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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. is the premier BMW Forum on the internet. Registered Users do not see the above ads.
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Old 12-27-2003, 07:59 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Proud owner of a 2000 323Ci - my little Bavarian Bobsled - looking for some advice re: rear brake job. The time has come to replace rear pads but the local BMW dealership is telling me that replaceing the rotors is "standard". Is this true or desirable?

With any other car I've owned I generally get the rotors reground/trued when replacing the pads. I don't mind replacing if they need it but I'm getting this from BMW over the phone - they haven't seen the car. Doesn't make a lot of sense to me, front rotors yes but rears?

Dinan is closed today so I thought I'd try this forum.

Any informed input is greatly appreciated.


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Old 12-28-2003, 05:19 PM   #2 (permalink)
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ChewToy, it is a practice of the norm to replace the rotors when replacing the pads on these cars. Typically the rotors do not take well to a regrind or "turning". To keep the OE performance of the brake system as designed, I would recommend replacing the rotors.
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Old 12-29-2003, 12:45 AM   #3 (permalink)
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BMW's recommendation is to replace the rotors. They don't want you turning them on a brake lathe. The rotors seem very soft in that they don't last much longer than the pads..... ghead
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Old 12-29-2003, 01:53 AM   #4 (permalink)
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OK. If thats the case then it looks like new rear rotors in addition to pads. I don't like to spend money needlessly, but safety comes first. Thanks for the advice.

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Old 12-29-2003, 09:32 AM   #5 (permalink)
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I too, own a 2000 323Ci...nice choice!

Although it is BMW's recommendation to replace the rotors with the pads, I have found that one set of rotors can easily survive through two sets of pads. And I drive rather aggressively a good percentage of the time;;my car is a 5-Speed with a Dinan package.

One problem I have come across though, is that if the brake sensor light does NOT come on in time, the pads may wear down too far before you are even aware of it. This usually results in the rather immediate grinding down and ruining of the rotor, or whatever life it had left in it, and this happens quickly because the 323's rotors are EXTREMELY soft and are intentionally made not to be cut for performance purposes.

Nonetheless, IF the brake sensor light does come on before any damage is done to the rotor, a mechanic can easily just smooth down the rotor WITHOUT cutting it (as long as it is still in spec) and just replace the pads. To give you an example, I had my front pads replaced in May of this year when I had about 39K miles on the car and now I have almost 49k and have had no problems. Later, I will upgrade to the 328's larger size front rotor.

Hope this can save you money;;these damn cars are expensive!!!

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Old 12-29-2003, 10:01 AM   #6 (permalink)
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It will depend on hard you've driven your car, you don't need to replace your rotors everytime you change out your pads, are you having pad changes done to all four rotors or just the front or rear?, I also own a 323i and have had to change my pads out about 3times, my rotors were fine though, they shaved my rotors only once since but BMW is known around the racetracks of the world for having laughable brakes anyway, even the M3, the stock brakes are great for normal use but if you're really hard on them or if you power brake or do any left foot braking then, the life of rotors and pads is substantially reduced. The dealer or shop you took your car to is just trying to get more money out of you, if your rotors are really thinned out after such hard use, maybe you do need new rotors. Or, you can solve the problem by doing what I did, and that was replacing the entire braking system with a Brembo brake kit, specifically the Gran Turismo system, it's a little bit pricey but it's worth it if you're after greater performance...
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