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BMW 3-Series 2005 and earlier



  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    The basic rule of thumb is that the clutch costs FAR more than brakes to replace. Engine braking without downshifting is a no brainer, highly recommended, unless you are in first gear (makes for a very jerky ride). If you are easy on the clutch and downshift in steps (ie. 5,4,3...) it is not too hard on the clutch and can be very useful for setting up for the next curve or turn. Downshifting from 5th to 2nd (at speed that is) is VERY hard on the clutch (not to mention the engine and the entire drive train) and should be avoided at all cost.

    Hope this helps.

    Best Regards,
  • lewparkerlewparker Posts: 28
    Yeah, Shipo, my thought was also that new brakes every 60K or so are much cheaper than a new clutch. So engine braking and smooth downshifting are OK, but avoid dramatic gear changes, is that pretty much the rule of thumb? If so, it doesn't sound like I have to change what I'm doing too much. Let's say I'm in 5th gear and I have to slow down. Generally, I ease off the gas to slow down and shift down through the gears. Is it better to let the car slow somewhat, and then throw it into neutral or should I be in the gear that I need to be in when I start to increase speed again? Thanks.
  • gurumikegurumike Posts: 442
    Sorry guys, I've been extremely busy these last few days, I've only been able to monitor the board once or twice each day (!).

    Anyway, good news, MCC, your car is in 112 status, meaning it's about to go into production. It will be a finished car in 1-2 weeks time.

    Actually, there are valid reasons why the dealership would not want to disclose the production number of your car. They're just being careful. And let's face it, how does it help anyone (holding my breath for a back-lash!) know anything about where their car is or what it's doing. The prod number is of absolutely no value to the customer.

    ...gurumike squints in preparation for a barrage of comments....

    Platypus - in the new Motor Trend, the editor responds to a question about the correctness of the 5.8 number. He confirmed that it was not a printing error and stated that they were able to achieve that time, something about how the AWD puts the power down so well. I can see how the AWD would be better off the line to a lower speed, but still quicker by 60 mph? I would never have guessed the AWD to be ahead of the RWD at that point. May-be it was raining when they did the RWD test ?!
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    Another rule of thumb is to never put the car in neutral unless you know you will be reaching a low speed before you need to reengage the transmission. It is much better to switch to the gear you think you are going to need and just stay on the clutch until you are ready to engage. At that point, give the engine a little gas to approximate the proper RPM's necessary to match the speed of the car to the gear selected and ease out the clutch pedal.

    Best Regards,
  • 330ibob330ibob Posts: 5
    I took delivery of my shiny new Silver 330i yesterday (Monday May 28th) and it is awesome. It was order on Feb 28th, built the week of April 19th, arrived by ship in Halifax Canada on May 17th, and sat in the rail yard near Toronto until May 24th. It took the dealer until Monday to pep it for me making the total elapsed time from placing the order - 90 days.

    Some first impression thoughts and just my humble opinions:

    The new steering is much improved - heavier with better centre stability- than the model I test drove in February.

    The car exhaust sounds smooth yet deep when I heard my wife tooling up the street on her first drive. I can see she is hooked - but I may have to hide the keys if I want to drive it.

    The stereo upgrade was worth the extra cash but it does lack a bit of mid range. It sounds great if parked but drive along with the slightly noisier sport tires and the mid bass and mid range seem to disappear unless the volume is cranked.

    The gas mileage is a bit low, in the mid 20s, but the engine only has 100 miles on it so it will hopefully improve with age.

    The break-in period is a pain since it is hard to not rev the puppy past 4500 - it just wants to play. No problem with the 100 MPH limit because I want to keep my license and cannot afford the insurance penalties.

    The sport wheels are stunning but boy they sure get black fast. I only have 100 miles on them and they look dark and abused. I've got to wax this baby soon so clean-up is easier. Still trying to decide if a polymer type wax is safe with this fine paint. I really do not like all the work with 3 step carnuba wax given the short period it stays put. Polymer is definitely more user friendly and the shine is fine - but what about those who say German paint and polymers don't mix - would you take the chance?

    The rad fan seems to work okay - it kicked in during a construction delay. So far I have not seen the temperature needle move past half way.

    The car handles like it's on rails. The extra road noise and slightly more harsh bumps are acceptable for the slot car like corning ability - it just corners with a take no prisoners attitude.

    The car draws lots of attention. I just wish the gravel trucks would not keep getting close for a better look - they are loaded with bouncing missiles just waiting to put the first dent or crack in my new baby. It seems everyone - even non-carbuffs like the looks of the car. That's the sign of a classic design. If the lay person thinks it is a knockout then it must be done right.

