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BMW 3-Series 2005 and earlier



  • andergtrandergtr Posts: 101
    while i definitely see the value in having a good indie mechanic, how do you differentiate between someone who SEEMS to know his/her stuff and someone who merely poses that way?

    i love my BMW, so it's a car i obviously want to take care of. i like the idea of saving a few bucks here and there, but honestly i would rather pay an extra $50 to $100 if i know the quality of the work is the best it can be.
  • ddblueddblue Posts: 117
    I pulled this info from the web:

    "Viscosity Index" (ASTM D-2270) is an imperical number indicating the rate of change in viscosity of an oil within a given temperature range. HIGHER numbers indicate a low change, lower numbers indicate a relatively large change. The HIGHER the number the better. This is one major property of an oil that keeps the bearings happy! These numbers can ONLY be compared within a viscosity range. It is not an indication of how well the oil resists thermal breakdown.

    HT/HS or "High Temperature/High Shear" (ASTM D-4683) is an rating that determines the oils stability in a high temperature, high stress conditions. The oil's ability to withstand shearing and tearing is very important especially in a high RPM engine. The oil's ability to protect bearings, cylinder walls and rings, connecting rod bearings, main bearings, cam lobes and lifters, etc. is vital to an engine. For an oil to pass the ASTM D-4683, an oil must have a protective viscosity of 2.9 cP at 302 degrees F. The HIGHER the number the better!

    "Flash" (ASTM D-92) is the temperature at which an oil gives off vapors that can be ignited with a flame held over the oil. The lower the flash point the greater the tendency for the oil to suffer vaporization loss at high temperatures and to burn off on hot cylinder walls and pistons. The flash point can be an indicator of the quality of the base stock oil used. The HIGHER the flash point the better! 400 F is the minimum to prevent possible high consumption. The flash points shown in the data are in F.

    Castrol Syntec Viscosity = 172
    Mobil 1 Viscosity = 162

    Castrol Syntech HT/HS = 3.0
    Mobil 1 HT/HS = 3.35

    Castrol Syntech Flash = 455
    Mobil 1 Flash = 445

    It's a close one, according to the data. Both brands are very high in quality. The difference appears negligible to me. If someone can provide more insight, please do so.

    As far as costs of BMW oil changes are concerned, this is my understanding:

    -Scheduled oil changes (about every 15K) = free up to 3 years/36,000 miles
    -Unscheduled oil changes (at the drivers whim) = $60 up to 3 years/36,000 miles
    -Any oil change after 3 years/36,000 miles = about 160 smackers. OOOF!

    It appears that
  • ddblueddblue Posts: 117
    I would look into replacing the spark plugs yourself. I was going to replace my 325Ci plugs a few months ago, thinking that they were not platinum. I bought Bosch four-prong Splitfires and went to replace them in the Bimmer. Turns out that BMW puts in platinums, as you already know. Well, though the removal was a bit tedious, it can be done in less than an hour. I think it's more than worth it to do this yourself.
  • div2div2 Posts: 2,580
    You're right; the BMW oil is made by Castrol-it's just not the same formulation as Syntec. And the Castrol TWS 10W-60 required by some M cars is very expensive; @$6.00/qt. if I recall.
  • div2div2 Posts: 2,580
    If you're a CCA member-and you should be-you can check with local chapter members regarding good indie shops. A lot(but not all) of the good shops usually advertise in the chapter newsletters. You really shouldn't have any trouble finding a shop once you are wired in to the local chapter.
  • vkwheelsvkwheels Posts: 218
    Nice color, doesn't show dirt too much, goes well w/ tan interior.
  • mrl11777mrl11777 Posts: 154
    325 with sand interior always looks great. Easy to keep clean. Black floor mats, to me, look better, and they do not show ground-in dirt.
  • bartalk2bartalk2 Posts: 326
    When will the current 3 Series be redesigned: 2005 model year or 2006?
  • OK I give what is CCA? Car Club of America? Just a thought. The 2001 325ci I am looking is loaded, with home link except for the cold weather package, not much use for it here in south Florida. 25k might be a bit high, but he is allowing 3 payments and will then sign over title with "gift" marked in the price spot on title to save on taxes when its registered. Thanks for the help with the oil question. What is the oil extractor for? Besides extracting oil :P Is the oil change not the same in a BMW as any other car?
  • postoakpostoak Posts: 537
    Only BMW seems to know when the redesigned 3-series (E90) will be out. Some say January 2005, others say September 2005.

