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Discussion Starter #1
This job is way over due. I heard this can be a real pain in the ass. Any good vids or write ups to look at? Do I need to replace anything else. There are no abnormal noises, but do I need to change the tensioners? Thanks.
 

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'03 325iT Mystic Blau
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4,141 Posts
This job is way over due. I heard this can be a real pain in the ass. Any good vids or write ups to look at? Do I need to replace anything else. There are no abnormal noises, but do I need to change the tensioners? Thanks.
A pain? It's a piece of cake!
If your tensioners and idlers haven't been replaced yet then yes, you should do them too.
Use the Continental belt and INA for the tensioners and idler.
 

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the people’s mod
2004 330Ci 115k miles
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15,067 Posts
+1
Cut the old belt and discard, then cut the new belt, wrap it around the pulleys and tape up the ends together:)
Ummm...no, don’t do that.

Make sure you have the proper tools, watch some youtube videos, buy quality parts, etc.
I rarely replace the tensionsers but always replace the pulleys.
 

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Seriously for my mechanic clutch fan, if pushing hard, I could remove the belts in less than 5 minutes.
 

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E46 F10 W204 W212
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Changing belts and pulleys is a great "starter DIY" along with oil change and brake pad replacements. As pointed out, just watch a couple videos and you'll get how simple it is.
 

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It really is pretty easy - about as challenging as an oil change. My one suggestion is that you make a sketch of the belt routing before you remove it.
925270
 

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Make sure you have a long breaker bar and the correct size bit. The longer the better for the breaker bar, you can’t use a reducer so make sure you have the correct size drive bit for the breaker bar (I had a 1/2” drive breaker bar and had to special order a 1/2” drive torx it as there wasn’t enough room to have a 3/8” reducer on it too). I think they are a T55?


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2005 330i manual transmission performance package
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DIY videos can be deceptive in terms of misrepdesenting the job as too easy - I wouldn't say this is an easy one if you have never worked on a car before.
A lot of the videos I've seen fail to point out key model-specific differences. For example the serpentine belt is a lot easier job on an E46 with manual transmission / single electric fan vs. auto / mechanical fan.

OP, if your ZHP has a belt-driven fan, expect the removal and especially the instalation of the fan and the shroud to be a PIA. It will be a lot easier when you do it next time, but the first one can be frustrating.
 

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This job is way over due. I heard this can be a real pain in the ass. Any good vids or write ups to look at? Do I need to replace anything else. There are no abnormal noises, but do I need to change the tensioners? Thanks.

It's easy IF you remove the fan shroud first. When replacing the belts (yes, both of them) also replace the two tension pulleys and the idler pulley. There are dozens of YouTube videos on how to do it, but there is a socket on the tension pulleys that fit a torx or allen key, some take the square end of a ratchet wrench, and you move the tension pulley to release the belt. The belt routing is illustrated all over the place, route the belt around all of the pulleys, and then slip it under the tension pulley last.
 

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It's easy IF you remove the fan shroud first. When replacing the belts (yes, both of them) also replace the two tension pulleys and the idler pulley. There are dozens of YouTube videos on how to do it, but there is a socket on the tension pulleys that fit a torx or allen key, some take the square end of a ratchet wrench, and you move the tension pulley to release the belt. The belt routing is illustrated all over the place, route the belt around all of the pulleys, and then slip it under the tension pulley last.
Good call on the TWO belts. I agree with doing all the idlers/tensioner. Most older vehicles use the square 1/2” drive, some use Allen heads, both our e46 and e90 use torx bits - I can’t remember what size, T55 I think. I had a bit of trouble finding one, everyone sells them in 3/8” drive, but as I noted above you will want a longer breaker bar, typically the length will be a 1/2” drive. On that note, it would be easier with the fan/shroud removed if you needed to use a 1/2” to 3/8” reducer to put a 3/8” drive torx bit on a long 1/2” drive breaker bar. BUT you should have no issue at all leaving the fan/shroud ON if you use a 1/2” drive breaker bar with a 1/2” drive torx bit. Granted if you are bigger built you should prepare to get your arms scratched up. But other than that it’s a pretty easy first DIY. Biggest thing is to have someone help you who can hold the breaker bar while you pull/install the belt. Once the belt is on and the tension is back on it double check to make sure the belt is on all the pulleys correctly. It’s hard to see so in usually run my fingers across the belt to make sure it’s on each pulley correctly.


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2004 325i automagic
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Recommend a minimum 18" long ratchet handle / breaker bar in order to have enough leverage to compress and more easily hold the main belt tensioner in place. With a shorter handle it can become a struggle to keep the tensioner compressed while reaching to get the belt in place. Also, with a hydraulic tensioner don't try to fully compress it in one go. Compress it gradually or even compress a little, back off and then compress again further until it is fully compressed. Slower is better here, as it gives time for the fluid to move to wherever it needs to move to. Take a picture of the old belt routing before removal.

A new belt will likely be tighter than the used one coming off and could be more of a challenge to get in place. Practicing with the old belt first may be a good idea if this is the first time.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Thanks guys. I will be ordering the parts over the next couple of days. I already have a continental belt. But, I don't think I ordered the a/c belt, when I ordered the serp belt last year. But, I know I did not order any pulleys. So, the car has 122k on it. Do replace the tensioners, or am I just replacing pulleys? Thanks again.
 

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'03 325iT Mystic Blau
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What about just getting this kit from Turner? BTW, it has been a while for me, is Turner a good place to go to? I used to order from Bavarian and miss them badly.
This kit seems to have it all.
The same kit is $20 less from FCP Euro and they have a lifetime warranty.

I used to like Turner since a forum buddy worked there and on the race team, but ECS bought them several years ago so they're about the same.
I try and buy from FCP now.
 
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