All posts filed under: BLOG

Two Things to Learn Before Buying an E30 BMW

Are you finally buying your dream car, “God’s Chariot”? Here are two important DIY’s that you’ll need to learn when you buy your E30 3 series BMW. First, the valves on an M20 6-cylinder engine will need to be adjusted roughly once a year or every 15,000 miles. This keeps your car running correctly and reduces the possibility of breaking a rocker arm. Poorly adjusted valves can put additional stress on the already fragile rocker arms in this motor, so be sure to stay on top of this maintenance item. Adjustment of the valves on an M20 engine requires simple tools: 10mm deep socket and ratchet with extension Stainless steel feeler gauge set to measure the correct gap Alan key set; use a small key to adjust the rocker eccentric while adjusting New M20 valve cover gasket This procedure should take you anywhere from 1-2 hours depending on your experience and mechanical aptitude. Perform this check and adjustment in early spring each year when taking the car out of storage, before the driving season begins. …

Is Buying a Used BMW i3 a Good or Bad Idea?

So you’re thinking of going all electric… me too With the prices of used BMW i3 EV and used Nissan Leaf EV vehicles coming down rapidly these days, the thought of buying my first new (used) electric car is making more sense now than ever before. Leasing a new electric car is typically advised over buying a new one due to the huge depreciation hit these cars suffer from in their first 5 years. However, buying an older used electric car outright is more appealing for several reasons: no monthly car payment, no need for expensive full insurance coverage, no hidden fees or wear fees when returning the lease car. In addition, many enthusiasts just prefer to actually own vs. feeling like you’re renting. The most important considerations when buying an electric vehicle are the range capability and current battery condition. How well will a particular car’s electric range fit into your daily needs such as commuting to work, family trips, shopping trips. I have found that it is common for EV owners to share …

The Top 10 Most Common E53 X5 BMW Repairs

Top 10 Most Common E53 Repairs So you’re the proud new owner of BMW’s first generation X5 SUV. What kinds of repairs will you encounter during your ownership journey? Well, have a look at the Bimmerzeit top ten most common repairs and failures of this model. None of these jobs are particularly difficult to repair yourself as a DIY, and you can follow all of my step by step BMW repair tutorials to help you along. To see all 83 of my X5 video repairs in a YouTube playlist, click here. 1. Exterior Door Handle Carrier Replacement The exterior door handle carrier is made with a unique design on the E53 which features a cable and aluminum frame that pivots to actuate the door lock mechanism. Over time, the cable (like a bike brake or shifter cable) stretches and no longer actuates the latch properly. I’ve owned two X5’s and have replaced the driver and passenger front carriers on both of them. Very common failure item. To order a new carrier, buy here. 2. X5 …

Buying a Used BMW X5?

Here’s what to look out for So you’ve decided to buy a used BMW X5? While a Japanese make such as Lexus would bring more peace to your life, you’ve decided to eschew logical adult reasoning and take on the challenge of owning heavily depreciated German steel to enjoy all of the pleasures it will bring. The driving experience, heated surfaces, envy from the neighbors. Your idea of the spice of life is not knowing when the next water pump or window regulator failure will hit, sucking up your only free time on weekends for the foreseeable future. All kidding aside, the X5 is a good SUV if you are an enthusiast who enjoys performing a good deal of DIY work. After all, if you’re reading this blog, you are likely a BMW enthusiast. Besides, the initial purchase price of a used X5 is going to be much less than that of a Lexus GX or some comparable Japanese suburb-crawling baby-hauler. My best advice for owning a used X5 is as follows: You MUST own …

