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BMW 3-Series 2005 and earlier



  • kdshapirokdshapiro Posts: 5,751
    If you have to ask you already know the answer. :)

    FWD/AWD without snows will be much better than any RWD sedan without snows. Put snows on on the RWD sedan and you have a fighting chance. I'm limping along this winter with the standard tires on mine. So far I've done okay, but the large amount of sand, gravel and salt has helped.
  • max63max63 Posts: 73
    Hey guys, hope someone can help me out. I need new tires on my 2002 330i. I have 16 months left on my lease and I need my tires to be in good tred shape after this period. I have conti 225/45 ZR 17 Fronts and 245/40 ZR 17 in the rear, both with very little tred after 26,000 miles. I live in cali so rain tires are not an issue. Any recommendation on tires that will last and what should I expect to pay? Thanks!
  • gobucsgobucs Posts: 17
    I have a 330i and I am thinking of adding the Homelink garage door opener, and the alarm. My car did not have either when I purchased. Is it best to go back to BMW and have them install these options or can I go somewhere else?
  • div2div2 Posts: 2,580
    Both the alarm and the UGDO are simple DIY installs. Check out: and
    With a BMW CCA discount the cost should be about $220 for the E46 alarm and $135 for the UGDO. Do the work yourself; you'll learn about your car and save money at the same time.
  • Anyone with Orient Blue color?
    Does it get dirty easy?
    Is it easy to maintain?
  • rghesselrghessel Posts: 122
    I've read a couple posts with references to DSP, which I assume is Digital Signal Processing, something to give the stereo greater spatial size.

    I have a 2003 330xi with the HK system. Is DSP a Europoe-only thing? Just curious if I have it and don't know it...
  • kdshapirokdshapiro Posts: 5,751
    The DSP comes with the HK upgrade.
  • riezriez Posts: 2,361
    rghessel... Here is what my '98 540i6's owner's manual says: "The DSP amplifier system incorporates such features as spatial simulation and equalizer functions to furnish optimal listening pleasure." Mine allows for simulations of concert hall, jazz club, cathedral, and two user-defined programs. The user-defined programs store prefered settings for the equilizer at 80 Hz, 200 Hz, 500 Hz, 1 KHz, 2 KHz, 5 KHz, and 12 KHz, and for room size (spatial simulation) & and echo level (reverberation).

    Personally, I think it is a gimmick. I tinkered with it a few times after I bought her. Never use it in normal driving. I haven't tinkered with it since then. Sounds artificial. I'd just adjust the bass/treble settings or the equalization settings, but the echo and room size adjustments are of no value to me. They bring in the artificial sound.

    Had it on another car. An American product. That had 5 standard programs. Was just as gimmicky there.
  • I'm an owner now...took delivery of a 330xi on Friday night. Steel Gray, Bi-xenon, PP, SP, CWP, and Steptronic (long commute so I gave up fun factor). Of course test driving BMW's was a major factor in my decision, but now after two days I am still amazed at how great the driving experience is...glad to be an owner instead of a shopper.

    I have some "owner" questions and I prefer the answers I get here...

    1. Owner's manual indicates usage of "non-BMW" accessories, such as cell phones and radar detectors can damage the this a valid concern?

    2. Owner's manual indicates waxes should only be carnuba wax or synthetic wax...I have a product called Finish First, which I used on my Maxima, that was the best thing since sliced bread and contributed to a finish that looked nothing like it had 130K of use. Finish First is a synthetic that does bond with the paint. It is not a wax but it is this product not appropriate for the BMW finish?

  • rghesselrghessel Posts: 122
    But I love gadgets...even useles ones!

    ; )

    By the way, how do you access those functions? I suspect I must not have DSP, since there is no menu or anything (I have Navigation) to change the settings...
  • Hi!
    I just signed the papers for a CPO 2000 323i. I was only going to the dealer to look at what they had and ended up buying it. The car only had 16, 208 miles on it and I thought I got a pretty good deal. I was wondering one thing, though. Did the 2000 3-series come with Dynamic Stability Control or just traction control?

