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BMW 3-Series Maintenance and Repair

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  • As far as I know of, no recalls. During driving this vehicle at low, medium, and high speeds, is there any rattling, grinding, vibrating, pulsating, rough steering, does the car pull one side to the other? ANY steering or manuevering problems? Does the suspension system bounce, wobble, tilt, shake, creak, or is it loose? If not, then it doesn't seem like your car would need ball joints. Just in case, take the car to a second garage for inspection for a second opinion.

    Ball joints should only wear out if the replacements that are on the car NOW if they were previously replaced should go bad if the replacements aren't what was recommended for that type of car. Or ball joints may go bad if the previous owners have been using that car for an off-road buggy.

    Also, did this car previously have large, chrome, non-factory rims installed? Because some thug gangsta's rims, if not sized for the vehicle properly (tire size, rim weight), that'll easily destroy the car's suspension system as with any car and most of those rims aren't designed properly to be put on the car. In fact, the factory rims should be the only ones put on there since the are capable of handling the car that they were designed for.

    Also, research the business with the Better Business Bureau. Has the garage been known for overbilling, repairing cars that didn't need that type of repair?

    Because if the mechanic is trying to rip you off, getting 2 or 4 ball joints replaced on a newish BMW is costly and he'd make a nice pay off of it. But I'd start by taking the car to a different garage not affiliated with that garage and not only check the ball joints, but give the car a good once over, looking for traces of previously replaced parts, any servicing, was the car routinely maintained at proper intervals and any other components to the car that are soon to go bad.

    Many BMWs are highly reliable and will handle a lot of driving (the 1980s BMWs are tanks) and will respond very well to servicing and maintenance with full replacement being the last option if the car was excessively used or abused.
  • Thanks, joyrider. My wife was sole owner. I'm having the dealership check out the ball joints just to make sure.
  • roadburnerroadburner Posts: 6,358
    Since you have a BMW with 4 sets of disc brakes, its good measure to replace ALL pads simultaneously at a total of 80.00.

    Why? Every BMW I've owned going back to my 1973 Bavaria 3.0 has worn the rear brake pads at @50% of the rate of the front pads. Last year I replaced the original rear pads on my 1995 E36 and at over 103K miles they still weren't worn to the factory minimums- and this was on a tracked and autocrossed car.

    ...you'd have to replace ALL brake pads and ALL 4 rotors at an additional estimated 75.00 and more for a rotor...

    That's somewhat high for a RWD E46; OEM front rotors run around $52 and rears go for about $42.

    Keeping a clean, well-maintained and properly lubricated engine bay is not only one simple cheap solution to reduce excessive wear and tear, but also helps keep the vehicle's value up because it's clean and the engine bay has been routinely maintenanced, ensuring that most if not ALL accessories still work when you go to sell the car.


    That's why I was able to sell my wife's 130K 1997 528i for twice what Carmax offered.

    2009 328i / 2004 X3 2.5/ 1995 318ti Club Sport/ 1975 2002A/ 2007 Mazdaspeed 3/ 1999 Wrangler/ 1996 Speed Triple Challenge Cup Replica

  • davidd3davidd3 Posts: 582
    Wow! Thanks for the info. I assumed my car is fixed. Now I'm skeptical. All I can say for now is so far so good. It's been a few weeks and I haven't heard the ticking since the fix.
  • grantchstrgrantchstr Posts: 371
    24,000 miles on the car and no heavy driving at all is what I said actually. So the point about "depends on how much you drive per year" is obvious and answered.

    And "depends how many times you use your brakes or how hard you use them" is obvious which is why I stated and repeat - no heavy driving. The car is mostly driven by a careful wife!
  • roadburnerroadburner Posts: 6,358
    The car is mostly driven by a careful wife!

    My wife is "careful" too, which means she goes through brakes faster that I do! She applies them at corners I accelerate through and also tends to tap them if she sees ANY brake lights ahead. Urban driving combined with "cautious" driving can wear out a set of pads rather quickly.

    2009 328i / 2004 X3 2.5/ 1995 318ti Club Sport/ 1975 2002A/ 2007 Mazdaspeed 3/ 1999 Wrangler/ 1996 Speed Triple Challenge Cup Replica

  • grantchstrgrantchstr Posts: 371
    Hey pal, if you notice I sadi this is a stick shift so that will mean LESS use of brakes. We are both from Europe so we both know how to drive properly - ie not the American automatic transmision/jam on the brakes all the time way of driving thank you very much!

    I still have no clue whether pads/rotors will typically need changing at 30K, 40K or 50K etc etc.....
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    "I still have no clue whether pads/rotors will typically need changing at 30K, 40K or 50K etc etc..."

    And you still don't, and nothing anybody tells you here will change that fact. Like it or don't, your pads will wear out when they wear out. Of the mileages that you listed, you might get any of them, or more or less.

