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    Thread: E46 M3 & Reliability

    1. Member JETTA PSYCHO's Avatar
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      03-03-2009 11:03 AM #1
      We all know the ample stories of the B5 and B6/7 S4's with their turbo's blowing and engine pulling for any minor repair and the large price tag that goes along with those repairs. However the M3 has less known troubles that are constantly brought up on the CL as it is a well known darling. Anyways please bring out the troubles/common expenses that go along with being an M3 owner. Thanks!

      B

      PS: Anyone that wants to help with rule one would be great even though there are a million pic posts about M3's


    2. Member 98a4's Avatar
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      03-03-2009 11:10 AM #2
      Wasnt there a thread on this yesterday?

      4.2 V8 has major problems? B6 and B7 s4 have turbos?


      M3 Valve adjustment every 20k IIRC ~ 1000$

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      Now now, let's not forget to specifically mention the steering wheels comparison to a 12 year old boys penis by one of our very own TCL members....

    3. Member freedomgli's Avatar
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      03-03-2009 11:12 AM #3
      The simple answer: M3's are pretty darn reliable so long as you perform the necessary (and costly) maintenance and replace worn parts before they break.

    4. Member JETTA PSYCHO's Avatar
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      03-03-2009 11:19 AM #4
      B5's with turbo problems, B6/7 with the V8 removal, guess I could have worded it better.

    5. Banned Fritz27's Avatar
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      03-03-2009 11:21 AM #5
      Yep, the E46 M3 is quite robust, just a bit pricy to maintain. My mom's is coming up on being 8 years old and is running strong still. Only issue was a coilpack recall fixed under warranty a month ago.

    6. Member undpilot757's Avatar
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      03-03-2009 11:27 AM #6
      BMWs from my personal observation and experience all have consistent problems that happen to EVERY car. Know this, makes it really easy to do the require preventative maintenance before they occur. It seems with most other brands, problems vary from car to car. Rarely on the various bmw forums do I see someone posting up a problem that no one else has already had experience with.

      Yes, the repairs can still cost you with a bmw, but you know what is coming, so you can prepare for it.

      So you can buy I car that MIGHT be reliable, or one who's short comings are already known. Even down to the approximate odometer mileage you'd expect some of these problems to occur.

      '98 E36 M3/4/5
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    7. 03-03-2009 11:30 AM #7
      A loose list of maintenance "gotchas":

      * Expensive, rare oil (Castrol 10W-60) (not really a reliability issue, but it is something to note)
      * Valve adjustments, or rather, verification and re-shimming as necessary. I believe that the interval for this is more like every 40k-50k miles -- certainly not every 20k. It is within the reach of a competent DIYer with the correct parts and some borrowed tools. Inspection II, which includes the valve adjustment, is a $1200-$1500 service. If you're just doing the valves, it is probably cheaper.
      * Rear control arm bushings, rear trailing arm bushings should be replaced at ~70k miles depending on age and driving habits.
      * Rare cases of rear subframe cracks. The M3 has a stronger rear subframe setup than the non-M cars, but there have been a few reported incidents of this occurring. BMWNA has been good about covering the repair provided the car is reasonably stock, though.
      * VANOS (stepless variable valve timing) failure. I have heard reports of the filter being clogged (cheap), the solenoid failing (reasonable), or the whole unit requiring a rebuild (very expensive). Doesn't seem to be too widespread though.
      * SMG pump failue, for cars with the Sequential Manual Gearbox. This is a 70k+ mile problem, but if it does happen, it is pricey (I heard one $2000+ story).
      * Rod bearing failure. Needless to say, BMW recalled and replaced the bearings (or in some cases, the entire motor) on the pre-03 cars. Shouldn't be an issue unless the car didn't have the recall performed, or is oil-starved for some other reason.

      That's all I can think of off of the top of my head. Luckily, I have been fortunate not to have any of these problems, although my car is a low mileage (24k) example. Knock on wood, fingers crossed, and all that.


      Modified by Shivatron at 4:31 PM 3-3-2009


    8. 03-03-2009 11:47 AM #8
      Here's a DIY on the valve adjustment. You need to be a member of the forum to view the pics though.

      http://www.m3forum.net/m3forum...13415


    9. Member UKGTI's Avatar
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      03-03-2009 11:50 AM #9
      I just bought an 05. In a nutshell avoid those that have been beat on, they will be the ones susceptible to subframe damage and VANOS wear. Other than that, the S54 is pretty much a bombproof motor. There was a rod bearing recall done in 03 and earlier, but that should be taken care of. The valve adjustments aren't as common as people are saying, I think the first one is at 50k. But that said, it is a BMW and so prepare accordingly. I will have pics up of mine soon. It is on the transporter across the country right now.

