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BMW M3 Maintenance and Repair



  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 57,591
    Well that's what I thought, too, so I sent him over to Bilstein, but they seem to be quibbling about this conversion. I really don't know myself, never tried it, but I'm sure some detective work could solve this problem. SOMEONE out there has done this already, i'm sure, and can give feedback.

    Well anyway, thanks for that. We seem to be drifting out of M3 territory, so maybe we should get back on topic, unless this also applies to M3 cars. ??

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  • my top stops half way up...It will go back down but won't go all the way up. it's Sunday so I thought I might throw this out for a quick solution!


  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 57,591
    Sounds like the hydraulic unit might be bad. I believe you can peak at it and look for leaks by removing the left side trim in the trunk. It's under the NAV computer and the radio receiver. If there's no leak I guess you have to bring it in and have it tested.

    So can you gently urge it upwards with your hand? If it works with hand-assist, I'd say it's probably hydraulic. If it just jams up there, maybe there's a busted arm or bad bushing in the mechanicals.

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  • Thanks! I tried a little more than gentle urge to no avail...It stops at the exact same spot every time, very strange...but it will go back down w/o any trouble. Could not find anything blocking it.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 57,591
    Okay. Does the motor keep humming or does it abruptly stop?

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  • Keeps humming...
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 57,591
    Okay I'm thinking loss of hydraulic pressure. Just a guess because we don't seem to have a jam (mechanical) and the motor is working (electrical) so by elimination....?

    You might check for a hydraulic leak, as that could damage the upholstery or paint surfaces back there.

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  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 57,591
    gotta be the pump. Internal pressure loss?

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  • No pressure loss...Cannot figure this one out!
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 57,591
    I don't know the specs for pressure but I'd imagine from the symptoms you describe that it's an internal leak in the hydraulic pump---since the top works part way and the electrical motor is working, hence top control module sending the right signals.

    I believe there are trouble codes that can be read on this car to help with diagnosis on the top mechanism.

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  • HI

    Just need to know what is the right tool to use for the drain plug. The last time/1st time I change the oil, i used a hex key to remove and tighten the drain plug. Since there was no way I can use the torque wrench, I hand tighen the drain plug (using new washer) with the hex key as tight as I can without stripping it. After a couple of months, I saw oil leak from the plug. I realized that the drain plug looks like it can be torqued with a torx set even though the hex key works.

    Now is time for another oil change, I used the torx to remove it but it started to slip. To prevent any damamge with a stuck drain plug that will require to be tapped out, I decided to leave it alone until I figure out the right tool.

    If it does use a torx, what size am I suupose to use? It was either T40 or T45 that had the best fit but still slips. Or am I suppose to get a hex key to remove and use a hex key end that can go on my torque wrench to tighten down properly for seal.

  • does anyone have DIY direction and diagram/photo on the air pump/ valve and where it is located?

    Bentley manual shows nothing that I can find on that and i can't seem to find anything detail on other forum, aside from the fact that peole claim is a easy easy diy.

    The dealer quoted a price of $1000 for parts and labor

    any help will be appreciated
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 57,591
    Gimme your specs again, year, model, engine, blah blah and the exact part you are replacing and I'll try to look up DIY info for you and post it here:

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  • actually, i google image for the air pump and found a link that shows diy for e 36

    i have a 01 m3, will so will the e36 be similar to e 46?
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 57,591
    Perhaps this is of interest?

    GROUP 12
    Engine Electrical Systems

    Bulletin Number
    12 04 00

    Woodcliff Lake, NJ
    July 2000
    Service Engineering

    Secondary Air System Faults

    All models with M52 and S52 engine
    All models with M44 engine produced as of 1/97
    All models with M62 engine produced as of 9/98
    All models with M73 engine

    Customer complains that the "Check Engine" lamp is illuminated and the following fault is set in the Engine Control Module (ECM/DME):

    M52, S52 Engine:
    Fault code 245 (F5 hex) - Secondary air injection, bank 1
    Fault Code 246 (F6 hex) - Secondary air injection, bank 2

    M62 Engine
    Fault code 80 - Secondary air injection, bank 1
    Fault Code 81 - Secondary air injection, bank 2

    M44 & M73 Engine

    Fault Code 80 - Secondary air injection system
    Failure within the secondary air injection system.


