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BMW 3-Series 2005 and earlier



  • dan_bmwdan_bmw Posts: 29
    No disrespect but when someone tells ne they are frugal I interpret it as a nice word for cheap. I order appetizers, wine, and a meal that I refuse to share. I also tip well for good service.When I was younger I went through five months of watching young boys lives coming to an abrupt end and wondering If I would be next. Mine almost did; that is why I was only in that deadful place for 5 months instead of thirteen. That is why I buy expensive, high quality cars and enjoy them. I would think your profession would lead you to the same conclusions. But I do understand your approach and I respect your trade offs. I do agree with being reasonable on how far one goes paying for a car, even though th M is a beauty. Please don't take offense we all have different views.
  • Hi folks! ButMyWife-wife accidentally put 89 octane in the 3'er last week. I did a search on this board and found some posts that suggest no harm will be done save some performance. When I turned in the car to Harms in Munich last year to be shipped here I had to sign a document saying I had used only 92+ octane while driving in Europe.
    Here my question: What is the reason for the document if the only ramification is a drop in performance?

    Secondly, my original contis have 18,000 miles and the outside treads are all but a memory. I keep the tires inflated to 30, 35 (front/rear) and check them monthly. Question: Am I taking corners too quickly or improperly inflating the tires? I'd love to hear your opinions.

    One year with the car and loving it.
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    If I remember correctly, the document that you signed at Harms was a statement regarding leaded fuel. Given that you can still buy leaded gasoline in Europe, and the fact that lead plays havoc with catalytic converters, the EPA will not allow any cars in the U.S. that have burned leaded fuel in their lifetime.

    Best Regards,
  • My mind is a bit foggy on the cooling fan problem on some of the 00 and 0l 3Series cars. Does anyone out there remember which cars were affected by this problem and which fan was the problem one? I seem to remember that only a small number of 00's were affected.. I have an 00 and have had no problem and have received no notice of a problem from BMW. My car was manufactured in May of 00.. Thanks.
  • brave1heartbrave1heart Posts: 2,698
    30 psi is on the low side for the fronts - I run 32/34 F/R on the street and ~ 37/35 F/R on the track in my 325i, which weighs ~ 3,250 lbs. I forgot which 3-series you have but the heavier it is, the more pressure you should have in the tires. The best indicator are those little triangles at the end of the outside treads. If those are very worn out, that means your tires tend to be underinflated for the weight of the car and the type of driving that you do. Ideally, the tires should have just enough pressure so that when the car is pushed hard in corners, the tire patch will expand for better grip but without actually getting past the triangles. Too much tire pressure is not good because the tire won't be able to adjust the patch in hard cornering.
  • brave1heartbrave1heart Posts: 2,698
    You are safe - the '00 models never had the cooling fan issue. Most '01 models did all the way to ~ May-June '01. I think Siemens was the good fan and Bosch the bad one but I'd have to check.
  • brave1heartbrave1heart Posts: 2,698
    According to my records, Siemens was the bad fan and Bosch the good one.
  • bmw323isbmw323is Posts: 410
    brislance, I also have a MY 2000. I did not get a recall on the fan, but I did get one for the thermostat. Biult in 02/00.

    By the way, it seems that my battery is barely starting the car. My car is 3 years and 3 weeks old. That is not long enough for a battery to last, IMO. I don't remember if bateries are covered under warranty - my free maintenance ran out less than a month ago - go figure! If I can't get a new battery under warranty, I've heard good things about the Interstate batteries. And I've heard complaints about BMW batteries. Any thoughts?
  • jb_shinjb_shin Posts: 357
    Despite what the label or BMW says about it being a maintenance-free, filling it up once or twice a season with distilled water is a good idea.
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    Rarely have I had a car that had the OEM battery last three years. Oddly enough, my 1999 328i was on of them. The only other car was my 1998 LeBaron GTC; that battery lasted 47 months; unfortunately, the lease on that car was 48. :-/

    Best Regards,
  • leenelsonmdleenelsonmd Posts: 208
    I think there is a difference. I agree that when most people use the word, cheap might come to mind. I know it is off thread, but I am definitely not cheap. I usually tend to leave a very large tip for two reasons 1) I have a child, and 2) my meal tends to cost less than the average person. For average service I tip 20% on the total bill and for great service I sometimes tip up to 35% just to show my appreciation. It is also a nice way to redistribute wealth -- and when I was young and working jobs like that the little extra tips just made my day.

    I think that by Frugal, I am focused in where I spend the money. I like the bimmer and did not think twice about spending the money for it. I think that a better word my be that I am Utilitarian -- I try to get the most "Utils" for every dollar I spend and so if something doesn't have enough "Utils" for me then I just skip it. Everyone is different and I think part of enjoying life is determining what has the most "utils" for you.

    BTW: I took no offense whatsoever at what you posted.

