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General E46 Forum
This is the place to get answers, opinions and everything you need related to your E46 (sedan, coupe, convertible and wagon) BMW!

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Old 01-22-2013, 04:06 PM   #1
caleb6
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Beyond Maintenance

I think with the assistance of this site and the internet in general, most maint items can be done by the backyard hack mechanic, myself included. And I think most of the posts on these sites are related to those maint items.

With the help of youtube and step by step DIY's, just about everything is covered from simple oil changes to driveline bushings.

What I don't see are the more in depth items like internal engine component replacements. Is it because these items, like internal seals and rods and piston rings last a LONG time and should only be messed with when they fail, or is it just because they are too difficult to get to and replace?

I would think with the proper step by step procedure, they could be done, and the cars could go on for a LONG, LONG time.

What is the most common, in your opinion, failure item in this regard? Pistons, seals, rings??? Beyond the bushings, mounts, shocks/struts...things that are discussed on here normally. And what can we do to prolong those type failures - of course changing the oil with a recommended oil, stuff like that - but is there anything else?

Who are the Einstein mechanics out there that are holding back their secrets that we all need to know, that haven't posted them yet?

Oh well, thought this was an interesting topic so i posted it.

Last edited by caleb6; 01-22-2013 at 06:50 PM.
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Old 01-22-2013, 04:27 PM   #2
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Those things only seem to fail with neglect. Not changing your oil regularly will cost you in later miles. Zchild has well over 300,000 miles on his engine and it's still going strong. Nothing needs to be done inside the engine unless you **** up...generally. Change your oil, keep you cooling system up to date (prevent overheats), and don't thrash your engine all the time (especially while cold).

As far as complex DIYs (like head gaskets or piston rings), I think you don't see them for several reasons:

1. They don't need doing very often
2. they take enough time as it is, pics/video only slows you down
3. small target audience (people who have also ****ed up)
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Old 01-22-2013, 04:34 PM   #3
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I think Zchild has a new engine now, but his old one might have done over 300K. I'm only at 240K miles and haven't done anything inside the engine.

We need to change the oil?
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Old 01-22-2013, 04:43 PM   #4
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http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthread.php?t=899347

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Old 01-22-2013, 04:58 PM   #5
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That should be a sticky in general.
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Old 01-22-2013, 05:00 PM   #6
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Yeah, I do remember seeing this awhile ago. Very cool. Thanks for the reminder.
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Old 01-22-2013, 05:07 PM   #7
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OP, by the time I got married in 1984, I had overhauled (or helped my dad overhaul) the following: 1963 Volkswagen engine, 1968 VW engine, 1963 Chevy six, 1974 Chevy Vega four (twice), 1978 Chevette four, and a 1968 Corvette 327 engine. Since that time, I had a camshaft bearing spin on an '82 Datsun pickup, and had to pull the head and get it machined.

I guess what I'm saying is that they use better lubricants and better wear materials than they used to. The most mileage I've put on a vehicle was a 2000 Sienna which had 197k miles when I traded it in. The only engine issue it had was a leaking valve cover gasket.
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Old 01-22-2013, 06:48 PM   #8
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OP, by the time I got married in 1984, I had overhauled (or helped my dad overhaul) the following: 1963 Volkswagen engine, 1968 VW engine, 1963 Chevy six, 1974 Chevy Vega four (twice), 1978 Chevette four, and a 1968 Corvette 327 engine. Since that time, I had a camshaft bearing spin on an '82 Datsun pickup, and had to pull the head and get it machined.

I guess what I'm saying is that they use better lubricants and better wear materials than they used to. The most mileage I've put on a vehicle was a 2000 Sienna which had 197k miles when I traded it in. The only engine issue it had was a leaking valve cover gasket.
That is a cool story. My daughter is turning 16 this April, and son will be 14 this year. He likes working on things with me, her not so much. But I've been thinking of picking up an E39 for them, and working on it with them to "restore" it. I'm by no means a mechanic or even really that experienced with the engine stuff, but redoing the normal maintenance items would be fun and worth it if I can find one in decent shape and obviously taken care of.
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Old 01-22-2013, 07:33 PM   #9
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I have three daughters, and none of them showed any interest in the mechanical side of automobiles. I might suggest an E30 as a project car. Lots of fanatics for that car, maybe moreso than the E46.
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Old 01-30-2013, 07:36 PM   #10
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Yeah, I meant to say E30. Easy to work on and reliable when taken care of.

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Old 01-30-2013, 08:50 PM   #11
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Well, the issue with the E30 is that its safety features are going to be a bit outdated. Airbags, explosive seat belt tensioners, abs, dsc/asc, and probably more technology into the design of crush zones and the like.

Just saying...easy to work on and reliable, but not as good in an accident. Sorry...something serious to think about. e46 is pretty good in that regard...although I'm sure newer models have more airbags hiding around.
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Old 01-30-2013, 08:52 PM   #12
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Yeah, pre 2000 cars have explosive airbags (I think).
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Old 01-30-2013, 08:54 PM   #13
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Good info. Thanks for adding DP's. :o

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Old 01-30-2013, 09:16 PM   #14
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Yeah, pre 2000 cars have explosive airbags (I think).
My '92 e36 just had one in the steering wheel, but not on the passenger side.

The e30 goes back to, what, mid-80's? It had a long run iirc, didn't it?

Anyway...just something to think about, especially with kids in the car.
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