    The following diagnostic tips / steps should be followed if the above customer complaint is received:
    1. For E36 vehicles equipped with M52 engine prod. 10/95 - 2/96 also refer to S.I. 12 04 96 regarding Recall Campaign No. 96E-A01.

    2. Refer to the OBD II training manual for illustrations and explanation of system operation.

    3. Perform test modules/component activation of secondary air system located in the "Service Functions" section using DIS/MoDiC.

    4. Check operation of secondary air pump using instructions provided in DIS/MoDiC.

    5. If pump is not operating correctly check air pump relay. For vehicles with M52 engine a modified relay was introduced into production P/N 12 63 1 742 690.

    6. If the relay is operating correctly and the electrical connections/wiring to the pump are OK, check the condition of the pump.

    7. If the air pump is seized it must be replaced.

    Important note :If the pump is seized as a result of moisture (water in pump), an improperly operating non-return valve is the cause. The non-return valve may stick open and allow exhaust gases to condense within the air pump housing leading to a failure of the pump.

    Non-return valve sealing / leakage check:

    The non-return valve must be checked as follows any time a seized secondary air pump has been replaced due to moisture.

    Disconnect the air pump feed line/hose at the non-return valve (line from the secondary air pump to the non-return valve).

    Visually inspect the non-return valve fitting internally for carbon type contamination. (Twisting the corner of a clean shop rag into the valve fitting as shown will assist with this check.)

    If no carbon type deposits are found on the rag, this indicates that the non-return valve is sealing correctly and does not need to be replaced.

    If carbon type deposits are found on the rag, the non-return valve is not sealing correctly and must be replaced.
    Note :A non-return valve which is not sealing correctly will cause damage to the secondary air pump as described above.

    8. Check also for cracked vacuum lines going to the non-return valve.

    -- For vehicles with M44 engine the vacuum line P/N 11 73 7 501 180 going to the non-return valve has been improved since 11/98.

    -- For E46 323i/iA and 328i/iA vehicles produced 4/98 - 7/98 see S.I. number 12 04 98 regarding the vacuum hose to the secondary air non-return valve service action.

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  • there's no doubt bmw is an amazing performance machine combine with comfort in a reasonable price. But I'm starting to wonder if the complain from others that is not as relaible with multiple electrical/mechanical issue is really true

    Thanks for the info

    if you ever finds any DIY diagram or photos of the air pump or relay, I would appreciated.
  • jd1971jd1971 Posts: 1
    found this old thread as I am looking at purchasing m3. what is the problem with titles from NH? just curious as I am in new england
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 57,591
    Oh some states in the past developed a bad reputation for being very loose with their title requirements, allowing out-of-staters to "launder" salvage titles for real ones.

    I really don't know if these loopholes have been corrected or not. I'm just so used to being on alert with titles from New Hampshire and Alabama that I remain on high alert when I come across one.

    Didn't mean to alarm you! Best thing for you might be something like

    Auto Check

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  • I am thinking about buying a 2005 BMW M3 fully loaded with navigation with 48,100 miles. I was wondering if there are any known reported repair problems with this vehicle? The 2008 Consumer Reports Buying Guide saids it is a used vevicle that should be avoided. It reports transmission, electrical, power and suspension problems, but most of my internet research for the most part does not state anything like this.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 57,591
    Here's a checklist for you:

    3 Series Bugaboos

    However, with those low miles I wouldn't think too many items on the list would apply, so you may be okay. What I'd do if i were you is download this list of areas of concern and show them to the shop that checks out the car for you, and let them inspect these items.

    Some are minor, like valve cover leaks, and some don't apply to the M3, like the oil separator. Others might apply to low mileage, like the BMW power steering hoses, which tend to leak and which cost an outrageous amount of money for some reason.

    Anyway, I'm not sure Consumer Reports has much of a handle on BMWs.

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  • I have 49000 miles on my M-coupe. I have worn out my rear tires twice (byproduct of my right foot) but my front tires are just now coming to the wear bars. I want to get an alignment, but fear not getting the M numbers right. Does anyone know the correct specs for an M-Coupe? Also, I've called the 2 tire shops that I typically send my customers to, and they both told me to see the dealer because of special tools etc. needed to perform the alignment correctly. Is that right?!?!
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 57,591
    That doesn't make sense---well I mean indeed there may be special tools, but my experience has been that many many dealers farm out their alignments to specialists anyway. I don't see why a really talented alignment shop can't align just about any vehicle. My tire shop (who specializes in alignment) does Ferraris, Porsches, Bentleys, etc, as well as Hyundais.

