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Discussion Starter #1
Hi everyone,

Next month I will be moving from Boston, MA to Raleigh, NC and will be driving my 2005 325i for the 700ish mile / 11 hour trip. I was hoping to get some advice on any general preparations I should do for the car. I plan to get an oil change in the next week or so. In the last two years I've done the CCV, Vanos, PS hoses and gaskets, control arm bushings, VCG, and several other routine maintenance issues.

My main concern for this trip is the coolant system/expansion tank. The last time it was overhauled was at 62K miles in 2010. The car currently has 136k miles so I know its about time to do another overhaul. I haven't had any issues with it thus far and I've been trying to sell the car so I've been reluctant to put more money into it. My mechanic quoted me upwards of $1k to do the overhaul so I would be more inclined do the job myself and probably focus on critical components for now instead of the entire system.

Any advice is appreciated!

Thanks,
Juan
 

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Yeah you're about at the limit of what's generally accepted as the lifetime of the expansion tank. Why not just replace it yourself? I'd do the expansion tank, autotrans tstat and upper and lower rad hoses as a minimum.

Great move, BTW! Grew up in the Triangle area and graduated from NC State in Raleigh. It's a happening place!
 

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1. You can absolutely handle a cooling overhaul yourself. Really not that hard of a job and there's a good amount of room to work up in front of the engine once you pull the fan out. Also about a million DIYs to watch. If you're going to do any of the cooling system you may as well do all of it.

2. For your road trip I don't think there's much to worry about. You didn't mention replacing the fuel filter or fuel pump which can leave you stranded but there's nothing to say a long road trip will cause a good part to go bad. Something to look out for if you hold onto the car though. If your coolant level has been consistent aka you don't have to top it off with coolant regularly due to a leak then I wouldn't worry about that either. The ET tends to fail due to heat cycling and age so its no more likely to fail on a long move than a trip to the grocery store.

I like to keep some spare oil and coolant in my trunk in case I'm far from home and need a top off but if you aren't losing fluids then I wouldn't worry too much.
 

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04 325XIT 05 325IT
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You can change the expansion tank and the automatic thermostat that breaks when you remove it...since your selling the car.Or bring a spare expansion tank/ thermostat from AutoZone/Advance Auto .bring that with you on the long drive and just return it at any AA/Autozone in Raleigh then sell the car.
Ive made trips to Raleigh Durham Chapel hill regularly .480 miles door to door to visit my daughter.
Last trip this memorial weekend was to Boone NC from NJ.
All with an expansion tank last replaced in 2013.
Your choice.

Sent from my LG-M150 using E46Fanatics mobile app
 

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04 325XIT 05 325IT
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Yeah you're about at the limit of what's generally accepted as the lifetime of the expansion tank. Why not just replace it yourself? I'd do the expansion tank, autotrans tstat and upper and lower rad hoses as a minimum.

Great move, BTW! Grew up in the Triangle area and graduated from NC State in Raleigh. It's a happening place!
Nice to hear another Wolf pack lurks here!!!

Sent from my LG-M150 using E46Fanatics mobile app
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Yeah you're about at the limit of what's generally accepted as the lifetime of the expansion tank. Why not just replace it yourself? I'd do the expansion tank, autotrans tstat and upper and lower rad hoses as a minimum.

Great move, BTW! Grew up in the Triangle area and graduated from NC State in Raleigh. It's a happening place!
1. You can absolutely handle a cooling overhaul yourself. Really not that hard of a job and there's a good amount of room to work up in front of the engine once you pull the fan out. Also about a million DIYs to watch. If you're going to do any of the cooling system you may as well do all of it.

2. For your road trip I don't think there's much to worry about. You didn't mention replacing the fuel filter or fuel pump which can leave you stranded but there's nothing to say a long road trip will cause a good part to go bad. Something to look out for if you hold onto the car though. If your coolant level has been consistent aka you don't have to top it off with coolant regularly due to a leak then I wouldn't worry about that either. The ET tends to fail due to heat cycling and age so its no more likely to fail on a long move than a trip to the grocery store.

I like to keep some spare oil and coolant in my trunk in case I'm far from home and need a top off but if you aren't losing fluids then I wouldn't worry too much.
You can change the expansion tank and the automatic thermostat that breaks when you remove it...since your selling the car.Or bring a spare expansion tank/ thermostat from AutoZone/Advance Auto .bring that with you on the long drive and just return it at any AA/Autozone in Raleigh then sell the car.
Ive made trips to Raleigh Durham Chapel hill regularly .480 miles door to door to visit my daughter.
Last trip this memorial weekend was to Boone NC from NJ.
All with an expansion tank last replaced in 2013.
Your choice.