    10. Member SnowGTI2003's Avatar
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      03-03-2009 11:53 AM #10
      I just did the valve adjustment on mine over the winter. Easily within the reach of a reasonably competent DIYer. 88K Km on mine and the shims barely needed adjusting at all.

    11. 03-03-2009 11:53 AM #11
      Well, this basically nixes all my chances of getting an E46 M3.
      I'm used to low cost, low maintenance, just put gas in, change oil and drive Japanese cars.

      Quote, originally posted by Shivatron »
      A loose list of maintenance "gotchas":

      * Expensive, rare oil (Castrol 10W-60) (not really a reliability issue, but it is something to note)
      * Valve adjustments, or rather, verification and re-shimming as necessary. I believe that the interval for this is more like every 40k-50k miles -- certainly not every 20k. It is within the reach of a competent DIYer with the correct parts and some borrowed tools. Inspection II, which includes the valve adjustment, is a $1200-$1500 service. If you're just doing the valves, it is probably cheaper.
      * Rear control arm bushings, rear trailing arm bushings should be replaced at ~70k miles depending on age and driving habits.
      * Rare cases of rear subframe cracks. The M3 has a stronger rear subframe setup than the non-M cars, but there have been a few reported incidents of this occurring. BMWNA has been good about covering the repair provided the car is reasonably stock, though.
      * VANOS (stepless variable valve timing) failure. I have heard reports of the filter being clogged (cheap), the solenoid failing (reasonable), or the whole unit requiring a rebuild (very expensive). Doesn't seem to be too widespread though.
      * SMG pump failue, for cars with the Sequential Manual Gearbox. This is a 70k+ mile problem, but if it does happen, it is pricey (I heard one $2000+ story).
      * Rod bearing failure. Needless to say, BMW recalled and replaced the bearings (or in some cases, the entire motor) on the pre-03 cars. Shouldn't be an issue unless the car didn't have the recall performed, or is oil-starved for some other reason.

      That's all I can think of off of the top of my head. Luckily, I have been fortunate not to have any of these problems, although my car is a low mileage (24k) example. Knock on wood, fingers crossed, and all that.


    12. Member UKGTI's Avatar
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      03-03-2009 11:56 AM #12
      well it is a 3.2 getting 330 hp. M3 is not just a get in and drive car.

    13. Member imajeanius's Avatar
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      03-03-2009 11:58 AM #13
      Quote, originally posted by psteng19 »
      Well, this basically nixes all my chances of getting an E46 M3.
      I'm used to low cost, low maintenance, just put gas in, change oil and drive Japanese cars.

      Then you should be driving a Camry, not an M3.


    14. 03-03-2009 12:17 PM #14
      Quote, originally posted by imajeanius »

      Then you should be driving a Camry, not an M3.

      Pretty much.
      Currently driving an "Accord". For a fun car, I'm looking at a 370Z in the near future.

      But I've lusted for an E46 since they came out. I can afford it now but not sure I want to.


      Modified by psteng19 at 12:18 PM 3-3-2009


    15. Senior Member JustinCSVT's Avatar
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      03-03-2009 12:19 PM #15
      Quote, originally posted by psteng19 »
      Well, this basically nixes all my chances of getting an E46 M3.
      I'm used to low cost, low maintenance, just put gas in, change oil and drive Japanese cars.


      Join the dark side. You have work for your fun.

      You sound like my friend. We went to Autozone yesterday and he didn't know where anything was. His excuse, "I drive a Honda, why would I go in here?".


    16. Member NOTORIOUS VR's Avatar
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      03-03-2009 12:23 PM #16
      Honestly, the turbo thing on the B5's is blown out of proportion....

      Things like wheel bearings, and control arms come up far sooner then turbos if the car has been taken care of. That said, if they do go, upgrade to K04's or bigger and be done with it no having to worry about them ever again.

      E36 · VEMS · TUNING
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    17. 03-03-2009 12:29 PM #17
      Quote, originally posted by freedomgli »
      The simple answer: M3's are pretty darn reliable so long as you perform the necessary (and costly) maintenance and replace worn parts before they break.

      You got it!


