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BMW owners: 3 yr maintenance question?


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#1 of 10 Nelson Au

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Posted March 09 2004 - 05:35 PM

Hi guys-

I’m curious if anyone here is a BMW owner. I would be interested in hearing your experiences with regards to two issues, one is the maintenance and the other is a cell phone. I know there are several BMW sites, but I’ve not been to any in recent times and I’m not sure which is a good one with mature people that give useful feedback and information.

I have a 2001 330ci and the maintenance service just expired a few days ago. This is the one where the car has free oil changes and such for the first 3 years. As you know, because of the use of synthetic oils, the oil stays in the car for 15,000 miles or so before changes. I’ve only got 22K miles on it now. So I could never take advantage of the services, except once.

Since the 3-year thing expired, I called my dealer to see if it’s possible to buy one of those extended things for service. He said I missed it and I’m out of luck. I could have paid about $1,300.00 for an extension to 5 years up to 100K miles. That was a promotion. I would think they might try to sell me on it anyway! I suppose if it were an American car dealer, they would have. Maybe I can talk to the service manager.

Not sure what an oil change and maintenance visit costs. I’m sure it varies from dealer to dealer. I could do it myself; I did it all the time on my other cars. The car is so new still and it’s my first BMW, so I’m not all that mechanically familiar with it yet. The main thing that concerns me is the computer and resetting it after the oil changes.

On the cell phone, I’ve read that for 2002 and up cars, they offer a BMW branded Bluetooth module that fits in the trunk and is tied to the audio system of the car. So if you had a Bluetooth phone, it can talk to the car. And as such, if a call came in, you can answer the phone via the car using the cell phone button on the cell phone, all wirelessly. Since I missed this by a year, I was curious if there are kits that can modify a car to use the Bluetooth as described above. Or can the BMW module be made to fit the car.

Thanks!

Nelson

#2 of 10 Leo Hinze

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Posted March 10 2004 - 12:01 AM

Try this forum:

Bimmerfest

Be sure to do a search first, but this board is populated with mature, helpful people.

Another option is this one:

E46 Fanatics

This one is directed more toward modders and such, but there is still lots of good info, and they have the best "For Sale" section for E46 parts.

Good luck!

#3 of 10 Jay H

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Posted March 10 2004 - 12:36 AM

Do your own oil change, it's really simple. I don't even jack the car up, I just reach under with a long socket wrench. The oil filter is smack dab in front of you when you pop the hood too, on an E36 328i you'll need a 36mm cocket for the oil filter cover and a 17mm socket for the oil pan bolt, however, it's fairly simple to get to on the E46 too. Buy the oil filters from the dealer or online if you wish and replace the crush washer and oil filter o-ring while you're at it.

As far as the oil indicator light, you can just short the pin in your diagnostics port to ground to reset the oil light or "inspection" light. I made a simply short with a resistor inline to it and I short a pin to ground while the car is in the AC position. I'm sure the E46 may use a different schematic but bimmers.org forum search should provide a website how to make a tool or if you're lazy like me, simply a wire with a resistor in it. Don't spend $60 on one of those tool things you see at the back of car magazines, it cost me nothing to make mine as I had spare wires running around and got a resistor from work.

parts and oil changes are fairly pricey on german cars but they know how to build them and they make it fairly easy. I've changed my oil numerous times, done my own brake rotors and pads and have flushed my radiotor before on my '97. And I've never really worked on a car before mine.

Jay
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#4 of 10 Nelson Au

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Posted March 10 2004 - 03:44 AM

Thanks alot for the weblinks and the advise for oil changes. Also, I do subscribe to Roundel, but I've never had a feeling that there was a venue or online forum to discuss these kinds of things, other then writing to the magazine.

It seems maybe I've bought into the idea that such an expensive car should not be worked on by the home mechanic and should be serviced by an authorized tech. I did like the idea of trying to keep the car serviced by a dealer while still under warrenty and those things that are beyond my skills. But oil I can do. Brakes, that's someting I usually let a pro do.

I'll definitely do some homework and see about making one of those tools to reset the computer.

Thanks!

#5 of 10 Jay H

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Posted March 10 2004 - 03:54 AM

Quote:
It seems maybe I've bought into the idea that such an expensive car should not be worked on by the home mechanic and should be serviced by an authorized tech.

Yeah, I think so. The dealer wanted $1000 to change the rotors and pads, I bought rotors and pads online for like $350 and did it myself.

Before you used to be able to bring your car to the dealership and ask them to reset the oil indicator but the last time I did that, they said they no longer do it for customers (liability????) but I don't know if that was just my dealer or for the whole nation. In either case, it's a simply procedure, the hardest part is finding the pin diagram of your diagnostic port and making sure you don't short out anything else..

Jay
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#6 of 10 Nelson Au

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Posted March 10 2004 - 04:35 AM

Jay, why did you change both the rotors and pads, were the rotors too thin to turn or where you upgrading to higher performance rotors and pads?

I can see the $60 paid for the tool to reset the computer as a good investment as it's a long term one and it eliminates the guess work of finding that pin you refer to. I'll have to ask about that on the bimmer sites, where that pin is.

Thanks again. Nelson

#7 of 10 Erik.Ha

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Posted March 10 2004 - 04:38 AM

Jiffy Lube it... Get the filter from the dealer, bring your own oil... and make sure they put the drain plug back on...

As for an online Q&A forum, Roadfly (www.roadfly.org) has a forum for just about every BMW model made since the 60s... They are incredibly helpful... subscription is free.
"I'm not an actor, but I play one on TV..."

#8 of 10 Andrew W

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Posted March 10 2004 - 05:02 AM

Some general advice not necessarily related to BMWs.

1) Buy the service manual. Not a Chilton's or some knock off, but the actual service manual from the dealer's service parts dept. It may be up to $200, but it is well worth it.

2) Before you get any maintenance performed, read about it in the manual. Decide if it is worth it to do it yourself and. For example, my dealer wanted $150 to change spark plugs. I did it in under an hour.

3) If you're capable of assembling a home theater and electronic stuff, you can probably work on your car. You may need to buy tools, but consider that and investment of the money you would have given to the mechanic.
Andrew in Austin

#9 of 10 Jay H

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Posted March 10 2004 - 05:26 AM

Pads were getting very thin and the rotors were developing a slight rim to it. My commute when I used to drive was constant start/stop from all the red lights so the brakes typically don't last that long. I think I changed the front rotors and pads at around 40k. the back, I've just changed the pads. I changed the fronts more likely before they really needed too but I already had the caliper off so I went ahead and changed them.

another good site is the Unofficial E36 guide which has a section of articles on E46s too..

http://www.unofficialbmw.com/e46.html

BTW, I have no service manual, I've learned all of my stuff via the internet and Bimmer.org.

Jay
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#10 of 10 Nelson Au

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Posted March 10 2004 - 09:22 AM

Jiffy lube scares me!Posted Image

Regarding shop manuals, I've bought them for every car I've owned from Ford. I've had 3 Mustangs, still have the 1967 one my Dad bought new. Quite a shock from American to German, it's a little intimidating, but I can see that the Germans thought things out very well and that servicing the basic stuff would be pretty straight forward. Can't imagine how much a BMW shop manual willl cost! I'll find out.

I saw the unofficial BMW site, thanks for the link. Lots of great website info, thank you all again!

Nelson