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3-Series (E36) Chat relating to the BMW 3-Series from 1992-1999. Autodoodad Specific models include: BMW 316i, BMW 318i, BMW 318iS/ti, BMW 320, BMW 323, BMW 320, BMW 324, BMW 325, BMW 328.

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Old 07-31-2003, 04:58 PM   #1 (permalink)
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My brother has a '95 325i and it's about time for a tune up. The local mechanics are going to charge him $800 just to replace:

6 spark plugs
Air Filter
Fuel Filter
Anti Freeze
Brake Fluid


We arn't mechanics but I'm sure that we can tackle this ourselves. We do know the locations of every part and we have basic car knowledge. Do you guys think we would be better off doing this ourselves instead of paying ther mechanics? It shouldn't be too difficult should it? Opinions needed
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Old 07-31-2003, 05:27 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally posted by Vortec 4.3@Jul 31 2003, 07:38 PM
My brother has a '95 325i and it's about time for a tune up. The local mechanics are going to charge him $800 just to replace:

6 spark plugs
Air Filter
Fuel Filter
Anti Freeze
Brake Fluid


We arn't mechanics but I'm sure that we can tackle this ourselves. We do know the locations of every part and we have basic car knowledge. Do you guys think we would be better off doing this ourselves instead of paying ther mechanics? It shouldn't be too difficult should it? Opinions needed
Holy Sh#t!! Christ all mighty, I'm so glad this was avoided from having you guys being ripped off!! Walk away and do it yourselves and tell the "mechanics" eye
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Old 07-31-2003, 05:30 PM   #3 (permalink)
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that is a RIP....


* spark plugs are CHEAP , but tricky to instal on e36's
* Fuel filter.... maybe 75 bucks with an oil change
* If you can change the airfilter your self you should not own a car
* Anti freeze i assume to drain colant system and new in... you can do yourself
*Brake Bleed i have no clue but can get messy



for the things you listed I say 250$ MAX
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Old 07-31-2003, 05:38 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Spark plugs are easy in a e36, just make sure you have a (at least) 6 inch extension for your ratchet, other wise you are sol.

Fuel filter is also relatively easy, it's located under the car right about the middle of the driver's door. THere is a sheild over it, probably on with 2 - 4 screws/bolts. You will get gas everywhere so be prepared.

Air filter is a simple DIY - pull out old, replace with new.

Anti freeze is messy and needs to be cleaned up properly, but also easy.

I can't help ya with the brake bleeding as I have yet to tackle that one.

With two people you should have no problems tackling this your selves, and you'll save lots of money. Check the FAQ section for some DIY links, I think one of them has the info you need.
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Old 07-31-2003, 06:42 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally posted by BlackTape@Jul 31 2003, 05:10 PM
that is a RIP....


* spark plugs are CHEAP , but tricky to instal on e36's
* Fuel filter.... maybe 75 bucks with an oil change
* If you can change the airfilter your self you should not own a car
* Anti freeze i assume to drain colant system and new in... you can do yourself
*Brake Bleed i have no clue but can get messy



for the things you listed I say 250$ MAX
tricky??? it's easy as hell... remove the cover, disconnect and unscew the coils, get a spark plug wrench, replace plugs, put the coils back, making sure to pay attention to which wire goes where (it's marked on the top of the injector harness) plug coils back in, replace cover

easy as pie, I could do it in under 30 minutes.
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Old 07-31-2003, 06:59 PM   #6 (permalink)
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a tip for plugs, do 'em one at a time, i.e. one coil wire + one plug, reinstall coil, move on... instead of uninstalling all the coils wires, then all the plugs at once. eliminates chances of getting wrong wire on wrong plug.
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Old 07-31-2003, 07:30 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Nice tip, but the correct wiring is still marked on the injector harness.
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Old 07-31-2003, 09:21 PM   #8 (permalink)
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beside all that the spark plug wires basically will hang right in front of the spot they are suppose to be, should be hard,

plugs- pull cover on passenger side (two screws), remove coils by unscrewing brackets, disconnect harness or pull whole thing out, use gap tool and pull plug and reverse the order.

air filter- pull cover two clips no screws, remove and replace, i suggest putting a k&N filter instead of stock.

fuel filter- is tricky, its hidden under drivers side of car almost below the drivers seat (this is under the car) , clamp all hoses and remove, reverse order and check for leaks.

antifreeze- plug is located on bottom drivers side of the rad, drain all out then put plug back, refill and using the overflow baffle bleed the system or your gonna experience a lack of anitfreeze in a day, (this is for everyone who has experienced this, if the system isnt flushed and bleed through proper your gonna notice that your very low on antifreeze or seem like theres none at all)


brakes- this is the one thing you should go to your dealer for, if not done right you could be in serious trouble, ive done it a few times and i think still after doing it (with a trained mechanic with me) id still take it so someone else can do it.
if you decide to do it yourself, i suggest checking your pads, rotors, and pulling your calipers and re-greasing the slider pins on the calipers (notorious for causing caliper seizing.)

sorry the info is so vauge but im tired and cant write a whole lot.
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Old 07-31-2003, 09:57 PM   #9 (permalink)
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the local dealer charges $600 for an Inspection 2 for an M3. i don't own an M3...but i know that you are going to get stuck in the bum if you go to your mechanic. i say get a 24 pack of bud light and do it yourself.
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Old 08-01-2003, 10:40 PM   #10 (permalink)
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A TRUE Inspection is more than plugs, air filter, fuel filter, coolant and brake flush. Has anyone ever looked at an inspection sheet from a dealer? Most independent shops run with the dealer pricing and mark it down a tad and still make a bunch of money. A real inspection involves examining the car front to back, up, down, left right, inside and out for water leaks to rust, all electrical functions, check all fault memory, road test, check the brakes, inspect all the drive train... and on and on. Typically a brake flush is 1.0hr labor, coolant flush 1.0hr labor then the labor for the inspection which I believe was usually 4-4.5 hr labor (inspection 2) because it also involved replacing the microfilter (pollen filter). So that's 6-6.5hr labor. Let's just assume the shop rate at the shop you went to was on the low side at 65$/hr . that's still only $422.50 . Even if the rate was 75/hr, you'd only be at $487.50 . There sure as hell aren't $300+ in parts, so I'd say they're trying to rip you off. Of course, if they charge in the $90 range, then they might be on track.

