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General E46 Forum
This is the place to get answers, opinions and everything you need related to your E46 (sedan, coupe, convertible and wagon) BMW!

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Old 07-14-2011, 03:25 PM   #1
umermariner
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Belts

Hello guys,

I think got the belts with pulley replaced about 30K miles ago, however dont remember exactly.

Just have a few questions

1. What is the safe life of the belts?
2. How dangerous it is if they break on the road (My understanding is, you can still drive the car and get them replace ASAP, as few systems like charging, power steering, (not sure about water pump) wont be working.
3. I looked at my belts, and they look fine from the outside. Inside, if you look at them where they are bent inwards (at tension pully), you can see minor cracks only on the extended grooves.

Also, if anyone can direct me to a DIY on changing belts, that would be awesome. I tried, but have failed so far.

Actually, exactly the same question about the coolant hoses. They seem fine, without any cracks or anything.... so should I bother changing them? I am planning a coolant flush in few days (so it should be good for next 4 years)... so thinking if I should do it along with it or not.

Will appreciate your feedback.
Thanks.

Last edited by umermariner; 07-14-2011 at 03:39 PM. Reason: Adding coolant hoses
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Old 07-14-2011, 04:01 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by umermariner View Post
Hello guys,

I think got the belts with pulley replaced about 30K miles ago, however dont remember exactly.

Just have a few questions

1. What is the safe life of the belts?
2. How dangerous it is if they break on the road (My understanding is, you can still drive the car and get them replace ASAP, as few systems like charging, power steering, (not sure about water pump) wont be working.
3. I looked at my belts, and they look fine from the outside. Inside, if you look at them where they are bent inwards (at tension pully), you can see minor cracks only on the extended grooves.

Also, if anyone can direct me to a DIY on changing belts, that would be awesome. I tried, but have failed so far.

Actually, exactly the same question about the coolant hoses. They seem fine, without any cracks or anything.... so should I bother changing them? I am planning a coolant flush in few days (so it should be good for next 4 years)... so thinking if I should do it along with it or not.

Will appreciate your feedback.
Thanks.
The average belt life is between 30,000 and 60,000 miles. I change mine every two years or 60,000 which ever comes first.
It can be a nightmare if you lose a belt during travel and don't stop immediately because the belts operate the cooling system and alternator so your car will overheat immediately.
If there beginning to crack, I would drive my vehicle immediately to pick up new ones or if you don't feel safe, order them online and have them delivered.
Attached is a good DIY for belt change, hope this helps: http://www.automedia.com/Serpentine_...FYgW2godXX8ZzA Just my two and a half cents worth...
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Old 07-14-2011, 04:11 PM   #3
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The average belt life is between 30,000 and 60,000 miles. I change mine every two years or 60,000 which ever comes first.
It can be a nightmare if you lose a belt during travel and don't stop immediately because the belts operate the cooling system and alternator so your car will overheat immediately.
If there beginning to crack, I would drive my vehicle immediately to pick up new ones or if you don't feel safe, order them online and have them delivered.
Attached is a good DIY for belt change, hope this helps: http://www.automedia.com/Serpentine_...FYgW2godXX8ZzA Just my two and a half cents worth...
hmmmmmmmmm.. .thanks, but any DIY specific to E46 car?? I see a lot of mess there ... I think I will have to remove a number of things in order to access it
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Old 07-14-2011, 04:29 PM   #4
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Here a go, something a lil easier to follow:
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Old 07-15-2011, 08:40 AM   #5
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Here a go, something a lil easier to follow:
Thanks .. thats great .

Any suggestion on hoses??????????
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Old 07-15-2011, 09:50 AM   #6
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Belts and hoses fall into the same category; I change them out every 60,000 miles or two years as well. Just my two and a half cents worth...
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Old 07-15-2011, 10:21 AM   #7
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Belts and hoses fall into the same category; I change them out every 60,000 miles or two years as well. Just my two and a half cents worth...
I'd have to say that seems a bit premature for hose changes. My hoses lasted 103,000 mile/9 years, before I changed them as preventative maintenance. They still appeared to be in decent condition.
I know I may be the acception and not the rule, but I'd say 80,000 miles or every 5 years would be more ideal. Just my .02
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Old 07-15-2011, 10:25 AM   #8
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/\ I agree. new belts and hoses every 2 yrs is overkill and a waste of money and time.
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Old 07-15-2011, 10:53 AM   #9
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Changed my belts at 114K with all the rollers, tensioners and pump. The hoses looked so good I left them on now at 163K. My expansion tank is still original too! The A/C belt might be OK till breakage but if the main belt goes, do not run the engine or drive the car period! It will very quickly overheat to destruction!
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Old 07-15-2011, 10:53 AM   #10
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OP,
Definitely replace the belt.
Also, (even if they were replaced 30K ago...) You should test your pulley bearings (check my other vids on how to check) while you have the old serpentine belt off, just to be on the safe side.
Regarding your hoses, if they are originals from the factory... they are over 11 years old. Get those replaced. < Just a suggestion.

