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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 10-17-2012, 04:29 PM
global1 global1 is offline
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Brakes don't work in rain

I bought my 2005 330xi in '08 and it always had issues stopping in the rain - it will not stop. I actually have another E46 and it stops on a dime. I took the car to both the BMW dealer service and an independent shop back then but they could not fix it. I have replaced the pads, rotors, calipers, and brake fluid. I have dealt with the problem by pumping the brakes to stop.

However, I want to give the car to my daughter and don't want her to depend on pumping the brakes. So I recently took that car to a different BMW service dealer to see if they could identify the problem but they could not.

Did anyone have a similar problem with their E46? Any suggestions?
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  #2  
Old 10-17-2012, 04:38 PM
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MMME30W MMME30W is offline
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What brand of tires?

Can you stop hard enough to engage ABS?
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  #3  
Old 10-17-2012, 04:45 PM
global1 global1 is offline
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I changed the tires from Continentals to Toyo's when I first felt the problem. It did not improve the braking issue. They still have less than 20k miles on them.

I can engage ABS in dry weather but not when wet.
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Old 10-17-2012, 04:56 PM
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MMME30W MMME30W is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by global1 View Post
I changed the tires from Continentals to Toyo's when I first felt the problem. It did not improve the braking issue. They still have less than 20k miles on them.

I can engage ABS in dry weather but not when wet.
Makes no sense. If anything you ought to be able to get the brakes to chatter like a mo fo when wet.

Edit - sorry, saw you had it diagnosed.

Man that is wierd. What did they say when you demonstrated the problem?
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Last edited by MMME30W; 10-17-2012 at 04:57 PM.
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  #5  
Old 10-17-2012, 04:58 PM
global1 global1 is offline
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They all said that the brake system was working in dry weather and that all of the components were fine. None of them have actually driven it during a heavy rainstorm but they believe that I am experiencing the problem. They do not have any answers, however.

Last edited by global1; 10-17-2012 at 05:02 PM.
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  #6  
Old 10-17-2012, 05:00 PM
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MMME30W MMME30W is offline
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ok, basics, have the brakes been bled effectively?
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  #7  
Old 10-17-2012, 05:03 PM
global1 global1 is offline
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Yes, bled. In addition, I had them replace all of the brake fluid during the trip to the independent garage.
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  #8  
Old 10-17-2012, 05:07 PM
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Bad master cylinder, maybe? Been a while since I had my E46, and I gave away my Bentley manual, but there is some kind of diverted valve or manifold in the circuit from master to the slave cylinders...wondering if maybe the valve / orifice to the fronts is stuck/clogged and preventing pressure to the fronts. Thus reducing effectiveness?

Wierd. Seems like that ought to be easy to diagnose on the lift as in checking caliper pressure on the rotors?
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  #9  
Old 10-17-2012, 05:16 PM
global1 global1 is offline
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I agree - I would have thought that one of the service centers should have been able to diagnose some problem but they offered nothing. I love the car but am afraid to let my daughter use it without being able to stop in wet weather.
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  #10  
Old 10-17-2012, 05:29 PM
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I assume you mean they brakes won't work for teh first second of application in the rain. My E46 does this sometimes. BMW added auto brake pre-application in the E90 to fix this issue.

I think slotted rotors would fix this on your E46, keeps the water from getting trapped between rotor and pad.
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  #11  
Old 10-17-2012, 11:07 PM
GoForthFast GoForthFast is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris90 View Post
I assume you mean they brakes won't work for teh first second of application in the rain. My E46 does this sometimes. BMW added auto brake pre-application in the E90 to fix this issue.

I think slotted rotors would fix this on your E46, keeps the water from getting trapped between rotor and pad.
Pre-application was not added for first application loss, but delayed grip in first application. He has to pump twice, where normal brakes would stop if you persisted with your first applicaton after the water was wiped off the rotor.
When OP says he can't engage ABS in the rain, I start to think water or moisture is interfering with the electronics of the ABS unit. I think you need some sophisticated ABS troubleshooting.
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  #12  
Old 10-18-2012, 07:52 AM
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Originally Posted by GoForthFast View Post
Pre-application was not added for first application loss, but delayed grip in first application. He has to pump twice, where normal brakes would stop if you persisted with your first applicaton after the water was wiped off the rotor.
When OP says he can't engage ABS in the rain, I start to think water or moisture is interfering with the electronics of the ABS unit. I think you need some sophisticated ABS troubleshooting.
I figured maybe he's exaggerating, and he's really talking about the scary initial press that does nothing. If his brakes really didn't work at all, the car would be upside down in a ditch by now.
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  #13  
Old 10-18-2012, 04:12 PM
global1 global1 is offline
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Rain predicted tomorrow in Philly. I am going to drag the service tech out during a downpour to let him feel the lack of braking. I'll provide an update on his diagnosis.
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  #14  
Old 10-18-2012, 11:14 PM
GoForthFast GoForthFast is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris90 View Post
I figured maybe he's exaggerating, and he's really talking about the scary initial press that does nothing. If his brakes really didn't work at all, the car would be upside down in a ditch by now.
Always tough to really know what to base thoughts on because we're not there to see it ourselves.
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