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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 10-05-2010, 06:25 PM   #41
AtlantaViking
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Thanks

I've been lurking around here for too long without saying thanks - but this starter thread saved my bacon.

A real "thank you" because I was ready to start pulling the intake manifold to pull the starter out. But going at from beneath was the trick. Still a pain for sure but definitely the preferred method.

Just an FYI, my starter problems were not the typical ones. As a matter of fact, I can't find any record of anyone else running into it in an E46. In my case, the car would start fine but as I backed down the driveway (a decline) when I would get to the steepest part this really loud rattling racket started and varied with engine speed. It sounded like marbles in the oil pan. After sitting there for 30 minutes running through all of the variables, it finally hit me. The starter gear was hitting the flywheel. Soooo....when I finally got the starter out I had to confirm my suspicions and sure enough - the spring that holds the starter gear in place until the bendix throws it to the flywheel had broken. The gear would just slide back and forth on the shaft. Thats the first time I've ever seen that happen. But maybe some poor soul will come upon this thread with a random google search and find the answer to a similar problem. I say that because its a weird one in my book.

Thanks again for the post though OP. Great job and REALLY appreciated.
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Old 10-24-2010, 12:17 PM   #42
Texas Mike
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Great write-up, just finished replacing my starter. This DIY made it much easier. Removing the fuel filter cover makes all the difference IMHO for getting to the bottom bolt.

Thanks again for taking the time to put this together.
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Old 11-29-2010, 07:29 PM   #43
jbl_91762
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Great write up for an automatic, but it will not be of help for manual. Ive got the car up took everything out as per the DIY but cant locate the inner bolt for the life of me. damn 2 hours into it and I cant figure it out. Also searched our site and found an M3 and they had to remove the entire manifold. Looks like manual trannys have to do the same Im tempted to take it to a shop

Last edited by jbl_91762; 11-29-2010 at 07:43 PM.
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Old 11-30-2010, 08:33 AM   #44
newtuner
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Sorry to hear your having troubles, did you check to see if there is a different starter for a car with an auto or manual tranny? I would think the starters would be pretty much the same, that second bolt should be there in and around the same place.
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Old 12-02-2010, 08:57 AM   #45
jgold47
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AtlantaViking View Post
I've been lurking around here for too long without saying thanks - but this starter thread saved my bacon.

A real "thank you" because I was ready to start pulling the intake manifold to pull the starter out. But going at from beneath was the trick. Still a pain for sure but definitely the preferred method.

Just an FYI, my starter problems were not the typical ones. As a matter of fact, I can't find any record of anyone else running into it in an E46. In my case, the car would start fine but as I backed down the driveway (a decline) when I would get to the steepest part this really loud rattling racket started and varied with engine speed. It sounded like marbles in the oil pan. After sitting there for 30 minutes running through all of the variables, it finally hit me. The starter gear was hitting the flywheel. Soooo....when I finally got the starter out I had to confirm my suspicions and sure enough - the spring that holds the starter gear in place until the bendix throws it to the flywheel had broken. The gear would just slide back and forth on the shaft. Thats the first time I've ever seen that happen. But maybe some poor soul will come upon this thread with a random google search and find the answer to a similar problem. I say that because its a weird one in my book.

Thanks again for the post though OP. Great job and REALLY appreciated.
I think this is actually somewhat common. I know a couple of other people who have had this but manifesting itself as a start up screech on cold days, basically the spring doesn't retract quickly enough.
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Old 12-19-2010, 02:04 PM   #46
KILLAJON
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good thread
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Old 01-15-2011, 12:50 PM   #47
dxi_3
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This DIY worked for 6spd manual

Quote:
Originally Posted by jbl_91762 View Post
Great write up for an automatic, but it will not be of help for manual. Ive got the car up took everything out as per the DIY but cant locate the inner bolt for the life of me. damn 2 hours into it and I cant figure it out. Also searched our site and found an M3 and they had to remove the entire manifold. Looks like manual trannys have to do the same Im tempted to take it to a shop
I was just helping a friend do this on his 330Ci 6 speed. We definitely did not have to take off the manifold. Everything was pretty much the same as newtuner explains (thanks for the write up!). We got the new one in with the wires on it, but then realized that it didn't have threaded holes like the old one did!

Do some e46s have starters bolting to the block (no threads in starter)?

Either way, it's always smart to double check this stupid stuff prior to installing.
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Old 01-20-2011, 01:47 PM   #48
skatetokil
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Anybody know if the procedure is the same on an xi auto?

A local shop just quoted me $775 to do the work and I don't know if I can stomach that.
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Old 03-18-2011, 01:52 AM   #49
tice123
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Newtuner, I seriously worship the ground you walk on! Thank you so much for do this. There is nothing else out there. This is it. You are awesome! Thank you.
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Old 04-16-2011, 01:54 PM   #50
Cobra
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thanks for a great write-up! may be attempting this soon...
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Old 04-30-2011, 03:05 AM   #51
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Thanks, will be trying this out this weekend.

I was going to get an independent mechanic to do it, but even they become costly. So, I am deciding to have this be my first DIY... I am not totally foreign to car mechanics, but it is hard to find the time....

