SMG = ‘Serious Money Gone’ on your BMW.

The e46 M3 is actually one of the most reliable cars BMW has built in the last 10 years . . .  unless you have the SMG option on your transmission of course.  The first generation SMG (or Sequential Manual Gearbox) transmissions have not held up well over the long run and are starting to empty the pockets of their loyal owners.  So if you are in the market for an e46 M3, stay clear of the SMG.  If you currently have an SMG M3, this may be what you’re in for if you haven’t had the pleasure already.

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BMW with a Dead Battery? Stop. Tow. Save Tons of Dough.

My hope is that you’ve found this posting before AAA, or other form of assistance, has come to rescue your BMW with a dead battery.   I know you only have one hour to leave work, grab the kids from practice, and pick-up dinner, but stop and just have your BMW towed.  DO NOT jump-start the car and DO NOT let any roadside assistance service install a new battery in your BMW.  It can be the most expensive battery or jump start of your life.

BMW’s built from 1999 through about 2003 do not respond well to a jump start, and pretty much every BMW built after 2004 needs to follow an exact procedure in order to change the battery properly.  While we’ve been aware of this for quite some time, a recent customer’s troubles has exemplified what can occur if someone tries to change a battery when they are ill informed.

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Aftermarket BMW Parts vs. OEM BMW Parts – What’s the Deal?

 

There are a lot of misconceptions regarding the parts that go into BMWs during Service and production, especially when it comes to OEM Parts vs. Aftermarket Parts.  As a consumer, I feel it is pretty important to know what these terms actually mean, and how they affect the longevity of your BMW.  I field an amazing amount of calls by potential customers concerned with OEM parts going into their BMW, all the while many do not understand what OEM actually defines when it comes to the description of a particular BMW part.  So . . . let us expose a few terms, what they actually mean, and how they affect your BMW. (more…)

BMW of the Week – e28 M5 Time Warp.

I’ve got a bit of a disorder where I’m no longer impressed with many cars.  It’s an occupational hazard that keeps me from getting excited about any BMW unless I find something to be excited about.  Call it overly critical, perfectionism, or purely a case of over-exposure. It is what it is.

So . . . when I get a car like this into the shop, well, it’s just . . . impressive.

This e28 M5 came to me from its new owner who was a close friend of the original owner who had passed away some time ago.  The car has a touch above 42k miles and it is super clean. Here are some pictures that show that it’s a really nice M5.  You just look at it and say ‘That’s a REALLY nice M5’  Enjoy . . .

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BMW of the Week – 2003 330i

At first glance this BMW isn’t looking so bad, but the closer I get the worse things turn out to be.   This car came to us with the customer complaint that it ‘felt a little loose’ in the front end of the car.  ‘Loose’ is quite an understatement as the control arm bushings are about ready to fall out of the car.  The typical 3 Series BMW in San Diego will need new control arm bushings in the 55k range as the roads are a bit harsh and the bushings take a beating.  He’s got about 120k on the clock so instead of doing the second set of bushings, he still needs the first.  This is the least of my concerns for this sad car . . .

When a BMW has a windshield with a massive crack, it speaks volumes about the lack of care and/or respect that the car receives.  A crack like this takes weeks to develop, but I’m sure it has been there for over a year.   It makes the car look like shit, not to mention that it is illegal to drive around like this in San Diego.

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BMW Modifications – Do this First

Before you start dumping gobs of horsepower into your BMW or installing the latest and greatest coil-over kit, learn how to drive it first!  It’ll cost you a heck of a lot less money, you’ll have tons of fun, and in the end you’ll actually know a lot more about your car and your limitations as a driver.

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BMW Leather Care – Start early and often

My buddy Tommy had me replace his seats as the seat sides were cracked and the leather was basically pealing off in little chunks.  We are getting ready to load the new ones in and he claims “This sucks, you’d think that they would have used better leather”  Then I proceeded to explain that he had no one to blame but himself.  You MUST care for your leather, or it will not hold up over time. (more…)

BMW 5 Series – Why I’m a 5 Guy

This weekend saw over 60 5 series cars at the Annual St. Patrick’s Day gathering for a bunch of guys and girls who feel much like I do – the best BMW Series over the years has been the 5 series.  It has great lines, is available in various formats and power ranges, and is the most versatile of the BMWs.  It was a great event organized by one of my customers and I got to see some great cars and to show off my latest project . . .

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BMWs, your College Kid and Cars.

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There are many jobs on BMWs that require a huge amount of patience, experience and skill; but probably the hardest task on a BMW is being the middle-man between a broke college kid and their parents when things go wrong.  Luckily it is not an everyday occurrence, but I’m smack-dab in the middle of a bad one and it happens often enough that I feel obligated to discuss it.  I’m the moderator between two parties right now. . .

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BMW Cup Holders – Why do they break all the time?

Cup holders on BMWs are usually downright junk.  If you have an e39 5-series you probably know exactly what I’m talking about — they’re flimsy, they don’t really hold much more than a can of soda, and if you blow on them too hard they snap in half.  What’s the point??

It wasn’t until the late ’90s that BMW finally made them standard equipment on most models while other manufacturers had been implementing them for years.  The main reason for this is probably a cultural one.  Germans, as a whole, do not bring food into their cars.  Most wouldn’t even fathom it.  The only thing that Germans typically would do while driving in their car is smoke.  Which is why all BMWs seem to have an adequate ashtray and lighter that is reachable and convenient. (more…)

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