    Thanks, ajl1000
  • bmw323isbmw323is Posts: 410
    fomentar - All owners manuals want you to use only OEM accessories. Don't know why you ask, but don't be too worried. I have not used Finish First, but have used several other synthetic wax products on my BMW - they are fine and do provide a very deep shine.

    ajl1000 - Congratulations on your purchase. I too have a 2000 323i (23,000 miles) and, yes it does have DSC along with traction control. In 2001 they added something else, maybe electronic brake control?
  • brave1heartbrave1heart Posts: 2,698
    I have an OB 325i. It probably gets dirty more easily than silver or other lighter colors. I still like it when it's dirty (that's my excuse for washing the car only once a month or so) but the color looks deeper, richer when it's clean.
  • div2div2 Posts: 2,580
    The purpose of BMW's non-OEM disclaimer is twofold: first, BMW wants you to buy their own parts and accessories and second, it gives them a bit of legal cover in case Joe Mama Pimp installs 22" Bling Bling wheels and a 3000 watt video/sound system in his X5 and then wants warranty work for the unsafe handling and a weak/dead alternator. I seem to remember that my 1987 535is had a similar caveat stuck on the upper left corner of the windshield. Bottom line: I wouldn't worry about a detector or a cell phone, but I would be concerned about letting just anyone hack/splice into a modern BMW electrical system. A new Bimmer has a lot of onboard computer modules chattering at each other and a clueless installer could cause numerous problems.
  • BMW323is and div2: thanks for the replies. I was asking specifically for confirmation of my thoughts...I figured it is mostly marketing on BMW's part, but never hurts to ask general opinions. No intention of having any work on "electricals"...was not focus of question, but I appreciate and agree with your point.
  • abcnycabcnyc Posts: 101
    What kind of brake pads did you get ? I'm thinking when it's time to replace my brake pads, I'd like to get the ones without the graphite. I really hate cleanining off the brake dust. Did you get them replaced at a delaer or an independent shop ?
  • djocksdjocks Posts: 124
    i am considering buying a titanium m-shifter knob to replace my black stock shifter. i love the way it looks. my questions are;

    does anyone have experience changing the shifters?
    was it hard?
    do i risk damaging anything?
    do you recommend it?

  • abcnycabcnyc Posts: 101
    Does anyone have any good experience with the maintenance service of dealers in the Balt/DC area ? I bought my car at VOB, but I've heard they have so-so service, and the logistics of getting there are terrible. Any experience with Sterling, Russel, Passport, etc. ?
  • brave1heartbrave1heart Posts: 2,698
    My brake pads were replaced at 29K miles and they were covered. That's why I went with the stock ones. Brake dust is not a consideration at all for me (it looks like you are driving the car hard, that's all) and next time around, I'll be looking for slightly better performance pads.
  • brave1heartbrave1heart Posts: 2,698
    but I've read that you just pull it up hard and it should pop out.
  • I frequently set the e-brake on my new 325i when launching from hills (manual transmission in San Francisco) and as the car 'settles' back on the brake the rear wheels emit creaking and poping sounds. Does anyone else's do this? Think I should have it looked at?

  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    Hey Gang!

    This (long) post is sort of a catch-up post, prompted in no small part by our 5-Series friend and compatriot DaBimmer, who just sent me an E-Mail suggesting (very tactfully I might add) that I get off my butt and rejoin the discussions here in the TownHall. Thanks Tony for the kick in the hind quarters. ;-)

    For starters, I am NOT currently driving a BMW, I have instead graduated to a 1998 Green Dodge Caravan Sport (albeit with the 3.8L mill) for my motive pleasure. :-( More on this shocking development later. With that said, I am feeling the need to post some thoughts that are somewhat contrary to many of my earlier posts of the last couple of winters. As some of y’all might remember, I had posted fairly frequently that I felt the recommendations made by many of our peers for winter tires were, at best, over-rated. Well, I am now going to (at least in part) contradict myself.

