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BMW 3-Series 2005 and earlier



  • brave1heartbrave1heart Posts: 2,698
    Yes, it is for the 2001 and later models E46, I believe...
  • brave1heartbrave1heart Posts: 2,698
    Geez, lots of bad vibes on the board today. Must be related to the brutally cold weather...

    91 octane is the minimum required for the E46, although there is a noticeable improvement in acceleration with 93 and even more so with 94. I have not in my experience noticed any tangible difference in fuel economy when using higher grade. FWIW, I've heard that your car will run OK with octane < 91 but it may retard the timing. I would not try it...
  • brave1heartbrave1heart Posts: 2,698
    The best shop bar none is Turner Motorsports but it may be a little bit of a hike depending on where you live. They are off 495 ~ 1hr from Boston. Autobahn seems to have a good reputation for some reason but every time I've called them, I've been turned off by both their attitude and pricing. You will hear "We only service BMWs" before you've told him what car you drive and their prices are at least as high as the dealers' and Turner's. Try some other shops that advertise in the Boston Bimmer mag if you can't make it Turner.
  • ksomanksoman Posts: 593
    many parts of the country dont even know that fuel above 91 oct exists... what you talking mang!


    there isn't an amoco errr now bp in every part of the world
  • I have a 2003 330 xi. It has Conti Touring Contact tires (205/50 R 17 93V CV95, extra load, M + S). According to the vehicle manual, the tires require a pressure of 33 for the front and 38 for the rear tires. I asked the Service Manager at the local BMW dealer about this and he confirmed that it was correct after some hesitancy. Whenever, I take the car to a gas station to have the tires checked, I'm asked where I got these weird pressures from and why do I want them. When I explain that this is what the BMW manual suggests, the guys look incredulous. They think that all 4 tires should have the same pressure of around 33. Has anyone got any opinions about this matter? The car is driving really well, but I'd hate to be driving around on improperly inflated tires. I'll be very grateful for some opinions. Thanks, Jim
  • kdshapirokdshapiro Posts: 5,751
    Jim - my philosophy is to follow the manufacturers recommendations. I have two vehicles and both vehicles have different front and rear pressures. Why? I don't know. Maybe someone can tell us.
  • brave1heartbrave1heart Posts: 2,698
    Do we have opinions on tire pressure? Yeah, some of us have strong opinions. After 9 track days on 4 different tracks and 16 autoX events, I think I do know something about tire pressure. With the same tire sizes and tire pressure all around, the 3-series will tend to understeer. If you put in more air in the rears, they will understeer (push) even more. In autoX, that will kill you every time. On the track, it's bad too, as you can't rotate the car early enough. In street driving, it probably gives you an added degree of security as you won't be able to throw the car easily into an oversteer that might lead to a spin. If it understeers, you let off the gas and you'd probably be OK. Not a good performance setup but again, probably safe. Here's a table that might help you understand your car's behavior better:

    Front Tire Pressure Lower Higher
    Rear Tire Pressure Higher Lower
    Front Tire Width Smaller Larger
    Rear Tire Width Larger Smaller
    Front Camber More Positive More Negative
    Rear Camber More Negative More Positive
    Front Springs Stiffer Softer
    Rear Springs Softer Stiffer
    Front Sway Bar Stiffer Softer
    Rear Sway Bar Softer Stiffer

    Bottom line is, for street driving any mix between 28 and 40 is OK. The lower the pressure, the more comfortable the ride and the worse the fuel economy. The higher the pressure, the bumpier the ride is but fuel economy is better. Same pressure all around (32/32 works well - higher for heavier cars) is OK and so is a setup that uses more pressure in the rears.
  • I've encountered many gas attendants who insist my air pressure should be at over 40 psi! I point to the specs in my manual or on my door jamb and they always say the tires' rating is a better thing to follow. It's all very annoying as it's my car so you'd think they'd accept i want it my way.

    BTW, I'd check my own tire pressure but I'm physically incapable of doing so. It's not that I'm lazy. :P
  • andergtrandergtr Posts: 101
    see my reply to your post over at the scion xB discussion board.
  • andergtrandergtr Posts: 101
    i think it's important to differentiate whether you are the type who keeps the car only within the warranty period and dumps it or whether you keep the car for the long haul (e.g. 100,000 miles or more).

    if you keep the car only within warranty, it's almost irrelevant what kind of problems crop up, because it's not your issue--the burden is on the dealer to fix it. it's a headache, but if the car is unreliable, no money comes out of your pocket.

    on the other hand, if you are a guy who buys a car and keeps it well beyond the warranty period, that's another issue entirely. the cost of ownership for a new BMW for 4 years/50K miles is nothing, because that's included in the warranty. compare a lexus to a BMW after 100,000 miles, and i would argue that the lexus will handily beat the BMW for reliability.

    BMW's are great cars, but they require some babying if you want them to always perform.

    FYI, i'm a guy who keeps cars for 100K miles or more, because at a rate of 30K miles/year, that's just a little over three years of driving. if i only kept my car within warranty, i'd be turning them every 18 months.
  • ksomanksoman Posts: 593
    97.9942783% of those gas attendants are there because they are not elsewhere doing more intellectually challenging things, i'd not trust them even after my death.

  • gordonwdgordonwd Posts: 337
    I know I'm opening myself up for flames by bringing up the cost of oil changes on a $30K+ car, but there is a line between paying for quality and being taken advantage of. I need to get one more oil change on my '98 Audi A4 1.8T before ordering my 325i which I expect to have in about April of next year. I called my Audi dealer and they wanted $69.95 for a basic oil change (and I don't think that they use synthetic oil, either). Then I called a local VW dealer and they'll do it for $39. Hey, it's the same engine as in the Passat and Jetta, and they even have a mechanic that used to work at Audi dealerships in the area. The only extra charge by the VW dealer is if they have to reset the service indicator, but that only takes me about 10 seconds to do by instructions in the manual! By the way, the recommended change interval is 5000 miles, so we're talking 2-3 changes per year.

