This guide for the BMW is intended to teach you more about the inner working of your automobile and save you money on its upkeep. Sections 1 and 2 of this guide will probably be the most frequently used in the guide. The first section contains all the information that may be required at a moment's notice. Aside from giving the location of various serial numbers and the proper towing instructions, it also contains all the information on basic day-to-day maintenance that you will need to ensure good performance and long component life. Engine Performance and Tune-Up contains the necessary tune-up procedures to assist you not only in keeping the engine running properly and at peak performance levels, but also in restoring some of the more delicate components to operating condition in the event of a failure. Sections 3 through 10 cover repairs (rather than maintenance) for various portions of your car, with each section covering either one separate system or two related systems. The appendix then lists general information which may be useful in rebuilding the engine or performing some other operation on any car.
When using the Table of Contents, refer to the bold listings for the subject of the section and the smaller listings (or the index) for information on a particular component.
In general, there are three things a proficient mechanic has which must be allowed for when a non-professional does work on his or her car. These are:
- Sound knowledge of the construction of parts he or she is working with, their order of assembly, etc.
- Knowledge of potentially hazardous situations and how to prevent them
- Manual dexterity
This guide provides step-by-step instructions and illustrations whenever possible. Use them carefully and wisely don't just jump headlong into disassembly. When there is doubt about being able to readily reassemble something, make a careful drawing of the component before taking it apart. Assembly always look simple when everything is still assembled.
CAUTIONS, WARNINGS and NOTES will be provided where appropriate to help prevent you from injuring yourself or damaging your car. Consequently, you should always read through the entire procedure before beginning the work so as to familiarize yourself with any special problems which may occur during the given procedure. Since no number of warnings could cover every possible situation, you should work slowly and try to envision what is going to happen in each operation ahead of time.
When it comes to tightening things, there is generally a slim area between too loose to properly seal or resist vibration and so tight as to risk damage or warping. When dealing with major engine parts, or with any aluminum component, it pays to buy a torque wrench and go by the recommended figures.
When reference is made in this guide to the "right side" or the "left side" of the car, it should be understood that the positions are always to be viewed from the front seat. This means that the left side of the car is the driver's side and the right side is the passenger's side. This will hold true through out the guide, regardless of how you might be looking at the car at the time.
We have attempted to eliminate the use of special tools whenever possible, substituting more readily available hand tools. However, in some cases, the special tools are necessary. These tools can usually be purchased from your local BMW dealer or from an automotive parts store.
Always be conscious of the need for safety in your work. Never get under a car unless it is firmly supported by jackstands or ramps. Never smoke near, or allow flame to get near the battery or the fuel system. Keep your clothing, hands and hair clear of the fan and pulleys when working near the engine if it is running. Most importantly, try to be patient, even in the midst of an argument with a stubborn bolt; reaching for the largest hammer in the garage is usually a cause for later regret and more extensive repair. As you gain confidence and experience, working on your car will become a source of pride and satisfaction.