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Old 05-23-2012, 04:02 PM   #1
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Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Southern California
Posts: 26,417
My Ride: Lexus
Exclamation Just bought your non-M E46? Bare essentials maintenance checklist (part #s included)

You just bought your non-M E46 (323/328, 325/330) and you are probably wondering: What do I do now?
Lets start with the basics, shall we?

Shortcut: jump to Mango Starter Pack info

Fuel Pump

Fuel Pump Relay


Right off the bat, the first thing I did when I bought my E46 was throw away whatever battery is in the trunk. Unless you have receipts proving the battery is newer than 5 years old, replace it. A weak battery is known to cause many problems with the electrical systems in the form of cluster lighting up with warning lights to the car randomly doing other electrical-related things.

Voltage regulator:
(For Bosch 90a and 120a alternators ONLY) Check your model

The voltage regulator is located on the back of the alternator. It regulates voltage to ensure proper operation of the electrical system. Basically by around 6-10 years, they start to fail. This will kill a new battery. Replace it.This one is a bit tricky because you'll have to pull your alternator out to know which kind you need. There's a rounded D-shaped connector and squared off rectangle connector. Pray you have the squared off rectangle connector because it's cheaper. The D-shape connector is found by searching under the BMW Z4.

Final stage resistor:

This must be replaced. It can drain your battery (killing it permanently no matter how new or old it is) and cause your blower to blow inconsistently or not at all. Replace it. Part#64116923204

Engine oil

Change your engine oil and filter anywhere between 7,500 and 12,000 miles. You can likely go up to 15,000 miles without any problems as our cars hold 7 quarts, however for peace of mind, follow the 7,500-12,000 guideline.

Per the BMW owner's manual, you should check the oil level 5 minutes after a hot engine has been shut down. The dipstick is calibrated to read accurately after 5 minutes has passed.

Note: If you track your car, love to drive in a spirited matter, and/or experience lifter tick noise, it is common practice to overfill by one quart for a total of eight quarts.

You should be using oil with a specification ACEA B3/B4 (extended drain/high performance criteria) and/or LL-01. The following oils are the most readily available proper oil for your car:

Genuine BMW TwinPower 5W-30
Castrol European Formula 0W-30
Mobil 1 European Formula 0W-40
Pennzoil Ultra 5W-40 European Formula

Oil Filters

You can use any OE-spec parts store filter in a pinch, but I recommend using Mahle or Mann OE-quality/OEM filters.

Mahle supplies filters to BMWs for their ///M cars. Mann supplies for non-M. Both are fine but I prefer Mahle--the quality seems more robust/high-end. Part number: 11427512300

Spark plugs

Replace every 60,000 miles (BMW says 100,000) NGK BKR6EQUP (6)

Fuel filter

OEM Mahle. If your upper intake boot has an "F" connector with a vacuum line attached, your car has the integrated fuel pressure regulator. Most E46s come with this. I believe the M56 SULEV 325 cars use the plain in/out filter. Do this every 50,000 miles. Part number: 13327512019

Differential oil

Synthetic 75W-90 gear oil such as Mobil 1 75W-90. Your non-LSD diff holds approximately 1 quart. Do this every 50,000 miles

Transmission oil


You should change your automatic transmission fluid and filter with OE or OE-spec'd high-quality fluid every 50-75k miles. The type and amount of fluid will depend on your year/make/model. I will list the various types of automatic transmissions and their corresponding fluid:

323i/iS/iC 7/98-3/00, 328i/iS 6/98+ - GM 5L40 (A5S 360R) Texaco ETL 7045E, supercedes ETL 7045, BMW part number: 83220026922

323i/Ci 3/00-8/00, 325i/Ci/Cic 8/00+, 325iT 3/01+, 330i/Ci/Cic 6/00+ - ZF 5HP19 (A5S 325Z), Esso ATF LT 71141, BMW part number: 83229407807

325xi/xiT 8/00+, 325iT 8/00+, 330xi 8/00+ - GM GM5 (A5S 390R), Texaco ETL 8072B, BMW part number: 83220024359


BMW MTF-LT-2[/URL], equivalent Pentosin MTF2, or other equivalent. I use Redline D4 ATF. You can also use Redline MT-90.

