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BMW 3-Series Maintenance and Repair



  • div2div2 Posts: 2,580
    Service costs are quite reasonable once you find a good independent BMW tech who offers a BMW CCA discount. Example: I just had the Inspection II(Major) service performed on my wife's 1997 528iA. The independent shop did everything called for except the cabin filters(which I do myself)and they also replaced the fuel filter(which isn't called for but I think it is a good practice). The shop also replaced the front pads as well as a worn tie rod. Total price-including an alignment and seven quarts of Mobil 1 15W-50-was $440. In contrast, a friend got charged $1100(!) at a dealer for just the Inspection II service.
  • rascal8rascal8 Posts: 54
    This is my second BMW (2001 325ci). My personal experiences with BMW have been very good. These cars tend to get criticized often because of the intense brand loyalty to BMW by people like myself and the fact the price they carry is a bit out of reach for people who would otherwise own them. I think it would be hard for me to purchase any other car at this point, and this car does stretch my budget a tad. The combination of performance, comfort and reliablity is hard to equal as I see it.
    I believe you will find the service cost to certainly be more than your average Toyota or Honda driving appliance; however, like the previous poster recommends you can find a quality independent shop to save money. I think it also depends on specifically the type of service you are having done. Just budget yourself for normal service costs and you should be ok. If you kill the transmission for some reason...well that may be a different story. The M3 service may be quite a bit higher than the 330, you had better check it out first. Oh, and pleeeeease don't buy an SUV, even if it's a BMW :) G'luck.
  • tai_taitai_tai Posts: 1
    am i the only one with this problem?
    just bought a 97 328i used with the sports package (16" wheels). my tires are all 225/50/16.
    nothing wrong when i turn right. when i turn the wheel all the way to the left and start going slowly, there's some rubbing sound as if the left tire was touching the mud-guard.
    moreover, on the steering return path, i hear a very low noise underneath left side of the steering column. it sounds like some electronic was being reset or something. the noise is very low and only happens once, but it's very distinctive and annoying. anyone know how to fix this?
    also, am i the only one without a steering wheel adjustment?
  • njdriver1njdriver1 Posts: 96
    and, wow, am I bummed. I'm 6 months and 6,700m into a 330i auto and the "check transmission" light came on. Service had the car all day and no conclusions. Any guess how long this might take?

    Could this be the result of hard driving through deep, standing water on highways monday?

    And another thing, when in reverse, the car makes a strange moan while turning. Seeing how much I love the car, I'm freaked at the thought of the dealers not being able to figure out whats wrong.
  • kdshapirokdshapiro Posts: 5,751
    Yeah Monday was tough. I took it easy on the roads as I found myself going through rivers of water. Good luck and let us know what if anything turns up.
  • njdriver1njdriver1 Posts: 96
    and in the shop 4 straight days. It took a 1.5 days to diagnose for a new valve body for the transmission and 2 days to get the part. Now I'm waiting for the results and when can I pick it up. Pretty aggravating to have a new car spend 4 days in the shop.
  • What is the more critical variable during the BMW vehicle break-in period...RPM (keeping them below 4,500) or top end (not exceeding 100 MPH) for the first 1,200 miles? While picking up my 330i last month in Munich I spend several miles in the 105 to 110 MPH range but never exceeded 4,000 RPM...My rep at the ED delivery center only told me about the RPM limit (which he told me was 4,000). I don't recall him ever telling me not to exceed 100 MPH. At that point, I had not had time to read the owners manual. Do you think I did any damage to the engine? Thanks.
  • sgrd0qsgrd0q Posts: 398
    Well the short answer is - Both can be equally damaging, however breaking any of these limits will very unlikely damage the engine. In fact you can start red-lining the car from day one and drive at full throttle on the autobahn for hours, and still be fine.

    Now the long answer as to which is more damaging. It really depends on the car. Revving the engine is intuitively worse, as it creates a lot of racket. (But intuition is not always right - for instance lugging the engine is actually worse - it creates the most stress on the engine.) Driving at high speed is also stressful for the engine - the engine has to do a lot of work. So prolonged driving at high speed (even at low revolutions) is not easy on the engine. However, the most important factor in the equation is the engine. In other words there is no magical speed that applies to all engines. If the engine has to struggle to reach 100mph (as was the case with me a month ago when I traveled to Germany and rented a small POS Fiat) then that is worse. Any 6 cylinder BMW (even the 2.5 liter) will be fine at that speed. If you have the 3.0 liter or M3 engine, then 100-110mph is definitely not too hard on the engine.
  • kdshapirokdshapiro Posts: 5,751
    I don't know what a transmission valve body is, but it sounds like one of those $.99 parts causing the whole mess.

