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BMW 3-Series Maintenance and Repair

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  • cdnpinheadcdnpinhead Forest Lakes, AZPosts: 3,305
    ". . .should last at least until BMW adds a dipstick to the 135. . ."

    Are you planning to live forever?

    When BMW brings the dipstick back (along with real tires & a self-maintenance-friendly approach in general), I'll be among the first in line. Many discuss Asian "appliances," but the BMW has turned into one as well -- excellent handling (of course), but an appliance all the same. One is expected to take it to the dealer for everything. The Honda I recenctly bought has lots of useful do-it-yourself info in the owners manual (not the service book), just like the old days.

    I read Roundel every month from cover to cover. It's clear that the people who write it and participate so enthusiastically are no longer the target audience for the current vehicles. The Roundel crowd are very much my kind of people. Those who pick things like dipstickless-engines & RFTs (& pinch pennies such that the oil level sensor isn't reliable) -- not so much.
  • roadburnerroadburner Posts: 6,763
    I read Roundel every month from cover to cover. It's clear that the people who write it and participate so enthusiastically are no longer the target audience for the current vehicles. The Roundel crowd are very much my kind of people. Those who pick things like dipstickless-engines & RFTs (& pinch pennies such that the oil level sensor isn't reliable) -- not so much.

    The Roundel crowd buys BMWs to drive.
    Sadly, most modern BMW owners prefer to wear them.

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

  • motorpoolmotorpool Posts: 1
    I recently changed the engine in my 1995 BMW 318I. The engine that I bought has 78 thousand miles on it. When I changed out the motor, I also put in a new clutch pressure plate and throughout bearing. To make sure the engine is running right, I had an engine diagnostic test ran. I had to replace the map sensor and the oxygen sensor. After starting the engine and putting it into first gear the RPM’s are why too high between first and second gear during shifting. From the time that I shift from first to second the engine is tacing at 4000 and the car isn’t even go 10 miles per hour. It has the same problem from second to third and so forth. In 5th gear I’m driving 70 mph and the car’s RPM’s are 3500. Do you know what the problem could be?
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,648
    Presuming your tach is accurate, sounds like you have a defective clutch.

    MODERATOR --Need help with anything? Click on my name!

  • skinhealerskinhealer Posts: 33
    Wanted to find out how much people paid for the BMW Service Maintenance Warranty for a 328 XI 2008 model. And is it worth it to buy one.
  • akajimboakajimbo Posts: 10
    I have a 2001 330ci and is starts to have yellow engine warning lights for couple of seconds when I turn on the ignition and start to drive. Then it goes away and doesn't show up while I am driving. I've look the maual and it mentions about red light and blinking red lights. Yellow light is nowhere to be found. has anyone experienced this problem? What is the likely caues and how I can fix this?
    Thnaks in advance.
  • Had the same issue last year on my E46. Dealership replaced a sensor (O2 sensor i think?) that was going bad. Before you go, make sure that you gas cap is on properly... I've heard that this could also cause that issue... Good luck!
  • roadburnerroadburner Posts: 6,763
    Take it to Autozone and they will read the fault codes for free. No point in guessing when you can know for sure what the problem is.

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

  • kominskykominsky Posts: 850
    If it's the yellow "service engine soon" light, then I agree with the previous reponses. If, however, it's the yellow oil "can" light, and your oil level checks out okay, then it's probably the oil level sending unit. I think it's a pretty common problem in these cars (my 2001 330Ci is suffering from the same thing). I picked up the sending unit from bavauto.com and will replace it during my next oil change. It ~appears~ to be a very easy fix... 3 bolts and a wiring connector... in the bottom of the oil pan.
  • kominskykominsky Posts: 850
    I took a VAC day today and finally got around to doing my radiator, waterpump, thermostat, belts, hoses, etc. A couple of observations and a possible problem.

    Nothing was easy to take apart! I guess 140K miles and 7 years helps parts create a nearly impenetrable bond.

    Everything old was in amazingly good condition. Based on what I saw, it looked like the belts and hoses could have gone another 140K miles. Radiator was fine. Water pump fins looked good, but it didn't turn as freely as the new one.

    The new parts all assembled very easily. I especially like the hoses with the built in clips so there was no dealing with hose clamps.

    The problem: when taking it apart, according to Bentley, the main drive belt tensioner should have created slack in the belt when turning the nut clockwise. I turned it and it just turned, it didn't move the pulley. No problem I thought, and I just cut the old belt off. Then it hit me that I will have to put the new belt on. As of now, I'm not really sure how I'm going to do that. Any thoughts?

    Thanks in advance!
  • roadburnerroadburner Posts: 6,763
    BMW water hoses are remarkably long-lived. I still have the originals on my 1995 318ti. As for the tensioner, do these pictures help?

