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BMW 3-Series Maintenance and Repair



  • owner6owner6 Posts: 89
    The best solvent to use that wont damage the clear coat (it will remove the wax), is Kerosene. you can pat it on the road tar and let it set for 3 or 4 minutes than rub it with a rag moistened with more Kerosene. It will come off in seconds and wont harm the paint. You will than need to rub the area with liquid dish detergent than rinse off with a hose. than reapply a wax. I have done this for many years.
  • kominskykominsky Posts: 850
    I had similar stuff going on when I had my head unit replaced under warranty. They told me the stereo was in European mode and it took them just a couple of minutes to make it right.

    This is off of it may be what my service dept did but I can't guarantee it. It's written for setting the speed sensitive function, but according to the text you can get into the country mode also:

    Q: How do I change the speed-sensitive volume control setting?
    A: This feature allows you to decrease the speed sensitive volume with the HK system as well as put your radio in different country modes (such as Europe mode). This doesn't work on all radio options, but give it a shot:

    On cars without NAV

    First, don't be driving while doing this procedure.

    Turn the radio off then on again. Dont touch any button except the 'm' button - the button you use to tune the radio frequency manually. Press and hold the 'm' button for TEN seconds or until the display changes. IIRC, it shows the serial number of the unit. Normally when you press 'm', the display will reflect that by replacing 'ST' (stereo tuning) with 'm'. When holding the 'm' button for this procedure, the display should not do this - you will continue to see 'ST' for the ten seconds.

    Now if the display has changed, you are in a configure mode on the radio. If you press the '+' or '-' button you change modes. The mode you want will display as "GAL (1-6)". This mode allows you to adjust the speed-sensitive volume control. Use the radio preset buttons 1-6 to set the amount of volume change you want at speed. Setting 1 is the smallest change, 6 is the highest.

    I use 1 with the windows closed, and 4 when it's a nice day and I drive with the windows open which makes for a lot of ambient noise at speed. The car is so quiet with the windows closed that setting 1 is plenty. On my car the default setting from the factory was 3 and it bugged me too.

    Then turn the radio OFF to save the settings. Turn it back on and go for a drive to test it. The other semi-useful test mode will tell you the signal strength of any give station from 0 to 15 (highest). Use the preset buttons to change stations in the mode. This capability is probably used in the automatic tuning funtion in the radio.

    On cars with NAV

    Get in the car, close the door, and turn the ignition to position 1 (accessory. As soon as the monitor comes on, press and hold the RDS button for aprox 12 sec. Using the arrow keys, near the Tone and Select buttons, scroll to heading "GAL" (German acronym for speed depandant volume) The default setting will be displayed. To change, use the number keys 1-6, 1 being less increase, 6 being maximum.
  • wjc12345wjc12345 Posts: 10
    Thank you very much - you were right on. I called the service dept before I saw your message & they immediately said that my radio was in "European Mode". They walked my through the steps to change it to "Area USA".
  • pmetsgerpmetsger Posts: 2
    Still having problems. How do you reset the stop limits on the windows. I have a 94 conv. The windows are supposed to go down 1/2 in. when you open the door to clear the top. Some times it does and other times not. I switched the toggle swith with the right side and the problem remains. Put in a newe window motor assy. Problem remains. When I push the toggle switch you can hear clicking in the dash behind glove box and in the door. Somehow the signal is not getting to the power side of the motor. PLEASE HELP!! I am out of ideas and good knuckles.
  • Hello all..I have some questions and I hope someone can help me out. When accelerating and/or turning the car, a soft tsktsktsk sound comes from the engine I believe. The sound reminds me of when I was a child riding my bike and a leaf(s) would get caught in the spokes. And no there's nothing stuck in my tires and/or wheel well. I checked. Also, why have my nuts on the tires turned a rusty brown color? Oh and one more question,under the rear view mirror there's a red knob, which I am assuming is the alarm sensor? However, if it is, I'm not sure how to activate my alarm (purchased pre-owned car) I'm sure one would say "refer to the manual" however, there's no manual to refer to.. (can you tell that I'm a female!? LOL) Thanks guy/gals I appreciate your attention! I Look forward to some answers!!
  • div2div2 Posts: 2,580
    Try this: Close the door and turn the ignition key on. Fully open the window, then fully close it and hold the window button in the "up" position for at least 5 seconds after the window has closed. This procedure will re-initialize the window motors. If the problem persists, you'll have to pull the door panel(s) and adjust the windows as per the E36 Bentley manual.
  • Thanks for the feedback. I obtained two estimates for the repair to the bumper cover..essentially remove, sand, prep, paint, finish and reinstall. The estimates were $571 and $498. The steps for the repair were identical but the time estimated to perform them varied between the two shops. Both shops had a number of high end cars in process and both were recommended for BMW work. One shop showed me a job in progress on a lexus that is identical to what I need. I looked at one finished job and there is NO evidence of damage. They have to have the car 3 days to do the work (drag).

