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Old 05-23-2012, 05:02 PM   #1
Mango
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Exclamation Just bought your non-M E46? Bare essentials maintenance checklist (part #s included)

Just bought your E46?

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?

Battery

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:

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

Autozone 49DL

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 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

Automatic:

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

Manual:

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

http://www.bmw-planet.com/2009/01/10...-cleaning-e46/ 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

DISA

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: http://germanautosolutions.com/DISA_...epair_Kit.html

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) :
http://www.ecstuning.com/BMW-E46-330...d/A/ATE/ES111/

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.

Exterior/interior

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 Amazon: Wagner 915 1,500 watt on-demand steamer


ATTENTION: COOLING SYSTEM SERVICE REQUIRED

Follow this guide for the E46 cooling system -- do it before it's too late!
http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthread.php?t=914109

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
Suspension Refresh Guide

If this guide has helped you, let me know in the comments.
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Last edited by Mango; 08-26-2014 at 10:47 PM.
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Old 05-23-2012, 05:06 PM   #2
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Mango,

I've got to register a complaint with your comment "it's fine to put in 8 qts."

I've always said here, based on what I've read (a lot) that it's better to be a quart low than over a 1/4 quart high...which is the top of the top notch.

The capacity is 6.9 quarts, so 7 is fine. 7.9 is capacity for an Xi I believe, so 8 qts. is fine there.

But 6.9 qts. or 6.5 L is capacity for most e46s and I think if you're going to recommend a proper amount, you should just do so. Don't make someone reading think the capacities are just suggestions.

If you edit, let me know and I'll turn this post into a glowing review!
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Old 05-23-2012, 07:04 PM   #3
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Mango,

I've got to register a complaint with your comment "it's fine to put in 8 qts."

I've always said here, based on what I've read (a lot) that it's better to be a quart low than over a 1/4 quart high...which is the top of the top notch.

The capacity is 6.9 quarts, so 7 is fine. 7.9 is capacity for an Xi I believe, so 8 qts. is fine there.

But 6.9 qts. or 6.5 L is capacity for most e46s and I think if you're going to recommend a proper amount, you should just do so. Don't make someone reading think the capacities are just suggestions.

If you edit, let me know and I'll turn this post into a glowing review!
DMAX, it's been common practice for at least a decade for track guys to overfill by one quart on M5X and S5x engines to alleviate lifter tick during extended high-rpm operation. It's not instruction to overfill by one quart but is just an OK especially should someone decide to track their car. I overfill by a quart all the time. I know of no ill effects this has. I would get lifter tick during some extended spirited driving.
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Old 10-23-2012, 04:59 PM   #4
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Mango,

I've got to register a complaint with your comment "it's fine to put in 8 qts."

I've always said here, based on what I've read (a lot) that it's better to be a quart low than over a 1/4 quart high...which is the top of the top notch.

The capacity is 6.9 quarts, so 7 is fine. 7.9 is capacity for an Xi I believe, so 8 qts. is fine there.

But 6.9 qts. or 6.5 L is capacity for most e46s and I think if you're going to recommend a proper amount, you should just do so. Don't make someone reading think the capacities are just suggestions.

If you edit, let me know and I'll turn this post into a glowing review!
Of course proper amount is proper. But i would say drain some out if near a liter over. More is better than less cause you cant do much worse damage than a scored cyl or roasted bearing.
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Old 11-15-2012, 08:34 PM   #5
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Of course proper amount is proper. But i would say drain some out if near a liter over. More is better than less cause you cant do much worse damage than a scored cyl or roasted bearing.
I'd strongly suggest you stick to specified levels. Don't go over, don't go under. You might get away with going slightly over on oil level, I'd like to see a reference from e46mango, or anybody, but if you go too far the oil will likely be foamed by the crank. I don't know what the tolerance is in your bmw engine, probably they are all a little different, but, if you are above the top of the full mark you might be asking for trouble. Foamed oil is basically useless - I guess it is better than no oil, but not by much. Overfilling an engine with oil can kill it just as quickly as under filling. There is a reason they mark min and max. Based on what little I've learned about these cars so far, I'd rather run them close to min than above max. It seems to be the way they are designed.

This is especially true with the cooling system. Keep the level between min and max. In fact, make sure it is always below max.
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Old 05-23-2012, 05:07 PM   #6
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Power steering can use Dexron VI. You probably can't find Dexron III in stores anymore, that's just what was around at the time. Higher-number Dexron numbers are compatible with lower number ones.

