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Old 10-06-2012, 03:17 PM   #1
Protostar1
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Just Purchased 2003 330ci - 165k miles

Hello All,

I just purchased a friend's 2003 330ci 5spd with 165,500 miles on it. The previous owner was very neurotic about maintaining the vehicle, and typically with OEM parts and service. He owned it for 105k of the 165k on the car and 90% of those were highway miles. That being said, the car is not perfect and has a few issues and I would like to show here and make sure I am going about things the right way. The car is going to be my comfortable DD to keep miles off my 2006 Mitsubishi Evolution IX and I have no serious aspirations to modify this car to be a better performer. However, if there is an aftermarket part that does the OEM job better, I am happy to hear about it.

Some notable things that have been replaced on the car recently (excluding wear items like pads and rotors):

- Rear struts (new ones make some serious groaning noises when jacking up the car, but do not seem to cause an issue on the road, any issue here?)
- Valve cover gasket
- Alternator (rebuilt)
- FEAD belt
- Windshield washer pump (however, see an issue below)
- Heater relay (or AC, don't recall)
- Thermostat

The car:



--Driveability Issues--

Control Arm Bushings

I have had some wobble in the wheel under braking that varies with speed and brake pressure. I was pretty sure it wasn't rotor issues so I pulled the wheels to confirm my suspicion the CABs were going.

Passenger Side


Driver Side


Obviously the passenger side bushing is done. I could move the driver side bushing with my hands when on a jack, but it was overall pretty firm. These were replaced at 122k miles and I suspect the passenger side bushing was installed incorrectly (too far onto the control arm).

Two questions on this issue:
1. If I drive the car like this for the next 1.5 months accumulating maybe 1,000 miles, will I do any damage to the rest of the suspension? All other joints look and feel tight from my quick look over so I do not want to cause any issue by driving on this. I have poor tool and garage access at my apartment in Indiana and will return to Chicago at the end of November and have a much more capable setup to do this fix.

2. I am planning to get Pelican's Febi replacement bushings for $75. I get the impression these are associated with Bilstein's (Febi- Bilstein? not sure how the companies are related) and I trust the name. Anyone have a better recommendation?

Shifter Slop Issue

My shifter will not center properly and lays over 5th as opposed to 3-4. I have already researched this issue and found it is common among e46s. The temperatures are dropping in IN and that appears to worsen this condition and it rarely properly centers and when it does, I can feel a "hanging" in the mechanism that pushes it to center. I believe the only fix is to drop the transmission and replace the exterior gating pieces. Not something I want to do... I will have access to a lift at the end of Nov when I will be doing a lot of maintenance and wondered, is there any quick fix I can do to improve this situation some? Perhaps some WD40 in the right place?

--Preventative Maintenance--

Coolant System

I have seen countless issues reported on e46 cooling systems from age and mileage degradation (seems like the top, high mileage car issue next to CABs). I would say this car looks more like it has 80k miles, not double that, but the question remains, should I be cautious and replace the full system with the following kit/ DIY?:

http://www.bmw330ci.net/maintenance/completecoolant.php

I might skip a new thermostat as it was recently replaced and get these parts individually and save ~$100 or so. I get the feeling this system fails gradually, but it may still be a smart thing to do with my "maintenance blitz" in November. Looking for thoughts.

Driver's Door Locking Issue

Another seemingly common issue on the e46, my driver's door will not respond to the center console lock/ unlock button. I am unsure if the remote key will change its functionality at all as both keys have dead batteries (working on fixing those, have new batteries). I would suspect not. I have noticed, when using the key to lock and unlock at the door handle, the door tries to lock or unlock occasionally (doesn't always make an effort) and succeeded once to unlock. Seems like the electronic control unit most point to is failing... anyone have thoughts on this or where I can get a new unit for less than $200? Any other possibilities for this issue?

Windshield Washer Leak

I have a pretty severe windshield washer system leak along the lines of 0.5-1qt a day. I am not totally sure where this is going, but when checking on the CABs today, I noticed fluid leaking out the driver's side front fender:



I pulled the tank out and there are no leak paths out of the tank or below it. I have to assume there is a hole in the line someplace and the pump being off does not stop its flow.