  • mkarlmkarl Posts: 3
    We have a 2001 325iA with about 7000 miles.
    The "service engine" light was illuminated shortly
    after the car was delivered. Having been assured
    by the service department that this was probably
    something minor, and could wait until the car was
    first serviced (1 year later), we delayed service.

    After eight months (and 4 service visits), it was
    determined that we had a defective computer, which
    was replaced. Not surprisingly, the car is
    performing much better.

    My question is.....does driving 7000 miles with
    a faulty DME computer cause any hidden damage to the engine. Should we be concerned that the delay in repair caused some problem which will
    show up in the future.

    Thanks in advance.
  • njdriver1njdriver1 Posts: 96
    I still don't know what it is, but I saw it lying on the shop floor covered in fluid the other morning. It was not small, rather about 24" and 1.5" diameter. The most aggravating aspect was the lack of communication, as if I should have been happy just knowing the car was in the shop.

    Well, its back now, and while I hadn't noticed anything amiss before, the car is driving fine.
  • alcanalcan Posts: 2,550
    The valve body is the assembly which contains most of the valves and solenoids which regulate and direct hydraulic pressure to various automatic transmission components to operate it. Btw, that transmission is a GM Hydramatic built in Strasbourg, France for BMW. The "$.99 part" valve body retail price is $1,873 Cdn plus gaskets and fluid.
  • lftlft Posts: 1
    I too experienced periodic "moaning" - like noises on my 01 325i SportWagon when shifting from 1-2 at low speeds. BMW examined, and the BMW replaced my tranny (steptronic by the way...). Although I was concerned at first, they did a great job, and the transmission functions perfectly. They could have probably opened up the transmission - but instead, replaced the entire unit! Kudos to BMW for doing the right thing!
  • leenelsonmdleenelsonmd Posts: 208
    I have a '95 325 (I know it isn't an E46), and the passenger seat was reclined and now it will not go back up. I hear the motor working, but the seat does not budge. Any suggestions?
  • hicairahicaira Posts: 276
    I'd be more concerned about a dealer service department that advises you to effectively ignore an engine service light. What a bunch of knuckleheads! I'd be wary of ANY service they did. Find another dealer service center and have them check it out. The one you are using now does not deserve your money.

  • likalarlikalar Posts: 108
    Hi, great boards!!! I sold a '00 328Coupe to get a Saab wagon. Stupid, stupid, stupid!!! Now, 6 months later the Saab's almost gone and I'm giving a serious look at a 2000 323iT, stick shift wagon, 22,000 miles (being sold by an independent "high-end" dealer of luxo cars). I've gone over the car with a fine tooth comb; Drives great, everything works, and the car has all new fluids, pads, tires, etc, installed by the indy's shop. My vin# "search" turns up no red flags, but shows the car was a lease and recently bought at auction in LA. The factory books are with the car, but there are no dealer stamps in the service book, and no service records. The selling dealer says "no problem, the car is factory guaranteed, and includes service visits". Fine, but... Does anyone know how I can find out if the 15000 mile service was performed? I have the vin #. Or if it ever necessary to prove to BMW that it was performed if I have problems in the future? Thanks for taking the time...
    Larry in SF, CA
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    Actually, on the E46 with the mileage this car has on it, it will be fairly easy to determine if the service was performed. Each time you start the car, the mileage remaining before the next service displays for a few seconds. To the best of my knowledge, only a BMW dealer has the equipment to reset that display, and they do that when they do the service on the car. In this case, when you start that car, you should see something like 7500 (plus or minus 700 or so), which would indicate that the car was serviced shortly before it hit 15,000 miles.

    Best Regards,
  • likalarlikalar Posts: 108
    <<...Each time you start the car, the mileage remaining before the next service displays for a few seconds....>>
    Thank you; I'll look at that tomorrow. Can I ask another question (If this is the wrong board, let me know)? The '00 323iT I'm looking at (and drove) is claimed to have the Sport Package; but I don't have the original factory window sticker. Yes, it has the sport seats. Does that mean the sport package is there for sure, or can the sport seats be had without the sport suspension?? Is there a body label with factory options hidden somewhere or other obvious sport package components I should look for to confirm that the car has the factory sport package??? Again, thank you.
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    To the best of my knowledge, there is no way to get the Sport Seats without the rest of the Sport Package. There are several clues to look for, 1) the 2000 323iT with the SP has 225 section width tires on 16" rims, the non-SP cars have 205 section width tires on either 15" or 16" rims, 2) if you sit the SP and the non-SP cars side-by-side, the SP equipped car will sit about a half inch lower, and 3) the seats and steering wheel will be different.

