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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 01-21-2013, 08:57 PM   #1
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Join Date: Dec 2012
Location: Tacoma
Posts: 7
My Ride: 2001 BMW M3
Lightbulb What I Learned About Changing the Oil on A M3 (Stripped Drain Plug)

Since I'm DaNewGuy, this thread is written from the perspective of someone who has never worked on a BMW before. Man, has it been an experience .

I took my car to a hobby shop, so I could work on it with all the necessary tools there, including lifts. These are located on military bases throughout the U. S. and probably overseas, as well. I thought the mechanics there could help me, if I got stuck. That assumption didn't work out too well. But, I'll get to that in a bit.

First things first, you're going to need some 10W60. And, you're not going to be able to just hop down to your local auto parts store and pick it up. You'll have to order it, so don't wait until the last minute to do it. Then, the big question will be between the purists who say Castrol based on what BMW says and the rogues who say that Liquid Moly works just as well and is much cheaper. I'll leave you to search other threads and make up your own mind.

You're also going to need a filter, so make sure you get that, as well. Some online auto parts/Bimmer specialty stores will sell the entire kit for the change, including a drain plug (which comes in handy when your plug gets stripped). I believe ECS had a great price on a kit with Castrol. I opted for Liquid Moly, because I'm a cheapskate, and I'll probably be selling my M3 pretty soon. Anyway, you'll need 5L of oil in order to do an oil change. I ordered the 5L bottle from Bavarian Auto (www.bavauto.com), and they shipped me an extra liter for free. So, I've got to give them props for that . I sourced my oil filter from Autozone or O'Reilly's, can't remember which (had all the washers and such, as well). I ended up having to get a new outty drain plug once I determined my drain plug was stripped.

Back to the story. So, I got my M3 up on a lift and determined that the drain plug was stripped. It took me forever just to find the oil pan to begin with, because I thought that changing the oil on a Bimmer would be like changing the oil on any other car....WRONG. Watch this video before you start your oil change. It will make things much easier on you.

The geniuses at the hobby shop said I should take the skid plate off underneath, so I could get to the drain plug with a pair of vice grips. I figured that would work, so I used an impact wrench to take off all of the bolts for the skid plate around the oil pan. I also disconnected it from the other coverings underneath. Once I had the oil pan exposed, I did what I could to use a pair of vice grips on the drain plug. That didn't work very well, and I thought I was stuck . Then, one of the mechanics said why don't you use an easy out in order to get the drain plug out . It would have been nice had you told me BEFORE I had taken out all of these bolts to disconnect the skid plate. Anyway, the easy out is picture in my attachments.

It works like this. You put the easy out into the stripped opening (where the allen wrench was supposed to go). Tap it a few times with something heavy, like a hammer. Then, you use the socket wrench to turn it counterclockwise. The drill bit is a left handed bit, so it binds more as you turn it counterclockwise. I was able to get the drain plug out easily with this tool. Then, I replaced the stripped drain plug with an outty drain plug I sourced from Ebay. It was much cheaper, and it had a standard bolt top. I followed the rest of the procedure documented in the video.

So, in a nutshell, a Bimmer is unlike most creatures you've worked on before. Do all of your research before you get under it / put it on a lift. Source your parts and supplies early. Use an easy out, if you have a stripped drain plug.

Any constructive comments / questions greatly appreciated.
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