Potential new 130i owner - honest owners opinions?

Find out more about the BMW 1 Series E81, E82, E87, E88.
Manufactured from 2004 to 2013

Moderators: Lambster, Rich196, Producethis, marco_polo, babybmwadmin

Nyxeris
Too Much Time To Waste Member
Too Much Time To Waste Member
Posts: 2592
Joined: Sat Mar 30, 2019 3:49 pm

Re: Potential new 130i owner - honest owners opinions?

Post by Nyxeris »

ADG91 wrote: Tue May 04, 2021 10:50 am variable valve timing issues
No major issues with VANOS exist on the N52. They might be confusing it with the old M54 engine it replaced, which needed the VANOS rebuilding by 100k?

Solenoids can sometimes benefit from a clean if the car hasn't been regularly serviced and run hard once up to temp. They get clogged up with old oil and don't open properly, causing a slightly rough idle and poor responsiveness around 2-3k rpm. If you spend the whole time pootling at 30mph an italian tune-up on the weekend works wonders.

Even if they don't respond to cleaning, replacing is a 20min DIY job and there are now branded aftermarket solenoids available for under half the cost of BMW that seem much more reliable than the crap eBay jobbies from 5-10 years ago.
E81 130i | Build Thread
───────────────────────────
Click here for BabyBMW stickers!
narbles
Experienced Member
Experienced Member
Posts: 259
Joined: Wed Feb 13, 2019 5:40 pm

Re: Potential new 130i owner - honest owners opinions?

Post by narbles »

I've seen your thread on PistonHeads and you seem to be having real trouble going from the 130i to the CTR and back.

I also considered a CTR briefly when looking for my next car and glad I went back to a 130i (yes I'm one who regretted selling first time around). CTR FN2 prices have reduced while 130i prices have increased from what I can tell since I bought.

Ultimately you're buying an old but very capable car for not a lot of money and regardless of which car you go for, always plan for things to go wrong.

A lot of things on the N52 engine can be accomplished by a DIYer.

You're aware of the major pitfalls so just budget that in to your costs.

As for my history...

My previous 130i needed VANOS solenoids replacing which, as Nyxeris says, is an easy job and I only had to do these because the car had been left sitting around/doing short journeys by previous owner. My current 130i has not needed them doing and shows no sign of this as it has clearly been looked after better (I can tell because when I open the fuel filler cap, the gubbins underneath are lovely and clean compared to my previous 130i which was clearly quite gummed up).

Neither of my 130s needed the waterpump doing. I suspect it *might* have been done on my current one but there is no paperwork to back it up. Same with the old one. Just replace the coolant and you'll likely prolong its life anyway. Even if it does go, well you knew it could so you accept the relatively low cost of it (in the grand scheme of owning the car).

I've started putting my current 130 on the track and am finding brake components have needed replacing but these are really wear and tear items as far as I'm concerned.

And for the most cliched bit: what else can you get for your money that gives you a NA straight 6 with decent power and reasonable fuel consumption, rear wheel drive, manual, hydraulic steering (pre-face lift) in a reasonably light car? Nothing is the answer because I've really tried!

As for weight it's probably my only complaint about it but that is given I'm tracking it (as mentioned above). Mine weighs approx. 1400kg.

Anyway, as a "do it all" car, nothing comes close. Buy one already :D

P.S. my 130i is on 86k if that's helpful at all.
User avatar
CoupeSilver
Too Much Time To Waste Member
Too Much Time To Waste Member
Posts: 2021
Joined: Sat Aug 25, 2018 5:19 pm

Re: Potential new 130i owner - honest owners opinions?

Post by CoupeSilver »

Just my personal opinion, but i wouldn't buy any car that had been sat doing nothing for 3 years (although by the sounds of the above that seems to be suspect anyway, which is worse), except if it had been with a professional storage company that kept it in a controlled environment and regularly ran/maintained the car to keep it in good condition.
Titanium Silver E82 125i M-Sport Coupe (2011)
ADG91
Junior Member
Junior Member
Posts: 22
Joined: Sun May 02, 2021 9:24 pm

Re: Potential new 130i owner - honest owners opinions?