@ Zchild
Hey. Thanks for referencing my videos!
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Old 07-15-2011, 12:08 PM   #11
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I'd have to say that seems a bit premature for hose changes. My hoses lasted 103,000 mile/9 years, before I changed them as preventative maintenance. They still appeared to be in decent condition.
I know I may be the acception and not the rule, but I'd say 80,000 miles or every 5 years would be more ideal. Just my .02
I understand your point but I'm driving 30,000 miles a year and currently have driven it for more than 12 years and 326,000 miles so my preventive maintenance schedule is two years and 60,000 miles whichever comes first. Hoses can be changed in under an hour along with the belts. Just my two and a half cents worth...
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Last edited by Zchild; 07-15-2011 at 01:10 PM. Reason: 30,000 miles a year...
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Old 07-15-2011, 12:39 PM   #12
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If you haven't done any other work (water bumper replacement, PS pump replacement, etc) you should change them around 60k, for how inexpensive they are it is a great safety net to keep your car on the road. If one breaks while driving you basically have 1 minute to pull over to get it towed, the battery can't really power the car for very long without the alternator, and without power steering driving is difficult (obviously!), plus you run the risk of overheating and blowing your motor.

Now, if you've replaced some other stuff (especially the PS pump and water pump) you should check your belts every few days for a month or so after the part was replaced, if you're off by even a millimeter the belt will show signs of wear and you'll catch it before you end up stranded!
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Old 07-15-2011, 12:43 PM   #13
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I understand your point but I'm driving 60,000 miles a year and currently have driven it for more than 12 years
wow dude... thats a lot.

Ive had my car since the end of 2002 and havent even broken 60K.

Are you a traveling salesman or have a seriously long commute?
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Old 07-15-2011, 01:09 PM   #14
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wow dude... thats a lot.

Ive had my car since the end of 2002 and havent even broken 60K.

Are you a traveling salesman or have a seriously long commute?
Oops, I mean't 30,000 miles a year; sorry for the typo...
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Old 07-15-2011, 01:13 PM   #15
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Oops, I mean't 30,000 miles a year; sorry for the typo...
Youre still an animal!!!!

Your car will last longer though, by being exercised regularly.
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Old 07-15-2011, 01:16 PM   #16
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Youre still an animal!!!!

Your car will last longer though, by being exercised regularly.
I'm just addicted to my car, I love to drive it and it's the best place for me to go when I need to think or solve any issues. I call it my therapy couch, every vacation has to include at least eight hours of driving to get to our destination...
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Old 07-15-2011, 01:53 PM   #17
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I'm just addicted to my car, I love to drive it and it's the best place for me to go when I need to think or solve any issues. I call it my therapy couch, every vacation has to include at least eight hours of driving to get to our destination...


Dude, thats so uncanny you mention that. Thats exactly how I feel about driving. Its like therapy! Doesnt matter if its a nice car or not. Just being on the road by myself and driving, can make me feel so much better. Sometimes, when I cant sleep in the wee hours, I jump in the ride and drive around aimlessly. I gotta imagine other car fanatics feel the same way. A good friend of mine sure feels this way about driving as well.
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Old 07-20-2011, 08:24 AM   #18
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I understand your point but I'm driving 30,000 miles a year and currently have driven it for more than 12 years and 326,000 miles so my preventive maintenance schedule is two years and 60,000 miles whichever comes first. Hoses can be changed in under an hour along with the belts. Just my two and a half cents worth...
Wow.. 326K miles and still going.. thats the highest miles I have heard of on E46 so far... you are my role model ...
Were you ever stranded on the road by your car?... Even though my car runs great, I feel a bit concerned about taking it on long routes any more... since it crossed 100K
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Old 07-20-2011, 08:35 AM   #19
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Wow.. 326K miles and still going.. thats the highest miles I have heard of on E46 so far... you are my role model ...
Were you ever stranded on the road by your car?... Even though my car runs great, I feel a bit concerned about taking it on long routes any more... since it crossed 100K
Baby!

Now you have to wash your car!

Get to know it...more you do on it, the more reliable you become as a team!

Car probably loves long drives; I know they need them periodically...2-3 hrs. at speed. Add Techron before for extra cleaning!
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Old 07-20-2011, 08:41 AM   #20
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Baby!

Now you have to wash your car!

Get to know it...more you do on it, the more reliable you become as a team!

Car probably loves long drives; I know they need them periodically...2-3 hrs. at speed. Add Techron before for extra cleaning!
Nice tips.. I love to do that, however; as much as I can bcz of limited time... never satisfied with the car wash and mechanic, to prefer doing whatever I can by myself ... long drives are fun... trust me, I dont like to go on a long drive on anyone else's car, especially if I have to drive (not even my wife ).
I actually use BJ22 (if I remember correctly), and seemed like it really added some horsepower... going to change my plugs, manual transmission oil, differential oil, filters (cabin, engine, gas) and some more soon ..
Not still sure about the belts and hoses... seems a lot of work, that I think I might not need for next 15K miles..however; I am going to flush power steering fluid, coolant, and brake fluid .. might have to change power steering hoses though
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