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Major maintenance to be done

Discussion in 'E30 (1984-1993)' started by az3579, Apr 21, 2008.

    • Member

    az3579

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    Well, maintenance for my car is all over the place now. This is the reason why I dislike buying cars used from someone else; maintenance records are rarely complete and you can never know what has and hasn't been done to the car before you bought it.

    Well I'm a year and a half overdue for a major service. I've decided that I'm not going to let anything bad happen to my old-timer 325e. In a few days I plan on taking the car to get serviced. Among my plans are:

    * Replace timing belt
    * Check timing belt pulley for "Z 127" marking, replace if absent
    * Replace water pump
    * Valve adjustment

    Things planned for down the road when I have more money include:
    * Replace oxygen sensor
    * Replace distributor cap and rotor (hasn't been done at last spark-plug/wire service)


    Is there anything else that I should do at my service? Assume that nothing has been replaced in a while as my maintenance has been limited to adding a quart of oil every now and then. I know there are some new hoses from the PO and one from myself and that the camshaft belt has been replaced at about 210,000 miles (car has at least 285,000 now) before I bought the car.

    I'm makin' my list and checkin' it twice, 'cuz a car that lasts another 100k miles really is nice!

    Autohaus guest

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    You should just change the pulley anwyay while you are there. Also, if you are going to change the O2 sensor and cap/rotor, you should complete the tune-up with plugs (wires-depends on when they were changed last) fuel filter and air filter. Look over the drive belts and the coolant hoses. I gotta do this on my 87 528e. I spent $1400 in parts and labor doing preventative maintenance on my 01 E39 two months ago. Good thing for income tax refunds :)
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    az3579

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    The tune-up wasn't very long ago; less than half a year, which is why I want to leave the plugs and wires alone. The wires are too much of an expense for me to replace them at this time as it would probably be unnecessary. The plugs were replaced about a month ago once more by a shop I took the car to diagnose to. The fuel filter was replaced at the last tune-up. As for the air filter, it's an aftermarket filter. It's the cone-shaped one; can't i just clean this one out and reuse it? It's my belief that I can use it for a very long time...

    Autohaus guest

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    I don't have any experience with the cone filters, but I believe you could just clean it out and plug it back in as you said. The old school maintenance is to do a full tune-up every 30,000 miles for older bimmers (M44 and under) and 60,000 for the newer bimmers (M50 and up). The angel eyes add a nice touch.
    • Member

    az3579

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    They look awesome when it's groggy outside or when raining (low light conditions) but are invisible when the sun is out.


    Anyway, I looked in my Bentley manual and tried to see what should be done in there according to the inspection light status (which still hasn't come out - I don't want to play roulette in the mean time as I have so far). There are a lot of maintenance items that I simply can't do and I'm sure there are some things not listed in there. The camshaft belt wasn't listed at all in the maintenance table (Oil service, Inspection I, Inspection II table) and am wondering if there's anything else that I should be doing that's not listed?

    Also, anyone know how many miles one bar on the service indicator represents? I have the indicator with five green, one yellow, and one red bar.

    Autohaus guest

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    The lights depend on "driving conditions-highway/stop & go, number of cold starts, etc..." There really is no set factor on how many miles driven before a light goes out. You could get a Peake reset tool to reset the lights yourself after service. There is a bootleg way to reset the lights w/o the tool, but if you don't do it right, then you will blow the DME. As for other maintenance and given your mileage, check under the car for your brake lines and fuel lines. I need to put in a new gas tank on my E28 as it will leak fuel from the tank anything over 1/2 full. You could also have your car undercoated to protect the undercarriage.

    hpde30 guest

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    Just to reiterate, there is no reason not to change the pulley when you do the belt. It's not a very expensive part, and if it fails it will take your new belt with it. The factory service interaval for the belt is 60k miles.

    cj morgan guest

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    i just replaced the timing belt, tensioner, water pump, and all drive belts on my E30. It only took about 9 hours all and all and it was well worth it doing it myself because a shop would have charged around $800 to do the same task. i would suggest trying that in order to save money. Also, I would check the catalytic converter as well if your not sure when the oxygen sensor was replaced. A faulty O2 sensor could cause a bad catalytic converter. You may want to consider having the transmission serviced as well. Change fluid, filter etc.
    • Member

    az3579

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    Well I've gotten all I need (timing belt, water pump, oil + oil filter, valve cover gasket) for about $110 after tax, excluding the pump pulley. Unfortunately, ordering a new pulley would bounce my account, that's how low on money I am. This is also why I'd rather try to do it myself than have someone do it for me; a family member's Sentra was just quoted $400 to replace timing belt and water pump!! Imagine how much mine would cost... :eek:
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    az3579

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    Update:

    Today my car left me stranded at the side of I-91 for about an hour. Cruising along at 65mph and suddenly, no throttle response. I floored it and it just slowly revved down until the engine stalled. Every time I pressed the throttle to *hope* that it would come back to life, the fuel economy gauge took a dive as though I was accelerating, but it was slowing down and I stalled on the shoulder. The car wouldn't start up for the life of me. The engine turned over, but only at a rate of about 100-200 RPM, according to the tach, and wouldn't start up. At one point, it got close at 400 RPM, but still didn't start. After about an hour, I decided to unplug/replug the spark plug wires from the distributor and voila, it started right back up.

