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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 03-27-2015, 10:20 AM   #1
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Question for a newbie

I have a question that may seem a bit stupid but, I need to ask it. My father has some basic tools that he is willing to let me have. My question is, what tools are absolutely essential when working on an e46? I understand that some replacement of parts may require a special tool here or there but, I am having a hard time figuring out what a good base set of tools would be. I've never really worked on cars and was planning to make an e46 a learning experience with cars. I've always liked to jump head first into things.

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Old 03-27-2015, 10:02 PM   #2
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Don't feel bad asking this question ... in fact it's been asked several times before ... so if you search you can find lots of opinions on what is needed. My short version: good metric 3/8" and 1/2" socket sets with extensions, a good metric wrench set (open and closed ends), a torque wrench (I like to torque a bolt to factory specs), a torx socket set, good set of screwdrivers, a hammer, and a Motive power bleeder (for brakes). Really do read some of the other threads on this, if you haven't already.
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Old 03-27-2015, 10:53 PM   #3
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Sounds similar to the boat I was in when first starting DIY work. Had some tools from my father, a list of things I wanted to fix, and not much else to go on.

Sansho has some good advice above, and Iíd absolutely invest some money in a reliable torque wrench. Some practical things that are also worth mentioning would be a small high-powered flashlight, maybe even a headlamp, extendable magnetic pickup or claw gabber, inspection mirror, flexible bit driver, and a decent pair of work gloves. Canít tell you how many times I banged up my hands unnecessarily before finally picking up a pair.

Lots of information in past discussions for tools, but also take a look at the first two or three DIYs you plan on tackling. Some of the better ones will actually list the tools you need, and youíll quickly start to see some overlap. I can remember going out and buying just the tools I needed for a particular DIY, and after doing that a few times, assembled a pretty extensive tool kit rather quickly.

Best of luck with your repairs, and with all the DIYs that are out there, it's a great first car to work on.

DIYs help you save money with repairs; let www.bmwpnpc.com help you save money with the parts.
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Old 03-28-2015, 04:42 AM   #4
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I have the following (might miss a few)

- Ratchet
- Various extension sizes
- metric socket set (primarily needed are 8/10/11/13mm)
- torx bits for ratchet
- hex bits for ratchet
- philips and flathead screwdrivers
- electrical tape
- box cutter
- 15" breaker bar
- pliers
- adjustable wrench
- metric ratcheting wrenches
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Old 03-28-2015, 06:05 AM   #5
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It's best to have 2 of every metrix size (within a reasonable range, mine is 5-36mm for sockets, you could get away with 8-22 but the more the better) socket and wrench (in case there is not room for a ratchet/socket), reason I say 2 of each is in case you have to hold a bolt while loosing a nut of the same size.

Also u can never have too many extensions or screw drivers

If they're free tools take them all...

Also if you can get some ratchet wrenches do it. They make things 10x easier and faster. I just picked up another set from Sears (on sale) just for when friends are helping me

Last edited by BDUB328I; 03-28-2015 at 06:13 AM.
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Old 03-28-2015, 09:07 AM   #6
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Buy quality tools. By "quality" I mean Craftsman as a minimum. Using cheapo tools will result in damaged fasteners, delays because you need to replace bolts, nutz, etc., and the need to replace the tools with quality tools. Torque wrenched are absolutely needed. I have 2: a craftsman 3/8" that scales up to about 100ft-lbs and a smaller one that scales up to 30ft-lbs. Theres a .pdf floating around one of these forums that list the proper torques for all BMWs.
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Old 04-18-2015, 03:15 AM   #7
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a bright led work light. you will inevitably drop or drop something on your work light and bulbs blow at the worst time. Also this sounds crazy but a laptop or tablet you can take into the garage to google pictures, how to's, parts prices etc... while working on your car. Sometimes it's something as simple as finding out how to get to a bolt or clip.
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Old 04-18-2015, 08:50 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by Solidjake View Post
- metric ratcheting wrenches
Everything mentioned is good, and if your father is giving you what he has, take it all. A good set of ratcheting wrenches is well worth the investment, as they'll save you surprising amount of effort and time.

Oh, and don't forget a big bag of zip ties.

Race Proven Performance

Last edited by Jonathan @ BimmerWorld; 04-18-2015 at 08:50 AM.
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Old 04-18-2015, 09:07 AM   #9
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They are a great asset to the tool collection (although I had to buy my tools)
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Old 04-18-2015, 12:41 PM   #10
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Question for a newbie

What these guys said

Air tools and a small compressor to start with. I just bought a 65 gallon shop one to replace my 3 gallon one. Having air tools makes jobs go much quicker.

Last edited by zander271; 04-18-2015 at 12:41 PM.
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