The rule is:

Lower number Dexron components are compatible with higher-number Dexron fluid.
Higher number Dexron components are not compatible with lower-number Dexron fluid.
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Old 05-23-2012, 05:11 PM   #7
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Power steering can use Dexron VI. You probably can't find Dexron III in stores anymore, that's just what was around at the time. Higher-number Dexron numbers are compatible with lower number ones.

The rule is:

Lower number Dexron components are compatible with higher-number Dexron fluid.
Higher number Dexron components are not compatible with lower-number Dexron fluid.
OK. as long as you are sure. Cause I thought I read the other day that Dexron IV is not good for our power steering systems. I just make sure the bottle says either Dexron III or Dexron III compatible. If it happens to be III and IV compatible, I use it. I forgot what I'm using. I'll look into this.
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Old 05-23-2012, 05:09 PM   #8
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@D: jokester, you. I'm sure I forgot stuff so feel free to add to the list. Keep in mind, basics only. We all know theres tons of stuff to replace but these are the things that should get immediate attention. Relatively cheap or vital items (like the cooling system or automatic transmission fluid)
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Old 05-23-2012, 05:11 PM   #9
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front control arm bushings, what do they last 50k?
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Old 05-23-2012, 05:12 PM   #10
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front control arm bushings, what do they last 50k?
I suppose I could add that. It's a little advanced for a first-timer but I guess so is automatic transmission service. I'll have to look for part numbers for 60/66mm bushings and years. that's going to be fun. unless somebody can do it for me
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Old 10-23-2012, 04:53 PM   #11
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front control arm bushings, what do they last 50k?
Different for every car and every driver. Im not sure why so many guys are into changing all their bushings when nothing is wrong with them. Could someone else explain why to replace if there is no clunks, squeeks, torn rubber or car doesnt feel right?
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Old 10-23-2012, 04:55 PM   #12
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Different for every car and every driver. Im not sure why so many guys are into changing all their bushings when nothing is wrong with them. Could someone else explain why to replace if there is no clunks, squeeks, torn rubber or car doesnt feel right?
Just as you say, different for every car and every driver.
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Old 05-23-2012, 05:12 PM   #13
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Old 05-23-2012, 05:14 PM   #14
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Good write up

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Old 05-23-2012, 05:16 PM   #15
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Good write-up mango!
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Old 05-23-2012, 05:18 PM   #16
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Thanks. I think I'll also link JFOJ's in this guide as kind of a supplement in case anyone has vacuum leaks. (If that's cool with JFOJ)
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Old 05-23-2012, 05:19 PM   #17
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Old 05-23-2012, 05:27 PM   #18
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I know what I'm doing once all the parts come in
I know what you're doing too. You should be ashamed of yourself!

I find Dex III in the stores...and as I still can, I'd just say take the conservative route. Use the fluid BMW tells you to use. It knows more than us. Nothing personal, anyone, but as soon as a discussion goes, "well I heard that such and such is okay too," I remember I'm on the Internet, where facts can get created very easily. Not that it isn't worth researching if you're interested, but it's a lot of work you don't need to do.

Dex III for PS AFAIK is still the recommended fluid.

Also, didn't read this yet, but just want to add: OE,OE,OE
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Old 10-23-2012, 04:50 PM   #19
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I know what you're doing too. You should be ashamed of yourself!

I find Dex III in the stores...and as I still can, I'd just say take the conservative route. Use the fluid BMW tells you to use. It knows more than us. Nothing personal, anyone, but as soon as a discussion goes, "well I heard that such and such is okay too," I remember I'm on the Internet, where facts can get created very easily. Not that it isn't worth researching if you're interested, but it's a lot of work you don't need to do.

Dex III for PS AFAIK is still the recommended fluid.

Also, didn't read this yet, but just want to add: OE,OE,OE
I usually agree with the do it all oem only, but as much as i know bmw masterminds are smart i also know that they say " lifetime" diff and trans and changed the m3 oil from 5w30 to their own 10w60 for $15 a liter, plus have recalls..... So study for yourself also but most oem is good advice
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Old 10-23-2012, 04:55 PM   #20
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I usually agree with the do it all oem only, but as much as i know bmw masterminds are smart i also know that they say " lifetime" diff and trans and changed the m3 oil from 5w30 to their own 10w60 for $15 a liter, plus have recalls..... So study for yourself also but most oem is good advice
I sure hope you're using 10W60 on your M3.
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