    18. Member mk2vrooom's Avatar
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      03-03-2009 08:27 PM #18
      Quote, originally posted by psteng19 »
      Well, this basically nixes all my chances of getting an E46 M3.
      I'm used to low cost, low maintenance, just put gas in, change oil and drive Japanese cars.

      then stay away from an m3...if you own it with that mentality it will turn into a lop of **** in a hurry lol...in all serious though..there isnt a TON of issues with the m3s(im a bmw tech-id know)

      most of it is mentioned here-the subframe issue and rod bearing issue being the least important. as long as you keep up with inspections and oil changes you should be fine. the smg pumps do take a dump usually in higher milage..yes they are expensive..but its a BMW? also the throttles do fail over time-i forget prices but its less than a grand for that repair. personally if i had the cash..id get one and rip that thing everywhere!


    19. 01-01-2010 11:23 AM #19
      Super High Cost , BMW Canda No help and keep lie to say never see that problem. I drive the 2005 e46 m3 with 55,000km bone stock engine every 8,000km oil change with the castrol 10w60 stupid grade oil. Have vanos problem dealership qoute for repair $15,000cdn. My warranty just exp 6 months. BMW first offer me 50% from head office, 25% dealership and 25% from me. As long as my car engine are stock, So I think is fair, so I tow my car to the dealer, they can't finf out what will cause the vanos problem, just let me know is the some parts broken, but he don't see any thing has been mod, all stock. Now the BMW CANADA (BEN) I never offer you 50% will cover by BMW CANADA, also you have to pay the $500 invoice for the diagnostic fee. I will say BMW CANADA THEY CAR WORST THEN ANY USED CAR SALEMAN. WHEN THEY SEE THE PROBLEM JUST CHANGE THIER MIND. DON'T EVER THINK TO BUY ANOTHER BMW WITHOUT FACTORY WARRANTY. TIPS EVEN THE BMW CERTFLY SERIES IS NOT BMW FACTORY WARRANTY, JUST A MAJOR COMP COVER. NOT FULL COVER.
      PLUS TRANSMISSION SERVICE they say the fluid is good for life time NO need to do any trans service. They also have a sentance as follow but not let the public knows are: YOU JUST GIVE ME $8500 to buy a NEW one + installation. That what I MEAN GOOD FOR LIFE TIME, When break down JUST buy a new one, SUCKER! Ha...

    20. Member Avicenna's Avatar
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      01-01-2010 11:44 AM #20
      That just blew my mind.
      You must not lose faith in humanity. Humanity is an ocean; if a few drops of the ocean are dirty, the ocean doesn’t become dirty

    21. 01-01-2010 11:53 AM #21
      Quote, originally posted by bi2.7 »
      Super High Cost , BMW Canda No help and keep lie to say never see that problem. I drive the 2005 e46 m3 with 55,000km bone stock engine every 8,000km oil change with the castrol 10w60 stupid grade oil. Have vanos problem dealership qoute for repair $15,000cdn. My warranty just exp 6 months. BMW first offer me 50% from head office, 25% dealership and 25% from me. As long as my car engine are stock, So I think is fair, so I tow my car to the dealer, they can't finf out what will cause the vanos problem, just let me know is the some parts broken, but he don't see any thing has been mod, all stock. Now the BMW CANADA (BEN) I never offer you 50% will cover by BMW CANADA, also you have to pay the $500 invoice for the diagnostic fee. I will say BMW CANADA THEY CAR WORST THEN ANY USED CAR SALEMAN. WHEN THEY SEE THE PROBLEM JUST CHANGE THIER MIND. DON'T EVER THINK TO BUY ANOTHER BMW WITHOUT FACTORY WARRANTY. TIPS EVEN THE BMW CERTFLY SERIES IS NOT BMW FACTORY WARRANTY, JUST A MAJOR COMP COVER. NOT FULL COVER.
      PLUS TRANSMISSION SERVICE they say the fluid is good for life time NO need to do any trans service. They also have a sentance as follow but not let the public knows are: YOU JUST GIVE ME $8500 to buy a NEW one + installation. That what I MEAN GOOD FOR LIFE TIME, When break down JUST buy a new one, SUCKER! Ha...

      just wow


    22. 01-01-2010 11:55 AM #22
      ^^ My hangover just came back...

