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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 02-26-2014, 07:35 AM   #1
CNels
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Join Date: Feb 2014
Location: Blairsville,Ga.
Posts: 50
My Ride: 1999 323i
I have some 'newbie' questions

Having just bought a 99 323i,which came with no manual,I am trying to get familiar with my car.I did order a owners manual which should be here soon.I bought the car cheap,as it has some cosmetic issues.Runs,shifts,and drives great.Some of my questions have to do with interior controls.Bear with me,its my first BMW.
My headlights seem to flicker on low and high beams.Not to the point of going completely off,but a noticeable flicker.
My front courtesy lights don't seem to work.Odd,because they were operable.When I open the door at night,or manually push the overhead switch only the rear courtesy lights illuminate.Am I missing a switch somewhere?
My ABS light and ATS lights are on.Do I need a BMW specific scan tool to find which sensor is bad?A related question,I am going to do a full brake job.I notice that my right front has no pad wear sensor at all.Nothing in the plastic ABS connection box either.Is this an issue related to the ABS light being on? I wouldn't think so...
Loving the car.I am a contractor,so most of my time is spent in a truck.My play vehicles have always been 2 seat roadsters(MG,Alfa,Miata,and my Fiat Spider which I still have),so driving a real car is fantastic.Love the handling,power,and solid feel of the Bimmer.Thanks in advance for any feedback.
Craig

Last edited by CNels; 02-26-2014 at 07:37 AM.
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Old 02-26-2014, 07:50 AM   #2
wildirish317
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Welcome to E46F! If you've owned MGs and Fiats, you'll just love the E46.

I'll let others respond to your lighting issues. You can set up an account at BMW here: https://www.bmwusa.com/secured/conte...ms/SignUp.aspx . Once you have an account, you can download your owner's manual in pdf format.

There are a few different scanners available. PASoft 1.4 is BMW specific and can be used to change different features, such as daytime running lights. It also reads trouble codes. I highly recommend it. Search out jfoj. He has a thread on scanners and what they will/won't do. You may want something that logs real time data for in depth analysis. I personally haven't had the need for one of these yet, but the time will probably come when I do.

Realoem.com is your part list website. Enter the last 7 digits of your VIN and you can browse parts diagrams and get part numbers.

Learn to use the search function. Every issue that these cars have ever had has been thoroughly discussed on this site.
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Old 02-26-2014, 08:15 AM   #3
KaktusJaque
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The BMW site only goes back to 2004, however you can find your manual at this link . Manuals however the 99 is not in that list, but 2000 is. That will be real close to your 99.

I had a 74 MGB that I can say was the funnest car I ever had dispite its Layland wiring crap!! what a nightmare that part was. Totally awesome to drive and a chick magnet too! Even more so than my Porsche 912 that I owned for a short time.

Like Wildirish said, PA Soft is a awesome tool to have, and not that expensive.

Here is the jfoj link Wildirish was talking about http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthr...204&highlight=
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Old 02-26-2014, 08:17 AM   #4
shanneba
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Download and read your owners manual, it will tell you a lot about the car:
http://www.linquist.net/motorsports/bmw/3manuals/

You will need a BMW Specific scanner or software to access the ABS/DSC modules to read any stored codes. PA Soft is very popular and inexpensive. I use AutoEnginuity with the BMW module.
A improperly set steering angle sensor giving the ABS/DSC lights is pretty common on these cars, sometimes an alignment helps (the steering angle sensor should be set if the alignment is done properly)

There are brake pad sensors on the Right (passenger) rear and left (driver side on LH Drive) front only on the BMW E46.

For part number info check RealOEM.com and become very familiar with it

Another source of great BMW E46 info:
http://www.bimmerfest.com/wiki/index.php?title=BMW_E46
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Last edited by shanneba; 02-26-2014 at 08:19 AM.
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Old 02-26-2014, 11:20 AM   #5
CNels
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Thanks for all the replies,links,and excellent information.I ordered a 99 owners manual off evilbay,it should be here today.I am eager to read it,just to figure out silly stuff,like how to set the digital clock!! I wondered about that pad wear sensor on the right front.It didn't look like it had ever been there,obviously because it never was.I was told by the p/o that there was a bad ABS sensor,so I need to look into one of the scanners.Thanks again,and I am hoping someone will chime in on the flickering headlights.Having dealt with Lucas and Marrelli electrics,I am an old hand at electrical gremlins,LOL
I sold a Miata track car,and bought this car with money to spare.I think I definitely traded up.

