Alpina B3 3.3

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Alpina B3 3.3

Post by puck_productions@yahoo.co » Thu Mar 03, 2016 8:11 pm

Dear All,

I am considering buying an E46 2001 Alpina B3 3.3 with about 140,000miles on the clock from within Europe. It has full service history and looks in good condition from countless photos, but I don't know what GOES WRONG with this model with highish mileage?

I rang Sytners for some help and was told that they burn oil and really need an engine rebuild at 150,000miles. I know that all E46's suffered with rusting wheelarches inc this car and suspension bushes take a pounding. Therefore, the road Powerflex polybushes make great sense and cost around £600 for the complete lot.

Please can members enlighten me of problems and expected costs to rectify.

Many thanks, Shark Nose

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B3 3.3

Post by Kentish man » Thu Mar 03, 2016 9:05 pm

All I can suggest for this model is do what I've done.When you refill the oil use a good quality 10w 60.My consumption has reduced from 400 miles per litre to 1000 miles per litre.
All the other problems arise with any old car with that mileage.

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Post by Charles » Thu Mar 03, 2016 9:18 pm

I have a 2003 B3S with 272,000 miles - so they do keep going!

Your model is pre-facelift but, from what I can tell, this didn't add much in terms of further reliability.

The oil comment from Sytner isn't terribly helpful. There were a batch of 3.3 engines c2000 MY that had an oil problem but, generally, the 3.3 isn't too thirsty - using a litre of oil every 1500 - 2000 miles (which is within ALPINA tolerance). OEM oil spec is 0W-30 but some members here have changed to 5W-40 or even 10W-60 too overcome oil usage.

The 3.4 engine eats head gaskets but there are very few reports of 3.3 HG issues. If it does go though - and if there is an oil problem - then it would be worth considering changing the piston rings. However, I am still on the original rings on four of the cylinders - with the other two pistons having been changed due to damage to the faces - and I enjoy more than 3000 miles per litre of oil. A HG for the 3.3 is about £180 (compared to £430 for the 3.4!!!) so the biggest cost in a HG change is the labour. Budget for £1200 with a good Indie and you should be OK.

I would agree about bushes, which is why I have gone over to poly ones - and very pleased I am too. As for the standard E46 issues - these will always be there whether it is a 328i or a B3 - so do your research and cost accordingly.

Brake life is good - I get 50k from the fronts and almost 100k from the rears - with replacement items priced at BMW levels. Tyre wear is reasonable too - I expect 20k miles from the fronts and 40k from the rears on Michelin rubber.

At 140k miles, you will need to take a look at the dampers. The springs should be fine - I'm on the original ones - but dampers will need to be changed. The ALPINA spec ones are pricey but members here have gone over to B6 Bilsteins (including me) at about £600 all-in, rather than nearer £1200 for OEM ones. The difference is minimal.

If the service history is sound and you are happy with the look and feel, then there really isn't too much to worry about. Mileage is just a number if provenance and servicing are sound. Prices in the UK for good condition 3.3 cars are in the region of £6000 - £8000 for saloon, coupe and cab - with Tourings commanding a premium.

Hope this helps
Charles
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Post by hap » Thu Mar 03, 2016 10:25 pm

Plenty of b3 in the uk with less miles
Got a link to car?
are u after a coupe saloon cabrio ?

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Post by Dans » Fri Mar 04, 2016 12:18 am

I had one for a while, lovely cars, the main issues I had you have identified - bushes and oil consumption, the only other thing that can go and is a pain is the alpina-specific vacuum pump which costs about £800 from memory, but has to be specially ordered from alpina as it's not a BMW part.

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Post by polynesian2 » Fri Mar 04, 2016 1:40 am

Dans wrote:the only other thing that can go and is a pain is the alpina-specific vacuum pump which costs about £800 from memory, but has to be specially ordered from alpina as it's not a BMW part.
Can you say a little more about that? Is it the black cylinder under the intake manifold, or something else? Thanks!
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Post by Charles » Fri Mar 04, 2016 2:10 am

polynesian2 wrote:
Dans wrote:the only other thing that can go and is a pain is the alpina-specific vacuum pump which costs about £800 from memory, but has to be specially ordered from alpina as it's not a BMW part.
Can you say a little more about that? Is it the black cylinder under the intake manifold, or something else? Thanks!
That's the one but its not strictly true that it has to come from ALPINA.

The part is made by Piersburg and is also fitted in a variety of different cars - Volvo V40 and a particular Renault to name but two from memory. If you can locate the Piersburg model details then you should be able to find the part numbers for the Volvo and/or Renault which are considerably cheaper.