    As a point of reference, I graduated from a 1999 328i 5-Speed, PP, Xenon, Harman-Kardon, CD and Metallic Paint to a Sapphire Black/Black Leather, 2002 530i 5-Speed, PP, SP, Premium Audio and Xenon via a wonderful ED trip last April. Shortly after taking delivery of my 530i last May, my wife and I engineered a transfer to the Boston area, and we bought a house in southern New Hampshire. Needless to say, this has been an interesting winter.

    Our first snow came on 23-Oct-2002, and even though it was only about two inches, I was hard pressed to get up my driveway! Throughout November we had a few more dustings and driving up my driveway sideways became the norm, not to mention “white knuckling it” while driving along at only 5MPH or so. So, I caved in, and ordered a wheel/tire package from that consisted of four Michelin Arctic-Alpin tires (225/55QR-16) mounted on four Borbet Type H (16x7.5) wheels, total price including shipping $1,007.11. My first chance to use them came on Christmas day, during what turned out to be an eighteen inch snow fall. My first indication that there was something special about these tires was (of course) going up the driveway. Even with over 4” already on the ground, I went right up with without so much as a single flash from the traction control light on the dash! Once on the road (not yet plowed, very rutted and a little slushy as well), I found myself passing cars that were failing in their attempt to climb the various hills around here, and driving right past MANY other vehicles off in the ditch, including TWO police cars! Within a couple of miles I reeled in a conga-line of 4WD vehicles where I made up the caboose. All of this was on a very hilly/winding/heavily crowned two-lane road, and the SUVs and other sundry 4WD vehicles in front of me were having a much more difficult time that I was. Go figure!

    Since Christmas, we have had just over four feet of snow which consisted of two eighteen inchers, along with various dustings, ice/freezing rain, and general dumpings, through it all, my 530i (the one that I am no longer driving) has yet to put a paw in the wrong spot. All in all, that is quite amazing for a car that couldn’t get out of its own way (literally) prior to mounting the Arctic-Alpins.

    As for dry/wet road characteristics, the Arctic-Alpins perform very much the same as did the Michelin MXV4-Plus tires that I had on my 328i. That is to say, quiet, reasonably competent grip and comfortable at highway speeds. Please note if you feel the need to drive over 100 MPH, then you will need to spend an extra $23.00 per tire and get the Michelin Pilot Alpin tires, which carry an “H” rating.

    So, to all of those who have been carrying the “Winter Tire” banner all along, please accept my sincere apology, I am sorry I ever doubted you. ;-) For those of you who are still braving slippery roads on summer rubber, or for that matter on all-season rubber, you will be genuinely amazed by the grip afforded by winter tires. In a word, the feeling is “Uncanny”.

    As for why I am currently driving one of the most ubiquitous, boring and utilitarian of all vehicles instead of one of the best looking and best performing sedans in the world, stay tuned for my next post, which is coming soon.

    Best Regards,
  • kdshapirokdshapiro Posts: 5,751
    Welcome back. When Da'Man has something to say... Can't wait for the next installment. :)
  • locke2clocke2c Posts: 5,038

    I got caught once this year in my M3. I couldn't get up a "hill" that rose approximately 3 feet over a length of 50 feet. getting into my driveway was impossible until I shoveled it.

    235/40-17 Yokohama AVS Intermediates... rock hard in cold temps, and way wrong tread to get any traction in snow/ice to boot.

    My $2500 solution was a Taurus SHO. Looking in the garage at the salt all over the Taurus and how shiny clean the M3 is, I'm more than happy with my "winter tires" because while they were pricey they did come attached to a car. ;-)

  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    Given that I am by nature a story teller, I find myself being compelled to weave the tail as to why I am no longer counted among the ranks of BMW drivers. :-(

    Almost four weeks ago, 9-Jan to be exact, I pulled up in front of my children’s day-care at about 5:30 PM to pick them up and take them to a long promised dinner at Taco Bell. During the day, we had temperatures around here that were just above freezing, and in fact, it was still just above 32 when I arrived.