A true coolant flush begins at the engine block, not the radiator.
A brake flush is easy if you know what you are doing. if you don't you'll have major problems.
Spark plugs are very easy to do and very easy to screw up if you don't have a little common sense.

It's a great learning experience though!!

.. just my .02$ from an EXtech point of view
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Old 08-02-2003, 12:06 AM   #11 (permalink)
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Thanks Extech, always good to have a BMW cert guy to check us out.
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Old 08-03-2003, 02:06 PM   #12 (permalink)
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thanks extech i wasnt clear on where to flush the coolant system
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Old 08-05-2003, 09:51 PM   #13 (permalink)
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no prob guys. I know that it helps to have some "insider info". Long live the BMW
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Old 08-05-2003, 10:17 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Originally posted by EXtech@Aug 2 2003, 02:20 AM
A TRUE Inspection is more than plugs, air filter, fuel filter, coolant and brake flush. Has anyone ever looked at an inspection sheet from a dealer? Most independent shops run with the dealer pricing and mark it down a tad and still make a bunch of money. A real inspection involves examining the car front to back, up, down, left right, inside and out for water leaks to rust, all electrical functions, check all fault memory, road test, check the brakes, inspect all the drive train... and on and on. Typically a brake flush is 1.0hr labor, coolant flush 1.0hr labor then the labor for the inspection which I believe was usually 4-4.5 hr labor (inspection 2) because it also involved replacing the microfilter (pollen filter). So that's 6-6.5hr labor. Let's just assume the shop rate at the shop you went to was on the low side at 65$/hr . that's still only $422.50 . Even if the rate was 75/hr, you'd only be at $487.50 . There sure as hell aren't $300+ in parts, so I'd say they're trying to rip you off. Of course, if they charge in the $90 range, then they might be on track.

A true coolant flush begins at the engine block, not the radiator.
A brake flush is easy if you know what you are doing. if you don't you'll have major problems.
Spark plugs are very easy to do and very easy to screw up if you don't have a little common sense.

It's a great learning experience though!!

.. just my .02$ from an EXtech point of view
PLEASE DO NOT TAKE THIS AS AN ATTACK ON ANYONE ABOUT ANYTHING!

Thank you for the info EXtech, however, how many shops (including BMW dealerships) do you think actually do ALL that work. Honestly. Coolant flush at the block? Sure, I've never seen/heard it done. I'm a cynic by nature, and I'll practically guarantee you that 80% + of the shops out there do NOT do all that. Business is business, no one gives a rat's ass about the customer anymore. If it doesn't break they will not bring it back to get fixed. If it does break, theywill bring it back to get it fixed. "because it also involved replacing the microfilter (pollen filter). " How does this affect my car's ability to operate correctly? Is it worth 2 - 2.5 hrs of labor? Please.

just my .02 from a cynic's point of view.

It's a car.
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Old 08-06-2003, 01:58 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Oh, I agree on the part about whether all of that is actually done or not (the body and rust inspection and other tedious b.s.). There are many who don't do hardly any of the work. Typically the coolant flushes ARE done at the block, and granted not everyone does, but the majority do. I wasn't trying to justify the work or anything, I was just trying to break down the logic behind the charges. Basically when you're paying to the complete car "look over", you're paying for them to dig around and find something wrong so they can write an estimate up and sell you on it. Every time I did an inspection, the key components DID get done (and properly) and if it weren't necessary for the full charge, when I did my r&r write up in the computer to close out the paperwork, I'd adjust the labor down. So when the customer came to pick the car up, the total cost was less and they were ecstatic. The inspection should be called a full maintenance service and include(where applicable per vehicle and to individual maintenance guidelines): oil and filter change, brake flush, coolant flush, brake inspection, tire rotation, microfilter(s), spark plugs, air filter, check all fault codes, general safety and mechanical inspection (obvious severe front end wear, guibo discs, etc.). I think I've got everything here. Add that up (typical individual labor charges): oil and filter .5hr, brake flush 1.0hr, coolant flush 1.0hr, tire rotation .5hr, brake inspection could theoretically be done with tire rotation but if on an M car where no rotation is available then the .5 would be for the brake inspection. microfilter .25hr to .5hr, spark plugs .5hr to 1.5hr, air filter n/c in most cases, check all fault codes .5hr, and a quick safety check .5hr. Add it up and that's.......carry the one...um.. 4.25hr to 6.0hr . The kicker is though, that the labor for the coolant and brake flushes are not included in the inspection. That's seperate. Wait a minute..so much typing I'm losing my point . So if the brake and coolant flushes were included in the inspection, then the labor to me would be justified because then you'd actually be saving money compared to paying for it all seperate. I've lost myself used (i'm tired), but I think you get the point.!?
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