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E46 Xi Forum
The E46 XI was produced from 01-05 in sedan and touring body styles. Powered by either a 2.5L inline 6 in the 325xi or a 3.0L inline 6 330xi. Discuss all thing about BMW AWD E46 'Xi' here.

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Old 08-23-2011, 12:23 AM   #1
bimmerco
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Best Way To Learn How To Fix Things Myself

Okay, I'll be completely honest, I'm not mechanically inclined in any way. In fact (and this is a bit embarrassing) I've never changed any fluids in my car outside of filling it with gas.

I'm the CEO of an investment company and have never had any experience with anything mechanical really ever.

How can I get started learning how to get under the hood of my xi? I have a 2004 325xi, love the car and would really love to be able to do some things myself without paying my mechanic a small fortune!

Thanks in advance!

Last edited by tim330i; 09-02-2011 at 02:58 PM.
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Old 08-23-2011, 12:26 AM   #2
Bemwe_03i
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Last edited by Bemwe_03i; 08-23-2011 at 12:27 AM.
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Old 08-23-2011, 12:46 AM   #3
Speed Density
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Have some tools.

Then start reading.

It's that easy, just be confident you can do it.
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Old 08-23-2011, 12:46 AM   #4
cardsfan007
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Follow the DIY's on here. There are some absolutely GREAT write-ups. If you cant find what you are looking for, ask. Most people here are decent with their answers. Dont mind the random side comments, its all in good fun
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Old 08-23-2011, 12:58 AM   #5
Bemwe_03i
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Old 08-23-2011, 07:31 AM   #6
Gus330vrum
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Yeap! Everyone comment sounds GOOD.... its really all about if you wanna do it.... =D TOOLS will do the job for you! if you got compact gun v18 or air pressure one. all Tools/sockets->set... and a good DIY's. you good to rock & rolll, but be aware that some parts or recommended to be touched by BMW Specialist* w/ years of experience ^,^
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Old 08-23-2011, 09:27 AM   #7
TiAgXi
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Buy a repair manual from Bentley publishers:

http://www.amazon.com/BMW-E46-Servic.../dp/0837612772

That manual isn't 100% accurate but it's pretty good. A lot of people also like the TIS software:

http://www.ebay.com/itm/BMW-TIS-Work...item4aadc07b82

Those two will be your guides on how to do most DIY type jobs.

The next step is to get yourself setup with a proper tool kit. Pick up one from costco and then start adding more tools as you need them. You'll want to invest in a good torque wrench. Also, buy a floor jack or two. The one that Costco sells is an excellent value. also buy a set of floor jacks.

Read the manual thoroughly and then search the forums for the answers to any questions you have. bimmerforums.com is another good resource.
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Old 08-25-2011, 11:58 AM   #8
Ivanhoe
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First thing is : do you like to do it ?, I mean repair the car by yourselve ?

If the answer is yes, then follow the other members advice and with a little of common sense you will be able to do it.

I like to do it and not only for the money, I really enjoy doing this and I am not a mechanic, its more simple than looks.
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Old 10-06-2011, 05:50 PM   #9
A3ferthee
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Bimmers really appreciate bonding with their owners. Totally symbiotic since owners feel better after some quality knuckle bleedin time. You can start small like an engine oil change and with the new found confidence that comes from just that, you can go on to bigger things like a reverse tranny drum replacement or something...
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Old 10-06-2011, 07:32 PM   #10
karatechop5000
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Read some troubleshooting procedures to understand the logic of the systems. Protect the hands.
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Old 10-06-2011, 07:54 PM   #11
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I started a thread on 'diy tips' you'll find by searching for a thread by me with that in the title.

Start easy...get tools...and there are threads on all the tools you need.

I built homemade ramps I can drive up on and do oil really easily. Read a bit until you jack up your own car...but you can do a lot from the top...a lot.

By analyzing what's happening with our cars from here, you can also make your car very reliable...moreso than most dealers or indys can...because you can afford to replace all the parts that will fail, that happen to be near you're working anyway.

If doing belts, do pulleys. If doing ET, do WP.

Any acronyms you don't understand, just search using advanced/title search.

But, start with the basics...how to turn a wrench or socket. Lots of guys strip or crack bolts...and although it's not always their fault, I suspect it is in a lot of cases. Also, if you want to do more on your car, find a mechanic recommended in your regional forum and use him for what you can't/don't want to do. Shop for a shop, not for price. If you build an alliance, you can replace the parts after he tells you what he thinks, rather than just tossing parts at a problem hoping one works.

GL. It's fun, especially if you liked playing with an erector set as a kid...same as that! (And yes, young ones, that was the name of a toy...not whatever you were just thinking! )
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Old 10-06-2011, 08:36 PM   #12
karatechop5000
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Good answers. Particularly dmax. Also I just remembered something my dad told me when I was a lad. "If the car falls on you, it will kill you. Or, it could smash you and trap you under it screaming and bleeding." My dad can be a little dramatic.
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Old 10-07-2011, 04:31 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by karatechop5000 View Post
Good answers. Particularly dmax. Also I just remembered something my dad told me when I was a lad. "If the car falls on you, it will kill you. Or, it could smash you and trap you under it screaming and bleeding." My dad can be a little dramatic.
That's the bedtime story I tell my sons every night. Does that make me a bad person?

Oh, OP, my favorite diy trick, is that you learn how to put things together by taking them apart.

Often the diys suggest one way of getting to things and it becomes 'the' way, but there are other ways. I'd read and read diys until they all 'sort of' agreed on the details, but they never did...thus I'd delay doing work until I knew for sure. Never happened!

Craftsman tools are good, btw...not Snap-On or Matco...but then you're not a professional mechanic either. Every tool I need to work on my car is in a three-drawer fishing tackle box in my trunk. So far, though, carrying it with me, I've only really needed it once, to fix a Honda with leaking radiator hose! (I had rubber tape with me; didn't even need a tool!)
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Old 10-07-2011, 05:35 PM   #14
R3C0NF1GUR3D_GRIM
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I would say you tube and the diy section on this site.
other than that just tinker around with your ride.
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