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

  • kominskykominsky Posts: 850
    Looking at the pics, that's what I expected to see... that cast-in hex on the tensioner.. the tensioner for the auxillary belt has one. However, I didn't see anything like that on the main belt tensioner. It has what appears to be a bolt running through it at the pivot point (under a black plastic dust cover). Its pretty much exactly where the casted one is on the pics. Definitely not the one through the pulley, though!

    I'm away from home right now but we're heading back tonight. I'll take another look around at that point. Hopefully I just missed something.

    Thanks!!
  • kominskykominsky Posts: 850
    I just noticed that the guy who wrote that up has an '01 330CiC. That ~should~ look exactly like my '01 330Ci. I'm pretty sure that I suffered from temporary insanity and when I look again, I'll see exactly what the pics show.
  • kominskykominsky Posts: 850
    Looked again and I absolutely don't see what those pictures showed. I think I have a different setup or I'm really confused and shouldn't be working on my own car... ever! Here's a diagram from realOEM.com (a pretty neat site for finding part #s)...

    http://www.realoem.com/bmw/showparts.do?model=BN53&mospid=47713&btnr=11_2190&hg=- 11&fg=18

    It's part #21 on this diagram.
  • kominskykominsky Posts: 850
    Something happened to the link above and it no longer works. I did however find this on Pelican Parts' website...

    "Some cars came with mechanical water pump/alternator belt tensioner assemblies while others came with a hydraulic type. Note that the mechanical style is only available as an assembly - the bearing or pulley is not available separately. Therefore, it is important to identify which style is on your vehicle BEFORE placing your order."

    They sell the mechanical type and it looks like the one in the pics you sent, so I must have the hydraulic type. I'm still not sure how to "activate" it though. I managed to get the new belt on by manually swinging the tensioner... no easy task :sick:
  • roadburnerroadburner Posts: 6,763
    Sorry I couldn't be of more help. Spent the weekend in Indiana at a driving school and didn't have time to check back in... :(

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

  • kominskykominsky Posts: 850
    No problem! I appreciate the help you did provide!

    While you were learning/perfecting heel-toe downshifts, I was learning/perfecting a wide variety of new cuss words and finding out how much blood can pour from my knuckles before I pass out... :P

    For future knowledge, do you have any idea how the hydraulic tensioners work? I don't know if mine is faulty or if I'm faulty, but I could not figure out how to loosen the tension on the belt.

    Thanks!
  • cdnpinheadcdnpinhead Forest Lakes, AZPosts: 3,305
    "While you were learning/perfecting heel-toe downshifts. . ."

    Mr. 'burner is probably too classy to mention this, but I'm not. He teaches at these things. Been around BMWs for a long time and a real asset to the boards.
  • kominskykominsky Posts: 850
    Cool!

    BTW, I can work with that too... While you were teaching heel-toe downshifts, I was teaching my 14 y.o. son, who was helping out, some new cuss words. :D
  • roadburnerroadburner Posts: 6,763
    For future knowledge, do you have any idea how the hydraulic tensioners work?

    As I understand it, the hydraulic tensioners maintain a more consistent belt tension due to the inherent damping function of the hydraulic cylinder.

    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: 6,763
    While you were teaching heel-toe downshifts, I was teaching my 14 y.o. son, who was helping out, some new cuss words.

    I tell students to practice heel toe on the street. Trying to learn it on the track frequently results in information overload- not to mention gray hairs for the instructor... :P
    Here's a shot of my MS3 with two Minis.

    image

    The black one has the John Cooper Works Package while the gray one is fitted with a power pulley for the S/C as well as an upgraded suspension and big brakes. We tended to run together on the track as we were pretty evenly matched.

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

  • kominskykominsky Posts: 850
    My question was a little vague... I'm wondering what the right way to release tension is for the hydraulic tensioners. Unlike the mechanical ones, there is no cast in hex head that you simply rotate to swing the whole unit. Thanks!

    I occassionally "play around" with heel-toe... usually I end up feeling like a heel.
    Every now and then, though, I nail one just right. When that happens, I go home and wait for Ferrari to call looking for me to replace Massa. :shades:

    Nice little grouping of cars. It's probably not too often you park your MS3 between two other cars and feel like you drive a big car.
  • prazpraz Posts: 163
    I currently own ES350 and plan to buy 3 series in few months. I need to ask you gurus for some help regarding maintenance costs after 48 months. I plan to keep the vehicle for at least 10 years and don't want to spend huge $$$ on maintenance. Is the maintenance cost on 3 series high? Is it worth to buy 3-series if I am sensitive regarding maintenance costs? Please advise me on my concerns. Thanks in advance.
  • roadburnerroadburner Posts: 6,763
    Find a good independent BMW tech and out of warranty maintenance and repair costs shouldn't average over $80-$90 per month. My 1995 3 Series has averaged @$50 per month(including the cost of three sets of tires) since I bought it new in October 1995, and at that time BMW did not provide free maintenance for 4 years/50K miles. My wife's 2004 X3 costs about $75 per month to run, but that figure should drop sigificantly over the next two years, as no major services will be required.