    Finally, they pointed out that the damage was from the two license retaining bolt heads on the car that hit me. A minor detail but each estimator commented on it instantly.

    I plan to get the work done as soon as they can take me.

  • aoroneeaoronee Posts: 3
    My BMW (2004 300XI) was rear-ended by a truck. Insurance is fixing it. Cost around $6,000.00 dollars. (almost done). Now it dawned to me that the car should have been totaled. Because, I see the repair items described an itema as:

    Frame/Unibody Repair and setup - Part type/part number - Sublet (What is meant by sublet??) - Dollar amount is: $ 352.00

    Is it possible to repair Frame/Unibody? How safe is it? My ins co. (State Farm) is saying that it is fixable. BMW dealership is saying that it'd be perfect. Should I believe it? What is my recourse?
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 57,595
    yep, they can fix 'em good as new, presuming of course that it is economical to do so. They probably just pulled it out on a frame machine to take a kink out. These machines are pretty wonderful in the hands of a pro.

    Your only other "recourse" is to make a claim against the other party's insurance for "diminution of value"...which presumes that your car is now worth less because of the accident, even though fixed perfectlly. The argument is that given two identical cars, one previously damaged and one not, that a buyer would not choose yours unless you discounted it.

    The other insurance company will resist this claim, of course, and you may need to hire a professional appraiser.

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

  • jcpucciojcpuccio Posts: 1
    dhanley thank you very much for the info on the climate control capacitor..your info worked like a charm and i saved $400 so you ARE A GENIUS...but i got another question if you don't mind.. you seem to be THE GUY:)

    just below the climate control is a digital display for outside temp, warnings and the clock settings etc...the problem is most of the little orange lights are out so i can't read anything although the unit seems to you have a fix for these little lights?- thanks mucho chris puccio n. hollywood calif.
  • div2div2 Posts: 2,580
    If some of the orange dots are illuminated and others are not, then it sounds like you have a bad display. On the other hand, if the entire display is dim then the illuminating bulbs are burned out. In either case, you should find this site to be helpful.
  • jasondjasond Posts: 28
    I'm getting a kind of wailing sound from my brakes. This occurs only when I put the car (2003 330xi) into reverse. I do this to reverse out of my garage and out of some parking places. I usually have my foot on the brake to slow the car as i back out. While my foot is on the brake I hear this wailing sound that stops if I take my foot off the brake pedal and continue to reverse. Does anyone have any opinion about what causes this and does it have any significance that indicates I should have the dealership look at it? The brakes work fine and make no noises during ordinary use. Thanks, Jason
  • sheepdgsheepdg Posts: 12
    You probably live in an area with fairly high humidity.

    I live in California, with pretty low humidity, but when I wash my car and park it in the garage, the next time I back out sounds like a bull rhino in heat. Once the rust and oxidation gets burnt off the rotors and calipers the problem is solved.....until the next car wash.
  • cowcow Posts: 1
    I just purchased a 2002 325 CI and I noticed the inspection light was showing -25 for the first time. I was planning to
    send it to the dealer in a month. Then the next day a noise was coming from the fan belt area and so I got it service at a third party high-end shop. They replaced the belt because they needed it and did the all other inspection requirements.
    The next day the squeaking noise was back. I noticed that the noise was only in the morning and went away after a few minutes. I called the dealer and they said if it's not the belts then it was a section in that area that needs to be lubed. I'm taking it in to the dealer for that to get fixed. I will say I still got more bang for my buck going to a third party.
    The upside this problem is covered under my warranty.

    Good Luck! I hope this helps.
  • raye13raye13 Posts: 1
    I was just pulled over by the police tonight . I was advised that my brake lights have been solid for the past 5 miles and when I came to a stop they stayed solid . Now before I head to the shop . Can anyone help me or advise on this matter .99 325 wagon ..I need help ... thank you :confuse:
  • gordonwdgordonwd Posts: 337
    Whenever I wash my car in my driveway, I always finish the job by driving it around the block, riding the brake just a little bit to wipe off the rotors. No use letting that oxidation (a nice word for "rust") occur if it doesn't have to. I hate that scraping noise that you get otherwise!