    CCA is short for BMWCCA:
  • div2div2 Posts: 2,580
    "OK I give what is CCA?"
    "What is the oil extractor for? Besides extracting oil :P Is the oil change not the same in a BMW as any other car?"
    On modern BMWs the oil filter element is located in a canister on the top of the engine. If you use an oil extractor such as the one I use- -there is no need to get under the car to remove the drain plug since everything can be reached from under the hood. It's an easy half hour job-and that's if you take your time. It's inexpensive, too:The last oil change on my 5er-using seven quarts of BMW synthetic oil and a BMW filter-cost $36.60. Not bad for a half hour of work.
  • Thanks for the info:)
  • ksomanksoman Posts: 593
    oops i meant, i hope i dont offend everyone, but every second car is a white, third car is a black and fourth car is a variant of grey/steel, so where is your individuality? :-)

    mystic blue is deeper than topaz, much much deeper, its like the geometric mean between the wavelength spectrum of topaz and oriental.

    nyccarguy, i've often seen that spanking broad in her m3 lately...

  • tcn2ktcn2k Posts: 277
    Ok, I found out from my local bmw charges 75 bucks for oil/filter change. During and after the maintence warranty. Not bad.

    But i have a question for all your do it yourself folks. Once you change the oil/filter on your own, how do you reset the oil indicator in the car's computer?
  • brave1heartbrave1heart Posts: 2,698
    From the Bentley manual:

    To reset the indicator:
    -The car should be off
    -hold down the left instrument button (the trip odometer reset)
    -while holding the key, turn the ignition to position 1 (radio)
    -you will see a test menu
    -keep holding the button
    -after maybe 10 seconds, the word "reset" will appear
    -let go of the button and press again
    -THe indicator is reset!

    In reading about the indicator, I also learned that BMW changed the way the intervals are calculated for cars post 6/2000.
    For cars buiilt after this date, it is calculated based solely on gallons of fuel consumed (for example, 601 gallons for 328i manual).

    Cars built prior to this date take into account other factors such as engine temp, # of cold starts, etc. I don't know why BMW bothered to change and simplify this-- if they already had the electronics, why not just leave it alone?
  • txbmwtxbmw Posts: 2
    First time poster and occassional lurker.
    Wanted to seek some opinions/knowledge regarding a current problem my 2002 325i is having.
    To make a long story short, the automatic transmission started acting up when the car had only 11,000 miles. The tranny started bucking/jerking when shifting/downshifting. The transmission malfunction light came on and the car was taken to the dealership. They stated that they had to "reprogram" the computer, as the it detected something strange, and the the car had gone into a safety mode.

    4,000 miles later, the problem has resurfaced. This time the dealership is stating that the transmission needs replacement - they also stated that they use remanufactured transmissions. Needless to say I am quite disturbed that the transmission is shot after only 15,000 miles of safe driving.

    My question is this- is this commonplace for authorized BMW dealerts to replace transmissions with rebuilt ones, or do I have a right to request a new one? Also, how would this affect the warranty if a remanufactured one is placed in my car?

    Thanks for any advice!
  • scipio1scipio1 Posts: 142
    As any schoolboy could tell you: Mystic is is much closer to the ARITHMETIC between topaz and orient. The geometic mean would be closer to, say, an Aegean metallic blue.

  • kyfdxkyfdx Posts: 63,165
    This applies to virtually all cars, not just BMW's.. After the model year is over, there are no "new" transmissions left. There are all the new parts to put inside the transmission, but no completely assembled transmissions. And, they won't use those parts to individually rebuild your transmission, as this would be cost prohibitive. As the housings of bad transmissions are returned to wherever they are rebuilt, they are used to house "new" parts being rebuilt on an assembly line. So, this "rebuilt" transmission will just be swapped out completely by the dealer's mechanic, with the one in your car. Its easiest to compare it to an engine. You wouldn't really expect there to be a warehouse full of "new" 2002 engines sitting around, waiting to replace the bad ones. If you have an engine problem, they just replace the parts needed, if its a small problem, or swap it out for a "rebuilt engine", if its a major failure. Its actually preferable to have a complete swap done, whether engine or transmission, as they are rebuilt on an assembly line by people that do only that job. In general, this would be done much better than having a general mechanic spend the time doing your individual transmission.

