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BMW 3-Series Maintenance and Repair

silvernubirasilvernubira Posts: 59
edited May 19 in BMW
I have a 2000 323i with 5-speed manual transmission which had a "rear clunk" from the first day. I am curious to see if many 5-speed manual E46s have a similar problem. Let me explain the problem (by the way this is an intermittent problem, ie., it does not happen all the time; but occurs may be 70 to 80 % of the time): when I shift gears and let the clutch go, I hear a clunk or thud or "thunk" from the rear (probably from somewhere in the vicinity of rear axle). If I release the clutch quickly, the sound is loud. If I release the clutch very slowly (slipping the clutch), I still hear the clunk.

I do not know if this is related or not but when the car is stationary and I shift gears, I hear some clicking noises from the rear (I think the sound comes from the same area).

My final question is directed to those who had noisy (clicking, chattering) driver's seat belt tensioner and had the tensioner replaced. Does the replacement of the tensioner solve the problem or the new tensioner is noisy like the original one?

I asked BMWNA about these problems ( Owner's Circle) about ten days ago. Even though they claim that they respond in one day, I have not heard from them yet.

Thank you in advance to those who respond.

P.S. Silver Nubira is my wife's car!


  • lokkilokki Posts: 1,200
    First of course, is your dealership... take it in and talk to your service advisor.. ask to drive another example, and to drive your car and the other with a mechanic. I'm pretty sure that they'll do this for you, or at least my service advisor would.

    The second place to check is with the E-46 owners on I have an E-36, and I've found the board quite helpful. If this is a common problem, odds are high that someone there will have some experience, and, hopefully, an answer for you....good luck
  • I'm new to BMW cars. So here is a stupid question. What is E36/E46? Thanks.
  • bnormannbnormann Posts: 335
    E46 is the factory designation for the most recent version of the 3-series cars. E36 was the version just before.

    Most car companies have code letters for their models. For instance, the Golf/Jetta/New Beetle are built on what VW calls the A4 chassis. Camaros anf Firebirds ride on the F-Body chassis by GM, etc.

    Maintenance & epair Message Board
  • stokdgsstokdgs Posts: 65
    I have an '01 325I with 5 spd and I dont hear any noise when shifting gears and I just drove it 4k miles. Hope you took it in right away because I think you have a clutch adjustment type of problem. Hear that there is an little switch in the line to help "soften" the clutch engagement and that some shops take it out because it interferes with "spirited" driving/shifting.
    Im not thrilled with the long throw shifter anyway, so Im going to probably take it out and get a UUC motorwerks short shifter and maybe at that time, remove the little switch too. Hope you get your baby all sorted out.
  • I recently purchased a 2001 330Ci coupe and have had to replace the windshield twice due to tiny rocks flying up and causing cracks in the glass. Has anyone else experienced this? The dealership is saying it is the way I drive, however with all the other imports/domestics I've driven - This has never occurred.
  • stokdgsstokdgs Posts: 65
    Just drove my '01 325I 4k miles from NorCal to Texas and back, got hit with alot of things, including rocks, and never made even a mark on the glass. I avoided being behind big trucks, etc., that are notorious for throwing rocks, etc, and didnt have a problem one.
    Dont understand how dealer says its the way you drive, think glass especially windshields has to be by law a certain thickness with a plastic layer inbetween (the "safety" feature so it wont shatter in a million pieces).
    Dont know of anyone else having similar problems, probably just being at the wrong place at the wrong time.. Hope this goes away for you..
    Ive treated all my glass for years with a product called Rain-X which fills in all the microscopic pores in glass with a film that makes the surface very slick so alot of things that heretofore would smack the glass hard, may bounce off instead. Maybe this will help somewhat. It doesnt build up or make the glass less clear, does wonders on raindrops, at speed they just shear off and you dont have to use wipers as much..Available everywhere, I saw it at a Raleys/Bel-Air Supermarket.
    Good luck!
  • I just bought a 2001 330xi, and so far, no problem with the windshield. But a friend bought a BMW SUV, and within a month had to have the windshield replaced because of a huge crack. She swears she does not recall being hit by a rock or anything else, just minor road grit. She has not been doing any mountain driving, just city and suburban driving in the NYC metro area.
  • Fragile windshields may be indicative of more serious problems... Recurring or "sudden" cracks may be a sign of structural problems with the car. A friend of mine had an Acura that kept "breaking" windshields until it was determined that the uniframe was misaligned and causing undue stress at certain points along the glass. This is bad news... get it checked out!
  • I'm looking at the 325xi specifically because of the AWD option (it's already been a bad Chicago winter). Does anyone have any opinions regarding the AWD option as I believe it's relatively new to BMW. I noted 1 post with concerns about other problems relating to AWD. Is it's power deferential (something like 33%-front, 67%-rear) normal for AWD vehicles. Thanks for any help.
  • div2div2 Posts: 2,580
    BMW has been selling AWD drive cars since the 1988 325iX. That said, the new system differs from the original in several ways. The 33/67 power differential was selected by BMW in order to retain the "feel" and handling characteristics of a RWD vehicle. I prefer this as I absolutely detest FWD in all but the smallest econobox. Long term reliability should not be a problem. There are scores of 88-91 iX owners in BMW CCA who swear by them. I would not be concerned.
  • adc100adc100 Posts: 1,521
    If you want to go in snow, get a 4 Wheel drive with decent ground clearance. I'm sure the AWD gives better handling. But do you really need to do turns at 75 mph. The gasoline penalty has got to be horrendous and this energy shortage is here to stay. At least with 4WD you can go out of it. I have always owned a 4WD vehicle since 1978 and if you think you get bettter than 10-15 miles per gallon when you are in 4WD, even with a 4 cyl you are mistaken. I know you'll do better in AWD but not a hole lot. There are to many pieces-parts rotating. Just another unbiased opinion.