    Best Regards,
    Shipo
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,527
    Too many variables to predict that. When will your shoes wear out?

    I drive pretty hard and most of my cars need pads at the 30K mark or less. I never turn rotors regardless...either they are in spec and clean as they are, or they are too rough, and they go. If I stopped in 20 feet when I was 19 feet in back of a truck, I'd be very unhappy that I saved $200 on rotors.

    MODERATOR

  • robl1robl1 Posts: 25
    It was the ignitor in my case too but my dealer must not be very bright. They changed the headlight modules and the xenons. Headlight still didn't work so finally they changed the ignitor. Repair was under warrantee. Works fine now. I don't think I'd go for xenons on a new car. When a regualar headlamp goes out I can just replace it myself!
  • kominskykominsky Posts: 850
    Good to hear you got it resolved.

    FWIW, my car has ~130K miles on it and other than the ignitor problem early on, the HIDs have been flawless. On my wife's Odyssey, with similar miles, I've replaced the halogen on one side twice and the other side once. So, based on personal experience, it seems that while the xenons are more complicated and would be expensive (out of warranty), they are more robust too. I believe in the future I'll stick with HIDs simply for the wider pattern... our area is loaded with whitetail deer and it's really nice seeing the green glow of their eyes BEFORE they make it to the road!
  • jodanjodan Posts: 4
    I have an AWD, so far I have no problem with it. 325xi 2004.
  • roadburnerroadburner Posts: 6,358
    There are lots of different opinions on this issue. I change the oil every 7500 miles using a BMW Longlife 01 approved oil. Some commonly available oils that meet this standard are Castrol Syntec 0W-30, Mobil 1 0W-40, Valvoline 5W-40, and BMW's own synthetic 5W-30 house brand(which is a Castrol product, but NOT the same as Syntec 0W-30). I use Mobil 1 because I have always been pleased with its performance. My wife drives a 2005 X3 2.5 which has the same engine as your car. I once ran the 0W-40 oil for 9000 miles and then had a used oil analysis performed. The results indicated I could have run the oil an additional 1000 miles. Still, I just feel more comfortable changing it at half the interval called for by the car's service interval indicator.

    2009 328i / 2004 X3 2.5/ 1995 318ti Club Sport/ 1975 2002A/ 2007 Mazdaspeed 3/ 1999 Wrangler/ 1996 Speed Triple Challenge Cup Replica

  • Hi, I have a 1997 318TI AT which is over 11K miles and I just found out the timing belt need to replace A.S.A.P.
    I am wondering if anyone can suggest a specialist or repair shop in Los Angeles which can do the job. I do not want go back to BMW because I have many bad experience with them before. Thanks.
  • roadburnerroadburner Posts: 6,358
    Hi, I have a 1997 318TI AT which is over 11K miles and I just found out the timing belt need to replace A.S.A.P.

    Your car has the M44 1.9 liter engine which has a timing chain. Your car should easily go at least 150K before you should even have to think about replacing it. Who told you that the non-existent belt needed to be replaced? In any case, I'd look here if you still need to find an independent BMW tech.

    2009 328i / 2004 X3 2.5/ 1995 318ti Club Sport/ 1975 2002A/ 2007 Mazdaspeed 3/ 1999 Wrangler/ 1996 Speed Triple Challenge Cup Replica

  • I am sorry, I forgot my car was a second hand car and it is 95' 318TI AT. Also have you ever tried those independent BMW tech before? Are they reliable? Thank you for your quick response.
  • ftrohaftroha Posts: 21
    For what it's worth, seven years ago I was told by a mechanic that I probably needed to replace the timing belt in my '93 318is. If I recall, the cost would have been around 1K. Rather than tell him to go ahead with the repair, I did some research on the Internet and learned that the problem might be the belt tensioner, a much cheaper repair. I went back to the mechanic with my printouts of a couple of articles I had found and the cost of the part needed (i.e., the tensioner). When he got around to checking my car out, he did in fact discover all I needed was the tensioner. I've been driving the car ever since, and I've had no problems related to the belt itself (which is still the original) or the tensioner. The point of my writing this is it's quite possible (given the similar make/model/year) that your car has a tensioner issue at this point in its life.
  • roadburnerroadburner Posts: 6,358
    Also have you ever tried those independent BMW tech before? Are they reliable?

    I know several BIMRS members, but haven't dealt with any in your area. The shops I do know provide first class service. Are you a BMW CCA member? If so, ask some local chapter members which shops they use.

    2009 328i / 2004 X3 2.5/ 1995 318ti Club Sport/ 1975 2002A/ 2007 Mazdaspeed 3/ 1999 Wrangler/ 1996 Speed Triple Challenge Cup Replica

  • roadburnerroadburner Posts: 6,358
    For what it's worth, seven years ago I was told by a mechanic that I probably needed to replace the timing belt in my '93 318is.

    Repeat after me:

    No US spec BMW four cylinder engine has EVER used a timing belt.

