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BMW 3-Series 2005 and earlier



  • pylt1pylt1 Posts: 12
    Only the later E46's coupes had LED tail lights.

    You may have someone's modified car if you have an E46 sedan?

    Don't know about problems with LED tail lights on the coupe so you may want to search other boards to see if there's another TSB for that.
  • After a painful sale of my beloved '06 ZCP M3 due to unexpected events :cry: I ended up buying a 2000 E46 323i sedan with 83K on the clock for a little more than eight grand. :D I test drove the car and it was very good, with the only brakes a tad long. So even though the worn brake pad indicator is not on I am planning doing front & back replacing rotors, pads, and sensors. I have also heard in this forum that water pumps need to be checked, maybe replaced around the 80K mark. Other than that, the engine sounds pretty good plus its a 5 speed manual (so I don't anticipated the "reverse gear syndrome" that plagued some automatic E46 slushboxes around 100K).
    So the question to you friends out there is, should I sign for a 4 year 1800$ extended warranty or should I get myself a good indie shop and do the brake & water pump deal and come ahead while at it? Can I just wait for the water pump to fail without risking major engine damage? I don't know I feel at times that if it ain't broken don't fix it. :confuse: I am all ears.
  • nyccarguynyccarguy Stamford, CTPosts: 12,773
    Besides replacing pads, rotors, & sensors, I'd also advise (as I've learned from my friend roadburner) to flush out & replace the brake fluid, manual transmission fluid, and coolant using only BMW fluids and definitely replace the water pump ;) . I think E46 cars have problems with front control arms if I'm not mistaken.

    Good luck!

    2001 Prelude Type SH, 2015 Infiniti Q40 AWD, 2017 Honda Pilot Touring AWD

  • roadburnerroadburner Posts: 11,698
    What nyccarguy said. Stick the remaining cash is a money market account and self-insure. And replace the water pump.

    Mine: 1995 318ti Club Sport; 2014 M235i; 2009 Cooper Clubman; 1999 Wrangler; 1996 Speed Triple Challenge Cup Replica Wife's: 2015 X1 xDrive28i Son's: 2009 328i

  • jjdanieljjdaniel Posts: 3
    I have a 2004 325 with automatic transmission. When I start the car and put it in drive, the transmission will not engage for 5 to 10 seconds. If I apply the accelerator, the engine races but nothing happens. If I shift to first in the manual mode, the transmission will engage a little more quickly. If I put it in reverse, it engages immediately. It's almost like when I put it in drive, there is a lag like when a computer is booting up. Th problem is most severe when the car has been sitting overnight. Is this a common problem? Any ideas on what needs to be done?

  • roadburnerroadburner Posts: 11,698
    Take it to a good BMW dealer or independent tech and have the AT fluid level and condition checked.

    Mine: 1995 318ti Club Sport; 2014 M235i; 2009 Cooper Clubman; 1999 Wrangler; 1996 Speed Triple Challenge Cup Replica Wife's: 2015 X1 xDrive28i Son's: 2009 328i

  • pylt1pylt1 Posts: 12
    If you're really lucky, the transmission is just low on fluid.

    If you're not, you need a new, and very expensive, transmission.

  • lucky1manlucky1man Posts: 14
    I have exactly same problem. 04 330I Steptronic. (34K)

    Warranty has expired , of course

    Ditto to being worse overnight. I also have EML (elec malfuntion icon) .
    Hope to get some info befo taking to Stealership.

    do u hve EML lite?

    Once in gear shifts smoothly. Wonder if is some computer that controls gear selection , independent of transmission body.

    How check ATF fluid. Let me know what u find out and I will post any ifno I have.

    Have to wonder if this is a probl common to the 04 3 series??
  • jjdanieljjdaniel Posts: 3
    Thanks for your response. My EML light is not on, but like you I think this may be some electronic/computer issue for engaging the transmission. No problems after the first 5 seconds or so. Just have to wait for forward to engage after the car has been sitting overnight or for extended period. Then evertything shifts smoothly. If problem was related to shifting between gears, fluid might be the issue, but that doesn't seem likely here.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 62,439
    You should take the car to a dealer or specialist and have them check the transmission fluid level PROPERLY -- fluid has to flow out of the overfill hole, you don't stick your finger in there.

    If the fluid was low, then you top it up, drive the car to determine that that solved the shifting issue and THEN find out where the fluid went.

    if the fluid level is okay, then they have to run a diagnostic scan and see what, if any, trouble codes are present, and then proceed from there.

    If the trouble codes demand disassembly of the transmission, you might be having a very bad day--but there could be access to used units or perhaps the fault code might indicate a problem that does not require complete overhaul.

    MODERATOR --Need help with anything? Click on my name!

    Share Your Vehicle Reviews Here

  • lucky1manlucky1man Posts: 14
    Yes, we do not have shifting issue, but rather initial engagement issue.

    Let us share diagnostic info with each other. Make sure our stealerships or Indies are on the same page.