    Perhaps I should consider a distributor as well as a part of my maintenance? Has this happened to anyone before and if so, was that the problem? My last tune-up consisted of spark plugs, wires, and a fuel filter, but just like now, I didn't have the money for the distributor/cap. I am only willing to put the distributor/cap on credit if this is what is causing my problem, because this has happened before, but never this severe (always started right back up within a minute or so). Would this be a cause of my mysterious lack of throttle response and eventual stalling?

    Autohaus guest

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    First off, glad that you were able to make it off the road and that you and your E30 are safe. This happened on my fathers 1995 525i. The engine just turned off, all the cluster lights lid up and I was wondering, "what the hell"! However, I couldn't just unplug/replug the spark plug wires because on the M50, there aren't no spark plug wires. I had to call up AAA and have it flatbedded to my mechanic. This happened four years ago, so I don't remember exactly what it was, but I believe it was the fuel pump. You might want to see if you have a vacuum leak. My 01 525i had a vacuum leak and I finally replaced the "boot" as this finally caused my check engine light to be off, therefore passing NYS inspection. The vacuum leak did cause the car to stall at times, but never while I was driving. Only when I was at idle and/or when it would take 3-4 times to fire her up. Since you changed the plugs/wires and fuel filter, get the cap and rotor. On your money situation, try to find an independent BMW mechanic near you. I have been working for my mechanic part time on Saturday mornings just cleaning up, washing cars, picking up cars, etc... I have been doing this for about 9 years and I get discounts on maintenance/repairs. See if he/she/they need any help. Sorry for book but I hope I helped somewhat. Try to contact Mike Miller on this situation. Let us know whats up.....
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    az3579

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    Well unfortunately, the shops around here are "all-rounders", servicing all kinds of cars and not specializing in one type or another. That makes their experience more broad, not finely tuned, which is why I don't feel like taking it to the closest shop because it took them 3 tries last time to try to figure out what a problem was and still never found out. My brother looked at it and figured it out in two minutes.

    Not only that, but I don't have a relationship with any of the shops around me. What would you think if you were the owner of a shop and someone comes out of nowhere and offers to do certain things to have a reduced bill? You'd probably think he's out of his mind. And if you wouldn't, then you don't know the mechanics down here... :rolleyes:

    I think I do have a vacuum leak because when the idle control valve is plugged in, my idle goes crazy and revs at 3000 RPM and doesn't go down. This is my second valve and it's still doing it. I checked my intake boot for cracks and nothing, nada, excellent condition. In the valve's place, I have a plumbing valve installed linear to the ICV and it works great; it keeps the idle rock steady. The only downsides are that I have to keep the idle up at cold start so it doesn't stall (for a few seconds) and that the hose that I installed the valve to is starting to crack as it was obviously not meant to be used with the slightly larger valve.


    My goal every time is to try to replace as much as possible in a single maintenance session. I can never do it because I never have enough funding at the same time to buy everything. Because of this, my whole maintenance is all over the place and I can never predict when my next maintenance is due for a cluster of items. So, I'd rather get a little bit more into debt and buy myself the cap/rotor than to get stranded and not be able to get home.

    Autohaus guest

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    Where are you located at? You should look up bimrs.org for an independant shop. Non bmw shops/mechanics will know how to do alot of things (ie change brakes/suspension, bulbs, etc...) but when it comes to mechanic stuff like this, they are basically clueless. Before I knew my mechanic who is only a mile away, I went to various shops when I first got my 87 528e 12 years ago and got jerked around, didn't know how to fix it, etc... I was in your boat. Do you have a 318i, 325, 325e or 325i?
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    az3579

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    325e. Located in Bridgeport, CT 06606.
    I did a search on that site you mentioned and found no results within 20 miles. To come to think of it, there's nothing in CT whatsoever. As usual, I'm not surprised.

    There's never anything good where I live. :mad:

    Autohaus guest

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    You are about an hour and a half away from where I am. My mechanic will make your car run right, and tell you about what it needs, but he charges $82 per hour and your funds are pretty low for now. Gas prices don't help neither. I feel that I know alot about BMW's in general, but somewhat limited when it comes to mechanical issues. Mike Miller is Yoda when it comes to BMW technical issues. Taking your car to a BMW dealership will equal the equivalent of the GDP of a 3rd world country. My mechanic is not listed on that site. Alot of inedependant BMW mechanics aren't. Maybe if you look in the yellow pages for one near you, I'm pretty sure you will come up with some.....
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    az3579

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    I've already looked in the yellow pages. The only one that strikes me as obvious BMW specialists is called, obviously, BMW Specialists, and they're almost an hour away from me. I don't know what shops around here are individual BMW shops, but there are none in the yellow pages that are obvious. Would you know the names of a few independant shops?

    Autohaus guest

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    I wouldn't know any out in your neck of the woods. You should get a Bentley repair manual if you really wanna roll up your sleeve's and learn. When was the last time you did a valve adjustment on it?
    • Member

    az3579

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    Never have. That's why I'm going to try my hand at it this weekend. I've already got the manual, it's just the diagnostic skills that I don't. And occasionally, the tools...

    Autohaus guest

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    Its best to do it in the morning. Gotta get the special tool and don't forget the valve cover gasket. They say to do this every 12K-15K miles. Good luck...

    cj morgan guest

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    how often are you supposed to adjust the valves?

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