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