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X3 E83 (2004 - 2010)
Talk about the E83 BMW X3 in this forum!

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  #1  
Old 10-24-2013, 06:32 PM
niceguymr niceguymr is offline
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Well, I finally did my brakes. Somewhat of a bad experience

Well, I finally got around to doing my wife's brakes. I'm a novice with little experience beyond changing the oil & filters.

So I'll start out by saying that I spent about as much as I saved by doing it on my own on every tool that would be needed to do the job right - and I'm glad I did. I bought a floor jack, jack stands, torque wrenches, you name it. I even had one of those lug nut things to hang the wheel on while you insert the other lug bolts in. I was super prepared for everything (so I thought).

So after finally managing to get the first wheel off using some pb blaster to help, I followed the steps of every online thread and youtube video. I get to the caliper pin bolts and I realize I don't have a 7mm hex socket (my Schwaben set I purchased from ECS Tuning jumps from 6 - 8) so I make a 45 minute round trip to Home Depot and pick up the correct hex bit socket so I can continue. As I'm turning the bolt to loosten it, my hand slips and I slice open the tip of my finger on I have no idea what part - BAD. Blood gushing everywhere. Yep, I had a set of work gloves, but nope, I wasn't wearing them. So I man up, wash that sucker out, bandage it up, and press on. I was not off to a good start.

Then I get to the 16mm carrier bolt when I realize that my that my (what I thought was a complete) socket and wrench set jumps for 15mm to 17mm. So I run to HD again (45 minutes round trip) and I pick up a 16mm socket and wrench.

From that point everything is easy sailing, but I'm going a little slow - mostly because of the burning pain of my sliced open finger. But I'm feeling good as Iget each one of my brakes done. Started on the rears and then moved up to the fronts.

So as I'm on the last of the front brakes, I get to the step where I remove the 16mm carrier bolts - and I hit a brick wall. The bolt wont budge. The socket actually slips a few times. So I spray it with PB Blaster and wait a little bit. Come back with the breaker bar and no luck. More PB. Wait a little more. Each time I try, the socket slips off the head of the bolt and I see it getting rounder and rounder. Eventually, the socket just spins on the bolt head.

At this point I realize I'm totally screwed. It's Saturday afternoon about 3:30pm. My indy mechanic is closed on weekends and my local BMW dealer shop which is about 20 minutes away closes at 4:30. I am covered head to toe in grease and there's no way I was going to get in my car as filthy as I was to bring it over. So I take a deep breath and call the dealer service center. The guy tells me to bring it by and try to get there before they close.

So I reassemble the wheel and put back the completely worn brake pad. In my haste, I think I may have actually put the outer pad on backwards, meaning metal facing rotor. So change my shirt, throw a big towel over the seat, wash my hands and drive the car over VERY CAREFULLY. The car was very handicapped without the right front brake, or with the pad backwards - whatever it was, the car wasn't brakeing wel. So I drove slowly and with my hazards all the way and gave myself plenty of room to stop each time I had to.

I get there and the guy tells me (as I expected) that the bolt I needed was not in stock but that he would be able to get it from another local dealer/part shop on Monday. At this point I'm so beat down and depressed at what a colossal failure I am I seriously almost want to cry. Now I'm stuck at the dealer service center that's about to close and my wife is unable to pick me up for at least an hour or two. I ask the service manager if there was any chance I could get a loaner, and he looks me over as I'm covered in a thick layer of grease and sweat and say... "Let me see if I can find you something with a black interior" 15 minutes later I'm cruising away in a nearly brand new 2013 335i Loaner heading home.

Fast forward to Monday - They call me about mid day, tell me the car is ready. $135 was the total charge. The replaced the bolt and installed my new rotor and brake pad. Basically, what they charged me for was 1 hour labor.

So in the end, everything is finally done and perfect. There was a little more chaos involved than I even explained in this post, but this highlights the main points of my experience.

Would I attempt to do another brake job again? Hell yes. Lesson learned - be prepared to be without the car if something goes wrong. Have a plan to either get the car to a mechanic or have someone come out if you don't have everything you could possibly need to do the job right.

That's my story. Understand that this was the most complex mechanical job I've ever attempted on my own. I realize to some of you this is a very simple thing. To me, it was like climbing a mountain. I did what I could to the best of my ability and I didn't give up until I knew I had to.
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  #2  
Old 10-24-2013, 07:19 PM
Grabby544 Grabby544 is offline
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Wow bro, that sucks. If it makes you feel better I'll tell you a similar story...