    I like the trunk cd changer but it does steal some of the valuable trunk space. The golf clubs just fit in sideways or I would have been left with the dreded mini van. The valet parking guy stalled it right at the front door to the clubhouse - how embarrassing glad it was not me. It does seem to need a fair bit of rpms to get going - hopefully that is only a new engine thing that will also improve with age.

    I think the yellow signal lights and black side molding add to the car's lines. Silver with matching molding and clear lenses would look too monochrome for my taste - we need a little colour in the world (sorry if I spelled colour wrong for my American friends but I was taught that way).

    The leather seats and steering wheel feels a little dry and stiff. Not sure if some conditioner would be a good idea but it should not hurt.

    I was surprised to see that the red "clown nose" lense under the mirror does flash when the car is locked even though I do not have the optional alarm. With that and the radio flashing LED and the wheel locks my gem should be reasonably safe. For more protection, I would have to keep it locked in the garage.

    There are so many different ways to operate the locks, auto climate system, stereo, and computer that I am having trouble remembering it all. Push a wrong button who knows what will happen - and I am one person that can set his VCR clock. I spent several minutes trying to find the button for the gas filler door only to find out you jsut push on it - silly me. Hopefully I will get into the groove soon - after all I have only had it for a few hours.

    Finally, if you can't tell, I am just thrilled with this "Ultimate Driving Machine". It has the best mix of sport, luxury and class for my tastes. There is nothing nicer than shifting through the gears in a smooth powerful car that also is drop dead georgous and handles like a dream - hay maybe I've found the perfect mate.
  • brave1heartbrave1heart Posts: 2,698
    "The prod number is of absolutely no value to the customer"?!? It is needed so the customer can set up their on-line account with the Owner's Circle. A dealer has absolutely no reason for withholding that information from a customer. I would have never put down a deposit w/o a firm production number in the first place. I am very surprised to hear you say that.
  • brave1heartbrave1heart Posts: 2,698
    Welcome aboard. Fasten your seat belt and get ready for take-off :o)
    It sounds like you are in heaven. Couple of things - I'm surprised it took you so long to get the car in Ontario. I ordered mine on March 12 in Boston and it was ready for pickup on May 1. I am also surprised that you had to pay for the HK stereo? I thought those were standard on the MY 330's. You should not have been charged for it if your car went in production in April. I agree with you on the black side moldings - platypus convinced me that they look sportier that way. I saw a 530 with the same colour moldings and I realized it looked too bland. I still like darker colours better, though, as the contrast of the black molding seems to be too sharp on lighter colours.
    Hey, congrats again and enjoy it. These cars are a blast to drive.
  • brave1heartbrave1heart Posts: 2,698
    I downshift because it gives me better control and leverage over the car. You can stop faster and also accelerate faster from the same higher RPM point. I agree with sequential gear selection - I only very rarely skip a gear on the way up and I never skip a gear on the way down. As far as matching revs before putting the car in gear - I guess it's a good practice but I don't use it - I think it may be a little bit of an overkill. I often drive my Jetta VR6 (97K miles) in the 4-6K RPM range and I also do a lot of downshifting but I am still with the original clutch, which feels like new and has a lot of life left in it. The VR6 has a good size engine and decent torque too - it's not like the clutch never has to work too hard. The car is still with the original front brakes. I asked a shop to take a look at them and insisted that they must be worn out by now and they said that they wouldn't touch them because they are not nearly worn out yet. Brakes are not a big deal - fronts would be about $250 tops on the Jetta. I think clutches only tend to wear out when you hold them there halfway. That's when the gear grinds against the - what is it - flywheel?? I typically try to release the clutch as fast as I can, so it wears out less. It wears out more when you shift gears slow. I always pull up the emergency brake when sitting at a light and I never rest my foot on the clutch. It's worked well for me...I can see how people with an auto transmission are shaking their heads and going " These clutch guys are nuts. Can't they make life easier on themselves..."
  • roc50mgroc50mg Posts: 102
    Can you please check on the staus of my car?
    330 xi, manual, black/black, pp, sp, cwp, x, cd going to freeport, ny?

  • denrightdenright Posts: 285
    Ok, I am feeling rather vindicated by the fact that Motor Trend apparently reached a similar conclusion as Motorweek concerning the 330xi's 0-60 acceleration. Motorweek timed it at 6.2 seconds, while Motor Trend timed it at 5.8 seconds.