    23. Geriatric Member ATL_Av8r's Avatar
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      01-01-2010 11:56 AM #23
      Quote, originally posted by bi2.7 »
      Super High Cost , BMW Canda No help and keep lie to say never see that problem. I drive the 2005 e46 m3 with 55,000km bone stock engine every 8,000km oil change with the castrol 10w60 stupid grade oil. Have vanos problem dealership qoute for repair $15,000cdn. My warranty just exp 6 months. BMW first offer me 50% from head office, 25% dealership and 25% from me. As long as my car engine are stock, So I think is fair, so I tow my car to the dealer, they can't finf out what will cause the vanos problem, just let me know is the some parts broken, but he don't see any thing has been mod, all stock. Now the BMW CANADA (BEN) I never offer you 50% will cover by BMW CANADA, also you have to pay the $500 invoice for the diagnostic fee. I will say BMW CANADA THEY CAR WORST THEN ANY USED CAR SALEMAN. WHEN THEY SEE THE PROBLEM JUST CHANGE THIER MIND. DON'T EVER THINK TO BUY ANOTHER BMW WITHOUT FACTORY WARRANTY. TIPS EVEN THE BMW CERTFLY SERIES IS NOT BMW FACTORY WARRANTY, JUST A MAJOR COMP COVER. NOT FULL COVER.
      PLUS TRANSMISSION SERVICE they say the fluid is good for life time NO need to do any trans service. They also have a sentance as follow but not let the public knows are: YOU JUST GIVE ME $8500 to buy a NEW one + installation. That what I MEAN GOOD FOR LIFE TIME, When break down JUST buy a new one, SUCKER! Ha...
      are you still drunk? or just foreign?
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    24. Member BTM's Avatar
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      01-01-2010 12:25 PM #24
      Quote, originally posted by bi2.7 »
      Super High Cost , BMW Canda No help and keep lie to say never see that problem. I drive the 2005 e46 m3 with 55,000km bone stock engine every 8,000km oil change with the castrol 10w60 stupid grade oil. Have vanos problem dealership qoute for repair $15,000cdn. My warranty just exp 6 months. BMW first offer me 50% from head office, 25% dealership and 25% from me. As long as my car engine are stock, So I think is fair, so I tow my car to the dealer, they can't finf out what will cause the vanos problem, just let me know is the some parts broken, but he don't see any thing has been mod, all stock. Now the BMW CANADA (BEN) I never offer you 50% will cover by BMW CANADA, also you have to pay the $500 invoice for the diagnostic fee. I will say BMW CANADA THEY CAR WORST THEN ANY USED CAR SALEMAN. WHEN THEY SEE THE PROBLEM JUST CHANGE THIER MIND. DON'T EVER THINK TO BUY ANOTHER BMW WITHOUT FACTORY WARRANTY. TIPS EVEN THE BMW CERTFLY SERIES IS NOT BMW FACTORY WARRANTY, JUST A MAJOR COMP COVER. NOT FULL COVER.
      PLUS TRANSMISSION SERVICE they say the fluid is good for life time NO need to do any trans service. They also have a sentance as follow but not let the public knows are: YOU JUST GIVE ME $8500 to buy a NEW one + installation. That what I MEAN GOOD FOR LIFE TIME, When break down JUST buy a new one, SUCKER! Ha...

      Would read again


    25. Member pal's Avatar
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      01-01-2010 01:21 PM #25
      I have about 34, 000 miles on my S54 (Z4M Coupe) with a fair amount of track miles and hard driving. Its def a demanding car as far as maintenance is concerned, but all of that is within the realm of an above average DIYer.

      4-5K mile engine oil changes - Castrol TWS 10W60 and OEM filter kit.
      20K miles- rear diff and trans fluid oil change; VANOS filter change - all OEM parts and fluids
      22K miles- valve shim adjustment; I had an indy do it and walk me through the process. Plan to do it myself going forward. Since I track my car, this interval is shorter. For normal DD use, expect this interval to be more like 30K miles.

      I also installed the Rogue Engineering rear strut mounts and the 3-Series rough road package plates on top of the front strut mounts for reinforcement when I installed the KW V3 coilovers.


