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Well im not even there yet, im currently in the process of selling my e46 3 series (deposit taken). ive been in love with the rotaries since i was a young teen and nows my chance with my insurance prices finally dropping. ive read through most of the stickies at the top of this forum and im pretty sure i can take care of one. 17.9mpg is a bit of a shocker but expected with the engine revving up to near 10k and producing almost nil low down torque. seeing as im in the market for one now almost im just curious as to what sort of one i should be after? with most of the 04's now out of warranty. and the 05's with all of about a year left what should i look for? shall i get an 05 with low mileage and hope for the best? im pretty mechanically inclined and not scared of working on the car myself.
Heres some pics of my current e46 that has served me well over the past few years.
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il definitely be getting a manual, no slushboxes for me. especially seeing as the one in the 8 is a 4 speed (feel free to correct me if im wrong) and my budget only allows me around £5000 for the car which will get me a nice 05 one at best 30k miles etc. the compression test also seems to be a bit of a pain for me as mazda dealers are even fewer and further apart that over in the u.s. any recommendations for this? yeah the e46 served me well, but its pretty underpowered/not sporty enough without mentioning getting a bit dated.
The other option, if your budget will allow, is finding an 8 with a low compression engine, buying it for ~half your budget and getting the engine rebuilt or a new engine in it's place for ~half your budget.
You would have to price things out for the UK, I know the exchange rate says that it should be doable, but there are other factors that could make for local adjustments. But, this way you end up with a fresh engine in it and only the other minor things to take care of over the subsequent years.
Thanks guys, its gonna be a bit of a ballache getting the compression test done, i wouldnt even know where to start besides a mazda dealer. Im most likely gonna be getting the car from a private sale too which will probably make it even more difficult. id do the engine swap myself but i no longer have the facilities to do so so it would be a massive pita. but il post away if i have any queries. i think 8 wins over the e46 in most ways i think, but hoping the guys on e46fanatics dont see that
Is the difference between the 04's and 0'5s just the starter motor then? which im pretty sure was recalled through mazda anyway?
1) The compression test will have to be done at a Mazda dealer, unless you can find someone else with a rotary compression tester. Analog testers off the shelf work fine for piston engines, but will not provide the 7 values needed for the rotary. You need 3 compression numbers per rotor, with a crank RPM
2) If you could do the swap yourself, then you can probably get an 8 for ~75% of your money and a reman for 25%, or 50% on the 8 and a top notch rebuild for 50%. Having a shop do it is viable, and more of what I was suggesting.
3) There were more differences than the starter, with the biggest difference being that the 2004s started with a really inferior ECU flash. The 2005s mostly started with a decent one, or the best/latest one. How much time the engine spent on that inferior flash is a playing factor. If you find a 2004 with an engine replaced in 2007 or later, you are probably safer, though not perfectly safe of course. The reman quality from 2004 through 2006 or so was terrible, and it only got a bit better into 2007, and apparently has continued to improve, but you can still get a reman that is dead on arrival.
4) The starter wasn't recalled. Recalls are mandatory. The starter was a TSB, meaning it was optional if the customer complained about it, and if they did, and were still under bumper to bumper warranty, then they would get a free one. If they didn't complain and/or weren't under the warranty, then it comes out of their wallet. Plenty of customers never took advantage of that while the warranty was valid.
Well i made my purchase, a late 2004 red 231 31k miles. great car so far, mpg is around what i expected and the power delivery is just so much better than my silly little 3 series. Im finding visibility slightly less but its no big issue. unfortunately as i said before it was near impossible to get it compression tested so i went for as low mileage as possible with full mazda service history. Went ahead and got the usual maintenance items as the car had just broke 30k got new coils, plugs, engine oil , transmission oil, diff oil and a decat pipe. Are leads a wise idea too? i noticed when doing the plugs and leads that there was some sort of white corrosion on the inside of the leads. if theres anything else im missing feel free to let me know, i wanna get this car in top working order before track day season starts.
Yes, leads (ie spark plug wires) is a good idea to replace, also.
And you really should get it over to a dealer for a compression test just to know where you stand in that regards before you start doing track days. Might be worth while to find out if your car has the most recent flash, also.