E46 BMW Social Directory E46 FAQ 3-Series Discussion Forums BMW Photo Gallery BMW 3-Series Technical Information E46 Fanatics - The Ultimate BMW Resource BMW Vendors General E46 Forum The Tire Rack's Tire Wheel Forum Forced Induction Forum The Off-Topic The E46 BMW Showroom For Sale, For Trade or Wanting to Buy

Welcome to the E46Fanatics forums. E46Fanatics is the premiere website for BMW 3 series owners around the world with interactive forums, a geographical enthusiast directory, photo galleries, and technical information for BMW enthusiasts.

You are currently viewing our boards as a guest which gives you limited access to view most discussions and access our other features. By joining our free community you will have access to post topics, communicate privately with other members (PM), respond to polls, upload content and access many other special features. Registration is fast, simple and absolutely free so please, join our community today!

If you have any problems with the registration process or your account login, please contact contact us.

Go Back   E46Fanatics > E46 BMW > General E46 Forum

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!

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Rate Thread Display Modes
Old 06-20-2015, 02:15 PM   #1
Beemnoob
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jun 2015
Location: Phoenix
Posts: 8
My Ride: 2003 BMW 325i 5spd
Repair advice before a road trip

Okay, so I'm somewhat stuck between a rock and a hard place as to what to do before my ~700 mile roundtrip roadtrip I'll be taking on Wednesday (leaving about 3 days to do repairs) to the Pacific. I just purchased my E46 not a month ago and have only replaced the VCG due to some smoke under the hood - but that's it. That is also to say I am not too keen on what the car needs priority wise to maintain and last since I am just learning the ropes. So before I go, I will be replacing my coolant expansion tank just in case. The problem is the funds are tight for maintenance at the moment and I only have the money to either:

1.) Change the oil - I thought I'd be out the door under $30 with an oil/filter change like it was in my E30...obviously ignorance on my part.

2.) Change the transmission fluid - I've noticed some slight vibration and difficulty shifting into a gear on my shifter. I'm just learning the world of stick, however, so I figure a flush might make things smooth. Or it's a serious tranny problem - but there's no major signs of that so far.

3.) Replace another part of my cooling system as preventative maintenance - maybe the water pump? The last thing I want is to be stranded out in the 110 degree heat on the way there just because of a leak or failed pump. I'm driving my family, after all. As far as I have witnessed though, I've only had signs of a leak near the tank and the system is otherwise sound and ready to go.

Thanks in advance for any realistic advice I can use. Also, in the event that a certain sort of comment might arise, I'd obviously do all three if I had the funds. I'm on a college budget here, so any extraneous nay-saying makes me
Beemnoob is offline   Reply With Quote
Ads by Google

Guests, get your FREE E46Fanatics.com membership to remove this ad.
Old 06-20-2015, 02:25 PM   #2
brnjac
Registered User
 
Join Date: May 2014
Location: Vancouver, B.C.
Posts: 125
My Ride: 2005 BMW 320i
I would recommend changing the expansion tank and the water pump. Two of the most prone to fail things that can leave you stranded.
__________________


Living in the most beautiful place on earth.
2005 320i, 124,xxx KM

Vancouver, B.C.
brnjac is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-20-2015, 03:10 PM   #3
Beemnoob
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jun 2015
Location: Phoenix
Posts: 8
My Ride: 2003 BMW 325i 5spd
Quote:
Originally Posted by brnjac View Post
I would recommend changing the expansion tank and the water pump. Two of the most prone to fail things that can leave you stranded.
Thanks for the quick response. That's what I figured might be best because God-forbid we get stranded. I have to ask though, how can you tell if a water pump is going out the door without knowing the exact mileage? If it makes a difference, it seems that the Serpentine belt is fairly new, as the manufacturer and part # are clearly readable on the belt itself (It says Continental - that can't be OEM). Only 88k on the car. In my E30, if you had to pull the radiator to replace these belts (timing belt, 3 in 1 belt, etc), typically they will knock out everything down there. Is it an appropriate guess to think the water pump/pulley(s) might have been changed with these belts?