Are there two pumps on this tank? There are two black cylinders on the inboard side and I am not sure if one is a sensor and the other a pump, or they are both pumps. But the fluid has leaked below the bottom edge of the forward cylinder. The previous owner thought there might be an issue with the headlight nozzles leaking. Can someone point me to some literature on this? Any other ideas?

Sway Bar Bushing Gap

Not sure this is an issue, but noticed this gap on both sides:



Bushings look in good shape and not cracked. This might just be normal compression from having one wheel compressed and one hanging from being jacked up.



I hope this is an appropriate place for this thread. Let me know what you guys can! If you have any other things I should be looking hard at given this mileage, I am all ears. Thanks!

- Nate

Last edited by Protostar1; 10-06-2012 at 03:44 PM.
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Old 10-06-2012, 03:36 PM   #2
jayb328i
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Good luck with your new baby........and lots of fun.
I have been there, done the repairs and all is great at 220k. I like bilstein. I have always changed the complete LCA, but with Mylan (sp?). The OEM LCA is under-engineered and a weaker product. Prior to switching to Mylan had to change the LCA arms every 60k to keep front end real tight.
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Old 10-06-2012, 03:39 PM   #3
Protostar1
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Sorry managed to double post... Was trying (unsuccessfully) to rescale the massive photos.
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Old 10-06-2012, 03:41 PM   #4
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Are you coming back with more details?
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Old 10-06-2012, 03:44 PM   #5
Protostar1
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Ok, we'll make this the real one!
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Old 10-06-2012, 04:09 PM   #6
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How much did you pay?
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Old 10-06-2012, 05:30 PM   #7
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Neurotic friend a great place to buy a car from. You'd better be neurotic about maintenance too, or we won't like you!

Your post in the right spot. Car looks great. Coupes with manuals are the best.

I'd say get new CAB's right away. But not known to cause damage for the next couple months. Don't drive hard.

All your shifter knowledge is correct. No quick fix. Drop the tranny.

Cooling system fails quickly most of the time and warps the head if you're not super quick to shut down. Do the system asap if you don't have records as to when it was last done.

Which key do you have that can replace the battery? Can't do it on mine.

Sway bushings look like they have too much gap. New ones easy to install. Make sure to lube well.

Two pumps if you have headlight washers. Need new pumps. Gaskets fail and cause your leak.

Rear can creak when jacking.

Next time read the Wiki first before asking us: http://www.bimmerfest.com/wiki/index.php/BMW_E46

We just frown on driving an e46 to protect an Evo. Should be the other way around!

Last edited by Stinger9; 10-06-2012 at 05:46 PM.
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Old 10-06-2012, 05:42 PM   #8
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good find. I have 250k miles on my E46
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Old 10-06-2012, 05:55 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by phrozen06 View Post
good find. I have 250k miles on my E46
Car is a looker.

Drive it all winter long? Does the salt take a toll? Rust?
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Old 10-06-2012, 09:16 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stinger9 View Post
Neurotic friend a great place to buy a car from. You'd better be neurotic about maintenance too, or we won't like you!

Your post in the right spot. Car looks great. Coupes with manuals are the best.

I'd say get new CAB's right away. But not known to cause damage for the next couple months. Don't drive hard.

All your shifter knowledge is correct. No quick fix. Drop the tranny.

Cooling system fails quickly most of the time and warps the head if you're not super quick to shut down. Do the system asap if you don't have records as to when it was last done.

Which key do you have that can replace the battery? Can't do it on mine.

Sway bushings look like they have too much gap. New ones easy to install. Make sure to lube well.

Two pumps if you have headlight washers. Need new pumps. Gaskets fail and cause your leak.

Rear can creak when jacking.