I will be working on 328i 2000. Should work fine...
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Old 07-30-2011, 04:34 PM   #52
jlb37388
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I replaced my clutch in my 2000 323 today, I had to take a break.. everything went fairly straight forward except getting the starter to go back on the alignment dowel pin...that has been the biggest PITA! If I can ever get this starter to seat on the pin correctly all left to do is reconnect the drive shaft, should put new starter on since I have gone through all this, would hate for starter to go out next week, rather pull trans again if didn't have to deal with the starter.....
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Old 07-31-2011, 03:36 AM   #53
Dan330Ci~
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I just had to use this DIY, thanks. Had a bit of trouble getting the starter off the pin but after that it was easy.



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Old 08-19-2011, 09:28 AM   #54
325xit2003bt
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I just completed the starter replacement in my 03 325xit. I could not for the life of me how get to the bottom bolt from underneath the car.

What I did was the following:

I took a 3/8 box wrench that has a slight offset and cut off.the open end side. I then wrapped some silicone tape around the end that I cut off to protect myself from the sharp edge and the hold it just snug enough in a 1/2" x 18" pipe that I used for leverage. With this set up I was able to get to both top bolts pretty easily.

The issue I had was that the tranny had a flange that was in the way of the extension/wobble combo. I am not sure if this is because of it being an xi/xit or not. But just as the pictures show the new starter was a little bigger but fit just fine.

Thank you for the thread and writeup it saved me $700.

Last edited by 325xit2003bt; 08-19-2011 at 03:24 PM. Reason: grammer
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Old 08-19-2011, 09:11 PM   #55
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Just did this PIA job on a 2003 325xi. This article was get help; Thanks!!

A couple of things I learned. To get to the lower starter bolt, take a micro-racheting 3/8" box end wrench and bend it in a vise from the standard 15 degree offset to about 35 degrees. This allows you to reach the bottom bolt from the starter side. When having trouble getting the starter on the alignment pin, first get some emery cloth and polish the pin and the hole. If that does not work, run a drill bit in the starter hole that is .001/.002 larger than the hole. Polish the hole and no more issues.
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Old 08-20-2011, 04:13 PM   #56
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good job!
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Old 09-02-2011, 09:19 AM   #57
curt2199
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Hey guys, I have an 05 325i (2.5L) that was giving me increasingly random no starts and the battery was good so I am in the process of changing out the starter. I just wanted to let you know that at least on mine, it is possible to remove the starter from the top of the car with minimal tools.

I followed the steps in this tutorial up to removing the heater hoses. That was probably the most irritating part because the hoses were stuck on and eventually after breaking the seal with a flathead, one came flying off and covered my face with anti-freeze. So be careful there, however after that, I could see the starter bolts and knew it was possible to get them from there. I used a short 3/8" wrench and a long 1/2" wrench attached as a breaker/extension (if you've never done this, hook then closed end of the 1/2" to the open end of the 3/8") and broke both bolts loose from the top... while holding a small led flashlight (I know, pure talent, lol). Anyway, they broke loose fine and then I just used the short 3/8" to slowly loosen each one with the small turn radius you have. I probably spent a half hour just turning the two bolts but eventually they were finger loose. Now I'm 6'4", 245lbs so I have big hands and forearms and I was able to do this, so just about anyone should be able to.

Once I had the two bolts out, I grabbed the starter with my right hand through the hole exposed by moving the heater hoses and rocked it up and down and wiggled it around and it broke free. Then I turned it so I could get a socket and 3/8" long handled pivoting head socket wrench on the large positive nut and loosened it, then took it off with my fingers (13 or 15mm). Then turned the starter so the wires/solenoid were facing up and removed the other two wires (8mm and 10mm, I think) with a small 1/4" drive socket wrench.

Now that I had the starter loose, I wasn't about to squeeze myself under the car and go removing all that crap to get it out. If you turn the starter so that the bellhousing (starter gear) is facing up, you can actually wiggle it up through the hole exposed by unhooking the heater hoses. It is a little tight but if you go slow and feel where it's catching and turn it a little here and there, it will come out! I got the starter out from only the top of the car with only a few basic wrenches and sockets in 2 hours from start to finish, in the dark while holding a small led flash light. Except when turning the starter bolts, I had to use both hands to hold and turn the wrench on the bolts but you that can be done with just some good left/right hand coordination.

Now the new starter will be here today so I'm assuming it will go in easier than the old one came out so I'm shooting for under 4 hours for the entire process!
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Old 09-03-2011, 12:55 PM   #58
e46allday
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Everything is pretty simple and straight forward except im having problems with the alignment pin...has anyone had starter spin but not turn over motor...
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Old 09-03-2011, 08:17 PM   #59
cullenj
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Replacing mine this weekend because of starter spinning without engagement mostly when cool. 6 hours out and hopefully just a couple in tomorrow. Newtuner rocks!
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Old 09-12-2011, 05:12 PM   #60
dmast
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I'm now going here too. I was having an intermitant problem with the motor spinning and not engaging the fly wheel. That problem has gone away and now the pinon is not fully retracting and rubbing the flywheel while the engine is running(I think). Sounds like a couple of bolts rattling around in a spinning can!!!
My 2001 330ci has 2 hoses going to the heater core and they are right above where I need to access the mounting bolts. I want to just loosed the band clamps and pull them out of the way. Anyone know if this would be a problem???
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