BMW 318/325/M3/525/535/M5 1989-1993 Repair Information



See Figure 1

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Fig. Fig. 1: A basic selection of hand and electrical tools

It would be impossible to catalog each and every tool that you may need to perform all the operations included in this guide. It would also not be wise for the amateur to rush out and buy an expensive set of tools on the theory that he may need one of them at some time. The best approach is to proceed slowly, gathering together a good quality set of those tools that are used most frequently. Don't be mislead by the low cost of bargain tools. It is far better to spend a little more for quality, name brand tools. Forged wrenches, 6- or 12-point sockets and fine-tooth ratchets are by far preferable to their less expensive counterparts. As any good mechanic can tell you, there are few worse experiences than trying to work on a car or truck with bad tools. Your monetary savings will be far outweighed by frustration and mangled knuckles.

Begin accumulating those tools that are used most frequently; those associated with routine maintenance and tune-up. In addition to the normal assortment of screwdrivers and pliers, you should have the following tools for routine maintenance jobs:

  1. Metric wrenches, sockets and combination open end/box end wrenches
  3. Jackstands for support
  5. Oil filter wrench
  7. Oil filler spout or funnel
  9. Ball pein hammer
  11. Hydrometer for checking the battery
  13. A low flat pan for draining fluids
  15. Lots of rags for wiping up the inevitable mess
  17. Hand cleaner

In addition to these items there are several others which are not absolutely necessary, but handy to have around. These include a transmission funnel and filler tube, a drop light on a long cord, an adjustable wrench and a pair of slip joint pliers.

A more advanced set of tools, suitable for tune-up work, can be drawn up easily. While the tools are slightly more sophisticated, they need not be outrageously expensive. The key to these purchases is to make them with an eye towards adaptability and wide range. A basic list of tune-up tools could include:

  1. Tachometer/dwell meter
  3. Spark plug gauge and gapping tool
  5. Feeler gauges for valve adjustment
  7. Timing light

A tachometer/dwell meter will allow checking tune-up work on cars with electronic ignition. The choice of a timing light should be made carefully. A light which works on the DC current supplied by the car battery is the best choice; it should have a xenon tube for brightness. Since all models have an electronic ignition system, the timing light should have an inductive pickup which clamps around the No. 1 spark plug cable (the timing light illustrated has one of these pickups). Note that models with the M50 engine do not have ignition leads and a timing light will be of no use.

In addition to these basic tools, there are several other tools and gauges which, though not particularly necessary for basic tune-up work, you may find to be quite useful. These include:

  1. A compression gauge. The screw-in type is slower to use but eliminates the possibility of a faulty reading due to escaping pressure
  3. A manifold vacuum gauge
  5. A test light
  7. A combination volt-ohmmeter
  9. An induction meter, used to determine whether or not there is current flowing through a wire. An extremely helpful tool for electrical troubleshooting.

Finally, you will find a torque wrench necessary for all but the most basic of work. The beam-type models are perfectly adequate. The click-type (breakaway) torque wrenches are more accurate, but are also much more expensive and must be periodically recalibrated.