I'm a first time BMW owner. We just got a 97 528 with 110 k miles. I got
it for $9,500 and it looks very sharp, runs and drives very well and we
quickly discovered the appeal of driving a BMW. We knew when we bought it
that there were a few things needing fixed; 1 window window regulator,
climate control display, remote trunk release.... There are a couple of
guys in the area who specialize in working / restoring BMW's. The repairs
we need to make will cost about $1,250 plus it's going to need tires soon.
Do you think I got a reasonable deal?
After having the BMW dealer price a 4 wheel alignment at $181, then finding
that a local tire store could do a good job for $49 I'm betting that there
are very few reasons I would ever take my 97 528 with 111,000 k miles to the
dealer. A guy at work said an installed battery would cost about $300. I
found a BMW site which tells what type brand of $100 Diehard fits and works
fine. Are these kind of price at the dealerships normal?
Usually I change the oil in our cars myself. On the BMW there are the
"service lights" on the dash that come on and tell you how long till ervice
is needed. Does anyone know how to reset that yourself?
To reset the service lights without a tool...
To reset the service lights with a tool...
I doubt they would even come CLOSE to doing a good job. When you get your
new tires and they wear badly and unevenly you will find out it was money
I'm betting that there
Like they know the car? But if you have a good mechanic who you trust there
is no reason to take a car that age/mileage to a dealer for service.
A guy at work said an installed battery would cost about $300. I
Yes and no. Depends on the dealer.
Do a search. It's been covered about 98,877,987 times. Make sure you change
the filter with each oil change, and USE THE BMW PART. Aftermarket bargain
filters are crap. AND PLEASE-dispose of the oil properly.
You sound like a real jerk, but I'll try to overlook that. I noticed that
your E-mail address goes through an anomymizer. I don't blame you for not
wanting people to know who you are.
My chosen garage seems to have done a very good job aligning my car and for
only for $49. I've done some checking around and there are a lot of BMW
owners who have work done at this location. Do you think that aligning
wheels on a BMW is so complicated that it warrants over three time the cost?
I think not.
I expect my cars to go at least 200k with no major problems. If I didn't
then I'd buy American and pay much less than I do for Honda/ Acura or BMW.
Thanks for the advice to do a search on resetting the light, but some fine
people here gave me the link to a couple of good sites which tells exactly
how to do this.
Also, I do recycle my oil; the Arabs pump it out of the ground and I pour it
Just kidding, but it's no more of your business to tell me to recycle
something than it is mine to tell you what to drive or how many kids to
Stepping in here, I would say; it depends. The only real alignment
"adjustment" on your car is the front toe-in. They can usually get
that right OK. In fact I usually do this myself (after suspension or
steering work) and can get it "close enough" with fishing line and a
The other angles that they need to check occasionally and make sure
are within tolerances are front and rear caster, camber and rear toe
angle. All of these checks need to be made with a certain "preload"
as that is how the engineers at BMW specified them. If they are out
they can be fixed by replacing bushings or other suspension and/or
I have never known a tire shop to go the extra distance to perform the
checks this way. It means having the correct weight sandbags on hand
to simulate the driver and passengers in the seats. Without the
weights you can get things close but it will not be exactly correct.
That's fine, and that car probably will do that, but I think it also
depends; What do you consider "major" and how conscientious are you
at performing preventive maintenance? If you consider probl;ems with
the peripherals or the cooling system major, I doubt you will take
this car past the double century mark without one of these type of
problems. Also, making sure the full service schedule is observed is
cheap insurance IMO to ensure its longevity. I have never owned a
Japanese car, but my understanding is that you can get away with
almost no maintenance beyond oil changes now and then and they still
run up the miles.
Good Luck with your new wheels.
