I Had some over the weekend – the offside front piston had started sticking in the week so I replaced the seals and cleaned the surface corrosion off the piston.  I had just finished bleeding the brakes when I stamped on the pedal to test for firmness and the rear line split near the ‘U’ bends before the steel pipe joins the flexible pipe.  Luckily it happened on the drive and not down a hill.  Thinking back I remember an advisory on the last MOT but it looks like they’ve corroded much quicker than expected.  So – if your E46 rear brake lines are corroded I have put together a quick guide.  I checked the opposite side and sure enough it was also starting to go – so if one side has gone, the other won’t be far off – replace both.

Options for replacement:

  1. The lines can be replaced by new ones from BMW.  Both join under the drivers footwell somewhere.
  2. Make your own lines from copper / copper nickel and join onto the original steel pipes with unions.

I went for option 2 – mainly because I could get all the parts and BMW didn’t have stock on the day I needed them.  I’m not sure what other floor panels need to be removed to gain access to the unions as I put my joins just before the pipes turn up to go above the fuel tank. More »

Recently my MP3 player packed up in the car.  It was a TraxData Neo mStation hard disk based MP3 player, which has served me well for the past 9 years and 3 hard disks.  One thing I liked about it was the fact it was hard disk based (IDE) so upgrading to high capacity was easy, and the fact it just browsed the disk directly – no indexing or building of a database of the metadata was required.  I guess it does look a bit 80’s with it’s monochrome display, and this is how it finally died, with a green screen of death 🙁 So I needed something that is new, modern, going to be future proof and have lots of functions and useless features I would never use, but the few critical features a car radio should provide which work well.  So here it is, my installation notes of a Parrot Asteroid BMW E46 install.

So I wanted (needed) another MP3 player for the car as my commute is hellishly boring and radio reception is non-existent to patch at best.  At first I was seeking another product similar – hard disk based with a control that could be mounted in the dash, but I was unable to find anything.  I then started considering changing out the standard BMW Business CD headunit, as mine has had the same CLSM breakbeat hardcore CD stuck in it for about 4 years now, and all of the head units are either heavily iPod based, just have a single 3.5mm jack input for aux, or use USB/SD card for playing other media, but most have small limits in terms of supported storage.

I considered just using the line in, but all I could really find in terms of players were portable MP3 players which have small buttons and screens, and are highly knickable if left mounted to the dash.  Then I came across the Parrot Asteroid – a head unit running Android.  This has to be worth a look.  So I bit the bullet and ordered one. I spent last weekend fitting it and removing the old cabling for the mStation – not so much fun outside at +2 C.  I also rigged up a 500GB self powered USB drive (Intenso).

More »

11. March 2011 · Write a comment · Categories: Cars, Uncategorized · Tags:

Went over a speed bump and caught the front arch liner with the mudguard on:


Bargain at £40!




01. March 2011 · 1 comment · Categories: Cars · Tags: ,

1. Hold Trip Reset while turning ignition key to on position
2. OBC should show “Test”
3. Use Trip Reset to select function 19.0 that unlocks all the features
3. Wait for display to show “Off”
4. Depress Trip Reset for 1/4 second and release it
5. With no delay press Trip Reset several times to select one of the following function s