    When driving your car in the rain or other wet conditions, this usually doesn't happen because your brakes heat up enough that even if they're wet when you park it, the residual heat dries them off fairly quickly.
  • abfischabfisch Posts: 591
    Have a 04 325ci. No squeaks, light or hard braking. While not a show stopper, whoever said it was normal...........does not really care about your driving experience. Take it somewhere else. Not normal. They may need to take the pads off, clean things up and reapply them with anti-seize/squeal lubricant and/or camfer the ends of the pads.

  • sheepdgsheepdg Posts: 12
    Most probably your brake pedal relay is stuck in the closed position.

    R&R relay is not a big job but you will need to pull your barkelight fuse or your battery will drain down to dead.
  • aoroneeaoronee Posts: 3
    Hi there! Thank you so much for your reply (replies). I am going to get back the car on Monday. Let's see how it runs. I was more worried about the safety of the car (going forward) then the price devaluation. The hit was big, but nothing happened to my wife who was driving. I want same kind of protection; that's what I was concerned with.
  • bmsamsonbmsamson Posts: 1
    So I've been looking for an old beemer to baby, and save gas $$ from my SUV gashog, and found this 325e with one small problem -- the mentioned lights won't go out, causing a battery drain when not running (obviously the charging system works) that the current owner solves by disconnecting the battery whenever he parks it. i'd rather fix it. any ideas of how to start? as an interim solution (hopefully very short term) anyone know which fuse controls these lights -- i'd rather unplug a fuse than disconnect the battery.

    thanks in advance.

  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 57,595
    Probably the same fuse that controls your headlights and instrument lights, so that idea won't work.

    I think you might have a bad headlight switch. You can change it out without too much trouble on that model I think, except for the part about paying for the stalk switch.

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

  • I've got a 2003 325Ci with standard BMW radio and 6 cd changer. Driving home last night the radio suddenly went to full volume and nearly blew me out of the car! Does anyone have any idea what the problem may be? Adjusting the volume, turning it off and on, all the obvious things don't make any difference.

    Many thanks.
  • owner6owner6 Posts: 89
    If you mean side marker lights as bumper lights and also license plate lights, than its not the switch if the tail lights operate normally.
  • maxi100maxi100 Posts: 1
    I have a 96 328IC BMW. As I break, sometimes I hear like a locking sound. Sometimes when I come to a stop, I feel like the brakes grind. I had taken it in. The mechanic said it was the ball joints and bushings. They got replaced but the brakes continue to do the same thing. Any clue, any suggestions besides taking it back to the mechanic?
  • dmabramsdmabrams Posts: 4
    Ok here's the deal. I took my car in Saturday because the SERVICE ENGINE light came on. They said it was a bad thermostat. That was replaced. Yesterday the coolant indicator light popped on for about 4-5 minutes then went off. Today it did the same thing. The coolant level was checked 3 weeks ago and was fine. The temperature gague is also right in the middle. Might the two issues be interrelated? Any advice is greatly appreciated.
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    If you had a bad thermostat the I don't think that it is at all unlikely that you lost some coolant in the process. Assuming that you are within your warranty/maintenance period, your dealer will fill it up for free. If not, stop by your dealer (or any good indy shop that specializes in BMWs) and buy a gallon of BMW coolant. Mix it 50/50 with water and fill it yourself.

    Best Regards,
  • k2hk2h Posts: 7
    Does any one know how to program the DRL's on a 2003 330Ci Convertible?

  • gordonwdgordonwd Posts: 337
    That pretty much has to be done by the dealer. It's one of the items on the "key settings" checklist that they give you before you take delivery of a new car, where you make a number of choices (DRLs, doors automatically locking, seat position goes with which key you use, etc.).

    Unfortunately, most dealers charge at least 1/2 hour labor to make changes.
  • mitchs5mitchs5 Posts: 8
    My 2002 330i 5M, just had the "service engine soon" light go on at 44k, though 4 months out of warranty. Took it to my dealer and told Air Flow Sensor and Fuel Valve are the putting out the codes costing $710 plus tax to replace. Anyone heard of this? Any recourse with BMW regarding low miles and expensive repair? This wouldn't be part of some emisions control that has a longer hidden warranty or TSB? Any help appreciated...Thanks
  • div2div2 Posts: 2,580
    First off, once your car is out of warranty, BMW-or any other car maker-is usually not obligated to pay for anything. That said, BMW will sometimes offer to pay all or a percentage of an out-of-warranty repair as a goodwill gesture. If they refuse, simply take the sled to a good independent BMW shop. With a CCA discount the cost could be up to 25% less than the dealer figure. Better yet, buy the Bentley E46 manual and do it yourself. Replacing the MAF sensor takes all of 20 minutes.
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