    For lack of a better word... SWEET!
  • brave1heartbrave1heart Posts: 2,698
    Well, I didn't say I was getting the CAI and Stage 2 just yet. Maybe some time down the road I would consider it more seriously but for the time being I wouldn't change my car. There are a couple of things I need to research further before I do that. The first one is the fact that the air filter is relocated to a separate compartment behind the front bumper and below the headlights in order to insulate it from engine compartment heat. While this helps get colder air, it also exposes the air filter a lot more to water and I need to find out how safe it is in porung rain and small floods. The second reason has to do with the nature of mods. This is not just money that's gone when you are selling the car some day. It actually decreases the value of the car. Don't let anyone convince you otherwise - bone stock is always best when you are selling. I intend on keeping my 325i for at least 150-180K miles and this may not be a big issue, though. As far as the freeflow, I think it is more than just better exhaust sound. It is a less restrictive exhaust system, which pushes the gas from the combustion process out faster thus optimizing performance in the process. It will be louder if it is less restrictive and I'm not sure if I want my car louder. Will see, no rush at all for the time being - just enjoying it one day at a time.
  • brave1heartbrave1heart Posts: 2,698
    See if you can stop by your local dealer and take a 330xi out for a spin. I wouldn't be entirely surprised if it actually did 0-60 in about 6 sec but I'd be shocked if it accelerated faster than the 330i. It'd be best to find out for yourself, though. Bring your wife or a friend to help you with the timing - it should be a lot of fun, especially if you can get rid of the dealer in the back seat. At any rate, the 330 will be fast in almost any configuration. I think that the weight of the car shifts back significantly during hard acceleration and that's where you'd want your traction. It is also true that some very powerful cars (including the new 1,000 HP Bugatti) have AWD systems but that's because they are still street cars and that kind of power is better tamed by most drivers using all 4 wheels. You won't ever see any racing leagues (CART, F-1, Nascar, ALS) running AWD cars on pavement because of the weight disadvantage. But for everyday driving the AWD has some advantages over RWD. I don't think that driving all 4 wheels will offset the added weight but it will give you a sure-footed acceleration. I also made a point earlier that most people did not seem to agree with. I think that weight matters more off-the-start and a lot less once moving. The higher the speed, the less weight difference would matter. maybe someone with a physics background can explain better. I know that the Golf was 3/10 of a second faster than the Jetta from 0-20, 0-30, and 0-60. It gained all of the 3/10 of a second right at the start but then the extra weight of the Jetta was almost a non-event past 20 mph or so. I think that the 325i manual will run head to head with the 330i auto from the start but at any other acceleration comparison at speed, the 330 will have an advantage over the 325 manual even if it is with an auto.
  • parumpparump Posts: 65

    If time permits, can you advise us when the Munich assembly plant resumed the installation of the "new - new" steering rack? Week 17, 18, 19, or 20?

    I consulted BMWNA and they were uncertain. Have you observed the rack assemblies of some recently completed cars from Munich?

    Thank you in advance for reseraching this.

    Tip o day: some insurers are no longer offering daytime running light discounts in California. The lights did not reduce the accident rates.

  • alpine325ialpine325i Posts: 209
    I can tell you are in heaven. Every time I get into my car and start driving, It feels like a breath of fresh air compared to all the cars that I once owned that were made in Detroit. The gas mileage will get better, the seats and steering wheel will get softer, the HK stereo lacks midbass warmth and punch, no wood in a snare drum, no full body from a piano or an acoustic guitar,the wheels get covered in disc brake dust way too fast, that's why I have the Kleen Wheels dust shields, awesome product, I am a Kleen Wheels fanatic as everyone knows by now. It's really weird that your "clown nose" flashes without an alarm, I read in's FAQ that you can program the clown nose to flash without the alarm BUT it will cause alot of problems with the ECC, your trouble codes won't show up on a scanner or a diagnostic machine, so if the car has a problem, the technicians won't know what it is, or what to do until the flashing clown nose is deactivated. This is what I read, but who knows, your car might be updated to accept the activation of the clown nose without an alarm. Anyway, I hope I didn't "alarm" you too much, Have fun with the new car! :o)
  • alpine325ialpine325i Posts: 209
    Most of the performance mufflers have a 2 or 3 chamber design inside. There are metal walls placed at specific angles inside the muffler. This acts like a suction or a Venturi effect. The first pulse of air entering the first chamber gets pulled by the second chamber at a faster rate. Flowmaster invented this, then everybody started making their own versions of this chamber design. So to make a long story short, a performance muffler does make a real noticable difference in performance, not just a difference in sound. The engine will breathe alot easier and your engine will run alot cooler! Plus when you rev the motor you will see the quicker response on the tachometer, it will shoot up real quick and smooth. I'ts best to have the CAI, chip, and muffler added all at the same time, I haven't done this to my 325i yet. Every other car that I've owned had these mods. Worth every cent! Most cars that come straight out of the factory are restricted bigtime! They sound like they're choking and gasping for air. After I finish my stereo upgrade I'm getting the Dinan mods for sure. :o)
  • gurumikegurumike Posts: 442
    Firstly, the prod number is not *needed* to register in Owners Circle. FYI, it's presence is intended for Sales Guides. VIN number is the customers unique "code" for owners circle.
    Secondly, yes they do! Dealers have in the past provided customers with the prod # for their car, only to see the car disappear from their inventory sheet. With the prod #, another dealer can transfer that car to their own inventory. It happens too often. When we do a dealer trade, the production number is kinda like a PIN number, with it, it's anyones! There are other reasons. Again, none that will ever affect your day to day life!
    And why would you not give a deposit with out a production number ?? That just sounds like total paranoia. What exactly does that number mean to you that makes it so incredibly important. Please let me know.

