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E46 M3 (2001-2006) Engine: S54 - Max Hp: 333 hp at 7,900 rpm / 262 lb/ft at 4,900 rpm
Total Produced: 45,000+ - Years Produced: 2001 to 2006.


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Old Thu, Aug-16-2007, 02:18:18 PM   #1
jav1
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Default E46 maintenance / DIY support ?

I've always loved the E46 M3 and with prices down, I'm tempted to get one to replace an older Porsche that the kids don't fit into any more. This would be more of a toy than a daily driver since I log a lot of miles (my daily driver is an '03 jetta TDi with close to 150K). Within my budget, it looks like an '01-03 would be the ticket and other than the 100k engine ext. war. , I'd likely be on my own for maintenance and repairs. Normally, this wouldn't be a concern as I'm very intimate with a wrench but I'm wondering how much of a burden this would be with an E46 M3? Are there guys doing DIY service? Is DIY service very difficult without special BMW tools? Is the M3 very service intensive?

Any insights would be appreciated.

Last edited by jav1; Thu, Aug-16-2007 at 02:27:33 PM.
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Old Thu, Aug-16-2007, 02:39:04 PM   #2
Obioban
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It's a very easy car to DIY, though nothing beats of a porsche for that (well, maybe really old american cars).

Most of the time you're fine with common tools. There are a few specific jobs that require specific tools. For general maintenance you'll need a shim kit from BMW (car needs a valve job on inspections) and one time you'll need an RTAB tool

Other than that, unless you break something unusual, everything is pretty straight forward and easy to work on. The only reason I ever go to any sort of shop anymore is
state inspection
tire mounting
alignment and corner balancing
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Old Thu, Aug-16-2007, 03:16:26 PM   #3
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German cars (like German guns) go together and come apart so easily IMO. Very user friendly. They come up with some nifty ways of attaching things without lots of little nuts and bolts to lose. If you're mechanically inclined, I think you would enjoy working on the car.
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Old Thu, Aug-16-2007, 03:24:38 PM   #4
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Join your local BMWCCA chapter. Many have DIY weekend days at BMW dealers and indy shops where you can get advice and use of their tools.
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Old Thu, Aug-16-2007, 03:24:39 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pujel View Post
German cars (like German guns) go together and come apart so easily IMO. Very user friendly. They come up with some nifty ways of attaching things without lots of little nuts and bolts to lose. If you're mechanically inclined, I think you would enjoy working on the car.
Once you figure it out. They are a far cry from a Japanese car that only requires a 10mm socket and #2 phillips screw driver to dismantle

This site gives a lot of great DIY info, but bookmark this site as well:

Mad Russian
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Old Thu, Aug-16-2007, 03:31:51 PM   #6
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Thanks guys- that makes me feel a little better. How about the frequency /likelyhood of things like CEL? Is there a software interface that is available to us (Like Vag-Com for VW) ?

Obioban -thanks for yourt insights and info on tracking. DE events would be part of this experience. How has your M3 held up to track use?
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Old Thu, Aug-16-2007, 05:25:31 PM   #7
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You may find this helpful: http://www.m3forum.net/m3forum/showt...vice+intervals
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Old Thu, Aug-16-2007, 05:36:35 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jav1 View Post
Thanks guys- that makes me feel a little better. How about the frequency /likelyhood of things like CEL? Is there a software interface that is available to us (Like Vag-Com for VW) ?

Obioban -thanks for yourt insights and info on tracking. DE events would be part of this experience. How has your M3 held up to track use?
The key to avoiding lights is disconnecting the battery before doing anything that involved unplugging sensors. And if you do trigger one... if you get friendly with a local independent BMW shop I bet they'll turn them off again for free. I've never set any off on my car, but I did on my buddy's M5 (forgot to disconnect battery when replacing steering wheel, set off the airbag light) and got it turned off for free, no questions asked.

The car's great on the track. The ONLY thing you need to go is track specific pads, good brake fluid, and maybe stainless lines. Everything else is just for your own enjoyment/speed.

The car holds up very well in all respects-- mine gets
tracked
drag raced (though not that often, and by this I mean at a drag strip)
autoxed
driven hard on the street
driven in the snow
driven in the rain
driven in 104 heat
... and she never misses a beat

If you're going to track the car (actually, I'd recommend this to anyone, but especially if you track the car), I would add the following suggestions:
1) Do oil changes twice as often as the car suggests. For me, that's about every 6k miles.
2) On every inspection (BMW inspection 1 & 2, not state inspection), change the diff and tranny fluid. That doesn't take much effort (only once every ~25,000 miles) but it will make those components last much longer. Life time fill is bogus.

If you're buying an 01 or 02, make sure the rod bearing recall has been done. If the car is nearing or past 50,000 miles, you're probably also looking at
Shocks
RSM
RTABs
Inspection 2 items (including, but not limited to, air filters, fuel filter, spark plugs, etc)
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Old Thu, Aug-16-2007, 06:08:54 PM   #9
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thatoneguy- thanks for the link... it was an interesting read.

Obioban - I will do a search but pardon my ignorance as I do not recognize some of the acronyms you used (rsm/rtab)?

EDIT : I found the acronyms in the faq section. BTW, the cars I'm looking at have had the recall done and are in the 50-75k mile range.

Last edited by jav1; Thu, Aug-16-2007 at 06:15:16 PM.
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Old Thu, Aug-16-2007, 06:16:06 PM   #10
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RSM- rear shock mounts
RTAB - rear trailing arm bushing
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Discussing E46 maintenance / DIY support ? in the E46 M3 (2001-2006) Forum - Engine: S54 - Max Hp: 333 hp at 7,900 rpm / 262 lb/ft at 4,900 rpm
Total Produced: 45,000+ - Years Produced: 2001 to 2006. at BMW M3 Forum.com (E30 M3 | E36 M3 | E46 M3 | E92 M3 | F80/X)