BMW E46 On-Board Computer (OBC) Hidden Codes
nr example description
1 Car Engine and cluster data
1.0 46nnn Chassis nr/VIN serial number (last 5 digits)
1.1 4nnn K-number
1.2 690236 Cluster Part #
1.3 045210 Coding (04)/diagnosis (52)/bus index (10)
1.4 1200 Week (12)/year of manufacture (2000)
1.5 09_160 Hardware (09) and software # (16.0) of cluster
1.6 Not used
1.7 04__44 CAN-version (04) KI-revision index (44)
2 (test) Cluster System Test – Activates the gauge drivers,
indicators and LEDs to confirm function
3 SI Data
3.0 1098 Used fuel in liters since last SI (Service Inspection)
3.1 0231 Periodic inspection days; elapsed days (since last SI)
4 Momentary Consumption
4.0 0145+ Instant fuel consumption – 0145=14.5 liters/100km
4.1 0018 Instant fuel consumption – 0018=1.8 l/Hour
5 Distance Gone Consumption
5.0 082 Average mileage; 082=8.2 liters/100km
5.1 0536 Calc. km to refuel (momentary distance to go)
6 Fuel Level sensor inputs in liters
6.0 109330+ Fuel level averaged; Left half sensor input=10.9 liters; Right sensor input=33.0 liters
6.1 0439+ Total tank level averaged; vlgs 6.0: 10.9+33.0=43.9 liters
6.2 0442+ Indicated value (44.2) and tank phase
7 Temperature and Speed
7.0 021+ Coolant/Engine temperature (2.1C)
7.1 130 Ambient/Outside temperature – chg met 5 pts. 125/130/135
7.2 + Engine speed / Current RPMs 1/min
7.3 + Vehicle speed / Current Speed in km/hour
8 Input value in HEX form
8.0 1d0+ System voltage ADC-Value Hex code
8.1 26C33C+ ADC Values HG left/HG right
8.2 0000 ADC Value brake degradation sensor (000=o.k.)
8.3 18C ADC Value outside temperature
9 Battery
9.0 140 Battery Voltage – 140 = UB 14.0v
9.1 242013+?
9.2 074_78+?
9.3 0011+?
10 Not used
11 Not used
12 Not used
13 GonG Gong Test
14 Not used
15 Status cluster I/O-ports (bit codes) 0=low; 1=high
1st-belt contact, seat belt fastened=0; 2) ignition lock contact, key inserted=0; 3) door contact, door open=0; 4) clock button pressed=0; 5) SI reset=0, for reset=0; 6) EGS transmission failure=0
Status Digital Outputs (bits) 0=inactive, 1=active
1) Gong output; 2) Brake warning lamp; 3) Low fuel warning lamp; 4) EGA lamp; 5) seat belt lamp; 6) manipulation dot
16 Not used
17 Not used
18 Not used
19 Lock Status; unlocks functions in range 3-18
19.0 L-On/L-Off Unlock: press button when “L-Off”
20 Not used
21 Software Reset; reset OBC settings
00 End of test

Caliper Repair Kit – BMW 330

I thought something was up with it the orther morning, it started pulling to the left.   I finished my drive to work and the nearside brakes were starting to fade and a bad wheel wobble occurred when going over 35mph.  Very frustrating – so I searched forums – most people go with a caliper replacement, but at £248 from BMW and ~£150 from motor factors I decided to see what else could be done.

Scouring RealOEM I found a caliper repair kit – which consisted of 2 rubbers – the dust boot and the piston seal, so for a £20 gamble I thought I’d give it a shot.  There is a repair kit on eBay from a company called Big Redd, but as I needed it the next day I ordered from BMW.

So I stripped the caliper down, fairly straight forward for pad and caliper removal, then to remove the piston, bearing in mind it has seized – get someone to push the brake pedal down a few times and it will pop out of the bore in the caliper.

Once out lightly clean the piston with some fine wet and dry – if it is scored badly then you need a replacement I’m afraid, and I doubt you can just get the piston from BMW 🙁

Pull the dust cover rubber from the caliper – most likely it has failed and the caliper has started to corrode where there has been an ingress of dirt and water.

Remove the rubber piston ring from the caliper – just check it is clean so the new one will seat correctly.

Clean the lip on the caliper thoroughly – get it silver all the way round, removing all corrosion as the new rubber is very tight to fit.

Fit the piston first – lubricate it with some new brake fluid and ease it in – it will be tight, so you might need to tap it with some wood and a hammer, or use a G clamp – make sure it goes in sqaurely.

Then fit the new rubber.  Try and get even pressue all the way round and go careful not to damage the new one.   I made up a press from a piece of exhaust – not quite the same circumference (slightly too small), but opened up and with the sharps taken off this made a great press with a  block of wood from the caliper lugs where the pads sit.  See the point in bold above – if you are having problems getting it to sit on, take it off and re-clean the problem area.  Fit dry, do not lubricate!