Sent from my LG-M150 using E46Fanatics mobile app
Thanks for the feedback guys. Seems like the general consensus is that I should be OK but i'll have some spare parts on hand just in case. Although this does sound like a fun project to do before the move. I might consider the $600 kit FCP euro offers for a weekend project.

Definitely excited to be living in the triangle. I've heard a lot of good things about NC state and have been recently considering the engineering masters program.
 

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Kits can sometimes include parts you don't want or aren't needed, such as in the case you have some recently installed new parts but you don't want to put money in your beater sorta thing. The tank and the thermostat are the two common parts to go bad. Along w/ the pulleys. I have a bunch of info in my cooling link in my sig below if you want to check it out.

As far as your tank on your road trip, I'd imagine you'd be ok. It all comes down to money. The more money you put into the car, the more peace of mind (and actual reliability) it affords you.
 

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Watch out for the Virginia State Police south of Richmond. They all think they’re Marine drill instructors when they pull you over. Be advised that radar detectors are illegal in Virginia. If the police catch you with one they’ll confiscate it. The state police use radar detector detectors.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Watch out for the Virginia State Police south of Richmond. They all think they’re Marine drill instructors when they pull you over. Be advised that radar detectors are illegal in Virginia. If the police catch you with one they’ll confiscate it. The state police use radar detector detectors.
Nah, Marshall Tucker "Take to the Highway". Fuel pump?
11 hour run, about 700 miles. You will be fine.

Que the Smokey and the Bandit theme song "East bound and down..."
Thanks for the tips, I'll add the songs to the playlist. I haven't done the Fuel pump or filter.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Kits can sometimes include parts you don't want or aren't needed, such as in the case you have some recently installed new parts but you don't want to put money in your beater sorta thing. The tank and the thermostat are the two common parts to go bad. Along w/ the pulleys. I have a bunch of info in my cooling link in my sig below if you want to check it out.

As far as your tank on your road trip, I'd imagine you'd be ok. It all comes down to money. The more money you put into the car, the more peace of mind (and actual reliability) it affords you.
Hi Mango, Thanks for the advice. I had the hydraulic tensioner and idler pulley done recently so ill check the condition of the others. Tank and thermostat i'll definitely do and some swollen hoses that I found upon further inspection.

Your write up is super informative. Would you recommend, in terms of quality, the parts you listed from amazon over what would be offered through FCP euro?
 

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General word around here is that fuel pumps fail between 100-200k miles. Failure leaves you stranded but can be changed in 20 minutes with part (Seimen/VDO), tools, and instruction on hand. Might want to carry or even change proactively. Not inexpensive but cheaper than a desperation buy. And hey, don't forget to enjoy the drive! GL
 

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I've been doing roundtrips from Jersey City to Fayetteville NC fairly regularly over the past couple years in my 2004 330XI. It's not a bad ride.

Maintenance items - what everyone already said. Cooling system, fuel pump. Either of those failing will stop you.

As far as the drive goes - as someone above mentioned, no radar detectors in VA. Technically it has to be "inaccessible", so simply having it turned off is not good enough. If a cop pulls you over for speeding and SEES it, he can ticket you for it and confiscate it. So hide it somewhere and if they ask (i.e., they see the bracket), you need to say, "It's inaccessible" and nothing more.

You can save a bunch of bucks on the drive by avoiding tolls. i.e., avoid much of the NJ Turnpike. There are alternatives (I take 1/9 from Jersey City to 22 to the Parkway to the Turnpike), and from 6A to the DelMemBr I-295 is free and it parallels the turnpike. Time your trip so you avoid DC/Alexandria, Fredericksburg, and Richmond during rush hour - any of these can easily tack on an hour to your drive. Avoid all the "EZ-Pass Express" lanes on I-95 - they're often crazy expensive, and Waze and similar apps will suggest them if they know you have EZ-Pass.

Finally - gas is cheap in VA. There are a few gas stations at the southern VA border (Skippers) that are usually super cheap. $2.19 last weekend.
 

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I think it would be a good idea to bring a set of basic tools and a jack. You have to prepare for the worst and hope for the best. :)
 

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Definitely do the pump and filter. Get it from FCP Euro. You'll get it fast, lifetime warranty and it's a very easy job to do.

In regards to VA and the detector they do not confiscate anymore. They will take the serial number and give you a ticket which is around $100-150. Just keep it in the trunk in VA and use Waze.

Double check your spare tire pressure as well and the condition of the tire itself.
 
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