Here’s another one of those common oil leak points on the BMW E46. Up there with the valve cover gasket as one of the most common sources of oil leaks on the E46, the oil filter housing gasket is yet another weak point. What’s crazy is that, the oil filter housing gasket itself costs less than $5, but the overall job usually costs much more due to the labor it takes to remove all of the other components needed to get to the gasket.
As with any car, you can get rocks and debris that gets kicked up and hitting the front of your vehicle. This can result in paint chips on your front bumper and hood. It can also cause cracks and breaks in your headlight, turn signal, and fog light lenses. When I purchased my BMW E46, it already had a broken corner light lens. Replacing the corner light is actually quite easy, although if you don’t know how to remove the corner lens, it may be frustrating to deal with.
One of the easiest things you can do to spruce up the look of your E46 is to replace the emblems. Replacing the entire E46 emblem is very easy to do and it makes a huge improvement to the look of your car. To replace them, you simply need to pry them off and install the new ones. In addition to the new emblems, you might also need new rubber grommets as each emblem has two pins on the back of them, which will pop into the rubber grommets that fit in the holes of the car.
If you’re familiar with the BMW E46, you may already know that they are notorious for leaking oil. As of the time of this post, E46’s on the road are 15+ years old, so most of them will experience oil leaks to some degree. The most common oil leaks on the E46 are at the oil filter housing gasket, the oil pan gasket, and the valve cover gasket. On this particular post, I will be covering the valve cover gasket replacement on the BMW E46, which will apply to all BMW 323i, 325i, 328i, and 330i models.
The BMW E46 has a lot of parts that tend to degrade and break over time. For those older E46’s (practically all of them at the time of this writing) will have some common problems on a majority of all E46’s. Some examples of this include a cracked windshield cowl, pixelated and/or volume button breaking on the stock radio, faded emblems, and the one that we will be addressing in this post: loose or broken kidney grilles.
One of the things I noticed when I first bought my BMW E46 was that the area behind the rear seats (the rear shelf) had a purplish color to it, which was very noticeable when I looked through the rear windshield. This is an extremely common issue on the E46 and is essentially caused from the fabric being constantly being exposed to sunlight. Over time, the rear shelf fabric will fade until it changes color from it’s original color of black to a lightened hue of purple.
One of the things that bothered me aesthetically on my BMW E46 was that the insulation that was breaking apart under the hood. Whenever I’d prop open the hood, the ugly, damaged hood insulation pad would be starting me right in the face. Due to many years of heat exposure from the engine bay, the insulation material becomes brittle and as a result any contact with the insulation would cause it to crumble apart.
If there is one thing that is guaranteed to be broken on almost every single BMW E46 out there, it has got to be the windshield cowl. This is the rubber molding that sits at the base of the windshield. This rubber molding will get brittle from sun exposure over time and will eventually crack and break apart. If your E46 doesn’t have this problem, it has either been replaced recently, or it is only a matter of time before it happens.
The BMW E46 utilizes a coil-over configuration, with each ignition coil matched to one spark plug. In total, that comes out to (6 qty) ignition coils and (6 qty) spark plugs on this inline six engine. I’ve written this DIY tutorial to replacing the spark plugs for the E46, which will cover all 323i, 325i, 328i, and 330i models.