  • div2div2 Posts: 2,580
    City/Highway mileage for the 325xi AWD sedan is 19/27 for the manual and 18/25 for the slushbox. The 325i 2WD numbers are 20/29 and 19/27; about a 1.5mpg penalty overall. FWIW, my wife's ASC equipped 2WD 3er has no trouble with snow up to about 10". And as nice as my Pathfinder SE drives, I'll take the 3er in a minute if I have a choice. And yes I HAVE to "do" corners at 75 mph.
  • Appreciate the input
  • I have a 1999 328i automatic model, and it had the similar "clunking" noise coming from the back. The first time I brought the car into the BMW dealer/service, one of the advisers said that it is a BMW-known problem and there is no fix yet for it. Overtime I got very irritated with the noise and thought that the adviser's explaination was not appropriate, so I brought the car back and had the supervisor test drive it. He then ordered for me a so-called "transmission kit", and later on had the problem fixed for me. In the paperwork it was written that the "output (transmission - I think) flange" was worn out and it had to be replaced. You should bring your car into the shop and tell them about the problem, and if necessary, my message. Good luck!
  • I talked to a couple of BMW dealers about the "rear clunk" I am having. The service manager of the dealer where I bought my car did not have any clue about what is going on. The service manager at a second BMW dealer was familiar with the auto transmission output flange problems but he did not know anything about the manual transmission rear clunk. He also said that the output flange repair kit is applicable only to auto transmission cars.
  • ccotenjccotenj Posts: 610
    could the problem the previous two posters describe be guibo related?

  • diablediable Posts: 1
    I have a 2000 328i and I had my windshield replaced after a few rock hit it on the highway. I was going about 80 mph, but I don't think its my driving style because I drove the same speed before in my old car and never had a problem I had a 99 accord coupe. I didn't go through BMW to replace the glass, but I do know that most people including those working at BMW don't know much about cars, or simply talk out of there [non-permissible content removed]. I had the worst service at BMW

