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BMW 3-Series Maintenance and Repair

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  • kdshapirokdshapiro Posts: 5,751
    If the rattle is coming from the speaker area and the radio isn't on, the tech people should do some digging and figure out the cause of the rattle.

    I have a "rattle" or "buzz" that is noticeable when the radio is on, mostly on AM. I had the car in twice. The first time the front speakers were replaced, the second time they said they could find nothing wrong. I believe the diversity antenna contributes to poor AM radio reception and am resigned to the fact this car has lousy AM radio reception. One very minor aggravating fault in a sea of other great stuff about the car.

    My suggestion to test the speakers is, to take the CD you received with the car, go back to the dealer and play it in a couple of models on the showroom floor. Get a sense of how it plays and then go back to your car to hear how it sounds. A shorted or bad speaker should be immediately apparent.

    In contrast to the AM reception, I find the FM radio and CD quality to be one of the best in a stock setup. I have the H/K upgrade BTW.
  • thanx for the input. i will try some of your suggestions. This might sound stupid, but is an H/K btw an upgrade to the H/K i have in my 330ci, or is that just an abbreviation? Also, the rear speakers don't say H/K like in the sedans, or is that just the way the decor of the speakers are for the coupes?

    thanks again. i will let you know what they say or did.
  • kdshapirokdshapiro Posts: 5,751
    On the 2002 models I believe the H/K upgrade was a $650 option. I had thought that this "upgrade " was to be standard in the coming model year. I'm not sure what year your car is.

    I don't know about the coupe, but in the sedan the H/K upgrade is identified by the words Harmon-Kardon on the front-pillar speakers. I also checked my car and the words Harmon-Kardon were imprinted on the two rear-deck speakers on the chrome trim, with the imprint facing the rear window.

    Cars that don't have the H/K upgrade are missing the word Harmon-Kardon from the front pillar speakers.

    Hope I answered your question, let us know how it turns out.
  • texan5texan5 Posts: 23
    I've got a slow power steering fluid leak on my 1999 e46. The reservuar seems to be leaking from under the cap. Replacng the cap itself did not solve the problem so I'll replace the reservuar next. I'm curious if others have done the same.

    Also I'm contemplating the replacement of the pressurized PS hose while doing the reservuar. The connector where the hose attaches to the inlet on the radiator does not look familiar. How do these work? Do I need special tools for this?

    Thank you all in advance
    texan5
  • thanx for the input on the h/k. i have a 02 330ci which does have the H/K imblem on the front speakers but not on the back speakers? Is this normal on the coupes? I actually was wondering if there was an upgrade to the H/K that i didn't know about.

    AS to the steering problem that veers to the left, i finally got a diff. dealer to look at the car and the tech (an old service tech at my dealership who i befriended before he left) said the steering wheel was not adjusted to specs. This should have been done with the alignment. He said he could look down at the BMW badge cross on the steering wheel as a reference and see that it was off. He also said BMW would not warranty work at one place to another. It would cost me $170.00 for another alignment to get this done.

    Bear in mind a already had two alignments at the other dealership and the front two tires swapped with no resolution. I asked him about the radial tire thing and he said it was highly unlikely....hmmmm.....

    anyways, i went back to my dealership and told the manager of service what happened. He said he wanted to keep my business and would talk to the foreman who test drove my car and get back to me.

    What do you guys think?,,, should i give my dealership one more chance to fix it for free or fork over the money and pray it gets done right at a different dealer and hope what he says is true? at this point time is more impt. than money and i just want my sweet coupe to be running right,,,,i can live with the freakin rattles but not the steering problem...

    thanks again all,

    L8's
  • kdshapirokdshapiro Posts: 5,751
    Get the old dealer for fix the thing. There is no reason that car should be pulling. I'm not sure why a misaligned steering wheel would cause pulling however. Something is off, whatever it is get them to diagnose and fix it.

    Why isn't this warranted under the BMW full service maintenance?
  • Hello:

    I bought two 2003 325xi's in Mid-December. Both cars have the premium package and rain sensing windshield wipers. The night I picked up my car, it was pouring down rain, and the wipers worked perfectly. They went from a slow intermittent when stopped, to a steady medium speed when the rain wasn't too bad, and went to the fastest speed when rain really picked up. I was amazed it worked so well.

