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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 12-01-2009, 10:09 PM
mdj89 mdj89 is offline
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e46 easy or hard to work on?

Is the bmw 325i or 330i mechanically easy to work on your self?
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  #2  
Old 12-01-2009, 10:14 PM
stilover stilover is offline
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yes and no.
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  #3  
Old 12-01-2009, 10:18 PM
mdj89 mdj89 is offline
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yes and no.
yes and no???
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  #4  
Old 12-01-2009, 10:25 PM
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Originally Posted by mdj89 View Post
yes and no???
It`s a learning experience....if you have average or above mechanical aptitude, a jack & stands, and some basic hand tools, there`s a LOT of stuff you can DIY. Luckily, many here have been there, done that, and documented it on video. This place is a wealth of information....you landed in a good place.
Step One: Read the E46 Wiki
Step 2: Start scrolling back through old threads on repair issues, and familiarize yourself with the lingo.
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  #5  
Old 12-02-2009, 06:37 AM
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MMME30W MMME30W is offline
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Originally Posted by mdj89 View Post
Is the bmw 325i or 330i mechanically easy to work on your self?
If I can do it, anyone can:

http://www.bimmerfest.com/forums/sho...248&highlight=
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  #6  
Old 12-02-2009, 05:59 PM
mdj89 mdj89 is offline
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Do you have to take the e46 325i to the dealer for service or can the owner do the service themselves?
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  #7  
Old 12-02-2009, 06:24 PM
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Solidjake Solidjake is offline
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read the wiki and NO you don't have to take it to the dealer UNLESS you want them to triple charge you on everything
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  #8  
Old 12-02-2009, 06:55 PM
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Originally Posted by mdj89 View Post
Do you have to take the e46 325i to the dealer for service or can the owner do the service themselves?
No, but if you would like a factory-trained technician with access to OEM parts, then sure.

Of course, you will pay for it.

Another option is to find a qualified indy mechanic, try www.bimrs.org. Or do a web search in your area, plenty of good mechanics available.

But honestly, much of the routine maintenance is accomplished if you take your time and are willing to work slowly and carefully.
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  #9  
Old 12-03-2009, 04:25 PM
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I had NO experience with BMW when I bought mine 2 years ago. As of today, I have replaced literally everything on my car except the motor (and I am NOT kidding!). They are well laid out and very easy to work on. You will need a good metric set of tools and a set of torx sockets and allen sockets. Other than that, it is a car and pretty simple. Example: The brakes on my BMW use the EXACT same size sockets and allen heads as my 2001 Jeep Grand Cherokee, who'd a thunk it?
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  #10  
Old 12-03-2009, 07:52 PM
ardsee ardsee is offline
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The best place to start is to get the right tools. Remember go metric. Every possible size. Then read the wiki, and search for dyi ers
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  #11  
Old 12-03-2009, 09:10 PM
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I found my E46 harder to work on than my last few honda cars. I also found multiple things would wear out much faster than other cars. For example, when's the last time you've changed CABs or Final Stage Fan Resistor on another make. The drive made it worth it though.
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  #12  
Old 12-03-2009, 09:13 PM
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Generally, it's not too difficult with a basic set of metric tools and such. The problem usually lies (for me, at least) with the electronics and sensors. They can be finicky and sometimes unpredictable.
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  #13  
Old 12-04-2009, 03:18 AM
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not too bad
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  #14  
Old 12-04-2009, 06:17 AM
TenzoR TenzoR is offline
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You can literally find a lot of good DIY on this forum. So if you study the DIY + pictures, you should be able to try it. I guess you have to have the space and guts to take that first steps. I'm still learning but reading these DIY does inspire you to do some of the work yourself. But you have to be comfortable and know the risks
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  #15  
Old 12-04-2009, 08:02 AM
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my opinion is that it depends on what you are used to working on. For example, when compared to my '01 Dodge Stratus R/T coupe, the front engine rear drive layout is naturally easier (don't have to take everything including the intake manifold off just to change spark plugs). 'course the bimmer is nowhere near as simple as the '74 dodge dart and '67 Imperial big block that I restored, lol. My only complaint is the reliance of BMW on overpriced "special tools" to drive the customer back to the dealership for service...unfortunately this seems to be becoming an industry standard. Other than that it's very well engineered for repairs, even if more "complicated"(ie. Oil seperators) this site has just about any DIY repair available. In summary, the how to's are there, so long as you have the testicular fortitude to give it a shot. Hope this helps.
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  #16  
Old 10-17-2011, 09:21 AM
m1903man m1903man is offline
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Easy

I hate to resurrect a dead thread but I think people need to know a few things about owning a BMW. I have worked on so many types of cars from a 4g63 AWD turbo car to a Fiat 600D. From the most complex to the simplest. My experience level is high so I think I have a pretty good room to talk on the matter.

1. BMWs were designed by German who truly love to make things easy. A GREAT example of how easy these cars are to work on is, what should be, a very labour intensive task: The water pump. On my E46, it took less than an hour to change out, involved all of 4 nuts, and required absolutely NO silicone sealer. There were no parts that had to come off (unless you have an auto, then you have to remove the radiator fan, but still easy), no gaskets required, and bleeding out the system was also ridiculously easy.

2. Brakes require all of 2 7mm allen screws per wheel. Spark plugs require all of ONE special tool that is in the tool shelf of the trunk, and the fuel filter is 4 bolts that are easily reachable when the driver's side of the car is jacked up. Oil changes are easier on a BMW than any other car I have worked on (mostly because the filter is accessible from the canister under the hood.

