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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 06-10-2012, 02:13 PM   #101
stukreit
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ratcheting torx wrench out of stock at Amazon

My order for the gearwrench tool got bounced. A search on the net does not show anyone selling just the one wrench.

Would someone on this list be willing to sell me theirs? Once I'm done with it
I suppose I will sell it to the next person.

Thanks,
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Old 06-13-2012, 09:13 AM   #102
Jmhockey1920
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I will start this tonight...wish me good luck! ha
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Old 06-13-2012, 02:28 PM   #103
Stinger9
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We do!

Hope it goes well.

Let us know details tomorrow.
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Old 06-16-2012, 05:37 PM   #104
GianGTV6
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Not too bad a job with a lift

Thanks to this DIY, I was able to change my starter today. Thanks OP!

But, I did only through Step 7 in the original DIY. I did not remove heater hoses or any of the stuff attached under the car.

The key is to have a lift to do the job.

Note that my car is a manual transmission.
2003 MY with 11/02 production date.

After Step 7 in the OP:

8. Use 10 mm combo to remove lower wire from solenoid.

9. Use 13 mm combo or socket to remove 2 big wires from solenoid; leave the small top wire for later when the starter is off.

10. Use a 17 mm box (or something equivalent) over the E12 combo wrench to loosen the top bolt off the starter without dropping the combo wrench. Can only move 1/4 turn or so at a time that way. I should have run the extensions over the top of the tranny according to other posts here, but car was on the floor and it went okay doing it this way. I only loosened the bolt and left it resting in the bell housing.

11. Raise the car on a lift so you can stand under it.

12. Use the stack of 3/8 extensions and a E12 Torx socket to loosen the lower starter bolt (and leave it in the bell housing). Probably best to do the same method for Step 10 (top bolt). But, I didn't have my computer handy to review the thread while working on the car and didn't realize that.

13. Lower car to floor.

14. Wiggle starter loose from dowel pin (I was lucky and it didn't need any further persuasion).

15. Remove top wire from solenoid with 8 mm and rest the starter below.

16. Raise car again.

17. Remove starter from bottom side next to the clutch hydraulic line. It fits through there without much fuss.

18. Reverse procedure. I used WD40 on the dowel pin and the new starter slid into place fairly easily.


E46 325Ci
production date 11/02
manual transmission

Tools used for starter replacement
-car lift
-drop light; flashlight

Shown in photo:
-mirror
-magnet (not needed if you don't drop anything)

with 3/8 drive:
E12 Torx socket
T30 Torx
ratchet
bar
10 mm socket
13 mm socket
extension set of 4 plus one more medium length (stacked together as shown)

combo wrenches:
8 mm
10 mm
13 mm
E12/10 mm
17 mm box (Or something equivalent to loop around the E12 combo as shown)
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Old 07-15-2012, 03:22 AM   #105
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Just did this today after reading through this entire thread and OH MY GOD this is the worst thing that could fail on your car. It is a HUGE pain in the as$ and I wouldn't wish this DIY on anyone.

A couple of things...

I don't know the OP did this alone so kudos to newtuner. My dad helped me and both of us agreed it would be near impossible for one person.

With our sockets and extension set up for the lower bolt, we ended up going over the transmission mount and the ratchet was next to the muffler. It was kind of unclear where the OP went, but this worked for us.

For the upper bolt, GET A 3/8" RATCHETING WRENCH FOR THE E-12 BOLT! Removing it I used a standard 3/8 combination and it took at least half an hour to get it off and my hands and arm are completely beat up from it. When we put it back on, I borrowed one of these from my neighbor and it only took 5 minutes with a box wrench on the end of it for extra leverage. I repeat, GET A 3/8" RATCHETING WRENCH! My next tool purchase is a set of these.

I did not have enough slack on the two power cables for the starter to hang down like OP's, and we ended up having to reconnect them after the new starter was already in place.

Again, this was a total PITA but I'm glad I did it because I saved probably $800. I just never ever ever ever wanna do it again!

Thanks newtuner and contributors!!
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Old 08-30-2012, 08:59 AM   #106
N_O_I_S_E
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I'm bringing this back from the dead because I am at a loss. Several people were able to get this thing off their car, but I can't imagine how. Maybe you guys can explain this to me, because... I can't see how this can be done.

So this pic here shows where I'm at. This is the lower bolt I assume, I can't even locate the top one. But the big issue is that it's bolted from the other side and I can't get a socket back there because there is maybe two inches between the head of the bolt and the wall/body of the car. The angle and amount of room prevent me from getting a ratcheting wrench in there either.



So, from what you guys have seen, are the starters always bolted on the other (impossible to reach) side like this? It's almost like they just bolted everything on and just dropped the car onto the drive train and said screw you to anyone who would ever have to change this part.
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Old 08-30-2012, 10:26 AM   #107
bwaymire
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BMW323i Starter removal

When we replaced my 1999 323i starter we used extensions to get to the lower bolt. It has been a while since this nightmare of a job took place, I recall we needed a swivel socket on the end. For the top bolt, we laid on top of the engine and the guy with the thinnest fingers worked to free that bolt using a box wrench. I will tell you it was not a one man job to get it done and it took six hours. I wish I could be more specific; but I have put that day out of my mind with some success. Good luck to you and I hope you get some others to give you more useful info.
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Old 08-30-2012, 10:33 AM   #108
BMWCaptain
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If you take off your intake you have access to use a flex ratcheting gear wrench on it.

