e46 Fuel Filter Replacement

Late e36 is nearly identical, but these pics happen to be of an e46.
On early e36s, the fuel filter is next to the steering column, just
below the brake booster (access it from beneath).

We noticed before a weekend trip that there was a buzzing from beneath the e46 at the right rear corner.  
We almost unpacked and took the e36, but decided to risk it.  The buzzing went away after a few blocks.

On the trip, as we drove up Cuesta Grade north of San Luis Obispo CA, we noticed that the car was surging.

Seems likely that the fuel pump may be failing, but before I spend that much $$, I will try a new fuel filter.
This filter has 50k miles on it, and I like to change them at that interval anyway. 

 I had recently replaced the filters on both of the e36s, so I am in practice.

Parts Needed:
   e46:  new fuel filter and three new hose clamps   ~$45
             (the hose clamps can be re-used, but they are made to be single-use)
   e36:  new fuel filter, and new hoses and clamps if they look weathered. ~$20

These are the on-line prices for name-brand replacement parts.  Figure about
twice this if you get the parts from your BMW dealer.

Step 1 - put the car up on ramps.  If you have found a good place to put jack
stands under an e46, you are ahead of me.    Please don't ever put any
part of your body beneath a car supported by the jack that comes with
an e46!  The jack from an e36 is much better, but still not safe to work 

The filter on either car is beneath the driver's feet.  The shield is held on
by three 8mm screws and two 8mm nuts.  The e36 filter does not have
an integrated fuel pressure regulator, so it has only one fitting on each

Sorry that I flipped the camera on you there.

The strap that secures the filter is held in place by a 10mm nut.

The manual says to pull the fuse on the fuel pump and run the car until
it stalls to minimize the amount of fuel that pours out when you pull
the hoses.  Whether you pull the fuse or not, be sure you capture the
fuel in a drip pan and put it into a closed container.

Loosen all three clamps (two on the e36) before pulling any hoses loose.

Draining the fuel.   About this time, I discovered yet another difference
between an e36 and an e46.  The e36 is designed so that the fuel cannot
siphon out of the gas tank if the fuel line is broken.  I had to put a plug
in the hose to stop the flow from the fuel tank on the e46.

This is the dangerous part.  Keep the garage doors open, don't use metal
tools under the car when there are gasoline vapors present, and for heaven's 
sake, no smoking!!!!

When the dripping stops, pull the filter from the hoses, and take the filter
and the drip pan outdoors.

Put on the new filter.  On the e36, note the flow direction arrow on the filter.

If you forgot to get new hose clamps for the e46, you can tighten the 
single-use clamps with a pair of pliers, 

Replace the shield and you are done!  It will take a while to start up the
first time,  as you have wait for it to fill the fuel rail back up with fuel.