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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 08-05-2009, 10:39 PM   #1
delmarco
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Cool Pictorial DIY: BMW E46 Fan Clutch Removal & Engine Belts Change For Automatic Cars

Because every DIY I've seen are for manual cars without the stupid fan in the way. This DIY is for the rest of us who own automatic cars. Also for everyone that is in need of possibly pulling out their water pump since removing the fan clutch nut is the exactly what you will have to do on all cars (whether manual or automatic) to get the water pump out.

The belts DIY is easy in itself. The large pictures and crayola text within each picture below should give anyone with a brain the basic idea of what to do. I've changed belts on older BMW cars before without having to bother with the fan (like on the M44 engine) so the fan removal part of the M54 DIY was always a mystery to me and many with automatic E46 cars. Many of us followed all those website and forum DIYs, that was using manual cars for their DIY projects, up until we realized there was a big a$$ fan in there for our cars and couldn't go any further.

This DIY shows you how to safely remove the fan, belts, look at the inevitable water pump/thermostat failure regions and put everything back in.

My DIYs do not end in the middle, like most DIYs, and leave you stranded . I show you how to double check what you did and safely put everything back in there.

WATER PUMP and THERMOSTAT DIY QUICK INFO:
Only read this bit if you are interested in these tasks.
Said and done, if you can do this DIY then the water pump/thermostat DIYs will be not much more difficult, if not as easy. With the fan clutch out and shroud out and coolant drained, all that is left is removal of the bolts and bits that hold the water pump and thermostat in place. These are right there in front of you.

My car only has 49k on the clock, as of this writing, but it is still a 7-8 year old car so I plan of changing my plastic OEM pump and thermostat housing for the metal high performance water pump and an aluminum body thermostat housing over the next couple of months just to be safe.


HERE IS THE BMW M54 E46 Automatic Fan Clutch & Engine Belts DIY:






















Last edited by delmarco; 08-05-2009 at 11:37 PM.
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Old 08-05-2009, 10:40 PM   #2
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PART 2






















Last edited by delmarco; 08-05-2009 at 10:42 PM.
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Old 08-05-2009, 10:47 PM   #3
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PART 3

















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Old 08-05-2009, 10:50 PM   #4
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PART 4















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Old 08-05-2009, 10:52 PM   #5
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PART 5










After you are done and double checked everything (including those front-fan shroud/radiator connector plugs) get yourself cleaned up and go start your car leaving the hood up and the windows down. Keep your hand on the key in case you have to shut off the engine immediately.

If the engine starts up okay and everything sounds and feel normal (no squealing or fierce vibrations) after a minute or two go look under the hood. The fan and belts should be moving okay. My fan seemed wobbly for the first couple of minutes but after it was okay-leaving me thinking it was just my imagination.

The worse that can happen is usually the fan blades either break off spontaneously and/or the fan comes off, thus exploding sending pieces of hard plastic everywhere. This is why you NEVER drop the fan, lay it flat or damage it if during the DIY you plan on using it again. Even if one blade gets chipped or scuffed then the fan can quickly lose equilibrium and wobble itself to bits destroying your engine block and hood.

This is also why it is best to first start the engine with the hood up and everyone clear of the engine bay, and your hand on the key in case you have to cut the engine off pronto. I think the rule of thumb is if your fan doesnít explode right away you should be good.

That is it! DIY completed! Now itís time to think about that inevitable WATER PUMP failure prevention upgrade and Thermostat Housing upgrade DIY.
Enjoy,
Delmarco.
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Old 08-06-2009, 01:10 AM   #6
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Well done, good write up!
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Old 08-06-2009, 07:40 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shayn View Post
Well done, good write up!
I got a few more DIYs coming by the Fall.
1. Replacing the E46 plastic-army of fail: WaterPump/Themostat Housing/Fan Pulley Wheel with all aluminum/metal parts.
2. BMW Coolant Flush
3. E46 Power Folding Mirrors Parts 2 and 3 complete
4. Window Regulators (maybe)
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Old 08-06-2009, 08:28 AM   #8
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Very Very Nice!
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Old 08-07-2009, 01:55 PM   #9
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Job Well DONE!