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      01-01-2010 02:35 PM #26
      Quote, originally posted by bi2.7 »
      Super High Cost , BMW Canda No help and keep lie to say never see that problem. I drive the 2005 e46 m3 with 55,000km bone stock engine every 8,000km oil change with the castrol 10w60 stupid grade oil. Have vanos problem dealership qoute for repair $15,000cdn. My warranty just exp 6 months. BMW first offer me 50% from head office, 25% dealership and 25% from me. As long as my car engine are stock, So I think is fair, so I tow my car to the dealer, they can't finf out what will cause the vanos problem, just let me know is the some parts broken, but he don't see any thing has been mod, all stock. Now the BMW CANADA (BEN) I never offer you 50% will cover by BMW CANADA, also you have to pay the $500 invoice for the diagnostic fee. I will say BMW CANADA THEY CAR WORST THEN ANY USED CAR SALEMAN. WHEN THEY SEE THE PROBLEM JUST CHANGE THIER MIND. DON'T EVER THINK TO BUY ANOTHER BMW WITHOUT FACTORY WARRANTY. TIPS EVEN THE BMW CERTFLY SERIES IS NOT BMW FACTORY WARRANTY, JUST A MAJOR COMP COVER. NOT FULL COVER.
      PLUS TRANSMISSION SERVICE they say the fluid is good for life time NO need to do any trans service. They also have a sentance as follow but not let the public knows are: YOU JUST GIVE ME $8500 to buy a NEW one + installation. That what I MEAN GOOD FOR LIFE TIME, When break down JUST buy a new one, SUCKER! Ha...

      Wham bam what the eff just happened.

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    27. Member Markov79's Avatar
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      01-01-2010 03:13 PM #27
      x2

      My hangover also literally came back after trying to read that thing.

      Need more tylenol...


    28. Member TangoRed's Avatar
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      01-01-2010 03:45 PM #28
      You should look at Edmund's long-term 2002 M3 blog. They bought it used and did a fair amount of maintenance on it.
      Quote Originally Posted by DamienR8 View Post
      in 2038 you will have the ability to think of a car, then your body will actually turn into a car, then you will die in an accident.

    29. Member
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      01-01-2010 03:56 PM #29
      Quote, originally posted by TangoRed »
      You should look at Edmund's long-term 2002 M3 blog. They bought it used and did a fair amount of maintenance on it.

      If I recall, they skipped the valve adjustments, though.

      "Motorcycles - the cigarettes of transportation." Seth Meyers

    30. 01-01-2010 04:22 PM #30
      For the oil, you are almost better off ordering it and having it around for every time you do an oil change.

      in stock at my work


      (I don't work at where the image was linked from)


      Modified by kenny_blankenship at 3:26 PM 1-1-2010


    31. 01-01-2010 04:32 PM #31
      the above motor oil WILL NOT WORK in an E46 M3.


    32. Member VierSpeed's Avatar
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      01-01-2010 05:04 PM #32
      9-month-old thread revival day
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    33. 01-01-2010 05:43 PM #33
      Holy thread revival...

      I only use Castrol 10W60 oil in mine, which usually results in spending $80 every time I change the oil myself. I do oil changes at 7000 mile intervals. Besides that, my car's been dead reliable for the last 7500 miles I've had it. I'll probably do a suspension bushing replacement and cooling system overhaul when my car hits 80,000 just for good measure.


    34. 01-01-2010 05:59 PM #34
      Quote, originally posted by pal »
      I have about 34, 000 miles on my S54 (Z4M Coupe) with a fair amount of track miles and hard driving. Its def a demanding car as far as maintenance is concerned, but all of that is within the realm of an above average DIYer.

      31k miles on my Z4M (30k by me) and 20k in an S54 M3 before that whcih i sold at 45k miles, zero problems whatsoever with either...though they are relatively low mileage I know. I've seen E46 M3s with over 150k on them - do the maintenance and they are fine...

      Quote, originally posted by Stevo the Hobo »

      I only use Castrol 10W60 oil in mine, which usually results in spending $80 every time I change the oil myself. I do oil changes at 7000 mile intervals.

      US vs EU intervals always confuse me. In the UK the interval is 12-14k miles (it's variable and flashes up on the display, I think it's set to kick in after 500 imperial gallons of fuel consumed...so if you drive hard, it comes up sooner). Our maintenance schedule goes oil Service - Insp 1 - Oil Service - Insp 2 and repeat, every 12-15k...the oil services being basically just that. Never had to top my oil up on Z4M or M3 either


    35. 01-01-2010 06:04 PM #35
      Quote, originally posted by DCIdevil »
      the above motor oil WILL NOT WORK in an E46 M3.

      Lubro-Moly has BMW and VAG cert. on them. The picture is of the products, rather than the exact oil.

      Personally, I'd use Elf, but you can't exactly score any of that at the local Wal-Store in 10w-60 form.


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