    That said, BMW did supercede the M42 chain tensioner with the improved version(PN:11311743187) which was fitted to later cars.

    2009 328i / 2004 X3 2.5/ 1995 318ti Club Sport/ 1975 2002A/ 2007 Mazdaspeed 3/ 1999 Wrangler/ 1996 Speed Triple Challenge Cup Replica

  • I have a 325ci. When I drive, there is a thumping noise which appears to come from the left rear tire area. It occurs about every 5-10 seconds while driving straight.
    The tires are fine..no high spots, balanced and inflated properly. I have had several people look at it, but they can't determine what the cause is. Any suggestions where I should begin looking? (one person told me the rear axle seemed to have too much play..could that be it?)
  • roadburnerroadburner Posts: 6,358
    I have a 325ci. When I drive, there is a thumping noise which appears to come from the left rear tire area. It occurs about every 5-10 seconds while driving straight.

    Sounds like the left rear shock mount. It's no big deal; just replace them with these HD items.

    (one person told me the rear axle seemed to have too much play... could that be it?)

    This is why you shouldn't let a moron inspect your BMW. Your car doesn't have a rear axle. It has a differential(also called a final drive) as well as two half shafts. I hope you didn't pay that idiot anything.

    2009 328i / 2004 X3 2.5/ 1995 318ti Club Sport/ 1975 2002A/ 2007 Mazdaspeed 3/ 1999 Wrangler/ 1996 Speed Triple Challenge Cup Replica

  • Thank you for your reply. I am going to check into that tomorrow.
    (I did not pay anyone for their advice....good thing!)
  • eddgeddg Posts: 1
    HELLO EVERYONE ED HERE, LAST SEPT I BOUGHT A 2002 325I I WANT TO INCREASE H/P INSTANTLY! WHATS THE MOST RELIABLE,EASIEST,AND FRUGAL WAY TO DO IT???

    I AM CONSIDERING A TURBO/SUPERCHARGER... WHATS A RELIABLE BRAND TO BUY.WITHOUT CHARGING MY LIL' CREDIT CARD TO 10.K

    I WANT A SYSTEM THAT COMES COMPLETE. ALSO, I LIVE IN SOUTH TEXAS SO ITS PRETTY DARN HOT IN THE SUMMER BUT WINTERS ARENT THAT BAD HOW WILLL THE WEATHER EFFECT THE PERFORMANCE?

    SOMEONE LET ME KNOW PLEASE! :shades:
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,527
    No easy cheap way to get HP out of a BMW 325i. The engineers didn't leave too much on the table that you could easily scoop up.

    A turbo is probably the best way to go but it's not cheap and it has its problems; otherwise, I'd say you'd get more fun out of better tires and struts and at least more noise out of a nice cat-back exhaust (but not much HP). So for maybe $1,500 bucks you can go around turns faster and make more noise doing it---that's fun.

    You'll see all sorts of silly claims for cheap horsepower but they don't seem to pan out on the dyno, so I'd suggest handling and a nice sound is the very best way to spend your money. If you want a turbo, that'll give you real HP but it's going to cost a lot of money.

    MODERATOR

  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    Piece of cake, sell your 325i and buy a 330i.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,527
    tur--BO! tur---BO!

    shipo may be of the school (if I may speak for him) that says "If you want a faster BMW, go buy a faster BMW".

    MODERATOR

  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    Yupper! ;-)
  • roadburnerroadburner Posts: 6,358
    Yep, sell the 325i and buy an E46 330i with the Performance Package(AKA: ZHP).
    If that's too rich for your blood find a nice E36 M3 and fit a Conforti Cold Air Intake and Shark injector.
    Either of the above options will be less expensive -and probably quicker- than bolting a supercharger or turbocharger to your 325i. If you still want to pump up your 325i, I'd go with the Active Autowerke supercharger. It costs $4400, plus labor if you can't do it yourself. That assumes your engine is in good condition; if it's a bit tired, the added stress of forced induction will almost certainly hasten its demise. You also need to understand that it's not simply a matter of pumping an additional 90 RWHP into your 325i; you will need to upgrade the brakes and suspension to cope with the additional horsepower, so add another $2500-$5000 for that. And when all is said and done, I can almost guarantee that you won't get your money back when you eventually go to sell it.

    2009 328i / 2004 X3 2.5/ 1995 318ti Club Sport/ 1975 2002A/ 2007 Mazdaspeed 3/ 1999 Wrangler/ 1996 Speed Triple Challenge Cup Replica

  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,527
    Well said! OEM turbo engines are generally internally strengthened. If you have ANY weakness in your 325i engine, a bolt-on turbocharger will find it for you immediately. But with boost control, bigger injectors, intercooler and sensible driving (you don't want long periods of boost applied on a stock engine), you'd probably only decrease engine life maybe 10%.

    MODERATOR

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