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BMW 3-Series: FAQ

Karen_SKaren_S Posts: 5,095
edited March 2014 in BMW
This discussion is for BMW 3-series owners to post frequently asked questions and answers, if you have them!

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Need help picking out a make/model, finding inventory, or advice on pricing? Talk to an Edmunds Car Shopping Advisor



  • brave1heartbrave1heart Posts: 2,698
    Here are the numbers from BMWNA (all MSRP and 325i with options added to approximate the 330i):

    MSRP $36,310
    Includes Sport Package - $1,200
    and destination charge

    MSRP $31,430
    Includes Sport Package - $1,400
    Power front seats with driver memory - $945
    On-board computer - $300
    Harman Kardon premium sound system - $675
    and destination charge


    Let's look at the rest of the differences:
    fog lights and automatic climate control system are standard on the 325i, as is cruise control; front center armrest is around $130; Other differences: titanium headlight surrounds, titanium front grille and chrome exhaust tail pipes, aluminum ringed gauges in cockpit, upgraded interior lighting, aluminum interior trim - how much is this gimicky shiny stuff worth, maybe $300? That's 300+130=$430. Subtract that from 4,880 and you get $4,450 for the engine. Oh, OK, I have not counted the fake M badging - $50 you say?

    Objective Answer: $4,400 for the engine ALONE

    End of objective discussion

    Subjective discussion:
    For me personally, I do NOT want the power front seats with driver memory - $945. I like to be able to move the seat around fast. Comes very handy when cleaning the car and you need to move the seat and even when you are switching drivers. I'll get power seats when I'm 70 years old. I don't want the armrest either beacuse it gets in my way when switching gears, especially switching fast. I always keep both hands on the wheel and I have no use for the armrest anyhow. Gimicky shiny stuff: some of it's fine but I would not pay to get it.
    Fake M badging? Puuulease. And I do like the Star 44 wheels that are on the 325i SP better than any other 3-series. Actually better than any other wheels except for the Avus style wheels from the Audi S8 and S4.

    So here's my personal difference:
    4,880 was the standard difference I calculated above
    +945 power seats
    +130 armrest
    +300 gimicky shiny stuff
    +50 fake M badging
    $6,305 - the money I would have to pay to get the engine, which is the only thing I'd really like to have from the 330i that I do not have in the 325i. Oh, and 5% or more sales tax on $6,305, that would be about $315 for a total difference of $6,620.

    Please, people, the 330i is a better car than the 325i but I would not pay that premium over the 325i to get it. Or be jealous of the people that do. Enjoy it, whatever Bimmer you are driving :o)
  • Karen_SKaren_S Posts: 5,095
    Try posting your question in this discussion on the M&R board. There is a Town Hall member, 0patience, who may be able to help you.

    Technical Service Bulletins

    Owner's Clubs

    Edmunds Manager UGC Click on my screen name to send a personal message. Need help navigating? Check out Getting Started in Edmunds Forums.
    Need help picking out a make/model, finding inventory, or advice on pricing? Talk to an Edmunds Car Shopping Advisor

  • I read in the June 2001 BMW CCA Roundel that there's an official Service Bulletin 72 01 01 (March 2001) about the B-pillar seat belt mount "click" noticed by some regular posters. The cause is a plastic spacer ring and the replacement part is 72 11 1 978 983, to be covered under warranty.
  • dhanleydhanley Posts: 1,531
    I know, we all have to convince outselves that we got the best car built. ;)

  • Can I use any synthetic oil brand when and if I need to add oil?

    Just took my 330icc to have the "Service Engine Soon Light" turned off. The service advisor checked the oil while I was there. It was half way to the mark where I should add oil. There are only 3,000 miles on the car. He suggested I buy a quart at the parts desk and just keep it on hand in case. I probably will do so when I go back to pick up the car. I don't want to do anything which would harm the car or void the warranty.

