Thursday, October 6, 2016

The Ultimate E46 Tool Guide

So you want to work on your E46, huh?
The ultimate tool guide. By E46Mango

Over my 10 years working with the E46 platform.  Here are the tools which I think you'll find helpful.  Starting with the most common to the least common.  Always practice safety when working on your car, work with a friend, and always consult a professional service manual or professional mechanic if you are inexperienced or not sure about what you are doing.  This guide is for educational purposes for new E46 owners who may want to learn how to work on their car. =)

BMW E46 Service Manual - A no brainer!

Metric Socket Set - The most common sizes you'll need are 8mm, 10mm, 13mm, 15mm, 17mm, 18mm.  Just get the whole set. I recommend both in 3/8" drive (big ratchet) and 1/4" drive (small ratchet) Also recommend a deep socket metric socket set 3/8" drive.

External Torx Socket Set 3/8" Drive - You'll need these mostly for the rear axles if you ever need to remove them. Get them in 3/8" drive. You can also get a complete set here

Torx Socket Set - These are the male versions of the torx set.  You'll encounter tons of these in your BMW.  Mostly for cooling system and other electronics parts.

Breaker Bar - You'll need this for  busting stubborn bolts/nuts.  Do not use a torque wrench for this or you'll damage it. It's not designed for massive brute force fastener popping. Great for removing wheel bolts too.

Torque Wrench - Get 3/8" drive torque wrench and a 1/4" drive torque wrench for smaller jobs.

Open ended wrenche set metric - Very commonly used.  Get sizes from 5mm to 22mm

Ratchet set (3/8") and (1/4") drives

Rubber Mallet - Good for control arm bushings

Impact driver - good for rotor retaining screws

Brake piston tool - good for depressing the brake piston in when doing a brake job

Tool Box - good for holding your tools!

Ratcheting wrench set! - For hard to access fasteners so you don't wear out your arms!

LED Flashlight - See what you are doing!

E46 Rear Axle Service Kit - For rear ball joints and rear bushings on the control arm.  A definite must! Safety first.

Safety glasses - Protect your eyes

MIS RTAB tool - For RTABs. No substitute (sorry no link--google!)

36mm socket (for your oil filer changes)

Oil extractor -- great for quick and fast oil changes! This pulls oil directly from the bottom of the pan including most of the gunk!  No need to go under the car!

Deep socket 17mm (for wheel bolts) - don't scratch your wheels!

Screwdriver set - Priceless

Jack stands - Safety first

Low profile jack - Safety first

BMW Hockey puck adapter - So you support your E46 properly by its rubber jack pads.

1/2" drive breaker bar/torque wrench extension - Extension is great so you don't scratch your car body when removing your wheel bolts. 

3/8" drive torque wrench - absolute must.

Allen key set -- you'll come across these on sensors

Brake bleeder BMW - one man bleed job! Pressurized!

Tire pressure gauge digital - Keep the most important part of your E46 optimized!

Rhino Ramps Car Ramps - Great for doing jobs where you don't need to remove the wheels. Oil changes or sway bars or just general inspection or fuel filters!

Assorted hose clamps - great for emergencies or fuel filter hoses

BMW fan clutch tool - necessary for automatic E46 fan removal/cooling system job

Adjustable Wrench - all purpose for those hard to reach fasteners

Punch Set - you'll need these for some jobs such as rear wheel bearings

Front wheel drive wheel bearing service kit (for the BMW E36 and E46 rear wheel bearings)

Stubby screwdriver set - For hard to reach screws

Hammer - for miscellaneous uses.  Trust me all of us need a hammer at some point or another

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Happy motoring,

iPhone 7 and 7 Plus Photography and Review Blog

iPhone 7
The world's fastest smartphone

I haven't actually received my Apple iPhone 7 Plus Jet Black 128GB yet.  Still waiting for T-Mobile to ship my pre-order.  Stay tuned for my review including photography analysis coming soon.  (NEW: Updated with review--see below!)

Update: Finally got my Apple iPhone 7+ Jet Black 128GB!  WOO HOO!    Here is a snapshot I took of it with my Apple iPhone 7 Plus Saddle Brown Leather Case!

These photos were taken with my Canon 6D and 16-35mm F4L Lens


I've been an iPhone user since day 1 since the first version came out in 2007.  I've also used my fair share of Android-based phones.  Lots of fun.  However I've come to the conclusion that for now, the iPhone is for me.  It doesn't get in my way and everything is streamlined.  It's also considered The Golden Standard among smartphones.  Nothing generates more buzz, more hype, and more praise than the iPhone--and for good reason.  Apple has perfectly integrated hardware and software in a top-quality synergy that is the iPhone.  Everything is intuitive.  

Ok, enough praise.  We're now on iPhone 7. After using my Jet Black 128GB iPhone 7 Plus for a week now, I can say it's without a doubt the best iPhone yet.  The overall design doesn't deviate too far from the iPhone 6S Plus I replaced it with, so I wasn't too thrilled at first prior to Apple's debut of the newest flagship, but I don't regret my purchase for a second.  The iPhone 7 Plus is said to have an extra gigabyte of ram for a total of 3GB--up from 2GB of the iPhone 6S Plus--and you can feel the extra RAM.  Everything is snappier and breezes by.  And I thought the 6S Plus was already quick.  The volume rocker feels snappier and the sound from the speakers is obviously crisper and clearer--one of the first things you notice as you play a Youtube video or your favorite song on Spotify.  

As a photographer, the main reason I bought the iPhone 7 Plus is for the camera.  Apple claims a new dedicated camera-processor which analyzes the scene and performs millions of calculations per second.  Whatever wizardly is going on in the background--I'll let Apple take care of it.  I trust the camera will spit out great photos and it does deliver.  

The notable improvements besides the new processor is the addition of a second 56mm (in Full Frame 35mm equivalency) lens for an optical zoom.  I found this refreshing when I wanted to "zoom" in but without losing the quality you do when you zoom in your primary 28-30mm equivalent traditional cell phone camera and the weird distortion that comes with it when you try to take an up-close shot of something you don't want distortion on--like someone's face.  This is what will make the iPhone 7 Plus brilliant for portraits on the fly.  I can't wait for portrait mode to come out!  

I went to Yosemite this past weekend to try out the RAW DNG mode.  Simply connect to your mac via Lightning Cable and go to Launchpad>Image Capture and import all DNG files to your computer. You can now edit in Adobe Lightroom as I did for the examples below.  I'll show the before (RAW) and after (edited in Lightroom) examples.  Slight increase in color, clarity, and some noise reduction for processing.  Do these replace DSLR/Mirrorless/Large Sensor Camera photos? NO! They are notably noisier.  But these are without a doubt the best photos on a phone-camera yet! 

iPhone 7 Plus 2x Camera DNG RAW (Unedited)

Edited in Adobe Lightroom

iPhone 7 Plus 2x Camera DNG RAW (Unedited)

Edited in Adobe Lightroom

These aren't meant to be anything fancy or extensive showing shadow and highlight detail to an extreme degree, just quick edits to give you a general idea what to expect.  For anything more serious, that's what I have my Canon 6D for!


If you don't prefer the Apple case, you can also check out some other popular iPhone 7 goodies on Amazon:

Apple iPhone 7, 7 Plus and Accessories

Or some specific cases:

iPhone 7 Plus Case by Tozo -- World's Thinnest Case

iPhone 7 Case, Spigen, Rugged Armor


iPhone 7 unlocked 32GB US Version Rose Gold

iPhone 7 unlocked 128GB Black US Version GSM


Lightning Headphone Adapter

Lightning Cables

Lightning Car Charger

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