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5-Series (E12,E28, E34, E39, E60) Chat relating to the BMW 5-Series of all generations. Specific models include: BMW 518, BMW 520, BMW 520i, BMW 530i, BMW 528i, BMW 530i, BMW 518i, BMW 524d, BMW 525i, BMW 525e, BMW 528e, BMW 540i, BMW 535i, BMW 520d, BMW 525td, BMW 525d, BMW 530d, BMW 525i/xi, BMW 530i/xi. (BMW 5-Series Forum)

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#1 (permalink) Old 11-22-2009, 04:27 AM
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don't do your own brakes

Whatever you do,don't try to do rear brakes on an e34. I tried and failed. I have a head that is gushing blood and the 2 rear caliper carriage bolts are impossible to remove. I am waiting for the mobile mechanic to come and finish what I started. After that, I am going to go to the emergency room to see how severe my head is. These idiots on pelican parts and all these other diy sites are nuts. Those bolts are practically welded on there. There is nothing easy about this job. They make it sound like a walk in the park. Changing an air filter or fuel filter or doing door trim is one thing, but this cannot be done by yourself at home in your garage. I am so tempted to sell this car now. They are impossible to work on and the shops are so damn overpriced. I have driven my nissan for 10 years and never had this much b*llsh*t. Nice car, but way too expensive to fix. Explains why people get rid of them when they reach a certain point. These repairs are not simple or easy. The design is crap and not meant to be fixed by anyone but BMW.bs of bmw's being designed to be fixed with regular tools is a lot of crap. Thumbs up to bimmerzone.com. Great parts at excellent prices. Next time i will buy the parts and have my nissan mechanic install them. That bentley manual is sh*t. It is written for a mechanic, not a diy'er. Haynes manuals are the best, however they don't make one for the e34. Wonder why? I think all you guys that do it yourself are full of it. You have to be a mechanic to work on these cars, with thousands of dollars of tools. I haven't paid for a tuneup in 15 years working on nissans. Never had maintainance issues on one either. 140,000 miles on the original rotors.
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#2 (permalink) Old 11-22-2009, 12:08 PM
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140 thou on origanal rotors sounds unlikley,but an amusing tale non the less.
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#3 (permalink) Old 11-22-2009, 01:43 PM
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...... really? little overly dramatic? I JUST did rear brakes on a e24 Bmw... I hope your heads ok! what happed? did you try using anything like WD-40 or PB blaster? I've done many jobs at home most projects can be done with a simple tool kit and to stay calm if something gets stuck! if you plan on doing a lot of work on your car I would invest into a good basic set of tools and a set of Breaker bars. I have craftsman tools cause if you break anything you can get it replaced no questions and 140,000 on og rotors isn't to unreasonable if your a conservative driver and just turn the rotors each time...

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#4 (permalink) Old 11-22-2009, 01:54 PM
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You need the correct tools to do the job....that easy, hope your head is ok.

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#5 (permalink) Old 11-22-2009, 04:49 PM
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The correct tools, a lot of patience, and a decent sprinkle of knowledge will help with any job. I do feel for you though, nothing worse than starting a "straight forward" job, and it all going pear shaped before your eyes, usually just after you've passed the point of no return. Keep your cool and think carefully before you sell the car.
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#6 (permalink) Old 11-22-2009, 05:43 PM
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Many brake jobs done on many BMWs. Many personal friends of mine have done their own brakes on the E34. I am sorry to hear it is not working for you, but your post is misleading. The reason I bought a second BMW was because it was so easy to work on the first one (this includes a couple of brake jobs).