    PS. I really really don't think that BMW have flexing frames to make the windshield break.. This is by far the most rigid car I ever owned, and I but a new one every year.
  • div2div2 Posts: 2,580
    Yep. Could also be the center driveshaft bearing.
  • Sometimes it's the off-center drive shaft bearing.
  • I have a '95 325I with 70K miles on it. Has run great until last few hundred miles. Noticing that when stepping on the accelerator to enter freeway, pass, go up hills... that the transmission seems to rapidly shift up and down between 4 and 3rd gears until you back off on the accelerator. Have had it checked at 2 dealerships (electronically) and just recently had fluid/filter changed and pan looked at etc. Nothing found wrong. Anyone have any ideas on what's up with this? BMW dealership(s) seems to have no answers...
  • I own a 99 323 auto (yeh I know I have 2 teenage girls).
    Car is great other than having to have done a complete brake job front and rear at 20k, and the dealer having repaired a floor leak(airbag recall) and ball joints due to sqeaking.
    I complained to BMW Canada about the brakes and got the usual explanation about driving habits etc etc which I don't buy.
    I have owned 5 volvo's and never had to do a complete brake job as described with such short service.
    When having my other car (Volvo 850) serviced at an independant garage who also does a lot of BMW work, they explained the dealers don't want any complaints if they resurface so they figure if you own a bimmer you can pay the extra coin. Mechanic also say's BMW's are known for ball joint problems....comments.....other than that great vehicle everything BMW promises
  • I own a 1999 328I model. It must have been more than five times that the engine would not start when I tried to turn it on with any of the keys (main, valet, spare, etc.). What happened was that the engine acted as though there was no power (dead battery) and that it just sat silence, and then would start up after several tries. It seems as though there is a communication problem between the microchip embedded inside the key and the car's microprocessor. BMW service advisors told me that they can only take a look at the problem when the car is actually in the won't-start mode. This means that the next time when the car does not start I'd have to have it towed into the shop.
    Have anyone out there been experiencing this problem?
  • I received my 330i sedan a few days ago -- I must say that I now love this car! The only gripe I have is that I wish I didn't upgrade to the Harmon Kardon sound system -- it's a waste of money. I would have gotten expoentially more value by putting in my own custom system cheaper and with more "oomph".

    The Harmon Kardon system doesn't even come close to the clarity and range of the factory-installed Bose system in my previous car, a Nissan Maxima. The BMW system lacks midrange precision and has a truly horrible bass range. Even my old Toyota Corolla in college sounded better. We've all paid a pretty penny for our BMWs -- I wish they had put as much effort into the sound system as they have into the superb driving experience.
  • I just bought a 2001 330ci with a manual transmission. If the car is going slowly, usually when I am in 1st gear, and I put in the clutch I can hear and feel a big clunk in the back. I took it to my dealership and was able to make the car repeat the problem for my service advisor. He told me that it is part of the BMW experience!!! If anyone has any information regarding a fix please post it. I think it makes the car feel really cheap and is a little embarrassing.

  • siustsiust Posts: 2
    I have 328Ci with low-profile sport tires and when I started the car this evening, I found the steering in both directions suddenly turned very hard. I suspected the tires are under-pressure but it didn't help after I pumped air into them.

    I need some advices...
  • alcanalcan Posts: 2,550
    Is the power steering pump belt still on?
  • siustsiust Posts: 2
    I have 328Ci with low-profile sport tires and when I started the car this evening, I found the steering in both directions suddenly turned very hard. I suspected the tires are under-pressure but it didn't help after I pumped air into them.

    I need some advices...
  • maexmaex Posts: 1
    I purchased a 2000 323cic with the HK system. I too found that it was lacking, especially with the top down at highway speeds. I complained to the dealer several time and was told that this is a weakness in the BMW line. The dealer said that I could have gotten a better system aftermarket. But, a few weeks ago, I got a call from my salesman reporting that BMW has instructed dealers to replace the amp "on customer complaint". He had already ordered one for me and it has been installed. Quite a difference!
  • I live in Central New York, major snow country. I need a car that will go in the snow and up a fairly steep driveway. Will the 325xi (awd) do it? Will the 325i (with 4 snows get around just as well)?
  • Any idea whether the amp upgrade that was described above is standard equipment on 325s being manufactured now? Just ordered my BMW and would like to hear that it's coming with the good amp!
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