    I got out of my car, walked to the covered sidewalk (just in front of my car) and stepped into what I thought was a shallow puddle of water (it was actually a VERY shallow puddle, over a VERY thin layer of ice). As soon as I planted my left (leading) foot in the puddle, it shot forward with such alarming speed that I was caught completely by surprise, I knew that a fall was imminent. Due to the speed with which said left leg shot forward my body decided to come with it, much to the chagrin of my right leg and foot which were still ten inches lower, down in the parking lot. As I went forward, the toes of my right foot hit the curb, hyper extended the foot at the ankle, and snapped the Fibula like a twig. I heard it snap, and on the way down, I thought to myself “Yup, it’s broke”.

    Once on the ground (lying in the puddle), I confirmed that I was, at the very least, badly injured, so, contrary to my nature, I actually called out for help. The only response I got was from a lady about twenty yards up the walk, who looked over/down at me and said, “Are you OK?” Even then the stupidity of the question struck me, however, given that I was going into shock, I wasn’t able to properly communicate the severity of the situation to her, so I said, “No lady I’m not, I just fell and broke my leg and I am going into shock!” What didn’t occur to me at the time was that telling someone that you are going into shock means very little, unless they have had some medical training, or of course, been in shock themselves.

    She just got a sort of stupid look on her face, so, given that I was laying in a puddle of water with a temperature somewhere south of 33 degrees, I figured that I had better deal with the situation myself. I rolled out of the puddle and tried to get up. As soon as she saw me do this, she ran down to me saying, “Are you crazy? Don’t try to get up, just stay there!” With that, she proceeded to try and hold me down!

    In my ever evaporating consciousness all I could say was, “Lady, I am going into shock, and I need to get inside the daycare and onto their sofa.” What I should of said was that I was about to pass out, and I didn’t want to do it while laying in a puddle of frigid water.

    Fortunately, some guy happened by and quickly assessed the problem and told her in no uncertain terms, “Help me get him up and inside, NOW!”
    She did, and as I hobbled into the daycare, one of my kids asked me “Daddy, are you all right?”

    I managed to say, “No, I think I broke my leg…”, just as my butt hit the sofa, and I passed out cold. While I was out, the teacher (all of 21 years old), had the presence of mind to send all of the children to another class room, call 911, and then call my wife. Smart kid!

    When I came around, I had literally no idea of who I was, where I was, or how I got there. All I knew was there was a guy holding me down and I wanted to hit him. He said, “Calm down, you are at your children’s day-care, and you fell and broke your leg.” Something he said must have struck a chord, because I stopped struggling and tried to make sense of the bizarre place in which I found myself. I suspect that it took at least 30 to 45 seconds to re-boot my brain and start to put the threads together into what might be called lucid thought.

    Almost immediately after I came around, I saw the ambulance come into the lot, and I was off to the hospital. Due to all of the ice, there were several ambulances at the hospital, no beds available, and a log jam of gurneys in the hallway with folks who had fallen or been otherwise injured by the slippery conditions. The lady next to me was found by her husband when he got home from work laying on the sidewalk in front of their house, out cold. She came around while next to me, and I could really sympathize with the disorientation she experienced, at least I woke up in the same location where I passed out.

    Given all of the broken bones and such, the hospital had already called in an Orthopedic Sturgeon [sic], who, when he evaluated me suggested that they pump me full of morphine for four or five days to let the swelling go down and then he would open me up and screw my lower right fibula back together and to re-locate my right foot (which was about a quarter of an inch too far to the left). I told him that I would prefer either no surgery at all or surgery ASAP, as in that night, if possible, because I was scheduled to fly to Taipei four days later. He told me that an non-surgical solution would be problematic (at best) and that, while he might be able to operate on me later that night if we could reduce the swelling enough, I sure as hell wasn’t going on any airplanes anytime soon regardless of when he performed the surgery. So, I took my morphine (via the IV, which burned my arm, made me want to puke and didn’t kill any pain, not even a little) like a good little boy and shut my big mouth. Just after midnight, after practically freezing my foot and leg to get the swelling down, he decided that he could in fact operate. Success, I was up and around on crutches about eight hours later.

