want to pay pro rates to fix. I say keep it and fix it yourself, bargain shop the parts and any steps you can’t do yourself, like paint. Replacing it now with another similar car will just require another $4k n repairs eventually anyway. You can fix this one and I bet save yourself $3k.

  • avatar
    vvk

    > The question is: do you actually like this 3-series?

    What a silly question. The E46 is the greatest car that ever existed or will ever exist. There is absolutely nothing better than this. Well, except for E46 325iT with RWD and a manual gearbox.

    Question to the E46 guy: how do you like them Koni FSDs? I put Koni Sport (yellow) on my E46 and it has ruined the ride. Thinking of going back to OE dampers.

    I would take the money and sell the car as is. And buy something with lower mileage and a manual gearbox.

  • avatar
    seth1065

    Buy it back and use it as a parts car and get another one or buy it back and either part it out if you have the know how or sell it on the BMW forums as a parts car
    Someone who needs a tranny would pay more than 900 for it. A little pain I. The butt but you could make some extra cash. If it was me I would find some place to stash it Nd use it as a parts car , if he put the cash into this one he seems to like this type of BMW , good luck

    • 0 avatar
      thats one fast cat

      +1 to this. If you really like the three series, buy another with less mileage/use and strip off all of the goodies from the totaled car. You are going to end up with a WAY better car and have parts to boot. Go go gadget!

      • 0 avatar

        this. The 900 buyback leaves you with lots of spares, plus at least 1500 worth of shocks and probably a grand worth of good tires. Pick up a 330i manual sedan and swap the parts over, part the rest of the smacked up 325i, profit.

  • avatar
    PandaBear

    Remember, if you buy it back, you will get a salvage title car. You will not be able to sell it for that price if anything happen and want to get another car.

    So the option is clear, you can buy it back and repair it yourself, making it not perfect, with junk yard pulled parts and maybe a bit mismatch in paint fade on body parts.

    Or you can just walk away with the cash and start with something else that is of known reliability and still be what you like.

  • avatar
    iganpo

    Hey, that’s my car, almost! 2001 330Ci manual, but < 150K miles. Love the car, hate the upkeep. Costs way too much for parts and labor compared to Japanese and domestics. I save money by fixing most things myself, but it's like getting nibbled to death by a duck when every other month something new breaks. Pieces of the interior falling apart, window regulator fails, etc. I’d be hard pressed to find a car as good as this for $5k. But if I were you I’d take the insurance money and spend another $10K more to get something to enjoy for the next 100-200K miles.

  • avatar
    redliner

    Former XJR owner here… The HVAC/radio is the least of your worries. ALL 2004+ xj have CATS air suspension. By now, any 2004 XJ is just a time bomb when it comes to the air suspension. Leaking air supply lines, bad seals in the compressor, condensation in the system, bad height sensors, worn air springs… and it will cost you about ten times more too fix than the HVAC.

    Ohh, but what a smooth engine and perfect ride, long hood and timeless looks. My heart says yes, but my accountant says “Hell no!”

    • 0 avatar
      Kyree S. Williams

      I have a family friend with a 2005 XJL Vanden Plas—purchased new—and she and her husband have said that they are confined to their other car, a C6 Corvette Z06, every winter because the rubber seals in the air suspension contract too much and allow all of the air to escape. I don’t know how remediable that is (I can’t imagine a car like the XJ being essentially useless in the winter), but it certainly sounds legitimate…

  • avatar
    forzablu

    Am I the only one that saw the headline and was hoping for a column with a question from the Ford Tempo Fanatic regarding upgrading to a life of luxury and class in a Mercury Topaz?

    Regardless: Ditch the car, unless you’re going to get another E46 in which case if cost of Koni’s≥900 or so pull Koni’s/tires etc. and save, otherwise I can’t imagine it really being worth the hassle unless you are completely enamored with the car … in which case you’ve already made your decision.

  • avatar
    MK153

    I was in a similar situation about 2 yeas ago. I’ve got a 2001 e46 330ci in a stick with some Dinan mods and about 115k. Absolutely lovely car I hope lasts many many more years.

    My wife got T-boned in it – resulting in $5,800 in repairs. I figure the car then was worth $7-8k. I cannot believe the insurance company did not total it out. Maybe it’s because their adjuster guessed it was only $2,200 in repairs.

    Anyways – my suggestion would be to cut your losses. An automatic 325ci with 220k miles and a salvage title will be worth almost nothing – the check they are offering you is well over what you’d be able to get for it. I doubt I’d get that for mine with half the mileage and a more powerful motor.

