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DIY: Do It Yourself
Post here to share or improve your wrench turning skills! All BMW E46 DIY tips, tales, and projects discussed inside. Learn to work on your car and know the right BMW parts you will need!

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Old 11-14-2011, 03:34 PM   #1
joeycannoli
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BMW E46 3-Series DIY: Oil Change

***All, the original site hosting the images was removed. The pictures along with the full DIY can now be found below***

BMW E46 3-Series Oil Change DIY



This DIY article will help you successfully change the oil and oil filter in the E46 3-Series. This was done on a 325xi so there might be a few variations between the different models, but all should be closely related.

BMW recommends 15,000 miles for oil changes but i feel that is way more than it should be. I personally change the oil every 7,500 miles in the BMW

I know people have preferred oil types / weights / change intervals. This article is not to debate on these items, but to show the procedure to change your oil.

TOOLS NEEDED:
Philips Screwdriver
17mm Socket
36mm Socket
3/8" Ratchet
1/2" Ratchet
Torque Wrench
Ramps / Jack Stands
Oil Pan

PARTS REQUIRED:
OEM Oil Filter Kit: 11 42 7 833 769
Synthetic Oil- 0w40 (Amount depends on your configuration- check your owners manual)

***Pictures show 5w30, but the approved BMW oil is Mobil 1 0w40***

First thing we want to do is to get the car up in the air. I prefer race ramps, but you can get the car on jack stands using a jack. If going this route use the appropriate jack points on the car highlighted in the owners manual.

Pop the hood and crack the oil fill cap. This will make for a smooth drain once you remove the drain plug



With the car in the air you can grab your philips screw driver and go under the car. We need to remove the belly pan and the trans pan to access the oil drain plug. There are 7 screws holding the belly pan in place. I have highlighted their locations below



The design on this pan is great because the screw stay locked in the belly pan when loose so you can't misplace them. Once these 7 are loose you can remove the pan from out under the car.

Next move farther back and locate the three screw holding the trans cover on. Repeat the process and remove





With cover cover out of the way we can locate the drain plug. It is located on the passenger side. A picture of it can be found below



Position your oil drain pan beneath this bolt and grab your 17mm socket. Loosen it and remove it slowly so you don't drop the bolt in the oil pan.

Let all of the oil drain out of the pain while you work your way back up top

Time to remove the old oil filter. Grab your 1/4 ratchet and your huge 35mm socket.



The oil filter housing is located just to the left of the power steering reservoir. Remove the cap



Before you remove the oil filter make sure you put down a paper towel or rag as it will drip. Below is a shot of my old filter still attached to the housing



Grab your right angle pick and remove the old o-ring fitted into the oil filter cap as shown below



Grab the oil filter top and the end of the oil filter. Easily pull the oil filter out of the housing



Grab your new filter and o-ring from the box and install on the oil filter cap. The filter will just snap into place. I recommend lubricating the new oil-ring with a little bit of oil





Re-install the oil filter. Use the recommended torque specifications as written below

Torque Specifications: 25Nm (18 ft-lbs)



Locate your new crush washer from your oil change get and replace the oil one located on your drain plug bolt



Crawl back under the car and make sure all of the old oil has drained out of the pan. When ready you can install the drain plug bolt and tighten it down to the torque specs below

Torque Specifications: 25Nm (18 ft-lbs)



Reinstall your undercarriage panels

Grab you oil and fill to your recommended specifications. When complete, get the car down off the ramps or stands and start the car. Run engine check and check the level of the oil. Add if necessary



Oil Service Indicator Reset

1999 & 2000 E46: You need a service internal reset tool. You can also do it manually by following the link below

Manual Service Indicator Reset

Post 2000 E46: On Board Computer

1. Hold the odometer reset button and while turning Ignition to Position 1. Hold button until it displays "OIL SERVICE" or "INSPECTION" with RESET
2. Release button and press it gain until "RESET" or "RE" flashes.
3. Press the button again

That is pretty much it. You are all set for a couple more thousand miles before your next oil change

Hope this article has helped and motivated you guys to continue doing your own maintenance. Any questions please feel free to ask.

