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BMW 3-Series Maintenance and Repair



  • div2div2 Posts: 2,580
    If the problem was logged by the dealer while the car was in warranty then the repair should be covered under warranty.
  • sunilbsunilb Posts: 407
    div-- thanks.
    I just got off the phone with the dealership, and they said that they will diagnose it for free, but that if the cause is a different issue then I will have to pay for the repair.

    I don't want to be unreasonable, but does this sound right? How do I know if they diagnosed the problem correctly during the first visit?
  • div2div2 Posts: 2,580
    First things first; wait and see what the new diagnosis reveals. If the original problem was never corrected then the odds are pretty good that the fault light is being triggered by that same problem.
  • sunilbsunilb Posts: 407
    div-- thanks, again.

    My faith has been restored: turned out it was the wiring harness, but they worked with me and repaired it for free.
  • div2div2 Posts: 2,580
    Happy to help; I'm just glad to hear that everything worked out!
  • sunilbsunilb Posts: 407
    Well, the story continues... this morning the SES ("Service Engine Soon") light came on within 2miles of leaving my house (it wasn't on when I picked up the car last night).... went straight to the dealership and am now awaiting the new diagnosis.

    Not sure if this is somehow related to the work they did (just b/c of the timing) but who knows.

    As frustrating as this has been, this continues to be the best car I have ever owned from a pure driving perspective. This has got me questioning how much I want to pay for this privilege though.

    Will keep you posted.
  • sunilbsunilb Posts: 407
    Well, the Intake Cam Shaft sensor went bad-- according to the SA these can just go bad at random intervals.

    Unrelated to the airbag light, so I'm out-of-pocket on this one but hopefully there isn't much more of this [wishful thinking?].

    The SA said that he usually sees these go while still under warranty.
  • kyfdxkyfdx Posts: 50,435
    Mine went at 8000 miles... 2 days after I bought the car and the first day my wife drove it to work....


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  • dhanleydhanley Posts: 1,531
    Returning to chicago from my weekend in wisconsin, i heard a rythmic thunking from the engine. I'm a paranoid driver, so i feared the worst.

    Took it to my indie mechanic. It took him a little while to diagnose. Belt with a chunk missing. Got out of there all better for $80.

    Left front shock is leaking. He says they should probably be replaced at 103K miles, and suggests that i buy used m3 springs from some guy online and have him slap on bilsteins. Whole thing ought to cost $400 or so. Not sure if i want my car lowered, though.
  • div2div2 Posts: 2,580
    Yep, failure of that sensor is a pretty common occurence. Sorry.
  • div2div2 Posts: 2,580
    I'd just do the shocks; switching to Bilstein HDs will make a big difference.
  • sirdarby1sirdarby1 Posts: 36
    I added Chevron Pro Guard fuel injector cleaner to my nearly empty gas tank (98 328ica) last night. I thought I was adding Techron. The bottles looked nearly identical except for a cardboard sleeve I missed on the Techron. Also the Techron is $5.00 more. Did I do any harm. When can I add Techron again? As you recall, I had a flaky gas needle that moves around alot before correcting itself.

    Also, my oil light comes on (blinks, then gets stronger) when my engine idles at red lights after driving awhile. I checked the oil and it is OK. Dealer says it is the oil level sensor going bad and not to worry about it. What do you guys think?

    kdyfx - I value your input if you can oblige.
  • div2div2 Posts: 2,580
    1. Techron Pro Guard is a less concentrated version of Techron-which is why it costs less. You didn't do any harm, but I wouldn't add any Techron at this point.
    2. If your red oil light is illuminating it is indicating VERY low oil pressure. The reason could be as simple as a bad sensor but it could also indicate other more serious problems. What oil are you using? I'd recommend Mobil 1 0W-40 or 15W-50.
  • kyfdxkyfdx Posts: 50,435
    What div2 said..

    Please don't value my opinion when it comes to mechanical problems.. The only tools I own are under that flap in the trunk of the car.. My only other tools are experience and logic.



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  • sirdarby1sirdarby1 Posts: 36
    I always value your input.

    I use Castrol 5w30 synthetic.

