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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 05-15-2015, 03:12 AM   #1
Blue 330Ci
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Metric or SAE

New member, just got a 2003 330Ci. Hi all.

Got a hundred questions, but just a simple one to start. Is the BMW metric (nuts and bolts) because it's German, or is it American because it's sold in the USA?

I think I'm probably gonna want some tools.
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Old 05-15-2015, 03:33 AM   #2
SilberVogel
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Hello and welcome!

You're going to need a metric tool set, and there are a lot of discussions/recommendations out there on buying tools.

Search around and you'll find plenty of advice, but here's one thread with some useful suggestions: http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthread.php?t=1071222.
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Old 05-15-2015, 05:39 AM   #3
Solidjake
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Metric

Invest in some quality tools. Sucks having a torx bit, hex key, etc strip when doing a job on the car. I recommend getting the following

- torx bit set (T-10 to T-50)
- hex bit set
- ratcheting wrenches (I have Gearhead 8-19mm)
- spare 8/10mm sockets (I lost a few here and there, don't ask)
- the schwaben (I think is the name) torque wrench from ECS Tuning is great. A must have
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Old 05-16-2015, 09:54 AM   #4
Kye7
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Ratcheting wrenches will be very helpful. Especially during suspension work.

Definitely a complete socket set and hex bit sets.
Allen keys (better on a ratchet)
Perhaps a breaker bar
Door/trim removers: http://www.amazon.com/Portable-Radio.../dp/B00SDFIWGS

I haven't used a torque wrench on any part of my car. Just tighten up real good and I'm set.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Solidjake View Post
- spare 8/10mm sockets (I lost a few here and there, don't ask)
Also this.

Last edited by Kye7; 05-16-2015 at 09:55 AM.
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Old 05-16-2015, 06:20 PM   #5
Sansho
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Metric sockets. Also, you'll appreciate having a torque wrench, or two (bigger range for wheels, smaller range for nuts). As mentioned, a torx bit set is also useful.
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Old 05-16-2015, 07:41 PM   #6
erickonphoenix
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Torx set is a must as well as a 36mm socket, 32 mm open ended wrench. An inch/lb and ft/lb torque wrench.

Oh and one of these....
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Old 05-17-2015, 03:06 PM   #7
Blue 330Ci
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Thanks guys. Metric is what I figured. In the past, the few times I needed metric I could usually find something in SAE that was close enough. I have 1/2", 3/8" and 1/4" sockets, but I think now I should go full metric. My socket sets were SK I think, but no real allegiance there. I got my tools a long time age. I'll browse around the forums but probably get something medium-cheap.

Tell me if there are any tools or brands you'd stay AWAY from.

Your other ideas are good too. I'm going to get that plastic interior trim set, and a metal breaker too, and a torx bit. My dad and I collected so many individual hex wrenches and fold-out kits and socket hexes over the years that we almost never used, that I probably have 7 or 8 in some sizes. Problem is I think they're all SAE, so a metric hex set too.

I have a breaker bar someplace, and a torque wrench, both rarely used. I never tightened with all my might like some people do. Anything that goes on probable has to come off at some time so I usually oil my screw-ons and then use my two middle fingers and pull pretty firmly. From using the torque wrench that usually came out to the right tension.

One tool I saw yesterday at AutoZone that looked really useful was wrenches with built-in ratcheting. It seemed like it might be the best of both worlds: the ratcheting of a socket wrench with the almost-thinness of a regular wrench. Unfortunately best-of-both-worlds is usually a hairs-breadth away from worst-of-both-worlds. What I call the el-Camino dilemma: the passenger-carrying capacity of a truck with the hauling capability of a car.

Air tools sound good, but I'm a cordless-electric guy. Break it with a big wrench, the let the motor spin it off.

Well, I'm not going to do this all at once. Probably regular wrenches or 1/4" sockets first.

What do you guys think about used tools off of eBay? I haven't really looked, but might be good tools for cheap.
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Old 05-17-2015, 03:51 PM   #8
Sansho
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Quote:
What do you guys think about used tools off of eBay? I haven't really looked, but might be good tools for cheap.
Personally, I wouldn't buy used tools, as you don't know their history/abuse/etc.

Regarding tool brands, I've had good success with Sears sockets over the years. I think I broke one once, and there was no issue replacing it at the local store.

While many sockets are multi-pointed inside, I've recently started adding sockets with 5 or 6 flats inside, which I think is a little stronger on hard to turn or high torque nuts.

Oh, it's also handy to have some of the 2" to 2.5" long sockets, as they come in handy now and then.

And you're right on common sizes ... a 3/4" socket = 19mm, for example.
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