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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 11-14-2012, 12:12 PM   #1
tech9018
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Join Date: Nov 2012
Location: Leesburg, VA
Posts: 102
My Ride: BMW
Maintenance...

Yes, I am a new poster. No I am not new, I have been religiously reading these threads for the past 9 months since I bought my 2001 330i. Just thought I would share my thoughts to all the new owners, and prospective "mod'rs".

My first thought... Do your Maintenance 1st...

Hopefully a few can learn from my experience. I learned the hard way, I bought my car and was excited to get it "shined" up. Started spending money replacing headlamp lenses, interior trim panels, tail lights, etc...

Not long after that the water pump bearings failed on the way home one evening, with it went.

-the belts
-lower trans cooler lines (cut by phwapping belt)
-fan blades (cracked on fan shroud)
-all of my trans fluid pumped all over the street, creatively mixing with all my coolant that also ended up there.

all this then required a trans fluid service, filter, gasket and such. Lower trans cooler lines (stupid expensive for what they are) A cooling system replacement, new belts and pulley's (one was squeeking). Also did the electric fan conversion while I was in there.

Bamm! Car was running (good I thought). Soon after it got cool outside one day and my car starting running like crap, found broken vacuum hoses, Lower intake boot cracked, broken vacuum hose to fuel filter. On top of

-Noisy suspension (CABS)
-CEL Lean condition
-SIR light Fixed (Some toolbag broke the side airbag harness connector)

I'm still sorting all these out as well as a rough idle condition.

The moral of this story is to do the recommended high failure rate maintenance items and get the car running properly before doing any of the superficial stuff. We all like to drive a good looking car, but it doesn't look so good sitting on the side of the road or on a flatbed tow truck. Money spent on tow bills, emergency repair shop labor, and items damaged as a result of poor maintenance, etc is simply money wasted. Money spent on making it a dependable car is simply buying piece of mind.

BTW, Thanks to some of the veterans on here for unknowingly pointing me in the right direction, with their posts and knowledge on this site.
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My Ride:
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Mods:
Enkei~Dinan~Powerflex~Bilstein~Eibach~RCR
...And a whole lot of maintenance

Last edited by tech9018; 11-14-2012 at 12:17 PM.
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Old 11-14-2012, 01:02 PM   #2
WDE46
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Join Date: Sep 2012
Location: Old Greg's Cavern
Posts: 9,464
My Ride: 2004 330Ci OBM
Did you inspect the belts when you purchased the car? Sorry you had to learn all this the hard way.
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Old 11-14-2012, 01:07 PM   #3
wildirish317
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Join Date: Sep 2012
Location: Louisville, KY
Posts: 2,843
My Ride: 2004 325Ci vert
on maintenance 1st!

I bought my 2004 convertible two months ago. First purchase: Oil, oil filter, air filter. Second purchase: Radiator and associated cooling system parts. Third purchase: Tires.

I had previously owned an E36 convertible, and replaced the cooling system as components failed. First it was a pulley, then the expansion tank, then the radiator, belts, water pump, hoses, and the rest of the pulleys.

The two improvements my E46 has over my E36: manual transmission and manual top. (Of course, I feel that the E46 is a better quality car overall compared to the E36.)
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Old 11-14-2012, 01:14 PM   #4
tech9018
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Join Date: Nov 2012
Location: Leesburg, VA
Posts: 102
My Ride: BMW
Did not check the belts as I figured such a minor item would not prohibit me from
purchasing the car, as cosmetically it appeared very nice. My fault for not putting these things high on the list of priorities. You can be sure I am now well on my way to becoming a quasi-mango in regards to maintaining and reconditioning my car. Slowly but surely. I'm currently focused on fixing the rough idle/CEL and getting the suspension redone. Beyond that we'll see.
__________________

My Ride:
2001~2979cc~4 Doors~ZSP~Sunroof Delete~No Folding Rear Seats~Schwarz

Mods:
Enkei~Dinan~Powerflex~Bilstein~Eibach~RCR
...And a whole lot of maintenance
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Old 11-14-2012, 01:21 PM   #5
WDE46
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Join Date: Sep 2012
Location: Old Greg's Cavern
Posts: 9,464
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tech9018 View Post
Did not check the belts as I figured such a minor item would not prohibit me from
purchasing the car, as cosmetically it appeared very nice. My fault for not putting these things high on the list of priorities. You can be sure I am now well on my way to becoming a quasi-mango in regards to maintaining and reconditioning my car. Slowly but surely. I'm currently focused on fixing the rough idle/CEL and getting the suspension redone. Beyond that we'll see.
Belts wouldn't prohibit me from purchasing a car, but I'd want to know their condition before driving off with it. $30 and a couple hours can fix worn belts.

I highly recommend the following for suspension:

FCABs
FCAs
Steering guibo
Tierods
RTABs

Freshened my car right up. Every one of these was completely shot on my 2004 with 67k miles.
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