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BMW 3-Series 2005 and earlier



  • using premium gas?

    Dang, long time browser, that was my first post, I thought I'd covered everything....

    Yes, using 91 octane, as always, even from the same gas station
  • rhmassrhmass Posts: 263
    We have a '02 325xi wagon with about 28,000 miles now. We have always gotten around 19 mpg since new around mixed driving (some highway and local). The mileage has remained consistent since new. For straignt highway driving, we get about 25 mpg. I thought it was the awd reason as we have received around 22 mpg with our 2002 330i around town.
    The low mileage of our awd has been a disappointment.
  • Wow. I'm now disappointed. It's not that big of a car, and really not that powerful, and with 91 octane, I'm not sure I want to keep it. Last summer on two trips from Colorado to California I got 28-30 MPG at about 80 MPH. Sounds like I've been living on borrowed time for the first 45,000 miles. I think I could get 20 MPG minimum in a variety of turbo'ed Subarus, still with AWD, and have alot more "fun" (I had a WRX and it was a blast)
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    You dude, don't cash in your chips just yet, there is absolutely no reason why your car shouldn't get the same mileage as it did when it was younger, that is unless it was very poorly maintained, and even then it's a long shot.

    As for comparing winter mileage with summer mileage, keep in mind that most of the U.S. sells a different formulation in the winter time and said winter gas almost universally causes a drop in fuel economy. Is that your only problem? Don't know.

    Last year I was corresponding with a 530i owner who was getting crap mileage while at the same time being told by her dealership and her mechanic that her mileage was normal. The rest of us on the 5-Series board kept telling her that she was way low, and that she should keep pushing the issue. Finally she asked for an upgrade of the OBC firmware and presto, her mileage went up to the level of the rest of us. Is that your problem? Still don't know.

    Good luck and keep us posted with what you find out.

    Best Regards,
  • shipo,
    copy, I'll go back to the dealer and ask about OBC firmware. I agree the drop off shouldn't be this sudden or this big. I didn't have the car in between 5,000 miles and 29,000 miles (my ex did), but I know she had the required maintenance done. The 30k and 45k have been done.
    I do like the car, alot easier on my 50yr+ body. I'll be back after my next mechanic interface.
  • fedlawmanfedlawman Posts: 3,118
    My friends drove it up from CA over the past weekend. Here we are...

  • rworrellrworrell Posts: 151
    Man, both of those cars look awesome--congratulations. Assuming that's you in the photo, you have every right to look so happy! The E30 M3 is a fantastic car.
  • gordonwdgordonwd Posts: 337
    Sharp cars! You know, I have an interest in history in general, and one of the things that I like about owning a BMW is the sense of "continuity" of the model line. Hey, the 3 series goes back over 30 years (longer if you see the 2002 as an ancestor), and will be around for at least that far into the future. That's one thing I've hesitated to mention in the "330 vs. IS350" and similar threads -- where is the sense of history or tradition in these upstart brands and models?

    I used to feel the same way when I rode motorcycles. Among others, I rode a BMW R1100RT: a fully modern motorcycle, but with an engine layout that went all the way back to BMW's first motorcycle in 1923!

    This, like the M3 in your photo, is why BMW has an enthusiast following that will never be matched by the mass-market auto companies and other latecomers.
  • div2div2 Posts: 2,580
    That's one thing I've hesitated to mention in the "330 vs. IS350" and similar threads -- where is the sense of history or tradition in these upstart brands and models?
    Precisely. BMW understands the importance of heritage. BMW Mobile Tradition even cranks out parts for Isettas and 507s from time to time. Have you seen the "new" 2002 they are building in Munich?
    And then there is BMW CCA-only PCA comes close to CCA's level of enthusiasm and support.
    As for bikes, the same is true, though in my case I wound up on a Triumph S3. Still, I'll probably add a GS to my stable eventually.
  • nyccarguynyccarguy Stamford, CTPosts: 11,592
    I'm not worthy! I'm not worthy!

    Beautiful car man. You now own the holy grail of M3s :P


    2001 Prelude Type SH, 2015 Infiniti Q40 AWD, 2017 Honda Pilot Touring AWD

  • brave1heartbrave1heart Posts: 2,698
    ... add to that a great community of BMW enthusiasts - biggest car club in the world, some of the best track and autocross events, on-line DIY help and resources, etc. I've met nearly all of my new friends in the past 5 years since I've owned my 325i at BMW driving events!
  • fedlawmanfedlawman Posts: 3,118
    No doubt the most well conceived (and best supported) car club on the planet. I would have joined for Roundel Magazine alone, yet with all the events, DE's, DIY tech support, and friends I've made, it's definitely been the most enjoyable and rewarding $60/yr. I've ever spent.

