Question about 2003 BMW 325

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Need to replace serpentine belt - 2003 BMW 325

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Small hands are handy for this job. Be glad you drive a 325 and not a 330.
First take note of the routing of the belt. On this car, it is physically possible to put it on wrong and spin the alternator backward.
You then pop off the plastic caps from the tensioner pulleys, and use an allen wrench to turn the center bolt to rotate the tensioner against its spring to release tension on the belt, and slip off the belt. Careful not to pinch your fingers when slipping the belt back on.
Some tensioners have a hole where you can stick a pin, such as a big nail, through to hold the tensioner back while you slip on the new belt. Those make it easier to put the new belt on. I have not found those on the e46, but I have not taken the time to look for them.
While the belt is off, spin the pulley(s). If they chatter, replace them. The top two pulleys usually need replacing about every 75k to 100k miles. How long the bottom pulley lasts seems highly variable from car to car for some reason.

Posted on Mar 17, 2011

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Posted on Jan 02, 2017

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