    Anyone have any thoughts on this subject?
  • Sorry, I can't answer your question, but you should probably post your question on the 3-series Sedan Board to get a quicker reply. Join us!
  • brucec35brucec35 Posts: 246
    It's hard to disagree with those numbers. I'm steamed too at the exorbitant price premium of the 330 over the 325. But, that said, it's hard to put a price on spending $35,000 on a car that you aren't happy with because you consider it too sluggish for your driving tastes. Is the 325i adequte? Yes, it's surprisingly strong for day to day use. But for that "feel it in your gut" acceleration, you'll have to spend the extra money or pick one up used. A 330i coupe with leatherette seats, the sports package, and nothing else would be quite a screamer, and not that bad on price. Not a lot of luxury frills, but a smooth ride, great handling, good looks, and lots of safety are luxuries today when you have to spend $50,000 plus to "have it all" in a car. The 'bang-for-the-buck' cars like the Acura CL/TL type S lack something in styling, refinement, and ride.
  • ferlandferland Posts: 1
    I was curious about the 15,000 miles between oil changes that the salesman person mentioned. Can the 325i really go 15,000 without needing it oil changed. Even with synthetic this sounds ridiculous.
  • cstarke1cstarke1 Posts: 5
    I was told by two different BMW service managers that the engines can, indeed, go 15,000 miles (or 2 years) between oil changes. This applies only to engines that use synthetic oil. However, there is no harm done if you want to change the oil sooner. But if your car is still under the 3/36 free maintenance schedule, don't bring it in sooner than 15,000 miles or they'll charge you for it. I brought my car to a place that has synthetic oil and it cost $50; the BMW dealer said they would also do a diagnostic and the whole thing would have run about $400.
  • rhmassrhmass Posts: 263
    I have a '94 325i with auto. About a week ago, the check coolant light came on. It was low so I put in to the full mark. When I crawled down to check, I noticed coolant dripping down from the are behind the fan belt and the timing chain. Does this mean I may have a leaking water pump? Can I still drive it for a few days without danger being stranded on highway. The radiator was replaced by dealer a little over a year ago. I like to have some ideas before going to the dealer for service. Just had Oxygen sensor, transmission downshift switch and ball joints replaced two months ago by dealer. Appreciate any help for this mechanically challenged owner. Thanks.
  • dhanleydhanley Posts: 1,531
    Well, here's my thinking. I got a '97 328 vs a similar vintage 325. The extra power is one factor, more so because i live in the mountians, and in the thin air going uphill it's nice to have all the oomph you can get. The top end of the engines is similar, but low-end the 328 has considerably more power--if that is important depends on you, of course.

    You do get some extras; you got the m3 shifter + clutch ( very nice ) you got bigger brakes + brake vents, and a few more standard features that made the move from 325 to 328 look more reasonable. And used, there's even less of a difference, which is the way i got my car.

  • div2div2 Posts: 2,580
    Yep, sounds like a water pump. Fix it NOW! It will only get worse and possibly cause additional damage. It sounds like you are in need of a good BMW independent shop. If you have to keep running to a dealer to fix the problems you are looking at big $$$ in the long term. Join BMW CCA and you will quickly get wired in with folks who can recommend some decent independents. Check out:
  • rhmassrhmass Posts: 263
    Appreciate your advice and definitely I'll try to find a competent mechanic that knows BMW. Made an appointment with one for the possible water pump problem for Wednesday. Love the handling of car but dismayed by the cost of maintenance.
  • coolbretcoolbret Posts: 13
    Hey, I was wondering if anybody bought a special order 3 series this year, and the time frame that it took from order to delivery. I ordered a 325Ci on May 25, according to the website it was done assembly on July 6, and has been sitting in Germany since then waiting to be shipped. So i was just curious what anybody else's timeline was like, since I'm impatient and want my car :-) Thanks!
  • rhmassrhmass Posts: 263
    I stopped by today to confirm my appointment with the repair shop for the leaking coolant problem. The mechanic told me it could take a couple days for the job, since it is difficult to get at the water pump (I thought the 94 model doesn't have the timing belt, so it was not that hard to replace the water pump). Then he added that the problem might also be a blown head gasket and that would be a big problem. The leak is actually relatively small. Does a blown head gasket create a bigger leak? Also this leak started quite recently (about two weeks ago at most) and the temperature gauge has never gone beyond the center line, so the engine has never experienced overheat problem. Please advise me if the mechanic made any sense in his speculations on the matter. I just like to at least carry out a discussion with him tomorrow with some intelligence. Thanks a lot for your help.
  • div2div2 Posts: 2,580
    Does that mechanic even know how to spell BMW??? ;) The water pump is a really easy job; you don't even have to pull the radiator. See for yourself:

    The DOHC four cylinders up through about mid 1994 had a profile gasket that could leak like you described, but not the sixes. It could also be the thermostat housing. If yours is plastic it may have cracked. Metal replacements are available. Let me know what happens.
  • rhmassrhmass Posts: 263
    Somehow I wasn't able to get into the Edmunds site early morning, so I dropped off the car at the garage without the benefit of information from your post. I did get in late morning before the mechanic called me at work at noon. He identified the water pump leak and told me he would also replace the thermostat (almost exactly the same as mentioned in the link you posted) and he actually gave me an estimate of $350 for the work. I thought it was more than reasonable. I just picked up the car and everything seems to be in good order. May be I have finally found an honest mechanic I can rely on for my BMW. He also told me he used BMW parts. Thank you for the information in your posts which helped me to understand and evaluate his work on my car.
  • div2div2 Posts: 2,580
    I'm glad everything worked out. I just got worried when the guy said the pump was hard to access. It sounds like a pretty fair deal. You should be set for another 80,000+ miles. What kind of coolant are you using? I strongly recommend BMW's home brew. Good stuff and you only have to change it every three years.
  • rhmassrhmass Posts: 263
    Since I never mentioned in my posts the mileage of my car and you said in your last post that it would be good now for another 80,000+ miles. My car's current mileage is exactly 80750! You do know even how long certain parts on BMW last! Incredible.
    While he said he used BMW parts, I think he meant the water pump and the thermostat, not the coolant. I can double check on this. I appreciate your help very much.
  • div2div2 Posts: 2,580
    Lucky guess on my part. Happy to help. Enjoy your car. Don't worry too much about the coolant, just change it out in one or two years and you'll be fine.
  • bornagainbornagain Posts: 38
    Now you're going to give him a big head! Maybe he'll started charging :)))
  • I'm interested in purchasing a 2001 325ci but I like the rims on the 330ci. Does anyone know where I can get these? How about after market? Can anyone also suggest any other cool rims to get and where? how much will it end up costing me? What should I do with the stock ones that are on the car now. Will the dealer trade it in?

    Also I like the way the lower grill (where the fog lights are) stands out on the 330cibetter because it's painted silver rather than black. Has anyone heard of painting it?

    Any cool sites to get aftermarket goods for the 3series?

    I'm getting a sweet deal on the 325 or I would go for the 330.

  • dhanleydhanley Posts: 1,531

    It may be heresy here, but i'm sort-of anti-mod. I could spend 2-3K on mods, but i'd rather invest that money and spend 3-5K more buying a faster car next time.

  • div2div2 Posts: 2,580
    Not to mention that few drivers schools will make you MUCH faster than $2-3K of mods could ever hope to.
  • dhanleydhanley Posts: 1,531
    Also an excellent point.

    I do know people with well over 10K in mods that have never been to any driving school at all; who don't know oversteer from unsersteer.

  • rhmassrhmass Posts: 263
    I was very appreciative for the advice I received last time on the water pump problem with the 94'.
    Now I am looking for opinion on the oldest of the three cars I own, a 86' 325e which basically is used by my son when he comes home for school vacations. We also use it for short errands around town like taking leaves or trash to the town dump. The car has been meticulously maintained. Both timing bell and four new brakes were put in about 5000 miles ago and coolant and brake flush done a month ago. Synthetic oil has always been used for oil chage. Car runs well. A couple weeks ago I noticed grinding noise coming out when I turned the steering wheel and upon checking found the power steering fluid was almost empty. I bought some PS fluid and put it in and the noise went away and it steers fine. However, the leak continues and now I almost have to put in fluid every week.
    I checked with an independent mechanic, he told me the "power steering rack" needs replacement and a non-BMW part replacement will cost me between $800 to $1000. I called my BMW service manager who I have known for many years because I have my three BMWs serviced there. He told me on the phone that if the rack needs replacement, it will be around $1300.
    Do you think the price quoted is around the ball park and what is your opinion to fix such a old car, albeit is still in very good condition, at this price. I almost feel stupid to spend this much money, but somehow my boys and myself all somehow quite attached to our first BMW! Sorry for the long posting and thanks in advance for your rational thoughts.
  • iam0378iam0378 Posts: 10
    I have had my '02 330Ci for a week and there is a pull to the right, as the car would appear to be out of alignment. I noticed it the day after I bought it, but was unable to take it in for a few days. Momentum BMW in Houston told me initially the tires had incorrect pressures between the front and rear, which should correct the problem--it didn't. I took it back the next day and a different service advisor said BMW designs their cars with a pull to the right "so as to get the car off the road in case the driver falls asleep."

    I don't buy it. My friend has a 2001 325i with 7K miles and is perfectly aligned.

    Is there any truth to this? Thanks for the help.
  • Does anyone know how to change the clock (part of the radio)? I have a 2001 325xi sportwagon. I first thought that the owners manual told me to go to the radio manual and the radio manual sent me back to the owners manual. Then I saw more information on the owners manual page and tried to follow directions. These pointed to a knob on the front dash that I couldn't do anything with, even though I was in the first ignition position. I have not found this manual helpful on any issue. Help! Thanks.
  • Anyone had any experience in buying a new or used BMW in Canada? I am planning to buy a new or late model used 3 series conv. and have had trouble finding the right car in the right color in WA. Dealers in BC have a much greater selection than WA dealers.

This discussion has been closed.