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Thread: Change Belts on e46?

                  
   
  1. #1

    Change Belts on e46?

    Hi all,

    I have never done DIY events, so I am not really sure whether I (with help from my husband) will be able to change these belts (o one belt, I don't know yet). I've just changed my oil and my mechanic told me that I need to change those belts.

    Anyway, the question is whether it's possible to do it during a DIY event with no previous experience?

    Thank you.

  2. #2
    The belts should be no problem for a DIY. The hardest part would be getting the fan off if you have an automatic. A lift isn't necessary unless you drop tools and can't reach them. I think there are plenty of DIY write-ups available on the web, so I suggest reading up beforehand. If you're going to change one belt, might as well change the other at the same time.

  3. #3
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    All kidding aside, that sounds like a great job for a DIY. And yes, it is a good idea to replace both belts.
    Mike R.
    2002 M3 - ultimate driving excuse
    formerly: 2005 Z4 3.0i

  4. #4
    Senior Member John in VA's Avatar
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    John in VA

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  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by AG View Post
    The belts should be no problem for a DIY. The hardest part would be getting the fan off if you have an automatic. A lift isn't necessary unless you drop tools and can't reach them. I think there are plenty of DIY write-ups available on the web, so I suggest reading up beforehand. If you're going to change one belt, might as well change the other at the same time.
    Awesome

    Where do I get the belts? Should I purchase them in advance?

  6. #6
    Yep, I have an automatic.

  7. #7
    Wow, thanks for the video!

  8. #8
    How do I know if I need to replace the Belt Tensioner?

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by mduhovich View Post
    How do I know if I need to replace the Belt Tensioner?
    You'll never know if you ever actually needed to replace "normal PM parts", perfectly good parts have been discarded for years in the name of peace of mind. I was incredibly lucky to have my tensioner seize during a AX tech inspection, I think it was around 50K?, btw, you can run the car without it on an E36, I actually took all my AX runs without a tensioner, and drove back to Balt. from Frederick with no problems.

  10. #10
    Member MPWR's Avatar
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    If you haven't already scheduled yourself for the Eurotech event next month (and you can wait that long), I would highly recommend you consider doing it at the Ladies DIY in March at Martin Motorsports. A first time lady DIYer changing belts is exactly who Gary Martin would like to have come out. I'm sure he will be very happy to help you, and you will learn a lot from doing it.

    To get the belts, order them from the shop you will be doing the DIY at. BMW belts can be gotten at any shop we do DIYs at. You just need to call them a few days before the event, tell them that you're with the club and will be at the DIY and what you would like to order. They'll have the parts waiting for you when you arrive.

    The belt tensioner is something that sometimes fails on older/high milage E46s. Zach (our deposed ex-president) had it fail on his E46 this past fall. He overheated his engine, and was very lucky that he didn't do severe engine damage as a result. But his 323 also has well over 300k on it. If you want to change it, removing the belts is the first step. Or you can save it for a later DIY when you'll have had a bit more experience- after you've done your belts once, you'll see they're not very hard to deal with.

    I strongly recommend that you get the Bentley manual for your car. They're a bit expensive, but it is an absolute must have guide for working on your car. It will pay for itself many, many times over. Get it and read it- you want to learn all you can about the job you're doing before you start it.
    Last edited by MPWR; 01-27-2010 at 09:39 AM.
    Andy Miller
    1995 Avusblau M3
    1997 Alaskablau 318ti M Sport

  11. #11
    Andy is correct with getting involved with DIY events and working on your car. You get to know your car and items you need to watch out for. Gary Martin is a very good place to start. Bentley is a must if you work on your bimmer. Bimmerforum is good and if you can find E46 website which deals with any problems with your model. I have an E30 and enjoy every minute I have to fix something. Now it is my starter. My last DIY my wife and I replaced the timming belt and tensioner as well as water pump and belts. 6 hr job. many reading of bentley and other manuals for such a job. Once you get past that point you will tackle any project.
    See you at the next DIY

  12. #12
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    Lightbulb

    When I changed my belts I did not change the pulleys and of course they became noisy a couple of days later. I think maybe it has to do with the new belt being tight or something.

    What year is you car? How many miles ?

    For E46, you can get the reflection pulley, but the tensioner pulley is not available if you have a mechanical tensioner and the one for the hydraulic one does not fit. (I tried and got it melted). You can't get the mechanical tensioner either (at least not from BMW) since they "updated it" with the new hydraulic one.

    If you don't want to spend $200 + on tensioner, here is where I got a mechanical one: http://www.alloembmwparts.com/catalo...lt%20Tensioner

    I only replaced the accessory belt tensioner - I figured the AC works only during the summer so it should last twice as long

    No noise or problems of any kind - some 3 months later. I'm only doing filters and tire rotation so I can help you out. I have tools also (wrench for that big lug).

    What year is you car? How many miles ?
    Last edited by ventsyv; 01-29-2010 at 06:22 PM.

  13. #13
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    I talked to Zach a while back about this. He has a 2000 323i and he swapped the mechanical tensioner for the hydraulic tensioner after it failed. I have a 1999 E46 328i and this was one of the jobs I was planning on doing this spring.

    What problems did you have with the hydraulic tensioner?

  14. #14
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    For mduhovich - go ahead and sign up for an event. Belts are not hard. The hardest part will be removing the fan since you have an auto. I would replace both belts since you will have everything apart. BMW sells the belts for under $45 (i think) and you will get a discount. Other sites have them as well.

    Some of us have Bentley's manuals that we bring with us to the events, but I would highly recommend buying one on Amazon - it is $75-80 and well worth the price over inferior auto repair manuals.

    Welcome to the DIY program. This is how we all started.

  15. #15
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    No problems with the hydraulic tensioner, its just that I did not know about the switch, I was trying to buy the pulleys and I got the pulley for the hydraulic tensioner by mistake. I took everything apart to find out the new pulley was a little different. I thought about it for a second, but decided its "not that different".
    I put it in, started a car - lots of noise and smell of melting plastic. The pulley melted :-). I had to put back the old one in and redo everything the following weekend. I put a new tensioner (mechanic one) in at that time.
    Just thought I mention it.
    If you have the belts, the tensioner, and the deflection pulley, you should be able to do it in two hours.Also have you changed your intake boots ? They usually crack (particularly the lower one) resulting in whistling noise when accelerating. If you need them changed, this will be a good times since you'll have everything apart.

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