    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: 45,648
    It makes a big difference on a BMW if you buy the car new and then avearage out your repair costs per month.

    If you buy used, 9 times out of 10, if you are fastidious as I can be at times, I have to play 6 months of "catch up" on all the deferred maintenance from a previous owner who was either not so fastidious or perhaps innocently unaware or unconcerned about defects in the car.

    On used BMWs, it's cost me a bit more per month than roadburner, because of this "catch up". Unless you score a real beauty of a used car with ZERO defects, you should plan on $125+ a month for a while.

    I was shopping for a used BMW a while back, and even with the really nice cars, I spotted items needing attention that weren't going to be cheap. Some people can live, for instance, with a rear window that doesn't go down, or crackling radio speakers, or screeching sunroof, or burned out dashboard light or radio display, or loose arm rest, or a 5 series radiator that hasn't been replaced for 80,000 miles. Me, I can't live with that stuff and even that list of seemingly insignificant items can add up fast.

    MODERATOR --Need help with anything? Click on my name!

  • prazpraz Posts: 163
    Thank you Roadburner and Mr_Shiftright. I would definitely buy it new and would have the car serviced at recommended intervals and I am very fastidious. As per your comments, after 48 months I should expect to spend somewhere between $80 to $125 per month. Is that a correct statement? Thanks in advance.
  • cdnpinheadcdnpinhead Forest Lakes, AZPosts: 3,305
    ". . .have the car serviced at recommended intervals. . ."

    Well, that's a start, but not nearly adequate if you're planning to keep the car like I do, for 7-10 years. You may not be aware of what happened to the "recommended service" list when BMW began including it in the cost of the car ("free" maintenance for 50K miles or 4 years), but it isn't comforting to the likes of people who keep cars well in excess of 100K miles.

    Roadburner provided a helpful summary of the servicing intervals for those who don't lease & actually want to keep the car, back at post 3675. In addition, you should join BMWCCA. You'll get the best car magazine on the planet & get real information from people who actually love to drive & work on the cars, as opposed to wearing them. There's a very comprehensive servicing schedule (the old one, before "free" maintenance) outlined in there from time to time.

    These cars will last forever if they're properly taken care of, and you need to start the moment you buy it, or so I've heard.

    Enjoy.
  • etomorietomori Posts: 11
    Plan to spend more $$$ for maintenance and repairs on a BMW. That is the nature of the vehicle. I am assuming that you are buying a 3 Series new with the 4yr/50,000 mile warranty/maintenance agreement. Can extend the warranty and maintenance coverage to 6 yrs/100,000 miles via BMW through one of its dealers. Suggest twinkidneygrill.com, a Georgia BMW dealer, for such policies at the best prices possible.

    If you are buying a twin-turbo 335, really plan on getting the extended maintenance and original owner protection policies. There is a strong feeling that the turbos will have a life about 75,000 miles and repairs/replacement are costly.

    Also, the BMW 15,000 mile oil/filter change intervals are suspect. Many owners are changing their oil and filter at 7500 mile intervals. Preventative maintenance will give you the longevity. Another thing, the water pump should be replaced at around 60,000 miles. Waiting for it to fail could cause a warped head/block, a lot of $$$.

    Not very encouraging, right? I just had my engine replaced under warranty on my 2003 330i ZHP. Bought it used at 34,000 and it had factory warranty remaining. Had continuous and documented problems necessitating warrantied repairs under BMW supervision. Should check around to see which BMW dealers treat their customers well. Niello BMW of Sacramento, CA, has provided me with excellent service on a used car that was purchased from a small non-BMW used carl dealer. This dealership really backs up their product!!!

    But, I am keeping it because it is a great car with character (!!!) with a great dealer providing terrific service.
  • poundspounds Posts: 1
    I recently purchased a 2008 328i and came out to my car one morning to discover the windows were all the way down and the sunroof was partially open. I hypothesized that somehow I accidentally pressed the unlock button on the key remote. I went to the dealership to have this feature disabled and was told that it cannot be disabled on the E90, however, they have done it on the older E46 :confuse: . But then again, they said this was the first time they have tried to disable the feature on the E90 and it does not come up as an option on the computer. Has anyone had this successfully done on a recent model BMW? If not, does anyone know of a hard shell case that will hold my key remote so buttons cannot be accidentally pressed?
  • jodanjodan Posts: 4
    My service engine light(yellow) has been on and off the last 4-5 months. I suspected the bad gas as a culprit , but now I'm a little confused. I check my gas cap and it's close. I still put in 93 grade and I just had my major service done over at my dealership for 60,000+ miles four months ago. Any advice will be great!

    JD
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