    However, about a week later, there was another day of very heavy rain, but this time while driving (55 mph), the wipers would not go faster than the "medium" setting. I had to physically raise the lever to get the fastest wipe speed. It would not do it in the auto setting. I ensured the sensitivity knob was full forward (where I had left it from the last time), but it didn't work.

    I went home and got in my wife's car and took it for a drive. Sure enough, her's worked fine. Just like mine had the first time it rained. I got back in my car to make sure I had everything set correctly (it's not that complicated...), and it was. Still would only go up to the medium speed. The wipers would not go to the super fast speed unless I physically raised the lever out of automatic.

    I made an appointment at Passport BMW in Maryland (where I bought the cars) to have a tech look at it. They told me it was working fine. I asked them if they were actually able to test the different speeds of the auto setting, and they said, "no". They said their was no real way for them to test it unless it was raining (it wasn't).

    Anyway, I'm now driving a BMW with a feature that doesn't work right, and no way to fix it. Can anyone out there give me any advice to get them to take this a little more seriously?

    Thanks!
  • jddsjdds Posts: 1
    my '01 330ci weather stripping is split near the door latch both sides of the car, anybody with same problem? you may want to check, let me know. thanks
  • dohc97dohc97 Posts: 20
    I also have a 2001 330ci and had the same problem. The first time the dealer replaced the seal, it again was ripped after only a couple of weeks. I brought it back for another replacement and it has been fine since then.
  • My 02 330ci had enough weather stripping problem before i bought it that the door wouldn't close properly without a good slam. They replaced the drivers side strip and i tested it before i bought the car. no problems since, but the salesman did say a lot of the coupes have this problem, he wasn't sure why, but it is a "Known Problem." I hope this helps.

    KDshap: Alignments are not part of the scheduled maintenance because it's part of "use of the car" My Dealer have not charged me anything because they sold me the car, and because they acknowledged the pull, they have tried to fix it but relented saying that it was normal for coupes to stray because of the tuning of the car. I can accept maybe a little of it but the rest is [non-permissible content removed]. I took it to a second dealer only to have a second opinion and they confirmed my problem. Since i didn't buy the car from them, they have to charge me for it.

    I'm going to try to contact BMWNA to help fray the cost...in the meantime my dealership's foreman is on vacation and the manager will speak to him on monday the 27th to get the low down. From my point KD, i have no faith in the foreman who has tried to fix the thing twice, took the car home with him, acknowledged it, yet all he can give me is "that's the way it is." All thought it would be for free, I'm way to frustrated, and don't have a lot of free time to be going to the shop, but maybe third times the charm.....if not i guess i have no choice but to pay the bucks at the other dealership. Let me know if any of this sounds wrong to you....

    once again thanx for your help and input,,,i really do hate bitching about my beemer so i will add one positive note before i signed off..

    this stupid kid in a suped up prelude tried to race me out of the gates at a toll booth....i didn't even know he was trying to race until i looked over to merge and there he was gunning his car,,,egging me on, needless to say he was in my rears and all i smelled and heard from his car was a burnt clutch and him in the slow lane.

    L8's all.
  • kdshapirokdshapiro Posts: 5,751
    Good luck in getting the car fixed to your satisfaction. No car should pull on a straight and level road. It is said the sometimes the car "tramlines". The low profile tires sometimes track to imperfections in the road. I've noticed it on my car. But I never feel I have to fight with the steering to keep it straight.

