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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 06-07-2013, 09:41 AM   #1
Registered User
Join Date: Jan 2013
Location: Batesville, VA
Posts: 7
My Ride: 2001 BMW 330i 5spd
Smile Diving Into the BMW E46 World :-)

Hey all, as you can see I'm new to the community, and to BMW engineering. I'm near Charlottesville, VA. I picked up a black 2001 330i Sport Package 5 Spd Manual with 143k miles on it last August. It seemed to be in good shape overall, and it had a fair number of recent service records, which I'll outline below. Got it for a bit over $6k.

I've got a bit of a novel here, much of which is so I don't forget. It'd be great if someone with some experience would glance over what I've got to say and make some helpful suggestions for what to do next / say if I'm on the right track.

I drove it very sparingly for the first few months. It seemed generally a bit sluggish, not a whole lot of low end power, etc., averaged 22-24 MPG and I wanted to not push it before I had a chance to go over things mechanically on the car, as I believed it to have been maintained in an as-things-break method with oil changes.

Around January, started driving it more. My fiancee was driving it, got 2-3 miles from home with a huge cloud of smoke following her. CCV froze up, dumped damn near all of the oil. Long story short, I put 6 qts of fisher crap oil in it to get it home, where it sat for the better part of the last 4 months. We drove it some with that oil in it (250-300 miles, about a trip every other week). After the initial breakdown, the CCV issue never surfaced again. No apparent VCG leaks from the breakdown, it just seemed to push all the oil into the air distribution piece and burn it all.

During this time, I spent my spare time quietly reading endless DIYs and threads on this forum. Gathering part numbers, planning what to repair/inspect/replace, learning about the components under the hood, etc. I'm quite mechanically inclined and have done a lot of maintenance and modifications to many vehicles. Everything (almost) has been new to me on this E46, so it took a while to take things in and start learning what's going on. Finally got around to working on the car last weekend, and did a TON--see below.

Service records:
(all from Twin Star BMW of Richmond except first oil change)

2011.09.06 (131,847)
- OE Oil filter cartridge
- 6 qts Mobil1 5w30
- Drain plug ring

2011.09.11 (132,608)
- Driver window regulator replacement (OE), w/ sealer & insulator
- added coolant (no obvious leaks)
- SES Light - codes for fuel trim banks 1 & 2 lean, checked out OK so code reset

2011.11.28 (134,098)
- 6x NGK BKR6EQUP spark plugs
- MANN Air filter
- MANN Cabin air filter
- Blower motor resistor (64116920365)
- Valve cover gasket set (11129070990)

2012.06.15 (141,235)
- OE Oil filter cartridge
- 7qts Valvoline 5w30
- Noted A/C compressor noisy at idle
- Noted front passenger window regulator failed

2012.07.25 (142,281)
- FR control arm (OE, 31126777852)
- FR control arm bushing (OE, 31126783376)
- Pass VA State Inspection
- Noted rattle at idle probably exhaust, not A/C
- Noted oil light on (goes off after 1 minute) likely oil level sensor
- Noted crack in windshield bottom right corner

2013.06.01 (144k)
- Valve cover gasket set with the 15 grommets and fill cap gasket
- Cleaned SAP valve at head, new gasket and vacuum line, noted hose to SAP deteriorating
- Double VANOS rebuild (Beisan), new VANOS high pressure oil hose and 4 crush washers
- Oil filter housing gasket replaced, thoroughly cleaned engine block. Note: top right most bolt was stripped out on block. Torqued all other bolts, then loc-tite that bolt and tighten to highest possible torque before it slipping
- PS pump reservoir cap O-Ring replaced, hoses thoroughly cleaned and inspected. Will watch to track down leak and resolve.
- Both intake boots, F vacuum fitting, ICV grommet replaced
- MAF, ICV, TB cleaned, TB gasket replaced
- CCV valve and all hoses replaced, air distribution piece cleaned
- OE dipstick tube inspected, cleaned, O-Ring replaced and reinstalled
- Oil level sensor replaced
- 6.5 qts Mobil 1 5w30 and MANN oil filter (next & future changes will be Mobil1 0w40 European)
- DISA cleaned & G.A.S. rebuild kit installed (unit was in non-functional condition, flopping around, and the metal pin fell out upon removal, but vacuum pot was OK)
- Completely faded hood emblem replaced (the crowning touch )
- I think that's it... filled washer fluid back up with orange Rain-X washer fluid