Next time read the Wiki first before asking us: http://www.bimmerfest.com/wiki/index.php/BMW_E46

We just frown on driving an e46 to protect an Evo. Should be the other way around!
I paid $6250 for the car. Please just lie to me if I got worked over haha

I take good care of my vehicles and I'll do my best to uphold the site standards! An e46 might be an odd shield for an Evo, but it has about 440hp, only 37k miles, and is in good shape, so I'd like to keep it that way. Also no cat or cruise control makes it blow for more than about an hour on the highway. This e46 kinda fell into my lap and it looked like a winner for minimal investment.

Are those Febi bushings a tolerable brand?

I'll plan on swapping the coolant system as soon as possible. Is the thermostat something I should do even as it was replaced recently?

I only have the two standard remote keys. I ordered a few Panasonic VL2020s and it looks like a pretty easy solder job to get the new batteries in there.

Those sway bushings don't look all that easy to swap out... Know of a DIY (I did at least ctrl+F the wiki!)?

I'll figure out which pump was swapped and swap the other one, thanks for clarifying.

I appreciate the info, if anyone has something I should put a close eye on, let me know, thanks.
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Old 10-06-2012, 09:24 PM   #11
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You'll want to buy Meyle HD control arms and either Meyle FCABs or Powerflex FCABs. I got my parts from Bimmerworld (FCAs, FCABs prepressed into housings, RTABs, and bushing puller) for about $400. I get I think $80 back when I return the bushing puller tool (made the RTABs take about 1 minute to remove after detaching the trailing arm).
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Old 10-06-2012, 10:03 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by Protostar1 View Post
I paid $6250 for the car. Please just lie to me if I got worked over haha

I take good care of my vehicles and I'll do my best to uphold the site standards! An e46 might be an odd shield for an Evo, but it has about 440hp, only 37k miles, and is in good shape, so I'd like to keep it that way. Also no cat or cruise control makes it blow for more than about an hour on the highway. This e46 kinda fell into my lap and it looked like a winner for minimal investment.

Are those Febi bushings a tolerable brand?

I'll plan on swapping the coolant system as soon as possible. Is the thermostat something I should do even as it was replaced recently?

I only have the two standard remote keys. I ordered a few Panasonic VL2020s and it looks like a pretty easy solder job to get the new batteries in there.

Those sway bushings don't look all that easy to swap out... Know of a DIY (I did at least ctrl+F the wiki!)?

I'll figure out which pump was swapped and swap the other one, thanks for clarifying. Pumps are not the same.

I appreciate the info, if anyone has something I should put a close eye on, let me know, thanks.
Hard to argue with price when car looks that good and they're not making great 3 series any longer.
You're gonna end up liking this more than your evo.

Because you asked: Sway bar DIY on youtube from bavauto.com
I just did a whole sway bar swap on front. Bushings alone will be easy for DIY'er.

If thermostat is new already, you're good to go there.

Not familiar with Febi. OK with Meyle or oe.
I did Powerflex and love them. Don't cheep out on BMW.

Use www.realoem.com to find part numbers.

Use www.furiousmethod.com to search for best prices.
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Old 10-07-2012, 11:31 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stinger9 View Post
Hard to argue with price when car looks that good and they're not making great 3 series any longer.
You're gonna end up liking this more than your evo.

Because you asked: Sway bar DIY on youtube from bavauto.com
I just did a whole sway bar swap on front. Bushings alone will be easy for DIY'er.

If thermostat is new already, you're good to go there.

Not familiar with Febi. OK with Meyle or oe.
I did Powerflex and love them. Don't cheep out on BMW.

Use www.realoem.com to find part numbers.

Use www.furiousmethod.com to search for best prices.
I really like my Evo, so that is an encouraging outlook!

I took a look at the Bavarian Motorsports videos and see why those are easy to replace... So looking on fcpeuro.com (I like all the kit setups they have and their prices seem reasonable with access to both OE and aftermarket), I am seeing three sway bushing options:

http://www.fcpeuro.com/products/bmw-...nt-33556751269
http://www.fcpeuro.com/products/bmw-...nt-31351094556
http://www.fcpeuro.com/products/bmw-...nt-31351097179

Why would I spend ~$40 on OE when $13 buys Rein versions? I have no intention to cheap out on this car, but have to keep in mind the $6250 purchase price and the relatively high cost of BMW OE. I am not a polymer expert, but $13 to 40 seems like a massive disparity for a simple molded piece. $6.50 doesn't seem like a cheap out on a rubber bushing, but set me straight if I am wrong!