X3 and X5 BMW Transfer Case Actuator Gear Replacement DIY

This one little gear will save you over $4,000 USD The BMW X3 and X5 are known for their incredible x-drive all wheel drive systems that power through stormy winter conditions and keep you safe on the road. They’re also known for being incredibly robust, rarely having any major failure of the transfer case systems, as they are typically overbuilt by design. The X5’s ATC 500 transfer case is particularly robust. However, one small detail was overlooked on the design by BMW mechanical engineers: the small plastic gear inside the transfer case actuator motor. This small gear typically fails between 90,000 -120,000 miles in the X3 and X5. When it does fail, it throws the car’s computer systems into disarray and will show the trifecta of lights: Brake, ABS, and 4×4 DSC lights will all illuminate on the gauge cluster. Perhaps this is a planned failure, kind of like BMW’s version of planned obsolescence. If millions of X3 and X5 suffer this failure, that means millions of new reasons for customers to either pay heavily …

E53 BMW X5 Buyer’s Guide

What to look for when buying the first generation BMW X5 SUV In 2020, even the newest E53 X5 is 14 years old. The E53 production ended in 2006 which makes BMW’s first generation SUV almost a classic. This is the SUV or “SAV” as BMW likes to call it, “Sport Activity Vehicle” that started all of BMW’s US manufacturing of SUV trucks that dominate the roads today. In 2019, SUV’s outsold cars 2:1; meaning that for every one car sold, two SUV’s were sold. BMW is no exception as buyers have chosen to abandon cars and wagons in favor for gas-guzzling high-riding safe trucks for their commutes. BMW now makes an X1, X2, X3, X4, X5, X6 and recently launched an even larger X7 to satisfy every demand of the global consumer today. So where does that leave BMW’s original SAV that started it all? Well, these cars still provide a great value relatively speaking, if you can handle the maintenance and repairs yourself. The 3.0i with straight six cylinder M54 engine is the …

Why is My BMW AC Blowing Warm Air?

As we drive through the peak July heat of Summer, one question I’ve been hearing a lot from my subscribers is about your BMW air conditioning system issues. There are three really common issues across all BMW’s with respect to inoperative or weak AC problems: The center control knurled stratification wheel knob is poorly adjusted The electric auxiliary fan behind the front bumper has failed The AC freon leaked out and needs a recharge of 134a The first place to start diagnosis is the easiest: check your center control knurled stratification wheel knob in the center of the dashboard. Every BMW since 1980-something has one. And it may be the most misunderstood HVAC control knob of any German car out there – even today! Here’s a background on how this HVAC control knob works and why it could be causing you to have warm air blowing in the Summer and air too cool blowing in the Autumn and Winter. The often overlooked stratification knurled wheel for the center vent is often the cause of heating …

The Best Used BMW to Buy in 2020

So you’re in the market for a used BMW? In this post I’ll share with you what I think is an incredible undervalued buy on the used luxury German market right now. This car also happens to be one of the best BMW’s ever made: my all-time favorite BMW, the luxurious and reliable E39 530i. In this post I’ll go over why the E39 is the best used BMW to buy today in 2020. Search for used E39’s on the eBay market here. First, let’s chat about the glorious piece of engineering that is the E39. I have created over 100 DIY videos on this fourth generation 5 series sedan over the last five years of creating on YouTube, so it is fair to say I know them pretty well. My E39 buyers guide here outlines exactly what to look for when considering the purchase of one of these fine machines. A midsize sedan, this five series was available in 525i, 528i, 530i, 540i and M5 configurations here in the US. Manufactured from 1995 to …

How to Get FREE BMW Oil Changes for Life

Not long ago BMW offered four years or 50,000 miles of free maintenance when purchasing a new BMW, which included free oil changes. They did this in part due to the reputation their German engineering had earned over the years for being costly to maintain; with ownership came frequent trips to the local BMW dealership. They eased this pain point and reinforced the idea that they stand behind their vehicles – reliable vehicles- so much so that four years of service was included. The most expensive BMW’s tend to be leased at a greater volume than they are purchased outright. In fact, more than half of all BMW’s sold are leases. For high rolling BMW lessees, knowing the total monthly costs and keeping them at a fixed amount without enormous service bills popping up was a great draw. This was a strong marketing pitch for BMW to sell and lease new cars. Sadly, BMW announced in 2016 (for 2017 model year cars) their maintenance plan was reduced to 3 years or 36,000 miles and would …