Post repairs, the car runs MUCH better, though still doesn't seem quite as peppy as it should. Going to look into the electrical connectors for ICV, TB, MAF, VANOS / sensors as I found a thread saying poor connections might be a substantial issue especially if not much gains noticed from doing a VANOS rebuild--and my old seals were shot for sure. I also ordered the BMW Scanner 1.4 from xcar360 and going to pull codes. Previous owner told me to "never go below 1/4 tank of gas or the SES light will come on". Sure enough, that always happens (plan to replace fuel pump/filter). No SES light came on after all the maintenance I did, so I drove ~200 miles until tank was near empty. Averaged just over 26 MPG, much better than before. I filled up and next day SES light is on. That happened before doing the maintenance since I got the car, run below 1/4 or 1/8, and a few days later SES light comes on.

On to the near future stuff in the works:
- Have a new voltage regulator (have had some issues with lights dimming and battery is OE BMW and relatively new)
- Have a new fuel pump and fuel filter
- Have hood cowl, window trim, and wiper blades, intend to have windshield replaced with $0 glass deductible insurance
- Plan to pull 2 doors apart with broken windows and see if I can do the zip-tie trick on the regulators, otherwise, replace regulators.
- Change transmission and differential oil in near future. Someday will fix the detent pin issue/notchy gear shift, next time I need a clutch. Maybe new oil will help?
- Flush brake fluid and power steering fluid in near future
- Need to do full inspection of suspension / subframe (did not realize upon purchasing car the possibility of subframe tears). Car rides rough so I think I need to do a suspension overhaul in the near future. Probably going to get a 3yr alignment service and then start a suspension job and when I'm done get new tires (mine are old / unevenly worn and loud!).
- Planning to look at my cooling system soon as well, I believe it has had some parts recently replaced.
- May get around to replacing spark plugs (though they are close to new, maybe I will just clean them) and O2 sensors since burning ~5qts of oil

Any other suggestions for me, really critical stuff I might have missed?

I intend to get the car back in great shape and keep it a long time. Exterior and interior are in great shape, it's just not been rigorously maintained and that's starting to show. I'm trying to focus on the most critical and easy things first, i.e. not losing DISA pin into a cylinder, or CCV fail again and run on no oil--at least now my oil level sensor should work! Or burn up the tranny/differential with bad or low oil. I'm assume it's original oil, but maybe the 1st owner did more service than the dumb lady I bought the car from. She said it was an amazing car in winter because it was 'front wheel drive'. The tires on it are dated 2005, dry rotted and the car can't even start moving on 2" of snow on my totally flat road. Clearly she's never driven it in the snow. I let that one slide and talked her down as much as I could on the price. At this point I have about $7,500 into it (including fuel pump, fuel filter, supplies for another oil change (Mobil1 0w40 European) VR, all the windshield cowls/trim/new wipers etc) and I think I got a good enough deal. If nothing else it has sunroof, good stereo (stock HK), cold AC, heated seats and is fun to drive, so I think I'm good. Just praying I don't have any sub frame tears. Still need to figure out exactly what to look for and where. Of course I keep forgetting to look at it, perhaps afraid of what I might find.

Thanks for reading and insight will be appreciated!
My recent acquisition of this 2001 330i 4dr 5spd -- A DIY Wonderland!
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Old 06-07-2013, 09:52 AM   #2
Registered User
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: Ft Worth, TX
Posts: 104
My Ride: 2002 325i, 94 318ic
Congratulations!! Welcome aboard. Sounds like a well maintained car!
swawrench is offline   Reply With Quote

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