Post by ADG91 »

narbles wrote: Tue May 04, 2021 12:59 pm I've seen your thread on PistonHeads and you seem to be having real trouble going from the 130i to the CTR and back.

I also considered a CTR briefly when looking for my next car and glad I went back to a 130i (yes I'm one who regretted selling first time around). CTR FN2 prices have reduced while 130i prices have increased from what I can tell since I bought.

Ultimately you're buying an old but very capable car for not a lot of money and regardless of which car you go for, always plan for things to go wrong.

A lot of things on the N52 engine can be accomplished by a DIYer.

You're aware of the major pitfalls so just budget that in to your costs.

As for my history...

My previous 130i needed VANOS solenoids replacing which, as Nyxeris says, is an easy job and I only had to do these because the car had been left sitting around/doing short journeys by previous owner. My current 130i has not needed them doing and shows no sign of this as it has clearly been looked after better (I can tell because when I open the fuel filler cap, the gubbins underneath are lovely and clean compared to my previous 130i which was clearly quite gummed up).

Neither of my 130s needed the waterpump doing. I suspect it *might* have been done on my current one but there is no paperwork to back it up. Same with the old one. Just replace the coolant and you'll likely prolong its life anyway. Even if it does go, well you knew it could so you accept the relatively low cost of it (in the grand scheme of owning the car).

I've started putting my current 130 on the track and am finding brake components have needed replacing but these are really wear and tear items as far as I'm concerned.

And for the most cliched bit: what else can you get for your money that gives you a NA straight 6 with decent power and reasonable fuel consumption, rear wheel drive, manual, hydraulic steering (pre-face lift) in a reasonably light car? Nothing is the answer because I've really tried!

As for weight it's probably my only complaint about it but that is given I'm tracking it (as mentioned above). Mine weighs approx. 1400kg.

Anyway, as a "do it all" car, nothing comes close. Buy one already :D

P.S. my 130i is on 86k if that's helpful at all.

Yes I have flitted back and forth a number of times!! Im unfortunately very indecisive when it comes to cars as ive not had much luck in the past! Ive a few posts debating a certain car against another! :lol:
Its maddening! I even debated a supercharged CRZ but cannot seem to get this to make sense financially against other cars!

I think for every 10 people I encounter who say theyre great i see 1 or 2 who say i had X go wrong and cost me a lot (probably not helped by the fact im surrounded by people who swear by jap cars (was also stung by a VW Golf GTi!)
So am just a bit hesitant to make the jump from Honda....although havent had the smoothest run with my civic!

And yes any car sitting around for a long time does ring alarm bells! Im of firm belief that you can have too lower mileage. As soon as i make noises to anyone about looking at anything 75k plus, especially in an older Bmw im met with a few pained and concerned expressions!

The fact is though i cannot find anything post 2010 that really takes my fancy, let alone in budget. A gt86 being the big exception! Theyre holding their price well!
BmwRuss
Junior Member
Junior Member
Posts: 38
Joined: Tue Apr 17, 2018 5:20 pm

Re: Potential new 130i owner - honest owners opinions?

Post by BmwRuss »

I'd also suggest mate, try not to over think it. You'll always find people who have had problems with this or that car, it's just the way it goes.

I don't think you'll go wrong with a good BMW with N/A straight six as long as it's been fairly well looked after. I've known people who have Honda's and even they had a few problems. Second hand older cars = always a risk no matter what you get.

Just get something you think you'll enjoy and can sell on again if you're not that happy with it. As long as you get a good spec and it's well looked after you'll never have problems selling these sorts of cars on.
ADG91
Junior Member
Junior Member
Posts: 22
Joined: Sun May 02, 2021 9:24 pm

Re: Potential new 130i owner - honest owners opinions?