Many years ago, I had a Jeep Cherokee XJ that I installed a 4.5" lift. Well, because of the lift I was destroying tie rods from the pitman arm down BIG TIME! So I order a dropped pitman arm, and take my Jeep to the Base Auto Hobby Shop, with a lift, pneumatic tools... the works. The job was supposed to be easy, I use a pitman arm puller to remove the pitman arm, with an air gun, use a pickle fork for the tie rod ends and SKA-DOOSH... done. Well, it didn't go that way. I got the tire rods off but using the pickle fork but the pitman arm just wouldn't budge. I had an air gun w/a socket wrenching on that thing for so long, the pitman arm puller got to hot to touch. So I grabbed a BF (Big F*cking) wrench and a BF hammer and.... nothing!

At that point, I'm stuck and I need to get the Jeep about 15 miles to the dealership. Well, that pickle fork destroyed the threads on the old tie rods and I couldn't get the nut on, so I wrapped the parts together with a slew of .032" safety wire and said a prayer to the man upstairs and proceeded to limp the car at highway speeds to the dealership w/my tail tucked between my legs.

The dealership quoted 2 hrs of mx for $75 and I said fine. 8hrs of mx later, the dealership calls me and says that was the hardest time they've ever had pulling a pitman arm, and they could only legally charge me 2 hrs. LOLz

I am an F-16 Crew Chief and have been for 13 years, I know my way around $35 million aircraft and I can tell you one rule we live by on the flight line. Aircraft maintenance is empirical evidence that 'Murphy's Law' exists, because if it can go wrong, it's totally going to! Same rule applies to almost all mx tasks- your either belligerently over-prepared, or your missing some stupid little thing that puts you at a work stoppage, in your case one damn socket.

BTW, invest in spline shaft sockets that way you can work on 6 pt, 12 pt bolts as well as star bolts, torx bolts etc...
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  #3  
Old 10-24-2013, 07:37 PM
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Ishniknork Ishniknork is offline
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Good for you niceguymr! Next time should go a lot smoother.

Sorry about that finger!
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  #4  
Old 10-24-2013, 07:47 PM
swampX3 swampX3 is offline
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well done

there's little in life that gives more satisfaction than a good go at a DIY !
loads of folks will help .....if you get stuck just lean on your pals ....always keep the indy and the dealer as good comrades !
also ...we now know where to get F16 parts for our DIY's !

Last edited by swampX3; 10-24-2013 at 07:48 PM.
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  #5  
Old 10-24-2013, 08:25 PM
Grabby544 Grabby544 is offline
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Well, I finally did my brakes. Somewhat of a bad experience

Quote:
Originally Posted by swampX3 View Post
there's little in life that gives more satisfaction than a good go at a DIY !
loads of folks will help .....if you get stuck just lean on your pals ....always keep the indy and the dealer as good comrades !
also ...we now know where to get F16 parts for our DIY's !
LOLz! Trust me, you don't want any F-16 parts. Although having chaff and flare would liven up highway driving!


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  #6  
Old 10-25-2013, 05:30 AM
jlex jlex is offline
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Don't feel bad. It's part of the game in working on cars. I've played a lot w/ cars over the years since I'm far away from the Porsche, VW, Volvo, Hyudai and BMW dealerships. (A real oddball car collection) Each is about 2 hours away, so I've had to either do it myself or it doesn't get done...
All the repairs I've done on my X3 have gone beautifully until last weekend. I decided to replace the overflow tank as I was getting two or three drops of coolant. The part unexpectedly came in the mail on Saturday so I thought I'd throw it in before the cold weather hits. All went smoothly and I buttoned things up, giving myself a pat on the back for another job well done and $$ saved. A couple of trips later, the low coolant light comes on and the temp gauge is getting really angry. Shut the car off immediately before the head gets fried Turns out, the radiator hose that hooks to the side of the reservoir wasn't seated properly... the clip didn't engage the groove. Hey, I'm used to real rubber hoses and hose clamps, right? Anyway, there went a gallon of expensive blue coolant all over the road. Luckily, I had more. Lesson learned.
BTW... if you have gaps in the various metric sized sockets, etc. it's usually because a SAE size will fit. Best to have metric and SAE on hand if you're going to work on cars. Next time you want to play with brakes, think about changing the fluid out. It may save you from an expensive caliper replacement.
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  #7  
Old 10-25-2013, 10:49 AM
timarnold timarnold is offline
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By the way, an easy way to unstick a wheel is to loosen but not remove all of the lug bolts. Then lower the car and drive it about 10 feet. The change in camber will cause the wheels to break free. Works every time. After the wheel is off, wire brush the spindle hub & coat it with some antiseize. Long term is will get stuck again, but should be easier to unstick.
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  #8  
Old 10-25-2013, 04:56 PM
chewchewone chewchewone is offline
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Now I guess I have to share my recent story too then. So last weekend I decided to change my valve cover gasket. It was fairly straight forward from watching the videos a couple of times. Everything went smoothly until have to tighten all of the bolts. I didn't have a micro torque wrench so I figure I'll just go by guts. After I've tighten all of the bolts, I wanted to do another check to ensure that all bolts were snug.... so one of the bolts nearest to the firewall was still turning.. so I tighten it some more and more until I heard a snap and broke off the stud bolt... it was late Sunday, dealership was already closed.. Went there Monday to order parts which didn't arrived until Thursday.. so now I have to redo the whole thing again this weekend. I also ordered an extra gasket in case the one I just put on gets damaged (especially with the RTV sealant) when I pry it off this weekend.... ohh well
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  #9  
Old 10-25-2013, 05:05 PM
PSUEng PSUEng is offline
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The cure for stuck bolts is NOT more slow turning on them. Spray it with some PB, and put socket it on it and hit the breaker bar/ratchet with an dead blow mallet. The impact will break it loose. Otherwise, you'll just round it off.
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  #10  
Old 10-25-2013, 05:06 PM
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AzNMpower32 AzNMpower32 is offline
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This is a big reason I don't like to DIY the more complex things. I don't have a garage and lack tools beyond the standard metric hex, and can't really do without a car- no friends or family anywhere near by. If my car is taken apart and something goes wrong (lacking tool, break something), what the hell am I supposed to do to transport myself to get a replacement part?

