2003 BMW M3 oil change advice

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Hi, Just bought a 2003 BMW M3 and have found oil and a filter for the change. I plead ignorance on finding the filter housing, drain plug, jack points, etc. as well as any advice for the do-it-yourselfer. The
owner's manual is no help. Can anyone help me in either directing me to a good source for this info or in providing other erelated advice?
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The oil filter in a typical BMW inline motor lives in a canister about the size of a 1-pound can of coffee. The location is on the front of the motor, right behind the fan belts, generally right beside the #1 Cylinder. (The motor on the M-car should be like this, but I'm not certain that it is.)
The drain plug is in the normal place on the oil pan at the bottom of the motor.
The jack points can be found by looking at the rocker panels below the door. If you look at the service jack that comes with the car, you will be able to match it up with positions provided along the bottom of the rocker panel. These are suitable jack points for your floor jack.
All of this stuff is in my owner's manual. My car is a '94 3 Series, but I can't imagine they would remove this vital data from the user manual.

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Hi,
Yes, your words are true on the jack points and the filter location, though the clearance is such that my floor jack can't get under the lift points w/o driving the car onto 2x4 to pre-raise the car first. The drain plug I'm not sure about (it's a tough fit under the car). I know it must be near the lower point of the pan, but I haven't found it for sure. Can you tell me whether the drain plug is a hex or a torx type head? Do I need to remove the plastic slid plate to get to it? Sorry for sounding like such an idiot, but like I noted, it's not easy getting good viewing in my setup.
Also, as I bought the car used, there were a few vitals missing - jack and owner's manuals being two of them. I bought an owner's manual set online, but don't find the details I need, so maybe something is missing there.
Thanks!

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You have to remove the plastic cover. The drain plug is a standard hex (13mm? 17mm?)
You need a 36mm socket to remove the cap from the oil filter housing.
FloydR
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You can download the owners manual from the BMW web site. Click on Owners/Owners Circle/Create New Account.
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My car is the '94 E36, so I could have a different experience than you, but my drain plug is a standard bolt -- if memory serves me, it is a 17mm. I don't recall removing the engine shield to change my daughter's (her car is a '00 E46) oil. In any case, the engine drain and the transmission drain should be obvious. The engine drains from the oil pan, which should help to find the plug.
I would like to take this opportunity to sell a Robert Bentley Publishers BMW Service Manual. It is tops for the home mechanic. I bought one several years ago for my E36, and bought the E46 CD Set for my kid's E46. I like the manual much better than the CD set. You can find the manual at Barnes&Noble, among other places. I think I paid about $70 for mine, and it's well worth the price of admission.
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I'd ask for a written spec of that oil. Mobil 1 doesn't state the spec as the formulae has changed over the years. And the version they supply may or may not conform to that recommended by the maker for your model.
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Dave Plowman snipped-for-privacy@davenoise.co.uk London SW
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wrote:

It *used* to be that there was only one oil for the E46 M3 - only available from BMW (in the UK) Castrol TWS or Formula RS. Now I think the only other oil is Castrol Edge 10W60 and it'll cost about 60 for the oil alone.
The reason you don't have a jack with the car is that they're not supplied with one.
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Of all BMWs I'd certainly be wary of the oil I used for an M3. Which would probably mean sticking to the recommended one. And not some bulk stuff from a fast fit place.
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Dave Plowman snipped-for-privacy@davenoise.co.uk London SW
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But that is the interesting part of owning a well engineered piece of machinery. You need to do it yourself to be in touch with the thing. Some of us hate it when anybody else does anything to our cars, even to the point of taking the new bits off again only to refit them ourselves.
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Yeah ! I used to be like that - 27 - 32 years in the "trade" so to say loosely!
Ok so M cars are something different - I don't think they are that much different especially in this day and age. BMW are Hot-Rodding - can't you see that. V8 engines into straight 4 bodies (New M3).
The V8 is the same as used in the 5 and 7 series and is not much different to that in Bills 740i or mine or yours.
Yes, I agree check the oil spec - and remember BMW do not make oil nor filters. All oil filters have to meet the specs so make sure it a Crossland or Fram or some other well known make - my Kwik-Fit use Crossland who also supply BMW.
The most I want to do is wash it - the old one got washed regularly - every two years.
Have fun --------------- enjoy your coffee.
Hugh
Steve
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If it's anything like the six cylinder before it, it will be *very* different. Raising a rev limit and specific output to 100 bhp/ltr requires just about all the moving parts in the engine to be lightened/strengthened. And a highly stressed engine requires a top notch oil.
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wrote:

..or one could say a poorly manufactured engine requires a top notch oil. The M3/M5 oil fiasco was caused by some problems with the engine production, not necessarily by using the wrong oil.
One could say engines are engines and in a fundamental way that's true. The M62 and S62 are similar but the M62 is run-of-the-mill and the S62 suped-up. Putting a V8 in the M cars is what the public wants. Getting 500hp out of a 6 cylinder would be tricky.
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No offence, but if you are unable to find these, then you should not be working on the car.

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Jimmy wrote:

Well - everyone has to start somewhere, but I agree - the oil filter housing does seem rather obvious.
He might take a look at: http://m3.madrussian.net /

And I'm curious - what oil did you purchase?
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Not if you've come from a Toyota, Ford, Porsche, GM, Honda, etc. All those use spin-on filters at the bottom of the engine.
FloydR
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wrote

I came from all of those models, except Porsche, and I found my filter without breaking a sweat. I open the hood, and there it was staring up at me.
I have to agree with Jimmy, if you gotta ask ...
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Assuming you've bought the replacement filter before starting work it should be obvious it ain't a spin off type. And a quick read of the driver's handbook gives the location.
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Dave Plowman snipped-for-privacy@davenoise.co.uk London SW
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On Apr 17, 12:45 am, "Dave Plowman (News)"

I've worked on lots of cars including ones with cardridge filters at the bottom and ones with spin on filters at the top and it wasn't 100% obvious where the oil filter was on my 6cyl, even less so on the V8 but like you say a quick look at the handbook gives it away. I'm suspicious of people who can't work some things out for themselves and this is one of those things.
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Hi folks - I'm the originator of this string and just finished up the oil change on the M3. I knew I was opening myself up to criticism when I asked such a basic question, but one thing I learned in my automotive engineering days was that it's best to ask questions even when 75% certain than it is to plunge right in. I have a brother who has been an Indycar chief mechanic for a number of years, and his venture underneath my car was much the same as mine - with no reference, there is more inference than reference available before you start twisting wrenches. As for those of you who have knowledge of the 3-series and are assuming the M3 is the same, please understand they are NOT the same, and the owner's manual does NOT give you related information on oil changes - nothing! The oil canister is obvvious once you know it for what it is, but when you've changed oil on a dozen+ different cars (US, Japanese and Euro) and all of them have had a twist-off oil filter on the underside of the engine, having an upright cast canister on top of the engine is not immediately obvious for what it is. The oil drain plug has a T-40 Torx and that was found by trial & error. Again, I know the question was rather facile, but many of the responses I received were equally ignorant, so let's cut each other some breaks as we try to better understand our vehicles. Have a great day!
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