Post by ADG91 »

BmwRuss wrote: Tue May 04, 2021 7:47 pm I'd also suggest mate, try not to over think it. You'll always find people who have had problems with this or that car, it's just the way it goes.

I don't think you'll go wrong with a good BMW with N/A straight six as long as it's been fairly well looked after. I've known people who have Honda's and even they had a few problems. Second hand older cars = always a risk no matter what you get.

Just get something you think you'll enjoy and can sell on again if you're not that happy with it. As long as you get a good spec and it's well looked after you'll never have problems selling these sorts of cars on.
This is true! At the end of the day ive driven so many cars and not even down to the fact its a bmw - i think it’s definitely been the one ive liked the most. It is quick i wont deny that but i just found it very easy to drive and had shed loads of character. The only other car i can compare which had as much was my old MX-5 and thats saying something.

In terms of the sensible bit, whats realistic mpg in these just floating around in normal driving (ive seen low 30s) as thats what ill be mainly doing.

Also i see a lot of LC facelift ones for sale (post 06) but am i right in thinking the pre ones have nicer steering?
Im setting a budget of around £6k, I know these are creeping up price wise but would that find a good quality example ideally?
BmwRuss
Junior Member
Junior Member
Posts: 38
Joined: Tue Apr 17, 2018 5:20 pm

Re: Potential new 130i owner - honest owners opinions?

Post by BmwRuss »

I've got a 2010 125i coupe auto, I've had it re-mapped to 130i spec (270bhp apparently...) and it will return 35-37mpg on a motorway hovering around 70mph. For an engine this size and powerful (and for an older car) you won't get much better.
narbles
Experienced Member
Experienced Member
Posts: 259
Joined: Wed Feb 13, 2019 5:40 pm

Re: Potential new 130i owner - honest owners opinions?

Post by narbles »

I think just go for the car you want and do your due diligence as others have said. With the 130i if it's been reasonably well cared for the biggest cost is the water pump and stat at 6-700 quid.

As for the steering, I think the pre face lift hydraulic steering is great and I wanted that over a face lift. Admittedly my only comparison is our old Z4 that had electric assist steering which was numb by comparison. Others have said face lift steering is fine. I use mine on track so appreciate the extra feel of hydraulic.

The face lift is slightly more fuel efficient, not that you're looking at a 130 for this let's be honest. Though the face lifts have plastic rocker covers that are prone to cracking though again this could be rare (I don't know much about this tbh).
jonwilli
Enthusiastic Member
Enthusiastic Member
Posts: 1758
Joined: Wed Dec 10, 2014 8:50 pm
Location: Devon

Re: Potential new 130i owner - honest owners opinions?

Post by jonwilli »

ADG91 wrote: Tue May 04, 2021 8:00 pm In terms of the sensible bit, whats realistic mpg in these just floating around in normal driving (ive seen low 30s) as thats what ill be mainly doing.
For a mix of A and B road driving, not too much start, stop and driving at a reasonable pace I get about 27mpg. On a steady run on the motorway at 70mph you can get mid 30's.
ADG91
Junior Member
Junior Member
Posts: 22
Joined: Sun May 02, 2021 9:24 pm

Re: Potential new 130i owner - honest owners opinions?

Post by ADG91 »

jonwilli wrote: Wed May 05, 2021 7:29 am
ADG91 wrote: Tue May 04, 2021 8:00 pm In terms of the sensible bit, whats realistic mpg in these just floating around in normal driving (ive seen low 30s) as thats what ill be mainly doing.
For a mix of A and B road driving, not too much start, stop and driving at a reasonable pace I get about 27mpg. On a steady run on the motorway at 70mph you can get mid 30's.
Sounds pretty much as expected. I dont get much worse than in my Civic with similar driving so thats not bad going!

