What’s an E46? Let’s turn to Wikipedia for a simple answer: The BMW E46 is the fourth generation of the 3 Series compact executive cars produced by BMW, produced from 1998 when it succeeded the BMW E36.

My sister bought a 2000 BMW 323i for my son’s graduation present. It turns out a friend of hers had the car since it was new, but it was having transmission problems and the cost to repair the E46 was going to be about $4,000.00. My sister and her husband own a business with a substantial fleet of vehicles, everything from heavy duty trucks, vans, Prius (Prii?), SUVs, and an M3. With that fleet, they have their own staff mechanic. So she bought the car and had the transmission replaced for about $2,000. A substantial savings and an effort that brought this car back to life. Sort of.

2000 323i

2000 BMW 323i – E46

Enter my 18 year old son and the recipient of my sister’s largesse. He’s a kid right? He had no idea of how to take care of a car properly. I think back to my 1979 Mazda GLC and how I discovered there was a brake problem when I heard something detach from the car and the brakes barely worked! I was a dumb 18 year old too. So, my boy really did a number to his E46. He constantly complained about how he “hated” the car. But it really turned out he simply didn’t understand what was going on with it when things stopped working.

My oldest decided it was time to move on with life and joined the United States Marine Corps and I inherited his now problem plagued car. I figured a little work here and there would be all it would take to get it back up to snuff. I was terribly, terribly wrong.

The following posts are going to chronicle the work of bringing this Ultimate Driving Machine back to the way it should be.