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BMW 3-Series Maintenance and Repair



  • kyfdxkyfdx Posts: 27,666
    Trust me.. there are a ton of things that aren't covered under CPO.... basically, if it doesn't need a new part, it isn't covered.. That's under "engine adjustments"..

    The sending off to NJ... I know...really weird.. but, I've seen a copy of the TSB posted.... and, sure enough, they can't do it at the dealer.

    On the plus side.... it's fixed... awesome, smooth acceleration, all the way to the red-line..

    And....good news on the tire... I was at a big car show, today.. A friend of mine was exhibiting his 1911 fire truck... Telling him my big sob story about the repair....and, about the tire... Told me one of his guys helping him with the exhibit plugs tires, all of the time (they have a small fleet of pickup trucks at work).. So, asked him about it.. he said sure...follow us back to the shop after the show.. He had some sort of vulcanizing kit, that puts a plug in from the outside... looks sort of like a caulking gun.. Worked like a charm. Saved me $350, minimum. :)

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  • celkancelkan Posts: 27
    I have a 2006 325i that is usually parked outside. The paint is all fine, but the black anodized channels on either side of the roof are corroded. The black coating is flaking off, exposing shiny metal.

    Has anyone else had this experience? Is there a way to fix it?

    What are the indented channels on the sides of the roof for, and what is the proper name for them? I notice some cars have them and some don't. Sometimes they are painted and sometimes they have a black coating, like mine.
  • nomowhalenomowhale Posts: 17
    I just purchased a black 2006 325i and I noticed the same thing.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,408
    I think you mean "drip rails".

    I see this a lot on BMWs that are not garaged--deteriorated trim and especially cracking weatherseals on the front and back windshields.

    Sometimes these can be restored with something called "Trim Paint" but it is rather tedious to clean, strip and tape-off the drip rails and repaint them.


  • kyfdxkyfdx Posts: 27,666
    So, I'm driving along the freeway, and every light on my dash comes on, and the seatbelt chime starts dinging... and, I'm looking for a place to pull over..

    Until, I realize.... the car is still running. All the lights go off, except for the seatbelt unbuckled warning... I unlatch and relatch the belt and that light goes off...

    But, all my OBC data has been zeroed out, including the trip odometer (not the actual odometer, sadly). Clock is showing --:-- , so had to reset that... Didn't lose my radio stations or the -miles left until next service-.

    Went on to work, drove to lunch, drove home.... and, no further issues.

    Thought I was going to have to resuscitate my wallet, though...

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  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,408
    Now you know why you don't see any German electronics at Best Buy! :P


  • blue318tiblue318ti Posts: 2
    I have a 1996 318ti that has started to overheat. I had turned the a/c on and the fan kicked in and lower the needle. Without the a/c on the fan isnt engaging. What could be causing this? Could it be a sensor or maybe the thermostat? What do you think?
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,408
    Yes I would guess a bad sensor, since the AC overrides the normal sensor.


  • blue318tiblue318ti Posts: 2
    Are the sensors and easy fix? Is it expensive? What would be the exact part needed or name for the sensor?
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,408
    Well first you'd need a wiring diagram to figure out how the sensor/relay system is hooked up on that car, and then you'd need to know the locations of the sensor or sensors (usually more than one) and also the locations of the relay or relays just in case the AC uses a different relay. Once you've got that mapped out, you could use a simple ohm meter to figure out if a sensor is doing what it is supposed to do. These systems aren't as simple as they appear--usually there's a sensor for ON and one for OFF.

    The basic sensor is called a Radiator Cooling Fan Temperature Sensor / Switch. It could be a "double switch" or it could be two sensors/switches. Apparently BMW used both on these cars. I have one really bad diagram that seems to show it on the RH side of the engine near the headlight assembly, but the sketch of it really sucks.


  • jajjaj Posts: 55
    The gas gauge and computer readout on my '09 328xi indicated no fuel with zero miles to empty on a couple of mornings when first starting out. The tank was actually about half full and both indicators gradually climbed to show as much (took about a half-hour to get there). Dealer says there's a faulty fuel sender but says the gas tank needs to be replaced to correct the problem. Does that sound right to you guys? Car is still under warranty but I don't get why the tank needs replacing.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,408
    yeah some BMWs have non-replaceable fuel pumps and level gauges (they are all in the same unit). You do have to replace the entire gas tank.