In short, if you love working on cars, you will love your BMW even more because everything seems to be DESIGNED to be worked on, UNLIKE so many other cars. Parts are usually the same, if not cheaper, than most other cars. Just don't think that because it is a 'luxury car' that parts are more expensive. In Germany, these cars are NORMAL, non luxury cars. I love my bimmers (and this is coming from a dye in the wool American car freak).
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  #17  
Old 10-17-2011, 09:49 AM
Nervous Nervous is offline
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Before owning 330ci I had (and still have, actually) Toyota Camry with V6 engine (1MZ-FE, 1996). In comparison with the V6, the BMW's I6 is so easier to work on! On that V6 even replacement of spark plugs is problematic due to the engine is turned by 90 degrees and one of the bank is facing toward the firewall, and to replace plugs there it is necessary to remove manifold with throttle body!
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  #18  
Old 10-17-2011, 11:21 AM
slapsys slapsys is offline
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You want fun? get a '76 Jag XJ12. Had a water pump go on me but to get it off,you had to take out 3 bolts. Simple enough, except these bolts were 6" long so the rad was in the way to get them out completely. To take the rad out, you had to remove the grill but that won't come off unless you took the front bumper off. Get the picture? Bimmers are a dream to work on.
By the way, it turned out it wasn't even the water pump that was bad.
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  #19  
Old 10-17-2011, 11:34 AM
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Originally Posted by slapsys View Post
You want fun? get a '76 Jag XJ12. Had a water pump go on me but to get it off,you had to take out 3 bolts. Simple enough, except these bolts were 6" long so the rad was in the way to get them out completely. To take the rad out, you had to remove the grill but that won't come off unless you took the front bumper off. Get the picture? Bimmers are a dream to work on.
By the way, it turned out it wasn't even the water pump that was bad.
I worked on one of those Way Back When....did a brake job on it. The rear brakes were inboard-mounted, close to the diff....great from a performance standpoint (it reduces the unsprung weight at the wheels, allowing the rear suspension to react faster), but totally blows for the poor guy who has to work on it. E46s are a dream by comparison....
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  #20  
Old 10-17-2011, 12:49 PM
m1903man m1903man is offline
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A GREAT example of just HOW much the happy Germans want you to work on your BMW is the fact that the core support is very easily removable. Like you guys said, taking off all the other parts just to get to something simple is the way of cars these days. I remember doing a water pump change on a 3.8 Mustang, and GOOD LORD was that a lot of deconstruction to replace it.
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  #21  
Old 10-17-2011, 03:16 PM
nate13 nate13 is offline
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coming from the domestic market, I'm finding that BMWs are easier to work on. A little more expensive because the parts are in my experience higher quality, and the systems more advanced. What this means in the long run though is that you can have a car last you well past 200,000 miles. Mine's at 188xxx and doing just fine.
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  #22  
Old 10-17-2011, 09:11 PM
Jimmys 530i Jimmys 530i is offline
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These cars have a few stupid things here and there, but overall, they are very nice to work on. If you think these cars are difficult, try to replace a window regulator in a volkswagen passat.
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  #23  
Old 10-18-2011, 12:18 AM
depuepedro depuepedro is offline
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you want them to triple charge you on everything
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  #24  
Old 10-18-2011, 12:24 AM
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you want them to triple charge you on everything
Now, that`s classic British thinking, right there....
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  #25  
Old 10-18-2011, 02:20 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mdj89 View Post
Is the bmw 325i or 330i mechanically easy to work on your self?
Do you enjoy paying $450 for a battery to be installed at the dealer in about an hour or pay around $115 to do it yourself in about an hour?

Quote:
Originally Posted by mdj89 View Post
Do you have to take the e46 325i to the dealer for service or can the owner do the service themselves?
Would you rather pay the BMW dealer to think for you or would you rather take the time to think for yourself?

Quote:
Originally Posted by m1903man View Post
BMWs were designed by German who truly love to make things easy.
The M54 CCV replacement is easy?

Replacing the M54 oil pan gasket is easy?

Quote:
Originally Posted by m1903man View Post
The water pump.
The water pump 'is' easy to replace.

Quote:
Originally Posted by m1903man View Post
Brakes require all of 2 7mm allen screws per wheel.
Brakes are extremely easy on the BMW (same with most cars nowadays).

Quote:
Originally Posted by m1903man View Post
Spark plugs require all of ONE special tool
Plugs are pretty easy, I agree (especially compared to, say, an Infiniti Q45 where the engine has to be lifted).

Quote:
Originally Posted by m1903man View Post
the fuel filter is 4 bolts that are easily reachable when the driver's side of the car is jacked up.
A bit hard to remove the hoses; but otherwise, easy.

Quote:
Originally Posted by m1903man View Post
Oil changes are easier on a BMW than any other car I have worked on
Agreed. No need for an oil filter wrench (don't think you could even use one if you wanted to).

Quote:
Originally Posted by m1903man View Post
Parts are usually the same, if not cheaper, than most other cars.
Cheaper? Dunno about that. But the realoem diagrams make part numbers ridiculously easy to obtain (most of the time).

Quote:
Originally Posted by m1903man View Post
Just don't think that because it is a 'luxury car' that parts are more expensive.
It's a luxury car? You sure about that? I wouldn't call it a luxury car. I'd call it a performance sedan perhaps, but not a luxury car. The materials used are too chintzy to qualify as such, IMHO.
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