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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 10-04-2012, 02:01 PM
numindast numindast is offline
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Location: Chicago
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Posts: 1,007
Mein Auto: 2005 325xi
Ugh. My car is collapsing :(

All in the last two weeks:

a) Clacking noise when turning in the parking garage. Probably a CV joint boot has torn and lost all its grease. Yuck, that's something I'm not sure I want to try tackling DIY yet, after looking it over in my minty-fresh Bentley manual.
b) Rear passenger window regulator failed catastrophically.
c) Green fluid leaking from the car. Thankfully it's just a leak at the windshield washer tank/pump. Yes, the washer fluid I filled with is green... but not after scaring me with doomsday thoughts of a catastrophic coolant leak.
d) Ordered a cooling system kit from Max. This will be interesting. Will I do it correctly?
e) While searching item "c)" above noticed baked oil on the metal flange above the exhaust manifold near the valve cover. Guess I need a VCG too.
e2) Maybe the oil separator valve is failing. See e) above...
f) Oil leaking around the oil filter cap. Hopefully it's just my bungling the o-ring install last time I changed the oil. That or it was defective. Or I slightly cross threaded the cap.
g) Realizing my battery is 7 years old. Still works good (no gremlins) but a ticking time bomb...
h) Spare tire is flat.
i) Oil change kit ordered from Max was marked "damaged in transit" by UPS. As he put it, would hate to be the UPS driver covered in motor oil!
j) Power steering fluid cap collects gunk like crazy. Or is that brake fluid... to the right of the oil filter. By now it's gotta be low.

It's an expensive month and I'm nervous about doing the work -- gotta do it soon before the weather gets nasty.

Can folks recommend tricks for the stuff above? Eg:
1) what torque wrench would you recommend buying?
2) what tools will work to get the radiator fan off the water pump shaft? Smolck says a long wrench and sledge, what size sledge? should I get pipe to put over the wrench end? use a socket wrench or regular spanner style wrench?
3) What's the easy way to capture/evacuate the coolant?
4) How to best scrape the old VCG off?
5) What's a reasonable price to have the CV boots replaced?
6) How can I tell if I have jack pads or not? Do I need to buy those?

Thank you in advance for your support and help.. I'm definitely nervous about the cooling system refresh.

Oil change and window regulator don't scare me at all but the cooling system does. I'll have to buy jack stands, a torque wrench, and who knows what all else.
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  #2  
Old 10-04-2012, 07:22 PM
Fishful Thinking Fishful Thinking is offline
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Location: Washington
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
Posts: 502
Mein Auto: '04 325ci
Holy moly, that's a ton of work. I can't help with most of that, but I do know that if you look under the rocker panels of your car you should be able to see the jack pads. They're rectangular pieces of black hard rubber or plastic, about 1 1/2" by 3", and there should be 4 of them.

When I did my coolant flush, I used the biggest disposable aluminum roasting pan I could buy at my local grocery store, and it worked great.

I think the torque wrench I have was from Harbor Freight, and it's perfectly suitable for the occasional job. And, it's a ratchet, which makes torquing bolts in tight areas easier.

Good luck!
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  #3  
Old 10-04-2012, 10:29 PM
GoForthFast GoForthFast is offline
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Location: New York
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 2,338
Mein Auto: '04 330Ci 6-speed
Buy the torque wrench with the correct scale for the job you will be doing.

Fill out your garage so we know how to answer your questions! What is your mileage? What trans do you have?

They make gasket scrapers for the surface on the head. Getting the gasket out of the VC might best be handled with a small screwdriver. Careful not to scratch. Clean with brake cleaner.

I bought a large shallow Rubbermaid type storage tray from the dollar store to collect the coolant from the drain plug. It squirts all over the place. Watch your eyes.

PS fluid leaks onto the cap because you need a new cap O-ring. Install one and clean the cap and refill with AT fluid as it says on the cap. Leak will stop.

Get a new battery. Winter is coming.

Refine your new list to those questions that we have not answered yet.
Attached Files
File Type: pdf e46-.pdf (225.5 KB, 26 views)

Last edited by GoForthFast; 10-04-2012 at 10:30 PM.
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  #4  
Old 10-05-2012, 05:45 AM
smolck's Avatar
smolck smolck is offline
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Location: Birmingham, AL
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Posts: 22,348
Mein Auto: 2004 ZHP Sedan
Quote:
Originally Posted by numindast View Post

Can folks recommend tricks for the stuff above? Eg:
1) what torque wrench would you recommend buying?
2) what tools will work to get the radiator fan off the water pump shaft? Smolck says a long wrench and sledge, what size sledge? should I get pipe to put over the wrench end? use a socket wrench or regular spanner style wrench?
3) What's the easy way to capture/evacuate the coolant?
4) How to best scrape the old VCG off?
5) What's a reasonable price to have the CV boots replaced?
6) How can I tell if I have jack pads or not? Do I need to buy those?