  • busirisbusiris Posts: 3,490
    I agree with Mr. Shiftright. Sounds very probable.
  • rhmassrhmass Posts: 263
    My 2002 325xi wagon with 63,000 miles has developed some issues a couple times recently with its auto transmission. Twice the car slowed down with the transmission indicator showing on the dashboard. After I did what the manual suggests to shut down the engine, put the key in the o position for a few seconds and restarted the car, the car ran flawlessly and smoothly. This occurred twice in the past three weeks. The car had the Inspection II service at 60,000 miles. Any expert out there has some ideas as to what could be the trouble? Is the transmission on the verge of being shot? Other than the two incidents described, the car drives very nice without any transmission shifting problems detected. Thanks in advance for any advice you can give me.
  • nyccarguynyccarguy Stamford, CTPosts: 7,407
    Changed the transmission fluid using BMW transmission Fluid?

    2001 Honda Prelude Type SH/ 2011 BMW 328xi / 2011 Honda Pilot EX-L w/ Navigation

  • rhmassrhmass Posts: 263
    Thanks for the suggestion. At the time of the Inspection II service 3000 miles ago, the dealer did all the fluid changes, but the transmission, saying the Master Technician at the dealership strongly opposed to have the transmission fluid/filter replaced, although they did replace the differential fluid as requested. I'll bring the car back and insist on its replacement. That might be helpful and resolve the transmission issue.
  • nyccarguynyccarguy Stamford, CTPosts: 7,407
    I don't know an eighth of what most others know & don't want to be the bearer of bad news, but if you are already having signs of difficulty it might already be too late.

    Good luck & let us know what happens.

    2001 Honda Prelude Type SH/ 2011 BMW 328xi / 2011 Honda Pilot EX-L w/ Navigation

  • roadburnerroadburner Posts: 6,287
    edited August 2011
    At the time of the Inspection II service 3000 miles ago, the dealer did all the fluid changes, but the transmission, saying the Master Technician at the dealership strongly opposed to have the transmission fluid/filter replaced

    In other words, the "Master Technician" is essentially admitting that his service department lacks the competence to perform an ATF change. That's not exactly reassuring; my dealer has never hesitated to perform an ATF change when I have requested it.

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

  • I need to vent a bit on this Roadburner.:
    Did you think for a moment why a Master Technician would advise against recommending a service that would mean more work which would equal to more money?
    I mean after all if he has earned the Master Technician status, he probably knows a little bit more than you do, since he has earned the status of "Master Technician" and not too many technicians get that.
    Does he not get a benefit of being placed higher up than an avg. joe technician and avg. driver?
    Ok its off my chest.
    Now let me explain, why:
    1) Most all BMW since mid to late '90s come with lifetime transmission fluid. 2) If you were to look under most BMW automatic transmissions oil pan there is a label that clearly states to NOT to service the transmission.

    ATF is available for servicing however, it is recommended that be used only
    to replenish the lost fluid due to leaks and for repairs.

    Also if you were to look in the owners manual for service, it does NOT require AT service.

    While I may not fully agree with this practice by BMW, the fluid does contain several modifiers added in the standard Dexron III fluid to maintain the viscosity and other characteristics of the fluid through the life of the transmission.

    This is also true with many of the newer GM, MBZ, Toyota, Honda, etc. vehicles.
    AT Fluid technology has gotten to a point where it can keep the transmission running for over 100k miles without service.

    The only issue is BMW and others do NOT disclose what they consider "lifetime" of the transmission in miles or years of service. So that is anyone guess.

    I hope I answered your question, and please keep in mind next time you or anyone who reads this on forum, if you are going to take your vehicle to a repair facility, if you do not trust your repair facility, then don't go there. BUT if you do then give them some respect as you would want to be respected in your chosen profession. :)
  • nyccarguynyccarguy Stamford, CTPosts: 7,407
    BMW has recently changed it's position & recinded "lifetime fluid" & now does require a service I believe at 60K.

    BMWs started to develop transmission problems (read: failures) between 80K & 120K when they switched to lifetime fill.

    2001 Honda Prelude Type SH/ 2011 BMW 328xi / 2011 Honda Pilot EX-L w/ Navigation

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