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Old Sat, Aug-27-2016, 03:35:10 AM   #1
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Old Sat, Aug-27-2016, 03:35:36 AM   #2
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Iíve wanted to create a build thread since I bought my E46 but I never really got around to it. Now that I feel that I have enough content, I decided to start one.

A little backstory before I dive right into the build. Iíve been a total car guy since I discovered Car & Driver back when I was in middle school. A BMW fan equally as long. My first car was a Mazda. My parents gave it to me when I turn 16. I was young, it was free and I enjoyed it. Three years later, I bought my first BMW. It was a 2005 E60 545i Sport 6MT. It was decked out. Sport, nav, premium, cold weather, Logic 7, bamboo wood trim, etc. Took me almost 7 months to find one optioned like that. I loved that car.



Years later, the E60 began to give me problems and I decided to make a career change that required schooling. I downsized to something cheaper and much more fuel efficient. I purchased a brand new 2011 VW Jetta 5MT. I wonít include a picture since it was nothing fancy. It wound up being a great car and I actually really enjoyed it.

After I graduated college and got my first real job in the field that I studied, I figured it was time to reward myself with something a little sportier. Since my job, at the time, required a lot of traveling, another V8 5 series was out of the question. In 2013, I traded my Jetta in on a 2014 VW GLI 6MT. This car was everything the Jetta was missing. Sporty, more power, better handling, etc.

And then the mod bug bit me. Since it was a 2014, it had the new 3rd generation 2.0T TSI motor. I patiently waited for many months to see who would release a tune for this car first. Once the tune hit the market, I got it immediately. I was the first one in North Eastern Ohio that was running a tuned GLI with the 3rd Gen 2.0T. VW is known for their weak clutches. At 13k miles, the clutch on my GLI was done. They (the pressure plate) simply donít hold power above stock levels. I spoke with my SA at VW and he agreed to replace my clutch under warranty. He replaced it with a factory remanufactured kit that included a beefier pressure plate. I have over 40k miles on the new clutch now and itís still holding. Knock on wood.

A few weeks after I had my clutch replaced and new tires installed, my buddy (who is a member on here) told me to join him at the track. I always wanted to learn how to drive at the track but never knew how to get started. So I did my first weekend with the local PCA and I was hooked. My car was completely stock except for the tune. I managed to completely destroy my brakes with under 20k miles on them. The rotors had deep groves in them, the fluid had boiled and the pads were starting to crumble and anything that was still intact was glazed over. I quickly learned how important brakes are for safety and performance.

Fast forward to the next event. I replaced all four rotors, installed Hawk HP+ track pads and Motul RBF 600 fluid. I also added a CTS Turbo intake, a CTS Turbo 3Ē downpipe and ST coilovers.











https://www.instagram.com/p/q-FIcvNN...by=davidsaadeh





I was able to shave 5 seconds off of my previous personal best lap time. After that event, I started looking at BBKs, sway bars, how to make more power, etc. I then realized, considering the investment, it would be better off if I just purchase a second car.

Hereís my hot lap from that weekend.

I started my search for a fun weekend/track car. I considered many options but the M cars and P cars kept pulling me back. I wanted a 996TT for a while but as I kept doing research, I found the running costs are pretty steep. Scratch that off of the list.

I then decided an E36 M3 would be a great starter car. Little investment, low running costs, etc. After looking at many examples, I decided to give up. Every car I looked at was beat or rusted. I drove all the way out to Chicago (6.5 hours one way) last year to look at a car that was described to me as being in mint condition. When I got there, the car was beat to hell and back. The owner even had the audacity to tell me that he took it to the track the night before I drove out to Chicago to look at it. I got in my car, turned around and drove home. I was on the road for 13 hours that day. It was awful.

After that, I decided to start a search for an M3 from 2001 through 2013. Months went by and I kept running across E46s that were beat and E92s that were way over priced. I even ran across an E92 that had the odometer rolled back. Gotta love NJ cars.

