Christian’s 2000 BMW E46 330ci

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I never thought I would say this, but I bought and own a BMW! Let me give that statement some context- BMW’s don’t have the best reputation in my family. My Dad owned a 2005 BMW E65 735i Sport from 2009-2010. “The single most unreliable car I’ve ever owned”, in his words. It was a brilliant machine to drive, and was actually the very first car I drove prior to learning how to drive a manual. Cue the haters, but I am a partial lover of the infamous bangle-butt generation of the BMW 7. Something about it screams unparalleled practicality whilst also having supercomputer power. However, that was also the car’s achilles heel. The E65 was just stupidly complicated. My Father’s example had numerous problems with the iDrive system, engine timing chain components, and a large number of sensors that simply decided to go on strike and stop working for no apparent reason. As you could’ve guessed, this caused the car’s systems to go haywire. All those headaches from an (at the time) 5 year old with only 65,000km. This was supposed to be The Ultimate Driving Machine. What was I in for when I purchased my 16 year old, 110,000km 330ci? One word: bliss. Continue reading

Alex’s 2000 328i Introduction

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If I were to tell you that I’ve always been a fan of BMW, I’d be lying.  Two years ago, if you were to tell me my first car would be an E46, I would have called you crazy!  Living in Buffalo, NY, I pictured my first car as some sort of all wheel drive vehicle.  I really was set on an older WRX, due to the decent performance, and great all wheel drive system.  I was also your typical Fast and Furious type kid who drooled over JDM “riced” out cars.  It’s bad, I know.  Luckily, one trip to visit my brother in San Francisco changed my taste in cars completely. Continue reading

BMW E39, E38, E46 LED License Plate Lights

afterA really easy, and affordable way to modernize the rear of your BMW is to update your license plate lights.  Until recently, BMW has used very yellow, and very dim, lights to illuminate the rear plate.  Here in modern times, they’re using significantly brighter LEDs that produce a very white colored light.  I installed these lights into my 2000 M5, and have been happy with the results.  They do NOT trip a check warning or light inside the car. These lights are very bright, but not ridiculous.  See the below photo for a comparison.   Continue reading

BMW 16:9 Navigation Display Knobs

IMG_4915A weak point for an article, yes, but something nonetheless that we should address.  As new, enthusiastic owners buy up BMWs, we often like to do a little maintenance.  Replace some trim here, a shift knob there, et cetera.  After years of use, the somewhat-cheap rubber knobs really deteriorate.  They look scuffed, and feel slushy.  Replacing them can improve the feel of your radio and navigation system!

Objective:  Refresh navigation display with fresh, new knobs. Continue reading

1994-2010 BMW Navigation System Upgrades: (Computer, Display, Software, Maps)

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In this article, we will discuss in-depth the steps required to upgrade your BMW’s navigation computer, display, software, and maps.  The information in this article is only applicable to BMWs that speak the same ‘language’.  All of the following models speak this same language, utilize the same connectors, and make use of the same hardware/software interface:

  • E38 7-series (1994-2001)
  • E46 3-series (1999-2006)
  • E39 5-series (1996-2003)
  • E53 X5 (2000-2006)
  • E83 X3 (2004-2010)
  • E52 Z8 (2000-2003)

*It is important to note that in order to upgrade your navigation system, you must first have a navigation system from factory.  Retrofitting navigation to a car that did not originally come with one, while not impossible, is exceedingly challenging, time consuming, and expensive.  This article does not cover or support such an endevour.

*I will also note that BMWs produced for the Japanese market are not supported in this article.  They used completely different wiring harnesses and electronic components for some reason, and they do not speak the same language.   Continue reading