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#7 (permalink) Old 11-22-2009, 06:44 PM
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I agree with drz......I find my Bimmer to be easier then the Japanese transverse engine set-up. I was an auto mechanic for about 15 years, fixing all makes, now in the last 12 years, I only fix my own cars, a Honda, Nissan, & my E36.....& as everyone else stated.....the right tools, a little hands on & patience should take care of any DIY job......it only takes 1 stubborn bolt or nut to make things tough, on any Make car!
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#8 (permalink) Old 11-22-2009, 08:17 PM
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I am ok, thanks for the concern and support. Johnny, you proved my point. You are an ex mechanic with 15 yrs experience. That is why your car is so cool. But the average guy could never have transformed an e36 to make it look like you did. It would cost more than the car is worth, unless you are a mechanic which is what you are. And I am sure that you have a garage full of tools that you accumulated over the years. I am more level-headed now then when I first posted. My main point was if power tools are necessary, it should be stated. If I were to show you how to do something that I am good at, I would give detailed instructions such as 7mm hex wrench, 15mm bolt driver attached to a dewalt, etc. Bentley and pelican show a picture of a guy with a simple ratchet on a gloved hand removing the bolts. Bentley breezes over the rear caliper carriage bolts, never mentioning that they are tightened to 400lbs of torque. Arnold schwarzenegger couldn't get those bolts off by hand in his prime. I feel that haynes is more of an average diy type manual, but they don't have them for the 94 e34, only up until 91, which is similar but different. The haynes manual for bmw isn't available in stores either. Thumbs up to bimmerzone.com. Great parts at great prices with free shipping on orders over $75 btw. Even with paying the mobile mechanic to finish the job, I am still $200 ahead of the game, as opposed to going with the Indie shop, plus a bump on the head. I now know for next time that I need to invest in power tools before I do a job of this undertaking. What are some good power tools at reasonable prices while we are on the subject? It would have been nice to know this beforehand, that's all.

Last edited by coolvegase34; 11-22-2009 at 08:17 PM. Reason: spelling error
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#9 (permalink) Old 11-22-2009, 08:31 PM
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^ I have done this job a couple times WITH hand tools and A couple people on here can tell you I'm a pretty small dude. It is very possable to do it in your driveway. just get a can of PB blaster from kragens. A set of tools from sears would set you back $300 or less.....

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#10 (permalink) Old 11-23-2009, 01:20 AM
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I think the last time the job was done someone may have overtorqued the bolts and you can probably add some corrosion to the equation and you get hard-to-remove parts. I wouldn't call this complicated -- it is just hard to remove. I dealt with the same thing when I first did my brakes on the E36 (which was the first time I did my brakes on anything) -- I just had to give it plenty of elbow grease, which involved all 200 lbs of my body to brake lose some parts. All I have is a $170 set of craftsman tools.

All in all, I am glad you managed to get it done and managed to save some money even after calling the mobile mechanic.

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#11 (permalink) Old 11-23-2009, 08:08 AM
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I stripped my e30 down and fixed/rebuilt basicly everything you can on it in my garage. Im no mechanic, I work on computers all day. Nick (AlpineSixAndSeven) worked on my old e36, changed the suspension and built an intake. We didnt get hurt and the job was pretty simple. I dont know what you did but saying these cars are impossible to work on is outrageous. I barely ever use air/power tools, just use a breaker bar if you need force.Hope your head is ok.

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#12 (permalink) Old 11-23-2009, 09:47 AM
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Originally Posted by coolvegase34 View Post
I am ok, thanks for the concern and support. Johnny, you proved my point. You are an ex mechanic with 15 yrs experience. That is why your car is so cool. But the average guy could never have transformed an e36 to make it look like you did. It would cost more than the car is worth, unless you are a mechanic which is what you are. And I am sure that you have a garage full of tools that you accumulated over the years. I am more level-headed now then when I first posted. My main point was if power tools are necessary, it should be stated. If I were to show you how to do something that I am good at, I would give detailed instructions such as 7mm hex wrench, 15mm bolt driver attached to a dewalt, etc. Bentley and pelican show a picture of a guy with a simple ratchet on a gloved hand removing the bolts. Bentley breezes over the rear caliper carriage bolts, never mentioning that they are tightened to 400lbs of torque. Arnold schwarzenegger couldn't get those bolts off by hand in his prime. I feel that haynes is more of an average diy type manual, but they don't have them for the 94 e34, only up until 91, which is similar but different. The haynes manual for bmw isn't available in stores either. Thumbs up to bimmerzone.com. Great parts at great prices with free shipping on orders over $75 btw. Even with paying the mobile mechanic to finish the job, I am still $200 ahead of the game, as opposed to going with the Indie shop, plus a bump on the head. I now know for next time that I need to invest in power tools before I do a job of this undertaking. What are some good power tools at reasonable prices while we are on the subject? It would have been nice to know this beforehand, that's all.
No actually, it is the same exact car.