Just another potential issue im hoping to get some clarity on is the sepertine belt. I havent heard a great deal in regards to N52 but i know on the N54s have been known to shred their belts and have the engine ingest them through the crank pulley. I think i may have seen some reports on these go caused by oil leaks?
jonwilli
Enthusiastic Member
Enthusiastic Member
Posts: 1758
Joined: Wed Dec 10, 2014 8:50 pm
Location: Devon

Re: Potential new 130i owner - honest owners opinions?

Post by jonwilli »

ADG91 wrote: Wed May 05, 2021 10:32 am Just another potential issue im hoping to get some clarity on is the sepertine belt. I havent heard a great deal in regards to N52 but i know on the N54s have been known to shred their belts and have the engine ingest them through the crank pulley. I think i may have seen some reports on these go caused by oil leaks?
I have not heard of any serpentine belts going on the N52, however, that doesn't mean it can not happen. The most usual reason for the belt to fail and be sucked into the crank is poor maintenance. The belt and pulleys are not changed and wear out or oil leaks on the valve cover or oil cooler gasket get on the belt causing it to slip off or rubber to prematurely fail.

There have been one of two instances in the US of newer cars (N55 M2 I think) having belt failure but it was during a track session.

There are two ways to remedy the potential issue, 1) keep on top of maintenance 2) fit a crank hub guard (and keep on top of maintenance). There is a thread on the crank hub guard and if you look at my two build threads I have fitted to both of my cars for 'insurance'. The guards are £90 and only take a couple of hours to fit.

viewtopic.php?f=11&t=134936&hilit=crank+guard
ADG91
Junior Member
Junior Member
Posts: 22
Joined: Sun May 02, 2021 9:24 pm

Re: Potential new 130i owner - honest owners opinions?

Post by ADG91 »

Yes ive really delved on here to find reports of them failing and causing damage but not really been able to find anything, only really on the N54s.
Tbh though it sounds like a pretty cheap remedy for something that could potentially cause a lot of damage so would certainly be something i fit asap if i acquired one.
As i use my car for work i guess my main concern is something big going wrong and ideally dont want a car out of action or costing mega money to fix, especially if it exceeded the value of the car.
From what Ive seen the only real possibility of that happening is the above or having water pump fail and continuing to drive for a significant amount of time but I suppose that can happen on any car.
Johnpd
Junior Member
Junior Member
Posts: 1
Joined: Sat Jan 19, 2019 1:13 pm

Re: Potential new 130i owner - honest owners opinions?

Post by Johnpd »

Hi there I have a 2006 130i most fun car I have ever had nice noise handles well and driven like Miss Daisy will give you good mpg. But you will want to hear the noise. Just upgrading to a 135i so a bit more noise and some more speed. The only problem I had was the water pump but had new one fitted along with the thermostat.
ADG91
Junior Member
Junior Member
Posts: 22
Joined: Sun May 02, 2021 9:24 pm

Re: Potential new 130i owner - honest owners opinions?

Post by ADG91 »

So really its just a matter of finding the right one within budget! I have really just been going through the potential things that could cause damage. I also posted the same on pistonheads as theres a lot of 130i owners on here (and very kindly pointed me here) it was watching this that gave me a good scaring!



While the N52 is a reliable engine after watching this i wasnt so sure but the information through here has been pretty valuable, and really not finding many massive failures on the forum.
Nonetheless im all for preventative maintenance.
Hopefully one last question, where the DISA valve is concerned, does the N52 have the metal pin which can come loose and work its way into the combustion chamber?
murrs
Junior Member
Junior Member
Posts: 5
Joined: Wed Jul 22, 2020 8:58 am

Re: Potential new 130i owner - honest owners opinions?

Post by murrs »

So really its just a matter of finding the right one within budget! I have really just been going through the potential things that could cause damage.
It's good to have a grasp on the common issues, however more importantly when purchasing it's good to know what has been done.

It's also important to check things regularly, and if you think somethings not right - check it out immediately. The issues can compound if you leave them.

It's a great car and I am keeping mine for a long time but does need the suspension sorting to reach it's potential imo;
Post Reply

Return to “E81, E82, E87, E88 (2004-2013)”