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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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Old 05-07-2005, 02:53 AM
wongtomm wongtomm is offline
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Making of an E46

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Old 05-07-2005, 05:00 AM
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Very cool - thanks!

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Old 05-07-2005, 05:36 AM
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shizat63 shizat63 is offline
takes the long way home..
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About 1 yr ago someone was kind enough to actually sit down and translate the entire thing
Search and you'll find it

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Old 05-07-2005, 07:28 AM
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Originally Posted by wongtomm

Are people still going to be posting this 10 years from now? Seriously, I saw this posted more then a few times over a year ago. Thanks anyway, I know you meant well.
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Old 05-07-2005, 08:37 AM
TEV/// TEV/// is offline
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hey I have not seen it, so just because you have been in reading this board for a few years does not mean everyone has.
And, what am I to wake up one morning and out of the blue do a search to see if someone has ever posted a video about the making of the car?
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Old 05-07-2005, 08:46 AM
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Originally Posted by TEV///
hey I have not seen it, so just because you have been in reading this board for a few years does not mean everyone has.
And, what am I to wake up one morning and out of the blue do a search to see if someone has ever posted a video about the making of the car?

Don't get your panties in a bunch, I told him thank-you. It's just that this seems to get posted once a month for the past year.
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Old 05-07-2005, 08:47 AM
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JAWJr JAWJr is offline
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Awesome, thanks! Maybe 6 months ago someone posted a link to this in their web site but it disappeared inexplicably- Thanks for bringing it back to life!

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Old 05-07-2005, 09:05 AM
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Eduardo Eduardo is offline
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Very cool. I've never seen this. Thanks!

...on a tangent; the E90 is growing on me. Can't wait to see the new M3.
"Fight on!"
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Old 05-07-2005, 09:14 AM
bmw325 bmw325 is offline
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Originally Posted by shizat63
About 1 yr ago someone was kind enough to actually sit down and translate the entire thing
Search and you'll find it
I'd be interested in seeing the translation-- was it on this board? I searched and didn't find anything.
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Old 05-07-2005, 10:16 AM
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markl53 markl53 is online now
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Found the translation...

Originally Posted by robg
I'd be interested in seeing the translation-- was it on this board? I searched and didn't find anything.
Here you go -- found the old thread...
Translation courtesy of "zoofa"...

Post #11

************************************************** **********
************************************************** **********

*poof* and so you shall! For those of you who enjoyed the video but have no clue what they're saying, I've written up a translation in English. Each new paragraph corresponds to the next section of narration by the voice-over. You should be able to follow pretty well, as the picture will match the words if you're in the right place. Just follow along below and enjoy! If you are German and think I missed a word here or there, feel free to say so

The production of every BMW begins like this: with a roll of sheet metal. "The Coil" they call it, and of course, it's not just any sheet metal. The roll is carefully selected to meet BMW's high standard of quality.

Next, the "coil" is unrolled, and cut into so-called "blanks", which form a precise stack of steel plates.

After cutting, the stack of blanks is transported to the presses.

This is called the "pressing factory", but in the business the technique is actually known as "deep drawing", because the blanks aren't pressed, but rather are pulled (drawn) into their new shapes. Depending on the piece, 4 to 6 steps are necessary: shaping, stamping, curving, and trimming edges, as seen for example in the making of this trunk lid.

The scrap that is trimmed off here is recycled, and perhaps someday might make it back into the factory as part of a new coil.

The machines, presses, and finished pieces undergo constant quality control checks from BMW employees.

From the presses, the individual pieces are put together to make the body shell.

Robots spotweld the individual pieces together with millimeter precision.

The rear section, front section, and floor plate are put together to form the floor pan.

Robots place the welds with the same high precision as the base of the car body is united with the floor pan.

Finally, three-dimensional measurement machines check the dimensions of the floor pan to accuracies of a hundredth of a millimeter.

From this storage, the finished floor pans are automatically called up for further processing.

Here, experienced employees add welded joints to the frame with a gas flame. The method used here is called "inert gas welding". This is just one of many techniques used to join together the body pieces.

The body shell is takes further form as the side walls and roof are added.

In some places, for example at the connection between the sidewall and the rear end, the body is sealed by brazing with a special brass solder. This ensures that water cannot infiltrate the body later on.

Here the deck lid is installed.

The lid is checked to ensure it is seated correctly and doesn't have too much or too little play, using a tool called a seam gauge.

Finally, the outer surfaces of the body shell are carefully checked for evenness and scanned for any deviations.

Before the protective finish can be put on, a multi-stage pre-treatment of the body shell is required.