Thank you in advance for your support and help.. I'm definitely nervous about the cooling system refresh.

Oil change and window regulator don't scare me at all but the cooling system does. I'll have to buy jack stands, a torque wrench, and who knows what all else.
Reminds me of my old 323. It really isn't all that much work. Just relax and approach them one at a time. Answers to questions:

1. Don't really need one, but harbor freight sells them. Sometimes NAPA has them in the closeout bin for cheap too. You may even be able to rent them from AutoZone, Advance, etc
2. My youtube video of the process shows it pretty well. 3lb mini sledge and a 32mm or 1 1/4 inch wrench. Since you live in the north, soak that mother with PB blaster a day ahead of time.
3. You should have a petcock at the bottom of the radiator. Drain it there and also from the petcock where the expansion tank meets its mount. You could also remove the block drain plug. You'll still loose some when you remove the WP. When I do it, I just put a bucket or old baby pool under the car and just let it pour all over when removing parts.
4. You shouldn't have to scrape much. It is plastic and has no sealant on it. A flat scraper blade works well.
5. No idea.
6. They are black, rectangular, and located just behind your front tires and just in front of your rear tires. If you are using a normal jack, you really don't need them. If you are trying to use the "widowmaker" spare tire jack, you absolutely need them.

Again, don't get overwhelmed, it is all very easy. Nothing except the CV joints is hard to do. And honestly, that isn't either. There is a great youtube video of the process .

Hope that helps. And as always, support is only a phone call away.
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now, go burn your Man Card, and buy yourself a Camry....
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  #5  
Old 10-05-2012, 11:29 AM
numindast numindast is offline
Properly chastised re: Xi
Location: Chicago
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Posts: 1,007
Mein Auto: 2005 325xi
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fishful Thinking View Post
I think the torque wrench I have was from Harbor Freight, and it's perfectly suitable for the occasional job. And, it's a ratchet, which makes torquing bolts in tight areas easier.
Thanks! That's where I was planning to go, since there's one not far from the apartment.

Quote:
Originally Posted by GoForthFast View Post
Fill out your garage so we know how to answer your questions! What is your mileage? What trans do you have?

PS fluid leaks onto the cap because you need a new cap O-ring. Install one and clean the cap and refill with AT fluid as it says on the cap. Leak will stop.
Ooops, sorry, automatic (AWD) slushbox with about 101k miles. I'm glad to hear the AT fluid cap is just a simple o-ring.

Quote:
Originally Posted by smolck View Post
2. My youtube video of the process shows it pretty well. 3lb mini sledge and a 32mm or 1 1/4 inch wrench. Since you live in the north, soak that mother with PB blaster a day ahead of time.
3. You should have a petcock at the bottom of the radiator. Drain it there and also from the petcock where the expansion tank meets its mount. You could also remove the block drain plug. You'll still loose some when you remove the WP. When I do it, I just put a bucket or old baby pool under the car and just let it pour all over when removing parts.
4. You shouldn't have to scrape much. It is plastic and has no sealant on it. A flat scraper blade works well.
Thanks Smolck. It's good to be reassured. And to receive the multiple good tips about draining the cooling system and that the VCG won't be baked onto the valve cover head and be damned impossible to get off That and the PB blaster soak too.

So far it looks like I will work on the cooling system next weekend, not this -- Saturday is booked for family time, Sunday is half winterizing the boat and half performing required servitude to the halloween decorator and house cleaning in prep for guests during the week...
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...the last thing you need is unpredictable rubber
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  #6  
Old 10-05-2012, 11:36 AM
numindast numindast is offline
Properly chastised re: Xi
Location: Chicago
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Posts: 1,007
Mein Auto: 2005 325xi
Oh, and great idea about using disposible tin cooking things. I'm saving up empty milk jugs for transporting the used oil/coolant but that sounds great for catching it. I was thinking about using my MityVac to suck the coolant out but that's probably going to take too long.

As for the jack, yeah, I'm using the widowmaker... I'm sure it'll be fine since I'm going to use some blocks of wood to chock the wheels in back and jackstands on the front. I'd love a floor jack but a) no place to store it and b) no way I want to lug a 100+ lb floor jack up and down stairs.
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...the last thing you need is unpredictable rubber
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