Last edited by joeycannoli; 10-08-2014 at 06:41 PM.
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Old 11-14-2011, 04:33 PM   #2
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Very good pictures and writeup, until the picture of a non-BMW recommended oil. In the Mobil 1 line, only 0w-40 is LL01 approved. Not meaning to start yet another discussion on what oil works or doesn't, just making an observation. For reference, BMW US approved oils are at http://www.bmwusa.com/Standard/Conte...ngineOils.aspx
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Old 11-15-2011, 07:06 AM   #3
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My 330i does not require removal of the belly pan. There is a small opening just behind where the belly pan ends. Do you have to remove the pan because it is an xi, or because it is a 325?
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Old 11-15-2011, 08:36 AM   #4
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One thing that I'd add is that it's probably better to undo your oil filler cap and oil filter cap before undoing the drain bolt
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Old 11-15-2011, 12:41 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dan_1337 View Post
One thing that I'd add is that it's probably better to undo your oil filler cap and oil filter cap before undoing the drain bolt
+1. At least open the filler cap. Otherwise it could be a mess when draining oil. You'll get the glub-glub-glub instead of a smooth, steady stream of oil. It's the same effect as when you turn a 2L of Coke upside-down vs pouring out sideways.
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Old 11-15-2011, 06:49 PM   #6
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Has any one noticed that the price of oil had gone up a lot at the auto parts store? Local store has mobile 1 sythnethic for 8-9 bucks a quart. And the wal-mart has those jugs that the op has for 24 bucks.
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Old 11-16-2011, 07:08 AM   #7
joeycannoli
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dan_1337 View Post
One thing that I'd add is that it's probably better to undo your oil filler cap and oil filter cap before undoing the drain bolt
Quote:
Originally Posted by LeMansteve View Post
+1. At least open the filler cap. Otherwise it could be a mess when draining oil. You'll get the glub-glub-glub instead of a smooth, steady stream of oil. It's the same effect as when you turn a 2L of Coke upside-down vs pouring out sideways.
Thanks for the advice guys!

Quote:
Originally Posted by darksideracer69 View Post
Has any one noticed that the price of oil had gone up a lot at the auto parts store? Local store has mobile 1 sythnethic for 8-9 bucks a quart. And the wal-mart has those jugs that the op has for 24 bucks.
Yes, i noticed that when i picked up the oil. Paid a little over $25 for a jug of 5 quarts.
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Old 11-16-2011, 07:09 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LeMansteve View Post
My 330i does not require removal of the belly pan. There is a small opening just behind where the belly pan ends. Do you have to remove the pan because it is an xi, or because it is a 325?
Not sure as i am not that familiar with all of the models yet, but i am jealous you don't need to remove the panel.
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Old 11-16-2011, 12:48 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by joeycannoli View Post
Not sure as i am not that familiar with all of the models yet, but i am jealous you don't need to remove the panel.
Probably an xi thing - the oil pan configuration is different because of the front differential.
My 328i doesn't need to either.
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Old 02-10-2012, 01:12 AM   #10
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oil filter housing

My 2004 318i does not have a 36mm head on the top instead it has a flat dome top with the standard grips on the side for a filter clamp. how do you get 25Nm of torque with a filter clamp?
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Old 02-10-2012, 01:29 AM   #11
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25 nm is equivalent to 18-19 ft/ lbs. If you use the filter wrench and get it tight you've nothing to worry about.
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Old 02-10-2012, 10:45 AM   #12
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Good DIY. I bought a liquid extractor and do not need to lift the car, remove the belly pan or remove the oil pan bolt which can strip. I simply remove the oil cap, extract the oil, change the filter and fill with oil.
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Old 02-12-2012, 01:50 AM   #13
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I also use an extractor. No need to ever jack the car up--everything from the top. Is there any reason why one would not want to use an extractor on a E46 to save time and the ease of doing it.
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Old 02-15-2012, 02:01 PM   #14
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I thought you want to go from the bottom drain plug to check the oil for contamination (sludge, metal bits, etc.) at the plug to warn of other potential problems. I'm old school and remember learning this as a kid. Let me know what you all think...
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Old 02-15-2012, 02:11 PM   #15
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Great write up! Great pics.
Something worth mentioning; my 2000 (11/99 birthdate) is OBD II and I am able to do the reset on the cluster.

Perhaps edit the oil reset instructions: instead of dividing the procedure by year manufactured. Change to OBD I vs. OBD II



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Old 02-16-2012, 10:19 PM   #16
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Not to rain on your parade.....you are using the wrong oil. That is not BMW approved oil and will sludge and/or cause all your seals to become hard and leak no to mention the O rings in the vanos.

Use Pentosin or LiquiMoly MADE IN GERMANY
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Old 02-16-2012, 10:32 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Optio View Post
Not to rain on your parade.....you are using the wrong oil. That is not BMW approved oil and will sludge and/or cause all your seals to become hard and leak no to mention the O rings in the vanos.

Use Pentosin or LiquiMoly MADE IN GERMANY
Seriously? Cant just give the guy credit? And when it comes down to it anyone can use whatever oil they want as long as they understand what theyre getting into.

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Old 01-31-2013, 02:44 PM   #18
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The manual for my 2001 325i states specifically that Mobil1 5w-30 or 5w-40 is strongly recommended.
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Old 05-22-2013, 11:10 AM   #19
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Hi Guys,
I have a e46 318i 04 model that has done 186000km. I,m getting mixed amotions about the grade oil I should use. I've been using castrol edge 5w-30w but was told to go higher. Please give me some advice.
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Old 05-22-2013, 01:07 PM   #20
Sansho
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What does your owners manual recommend? In the US, BMW recommends these oils. These LL-01 oils, however, are not the same as recommended in Europe, so others may be recommended in Australia.
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