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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 03-17-2013, 05:01 AM   #1
Emostuka
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Join Date: Mar 2013
Location: Waikele, HI
Posts: 6
My Ride: 2003 325i
Few questions from a new owner.

Hey all, just picked up an '03 325i 5Sp manual w/ 45k on the clock this week, a few questions I couldn't find the answer to. I'll also preface these questions with, I've read quite a bit so far, going to do the Cooling refresh and most of the other things in Mango's DO NOW OR DIE lists. However a few things,

1. So lots of information out there, and the "what new owners should fix" lists are great, just looking for perhaps a little more definitive answer on which things I should check/replace first in regards to what may leave me stranded, newish to DIY and first BMW.

2. I live in Hawaii and I park outside in a condo parking lot, so lots of sun all day raping my poor car, any added wear I should be worried about to engine internals/electrical, and if so perhaps some PM to counteract it.

3. If anyone who lives or has lived in Hawaii knows which online retailer offers friendly shipping to Hawaii, I'd appreciate it.

Thanks for reading, I'm often much too wordy while writing, again thanks for advice and and I expect some flaming for not using that nice search button enough (I did try ) , just try and make it creative .
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Old 03-17-2013, 05:08 AM   #2
peytonracer4
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Location: Valparaiso, IN
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What will leave you stranded:
Cooling system.
Fuel pump.
Drive belts.

That's all I can think of at the moment.

To protect from sun:
Window tints
Sun visor thing for windshield when parked
Pop your sunroof as well when parked. Not open just popped unless there's a risk of rain.
Condition your leather (if you have it) every once and a while.
Use gummy phlege (idk how to spell it) on door seals and rubber seals for protection.
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Old 03-17-2013, 07:01 AM   #3
jayb328i
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Good coat of wax on all metal.
I have had two cars (not BMW's) that suffered shattered windows due to excessive heat followed by rapid weather changes (cool down). Always recommend that if temps are going above 90 (internal is above at least 110 maybe) you leave your side window open about 1/8 inch or more.
Don't worry about snow tires.
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Old 03-17-2013, 08:02 AM   #4
KOpower
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My Ride: 325ci
Clean it inside out - and get to fixing everything

Oem mats are good!
Check if new battery
Check tyres

Fix all the broke things (if any) - then get to preventative maintenance

Good luck !
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Old 03-17-2013, 08:36 AM   #5
BMWespresso
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great, first thing to do is enjoy
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Old 03-17-2013, 11:37 AM   #6
sunsetcoast
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Location: SW Michigan
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My Ride: '99 323i & '00 323iT
Congratulations! Enjoy your new ride.

The good news is that Hawai'i has very moderate temps, so heat isn't really going to be the huge issue it might be in New Mexico, Arizona, etc. But any place in the tropics does get lots of direct sunshine all year.

Peytonracer's list was very good as was jayb328's about wax.

Despite the very low miles, at this age, without solid documentation of very recent service, consider changing all the fluids: transmission, differential, power steering, coolant, and brake/clutch.

If the car needs touch-up in places, take care of it immediately. Then, if it has no bare metal from scrapes or dents, consider getting the exterior in best condition possible: clay, then polish, then wax/seal to get all painted parts (yes, the wheels, too) in the best possible shape to start. Add a new coat of wax/seal (not cleaner wax) every 6-8 weeks. Also wax the lights, especially the headlight covers. If they are in good shape, consider applying Lamin-X to them. This will help against cracking, "fogging" and other abrasion (such as sand).

As KOpower said, clean the interior. Headliner to carpet, base of the windshield to the base of the back glass, door pull to door pull. Trunk, too. Dirt looks bad, but it also accelerates wear. Use UV protectant (preferably the non-glossy stuff) on all the plastic stuff regularly (at least quarterly, if not more often). If you have leather, use a quality leather cleaner and conditioner. If you hit the beach, get the sand out ASAP because it is very abrasive.

A windshield insert in the rear window will keep the car (and, especially, rear speakers) cooler and reduce rear shelf fade. Most people don't do this because it is more than double the effort of doing just the front window. The very best way to protect the interior is to cover the seats. It isn't elegant, but draping a large inexpensive towel over them will keep the surface much cooler and block even more of the degrading UV rays. Just take them off and toss in the trunk before you carry passengers.

If gummi pfledge is too expensive, plain silicone is a good alternative for most rubber parts. Meguair's Back-to-Black works well for the black rub strips, etc. and, if it sits for a day before driving, lasts a reasonably long time.

If you add tint, consider UV and heat (IR) rejection properties before visible light transmission. 3M makes a virtually clear film that has excellent UV and IR properties. It isn't cheap.

Lubricate interior and exterior hinges now, then twice a year. Surround the exterior electrical connections (like lights) with a touch of dielectric grease.

Go to the detailing forum for more ideas. Understand, though, that some of those folks are "serious" about it. Some of what is done might be considered "esoteric" by most car owners.

I'd think twice about leaving the sunroof popped open when parked. It just invites cretins to leave you "presents". Just as leaving windows open even an inch and a half makes very little difference in the interior temp of a parked car, so does popping the sunroof. These tricks work on moving cars because of pressure differentials that don't exist when cars aren't moving.

The good news is that, as long as the car is in good mechanical condition, none of the above needs to be done immediately, nor does it have to be done all at once. Decide which will make you happier: a shiny exterior or a clean interior. Then start there.

Last edited by sunsetcoast; 03-18-2013 at 09:45 AM. Reason: Minor edits for clarification
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Old 03-17-2013, 06:06 PM   #7
KOpower
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^ great advice there!
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Old 03-17-2013, 07:19 PM   #8
lszlszx
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How about a using a high quality car cover?
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Old 03-17-2013, 08:16 PM   #9
David McMahon
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sunsetcoast View Post
Hit the exterior electrical connections (like lights) with a touch of dielectric grease.
Is Dielectric Grease the same as silicon grease? It's another US only culture it seems. Amazon US has many Dielectric Greases but Amazon UK only lists Silicone Greases, I'm hoping the difference is only the wording (Hood/Bonnet Trunk/Boot etc)
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Old 03-18-2013, 09:26 AM   #10
sunsetcoast
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lszlszx View Post
How about a using a high quality car cover?
Hawai'i is in the tradewind belt. Waikele sits up on the mountain a bit. There is going to be wind. If there is *any* dirt on the paint, then, in the wind, the cover will act as the paper backing to the dirt's sand and abrade the finish. This is why the pros tell you never to use a cover if you are storing a car outside.
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Old 03-18-2013, 09:39 AM   #11
sunsetcoast
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David McMahon View Post
Is Dielectric Grease the same as silicon grease? It's another US only culture it seems. Amazon US has many Dielectric Greases but Amazon UK only lists Silicone Greases, I'm hoping the difference is only the wording (Hood/Bonnet Trunk/Boot etc)
Yes, dielectric grease = silicon grease.

I will update my original post to be more clear, but the dielectric works by sealing out moisture by being applied to the non-conductive mating surfaces around the connections. Putting it between the connecting parts can cause problems should the connection not be adequately firm.
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Old 03-18-2013, 03:13 PM   #12
David McMahon
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sunsetcoast View Post
Yes, dielectric grease = silicon grease.
Thank You
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