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BMW 3-Series 2005 and earlier



  • blueguydotcomblueguydotcom Posts: 6,257
    It's a bitter pill to swallow but if you want to avoid the usual "dirty rims" comments, you gotta get out there and wipe down your rims 2-3 times a week. I'm not overly thrilled about it but I'm even less thrilled about having my car dirty.

    BTW, thank god for leather as friend's mother this weekend managed to get ball point pen marks all over my passenger's seat! I'm not sure if she had a pen in her purse, her pocket or what but darn it if I didn't have blue marks on my gray leather (all those thinking about gray or beige...don't, get black and save the heartache). They came up easily but still...

    I think I may be cursed.
  • jean7of9jean7of9 Posts: 192
    I am glad you are enjoying your 325xi. All Brake Pads made in Germany must include 90% Carbon Powder, by Law. This design enables the Brake Disks to last longer life. After many years with my E-320 4matic and now with 330xi I get to expect this dust. However I found the BMW Brake Dust liquid more efficient than anything else. I use it every week on both cars and voilà, the wheels are clean, again.
  • ksomanksoman Posts: 593
    I'm sure all the other professional products and their users will be up in arms, but BMW wheel cleaner and a good brush that reaches into corners and behind the wheel does excellent job every week.

  • sopecreeksopecreek Posts: 203
    I'm now looking into 3 series (E30), probably 325is between 88-91. Any previous owners? How is its reputation in general? Are there things that I need to look out for? Checking out so far.
  • bmw323isbmw323is Posts: 410
    There are many brake pads on the market that produce far less dust and have the same braking power as OEM pads. I know of new owners that immediately replaced their pads. I'm too frugal to simply throw away a good bake pad, but the first time I change them, I will get the "dustless" pads. If BMW won't install them, I'll take it elsewhere. Jean 7of9, you say that German pads are designed to make the disks last longer. Then why does BMW recommend/require the disk rotors and the pads be replaced at the same time? It seems the going price for replacing brake pads at the BMW dealers here is a bit over $400. That includes pads and rotors for either front or back, not both. Kind of steep!
  • erickplerickpl Posts: 2,735
    I agree, the 1 north of Cambria (and Hearst Castle is FUN). Lots of arm action going on there throwing it left and right! Highway 1 (PCH) is a pain anywhere south of Santa Barbara. UGH (though the people watching is quite good! :) hehe )

    I have a few good twisties up near where I live, but they are too short to have too much fun.

    As for high end, I find I-15 is a great one as you run to Vegas. You HAVE to go nearly 100+ so you don't get somebody driving through your trunk. My last trip to Vegas had me up to nearly 115 and I was barely passing anybody!
    Once you pass Vegas and continue up the 15, the drive gets rather beautiful as you approach Arizona and Utah state lines.

    But the I-15 between Orange and San Diego can be a great drive - if you manage to time it when the traffic is light!
  • mitchs3mitchs3 Posts: 64
    If I purchase my currently leased vehicle (leased from BMW Financial Svc), and have it certified , will I be eligible for the $500 rebate as a CCA member? Also does anyone know how much it costs to "get certified" a 3 year old 3 series?
  • motenor1motenor1 Posts: 35
    Hi, can anyone give me any thoughts on BMWs nav system. re: usability, etc.
  • nyccarguynyccarguy Stamford, CTPosts: 11,260
    So a guy walks into my store, purchases a few waste bends (drain elbows for underneath your kitchen sink), whips out a 6" thick roll of money (3 $100 bills and the rest were $5s) you figure out what he does for a living. Anyway, he walks outside and I see he gets into a Red E36 M3 Convertible. Cool car that you just don't see every day amisdt the sea Suburbans, Tahoes, Expeditions, H2s and such being driven by today's drug dealers of the South Bronx.

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

  • cub5cub5 Posts: 5
    I am thinking of getting 330i with performance package (ZHP). Has any one experience about this option? Is it worth to pay $3900 for this extra performance? Any suggestion or idea is greatly appreciated. Thanks.

  • cabbatan1cabbatan1 Posts: 40
    Thanks for the feedback regarding the brake dust.. I do feel better now.
    I'll definitely try the BMW liquid wheel cleaner for sure. Anything to make this task easier.
    I cleaned them last weekend with car soap and a sponge and it was very difficult. I assume the BMW product is similar to the ones found in many stores specializing in auto accessories and cleaning products. I'll give it a shot.
  • fedlawmanfedlawman Posts: 3,118
    Did you get his plate?
  • blueguydotcomblueguydotcom Posts: 6,257
    I have the ZHP. first it's not really a $3900 option. It's a $2700 option once you figure in the cost of the sport package for a regular 330i.

    Someone on broke down how just the mechanical adjustments alone would cost significantly more than that:

    "rear end diff: this is at least $1000, more like $1800 with a core swap, too.