Sweet post. It shows you love your cars! Thanks for taking the time in doing such a great write up!

I can attest to forgetting about attempting to do this job without the 32mm wrench and pulley holder! Forget-a-bout-it!
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Old 08-08-2009, 11:30 AM   #10
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thx for the awesome diy!
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Old 08-08-2009, 11:34 AM   #11
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Got to have the wrenches as noted above.

I just did this two weeks ago and the pulley method to de-tension the belts is not right. Use 16mm (or 5/8s) as well as appropriate torx (60 if I recall) on the a/c belt. You will be happy you did it this way.
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Old 08-08-2009, 12:10 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ginpunk View Post
Got to have the wrenches as noted above.

I just did this two weeks ago and the pulley method to de-tension the belts is not right. Use 16mm (or 5/8s) as well as appropriate torx (60 if I recall) on the a/c belt. You will be happy you did it this way.
you mean a T50 Torx for the AC. Also known as a Brake/Caliper RemovalTorx.

Yeah, lots of DIY want you to de-tension the pulley at the pulley tension wheel with a T50 but I quickly realized that way is ridiculous. The 16mm or 5/8 ratchet is 100 times easier and 1000 times safer.
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Last edited by delmarco; 08-08-2009 at 12:14 PM.
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Old 08-08-2009, 12:21 PM   #13
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I got my fan off using a 1 1/4 (32mm) wrench using the whack it with a hammer and let the belt tension hold the fan method (another diy shows this technique). I didn't really expect it to work so easy but the second whack and it was loose.
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Old 08-10-2009, 08:29 PM   #14
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Nice DIY, thanks
Any tips anyone on separating those "quick disconnect" hose ends FROM EACH OTHER?
The ones from the radiator came off OK, but the hose to hose connections on the drivers
side where the first hose from the radiator (which I planned to replace) connect to the second hose
that runs to the firewall connections??
thanks

BTW, nice timing too Last weekend I drove 500 miles with a leaking radiator in my 01 530. the radiator was half empty when I returned.
the first picture shows a white line starting at the base of the neck for the hose where it was dripping
the next shows what happened when I GENTLY (REALLY) tried to remove the hose!
Holy crap, the radiator plastic was dust, all of it. and to think I was just bragging about how mine was still original at 150k and 8 yrs!
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Old 08-10-2009, 11:37 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by delmarco View Post
you mean a T50 Torx for the AC. Also known as a Brake/Caliper RemovalTorx.

Yeah, lots of DIY want you to de-tension the pulley at the pulley tension wheel with a T50 but I quickly realized that way is ridiculous. The 16mm or 5/8 ratchet is 100 times easier and 1000 times safer.
that only works if you have a mechanical tensioner however. If you have a hydraulic tensioner you have to use the T50 bolt.
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Old 08-11-2009, 12:00 AM   #16
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that only works if you have a mechanical tensioner however. If you have a hydraulic tensioner you have to use the T50 bolt.
Was just about to mention this.

Great write-up I have a manual so I don't have to worry about the fan, however if I didn't, a DIY like this would be just what I was looking for. You may also want to mention that the fan clutch is reverse threaded, don't recall reading that above. Pretty important note to make in a DIY like this, IMO.
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Old 09-07-2009, 09:35 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DiscoStu View Post
Was just about to mention this.

Great write-up I have a manual so I don't have to worry about the fan, however if I didn't, a DIY like this would be just what I was looking for. You may also want to mention that the fan clutch is reverse threaded, don't recall reading that above. Pretty important note to make in a DIY like this, IMO.
You know I honestly didn't even notice it was reverse thread. Sorry. I'll fix the picture.
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Old 09-07-2009, 10:11 PM   #18
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nice DIY
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Old 09-15-2009, 03:24 PM   #19
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Great write-up. My first time using how-to's from the forum and worked like a charm. Appreciate the post.
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Old 09-16-2009, 05:27 AM   #20
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nice DIY. It'll help a lot of auto e46 owners. I'm glad I don't have to go through that since manuals don't need a fan tool
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