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Doesn't it wear out eventually?

Discussion in 'E83 X3 (2004-2010)' started by echanda, Dec 18, 2010.

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    echanda

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    I have a 2004 X3 that has been very good to me. It has 130k miles and has been to BMW for every required service/inspection and oil change. It occurs to me that nothing has ever been done with shocks/springs/struts and the gearbox oil for its manual transmission has never been changed (not to mention the clutch). The first puzzles me as the maintenance manual that came with the vehicle does not seem to acknowledge that shocks/springs/struts would ever need changing and I was told by BMW service that the transmission oil is good for life (not sure about the clutch). I did not dwell on that much when it was new, but now that my X3 has passed 130k miles I am wondering what "for life" means.
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    bcweir

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    No such thing as "lifetime" anything on BMW's.

    Whoever told you that is betting on having you come in someday for a HUGE transmission overhaul/replacement bill.

    Average clutch life is between 50k to 60k, although it is possible to go far beyond that with careful use. But generally when your transmission stops being able to stay in one or more gears, time for either a replacement clutch or for transmission service.

    Easy way to test shocks and springs is to go to each corner of your vehicle's bumper, and give it a good firm "bounce" on each corner. If the vehicle rebounds more than one time, time for new shocks and possibly springs too.

    Or, if while driving, you hit a moderate sized bump or depression, and the vehicle bounces repeatedly, that's a sign you need shocks and possibly springs too.

    Last but not least, find a new service provider. That one who told you that you had "lifetime" ANYTHING related to your vehicle, really needs to find a new line of work. They LIED to you.

    http://www.bimrs.org <== independent BMW service providers who have pledged to provide HONEST and FAIR service at fair prices.
    • Member

    echanda

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    Thanks! I checked www.bimrs.org and I found an alternative that I will definitely use for my next service. Still, it is strange that BMW itself would not acknowledge these things in their maintenance manual.
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    bcweir

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    You're welcome.

    As for the omission of maintenance items in the manual, apparently a lot has changed since my 1988 750iL was produced. However, a lot of that may or may not necessarily be BMW's fault.

    For one thing, as BMW's grew more and more expensive, fewer people were buying and keeping these cars. A majority of these were leased, then returned while still under warranty. Tax laws, and the ability to dodge potentially expensive maintenance simply by turning the older car in and into a new car every three years before these cars' more expensive maintenance items kicked in, probably played a role also.

    My maintenance manual has a section in the back devoted to proper, basic maintenance stuff like checking the oil and tire pressures on these cars, as well as the maintenance intervals for schedule I and Schedule II maintenance. You might want to email Mike Miller and ask for his old-school maintenance schedule.

    That and BMW started making these cars differently. Cheaper mass produced, plastic parts from India and China began to appear in our cars, as well as electronics that did more for BMW's profit margin than for a customer's peace of mind, seemed to find their way into these cars.

    BMW may be very skilled at building fast, high performance luxury automobiles, but they have yet to produce a circuit board that won't quit.
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    Pyewacket1

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    I guess its all in how one defines "lifetime". I had a friend who had a brake-job done several years ago at a local shop, now out of business. When he went in to get his pads replaced under the "lifetime" warranty, the shop manager told him the brake pads had lasted their "lifetime", and new pads would require payment.

    No surprise they aren't in business anymore.
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    John in VA

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    I recall reading that BMW changed their take on "lifetime" to 100K miles. I want things to last MY lifetime, not the component's lifetime!
    I had a transmission flush performed on the E46 auto tranny at 60K, as a preventative measure. Brake fluid should be changed every year, as it absorbs moisture and can lead to rusty brake components. Antifreeze/coolant should be changed every 2 years to keep it performing properly. Manual tranny and diff fluids should be good for 60K-100K miles.
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    Satch SoSoCalifortified

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    Brake fluid every year?!

    . . . must be a lot more moisture in the air where you live. . .
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    Zedfor

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    Satch, come to Virginia in August sometime. You'll find out the true meaning of "humidity."
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    John in VA

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    You're a racer - you know these things! That was BMW's recommendation when we were paying for service. Now that they're doing the changes it's seems OK to go 2-3 years.
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    Zeichen311

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    The fortunate thing about manual transmissions is they are almost literally just a box of gears, i.e., dirt simple, mechanically. Though the gear lube should have been changed every 30-75,000 miles (depending on use & preferences), never changing it at all is ... well, not good, but often not catastrophic either. The good thing is it's never too to start. Unlike an automatic transmission, a manual can't be adversely affected by a fluid change, so just do it.

    You don't see replacement schedules or advice for components like the clutch, shocks, struts, and so on because when and how they fail varies between vehicles, depending on use. Gearheads & fringe cases like us monitor their condition and usually replace them before they fail. The vast majority of the motoring public wait until obvious symptoms appear and then pay to have the cause identified, explained and repaired for them. Guess which group they write the owner's manuals for, these days. :D

    That would be about half the typical life expectancy of a clutch, unless we're talking about an unskilled driver or some kind of severe duty.
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    echanda

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    That is exactly my goal, replace it before it fails not after. Nothing appears amiss at the moment, but I've made an appointment this week to change the gearbox oil and inspect the clutch. Thanks again.
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    Pyewacket1

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    I, too, subscribe to the idea of erring by changing fluids too often .vs. not often enough. To me, its just cheap insurance.

    As I often tell my daughter, who NEVER has the time to backup her computer... "I have never seen anyone with too many backups (fluid changes), but I have seen several people short one backup ".
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    echanda

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    Went to JE Robison in Springfield, MA today. Totally different experience than BMW. They totally agree with the sentiments expressed here and showed me the very black and dirty gearbox oil. Believe it or not the clutch passed muster (i must drive gently). I was also pleased that after a thorough inspection of the vehicle they identified several things that BMW never thought to check like internal cabin filters and other items on my list of why has this never been changed.

    All in all very satisfactory. Thanks again for your advice and counsel.

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