That said, mine has not worked for quite a while and apart from making the brakes difficult to apply when starting up from cold for the first 30 seconds or so, makes little difference to performance after that.
Charles
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Post by Elan » Fri Mar 04, 2016 11:26 am

I had a bit of oil consumption on my B3 but that was cured when I replaced the crank ventilation valve (CVV?). I have also started using 5W-40.

I think it may also be a good idea to check the gearbox and torque converter. It cost a few grand to get mine refurbished!
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Post by sat82 » Tue Mar 08, 2016 3:21 pm

Hi,

I’ve got a 2003 B3 3.3 Saloon which has just turned 103,000 miles over the weekend. Not particularly high mileage but still a fair amount. Owned it for a little of two years now and run it every day.

I agree with most of the items that the guys have posted so far. Oil consumption tends to be the most common talked about with these engines. I’ve only ever used Castrol 0w30 fully synthetic in my engine and between oil changes I put in about 1 litre per 1000-1200 miles, so not too bad. I think the later 3.3’s were slightly better than the earlier ones.

Front control arms and the control arm bushes are a problem. I changed my bushes a few months after I got my car, used Lemforder ones, but was shocked when the nearside one failed after one year! So my cousin who is an Independent BMW specialist recommended upgrading them to Powerflex – which I did and they are excellent and are also cheaper than the OEM Lemforder ones! I also changed the control arms as they had slight play in the balljoints.

Have to agree about the shock absorbers, my rear ones need changing. The offside is leaking and causing the car to sag. Got a quote from BMW for genuine ALPINA items, which come in at £195.56 +VAT each, (Part number: 33 52 118) so I’ll be ordering them and putting those on next month. Coil springs are a bit cheaper, £142 +VAT each (Part number: 33 53 113).

Make sure your expansion bottle has been changed, my failed with a hairline crack at just over 100,000 miles, just shy of two months when it was due to be changed with my Inspection II service, and one day before the Gaydon BMW show last year, so I couldn’t drive up there!

Few other things but these are not specific to ALPINA, the window regulators and door membranes/vapor barriers should be changed, they tend to fail at around the 100,000 mile mark. Done three of my doors already.

Overall I enjoy the ownership of the B3, it’s an awesome car to drive on a daily basis.

Anyway, that’s enough from me, hope this helps.
Sat

B3 3.3 Saloon #540
Polo GTI

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Post by Dans » Tue Mar 08, 2016 4:07 pm

polynesian2 wrote:
Dans wrote:the only other thing that can go and is a pain is the alpina-specific vacuum pump which costs about £800 from memory, but has to be specially ordered from alpina as it's not a BMW part.
Can you say a little more about that? Is it the black cylinder under the intake manifold, or something else? Thanks!
I don't know I'm afraid. I just pay the bill... ;)

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Post by jolls » Tue Mar 08, 2016 4:19 pm

sat82, just a word of caution regarding the quote you've got from BMW for your rear shocks. The part numbers are correct. At that price I don't think they are genuine Alpina shocks BUT if they are it seems a bargain. Many B3 owners use these: http://www.easier.com/117342-bilstein-a ... 6-e46.html as an aftermarket alternative.

Please let us all know how you get on. Thanks.
B3 E46 no.265

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Post by ALPB1033 » Tue Mar 08, 2016 5:32 pm

They quoted me £350 +vat each i.e. £420 each. 2 yrs ago passed through the factory, got them there around £450(523.60 euro) for 2. Paid immediately without thinking. Nearly buy one get one free. :D

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Post by sat82 » Tue Mar 08, 2016 5:33 pm

jolls - many thanks for the heads up and the link you posted. Yes I got those quotes from BMW Berry, Brentford. I assumed they were the original ALPINA ones at that price! But I will double check with them if they are.

In relation to the Bilstein alternatives, I've heard good things about them but I wanted to keep the car original. What do you think, shall I consider the Bilsteins?

Thanks again...
Sat

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Polo GTI

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Post by jolls » Tue Mar 08, 2016 5:59 pm

sat82 wrote:jolls - many thanks for the heads up and the link you posted. Yes I got those quotes from BMW Berry, Brentford. I assumed they were the original ALPINA ones at that price! But I will double check with them if they are.

In relation to the Bilstein alternatives, I've heard good things about them but I wanted to keep the car original. What do you think, shall I consider the Bilsteins?

Thanks again...
Thanks for the reply. In my opinion in most cases it always best to go original. If you can get the genuine Alpina shocks at the price quoted I would go for them.
B3 E46 no.265

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Post by sat82 » Tue Mar 08, 2016 6:39 pm

Ok thanks jolls, original is the way I want to keep it. When I come to order the shocks I'll let you know of the price and confirm if that is for the genuine parts.
Sat

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Polo GTI

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