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8 Reasons Not to buy a BMW E90

8 Reasons why you should not buy a BMW E90 3 Series.
This is an individual's advice about buying a BMW 3 Series E90.
The car in question was a 2006 E90 Saloon 318i with the N46 engine. When I bought the car it had a FULL BMW service history from Williams BMW in Liverpool, and every MOT had been carried out there.
1. Where do we start, within days of picking the car up (it was a private sale) i started to notice a whining/whirling noise, almost like the sound of a jet engine. I had originally put it down to the new brake pads bedding in, as they had just been fitted, but after a few days the jet engine noise was still there, and even seemed to be getting louder.
Had the car diagnosed at the local garage and the problem was the diff, which needed to either be replaced or reconditioned. The car had only covered 69k, and found it shocking that the diff would need to be replaced on a BMW 3 series after this short space of time. After a bit of reading online, a lot of other people had experienced the same thing, and some have reported a failing diff at around 50k... According to some forums, the materials used in the E90 units are a lot cheaper and was done to save costs at BMW (this is only forum talk, no idea how true this is)
The diff was reconditioned at a cost of £560. it cured the problem at first, but within 3 months the noise was back, and was even louder. So after 3 months of owning this car, I already hated it.
2. So while I was doing my daily drive, with the diff whine present in my ears, I heard a 'bong' out of nowhere. The engine warning light had illuminated on the dashboard Speedo area, typical I thought. So i used the C110 scan tool to diagnose the problem, hoping it would be something simple like a coil or o2 sensor. NOPE. The codes I got were 2A63 2A61 2A6B, all relating to the VVT motor. So this is a job where the top needs to come off the engine and have the valvetronic motor or VVT replaced at a cost of £390. All faults were cleared and the engine light was gone. The trouble is that it kept coming back on every 50 or so miles, with the same fault codes, so wither the workmanship was not good, or the part we used was not up to the job either. Having spent close to £1000 by this point i thought, I can live with just resetting the code & engine light for now until i did some further research.
3. About 4 weeks later i needed to nip to the cash point on a fairly uneventful Sunday afternoon. I started my car, for the 2nd time that day, and heard a horrible ripping noise, it seemed to settle down a little so I pulled off and as I started to drive, the exhaust sounded like it had 100 holes in it, and was terribly loud, I felt embarrassed, the car had a total lack of power and when dipping and raising the clutch, I could hear what I would imagine to be the sound of little metal pieces or glass crystals clinking together. Off for another diagnosis, and this time it was the timing chain, you know, the timing chain that does not snap, well, to be fait it didn't snap, but it had stretched, and skipped or missed a few cogs, and some parts had sheared off. So this was another £450 in parts and labour. I needed the car, so it had to be done. By this point I am well into the £1500 mark (or there abouts)
4. The boot space was terrible, and this item i will put down to my own stupidity, because i really should have checked. My previous daily driver was a Porsche 911 (which has been relegated to a weekend car and is mostly garaged) and I really wanted something that I could put the kids in, bikes in, buggy in and just go out for the day knowing we had everything on board. Well the rear seats do not fold down, so there went my idea of taking my bike out for the day in the back of the car, I am fully aware that bike racks can be bought for quite cheap, but that is not the point, the car is big enough to put 1 bike it, yet 1 bike cannot be fitted into the car, plus the rear door entrance space is very small.
5. I thought to myself that i would service the car, nothing special as it needed to be done, but i set about replacing the spark plugs, oil, oil filter and air filter. While the jobs are very easy for somebody who knows what they are doing, BMW seem to have designed the engine bay to make it very difficult for the amateur or at least put the amateur off from doing this themselves, because the amount of plastic and screws/bolts that need to be removed to gain access to the spark plugs & ignition coils was quite unreal, i had a garage floor full of plastic parts just to change a spark plug, every other car i have worked on simply required at most, an engine cover to be removed.
6. This is one thing that always bugged me, and could be related to the VVT motor, or one of the other many faults in the car, but even though it was a petrol, the car very much sounded like a diesel, when running, when at idle, and when staring and stopping the engine, it was very loud and tappety, just like a diesel. GRRR
7. This always happened without fail at least 3 to 4 times per week, but the interior would start to smell like burning oil, and this was not because of over revving the engine or anything like that, it was during standard and normal driving conditions. Cabin air filter was replaced incase this was a factor, but no - so I had to put up with the smell of burning oil as well.
8. After about 6 months of ownership, the car then developed the ability to cut out at junctions, and hesitate very badly and eventually stall when pulling away from a stand still. The whole car would start to shake and violently hurl you forward and back into your seat. To try and cure this the MAF was replaced, with an original Bosch part, we changed the MAF because we were getting fault codes relating to the MAF, but the engine light was not present at this stage. Again this was something i just learnt to live with.
I decided that i could not live with it for much longer in fact, and thought to myself, i paid nearly £6000 for the car, and nearly £2000 in parts and labour within 6 months, only to still be driving a car that whines, cuts out, hesitates, smells like burnt oil and has a dashboard that just loves to light itself up like a BMW Christmas tree, so why should I continue on this path, which the problem would only get worse. I ended up selling the car to one of these companies who come and buy your car, and was happy to give it one final F**K you as I walked past it for the final time after just transferring the car.
This confession, and letting go of the car was a huge weight off my mind, and i felt like a new man.
P.S - 1 week later I went and bought a Renault Clio 172 for £1600, the car is immaculate, drives perfectly, and has bags more power.
The moral of the story is, do not make your decision based on what I have wrote here, but simply check all of the above before you commit to buy the car, it is impossible to predict what is round the corner when buying a car, and I thought I was onto a good thing because of the FULL BMW service history, but that was not the case.
Thank you for taking the time to read this.
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