    When the Sturgeon made his rounds later in the day, I asked him again if I could go on my trip. His response was predictable, “Not a chance.”

    So, I asked him, “Why not? Is there a medical reason?”

    That is when he finally came clean and told me that there was a danger of blood clotting (he called it a “Pulmonary Hematoma”) with such a lower extremity injury being combined with the twenty plus hours of sitting in one spot in an airplane. That said, simply taking two aspirin a day and making sure I moved my leg/foot around as much as possible, should partially, if not completely eliminate the risk. Done, I was going.

    The trip came off without a hitch (well, it was a little uncomfortable) , and on 23-Jan, I went back the see my Sturgeon for more X-Rays and a new cast. The good news was that the bone was healing well, however (the bad news) was that due to all of the ligament damage to the foot, I was going to be in a non-weight bearing cast until AT LEAST 20-Feb! Assuming all goes well, I will then transition to a walking cast for another four to six weeks, and then on to therapy and walking with a cane for another couple of months after that. The earliest that I can reasonably expect to drive a car with three pedals is sometime between Late May and mid June!

  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    Long story short, my wife has the 530i for the duration, and I am stuck driving the Caravan, left footed with my purple casted right leg over in the passengers’ foot well. ;-( Since I started driving a stick shift car back in 1977, this will be my longest stretch of driving an automatic; I hope I still remember how to stir my own gears when the time comes.

    Best Regards,
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152

    Thanks, I am going to have to live vicariously through y’all for a while. Maybe I can beg my wife to take me out on a date in the 530i every now and again, just to keep the memory fresh. ;-)


    Hmmm, an SHO, good solution, however, unfortunately our new house has only two garage bays; so, a third car is not an option. ;-(

    Best Regards,
  • dave330idave330i Posts: 893
    Sorry to hear about your accident. Let's hope you can work that 3rd pedal soon.
  • 1pierce1pierce Posts: 284
    Doesn't it just figure that I've driven FWD and AWD cars my entire adult life until I bought my BMW, and the first winter I have it, it snows every day!

    We've got about 8 inches on the ground right now in Pittsburgh (although this week has warmed up). I drive my 325i every day to work and to job sites. I have the base suspension with 16" all-season Continentals, and Steptronic.

    All in all, the car has gone great. I haven't tried to negotiate a deep snow fall, yet. I have a 4WD pick-up that I can use when it gets really deep. I'd rather drive the pick-up when its really bad than deal with snow tires and aftermarket rims. But, I have been caught out in those fast snows, where the road covers quickly with an inch or two before they get it plowed. My car has gone fine. Starting-out traction isn't the greatest, but DSC compensates and gets it going, and it seems to brake and steer beautifully in the snow - once you get going, it goes up any hill.

    Would I prefer it to AWD in the snow - no way. But, I haven't been scared yet, and the overall dynamic control of the car, and the flexibility of the transmission, does seem to compensate for the lack of spectacular grip. And, it goes down hill in the snow better than any car I've ever owned, 4WD included.

    My recommendation, if you're worried about RWD in the snow - with this car - don't worry. For occasional snow, or snow under 3-4 inches, the Continental all-seasons are fine. If you get deep snow often, put on snow tires, and you'll be better off than most of the cars on the road.
  • kdshapirokdshapiro Posts: 5,751
    I'm really sorry to hear about your unfortunate fall. Glad it wasn't worse than it is given the weather and that fact that you retained your sense of humor is a good sign of healing :)

    I hope Mrs. Shipo has learned how to drive the manual REALLY well, so she will keep the car nice and loose for when you are finally able to play with 3 pedals again.
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