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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 12-10-2003, 02:43 AM   #1 (permalink)
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I have to replace the rotors on my 99 323 - they "are below spec". The dealer wants $350 PER ALXE. NO FRIGGING WAY... A local BMW/Mercedes Mechanic I have used will do all four for around 450. 4 hours labor they say...

How easy is it do do it myself? I have access to a full-service garage with a lift / every tool known to an ASE mechanic... I wouldn't think it would be that hard to take of the wheel, caliper, and rotor, but I haven't actually done it before... I have access to a Chilton's, but I doesn't list how to get the rotor off, it stops at the caliper/brake pad.

Also, any suggesions on good Rotors? A friend pointed me to bimmerparts.com, and they have 6-9 choices. Any difference with drilled rotors vs. solid ones? I don't drive like a maniac, but I do 'use' the cars capability from time to time...

Thanks in advance.
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Old 12-10-2003, 04:11 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Once you get the caliper off, removing the rotors is really nothing more than sliding the rotor off the bolts and sliding on the new rotors. Very easy. I would just save the money and do it yourself.
About which rotors to get, from what I have heard is DO NOT get cross-drilled. Apparently prone to cracking. Slotted rotors would be good to get if youre interested in better performance.
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Old 12-10-2003, 04:41 AM   #3 (permalink)
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I belive that there is a set screw counterbored into the rotor that needs to be removed before the rotor will come off. This set screw can be a pain sometimes to remove. (I have had to drill more than one out) Wheel lug bolts should come off with the wheel unless you have done the conversion to studs. As for rotors solid are fine for most, slotted is an upgrade as gasses generated durring braking can be more easily removed. There is a debate that I have seen no resolution to as to whether the slots should continue off of the rotor or stop just prior to the edge, the theory is that the rotor is less prone to cracking if the groove stops prior to exiting the rotor edge. As for cross-drilled rotors if you do decide on these make sure that the holes are forged in and that the rotor is not just a solid rotor with holes drilled in it. (Forging the holes in reduces the chances of cracking the rotor) I hope this help the job is definatly a DIY.
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Old 12-10-2003, 08:12 AM   #4 (permalink)
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to get the counter screw off it can be tough you need to use the right size allen key screwdriver and a hammer , hit the screw at the same time.
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Old 12-10-2003, 08:31 AM   #5 (permalink)
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there is a set screw on every rotor (7mm allen if I remember correctly) and the brakes are pretty easy and straight forward. Especially if you have access to the tools and shop equipment that you do. If you have access to an ASE tech's tool box then he should have an impact driver which will break the set screw loose. Don't get it confused with a pneumatic impact wrench. They are completely different. Ask your mechaninc, he'll know. I would strongly recommend factory replacement materials unless you absolutely need or want the aftermarket equipment. Don't forget to pick up the front and rear pad sensors. I would also recommend picking up and using some of 3M's brake lube. It's a bronze colored anti-seize lubricant that should be applied to the back of the pads (do NOT put on the front) and the ends that slide into the caliper bracket. Now would also be a good time to bleed your brake system if you haven't already in the last two years. It's recommended (and should be done) every two years.
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