Last edited by CNels; 02-26-2014 at 12:13 PM.
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Old 02-26-2014, 11:45 AM   #6
shanneba
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Start here for the PA Soft 1.4 scanner info:

http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthr...hlight=pa+soft

There are several other threads including how to install it thread here....
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Old 02-26-2014, 12:58 PM   #7
Alex323Ci
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Does your 323i have the optional factory Xenon(HID) lights or halogen?

As for the interior courtesy lights, sounds like the front bulb is out. It'll be in the front roof console panel in the center. It has a large black button. If you press and hold it you can de-active it from the doors. But since your rears still trigger on it sounds like the bulb is out in front.
Next to it on either side are the "map lights". These shine when someone presses the accompanying button. These have smaller lighting and direct to each front seat side.
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CF CSL LIP - NAVI - BMWPERF CF STRUT BAR - BMW GROUP N MNTS - GRUPPE M CF INTAKE - SUPERSPRINT - UUC BRKLINES, TRANS, RTABs - H&R SWAYS - 4.10 M-SPORT DIFF
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Old 02-26-2014, 01:08 PM   #8
Alex323Ci
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not to frighten you on your purchase, because these are great cars! but since you're new I want to make sure you're aware of the subframe tearing at the differential cage mounting points on early E46s. it can be costly if it needs to be fixed. BMW voluntarily fixed them for a short period and had owners bring cars in for inspection. This is over now several years ago. but do you know if the previous owner had it inspected and/or repaired? if done be happy, if not I'd inspect before you proceed to expend too much money on the car before doing this. Just a friendly heads-up
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CF CSL LIP - NAVI - BMWPERF CF STRUT BAR - BMW GROUP N MNTS - GRUPPE M CF INTAKE - SUPERSPRINT - UUC BRKLINES, TRANS, RTABs - H&R SWAYS - 4.10 M-SPORT DIFF
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Old 02-26-2014, 03:32 PM   #9
DiceyOne
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KaktusJaque View Post
The BMW site only goes back to 2004, however you can find your manual at this link . Manuals however the 99 is not in that list, but 2000 is. That will be real close to your 99.
I did not know about this site. Good reference. I can vouch that the 2000MY download is the same as my 99 328i actual manual.


OP if you are eager to read up, I would also suggest a nice Bentley Manual.

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/083...?ie=UTF8&psc=1
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Old 02-26-2014, 07:33 PM   #10
CNels
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Thanks again for the feedback.I have a friend who is a BMW mechanic,although he is in Fla and I reside in Ga. He explained about the subframe issues and I was careful about inspecting it.I have no idea if it was repaired by a dealer or not,but it seems in very good shape.
The headlights are halogen lights.I did a search here,and read about the taillight grounding causing some similar symptoms.It seemed mainly on xenon bulbs,but I plan to check the grounds anyway.I checked the headlight mounting and connections today,and all seems good there.
The courtesy/map light deal is odd.Today,I opened the door and the overheads and rear entry lights all illuminated.I tried it several times,with the same result.Tonite,I opened the door,and just the rears came on.WTH? Not a big deal but I am having Lucas Electric flashbacks..LOL!
It was down to 25 degrees here tonite...the heated seats are sweeeet!!
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Old 02-26-2014, 08:28 PM   #11
scooter8337
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Definitely invest in the Bentley manual. As for the headlights check the sockets and connections. My 2000 gave me fits because the plastic has become brittle and the locking tabs are long gone. As for scanning make sure you get a cable with the round connector if your car has the port under the hood. The regular OBD port will only display certain information and you need access to the other port if you want to make changes.
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