    Parump - Look at the production date on the black sticker on the drivers door jam. If it shows 4/01 or on, it has "new" (original) steering.

    roc50mg - 111 (!) Didn't we check a week or so ago to see it in 150? Must have been someone else!
  • roc50mgroc50mg Posts: 102
    Thanks for looking up my status. I can't believe it's still 111. I ordered the car at the same time as denright and was given the same week 25 production as him, but he's already on 112. Well, hopefully they get started on it soon.
  • denrightdenright Posts: 285

    Thanks a lot for the backup on the Motor Trend performance comparison. That result has been substantially corrorborated by the Motorweek review as well.

    If my car went 112 last Thursday (which is what BMWNA seemed to tell me yesterday), when should I be hoping for 150 status? DO you think there's a shot of me taking delivery on or before June 30?


    Hang in there buddy! I'd bet our cars will both end up on the same boat anyway.

    Isn't this torture? lol
  • lewparker1lewparker1 Posts: 21
    My car is at the VPC and it ships to the dealer on the 31st! I should be picking it up this Saturday or Monday.

    Dinan mods: Brave, I read somewhere that you would have to drive through 18 inches of water before anything gets into the Dinan's CAI.

    I'm very cautious about doing any kind of modification and agree totally that any deviation from 100% stock can devalue the car. However, I also intend to keep the thing for many years/miles so that's not as much of a concern for me. I'm not in any hurry and I'll see how it goes.

    As I said earlier, I think I'm going to get an alarm from Circle or Pacific first, and attempt the install myself. I'm about average handywise, and it looks like a pretty easy install. I've thought about offering my dealer $350 for the alarm/install - any more than that and I think I'll do it myself.

    Next, I'm probably going to look into stereo upgrades. I'm a big fan of MB Quart stuff and I think I'm interested in their system for the 325.

    Once I've taken on that, I'll consider the performance side. The car should be broken in by then and I'll have a better idea of what, if anything, I'm going to do. Alp, you sound pretty convinced about the Dinan mods and it sounds like you've got some experience in that area. Let us know how it works out when you do it.
  • brave1heartbrave1heart Posts: 2,698
    1. You need either the prod # or the VIN # to register your car in the Owner's Circle. Either one would do but the prod # is available before the VIN # and it allows you to register earlier.

    2. I would not put down a deposit w/o a prod # for two reasons:
    A. Delivery schedule would be anyone's guess. See, if the dealer gives me a prod # and shows me they have an allocation, that gives me an approximate date when I will have the car at the dealership. If I don't have a prod #, it means the dealer has no allocation for the car they just sold me and the car may not be scheduled to go into production for another month. Just look at what happened to Bob - he waited for his car for 90 days and I got mine in 42 (less than half the time).
    B. W/o a prod #, the dealership can always bump me off to the next allocation if a better-paying customer walked in and offered them a better deal on the car that I had ordered (same options and all). As a matter of fact, one of the dealerships that I was shopping at, was selling the fact that although it was tough to get an allocation for the 325i (this was back when the first came out last fall), they would never bump me off. Obviously it had crossed their mind to do that in the past if they thought this was a selling point, you know.
    I agree with you that your daily life should not revolve around a car wait - that is a pathetic way to live your life IMO. But the point is that getting the prod # guarantees me that I don't have to think about the car and that it will be here in 7-8 weeks and I can focus on other things. Make sense now?
  • brave1heartbrave1heart Posts: 2,698
    lew - thank you for the info - it is good to know about the water clearance. You are right about keeping the car for a long time - it matters little whether you sell it for 2 grand or 200 bucks over after 150-180K miles. Do you know what the life expectancy of the stock exhaust is? I'd hate to have to throw it away - I guess you cannot salvage any money from it, right?