Re-fit the caliper and pads to the car, bleed the brakes, check for leaks, ensure the brake pedal pressurises, give it a try!

Takes a couple of hours, but perfectly DIY-able, and much cheaper than a new caliper!

I haven’t used the electric mirrors for a while, until yesterday – with the switch in the nearside mirror position, I get no movement on both axes. With the switch in the offside position the offside mirror moves as expected, but the nearside mirror moves on the opposite axis! E.g. when the offside moves up, the nearside moves left. When the offside moves left, the nearside moves up (or down, I forget).

It has turned into some crystal maze type game trying to get each mirror where I need it to be now, and I can never get both mirrors where they need to be at the same time!

So I whipped the switch out, hoping it would be this at fault:

BMW E46 Electric Mirror Switch

So I think it is probably the nearside/offside switch at fault – you can see the contacts in the black housing on the left – the 2 silver blocks, each with 2 contacts which you can see contact against the PCB on the right.  A simple ohming exercise on the large gold contacts on the PCB proves that the different blocks are open or closed – clearly they should be consistent with no switch to bridge the contacts!

25. May 2010 · Write a comment · Categories: Cars · Tags: , ,

I’ve started getting this problem which at first happened intermittently during a long journey (1 hour plus), and is now happening almost every journey. A beep, followed by both ABS and the DSC light being illuminated orange.

Using carsoft to interrogate the ABS/DSC unit returns the following:

5E21 – Pressure sensor 2 accident recognition.

There are 2 sensors in the master brake cylinder. The prressure sensor from BMW is nearly £150 inc VAT, but I found one on Ebay German for €14 and €12 shipping to the UK. Will fit and report back….

The ECU also reported:

4252 and 4262 which are glow plugs cylinder 5 and 6, so I will check the wiring, again.

UPDATE: I fitted the cheap sensor I found on German Ebay – lost a bit of fluid so re-bled the brakes and the light has gone out 🙂

We’ve had a lot of snow recently (a lot as in compared to the last few years, not compared to other countries), and the BMW has been less than useless.  Living in a hilly area I found my girlfriend’s Alfa GTV much more successful than the BMW, even with 150kg’s of dead weight in the boot!  So, considering options – 16″ won’t fit – shame as the alloys and tyres are cheaper, so the smallest that will fit are 17″ alloys to clear the front brakes. Looking at winter tyre sizes:

Original sizes: 225/40/18 (front), 255/35/18 (rear) on staggered wheel set up.

I am looking at getting some other 17″ alloys off of the bay and fitting some winter tyres, probably in 225/45/17 size, as the narrower the better:

Size comparison (front):

Size Diameter (mm) Circumference (mm)
225/40/18 614.7 1931.14
225/45/17 634.3 1992.71
235/45/17 643.3 2020.98

Size comparison (rear):

Size Diameter (mm) Circumference (mm)
255/35/18 635.7 1997.11
225/45/17 634.3 1992.71
235/45/17 643.3 2020.98

So the 225/45/17’s look the best nearest size. Now to try and find someone who has some stock, and a spare set of rims….

Smoking on startup, poor mpg.  Read the fault codes with Carsoft:

4BC2 – Air mass meter

4BC7- Air mass meter

4BA0- Air mass meter

4222 Cylinder 2 : Activation interrupted

4242 Cylinder 4: Activation interrupted

4252 – Glow spark cylinder 5

I am currently trying with the MAF disconnected to see if it improves MPG.  3 failed glow plugs might explain the smokey start up!  Apparently they are also used when the engine is running.

A quick scour of the web and I was able to fill them all, bar the Activation Interrupted ones.

This post has a bit more information – calentadores – in Spanish means heaters.  So glow plugs again.

So I replaced the glow blugs.  Using a PDF on Beru’s website (they make the originals) they give the breakage torque, so using a torque wrench set below this I was able to get them all out successfuly, using plenty of plus gas.  No smoking / rough running at start up now 🙂