    Thanks for the kind words everyone. My first DE with the new car is March 11th. I'm all set to break in these new shoes...


    I'll take plenty of pictures and maybe shoot some in-car video too...
  • gordonwdgordonwd Posts: 337
    The one thing that I did not like on my '04 325i are the 16" wheels (I'll save the long justification for going with these vs. the Sport Pkg with 17s). Anyway, I would like to upgrade to a set of 17" wheels, keeping the 16s around for winter with a future set of snow tires. The problem is in choosing which wheels to go with without (a) breaking the bank, and (b) looking like something a "kid" would put on a car (no offense to the younger posters here!).

    TireRack is a popular site with good prices for wheel/tire combos, but has only one or two wheels that I would consider (I want a fairly simple 5-spoke design, not a snowflake-style or more radical design). The problem is that I really hate to get something that I can't see on a car like mine first. Their web site tries to show you this, but it's just a graphics overlay and does not show you what it really looks like. I think I like the looks of the ASA JH8, but can't find a picture of an E46 wearing them.

    A safer bet would be BMW OEM wheels, and I would not be against this since they definitely pass the styling muster. I can get a new set of Style 119s from an online dealer for $277 each, which is around the top of my spending range. Can anyone tell me what model these were offered for? Were they stock 330i, or Sport Pkg 325i, or ???

    Any other comments about OEM or aftermarket wheels for the E46 would be appreciated. Thanks.
  • kyfdxkyfdx Posts: 70,625
    1) If going with an ASA wheel.. I like the AR-1.. It looks sort of like the Style 42 on the E39 5-series sport package.. and, it takes BMW center caps, so non-cognescenti can't tell you have aftermarket..

    2) If going with BMW OEM, then go used... I think the style 119s came off of E46 325 sport package cars.. '04 and '05, I think... You can prob pick up a set for around $600 or less.. maybe a little more, if they have tires attached..

    Your car won't look just like the sport package cars, though.. because it won't be lowered... the difference is subtle, but it is there... Even though the 17" tire is the same height, the shorter sidewall makes the gap between tire and wheel well appear larger..



    Prices Paid, Lease Questions, SUVs

  • fedlawmanfedlawman Posts: 3,118
    ASA AR-1's look great and are inexpensive too. That's what I'd go with.

  • gordonwdgordonwd Posts: 337
    Hmmm... When I look at that wheel with all those spoke openings and those bolt-head details that give it a two-piece look, the thing that comes to mind is "hard to clean". After all, we all know about that German brake dust! :)

    Anyway, I managed to find a place online that has some pretty good prices on BMW OEM wheels, which IMO have some advantages over aftermarket. I picked up the official wheels catalog from my local dealer and found that I really like the style 50 wheels and can get them online for $1300 delivered. So that's what I'll probably do.

    I also found out that the local independent European auto service place does TireRack mounting so that I can have my tires shipped right to them. Plus they even have a "winter storage" service where you can have them swap your wheelsets twice a year and they store your alternate set right there. It's only $40 a swap, which might be worth saving the hassle of changing my own and trying to find a place to store them around my house or garage.
  • fedlawmanfedlawman Posts: 3,118
    Cool, I'm glad you found a wheel you like.

    As for cleaning - I use a wide, short-handle bristle brush to clean my mesh wheels. All I do is spray the wheels with cleaner (P-21S) and let it soak for a minute or two. Then I push the bristles down between the spokes in a "piston-like" up and down motion. Rinse with water and the wheels are done. I'm done in minutes.


    By the way, do you have a picture of the Style 50's? I'd like to see them...
  • gordonwdgordonwd Posts: 337
    Here's an attempt at getting the image from another site:

  • I perchased brand new 330i about 2 months ago but

    there was ignition problem so it has already

    been in service for 6 weeks and the service guy keeps

    telling me they are finding out what's going on. I don't

    dive the car but still paying its insurance and montly

    payment. What if it takes several more weeks or months

    or they are unable to fix my car? Any way to return

    the car or exchange it? Anybody knows BMWUSA's policy

    about this kind of hassle? If you have any similar

    experiences or what to do PLEASE ADVISE!!!

    Thank you all. :cry:
  • kyfdxkyfdx Posts: 70,625
    Are those E46 3-series wheels? I don't recall ever seeing them on an E46...