    alp - you have had similar mods but all done by other tuners, not necessarily Dinan, right?
  • If you have time, could you check on the status of my 325Ci--Steel Gray, Black Leather, Moonroof, SP, HK, Xenon--going to BMW of Arlington, Virginia? Thanks.
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    This morning, I am driving to work across the Tappan Zee bridge, the weather is cool, the sun is shining, the roof is open, I have my shades on and the HK is playing Billy Idol's "White Wedding", loud. As I am pulling into the EZ-Pass (a roll through style) tollbooth, I notice an easy quarter mile of clear road in front of me (HIGHLY unusual) and a Boxster rolling through in the lane next to mine. As Brendan Fraser once said; "To swing or not to swing? To Swing!", lo and behold, there I was pulling off at my exit (0.3 miles from the toll plaza) ahead by a nose. Was he just playing with me, or did he take pity on me because of the big silly grin on my face. The world may never know. ;-)

    Best Regards,
  • brave1heartbrave1heart Posts: 2,698
    Are you a big James Bond fan? "The world may never know" sounds a lot like that kind of movie title - "The World Is Not Enough". I drove the Boxster once and it isn't all that fast - at least the non-S model isn't. I can believe you can come out ahead by a whisker with your 328. The Boxster may be a little faster on paper but in reality, driver's skill and balls is what matters most.

    PS: I am hooked on Bob Dylan again - the old stuff - you know, when he had something to say. After 22 years and 3 straight days in the car I still can't get over "Slow Train Coming" :o) Do they have any bands with lyrics that good these days? Most intersting one I can think of is Rage Against the Machine but those guys seems to be angry for obscure reasons and their lyrics don't come close to the younger Dylan's.
  • ec_creativeec_creative Posts: 15
    For those like myself who didn't opt for the alarm and wish to have the appearance of having one, your dealer can make the light blink as if your alarm was armed just by modifying the program on your key. There are other convenience features that can be programmed, see your handbook for a list.
  • motorcity3motorcity3 Posts: 72
    Hello everyone,

    Do all of you present BMW owners fill up your cars with Premium? Does anyone use medium grade or regular? Just wondering. I know that Premium gas helps performance, but will the engine be damaged in any way if you use regular unleaded?
  • jasonkureejiijasonkureejii Posts: 210
    Great topic...very insightful....only experience I've had with manuals was with the Ford Ranger my father owned and taught me and the Honda Civic I drove through college. This will be I take it altogether different. I probably don't downshift as much as I should, especially when I'm in bumper-to-bumper, but I've never had to change the clutch with the Civic even after 106K miles. During the breakin period for the 3er, should you downshift as much as possible?
  • ec_creativeec_creative Posts: 15
    This same question was asked in the "gearheads" topic and got quite a few responses, in case you want to check it out.

    I think when buying a performance car there are some inherent things you have to do when maintaining it, and premium gas is one of them.
    So, no, I wouldn't dare put anything less than premium in my black beauty. IMO
  • elroyxxelroyxx Posts: 10
    brave1heart your post may have inadvertantly started (or renewed) a new thread - great driving songs.

    I'll throw in my suggestion: Windfall by SonVolt. The chorus says "Both feet on the floor/two hands on the wheel/may the wind take your troubles away"
    Definteley more Dylan than Rage.

    Check it out at Search for SonVolt and "Windfall" is on their "Trace" album.

    It'll be the first song I play in my 325 when it finally arrives (BTW thanks to all for the info and sympathetic words about my long wait)
  • brave1heartbrave1heart Posts: 2,698
    ec - There are some tradeoffs with that as well - check e46fanatics' faq server. I'd say it would be smart to get the alarm - a fake blinking light alone won't help you against intruders.

    motorcity- premium all the way, absolutely. The minimum grade you can safely use is 91. No, I wouldn't try regular to see if the engine would still run after that :o) The higher the grade, the more efficiently gas burns, the better the fuel mileage you get out of the car. Not to mention it makes a difference in performance. It's worth a buck a tank in extra money.
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