    18" wheels: let's be conservative and say that to achieve the same level of OEM quality wheels is $400 a wheel, so that's $1600.

    cams: plus software necessary for the cams. let's say that most cam grinds are about $1200; software is about $350 on the cheapish side.

    suspension: let's call it koni's plus some H&R springs or eibach springs. let's be conservative and say $150 per shock (this is lowballing it) and let's say $400 (to really lowball) the MATCHED spring set. need we add sways, too? let's say those would be about $300 for front and rear, although, this, too is low.

    $1000 + 1600 + 1550 + 1000 + 300....hmmmm... this seems to be about $5450 without tax, let's assume that some labor MUST be added since not everyone could install all of this stuff by themselves.....aha! and plus, you lose all warranties. so, let's also add then, an aftermarket warranty of one kind or another at about $1000 per year? "

    He didn't include the cosmetic mods like the airdam, skirts, spoiler, anthracite headliner, alcantra wheel, aluminum trim.

    I drove the 330i and it's fun. The 330i ZHP is just giddy, plastered smile fun. The grumbling muffler makes each engine start a joy. Jump on the gas and the thing pulls like it's a rocket sled - all the while reminding you audibly this is not a normal Bimmer. Handling's near sublime as corners appear and get sucked up without a hiccup.

    For the average driver the 6 speed would seem notchy (especially that 1-2 shift point), the suspension a tad harsh and the engine loud.

    For me it's nirvana everytime I slide into the seats.

  • jb_shinjb_shin Posts: 357
    Although it may seem similar to others on the market, BMW wheel cleaner does not contain acids. If you read the labels carefully, many wheel cleaners contain acids that just cannot do any good to your finish.

    Even with the BMW wheel cleaner, you may need some elbow grease if brake dust has been sitting on the wheels for a while. I go a few hundred to a couple of thousand miles easily b/w washes, but with light brushing, I can get the wheels cleaned in about 5-10 minutes.
  • jgraveljgravel Posts: 54
    I'm using a wheel cleaner called SONUS Wheel Gel, which is also PH neutral. I bought it on line. It does an excellent job but you do need a brush to agitate the dust in the tight corners.

  • chile96chile96 Posts: 330
    I am using the Meguiar's Wheel cleaner called class act or something similar(can't remember exact name). Anyway, I've always manually sponged the wheels clean and decided to test spot the cleaner on a portion of a back wheel. Worked excellent without any damage to the finish. The label says to test spot as it may hurt a wheel that does not have a finish or something like that(obviously didn't read closely!). Has anybody else used this and is it ok to continue using.

    bruised & scraped knuckles
    a.k.a. fo
  • ksomanksoman Posts: 593
    If you go into the maintenance topics, you'll find tons of discussions (if you can sort through the fights between zaino and non zaino)... but here are my 2 cents...

    i used to hang out in those discussions and there are some serious nuts (good ones) in those discussions who'll go that extra 10 miles for a perfect car finish... and i've learned a lot from them. Eventually out of my own time, travel and work schedule issues i came down to a 3 hour cleaning regimen whenenver i can (once in around 7-10 days). I use an assortment of products to do different things on the cars... i use bmw shampoo (ph balanced) and bmw wheel cleaner (its non acidic, but may not be ph neutral.. but alkaline solutions don't harm clear coated wheels if handled correctly). I use bmw leather cleaner to clean the leather. I also use lexol if i'm out of bmw leather cleaner (actually lexol might be better). I top it off with 303 aerospace UV protection for the dash trim, leather surfaces, and anything that is plastic or vinly. For the glass, I keep switching between things, and I'm guilty (from the purist point of view) of even using windex sometimes... but the best i've used so far is the viper magic microfiber towel, you need no chemicals and it's amazing. Finally I use either 303 convertible top cleaner or the bmw cleaner/impregnating solution, depends on what hits my hands first...

    I clean the wheels before the car (after watching pro's and reading some stuff somewhere about chemical splashing and stuff). For the wheels&tires specifically, i high pressure wash the wheels and tires and then i spray on the bmw wheel cleaner, leave it for 2-5 mins, tease gently with a wheel brush, go on the back sides of the wheels, around the brakes and so on and so forth..... and finally i hose it down with a good spray of water and wipe the wheel off with the cotton towelette. Then next wheel and on and on... After I wash the car I make a point to rewipe the wheels, drive it a couple of feet forward or back and again dry the wheels. Then its time for the 303 Aerospace. I'll spray a little 303 on a foam pad (it's so amazing, a quarter size spray spot is enough for the entire tire) and wipe down the tires. (No 303 on the wheels, they are clear coated)

    Oh i forgot, a trick i picked up somewhere: I wash the inside plastic liners of the wheel wells with the wheel cleaner and a little light brush too and then spray it with 303... its amazing how clean the wheel well stays.

    anyway, as i said, if you want more care instructions, there are entire topics with lots of good tips, and some very dedicated good people to give you more advice.

    kssomaniac #0
  • Don't forget the Escalades :)
  • jgraveljgravel Posts: 54
    How do you get to the back of the wheels? Lying on you back in the car wash water? I'd like to do it every now and then but I'm hoping you know a secret.