    Will, however check fluid level per our Host suggestion, first.
  • lucky1manlucky1man Posts: 14
    Forgot to mention have same issue of engagement after overnite ; have been warming car up in am to about 3/4 and then have less probl when engaging.

    We still need to get diagnostic , of course.
  • jtuellerjtueller Posts: 3
    Hey, about to lovingly dive into the world of BMW ownership, totally committed to doing research, keeping up on maintenance, and getting the most out of the car, but could use a little advise on the two cars I think I've narrowed it down to:

    Option A: 2000 328i, in the last year he's replaced the water pump, power steering pump, serpentine & acc. belt, intake elbow hose, fuel filter, gas cap, outside temp sensor, final stage resistor, brake rotors and pads, and oil change (about four months ago). Also comes with two sets of wheels: 16" BMW OEM wheels with Winterforce studded snow tires. And 18x8.5" Ronal wheels (made in Germany) with Potenza S03 Pole position summer tires. It's automatic (have to get an auto so the wifey can drive it) 98k miles and asking $7000

    Option B: 2001 330xi, 126k miles, talked to him on the phone so can't be to detailed on the specidifics but he also has replaced both pumps, radiator, and a few other minor repairs. Planning on calling him back to get specifics but much like Option A seems to have kept the car maintained. Also an auto and wants $8850, can probably get him down to $8300.

    Also have seen some 2002 325xi in the similar price range. So my questions to someone out there willing to be helpful for a newbie like me:

    #1 I live in Salt Lake hence my looking at the AWD. But that said it I've been driving rear wheel my whole life in Utah and don't necessarily want to pass up a potential good deal (option A) as I think I'd be fine. (Plus on super snow/ice days, I have a land rover that would get me to work just fine) In my limited couple of weeks of research my gut tells me that first car has really been taken care of (seeing it today) and that the lower price tag is of course appealing letting me sock some away for maintenance that might/will occur.

    #2 I could spend more like $11k on a car and get something a bit more recent (03-04) with perhaps around 75k miles, but then from what I can gather I'd be facing a lot of these repairs that the above cars have already taken care of. I'm not sure there's a lot of value for me to spend $3-$4k more and have to face things these have taken care of. Would love some input keeping in mind I don't put a lot of miles on cars (mighty 6 mile commute - usually only put on 6-7k a year) and just looking for a fun car to drive for the next few years, with the understanding coming into it that I need to be very proactive on the maintenance (have already been recommended a great indie mechanic by other BMW owners in the area).

    Thank you so much in advance for taking a moment to post you comments. I really appreciate it!
  • jjdanieljjdaniel Posts: 3
    My 325 is a convertible and I noticed that the automatic top has the same delay effect. If I try to put the top down right after starting the car (particularly after it has been sitting overnight), there is about a 5 or 10 second delay before the mechanism for lowering the top kicks in. Seems likely that there is a common cause for these delays.
  • roadburnerroadburner Posts: 11,698
    I'd be tempted to go with the 2000 328i assuming that you can have a pre-purchase inspection performed by a good BMW tech-and it sounds like you already have one. The only problem is the automatic; it may go 200K with no problems and it might go tomorrow. The only decent repair is with a BMW remanufactured unit, and they aren't cheap. I wouldn't pay extra for AWD- just get a set of winter tires and wheels from Tire Rack and you'll get around just fine. That's what I do, and like you I have a serious 4X4 when things get really treacherous.

    Mine: 1995 318ti Club Sport; 2014 M235i; 2009 Cooper Clubman; 1999 Wrangler; 1996 Speed Triple Challenge Cup Replica Wife's: 2015 X1 xDrive28i Son's: 2009 328i

  • jtuellerjtueller Posts: 3
    Appreciate the feedback, I'm thinking the same. Guess I'm just rolling the dice on the automatic, but at the price I'm getting it even a $3000 repair is putting me in the same range of most similar year models I'm looking at. Perhaps I'll start socking away a few hundred a month just in case! The current owner was saying something about some of the transmissions on this year being built by one manufacturer, and the rest by an other. Does this ring a bell for anyone. And if so does one tend to fail more than the other. Figure I could dig into it and find out which I had by the VIN. Always better to see a major repair coming at you when possible!
  • roadburnerroadburner Posts: 11,698
    The transmission should be the GM A5S 360R, and a BMW Remanufactured unit will run @$3600-$4000 plus installation. I changed the fluid in my wife's 528i at 100K and the tranny is still going strong with its third owner. Some techs say leave the ATF alone if the ATF has over @65K on it, but I guess I dodged the bullet. In any event, I change the ATF every 50K in my wife's X3, and I'd suggest that you follow that regimen if you do wind up having to replace your autobox.

    Mine: 1995 318ti Club Sport; 2014 M235i; 2009 Cooper Clubman; 1999 Wrangler; 1996 Speed Triple Challenge Cup Replica Wife's: 2015 X1 xDrive28i Son's: 2009 328i

  • jtuellerjtueller Posts: 3
    Interesting, so since it's at 90k don't mess with the ATF fluid, but if I have to change it out then make sure every 50 I change. Got it! Here's hoping the transmission isn't a problem (crossing fingers, knocking on wood, and many other cliches)
  • roadburnerroadburner Posts: 11,698
    Interesting, so since it's at 90k don't mess with the ATF fluid, but if I have to change it out then make sure every 50 I change. Got it!