    If you are moving up to that price range, for another $300 you can get 17 X 8 Style 71s for about $1600 shipped...

    The "Holy Grail" of 3-series wheels.. (you know..IMHO).


    Prices Paid, Lease Questions, SUVs

  • akv25akv25 Posts: 42
    I was on an out-of-town work trip yesterday and all of a sudden my 03 330 starts misfiring. I called my dealer and got an appointment with a local dealer. They replaced the Bremi ignition coil with a Bosch. Apparently, there is a recall for the ignition.

    While there, I asked the service rep to program my DRLs to come on. He says that will be a $100 charge. I say that this is ridiculous, I had the same thing done on another BMW. He asked me if it was the selling dealer (yes) and that this must have been charged to the sales department.

    I think he is BSing me. Any thoughts.
  • bdr127bdr127 Posts: 950
    Yup, there was an ignition coil recall....

    The thing about doing the computer programming is that someone actually has to do it. Think about if you were the service tech that had to sit with the car and reprogram it. Would you rather do that and not get paid, or would you rather work on a different car and get paid? Don't you think you'd do the latter? Just because it's not greasy hard labor with your hands, it's still "labor", and the person doing it needs to get paid. BMW labor rates are generally $90-$110 per hour.

    Like the service advisor indicated, many folks can get their home dealer to do stuff like that for free because they have a relationship already. Of course, if they are charging it to the sales department, they are probably getting an internal, reduced rate.
  • armandarmand Posts: 178
    In addition to my 325Xit I have a "04 Acura TL and one of the many nice things on it is that you can easily do that kind of programming yourself/
  • jajjaj Posts: 55
    I suggest you look into your state's "Lemon Law" if it has one. In CT, for instance, if there have been at least four unsuccessful attempts to repair the same defect OR if your car has been unavailable for use for at least 30 days during the first two years of ownership, the vehicle qualifies as a "lemon." Sounds like you already qualify. Given the brief period of ownership in this case you should be eligible for a full refund (tax and fees included- whatever the bottom line of your deal was) from the manufacturer. I expect the law reads similarly in other states. Good luck.

  • bdr127bdr127 Posts: 950
    In addition to my 325Xit I have a "04 Acura TL and one of the many nice things on it is that you can easily do that kind of programming yourself/

    If it's a new 325xiT, then you can do all that programming yourself, as well..... You've been able to do it all yourself on 7-series since 2002 MY, 5-series since 2004 MY, and 3-series starting this 2006 MY.
  • sunilbsunilb Posts: 407
    I've been reading about people having problems with their coolant systems, once their car goes out of warranty (> 50K miles).

    Is there some type of preventive maintenance that can be done (e.g., replacing hoses)? Or, is flushing the system (per the owner's manual) sufficient?

  • div2div2 Posts: 2,580
    Is there some type of preventive maintenance that can be done (e.g., replacing hoses)? Or, is flushing the system (per the owner's manual) sufficient?

    Coolant hoses are usually the last thing to fail on a BMW(my 101K 1995 Club Sport still runs the original hoses, as did my 135K 1997 5er). Six cylinder water pumps are prone to failure anytime after 60K, radiators after 100K. Neither part is terribly expensive and the replacement procedure is very simple. In any event, I would definitely change the coolant every three years- and I would use only BMW coolant.
  • sunilbsunilb Posts: 407
    Thanks, div2!

    So, I will plan to replace water pump (and thermostat) in the next month (I'm at 63K miles; still have to do the tranny and diff fluid you mentioned a while back) and then radiator around 90K miles.

    I wish BMW put this info in the owners manual, but luckily this board continues to be very helpful.
  • grantchstrgrantchstr Posts: 371
    I just saw a report that the 2006 BMW 3 Series was top of the heap in crash tests performed by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety: "New crash tests of midsize cars: BMW 3 series & Lexus IS earn 'Top Safety Pick'".

    Thats great news, however the rear test results are not great.... :cry:
  • mschukarmschukar Posts: 351
    My '02 325i heat system has been acting strange lately. At times, the fan level shows nearly full blast, but not much air is coming out (this in full auto mode). Manually changing the fan level has no affect. Turning the ignition off and back on seems to fix the problem.

    A more frequently occurring issue is hearing the vent fan pulse (blow harder, softer, harder, softer) while to the display shows one level. This seems to happen most times when I start the car and the temperature high enough to generate heat.

    When the interior of the car is warm and the display shows a lower fan level, I don't notice anything.

    Any thoughts?

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