I decided to go look at the F8x M3/4. That is really a fun car. It has power all the time and it feels like youíre driving a car much smaller than it actually is. I didnít have any issues with the car itself. I just had a hard time swallowing the fact that Iíd be purchasing an $80k weekend/track car. I decided to keep looking for something a little less expensive. Down the road, I did revisit the F8x as a replacement for my DD. But I drive too much to make that justification.

In early July of 2015, I had a convention I was attending. Decided to make a little vacation out of it and to forget work, car shopping, etc. While Iím at the convention, I get a call from my cousin (who happens to be in the car business) saying he found an E46 M3 in West Virginia and I should go take a look at it. I tell him Iím not going to worry about it because Iím taking a mini vacation right now. Plus, everything was already paid for. He calls me back the next day saying him and his brother are on the way down to look at it. Calls me the next day saying he bought it.

About a week later, I meet up with him for dinner and I see the car for the first time. He let me take it out for a spin and I was sold. I had no intentions of buying a car that was silver or one that had gray interior. Those were my two least favorite choices but I realized neither of those really mattered. Everything mechanical was in great shape. I couldnít have asked for anything else. He had ordered a few parts to fix a couple things on it. The day after they were fixed, I pulled the cash out of my safe and bought the car from him. I brought the car home on July 20, 2015.

The car is a 2004 E46 M3 6 speed in Titanium Silver on Dove Gray. Itís a well-equipped car. Nav, HK, cold weather, etc. I brought it home with just under 90k miles. Itís a two owner car. The last owner did take care of the car. He did not drive it hard or beat on it. It was never driven in the winter and itís completely rust free. The rear subframe is solid, VANOS is quiet and the overall mechanical condition of the car is sound. There were a few minor issues that were taken care of. The leather on the center armrest and shift knob was worn. Replaced both items. The cup holder was chipped; replaced. The windshield washer pump was leaking a little bit. Replaced it to stop the leak. The right brake duct was broken. Replaced it with a new one. The rear license plate bracket was in rough shape. Replaced it. The nav screen had some missing pixels. Purchased a used one to replace. And finally, I had a couple minor dents popped with PDR.











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Old Sat, Aug-27-2016, 03:46:42 AM   #3
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The previous owner did include a couple extra items with the sale. He gave me an aFe Stage II cold air intake and a B&B TriFlow section 3. No time was wasted on installing the B&B section 3. I brought the car home with the stock section 3 in the trunk. More on the aFe to come.

I made this short video for a friend that lives across the country. He wanted to hear what the exhaust sounds like. It was meant to have a lighthearted tone to it. Hope you enjoy!


I had the car for about a week before I had my first "issue" even though it was minor. The replacement nav unit had a couple pixels die on it. A couple days later, a few more died on it. I contacted the company that it came from and they wouldnít take a return. Bummer. So I started searching for solutions. I ran across a thread on the forum that showed how you could replace the actual LCD screen itself. I jumped on eBay to find replacement LCD screens. I found a seller that put a package deal together for me. Two LCD screens and an OEM auxiliary input were at my house a few days later.





I installed the OEM auxiliary input first. It was extremely easy. It's literally just plug and play. I didn't want to drill anywhere on the dash or center console so I routed the input to the glove box. I connected the auxiliary cable and routed it out of the front corner of the glove box. I like it this way because I can just open the glove box, wind up the cord and youíll never even know itís there.

As far as the nav screen replacements go, it was not a simple install. I have a little bit of electronics experience via previous non-M3 related DIYs. But I am no electronics guru, thatís for sure. The entire nav unti had to be disassembled to remove the LCD screen itself. Once you pulled the screen off, you had to rig the new LCD to power on without completely reassembling the unit. Reason being, the screen adjustment knob is on the back of the LCD screen and thereís no way to access it once itís mounted to the rest of the nav unit. It was a pain! The first nav unit took me almost 4 hours to complete. The second one was just over 2 hours.









Old and New



Reassembled and fully functional!




Ran into an issue with the second nav screen. One was bad. Had to wait for a replacement from the seller.