First, the body is thoroughly cleaned, ridding it of dirt and grease introduced in the pressing and assembly stages.

Afterwards, the body is dipped in a phosphate bath. Because the body is constructed from many different sheet metal pieces, the phosphate coating layer is used to give it a uniform outer surface.

The uniform foundation for all further coatings is applied in the cathodic dip machine (or KTL - Kathodische Tauchlackanlage).

The body is completely immersed in the cathodic dip to ensure that the KTL coating reaches every part, both exterior surfaces and interior spaces. Because of its composition, the KTL also serves as the most important layer of corrosion protection.

Before the topcoat can be applied, the body must be meticulously freed of dust. For this purpose, genuine emu feathers are used.

And now color comes in to play. In the paint spray room, the car gets the color chosen by the customer, in our case, Topaz Blue. Spray-paint robots ensure that the paint is distributed absolutely evenly on all surfaces.

BMW uses environmentally friendly water-based lacquers and paints worldwide. The body is electrically charged, and attracts the clear coat particles as if by magic. Particles which still don't stick to the car are captured in a closed waste-water system, filtered out, and reused.

Finally, the body goes into the drying chamber. Only by being baked in does the finish acquire the necessary hardness and durability to resist environmental influences and damages.

In the coating finish point, the outer surfaces are exactingly checked.

The composition and thickness of the finish is measured to micron (thousandth of a millimeter) accuracy using a special instrument. Only once the finish on the body has been shown to meet BMW's high standards will it be passed on to the next production stage.

The Topaz Blue car body is stored in a fully automatic "bookcase" warehouse until it is called up to its place in the assembly line order.

To begin the assembly, the VIN is carved into the car, thus assigning it to a specific customer.

So that the employees can access the car more easily, the doors are removed, to be completed in a separate door assembly process. The logistics process ensures that the doors will be ready at the right time in the overall assembly process.

The cable harness lays the foundation to ensure that the car's ECU and other electronics can communicate with each other...and they do it with a data rate of up to 500 kbits/second!

The so-called "pivot mounting" (Schwenkmontage) allows the car to be turned so that employees can work in an ergonomically correct position.

The tank, which holds 63 liters of fuel, is mounted on the underside of the vehicle.

Extremely important for the safety of driver and passengers are the head protection airbags.

The cockpit, where the instruments will soon be installed, is fully recyclable. The passenger airbag....the radio...and the tach and dash complete it.

And also here, the BMW gets its logo.

Robots ensure that the windows are placed exactly.

Man and machine work hand in hand to install the seats.

And once the seatbelts are attached, you could really already take your seat.

For ergonomic reasons, employees are helped by machines which carry the doors as they are reinstalled.

Just add the steering wheel, and then the interior of the car is as good as done.

The most important part is still missing, though: the motor. It will now be retrieved from the motor storage warehouse. Motors are built by BMW in a production network. This means that the various BMW plants build different motors and vehicle types. The diesel motor that will be installed in our Topaz Blue 3er comes from the BMW plant in Steyr, Austria.

All 6-, 8-, and 12-cylinder gasoline engines are built in Munich (along with some other types of motors).

In the meantime, the motor is connected to the transmission.

Afterwards, the motor and transmission are connected to the axles and universal joint shaft mounted on a cross member.

And then the chassis and motor meet the body; many call this great event "the wedding". In the factory, it's called "aggregate installation" (roughly translated). The completed drivetrain moves along under the body as a separate entity.

Chassis and body are then brought to within 15cm of each other during the "wedding"; it's called "pre-assembly". They are then electronically bolted together by robots.

The "wedding" marks the start of the last stage of construction: the final assembly.

The kidney grilles give the BMW its distinctive face.

The rear bumper is mounted.

And also in front, the bumper completes the car's face.

Not quite as fast as in Formula 1, the wheels are bolted on. From now on, the car can stand on its own legs.

A few meters before the car leaves the plant, it is fueled up.

Brake fluid and coolant can't be forgotten either.

Really, the car could drive off right now. But to ensure that the customer can really experience 100% "Freude am Fahren", all systems are checked one more time.

At last the big moment arrives: for the first time, the car moves under its own power.

But the car still has to undergo a few more tests. The headlights and the tracking are tested and adjusted.

And then comes the most important test of the final quality control. In the roller test room, all systems will be put through their paces at full speed.

Every BMW shouldn't just leave the factory technically and functionally perfect; we also want to give every customer a vehicle which is visually perfect, so that they have no objections about it.
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Old 05-07-2005, 07:33 PM
jimwh jimwh is offline
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It may have been around a while, but it's still pretty cool to see the process.
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Old 05-07-2005, 08:14 PM
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that was really cool
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