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#13 (permalink) Old 11-23-2009, 10:00 AM
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I just had a similar job this weekend

I'm no professional mechanic, but I do like working on cars. I built my first drag race car when I was 15 1/2. Yes, the entire engine, piece by piece. Most of you are way to young to know the significance of this , BUT my '56 Chevy, which I drove to high school EVERYDAY in 1967 was turning an 11.96 in a quarter mile, and that's no bullsxxt.

Anyway, my son and I just yanked the tranny out of my daily driver '98M3 this weekend. What a PAIN, and frustrating job, but because of my experience I knew to TRY different tools, try PB Blaster, try the new "Freeze Off" stuff, and when all that fails, drag out the Oxy/Acet torch.....

If you know a good mechanic, maybe they would spend some time with you explaining when you use certain tools....I am not talking down to ANYONE here, but as my son witnessed this weekend, you start with 1 tool, if it does not do the job, or you break it (like we did) you move up to the next level of "big guns".

I love ALL of my Craftsman tools, but I have supplemented them with "Lifetime Guarantee" items from Harbor Freight. It is a great VALUE. I have not had any major problems thus far with their stuff.

I'm not much of a typist (I'm too old) or I would walk through a bunch of scenarios for you as to when you use what tool. As my son saw on the tranny job, we used a 3/8 swivel on the exhaust manifold AFTER lots of PB Blaster & Freeze Off, only to SNAP the universal in half. Thank GOD we did, because then we had to go to harbor freight (nearby) to get some universals. Well, much to my surprise, HARBOR makes a very SERIOUS universal in 3/8 and 1/2 that are similar to dedicated swivel impact sockets. WOW what a life saver. The tranny would NOT be out right now if it were not for these impact style swivel universals. The tranny bolts felt like they were welded in, even after LOTS of PB Blaster & Freeze Off. This is always the potential when you have STEEL bolts going through ALUMINUM. It makes for 1 hell of a chemical reaction.

You just need to know when to step back and rethink the project, and possibly come back another day when you are fresh and not frustrated.

For FROZEN bolts, my approach is usually like this: Spray PB Blaster once a day for 3-4 days prior to starting the job. Use 1/2 drive whenever possible (sometimes space limits you to 3/8) with a BREAKER bar. Once it is broken loose, then you can go to your ratchet handle. While at Harbor Freight buying the impact swivel universals, I found a KING SIZE breaker bar which I immediately bought for $11.99(only reason we were able to get the tranny out).

Allways, allways put almost EVERYTHING back together with Anti-Seize compound. I like the copper based anti-seize the best. And yes, with anti-seize you will have a tendency to OVERTORQUE everything, SO take that into consideration. Use the lower range of the torque values stated for whatever you are working on.

Hope your head is OK, and that you are not permanently disuaded from working on your car. Doing it yourself is really rewarding because you can be creative and as fussy as you want. A professional mechanic does not have the time or inclination to be fussy and creative on YOUR car.

Oh, and by the way, NOW that the tranny is out, I am building my own short shift kit that has special bronze bushings in places that the commercial kits don't even have. I also get to FIX the hang up in reverse and 5th gear on this box by replacing the DETENT sleeves. I am also having a special severe duty 6 puck kevlar (streetable) clutch disc made for my M3.
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#14 (permalink) Old 11-23-2009, 12:24 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Torque View Post
No actually, it is the same exact car.
I agree with Torque, for all intensive purposes there is no difference between a '94 and '91 E34. Hope your head is okay, and it is good to hear that you still managed to save some money, that is always a plus.

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#15 (permalink) Old 11-23-2009, 03:50 PM
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intensive purposes

That is all.

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