Last edited by Beemnoob; 06-20-2015 at 03:28 PM.
Beemnoob is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-20-2015, 03:27 PM   #4
illuminated
Registered User
 
Join Date: May 2014
Location: CT
Posts: 330
My Ride: 5MT lowered sedan
Definitely smart of you to check all your fluids. In addition to the ET and WP mentioned above (both of which I agree with); I would put your battery on a maintainer just to make sure it's topped off, and I would also check fuel trim etc if you're able to in order to see what health your pump/filter are in. Also belts as mentioned above would be on the top of my list for you. If you happen to have it on hand, also throw the FSR in while you're at it - this could strand you.
__________________

lowered 5 speed 325xi


Dyslexic like George W. so work with me if you see a word that doesn't look right
illuminated is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-20-2015, 03:35 PM   #5
jdstrickland
Registered User
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: Murrieta, CA
Posts: 8,197
My Ride: '94 325iC & '00 323i
Quote:
Originally Posted by Beemnoob View Post
Okay, so I'm somewhat stuck between a rock and a hard place as to what to do before my ~700 mile roundtrip roadtrip I'll be taking on Wednesday (leaving about 3 days to do repairs) to the Pacific. I just purchased my E46 not a month ago and have only replaced the VCG due to some smoke under the hood - but that's it. That is also to say I am not too keen on what the car needs priority wise to maintain and last since I am just learning the ropes. So before I go, I will be replacing my coolant expansion tank just in case. The problem is the funds are tight for maintenance at the moment and I only have the money to either:

1.) Change the oil - I thought I'd be out the door under $30 with an oil/filter change like it was in my E30...obviously ignorance on my part.

2.) Change the transmission fluid - I've noticed some slight vibration and difficulty shifting into a gear on my shifter. I'm just learning the world of stick, however, so I figure a flush might make things smooth. Or it's a serious tranny problem - but there's no major signs of that so far.

3.) Replace another part of my cooling system as preventative maintenance - maybe the water pump? The last thing I want is to be stranded out in the 110 degree heat on the way there just because of a leak or failed pump. I'm driving my family, after all. As far as I have witnessed though, I've only had signs of a leak near the tank and the system is otherwise sound and ready to go.

Thanks in advance for any realistic advice I can use. Also, in the event that a certain sort of comment might arise, I'd obviously do all three if I had the funds. I'm on a college budget here, so any extraneous nay-saying makes me
700 miles is a tank of gas going out, and another coming back. What would you do for two tanks of gas if you were not making a road trip?

Make sure the oil and the radiator are full, put air in the tires.
jdstrickland is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-20-2015, 03:38 PM   #6
Yewzer B Lewzer
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jan 2013
Location: St. Petersburg FL
Posts: 1,558
My Ride: 2003 325i
Make sure you know what "full" means with regard to coolant. Full does NOT mean all the way to the top.
__________________

^^Blue Ridge Parkway^^ '03 325i. '74 Jeep CJ-5. '93 Sailfish 170XL. '12 Westside SS Longboard. One of these four are sure to be running at any given point in time.
Yewzer B Lewzer is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-20-2015, 03:56 PM   #7
brnjac
Registered User
 
Join Date: May 2014
Location: Vancouver, B.C.
Posts: 125
My Ride: 2005 BMW 320i
Quote:
Originally Posted by Beemnoob View Post
Thanks for the quick response. That's what I figured might be best because God-forbid we get stranded. I have to ask though, how can you tell if a water pump is going out the door without knowing the exact mileage? If it makes a difference, it seems that the Serpentine belt is fairly new, as the manufacturer and part # are clearly readable on the belt itself (It says Continental - that can't be OEM). Only 88k on the car. In my E30, if you had to pull the radiator to replace these belts (timing belt, 3 in 1 belt, etc), typically they will knock out everything down there. Is it an appropriate guess to think the water pump/pulley(s) might have been changed with these belts?
I think Continental might be the original belts that the car comes with. Not sure, someone will probably chime in.

But in terms of the water pump, its a $60 part and if you do the labor yourself it ends up being a pretty cheap piece of insurance. There's a good chance you'll need to replace the water pump in the next 15k miles anyways. You might as well do it before a big trip.
__________________


Living in the most beautiful place on earth.
2005 320i, 124,xxx KM

Vancouver, B.C.
brnjac is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-20-2015, 04:00 PM   #8
Geo31
Ironman
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: Kingwood, TX, USA
Posts: 1,237
My Ride: 98 M-Z3, 01 325iT
Quote:
Originally Posted by jdstrickland View Post
700 miles is a tank of gas going out, and another coming back. What would you do for two tanks of gas if you were not making a road trip?

Make sure the oil and the radiator are full, put air in the tires.
Yep. I agree. I just finished a 700 mile trip directly after buying a 325iT yesterday. I did get a PPI and I would recommend also checking LCABs and cooling hoses (especially check for coolant leaks).