    Every car I've had has pulled at sometime or another. Usually an alignment and tire rotate/balance fixes the problem.
  • I am new to Edmunds and find this forum very informative. I have a few questions that I would appreciate any input on. I have a 97 ti automatic w 115,000 miles on it.
    My dealer recently installed new front struts and did a wheel alignment. The car now pulls to the right and still doesn't handle as well as it did some 20,000 miles ago. Could this be due to the rear end. My dealer is in Brooklyn, NY and charges for even checking my air!
    My transmission also shifts roughly or not at all, especially if not fully warm (10 minutes min.). An independent repair shop told me the sticker under the transmission idicates it is sealed and should not be opened. My dealer wants Big $ to check and in the past has said It's normal. No easy way to check fluid level. Any advise would be appreciated.
    ds
  • div2div2 Posts: 2,580
    At 115000 miles it is possible that your ti may need upper strut bearings, tie rods, subframe bushings, control arms- or all of the above. I'd suggest you find a good independent BMW tech to check out the front and rear suspensions. Your local BMW CCA chapter should be able to give you some helpful guidance in this respect. Ditto for the AT. Whoever checked out your tranny is a clueless idiot. A COMPETENT, INTELLIGENT tech can perform a fluid change-Dexron III) on the GM A4S 310R unit in your car. That said, once you've gone 115K without a fluid change you should probably just leave it alone and start saving for a rebuilt unit; a fluid change at this point will likely loosen up accumulated sludge and gunk thereby killing the transmission outright.
  • rhmassrhmass Posts: 263
    Please give us some advice on my son's 1998 318ti with 28,500 miles. He had some problem starting the car a week's ago when we had near sub zero temperature. Somehow after numerous try he got it going. However, the check engine light came on but went out after two days. According to him, he didn't notice any difference in the car's operations.
    The question he had is if he should bring the car back to the dealer for check up. Another question is whether the car needs a Inspection 2 service at 30,000. I learned BMW has changed the frequency from 30,000 to 40,000. Your suggestion is much appreciated. As he is an intern in the hospital and hardly gets a day off for auto service, I'll arrange to switch cars with him to bring the car in when service is needed. Thanks in advance for your advice.
  • div2div2 Posts: 2,580
    The Check Engine Light(CEL) indicates that the On-Board Diagnostic system has detected a fault in the emissions system. The CEL will extinguish if the fault is not detected again after a certain number of start/run cycles. However, the fault code will still be retained in the system memory. If the car is running fine-no stumbling/stalling or decrease in MPG-I'd simply wait for the next service. As for the Insp.II, a 1998 318ti will signal an Oil Service or Inspection about every 9000 miles. The sequence is Oil Service-Insp.I-Oil Service-Insp.II. Therefore, an Insp II should not be required until the car reaches @36000 miles. Let me know if I can help further.
  • rhmassrhmass Posts: 263
    I appreciate your expertise and help to those less knowledgeable BMW owners, so that they can make their ownership much more enjoyable.
    THANK YOU.
  • div2div2 Posts: 2,580
    No problem! I'm always glad to help; BMWs have been one of my hobbies for over 20 years.
  • I believe the bushings were replaced about 25,000 miles ago. As for the transmission, I got the car in 1999 w 54,000 miles on it and when I was "regularly" going to the BMW dealer, they claimed to be topping it off when I complained. It was about a year ago that I really noticed a difference and that's when I started asking around. The dealer never recommended a fluid change (go figure). I will definetly look into the BMW CCA chapter for a good machanic. If anyone knows of one in the NY metro area, I am all ears!
    BTW, reluctantly I am going back to my local dealer (4 week wait)this Mon. to discuss the "pulling" and now have some additional info. to bring up. Thanks again for the advice.
  • div2div2 Posts: 2,580
    One other thing I forgot to mention is that tires can sometimes cause pulling. Swapping them from side to side might eliminate the problem. As of 9/95 vehicle production BMW considers all of their automatics to have a "lifetime fill", so I'm not too surprised that your dealer didn't suggest a fluid change. That said, most techs I know suggest a change at @60K, though a lot of E39 528i owners have the same GM transmissions and have gone for over 120K with no maintenance whatsoever.
  • I am so disappointed with this vehicle.. it handles very well and is a dream to drive, But the frequent visits to the dealer for various repairs are making me sorry I ever purchased it. I purchased the car in Oct of 1999.It has the sport pkg and the premium sound system and onboard computer etc.. Today it has barely 35,000 miles on it. I am the only one who drives it and I take very good care of it.. to date, the brakes AND rotors have had to be completely replaced 2x, there have been 3 different problems w/ the convertible top, 2 different problems with the air-bag system, the dam? under the car has been replaced 3 times, the water pump had to be replaced.
    In the case of the brakes the system warning light light only came on the 2nd time. Why all these problems? The Dealer just keeps acting as tho' this is totally normal.. this car has spent more time in the shop than virtually any car I have ever owned..includng the horrible Town & Country mini van I last owned.
    So can you shed some light on this? What are some of the inherent problems of BMW 3 series convertibles? thank you.
  • div2div2 Posts: 2,580
    Sounds like dealer problems and driving style:

    Brakes- No known E36 quirks. You should get at least 30K out of the pads and 60K from the rotors. Easy. Dont ride the brakes; my 1995 3er sees some track use and at 78K it's still on the original rotors and only the second set of front pads.

    Soft Top-sounds like the dealer doesn't keep current with the TSBs.

    SRS- The E36 has had a few problems with occupant and belt latch sensors. Nothing serious, and easy to rectify.

    Air Dam- If your air dam is messed up, it's because YOU hit something- a curb, speed bump, or other foreign object. OTOH, if the splash shield under the engine keeps coming loose, then the shop needs to fix it right the FIRST time.

    Water Pump- 35K is somewhat early; most S50s don't need a water pump until they have over 60K on the clock.

    IMHO, you should stay off the brakes and find a competent dealer or independent BMW shop. What shop(s)do the local BMW CCA members use?
  • is there anything on the market to prevent or remove brake dust from my wheels on a 03 330cibmw? thanks for your help.
  • div2div2 Posts: 2,580
    BMW brakes are notorious for their heavy dusting. Waxing the wheels will make cleaning them a bit easier. I'd also suggest switching to PBR/Repco MetalMaster pads if they are available for your model. They will provide excellent street performance with little dust, though they aren't very suitable for track use. STAY AWAY from Kleen Wheels and such; they obstruct the cooling air flow that BMW brakes require.
  • Do you think I should push for a trans. fluid change, now w 116,000 miles. If it is a sealed system requiring no maintenance, is there ever a time to have it done or just wait until it eventually dies?
    I will have the dealer rotate the tires if it wasn't done with the strut replacement.
    Thanks, DS
  • div2div2 Posts: 2,580
    I the general consensus is to let sleeping dogs lie if the transmission has over 80K miles. FWIW, the transmission isn't sealed; it simply lacks a dipstick. The dealer can check the level using the DIS or MODIC to ensure that the ATF is at the proper temperature: http://home.socal.rr.com/tyrone/SD92-114.pdf
  • Thanks again, you are a wealth of info.
  • div2div2 Posts: 2,580
    Always glad to help.
  • Thanks div2 for all the info.. I really appreciate it.
    I live in S. Calif, and our traffic here is legendary.. I no longer take my 328i to the local dealer( Irvine BMW) because of integrity issues.. thanks for reinforcing my feeling I was not being dealt w/ appropriately.
    I do not "ride" my brakes, preferring to shift to compensate for traffic issues.. also the shield/dam shows no scaring that would indicate I had hit something.. I appreciate your taking the time to answer my questions as I have a great deal of fondness for this car.. I have never had a "relationship" w/ a car before this one.
  • I have had the same experience as you. Mine is a 2000 323i wagon,and I do not agree with div2 regarding driving style or habits.
    I drive my bimmer very conservatively and am super easy on the brakes as I hate the brake dust it creates. I have had three!!!!new rotors and sets of pads in 56000 miles. This is not acceptable.I have had numerous other problems, AC control unit, AM radio reception,numerous sensors, a stuck window,a turn signal indicator that dangled and didnt work 3 times.
    I could go on but I too am very dissapointed with my first BMW.
    I was in the auto business for 35 years have owned 40 to 50 cars and I have had 7 sports cars Jags, Porsches, Triumph, Austin Healy. So by way of background , I am far from being a newcomer to all this, Ten trips to the dealer in two years, not counting service--NOT GOOD.
    Strangely enough I love the handling and feel of the car, but the problems are pushing me to consider other options.
  • fjm1fjm1 Posts: 137
    They don't call em BMTroubleU for nothing
    http://home.earthlink.net/~millerfj
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