    I hope this helps.

    Best Regards,
  • likalarlikalar Posts: 108
    Again Shipo, thanks. I'm seeing the wagon again today. With that tire/seat info, now I feel informed enough to actually put down the $$$.
  • mchwemchwe Posts: 23
    i have just purchased a 330ci 2001 with 9000 miles on it. it has the sport package and michelin pilots.

    i didn't notice it at first, but there is quite a bit of noise that sounds like mild grinding, while going at slow speeds. i notice it when the clutch is down, and it is not engine or brake noise.

    is this appropriate to have this much road noise with the sport package? i am otherwise thrilled with the car's acceleration, braking and steering responsiveness. i also have the luxury package, and the interior is just beautiful!

    thanks for your comments!
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    I have heard scattered comments about the noise made by Michelin Pilot Sport tires. I have no idea if this is a universal problem, or just isolated to some cars. Personally, I hope this is not a blanket problem, as I just took delivery of a new 530i SP with these same tires.

    Best Regards,
  • mchwemchwe Posts: 23
    the fellow i bought the car from gave me the impression that the pilots were preferable to the other tire option (i don't know what the others were) in the sport package.

    supposedly, they have better treadwear. indeed, my tires have 9000 miles, and appear only minimally worn.

    as for their performance, the car is phenomenally sticky: i bet you'll be happy, as long as you don't mind the noise.
  • njdriver1njdriver1 Posts: 96
    After having the (outer) valve body experience, I've been noticing a strange groan or grinding noise when reversing the car. I'm not sure if its the brakes or what. Any insight?
  • b5280b5280 Posts: 1
    I am experiencing a rattle noise from my 2002 325i. The continuous noise comes out when I drive on third gear. It disappears when I push the stick forward, but you know, I can't rest my hand like that. Sometime I can hear it when it is on 5th gear, I guess it is hard to notice because of louder noise from outside with higher speed. Feels like the stick is not engaged in position, some space left between. What kind of problem it might indicate? Just want to know if anybody else experienced this problem before. Thanks.
  • widriver2widriver2 Posts: 36

    I'm planning on ordering a new 3-series soon and am considering the HK stereo. I've read past complaints about rattles with the HK stereo and was wondering if that has been corrected on the new models.


  • agrafagraf Posts: 8
    I just bought a '95 325I with plenty of experience (miles). Is is definitelly a very well put together car, very refined and tight. I have been doing miscelaneous fixes to restore its former glory. Have some of you ever replaced the AC filter? I have been trying to remove the glove compartment but have not been successful. Do you know if there are any secret fasteners to the glove compartment. I removed the six obvious ones but the thing did not move, and I am afraid of damaging something is I pry harder.

    Thanks for any help.

  • mainsail2mainsail2 Posts: 77
    Has anyone had a hard to find rattle coming from the rear seat area? I did on my 2001 325i and it was driving me crazy! Initially I though it was a seat belt, but after rearranging the belts two or three times, I finally popped off the cover of the 3rd brake light and found everything inside about to come apart. I stuffed a shop towel in there until I get to the dealer (it looked as if at least one fastener was broken), and the rattle completely disappeared. I was surprised to find something like this on a BMW and it's the only problem I've had in nine months of ownership.
  • kdshapirokdshapiro Posts: 5,751
    I have rattles in the front speakers of my car. I have a 2002 330i with the HK upgrade. I have noticed the base radio also has rattles. I had the dealer replace the speakers, but to no avail. So I gave up on the issue as it mostly affects talk radio AM. When I listen to FM or CDs the system sounds great. I recommend the upgrade as it gives the sound a panache that the base setup does not have.
  • nerdnerd Posts: 203
    We drove my wife's '02 325Ci on a 600 mile trip yesterday. I filled up the tank when we left. About 250 miles later the "service engine" light stayed on when I started it after a rest stop. I called a dealer at a town some 50 miles later, and he asked if I had filled the tank in the last 24 hours. I told him I had, and I could not swear that I got the cap on tight. He went on to say that the car would have to go through 20 run/stop cycles before the light would clear after I tightened the cap.

    Just wondering if anyone else has run into this situation, especially the 20-cycles situation.

    The car ran great and handled perfectly in the torrential rains that hit the Dallas area yesterday. The computer said it got 32MPG for the 600 miles. (Yeah, I drive the speed limit).
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