    Take the check – find a lowish miles ZHP package car and enjoy the free (or cheap) upgrade. I can’t believe TTAC is recommending you fix that.

  • avatar
    ajla

    Might be too old for you, but the E24 is a fine car.

  • avatar
    jimbob457

    Take the money and run. Once a car has been hit hard, all sorts of things get shaken out of kilter. Mr. Friction often gets his chance right away, and he will take it post haste. If you choose to keep your blue beloved as a parts car (possibly a good plan for some), keep in mind you gotta store it somewhere.

  • avatar
    msquare

    Okay, folks, I’m the Original Poster. Thanks to everyone for their input. It was a real kick to see so many people thinking on the same wavelength, even if their conclusions varied.

    There was a slight time lag between sending in my original question and it being published, so I had to make a move in the meantime.

    The three cars I came down to each had some issue, which they would at this price point, but they were the best of the several similar cars I checked out, many of which had worse flaws. The XJ8’s nav unit turned out to be OK. Either that or it exhibited typical British car behavior by deciding to work again for no apparent reason. What turned me off was a slightly hard 1-2 shift on the tranny and a $600 additional insurance premium due to its harder-to-work-on aluminum construction. It sure wasn’t the performance because the E39 540i would have cost no more than the original 325. And yes, the 540 was a rocket. But it was an auction car and the shifter had a little bit of extraneous friction in it. Clean, though, and the full-size spare had never been used. I could have lived quite well with it.

    Even then, the Jag was a revelation. It rode like a magic carpet with little penalty in handling. Did I mention before that it was British Racing Green? In a different situation, I might have gone for it, air spring units be damned. Not cheap but a relatively easy bolt-in, certainly no worse than a MacPherson strut.

    The 540i and 330Ci needed new tires. Fine for the 330 because I could lift the Goodyears off the old car, but not so great because I would then be stuck with a dead BMW rotting in my driveway as it was being parted out. And the aftermarket H&R coil overs made it ride like a buckboard. Koni FSD’s are firm, to answer one question, but incredibly not harsh over sharp bumps. That’s why I chose them over the yellows or Bilsteins.

    I should be satisfied with the mileage I got out of the 325’s tranny, but bottom line, if it were a manual, the worst I would have had to deal with is a slipping clutch, and that costs a lot less than $3K to repair. My next car will definitely be a manual. Whatever it is. My record with automatics is dismal in that every one I’ve ever owned required a tranny rebuild at one point or another. I’ve never had to even replace a clutch on two MR2’s, a Miata or my previous car, an E36 328is.

    So you can guess what I ended up doing. Old Topaz Blue simply didn’t deserve to die. It’s an emotional decision for sure, but that happens when you work on a car yourself. It becomes part of you. Not having to spend an extra dime out of pocket was a bonus. I could have been out an extra grand on any of the other three cars once you tack on the sales tax on top of their particular needs. In this case, I came out a little bit ahead.

    I did have the shop do the work, but they relented on the bumper and threw that in. Came out gorgeous. And with so little internal damage, it’s like the accident never happened. I’m a pretty good wrench, but usually leave body work to the pros.

    The insurance company did an inspection and put comp and collision back on the car. No salvage title. Remember, they only totaled it because the repair was quoted at greater than 75 percent of the car’s value. Not that I plan on selling it off any time soon. Even if I did at its reduced worth, someone would be getting a bargain.

    Wish I could post a picture to show that this car was no heap before the accident and definitely not one now. I bought it at high mileage three years ago because a lot of the work it would have needed had already been done, kind of like it is now. It’s a car I enjoy driving, and I spend a lot of time in it. I drive about 24,000 miles per year on average. My main beef is the merely OK fuel economy at 21-24 mpg. Even the missing half-liter of displacement compared to a 330 is hardly a deal-breaker. Otherwise, it’s been the perfect car for the type of driving I do. I’ve always been fond of the BMW coupes, from the E9 to the present day. The E46 coupe I think has the best balance of old-BMW crispness while still looking modern.

    So I acted with my heart, probably because it didn’t conflict too much with my mind. And from the comments I received here, many of you feel the same way.

    • 0 avatar
      Halftruth

      Thanks for posting. Obviously, we here in internet land could not see face to face what you saw and knew about the car. Glad you kept it and that you are happy with the outcome. I’ll say you did well. Who knows, perhaps I would have done the same under similar circumstances.

    • 0 avatar
      Lie2me

      A good well-thought out conclusion that you can live with without regret. Enjoy your new old car


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