    A good alignment shop is not necessarily just a tire shop.

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  • roadburnerroadburner Posts: 10,278
    BMW's alignment specs assume a certain weight in the passenger seat and the trunk. Some shops won't align them because they don't have any way to put the specified weights in the car. My indie tech uses a little Mom & Pop shop located in the back of an old industrial park. They don't charge much and they do absolutely first rate work.

    Mine: 1995 318ti Club Sport / 2014 M235i / 1999 Wrangler / 1996 Speed Triple Challenge Cup Replica Wife's: 2016 i3 REX/2009 Cooper Clubman Son's: 2009 328i

  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 57,591
    Oh that is SO German. :P

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  • phudphud Posts: 4
    Hi M3 owners,
    I found a set of M6 wheel & tire that i'm going to take a look in this weekend & intended to buy it for my 04-M3. The bolt pattern is the same so it will fit. But does anyone know is there anything wrong to use M6 wheel on a M3, because the wheel offset may be different from one another?
    Any insight from your past experience or comment is most welcome

    The M6 wheels look very sporty & the tires are still in great condition. The price is very reasonable & i really like to have them

  • gmonkiesgmonkies Posts: 35

    I thought I have a main seal leak but luckily it was only the rubber 0-ring on oil pressure regulator on the side of the block. Does anyone know how often does that happen?

    Also, the bentley manual said that the bolt holding the metal plate for structure support under the engine area must be replaced every time, after removal. I order new bolts from BMW but using the old one until I get it. I torqued the old bolt back to spec and the car seems to be driving okay. Should I still change it when I get the new bolt or just save it till the next time I have to remove the metal plate again?

    One last thing is I replaced my window regulator and adjust the window alignment to be the same as the other side. Everything works fine except if the window goes up automatically, it will will comes down 1/3 of the way after getting to the top. I thought it was cause by the window going up too high. But when I adjust the window alignment so it does not reach the very top, it still does the same thing. Is there anything that I am suppose to rest to solve this minor problem?

  • roadburnerroadburner Posts: 10,278
    I order new bolts from BMW but using the old one until I get it. I torqued the old bolt back to spec and the car seems to be driving okay. Should I still change it when I get the new bolt or just save it till the next time I have to remove the metal plate again?

    I'd change it.

    . But when I adjust the window alignment so it does not reach the very top, it still does the same thing. Is there anything that I am suppose to rest to solve this minor problem?

    Try this:

    Press the window down button. When the window is down - hold it down for 20 seconds. Then press the window up button (with the door closed) - and hold it up for 20 seconds once it's all the way up.

    These two steps teach the window the normal down and up positions. They're needed for auto-down/up and to keep the window from going too far up into the channel. There is a magnetic switch in the motor assembly that is adjusted by doing this.

    Mine: 1995 318ti Club Sport / 2014 M235i / 1999 Wrangler / 1996 Speed Triple Challenge Cup Replica Wife's: 2016 i3 REX/2009 Cooper Clubman Son's: 2009 328i

  • david112david112 Posts: 4
    I'm considering an M3 Convertible and it will be my all-year round car. I drive about 23 miles each way from the suburbs to the city. Assuming I get good winter tires (and feel free to recommend any 18 inchers you feel are good), will this work or will I be white-knuckled all winter?
    I appreciate your thoughts - David
  • kyfdxkyfdx Posts: 64,692
    I don't know why an M3 would be any different on winter tires than any other 3-series, other than a slightly lower ground clearance. Is this a new M3 with the folding hardtop?

    Winter tires are the key, and, if they fit, I'd recommend 17" winters on dedicated wheels.. My wife drove an '05 330i with soft-top through three Cincinnati winters with no problem, and she really isn't much of a winter driver... and, we have a lot hillier terrain here, than in Chicago... We've used Goodyear Eagle Ultra-Grip and Dunlop WinterSports... both in 17" get-flats....

    Don't really know much about run-flats, though, if you are going that direction.



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