  • ksomanksoman Posts: 593
    i guess i got lucky with the gaps in the wheel... they are large enuf for me to put my hand in.. once in a while cuttin it on the brake guard...
  • joes230joes230 Posts: 94
    I use Meguiars Gold Class Instant Wheel Cleaner on my 2003 330i SP. It works very well -- just spray on, wait 60 sec, hose off. I've had no problems with the wheel finish.

    Immediately afterwards if you drive a mile or two, centrifugal force sometimes forces out a dirty streak on the wheel exterior. I watch for that and just wipe it off with a soft cloth. m?SrcLine=CW
  • ajvdhajvdh Posts: 223
    E30's rock. I have an '89 325is for winter/bad weather/gonna park in a bad part of town/let's not rack up too much mileage on the turbo E36 M3.

    Sacreligious as it may sound, the E30 is more fun running around town. They're the last link to the original 2002 (two box design, semi-trailing arm rear suspension). So, it's noisy, not real fast, and has a ton of body roll. But there's a level of feedback and involvement that's missing from the e36 or current e46. And E30s love having the tail hung waaaay out. Mine has E30 M3 springs which makes that even easier, so even at legal speeds I can put a stupid grin on my face going around almost any turn.

    They're very durable little beasts. Probably tougher than the E36. Easy to work on. People on the E30 mailing lists actually complain if the motor needs rebuilding at 250k miles.

    You *must* know the timing belt history. It's an interference engine, and going much beyond 60k miles on a belt is gambling.

    There's a near cult following for them, so there are e-mail discussion groups out there. Google will find 'em.
  • sopecreeksopecreek Posts: 203
    Thanks for good info. I've done a lot of web search and agree with what you are saying. Problem is that I live in Atlanta, GA, and it's hard to find them here. Almost all classified ads for 88-91 are convertibles (325i or ic). I even thought about flying out to west coast (some really nice ones are there) but my wife thinks I'm insane.
    One question, you say it has a ton of body roll. I can tolerate noise (no problem), power (to some degree), but no body roll. Is it why I see many sport suspension mod on 325is? I hope you are saying that relative to your M3!
  • bluebeastbluebeast Posts: 261
    For me the ZHP just fit all of my needs, more HP & Torque, short throw shifter, 3.07 vs 2.93 rear, aerodynamic "stuff", blah, blah , blah. I also relish that there is not that many around, I believe there is only 5 in Austin so far. So far I have 889 miles on it and it is so fun to drive. I swear it is as fast as my old 95 M3, but I have yet to see any performance numbers to confirm this.

    Titanium Silver, Black leather, Xenon, sunroof, 6 spd, ZHP, Black cube.
  • jmessjmess Posts: 677
    Does the ZHP have a limited slip diff?
  • ksomanksoman Posts: 593
    i dunno why i didn't think of this, my neighbor tony has a 7 series and he actually does put it on those incline ramps once in a while, literally slides under the car and cleans the rear side (insides) of the wheels... its amazing how much brake dust gets baked onto them and the insides of the wheel wells...

    Additionally if you live in one of the colder states (I don't right now), and are in the habit of swapping out wheels yourself before and after winter, that's another time you can get to the back of the wheels...

  • ajvdhajvdh Posts: 223
    My wife thought I was nuts, 'cause I bought mine in Ohio and drove it back to CO. You might look at the ads in Roundel (the club mag). The prices should only be regarded as a (high) starting point. Join some of the e-mail lists, and let people know you're looking. I found mine through a non-E30 BMW list.

    While mine has M3 springs, it has the stock sway bars. There's a fair amount of body roll, but body roll is not necessarily a bad thing. Stiffening the bars would make transitions and turn-in quicker, but at the cost of being more nervous at the limit, and more sensitive to mid corner bumps. I've autocrossed the car and taken it to the track and it's very capable and wet-your-pants fun. Two things to remember in those situations: 1 - Once you commit to a turn, don't lift off the throttle. 2 - If you're not going sideways, you're not pushing hard enough (a local Solo-II guy who runs one in DSP has the vanity plate "OVRSTEER").
  • pmhtvpmhtv Posts: 33
    Recently sold my baby that I've had since new - a 1990 red 325i 2Dr w/ 5spd. Classic BMW style. Thought I would have difficulty selling a manual, but it went on the first day! It was a very good car for me. A blast to drive - did not notice much lean in the turns. Great sounds from the inline 6 at 4,000 rpm and up. Good reliability, although you do have to stay on top of the preventive maintenance. A well- cared for model will serve you for a long time and put smiles on your face.
  • bluebeastbluebeast Posts: 261
    No, the ZHP does not have a limited slip differential.
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