I am happy to take the advice and go for Meyle:

http://www.fcpeuro.com/products/bmw-...-31126757623my

Are the Meyle's any improvement over the OEs? Or just a 20% discount on the same thing? What about Lemforder, only a few bucks more? Typically I would go for urethane, but again... purchase price of the car... mileage... doesn't make sense to go whole hog on a nice set of bushings when the OE style are comfortable and will likely see this car well beyond my ownership.

Is there anyway I can check the other ball joints in my suspension (tie rod end, tie rod internal, lower control arm, sway bar end links) other than the "put a hand on it and try and move it" method? I want to fix this up right, and I especially want all the right parts in hand for end of November, but of course I don't want to be buying up things I don't need. I plan to get an alignment right after I swap the bushings, and I know one bad ball joint can make that worthless. Do I need to be looking at a kit like this? Or any additional parts of it over the CABs?:

http://www.fcpeuro.com/products/bmw-...uty-e46cakitmy

Edit

I forgot, the previous owner thought the CCV should be replaced. He said consumption is about 1L/3,000 miles (compression is about 185psi across 1-5, 6 was not measured). I am not sure this is a necessary thing to fix. If you guys think it is, is the difference between these two kits again an OE versus lower quality aftermarket? Or both are comparable, just one is non-OE:

http://www.fcpeuro.com/products/bmw-...meyle-m54pcvoe
http://www.fcpeuro.com/products/bmw-...m54-uro-m54pcv

I really appreciate the links and advice. I know most answer with "search, search, search" but unless you have hours of free time, that can be a bit of a bear. So thank you for lessening my blind searching!

Last edited by Protostar1; 10-07-2012 at 12:11 PM.
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Old 10-07-2012, 01:22 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by Protostar1 View Post
I am seeing three sway bushing options:

http://www.fcpeuro.com/products/bmw-...nt-33556751269
http://www.fcpeuro.com/products/bmw-...nt-31351094556
http://www.fcpeuro.com/products/bmw-...nt-31351097179

Why would I spend ~$40 on OE when $13 buys Rein versions? I have no intention to cheap out on this car, but have to keep in mind the $6250 purchase price and the relatively high cost of BMW OE. I do not know Rein, but seem to recall it's crap. Search if you want. I cannot chide you enough to avoid cheap Chinese garbage. Not always clearly ID'd.
Yes, there can be a big difference in rubber. Defy this warning at your own risk.


I am happy to take the advice and go for Meyle:

http://www.fcpeuro.com/products/bmw-...-31126757623my

Are the Meyle's any improvement over the OEs? Or just a 20% discount on the same thing? What about Lemforder, only a few bucks more? Either is fine; just select one and buy.

Is there anyway I can check the other ball joints in my suspension (tie rod end, tie rod internal, lower control arm, sway bar end links) other than the "put a hand on it and try and move it" method? Tried and try 'hand' method is a good test. Use prybar or large channels for extra help. No record of history here?
Youtube will aid again.


http://www.fcpeuro.com/products/bmw-...uty-e46cakitmy

Kit if fine. Always opt for the brand name quality.

I forgot, the previous owner thought the CCV should be replaced. He said consumption is about 1L/3,000 miles (compression is about 185psi across 1-5, 6 was not measured). I am not sure this is a necessary thing to fix. If you guys think it is, is the difference between these two kits again an OE versus lower quality aftermarket? Or both are comparable, just one is non-OE:

http://www.fcpeuro.com/products/bmw-...meyle-m54pcvoe
http://www.fcpeuro.com/products/bmw-...m54-uro-m54pcv

Would not trust anything other than oe on the CVV and hoses. BMW parts are delicate enough! Your consumption is too high. I lose less than a 1/2 qt in 9000 miles.

