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E46 (1999 - 2006)
The fourth generation 3 Series (E46 chassis) was introduced in 1999 and set the standard for engineering and performance during it's years of production including being named to Car & Driver's 10 best list every one of those years! ! -- View the E46 Wiki

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  #1  
Old 04-19-2012, 08:56 AM
KSims1868 KSims1868 is offline
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Location: Houston area (Clear Lake)
 
Join Date: Apr 2012
Posts: 63
Mein Auto: 2001 BMW 325i
1st weekend with my BMW - what would YOU do?

This isn't a "where should I drive" question. Of course I'm taking it for a ride and enjoy the beautiful Houston weather. My question is about maintenance.

Oil was changed recently, it has new brakes, new tires, water pump was replaced and system flushed already, and there doesn't "seem" to be anything needing attention. BUT...I'd like to stay on TOP of this machine and be pro-active as best I can.

So - what would YOU do the 1st weekend you owned a used BMW. What's a "check list" of things I should open up, check out, feel around, etc... to really get a better feel for what I might want to do? I'm not afraid of a little wrenching. I don't want to tear into the transmission and tackle that yet...I'm a little nervous about that to be honest. Maybe I'll just give it a bath (not that it needs it), read the manual some more, and get more familiar with it by driving it. That usually helps. Idk...I'm just thinking out loud here.
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Old 04-19-2012, 10:00 AM
KSims1868 KSims1868 is offline
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Location: Houston area (Clear Lake)
 
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Mein Auto: 2001 BMW 325i
Maybe let me ask a different question...

Do you have a weekly, monthly, annual maintenance schedule you adhere to?
I'm thinking something like an Excel spreadsheet where you can check off your monthly "chores" for the car...whether needed or not. I want to create something like this for my E46 and wonder if anyone already has an example I could copy/modify to fit my schedule.
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  #3  
Old 04-19-2012, 10:10 AM
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Fast Bob Fast Bob is offline
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Mein Auto: 2004 330Ci ZHP 3 pedals
Check your tire pressures, make sure they`re correct. If needed, add some ZHP air, the car will corner better....
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Old 04-19-2012, 11:01 AM
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Scottji Scottji is online now
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Location: California
 
Join Date: Feb 2011
Posts: 612
Mein Auto: 2004 325i
Quote:
Originally Posted by KSims1868 View Post
Maybe let me ask a different question...

Do you have a weekly, monthly, annual maintenance schedule you adhere to?
I'm thinking something like an Excel spreadsheet where you can check off your monthly "chores" for the car...whether needed or not. I want to create something like this for my E46 and wonder if anyone already has an example I could copy/modify to fit my schedule.
If you google "e46 maintenance schedule" you'll find a few helpful guides. Also, Mike Miller has a BMW recommended maintenance schedule floating around the internet somewhere.

I wouldn't say there's a "chore schedule." Doing 90% DIY, I'd my budget is about $1,500-$2,000 a year, which, for me, includes a set of tires every other year. I typically undertake one "big" project a year, and then have a few odds and ends here and there throughout the year.
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  #5  
Old 04-19-2012, 11:08 AM
Germane Riposte Germane Riposte is offline
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Location: Virginia Beach, Virginia
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Posts: 209
Mein Auto: 2001 325i Touring 5-speed
One of the first things I did was send $48 off for a membership to BMWCCA:http://www.bmwcca.org/index

You get the cool monthly Roundel magazine, and parts & labor discounts at the dealer and many indies. Parts are usually cheaper online, of course, but for those random items you find out you need in the middle of the a job, it's nice to save a bit if you have to go to the dealer in a pinch. I know I annoy the parts counter guy when I buy a fifty cent washer and whip out my BMWCCA card to save that nickel. I saved some decent $$$ on labor for two indy jobs I didn't want to tackle myself.

Mike Miller does a repair & maintenance column in Roundel, and his "Old School Maintenance Schedule" is good to have. He updates it periodically, and will send you a copy if you e-mail him. Helps to supplement what you'll read here and in the Wiki.

Based on all the stuff I've had to do on my car in the two years I've owned it, I'd have to recommend taking a good look at the bottom of the engine. See if you have a lurking oil filter housing gasket leak, dodgy oil separator, leaky power steering lines, etc. Eventually leaks will show up on your driveway or on the garage floor, but it can't hurt to just check things out in advance and know the engine's current state. One time you may do an oil change, and say, "Hey, the bottom of the engine wasn't that oily last time!"
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Last edited by Germane Riposte; 04-19-2012 at 11:29 AM. Reason: Typo
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  #6  
Old 04-19-2012, 11:08 AM
KSims1868 KSims1868 is offline
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Location: Houston area (Clear Lake)
 
Join Date: Apr 2012
Posts: 63
Mein Auto: 2001 BMW 325i
Oh yeah - ZHP air...I was going to go pick up a can of that down the road at the local Indy shop, but he was out. Surprisingly he had a ton of thermostats for my '56 VW Type I. The E46 hasn't been driven in a while, so it's prob still got the winter air in the tires, so if I can't find the specialty ZHP stuff I'll at least swap it out for summer air this weekend. I did get a new canooter valve though and he was nice enough to top off my blinker fluid for me.

I'll google the maintenance schedule - good start. Thanks.
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  #7  
Old 04-19-2012, 11:20 AM
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delirium330 delirium330 is offline
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Location: U.S.
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
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Mein Auto: 05' 330i ZHP 6MT
Quote:
Originally Posted by KSims1868 View Post
I'm thinking something like an Excel spreadsheet where you can check off your monthly "chores" for the car...whether needed or not.
i have exactly this, PM me your email address and i will send to you.
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