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3-Series (E46, E90) Chat relating to the BMW 3-Series from 1999 to Current. Models include: BMW 316i, BMW 318i, BMW 318Ci, BMW 320i, BMW 323i, BMW 325i, BMW 330i, BMW 328 Ci, BMW 328i, BMW 325i/xi, BMW 330Ci, BMW 320d, BMW 330d, BMW 335d.

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Old 07-05-2005, 02:19 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Well, its coming up to the time for a new car again. Generally I buy a car new and hold on to it for about 10 years.

I like BMWs, but I note with the E90 there is no dipstick, and I've heard no drain plug either. Dealer changes will be covered the first four years, but its the period after that which I am concerned. I hate spending more than I have to, so I usually do my own oil changes and simple maintenance items. I don't want to be stuck with a car that is beholden to the dealer for oil changes forever.

So, does anybody know if DIY oil changes are possible on an E90?

I'm also considering a 2005 Ford Mustang GT. Its got plenty of style and power, and should be reasonably cheap and easy to work on. Unfortunately, its not as nimble as a BMW, and doesn't have a sunroof. Still, turn the key, hear the rumble and a lot of smiles are on tap. Parts are cheap, no exotic gizmos. The body style of the E90 sedan is more practical to my needs however. It would give me the driving enjoyment I seek with room for people in the back and stuff in the trunk.

Deep in my heart I want a BMW, I just don't want to regret it when the repair bills start rolling in. I know a 2005 Mustang won't be problem free either.....but odds are much better I could fix it myself, or get an independant shop to do repairs at a price much less than if I had a BMW. Oh the dillemma...

Can anybody help me get this figured out?
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Old 07-05-2005, 03:14 PM   #2 (permalink)
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no dipstick or drain plug? WTF!
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Old 07-05-2005, 04:17 PM   #3 (permalink)
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WTF is exactly what I said when I heard this. Apparently the V10 in the M5 is also without a dipstick. From what I've read, each new motor that is added to the BMW line-up will be without the dipstick. The idea is that computer sensors monitor oil levels and that is sufficient. IMO, sensors are great, but why not have the dipstick for added protection? The sensors on the E46 have been known to have false readings on occasion. Given how critical oil levels are in an engine, I'd be hard pressed to put my faith in a system that is not 100% fool proof.

The absence of a drain plug I heard only once. I'd like to still confirm that rumour. That is one I REALLY don't understand. That would mean some fancy vaccuum extraction device would have to be used. Even if you did trust your local Jiffy Lube, I'm not sure they would have this device...and even if they did, would most likely charge you extra.

Of course, the engines without dipsticks are so new, likely none or very few have gathered enough miles to warrant an oil change yet. This may turn out to be a nightmare yet for BMW if sensors start failing with engines blowing up for lack of oil. I suspect this move will be about as controversial and iDrive.....and they may be just as resistant to changing it.

To me, if it is true you are now stuck with the dealer for all oil changes on the newest BMWs, the message is clear. BMW only cares about selling the cars and once your four year warranty is up, does everything they can to make keeping the car past four years a PITA. Who knows what this will do for resale values? If this truly is BMW's intention here, it surely is a disappointment and will definitely turn this potential customer away. Cripes, I had an 87 325i that was a dream to work on....cars that would last forever if taken care of. Its disappointing to see them go this way.
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Old 07-06-2005, 02:58 PM   #4 (permalink)
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The automotive industry has a very slim profit margin on vehicle sales. They make their money on parts and service. I think they want to ensure they get that $125 per oil service for as long as you hold on to the car. I am planning on designing an oil pan with a drain plug for E90s, but the things I plan seldom get done.
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Old 07-06-2005, 04:04 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally posted by drz328i@Jul 6 2005, 02:58 PM
The automotive industry has a very slim profit margin on vehicle sales. They make their money on parts and service. I think they want to ensure they get that $125 per oil service for as long as you hold on to the car. I am planning on designing an oil pan with a drain plug for E90s, but the things I plan seldom get done.
[snapback]360125[/snapback]
Actually there is a drain and no dipstick- confirmed !
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Old 07-06-2005, 04:52 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Originally posted by zibby@Jul 6 2005, 02:04 PM
Actually there is a drain and no dipstick- confirmed !
[snapback]360146[/snapback]
So long as there is a drain plug. I thought there would have to be one somewhere. However is it a drain plug in the conventional sense? Also, when adding oil I suppose you would have to measure what you put in very carefully without a dipstick. I guess you would have to put what you think is right in, then start up the car to get the sensor to confirm you put enough in. I suppose if you measure and put in exactly as much as the specs call for. It just seems like a pain though.

There is a jet black '05 320i demo at the BMW dealer near me. Only 12,700 kms and selling for $31,900 CDN. Includes sunroof, OBC, and premium package. It would seem my last chance for a new (or near new) E46. Trouble is I really wasn't planning on getting another car for about a year.....it would be a real stretch financially if I took the dive right now. I know a year from now I could probably pick up a similar sweet deal on an E90 demo and be on more solid financial footing.....but do I want an E90?

Time to talk to the bank...
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Old 07-12-2005, 01:14 PM   #7 (permalink)
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I'm cool with it all if there is a drain plug. I always measure how much I put in. As a matter of fact, I haven't checked the dipstick since I last changed my oil. I guess I'll do that later today.
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Old 08-10-2005, 08:49 PM   #8 (permalink)
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to change the filter a special tool has to be purchaced it is no longer the 36mm nut on the top. it's more like the m44 318 oil filter cap. but there is a drain plug.
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