Comments imbedded.
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Old 10-07-2012, 02:18 PM   #15
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Point taken on Non-OE parts. $19 per bushing isn't steep!

No, there is no known servicing on the suspension outside of the CABs being replaced at 122k. All other ball joints felt solid when I inspected, but I was on a single jack/ stand in a parking lot... so not sure how good a push I was able to put on the parts. The full kit (for Lemforder brand: http://www.fcpeuro.com/products/bmw-...-oem-e46cakitl) is $500 versus <$90 for just CABs. I'm betting I know the answer, but even if the other ball joints appear good, is this smart money to just do the whole job?

Aside from this kit, is there anything else I would need to perform the job? This DIY references new lock nuts, but unless they are corroded or damaged, it seems unnecessary to replace:

http://www.bmw330ci.net/maintenance/controlarm.php

The CCV kit only has an OE separator element, the hoses are Meyle. I am assuming Meyle and Lemforder fall into the 'ok' OE replacement brand group.

I have not verified that consumption for myself. With the compression as good as it is, it seems like 1L/3k is high, so it may be a soaked CCV element? My idle seems mildly erratic, think this servicing might help?

Thank you again for the responses, very glad I posted up!
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Old 10-07-2012, 02:22 PM   #16
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Reading your "Vulnerable E46 Points" thread now!
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Old 10-07-2012, 02:42 PM   #17
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Wow, how'd you find that one?

Personally, I'd test and not replace ball joints if OK. If you find even one worn, replace all 4.
Lemforder brand is fine with me.

CVV kit you reference seems OK too.

Oil consumption can be malfunctioning CVV, oil rings (not compression rings), valve stem seals, or a leak somewhere.

Last edited by Stinger9; 10-07-2012 at 02:54 PM.
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Old 10-07-2012, 02:49 PM   #18
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That bushing is goneeeee
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Old 10-07-2012, 08:37 PM   #19
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Wow, how'd you find that one?

Personally, I'd test and not replace ball joints if OK. If you find even one worn, replace all 4.
Lemforder brand is fine with me.

CVV kit you reference seems OK too.

Oil consumption can be malfunctioning CVV, oil rings (not compression rings), valve stem seals, or a leak somewhere.
So talked with the previous owner again, both windshield pumps were replaced in the last 6 months and the leak was not cured. As the tank is leaking below the level of the forward pump (unsure which that feeds), and I have noted fluid leaking out the front passenger corner in front of the wheel well (car was on an incline), he thought the headlight washer nozzles were bad and leaking. Does this sound feasible? He thought they were easy to swap, drop in items, so long as you had two people working on it.

Tried working on the keys... already a PITA. Didn't realize I was doing something stupid until I couldn't solder to the actual battery case, but thats a no-no. Fortunately I bought three because I knew I would screw one up... I am going to follow this instruction and hope it works:

http://bmwgm5.com/kf_repair.htm
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Old 10-15-2012, 09:44 PM   #20
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Anyone have any thoughts on the windshield pump leak? Very confused how the rear pump (windshield) is leaking, but has no evident fluid below the tank and yet fluid has leaked out the front bumper (again only on an incline). Does the front pump have a pickup that extends into the tank? If not, the rear circuit must be the leak. How about any ideas on how to find this leak? I am just not convinced the pumps are bad as they are reasonably new, and I certainly don't want to fix an unknown problem by throwing parts at it.

I did successfully replace the battery on one key via the above link. The wireless now works, but the driver's door is still unresponsive. Does this confirm the electronic door lock module is bad?

What is the difference between a CCV kit for a cold climate package car and not? The previously linked kit from fcpeuro.com says not compatible with cold climate cars (http://www.fcpeuro.com/products/bmw-...meyle-m54pcvoe).
I am making an assumption I have a cold climate package car as it has fold down rear seats, seat warmers, and a ski bag... but that may be wrong.

Is the "hand shake" or alternatively "channel lock shake" test the best way to check on the health of the rear trailing arm bushings? Just wanting to check up on anything I can...
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