If you do not take your intake off, then you must work from under the car using long extensions and external torx bits to undo the 2 bolts.

Automatics have less room to work the extensions around it.
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Old 08-30-2012, 01:41 PM   #109
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I have an automatic. If you follow this DIY as far as removing the cabin air filter housing and all of that stuff on top of the engine nearest the firewall, you can get to the TOP bolt by standing on something and stretching out. There isn't much room at all and it's a real knuckle-buster job, but you can get a 3/8" box wrench on the E-12 bolt. Taking it off took me about 45 minutes because you can only go about 1/8 of a turn at a time. Putting it back on, I borrowed a ratcheting wrench from my neighbor and it only took 5 minutes. I have since purchased ratcheting wrenches and would recommend this more than anything for this job.

The BOTTOM bolt was a bigger pain and you probably need 2 people, as stated earlier in the thread... You've gotta feed the ~3ft of extensions up next to the tranny and onto the bolt. It is a real PITA for sure, but it can be done. I think we ended up feeding it next to the fuel filter, then around the tranny to the bolt. You are working kinda blind so that took a lot of patience and I've never heard my dad swear so much. The DIY is pretty thorough and accurate if you follow it though. Hope this helps!
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Old 08-30-2012, 01:43 PM   #110
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Oh I guess I kinda just repeated what I said about 5 posts up. Read the thread.
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Old 08-30-2012, 10:53 PM   #111
stukreit
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I made a tool to get at both bolts from the top

The torx wrench (described elsewhere) was NLA on amazon, so I took a torx
socket, a spare junk socket, grinded and brazed them together so that with
a 3/8" extension, you can hook it behind the bell housing and r&r both bolts.

In the attached picture you'll see the chromed extension bar holding
the siamesed sockets.

Do you want it? pay shipping and promise to send it to the next person that
needs it.

stuart.kreitman@gmail.com
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Old 08-30-2012, 11:06 PM   #112
Stinger9
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Guess you've resigned not to ever have to replace another starter???!


Seriously, nice concoction and generous offer!
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Old 08-30-2012, 11:47 PM   #113
stukreit
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hopefully it will be 100k miles before the next one

Its just that I'm proud of myself for this clever tool that works so well, so
I'd like to share the joy.
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Old 08-31-2012, 10:05 AM   #114
Stinger9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stukreit View Post
hopefully it will be 100k miles before the next one
Now you're making me nervous. I just turned 96K miles!

Last edited by Stinger9; 08-31-2012 at 10:07 AM.
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Old 08-31-2012, 12:32 PM   #115
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I recommend using a u-joint extension on the end of your extension concoction. I left the ratchet off and laid underneath with my head at the front of the car and guided it onto the torx bolt. It certainly takes patience, a few choice words, a nick or two on the ol' knuckles, and many a cold beer afterwards. Be sure to only use genuine Bosch. I tried saving a little coin by purchasing an off-brand from AutoZone and had numerous troubles with it after. Having recently done the swap I took it back and bought what I should have in the first place. Best of luck!
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Old 09-15-2012, 03:16 AM   #116
therealruckus
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LOOK OUT - Just finished mine...

Thanks for the great DIY - The one thing I missed:

When I went to install the new starter, I spent about an hour messing around on my back trying to get the starter to SIT in its proper location, (on the single pin that sticks out towards the front of the car). This is tricky considering all the wires are hooked to the starter at this point so there isn't much room.

In the end, I found that the Starter I had received as replacement had a hole that was a fraction of an inch too small for the pin to fit. I had to drill it out just a quick once-through, and it fit right on!

Anyway, good luck anyone needing to do this project, it took me about 7 hours, and most of that time was spent in some very precarious positions.
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Old 09-15-2012, 08:57 AM   #117
Stinger9
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Wow, it seems that they're always throwing some new curve ball at us.
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Old 09-21-2012, 11:12 AM   #118
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My car 2004 330xi automatic won't crank or click but has full electric power and been sitting in the driveway for the past 2 days. Just last night I found out that the problem is the starter, after hitting the starter with a long metal rod the car fired right away ..... The car previously had only power (lights on, blower on, head light on ... etc.) but no crank no click what so ever ..... I ordered the starter last night and will install over the weekend, I heard it's a PITA on an xi any insight? Any experience and hints with an xi auto will be appreciated?

Thanks!
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Old 09-22-2012, 12:48 PM   #119
e46bmwlife
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I ended up taking the complete intake manifold off to get to the starter on my 2000 (standard) 323i. It was much easier, but I did run into one issue. On my car the starter bolt that was closest to drivers side was actually a E14 and not E12 like the other starter bolt. Once I figured out that it was a different bolt it was fairly easy to get out with the proper tools.

I got a Craftsman 3/8 in. Drive Full Polish Offset Flex Head Quick Release Teardrop Ratchet with a E14 socket. Overall the job was not nearly as hard as I first though. Just go one step at a time take pictures and label the wires as you go so it can all go back the same way.
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Old 09-22-2012, 01:00 PM   #120
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You've really bitten off much more than most others advise. The manifold removal is supposed to be extremely nasty. Do you confirm that?

And If I were going to do the manifold, I think I'd not want to face that again. I'd throw in new knock sensors and new plastic coolant lines that sit under the manifold. And unless you'd recently done the full CVV replacement, I'd think about that. I guess you could really go crazy replacing stuff there just to be sure!
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