Air filters

These should be replaced at roughly every 15,000 miles. Use Genuine/OEM Mann. Part number: 13721744869

Cabin air filter

These should be replaced at roughly every 15,000 miles. Part number: 64319071935

Clean idle control valve Clean every 50,000 miles. If needs replacing, part number: 13411744713.

You might want to replace the rubber boot which seals it to the intake manifold. Part number: 11611437453.

Clean throttle body

Couldn't find a DIY, but personally I recommend cleaning it. From the outside (front) mine appeared to be spotless.

The backside was a VERY different story. Use throttle body cleaner. Requires removal of the airbox, upper and lower intake boots, and electrcial wire junction box. Four bolts hold it on. Replace the rubber throttle body gasket. Throttle body gasket for 323/325/328 part number: 11611716174, for the 330 it is: 13547504729


This part can also cause vacuum leaks. It works by altering the volume of the intake manifold depending on engine operation/speed. Remove and inspect yours to ensure the flap is not loose.

You should feel resistance as you manually operate the flap. There should be no excessive noises or rattling. Part number if you'd like to replace: (courtesy of JFOJ)

325/2.5L engines currently use BMW Part #11617544806, which appears to have superseded an earlier BMW Part #11617502269

330/3.0L engines currently use BMW Part #11617544805, this appears to have superseded an earlier BMW Part #11617502275

323/328 - 2.3L & 2.8L engines appear to currently use BMW Part # 11611440049

Reseal or repair using: DISA Repair Rebuild Kit

Brake fluid

You should completely replace and bleed your brake system every two years or 25,000 miles or more frequently if you see track use or have overheated your brakes/fluid. I recommend ATE Super Blue (or amber if you had blue last)

Valve cover gasket

Major source of leaks. If the front or passenger side (right side) of your engine is covered in oil, then your valve cover gasket is leaking. By 60,000 miles, these are hard, dry, and brittle. Use Permatex Ultra Black at half moon areas and vanos seams. LESS IS MORE. Use very little sealant. Don't forget the 15 rubber grommets: part number: 11121437395. Up to 9/02, part number 11129070990 and 9/02+: 11120030496. If you experience repeated leaking, your valve cover could be damaged or warped.

Oil filter housing gasket

Major source of MAJOR leaks. The left side of the block will be wet and you'll have puddles in your driveway. Replace when leaking. Part number: 11421719855

Vanos line

Do this when you replace the oil filter housing gasket. Part number: 11361705532

Also replace four 14x20 copper sealing gaskets, part number: 32411093596

Power steering

Use ATF Dexron III only. Replace reservoir as it has integrated filter. Part number: 32411097164

Also trim and re-clamp (using new universal clamps) the power steering lines to the bottom of the reservoir and to the return line at the pump. The BMW clamps get loose over time and oil leaks/seeps out.


Of course, clean the exterior/interior and engine compartment. There's nothing worse than a dirty car with an engine compartment full of leaves, debris, oil, spiders, and dead rats. Cleaning also can help reveal problem areas or parts that are leaking. A clean engine is also more satisfying to work on.

I use the Wagner 915 steamer for my interior, engine compartment, and certain exterior items as well. I can't even begin to tell you how well this works! Great for home too. No need for chemicals (Saves $$!!) I bought mine on Amazononian (check my blog for detailing tips and products I personally use:


Follow this guide for the E46 cooling system -- do it before it's too late!

or: E46 Cooling Blog I am working on adding more stuff on it -- stay tuned!

These are the absolute bare essentials to have a nice running and decently reliable car. It doesn't stop here though.

For the even higher level enthusiast!

Suspension Refresh Guide

If this guide has helped you, let me know in the comments.

Last edited by Mango; 09-27-2016 at 11:34 AM.
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