    Thanks for the advice.
  • div2div2 Posts: 2,580
    If you want to continue using Castrol buy the 0W-30 Syntec that says "Made in Germany" on the bottle. You can find it at most AutoZone stores. Another possible reason for your oil light blinking is that the oil has become diluted. How often do you add Techron? More often than once every oil change can cause problems.
  • shandyshandy Posts: 1

    I was wondering if anyone had a fix for this as I have same prob too on my 323i Coupe ???
  • qnmastqnmast Posts: 4
    Hello. I just bought a 2001 325i and i just had a light come on yesterday it is a round light above my seat belt light. The owners manual is missing and I am ordering one, but I am really concerned about the light. Does this sound like an airbag light to you? Any information would be helpful.
  • amzamz Posts: 8
    My dealer told me that my 323i (2000) has problem with power steering leakage. He said that I need to replace power steering line. I was monitoring level of power steering oil. Level is getting lower very slow. My question is should I replace power steering line right away, or just buy power steering fluid and keep adding it as necessary? If I should wait with replacement, what kind power steering fluid I should buy? On cap it says ATF oil only. Is it just regular automatic transmission fluid, or some special oil?
    Thanks for your help.
  • div2div2 Posts: 2,580
    Leaking power steering hoses have been a chronic problem for BMWs going back to the E3 sedans. Is there a puddle of ATF oil under the car? If not, the suspect hose is only seeping. Replacing a P/S hose isn't too bad; the difficulty factor depends on which hose is leaking. Sometimes simply replacing the crimped-on clamps with good screw drive clamps will solve the problem. As for the proper oil, just use any brand name Dexron III ATF. I use Mobil 1, but I'm a bit obsessive about maintenance.
  • dkldkl Posts: 3
    after many visits and a change of dealers it was fixed by changing the alternator pulley and belt.
  • grantchstrgrantchstr Posts: 371
    Having just bought an xi I am wondering whether the Premium gas recommended in the manual is really necessary (on my Volvo S60 the 87 works just fine instead of 91 or 89). With gas prices zooming right after I shelled out for the car I am going to try 89 to start with and see if there is a drop off in performance - any observations?

    I apologize if this subject has been beaten to death already!
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    Yup, beaten to death many times. :P

    Basically, you get what you pay for. A late model BMW will run on 87, 89 or any Premium grade. Having said that, by using a lower grade of fuel, you will hamstring your ride, and as such, not get full performance or all of the mileage that you car is capable of. Why? Because by using a lower grade of fuel your cars' OBC retards the ignition timing to keep the combustion process from damaging your engine. When the timing is retarded, performance in the form of acceleration and fuel mileage suffer. How much does it suffer? By most accounts the extra miles in a tank full of Premium more than offsets the cheaper cost of Regular gasoline.

    Best Regards,
  • sunilbsunilb Posts: 407
    mine's fixed-- first time they replaced the seat belt receptacle, but that only worked for ~ 2months. Second time, they replaced the wiring harness (it's been two weeks and so far, so good). Seems like nothing was actually wrong with the airbag, but I'd hate to find out for sure (i.e., there's only one definitive way that I know of and it's much more expensive).
  • fcaofcao Posts: 31
    05 325i
    A friend suggested me to change engine oil right after the break-in period (say 1000 mil). It sounds like a good idea: flushing out any unwanted particles for a new engine.

    The recommended maintainance is still more than 14K miles away. Is it a good idea to request the dealer to do this extra engine oil change on my money?
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    My opinion is that it would be a waste of money. BMW breaks their engines in at the factory for something like the equivilant of 1,000 miles of driving, and then they change the oil. Personally, as I don't have all that much confidence in the BMW/Castrol oil as I do in Mobil-1, I change out the BMW oil after about 7,500 miles.

    Best Regards,
  • fcaofcao Posts: 31
    Will changing from Castrol to Mobil-1 give any excuse to the dealer if any warrantee issue arise later?

    By the way, thanks for the info about factory break-in.
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    "Will changing from Castrol to Mobil-1 give any excuse to the dealer if any warrantee issue arise later?"

    None what-so-ever. Mobil-1 0W-40 (which is the only Mobil-1 that you should use) meets or exceeds all BMW specificaitons for oil.

    Best Regards
  • qnmastqnmast Posts: 4
    Well....was that the light that came on? Was it round with 3 bars on each side? I just don't know what the light is and I thought that could possibly be it
  • Ok, probably a silly question, but, "what's a reasonable expectation for battery lifetime on a 2002 BMW 330Cic that sits undriven?" I ask because, I travel for a living. Since August of last year, I've had THREE brand-new batteries flatten to the point of not being jumpable, two of them since getting a solar-powered trickle-charger.

    I assumed the original battery died because I hadn't driven it for two weeks and it was nearly 3yrs old.

    I had assumed the first new battery died because I hadn't driven the car for two weeks and hadn't had it on a charger.

    I had assumed the second new battery died because I hadn't driven the car for two weeks, but the solar panel had been ending up in the shade caused by the
    winter sun's position.

    This most recent one... I don't know what the hell to think. The damn car's on a charger, I drove it 18 days ago for over an hour straight and the solar panel has been sitting in full, all-day sunlight.

    It wouldn't be so horrible except that THE only place to get batteries seems to be from BMW, and they want $160 for each damn battery. Now they want to sell me the BMW Battery Charger to try to prevent this.

    What the hell? I mean, my 1998 Z3 didn't seem to do this. Just how long SHOULD I be able to let the car sit without having to buy a new battery???

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