    FWIW: When I am out with friends I actually enjoy ordering wine since it adds so much to the atmosphere and since it is usually pretty easy to finish a bottle when at least 2.5 people are enjoying it.

    Shipo: I love the counterbalance technique that you describe--I did not think about that. I knew that you would have the answer though.
  • Thanks for the great info. So, does it hurt my 325xi to run on 89 octane? I noticed that I got about 5 mpg better on the 89.

    BTW, I posted a couple of months ago about a rattle that I could hear with my left ear which seemed to be coming from the left rear door. Sure enough, the wood panel bracket contraption had broken so the dealership fixed it. No rattle!

  • nyccarguynyccarguy Stamford, CTPosts: 11,320
    Well, I was at the auto show at the Javitz Center today (there's no such thing as organized crime, ok people). Without taking up 5 pages worth of postings on my thoughts, I do want to say that the BMW display was (and always is) very complete. They had every car open and most of them were sticks. Contrary to the Crysler display and the Chevy diplay which had cars which were loced, explain that one. I think I convinced my Dad to take a serious look at the X5 when the lease is up on his QX4 in about a year.

    back to the 3 series though. The 2 M3s they had there (1 coupe, 1 convertible) had the optional 19" wheels which I think don't look as nice as the 18 inchers that come on the car. Loved the Imola Red w/ Black leather interior.

    They had a Red/Black 330i with performance package. What a mean looking car. I love it.

    For the first time in a while I can say that I like the 3 sedan better than the 3 coupe. They had a 325i & 325CiC next to each other, both with SP. The wheels on the SP 325Ci are new (for '04 I guess) and they don't look nearly as sharp (imo) as the style 44 (?) wheels that originally came with the E46 328i SP and then the E46 325i Sp until now. I really like the 325i with SP wheels. They had a Silver/Black w/ 5 speed on display. No matter how many Silver BMWs I see, they're all still pretty cars.

    2001 Prelude Type SH, 2011 Pilot EX-L 4WD, 2015 Infiniti G37x Q40 AWD

  • dan_bmwdan_bmw Posts: 29
    Thanks for your very intelligent and reassuring response. I guess we should stay focused on BMWs and you make a good point about being utilitarian. I think I got the most utils when I recently ordered a 330i. Probably for the first time ordering a car, I decided to negotiate only the very best deal and I think I did. It does give you greater satisfaction. I can assure you that when our car comes in (hopefully 4/24/03) that my wife and I will redistribute some wealth at our favorite restaurant. Best wishes.

  • div2div2 Posts: 2,580
    Both of my Bimmers have their original batteries; the ti has a 10/95 build date while the 528i has a 5/96 build date. I do top the batteries up with distilled water every six months or so. FWIW, new BMW replacement batteries claim to be maintenance-free but in reality all Munich did was stick a big label over the filler caps.
  • Hello everybody,

    I ahve a question about a possible problem. For the past few days my a/c (fan) has been acting up. It comes in and out as I am driving. I am not talking about the fan blowing stronger and then weaker. I am talking the fan stopping blowing all together. I look at the auto-climate and it is half way up but the fan has stopped blowing. Even when I raise the fan speed I still get nothing. Sometimes it comes in a few minutes later and then goes out again. Other times it goes out and does not start again unless I shut off and restart the car. Has anyone had this problem? Is it a known problem? I own a 2001 325i about 23K miles.

    Thank you for any information.
  • brave1heartbrave1heart Posts: 2,698
    We had our first Boston CCA autoX this year. We are running on the same field as last year at Devens Airport but the track is almost twice the length of last year’s!! My runs were in the 50s last year; on the new course they are in the high 90s. The course layout is also easier to read and follow, and most important – faster. I topped out in second gear twice during a six-cone slalom, which means 60 mph in my car. That’s a wildly fast slalom based on what I’ve seen in the past. We managed to get 6 runs only but the intent is to get 8 once we get past the inevitable glitches at the beginning of the season. If that works out we’d be getting pretty good seat time. Based on preliminary results, I think I placed 4-th in my run group out of ~ 10 cars. Shockingly, the best driver in the group is a 19-year old kid who runs the same E30 318is with his dad and they placed 1-st and 2-nd respectively. There’s no catching these guys – they are outstanding drivers and their car has an all custom-built suspension. They are running as fast as the M3s, if not even faster. The engine is stock, except for a K&N filter and a Triflo exhaust. Just goes to show that you can win with only 130 HP against cars with 100 ponies more with the right suspension and driving skills. The other guy that placed ahead of me drives an E28 M5, which seems like an awesome car, not to mention that he’s also a very experienced driver. I know I have to improve my driving skills but I may need at least anti-sway bars to maybe have a shot at these guys. Another thing I liked about this year’s autoX is that unlike last year, the BMWs run with none-BMWs on the same course. Different classes of course but you get somewhat of an idea how you car stacks up against other street cars. Kudos to the organizers for a job well done!
  • dave330idave330i Posts: 893
    Wow! 90 sec is a long autox course. We average 60 sec out here. How many run groups do you guys run?
  • hgeyerhgeyer Posts: 188
    Now that the war in Iraq is over and Gerhard Schroeder has come as close as any German ever will to apologizing for Germany's "exaggerated remarks" against the US, we need to drop the boycott of German products (the 330i PP is looking really nice) and switch our disdain towards National Public Radio. Here's why:

    Last Saturday, I packed up the family for a drive to the in-laws to celebrate Easter. I tuned in Tom and Ray Magliozzi, who fielded the following call from Kathie in Washington, paraphrased below:

    Kathie: "I have a disagreement with my boy friend. When did it become acceptable to drive up behind someone and flash your high-beams to get them to move over. He says that this is how people drive on the Autobahn."

    Tom & Ray: "He must be one of those BMW drivers (he actually was), and he is a moron. While he may wish that the car in front of him would "vaporize", it is he who should be vaporized." "You need to dump him."

    The exchange was quite funny and can be heard at
    (click segment 6)

    Unfortunately, these statements only perpetuate the type of stereotype of BMW drivers that I try to live up to. It also provided for 3 hours of "I told you so" from my wife.
  • dave330idave330i Posts: 893
    That's pretty funny, since according to most state traffic law, that's how you're suppose to signal a slower traffic to yield to faster traffic.
  • bigorange30bigorange30 Posts: 1,091
    and am getting the same "I told you so's" from my wife. Hey dave, how can we a copy of that traffic law that says that?
  • hippo168hippo168 Posts: 115
    Just think for a moment, they even have different colors (blue and red), AND the siren. : D
  • dave330idave330i Posts: 893
    Here's a link:

    look under headlight. I used to know of a better link, but can't seem to find it right now.
  • bigorange30bigorange30 Posts: 1,091

    Its not law but these guys seem to have good intentions.
  • jb_shinjb_shin Posts: 357
    Actually, it is considered to be "rude" to flash from behind. More proper way, at least I heard is, to use your left turn signal to indicate that you are moving faster and wish to pass.

    BTW, according to some of our German friends, there are 3 lanes on the autobahn. Right lane for slow moving cars, middle lane for passing, and left lane for BMWs. Supposedly, some people will hesitate to cross a street if they see a BMW coming their way, as they feel that the aggressive BMW driver won't slow down or stop. Stereotypes are pretty much the same whether you are in Germany, or US.
  • leenelsonmdleenelsonmd Posts: 208
    Had first oil service performed today. My car is almost 6mo old with 11.2k miles.

    The service guy laughed because my first oil service was due at 11k miles -- he said most are 14-15k miles. He knew I have been driving it for all it is worth.

    They replaced the windshield wiper inserts too.

    Of course all of this was free, but it is interesting that 1 BMW oil service equals 3-5 oil changes at Jiffy Lube. I love that. It represents a significant environmental advantage too since it decreases the amount of waste oil by 60-80% over most other vehicles.

  • erickplerickpl Posts: 2,735
    For anybody looking for an M3, check out the site: and check out the classifieds...

  • locke2clocke2c Posts: 5,038
    200k miles and $19,500???

  • brave1heartbrave1heart Posts: 2,698
    From what I understand, we are following the classes used by the Golden Gate chapter, so you should be very familiar with them. There are 10 BMW classes and 5 none-BMW classes, which are the same as the SCCA's.
  • bmw323isbmw323is Posts: 410
    Thanks to all for the responses on batteries. I must admit that I've never checked the water in my battery (my bad). I thought it was a sealed maintenance-free type and, besides, I never think to go to the trunk when checking all of the fluids. I'll do better from now on. By the way the car wouldn't start this morning, so I used Roadside Assistance tonight to flatbed it to the dealer. They showed up in 30 minutes and were very nice. The service advisor said there may be something wrong with the electrical system and they wanted to check it out. They told me $200 for a new battery, unless something else is wrong, in which case it would be under warranty. I know that is way too expensive, but what else could I do - not knowing what the problem really is?

    I'm becoming more frustrated at the problems I've had with my car. I still love the drive and the look of the BMW. Here is a list of problems in my 3-year history.

    4,100 miles - replace clutch bushing (noise), aim headlights (poor factory aiming)
    7,700 - replace power steering pump (leaking)
    9,200 - seat belt noise (not fixed properly)
    11,400 - thermostat recall
    16,200 - seat belt noise (not fixed again - broke B pillar trim in process - gave up trying to fix)
    17,900 - passenger front window stuck in down position (replace regulator)
    21,900 - replaced ventilation fan limit switch (fan went crazy)
    24,000 - engine noise - determined to be defective fan (serpentine) belt
    25,300 - dead battery (or electrical problems?)

    So what does everyone think? Too many problems for a high quality vehicle, or am I just making too big of a deal? I've owned 8 new cars in my lifetime, and this one is close to the top of the list in problems (also the best in many other ways).
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