    Like I said, I changed it at 100K in my wife's car with no ill effects. I forgot to mention that BMW also recommends a 100K change. Confused yet? Anyway, I strongly advise joining the BMW Car Club of America. Among other things, you get a great monthly magazine and many dealers and shops offer significant discounts on parts and/or labor.

    Mine: 1995 318ti Club Sport; 2014 M235i; 2009 Cooper Clubman; 1999 Wrangler; 1996 Speed Triple Challenge Cup Replica Wife's: 2015 X1 xDrive28i Son's: 2009 328i

  • I recommend you stay away from Option A, the 2000 328i sedan. Consumer Reports says it is one of the worst cars to own, and I have to agree, having had one for six years. I replaced all kinds of major parts and didn't see an end. I finally traded it in for a 2005 330i.

    Some times Consumer Reports actually does get it right. I am not convinced they know their new cars, being a major fan of the Ultimate Driving Machine, but they like my 2005, and I love it.

    Happy twisties. And don't forget about your local chapter of the BMW CCA.
  • fezginfezgin Posts: 17
    I would try to find out whats the transmission manufacturer/model is . Make sure transmission is NOT 5HP19 by ZF. This transmission has a design flaw; the drum breaks as early as 35k miles with no sign of failure in advance. Hundreds of people have complains about it (including myself), there is a suit going on against bmw. There is even a website ( dedicated for it...! Hope its not too late for you.
  • lucky1manlucky1man Posts: 14
    Thanks: Good Info; I will research see if I can find out what tranny I have.
    (anyone have suggestions how to do this?)

    My car is at the dealer now and will have info on what they diagnose Wed nite.

    Will post my info Wed nite:

    Thanks again for your helpful input..
  • fezginfezgin Posts: 17
    Dealer should be able to tell you from the VIN. Also look at the website I mentioned above...
  • sebring95sebring95 Posts: 3,241
    Hi all, been thinking about picking up a used 3-series for my commute. I'm driving 60 miles of twisty/hilly state routes in my Tundra, and while it has advantages (avoiding large road kill, visability, possibly surviving a head-on with a semi.....) it's not the most fun vehicle for this commute. I'd like to run go with an AWD (gets nasty in winter and will run snow tires too) and a six-speed manual unless there's a major reason to avoid those models. I'm looking at '04-'05 models as I prefer that bodystyle to the newer ones. I want something reliable since it's over an hour to the nearest dealer and there's no BMW mechanics around either. So what's the safer choice for this generation? I'm not as concerned about performance, so if the 2.5L is more reliable (an efficient) I can go that route. And suggestions would be appreciated.
  • lucky1manlucky1man Posts: 14
    As promised , am posting reply as had similar prob with addtion of whistling/whining noise when moving selector when cold.

    Not do when warm

    Bmw dealership states is Cyclone Separator otherwise known as Crankcase ventillator.Gave me estimate $1285.

    Local Indy Edge MOtorworks in Dublin Ca, Gives me $567.

    So not tranny afterall. Did u get diagnosis??
  • akv25akv25 Posts: 42

    I am thinking of getting the short shift kit sold by BMW Performance Parts. The shifter travel is supposed to be decreased by 25% or so using the kit. Anyone have any experience using a short throw shifter, please share them. How does this compare with the UUC shifter?

  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 62,439
    I've used short shifters and they are great but they do increase shifter effort (it's a trade-off) so if you do a lot of traffic driving you may not care for this mod.

    MODERATOR --Need help with anything? Click on my name!

    Share Your Vehicle Reviews Here

  • kominskykominsky Posts: 850
    Does anyone have a roof-rack and kayak carrier on their car? It seems like Thule and Yakima are the two big players. Any feedback on either of those two brands? Any other manufacturers I should check out?

  • takafoomi1takafoomi1 Posts: 8
    I have Thule bars and racks on my minivan, and previously had them on other cars for years. They are always superb in terms of quality and fit. I have a 2004 330cic which I'm likely going to get a trunk mount Thule because of my previous experience. If you go Thule or Yakima, you have to stay in that 'family' forever as they dont mix and match .. Yakima has round bars, Thule has squares..
  • I have a 323i, MY2000, with 85K on the clock. The DSC light come on while driving, no noticeable effect on the drive, then stays on, ignores the turn-off button , and then goes off, a day later. So does the check engine soon light: it comes on and then a day or two later it goes off. I took it once to a parts store and they read a code "cam sensor" but then it went off. Bottomline, these light come on and off at random, but there is no sympthom on the car drive at all. I have not taken the car to an indie shop among other things because of a hectic work schedule (in-out of town) but I wonder if this is sign of a more serious issue. Any thoughts? Could these be related?
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