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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 11-18-2007, 12:51 PM   #1
Registered User
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: Salem, NH
Posts: 39
My Ride: '03 330xi & Alfa's
DIY: Belt Replacement 2003 330xi

Just did the belts on my '03 330xi (manual, auto may be a bit different) this weekend and figured I'd post a DIY for this very simple task that may seem like a bigger deal that it really is. Dealers charge way too much for this!

First of all, you are responsible for what you do to your car, not me. These are simply the steps I used to perform the task. (Note that for this DIY "left" and "right" are as you are standing in front of the car looking at the engine). Now that that is over with...

These are the two belts being replaced, the smaller is the AC belt and the larger is the alternator/serpentine belt. I bought the pair for about $20.
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Here are the tools that I used to change the belts. You can easily get by with fewer but I do quite a bit of work on my cars so have tons of tools. The "special" tools you may not have in your collection are the following: T25 Torx bit socket, T50 Torx bit socket, and 8mm Hex bit socket. You can buy these from Sears or ACE Hardware pretty cheaply.
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First you need to remove the air intake piece that sits on top of the fan shroud by pulling out the three retaining clips that the arrows point to. Carefully pry up the part that looks like a nail head with the screwdriver just enough so you can grab it with the needle nose pliers. Once you have it with the pliers just pull slowly and steadily and it will come out. Be extra careful if you are working in the cold as the plastic could be brittle. Once the three clips are removed you should be able to lift up the intake and wiggle it out of the rubber connection to the air filter housing.
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Here is a pic of what you are pulling out.
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Now the air intake is off.
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Next remove the bolt on the left holding the fan shroud in. This is where you will use the T25 Torx bit. Interestingly enough the "bolt" on the right side is actually another of those plastic connectors similar to those that held the intake in. Carefully remove that like you did the others.
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Once those are out you need to remove the two electrical connectors on the left side of the shroud. The smaller connector might be a little tough to remove, you push the tab on the top down and carefully wiggle it off. The big connector should be pretty easy to get off.
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Once you have the electrical connectors off you will need to remove the wires from the retainer holding it to the shroud. I found this to be the hardest part of the DIY :-). The retainer doesn't really bend so you need to lift the shroud a bit so you can get your fingers in there to wiggle out the wires. Be careful as you don't want to break through the insulation on the wires.
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Once that is done you should be able to easily (and slowly) lift the fan/shroud combo out of the car, the right side may catch a bit so be careful. Here is the fan and shroud after it has been removed.
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Take a look where the shroud was in the car and note the location of the retaining clips on the car. You will need to make sure that the shroud slips into all of them properly when putting it back in.
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OK, now that that is out of the way here is a pic of the belts we need to replace. Note the location of the two belt tensioners that we will need to detention to get the belts off.
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Here is a closeup of the AC belt with the tensioner in the middle, the AC belt needs to come off first.
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Can only post 12 pics at a time I guess so on to the next batch...

Last edited by kredden; 11-18-2007 at 01:38 PM.
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