That's about it.
__________________
George Roffe

Swim: 2.4 Miles
Bike: 112 Miles
Run: 26.2 Miles
Brag: For the rest of your life


Geo31 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-20-2015, 04:02 PM   #9
BMW-North
Registered User
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: __
Posts: 1,025
My Ride: __
Spend any available funds on the cooling system. Make sure oil and coolant levels ok. Tire pressure good. Make sure electric fan is working (your cooling system demands this). Have a nice trip.

Edit. Save $15 for pizza.

Last edited by BMW-North; 06-20-2015 at 04:04 PM.
BMW-North is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-20-2015, 04:15 PM   #10
FrozenHaxor
Registered User
 
Join Date: Oct 2014
Location: Poland
Posts: 46
My Ride: 2000 E46 323Ci
Quote:
Originally Posted by brnjac View Post
I think Continental might be the original belts that the car comes with. Not sure, someone will probably chime in.
Yep, Continental Contitech to be specific. They're top notch and not that expensive, no reason to put inferior stuff in.
FrozenHaxor is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-20-2015, 05:27 PM   #11
AndreBXP
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jun 2014
Location: Long Island
Posts: 371
My Ride: 2001 BMW 330ci
Check the color of your oil. If its REALLY Black you might want to change it to avoid premature engine death. You can get 5 Quarts of Mobil 1 Euro Formula at Walmart for $25; the car takes 7 Quarts. Filter can be had for like $8.

You might want to take it easy, and if that temp gauge even begins to move past 12 o'clock toward the red *PULL OVER*. Shut the car off IMMEDIATELY or you WILL be buying a new motor.

Good luck and enjoy your trip!

Last edited by AndreBXP; 06-20-2015 at 05:28 PM.
AndreBXP is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-20-2015, 10:27 PM   #12
Beemnoob
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jun 2015
Location: Phoenix
Posts: 8
My Ride: 2003 BMW 325i 5spd
Thank you all for the tips! I guess it's a matter of being stranded over general maintenance, which sounds logical enough to me. Replacing the water pump makes me want to replace, like, everything though. It's like the book If You Give A Mouse A Cookie, except it's If You Give An E46 a Coolant Expansion Tank. Gah, just want to get it done and over for once while I'm down there.
Beemnoob is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-20-2015, 10:59 PM   #13
evanr614
Registered User
 
Join Date: Sep 2014
Location: columbus, oh
Posts: 679
My Ride: 2000 328Ci
Quote:
Originally Posted by Beemnoob View Post
Thank you all for the tips! I guess it's a matter of being stranded over general maintenance, which sounds logical enough to me. Replacing the water pump makes me want to replace, like, everything though. It's like the book If You Give A Mouse A Cookie, except it's If You Give An E46 a Coolant Expansion Tank. Gah, just want to get it done and over for once while I'm down there.
You should do everything while you're in there if you haven't already...it's the most comforting overhaul you can do for these cars as far as reliability goes.

By the way, don't worry about your transmission fluid. That is something that will never leave you stranded on the side of the road.
__________________
evanr614 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-21-2015, 12:15 AM   #14
glhx
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: Nashville, Tennessee
Posts: 1,928
My Ride: 2002 330ci
How many miles are on the car?

Don't replace anything
Check oil.....make sure it's not black
Tire pressure......32psi
And........that's it

If anything............
Make sure you understand how full the cooling system needs to be....?and how to bleed it. Whoever you bough it from didn't know this and it's probably too full already. The expansion tank does blow up from thermocycle a......but it's mostly blows from not understanding the cooling system maintenance

You never know when it's going to go. 1400 miles isn't much
One thing......software. You should have it already. If you don't. Look at my sig for new members on where to get it

The bmw Velcro oil cases are great for putting tools in. You could carry some spare parts in the drug bin.....like fuel pump.....expansion tank......coolant.
I have all the main tools for the e46 in these oil cases.....and a soldering kit.

The medical boxes under your seat.....they can be bought from ecs to store first aid kits and a multitude of other things. I have them under both seats.....

A fire extinguisher that you can easily get to.....a break out hammer is a good idea

Last edited by glhx; 06-21-2015 at 12:19 AM.
glhx is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes Rate This Thread
Rate This Thread:

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On
Censor is ON





All times are GMT -5. The time now is 06:54 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2015, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
(c) 1999 - 2011 performanceIX Inc - privacy policy - terms of use