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89 325i 05-03-2005 07:52 AM

Changing timing belt at home
Reality check: how difficult is it, really, to change a timing belt on a E30/B25? I have a Bentley Manual, I have a set of tools, I have a '89 325i that soon needs a new timing belt and I don't have the $700+ the dealer wants to do the job. I've read through the procedure in Bentley and it seems pretty strightforward, but I'd love to hear from anyone else ou there who may have done it themselves. Anything that can cause problems, any special tools that are helpful, degree of difficulty.

FYI: I am not an experienced mechanic, though not clueless either.


Kaz 05-03-2005 11:19 AM

A 325i doesn't even have a timing belt. Are you sure you don't have a 325 or 325e?

89 325i 05-03-2005 11:29 AM

I'm offically confused. The Bentley Manual tells me that I have a timing belt, a dealer tells me I have one ($700 to replace) and an independent tech told me I had one ($500 to replace). And this car has had its timing belt changed twice so far ... so I'm a little confused.

Kaz 05-03-2005 11:44 AM

My bad. I'm thinking the M30. All M20s have belts, e or i.

M-technik-3 05-04-2005 10:36 AM

It's not that difficult and can be done in as little as two and half hours. I used to live right next in Bedford Mass. I would have gladdly helped out but alas no in area.

Can be done with simple common handtools that average mechanic has. Recommend reading thru it twice to familarize yourself. Clean the engine well in all areas around the front engine compartment. Clean work area makes for less mistakes.

Get the whole kit. Timing belt tensioner and belt and water pump at the same time. Might as well do a coolant flush also prior to summer so have needed bucket to catch coolant.

Also a good time to replace the cap and rotor since you will have hoses off. Fan Clutch? Belts for AC and alternator?

Leave car sit over night so It's cool to work on in morning unlike getting a vehicle that has been driven to shop that hot to touch.

Good luck shouldn't take more than 4 hours for an amatuer and if need call some one from the Boston CCA as they are great like that.

89 325i 05-04-2005 10:43 AM

Thanks. Just the kind of reality check I needed. I've read through the Bentley procedure a couple of times and it certainly seemed do-able. And yes, I'll hit everything else that makes sense to change/check while I'm at it, especially water pump and belts. Wouldn't have thought of the cap and rotor.

Appreciate the feedback.

Boston CCA? Boston Car Club of America (guess)?

M-technik-3 05-04-2005 11:07 AM

Correct. There a few 3 er guys that still live in your area. friend of mine lives right in Bolton and he has a 3 series 89 that he's turned into a dedicated track car.

I will be back up in the Boston area later this month. Be at Hanscom and Newton area.

89 325i 05-04-2005 11:15 AM

Maybe a dumb question, but how do you know how tight to get the belt;, i.e., how taut should it be? I'm guessing you do that with the tensioner, but is there a rule of thumb for how tight the belt should be?

M-technik-3 05-04-2005 11:33 AM

Reasonably tight but not overly. Like a ac belt on that idea. Pass the flex test but is not loose. Understand?

89 325i 05-05-2005 07:16 PM

I think so. Not so tihgt the belt can't be depressed a little when you push down on it; not rigid in other words, but not loose enough so that you can depress it a half inch. That the idea? I'll take a look at the ac belt before I take it off. I'll figure it out.

Thanks again.

M-technik-3 05-09-2005 08:54 AM

Have you completed this? Wanted to know if you were sucessfull.

89 325i 05-09-2005 10:22 AM

No. I probably won't get to this for a few months.

Thanks for checking though.

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