Get the whole story on this problem here: http://forums.bimmerforums.com/forum/showthread.php?t=124679
Apparently, this is a very common problem that I’ve had a while. The fix is supposed cheap and easy and having done it once, the second time would be very easy. The Job took me about six hours with a lot of frustration the first time. Using these instructions you should be able to get it down to under two hours.
The parts used are:
- Napa red general purpose fluid hose in 1/2 and 5/8 ID sizes. The box they came in state they support 250 PSI which should be plenty.
- Four screw type hose clamps.
- A new P/S resevoir. The resevoir has some kind of filter in it so I decided to replace it too. They’re only about $25 online.
- One quart of Dextron IV ATF.
To get the job done, I had to remove the entire air box/filter and the headlight. Removing the headlight’s a bit dodgy, but made the job possible. Some instructions are here: http://www.e46fanatics.com/how-tos/exterior/bmw_e46_headlight_trim/bmw_e46_headlight_trim.php, I’ve included them and some of my own additions here:
Removing the headlight assembly:
1. Pop the hood and remove your turn signal lens. This is done by inserting a flat head screwdriver like so and pushing the tab towards the front of the car.
2. Next is removing the trim that runs underneath the headlight assembly. Start by pushing the tab closest to the center of the car (first picture) and work across removing this piece. Once you release the tab in the third picture, you are ready for the difficult part…
3. When you get to the tab that connects this piece to the fender, this will be the most difficult part of the procedure. I used a couple of different techniques to release this tab. On one side, I was able to sneak the flat head screwdriver behind the tab as pictured and push towards the front of the car to release the tab. On the other side, that didn’t work so I had to take a small-tipped flat head screwdriver and weasel the tab open from the front side. If you work with this tab enough, you should be able to get it off.
4. Remove the two screws holding the top of the assembly. Using a ratchet with eight inch extension, remove the screws holding the headlight assembly at the bottom rear, right and left of the assembly.
5. Disconnect the wires and the assembly should fall right out.
6. These headlight assemblies are unbelievably expensive. Put it in a VERY safe place.
Tips on replacing the hoses are as follows:
1. Cover your alternator with rags to keep ATF out of it.
2. Have a bowl hand to catch extra ATF as you dis-assemble the system.
3. Using your Pela oil extractor, extract all the oil out of the resevoir,
4. Disconnect the resevoir from the hoses, you may need the dremel to cut the factory clamps. Keep that bowl and extra towels handy.
5. Extract ATF from the hoses with the Pela.
6. Cut the factory clamp off the P/S pump with the dremel.
Here’s the hard part. On this connection:
..you need to dis-engage part 1.
A useless internal schematic is here:
You really should use BMW tool 5346:
…and considering you’re saving about $400 over the dealer price by doing this yourself, I’d probably buy it.
Unfortunately, the plastic release collar broke on my car so I cut off the whole thing with the Dremel.
Replace the hoses, fill the system with ATF, turn on the car, turn the wheels all the way right to left a couple/three times, refill and your done.