    Too bad there are not many alternatives with the BMW, although there are a few independent German-car specialist shops in the area. I'll probably have to shop around after my initial 4 years are up.
  • Get your oil changed however you like. nothing wrong with being sensible with your cash. the audi guys won't do anything different from the cats at VW (well maybe customer service won't be as nice). heck, if you have a mechanic you know and like, take it to him for the change.

    Then there's the do it yourself option. I have a few friends with lux cars who do the oil swap in their driveway.
  • erickplerickpl Posts: 2,735
    I am doing the oil changes myself using a fluid extractor and buying the parts I need from my BMW dealer (using BMW synthetic 5W-30). This makes it possible to change the oil w/o having to climb under the car since the filter is on top anyway.

    Resetting the service indicator is easy if you follow brave's process listed several pages back (search for service indicator post #24796).

    I'm doing mine this weekend, along with a new air filter, a/c microfilter swap, and wiper replacements (my 50,000 service). My dealer wanted 200.00. I am doing it for less and I can use my fluid extractor on my other cars as well.

  • div2div2 Posts: 2,580
    Contrary to popular belief, there IS an excellent alternative to expensive oil changes. First, buy one of these:
    image @$65
    and one of these:
    image @$140
    and do the job yourself. With a CCA discount your oil and filter shouldn't cost more than $35, and after three or four changes the extractor and reset tool will have paid for themselves. Also note that BMW's "Inspection I" service is essentially an oil change combined with an examination of various parts and systems. Once out of warranty you can do those yourself as well; it takes all of about two hours, tops. And don't be ashamed of wanting to save money. I reserve my venom and ridicule for those nitwits who spend $40000+ on a new car and then post:"I know the manual says to use premium fuel, but will it hurt to use the cheapest no-name rotgut fuel I can find?". Idiots!
  • is it a reset tool? to reset the interval indicator?
  • div2div2 Posts: 2,580
    Yes, it is a Service Interval Indicator reset tool-but it can also retrieve engine fault codes as well as reset the check engine light. See: I've found that the tool works exactly as advertised.
  • erickplerickpl Posts: 2,735

    Can't we just use the method Brave posted a while back to reset the SI?

    I am assuming that besides the reset feature, this tool adds those diagnostic features for that $140?

  • div2div2 Posts: 2,580
    Sure you can; I'm just a gearhead who doesn't want to run to the shop every time I get a CEL. Peake does sell a $50 tool that just resets the SI, but it only works on pre-2000 cars.
  • erickplerickpl Posts: 2,735
    for the clarification. My shop is over an hour away, so I don't want to do that either, though it means time off from work to do it. I'll have to look into that thing.

  • brave1heartbrave1heart Posts: 2,698
    My biggest gripe with the A4 is that the air filter is a total pain to replace. I read a dozen of horror stories about the air filter being very hard to reach, and that you need an oil filter wrench that fits and that the filter is on so tight, most people screw it up and get it stuck that I decided it's not worth my time and esp. risk to do it. With the BMW, an oil and filter change is a no-brainer, esp. with a fluid extractor like the one on div2's picture. Not to mention that with the synthetic oil, you only have to do it once ~ 15K miles or so.
  • brave1heartbrave1heart Posts: 2,698
    I'd forgotten how good the Dunlop M2 WinterSport tires are. They came in very handy with the 5+ inches of snow that we already got in the Boston area.
  • just testedout my new dunlop m2's on my new 325i. great tires!. we've got about 10" here in CT. i've forgotten how fun rwd can be.
  • brave1heartbrave1heart Posts: 2,698
    ... just as good at their max speed rating as they are in 5" of snow. Don't ask me how I know :o)
  • efxxefxx Posts: 24
    I've been impressed so far at how well my '02 325i has been handling in the snow. Its handled well after the 20+ inches of snow we got last year in the Boston area and after the ~18 inches of snow we got this weekend and this is with the stock Conti all-season tire.

    After witnessing what my pops went through with his Volvo 760GLE I was reluctant at first to get a RWD car.
  • gordonwdgordonwd Posts: 337
    Being somewhat of an old-timer, when I have my oil changed I always say "oil change and lube", since my old cars always had ball joints, etc. that needed regular shots of lube. Is there anything on the chassis that needs regular lubricating on modern German cars? If not, then I probably will go to the self-changes after my initial included services are over with.
  • I've got an '02 325i, too, and I just moved from CA to NH. It's handling has indeed been impressive.

    Quick question: The manual says to drive the car upon starting, instead of letting it sit and warm up for a while. Did I misread, or is this truly the appropriate action on these cold days?
  • div2div2 Posts: 2,580
    Nope, there are no grease fittings on any BMW built since @1972.
  • the manuals correct. after startup wait a few seconds then drive off keeping rpm's on the low side until the car is completely warmed up. it saves gas, warms not only the engine quicker but also the drivetrain and lubricates the engines moving parts better.
  • ksomanksoman Posts: 593
    most new cars are made to be driven quickly without warm up... in addition to what jim said, it has to do with reducing emissions and the use of storage type catalytic converters.. its true of a number of brands... the only reason to warm it up is cuz it's too freaking cold to be sitting in one sometimes.

    does anyone else thing that when you get into a car sitting out in the cold, the inside of the car is colder than the outside even with wind howling?

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