    To recap: There are no "new transmissions" to put in your car. This is how all used cars transmissions are replaced.



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  • txbmwtxbmw Posts: 2
    Thanks for the explanation kyfdx!
  • bartalk2bartalk2 Posts: 326
    Thanks for what info you have on the timetable for the redesigned 3. If you hear more, let us know.
  • Hello everyone:
    I've been reading for awhile, but am new to posting. Does anyone know if E46 sport seats can be fitted to an E36? I have a 1998 3281.

    Thanks for the expertise.
  • Hello. Have not been on the board for awhile. I still see Brave's posting :->

    I plan on moving from CA to DC next year. In preparation for the weather change I plan buying a set of OEM wheels for winter tires. I have a 2002 330i with Sports Pkg. It comes with M68 2 of 225/45-17 in front, 2 of 245/40-17 in rear. My question is what SIZE of wheels should I get? Same as the existing M68S? or 4 17s in same size? or even 16s (I do not think that will fit the 330i SP though I may be wrong).

    Any recommendation would be greatly appreciated. TIA !
  • ddblueddblue Posts: 117
    I lived in DC for two years with my 2001 325Ci. One bad winter. I bought new wheels and summer tires (18"). I kept the original 17" SP wheels for my snow tires, but kept the size down to 225/45 17s. I would stick with 17s or see if 16s will fit. Your front brakes might be too big to get 16s. Contact (call them) and they can advise you correctly. They know the limits of your tire size.

    Definitely go with narrower snow tires if you can. Don't go staggered like your current setup. If you can get 205 or 215s with 16" wheels, you'd be good to go in the snow. My 225/45 Dunlop Wintersport M2s have been great, but narrower is better.
  • brave1heartbrave1heart Posts: 2,698
    I'd go with 205/55/16. There is one type of wheel that you can get on the Tirerack that clears the 330's brakes - I think it's the Type 5 but they'll be able to tell you for sure. And yes, narrower is better.
  • I recently took delivery on a 2004 330i in Silver Gray, a new color that became available during the summer. It is a striking color, particularly with black leather.
  • rgnmstrrgnmstr Posts: 226
    <<<This applies to virtually all cars, not just BMW's.. After the model year is over, there are no "new" transmissions left>>>>

    I'm not sure I understand your post. Yes there may not be any more "new" 2003 transmissions left with a 2003 serial number but the exact same transmission remains in production with a 04 serial number. If I had purchased a new car and the transmission went at 1500 miles I'd be screaming for a new transmission and I wouldn't care what technical game they wanted to play about "no new 2003" or whatever. Just give me a new transmission. I would refuse someone else's 50,000 mile rebuilt unit. I didn't buy a rebuilt car.
  • I missed opportunity to buy a 2003 325i with HK and I am wondering about the stock radio in a few other models on the lot. Has anyone successfully upgraded outside BMW? Opinions on the stock radio? I find it rather tinny sounding!
  • scipio1scipio1 Posts: 142
    Try the guys at Many of them have switched head units for more bling-bling units.

    The only thing I've heard is that the head unit isn't as bad as you might originally think. If you upgrade the speakers first, it might get you to a satisfactory answer.
  • chile96chile96 Posts: 330
    Hi all - I have an '03 325ia that predominantly my fiancee drives that has the OE Bridgestone Turanzas on them 225-45-17. Yesterday morning I noticed a sidewall bulge where she had scraped a curb about 6 wks ago - no problem, ordered a new tire from tirerack. Well today, I go ahead and look closely at the other tires and notice another bulge in a different tire so I decided to do some reading about these bridgestones. From the surveys at I see that several people have had trouble with sidewall damage from these Bridgestone low profile tires.

    My question - is there a tire that is known to be a little more forgiving(i.e. stronger sidewalls) so I don't keep on buying tires every few months thanks to her lack of curb attention? I am willing to spend the extra money if it is worth it.

    thanks for any help
  • andergtrandergtr Posts: 101
    i've heard that you can get a lot of mileage out of changing the speakers and adding more power so that you get tons of clean headroom.

    i'm going to look into that shortly. the bimmer gets the pimp treatment in the near future. a bling-bling system is de rigeur.
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