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From digest.v7.n1746 Wed May 20 19:54:32 1998
From: Steven J Bernstein <>
Date: Wed, 20 May 1998 18:59:59 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: <ALL> BMW Maintenance (caliper bolts, oil, coolant, running problems)

Hi all.

Clearly I'm from planet Mars, since I don't seem to run into all these problems with my 2 E28s (83 and 87) that I've been reading about on the digest. Here are a couple maintenance tips for y'all:

  • - Caliper bolts: the caliper guide bolts are rated for 35 Ft-lbs. If you reinstall them with a torque wrench, you will NEVER have a problem. The caliper carrier bolts are 70 ft-lbs, if I recall. Neither should require the use of special tools to remove (unless you're left the car rusting the past two years). If a gorilla works on your car, that might explain why you can't remove these bolts. Solution: Don't let a gorilla work on your car.

Problem solved!

  • - Oil changes: I have religiously changed my oil between 4-5k miles, which equates to a minimum of 4 changes per year and a maximum of 7 changes. I *always* replace the BMW filter (a huge $3.50 for factory part) and the 10-cent washer for the drain plug. Being in the Northeast, I use 10w40 in the winter and 20w50 in the summer. Solution: follow the owners' manual for oil grades, and find a balance between keeping your car clean and polluting the environment with not-dirty-enough oil.

I have 290k miles on my 83 E28, and it's finally due for valve guides. Otherwise, just 5 timing belt replacements - never been opened.

  • - Anti-freeze: I keep reading about people having premature failures on components in their cooling systems, including radiators, water pumps, thermostats, heater valves, heater cores, etc. Solution: Use the BMW coolant. I don't work for BMW, and I believe they make plenty of mistakes, but their coolant is unquestionably the only coolant to use. There are others on the market that may be the same as BMW's, but I'm not willing to take a chance for a stinkin' few dollars every two years. Why do you?
  • - Engine running problems: Some people post here asking for help with a rough idle or otherwise poor-running car. Most of these folks expect us to be clairvoyants and know what model of car they have, what mileage, and its service history. Well, we don't. Solution: Perform a major service on the car - as Harvey called it, a baseline service (all those maintenance items you've been too cheap to replace). Then take a look and see if the problems persist. The reason you're supposed to replace your cap/rotor is because THEY'RE MAINTENANCE ITEMS! Just because they look clean doesn't mean they're OK to keep using.

Thanks for lettting me rant. But it seems more and more people think they know more about their cars than the designers. These are not GMs and Fords - these are real cars, and a lot of effort has gone into making them reliable. The ONLY reason my 83 starts perfectly well as it did when I bought it is because I've been good about maintenance. It doesn't require a rocket-science degree. Just the ability to read a manual.

_at__at__at_---------------------Mobilitaet ist Leben-----------------------_at__at__at_

| Steven J. Bernstein                E-mail: |
| P.O. Box 11242 WWW: | | Hauppauge, NY 11788 USA __________ VOICE: +1 718 740 7411 |

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