Not my experience at all - if you want the steering wheel to be 'straight'
afterwards. I recently replaced the rack on my 'other' car. With the old
one on the bench, I accurately marked the distance between the track rod
end faces - ie the part the locking nut bears on. Then transferred the
ends to the new rack - since they were fairly recent - making sure the
trackrods themselves were equal. On fitting the rack, use the centre
finder to centralise the steering wheel. Then checked the distances
between the front and back of the road wheels - as best I could, given
there's an engine in the way. ;-)
A four wheel alignment showed it about 3mm out. And even after this was
corrected - using the centre finder - the steering wheel wasn't quite
I adjusted both sides equally until it was - and had it checked again for
toe-in. Finally, everything was fine.
*Modulation in all things *
Dave Plowman email@example.com London SW
Well, I guess I must be better with the fishing line than you are
Actually, the wheel may not be perfectly straight the first time, but
as you noted you just have to adjust both sides the same amount
(different directions) until it does. The fishing-line method seems a
more accurate technique than the try-to-measure-through-the-oil-sump
I really should do a webpage write up on it some day (with groovy
pictures of course).
Well, here's the abbreviated version of it Jeff;
You start out by tying a small nut to one end of the fishing line and
then wedge that nut firmly into the tread at the rear of one of the
back tires about half way between the ground and the top. Then you
stretch the line all the way around the car, and around all four
wheels so that it passes over the axle on each wheel and fasten it in
the same way.
The front wheels should always be "toed in" and the line will conform
to that condition. You have to pull the line away from the sidewall
at the front of the tire until it is just barely touching the rear.
It's easiest to do this if you make a set of shallow wedges of wood to
place under the line as a spacer. By measuring the gap at the front
you will know the toe-in for that side.
To make it more accurate I have made some small wood blocks with
double sided tape on one side that I temporarily stick to the rim of
the wheels to make all measurements. This eliminates any error due to
tire sidewall variations. When making the blocks you should determine
what the difference in the front and rear track width is and make your
front blocks thicker to compensate for that so that the line is truly
running parallel and square.
With this scheme you can measure both front and rear toe.
Like I said, I should put a web page together for show-and-tell.
To abreviate this even more, the line goes around all four tires at roughly
the 3:00 and 9:00 position. The rear tires will, in a perfect world, touch
the line at both locations of the tire, 3 and 9, and the front tires will be
toed in or out depending on if they touch at the front only or the rear
only. Or some variation on that theme.
This makes sense to me even if I described it wrong. The goal is to
establish the straight lines on each side, then analyze the lines to judge
if the front tires are square to one another. If the front tire is toed in,
then the string should be lifted off the leading edge of the rear tire, and
of the front tire is toed out, then the string should be lifted off the
trailing edge of the front tire. If the front tire is straight, then the
string should touch both the front and rear tires at both the 3 and 9
positions. Do I assume correctly that the string should be as high as
possible on the tire without going above the plane of 3 and 9?
I used a tape measure on my Jeep to measure the front tires only to judge
toe in. The trouble with the BMW is there are significant obsitlces that do
not exist on the jeep, so the same procedure can not be used. I think I can
see in my mind how the string would work, and I wouldn't have thought of
trying this. I think I'll give it a whirl on my daughter's truck. It should
be pretty straight forward because she has a solid axle on the rear, so
suspension variations that exist on the BMW will not be there on her truck.
This is a good idea. The sidewall variations can easily exceed the
Yeah, you've got the picture. And think of the savings at ~$70 per
alignment. The only tricky part is converting the measurements to
degrees of toe-in that are the usual unit of specification. I'll
leave it to you to do the appropriate mathwork or find a suitable
DO NOT BELIEVE THIS FOR ONE SECOND.
While there are certainly alignment shops that can't tell their ass from a
hole in the ground, there is no reason to think that all of them are like
that. There is no reason to pay a dealer $180 for an alignment when a good 4
wheel alignment can be found for $70.
You just learned not to tkae your car to the dealership. I would find a good
BMW authorized mechanic that knows your car, and let him do all of the stuff
you can't do yourself. He'll be thrilled to reset the Service Indicator for
free if he gets your other business.
Having said that, the indicator is reset by taking Pin 7 to ground when the
key is set to ON, but not START.
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