Don't get me wrong, I don't mind DIYs and honestly I'm better at car stuff than bike stuff, but I only attempted the more complex DIYs when I was with my parents, on their driveway, with a spare vehicle for backup.

Last edited by AzNMpower32; 10-25-2013 at 05:07 PM.
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  #11  
Old 10-25-2013, 05:26 PM
jlex jlex is offline
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That could certainly make you think twice about doing anything invasive...
In the middle of replacing my oil filter housing gasket, I let the car sit in the garage for 5 days while I waited for a new alternator & a replacement power steering pulley.
Three drivers here & five cars.... go figure...
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  #12  
Old 10-25-2013, 06:34 PM
Supercourse Supercourse is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jlex View Post
....... while I waited for a new alternator
Did you see, smell or hear something wrong with the alternator while you were doing the OFHG?

I don't think alternators commonly need replacement on the E83.

(Starter motors OTOH do seem to need replacement sometimes, especially LCI models.)

Other than something obviously wrong with the charging system, I suppose other reasons for alternator replacement might be noise or visual signs of wear.

I have heard that if the power steering pump leaks it can drip on the alternator which doesn't go down well.
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  #13  
Old 10-25-2013, 08:19 PM
MADBMWX3 MADBMWX3 is offline
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I am sorry to hear about your bad experience...
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  #14  
Old 10-26-2013, 04:40 AM
jlex jlex is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Supercourse View Post
Did you see, smell or hear something wrong with the alternator while you were doing the OFHG?

I don't think alternators commonly need replacement on the E83.

(Starter motors OTOH do seem to need replacement sometimes, especially LCI models.)

Other than something obviously wrong with the charging system, I suppose other reasons for alternator replacement might be noise or visual signs of wear.

I have heard that if the power steering pump leaks it can drip on the alternator which doesn't go down well.
Nope, just did the alternator out of an excess of caution...
While I was doing the gasket and had everything out of the way, I decided to replace the brush/regulator assembly on the back of the unit since the car had 90K on it. Looked all over for the assembly, even at the dealership but couldn't find the right one. Ran across a brand new Bosch unit that didn't cost much more than the brush assembly, so I just decided to change out the whole thing. I compared the brushes and the old unit's brushes were down only about a third of their length. The old unit was charging and sounded fine, but I just had a feeling I'd be revisiting the thing if I didn't act. The Bosch on my Volvo pooped out at about 120,000 miles. Being the electrical beast that it is, I'm sure the change out didn't hurt and now I have a spare...
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  #15  
Old 10-28-2013, 09:24 AM
mtbrdad mtbrdad is offline
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Consider yourself lucky!

And your wife wasn't standing in the background saying "............see if you just took it to the dealer it would be done by now!" Wow! Consider yourself lucky you got off easy!

Don't worry about how long it took and what tools you didn't have this is always, generally, how things go when you don't do something for a living. I consider myself mechanically inclined and have generally every tool and then some and I still needed to go out and buy that 7mm allen wrench in the middle of the job. It sounds like you got some good experience there.
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  #16  
Old 10-29-2013, 08:16 AM
UncleJ UncleJ is offline
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I love to read these posts! It brings back memories of when I used to do all those repairs myself -- and the trials and tribulations that ensued. Made for great memories, but reinforces the "let the other guy do it" mentality I have now in my dotage. Never hurts to do this stuff at least once though, at the very least you know how it all works.
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  #17  
Old 10-29-2013, 08:27 AM
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mlukas161 mlukas161 is offline
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Thanks for posting this. I have had those moments too!
Just recently broke the rear tailgate window while replacing the wiper motor.

It always embarrassing to walk in the house and tell your wife that not only are you not finished... she now has no rear window.
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  #18  
Old 10-30-2013, 05:52 AM
jlex jlex is offline
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Ouch... can't hide that one.
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