After I repaired the second nav unit, I posted it for sale. I thought it would be a hit with as anal as the M3 crowd is. It took me almost three months to sell it. I took a bath on that nav unit too. $460 for the unit when it was working plus $150 for the screen. Wound up selling it for $400 on eBay. Tough crowd. Oh well, the new owner is enjoying it.

After the whole nav screen ordeal was solved, I ran across a deal on a pair of Schroth Ralleye 4 harnesses. After I got them, I realized the QuickFits were the better option since this is not a dedicated track car. I sold them to my buddy since he decided to build an E36 track car around the same time.

I enjoyed the car for the next month or so. Mid September 2015, I was invited to a private track day at Mid-Ohio. It was pretty cool because there were a handful of manufactures that brought brand new automobiles for us to drive on the track. We were also allowed to drive our personal cars, as well. I figured this was the perfect opportunity to see how the car feels on track, as it sits.

As I was browsing the classifieds, I ran across someone selling a set of barely used Hawk HP+ pads. Given my previous experience with stock brake pads, I figured this was the better option. So I purchased the brake pads from a member, three bottles of Motul RBF 600 from eBay and a Motive pressure bleeder from Summit Racing. Side note, eBay has the lowest prices on Motul, from my experience.

This is how the box for my brake pads showed up. Great job, USPS!
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Old Sat, Aug-27-2016, 03:48:41 AM   #4
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I installed everything the night before the event and the car felt great. This is what the brake fluid looked like. Iím willing to be it was still original.


When I got to the event, there were a bunch of really awesome cars there. It was so much better than the typical HPDE crowd. The car manufactures that brought cars for us to drive were, Mercedes Benz, Porsche, Maserati and Aston Martin. I drove two sessions in the cars that were provided for us. The first session, I drove a Porsche Cayman S. What an awesome car. I would not hesitate to replace the E46 with one in the future. The second session, I drove an Aston Martin V12 Vantage S. This car was an absolute monster. The sound that car made was glorious. You could feel the weight of the car but on the straights, the thing just kept pulling! On the back straight, I saw almost 150 mph but the carbon ceramic brakes slowed the car down with ease. That car was so much fun. The only thing I hated about it was the transmission. It has an SMG style transmission. The gear changes felt exactly like they do in SMG E46 M3s. But the motor in that car made me quickly forget about the transmission.





Caged 458. This car was amazing! I couldnít get enough of it!








Speciale


The AM V12 Vantage S I drove







The rest of the day, I drove the M3. Iím glad I drove it before I did a two day event with it. There were a couple things that I noticed right off the bat. The tires on it were horrendous. No grip, tons of understeer. It was awful. The previous owner had mismatched all season tires on it. I knew those had to be changed before the next event. The other thing I noticed was the amount of body roll. Time to hit the drawing board aka M3F.

I had two weeks before the next event. First thing on my list were wheels and tires. When I bought the car, I hated the M6 rep wheels that came with it. I bought it with the intentions of changing the wheels. So I hit the forums, craigslist, etc. I was considering everything from 18s to 19s and staggered to square set ups. At the time, the market was dry. My search radius was up to two hours away and I couldnít find anything. Around the same time, my buddy (who is a member on here and the person that got me into track days) told me that he purchased a set of Apex Arc-8s and heís selling his set of square style 67s with Nitto NT01s. I didnít really have any intentions of running R comps this soon but thatís what was available. So I bought them.



Finally, my first track day with the M3 was here. I was no stranger to Mid-Ohio. It was a matter of just learning the car. The car ran beautifully all weekend. There is so much grip running the new tire set up. Corner speeds increased significantly compared to the old set up. I was able to get on the brakes harder with out going into ABS. Overall, it was a great weekend. Had a great weekend with friends and learned a ton in the process.



One of my track day friends and I


This was my hot lap from that weekend. Still lots to learn!

I had one small issue. The gear shifter is a little sloppy and I think it caused me to miss a shift. I went to shift from 3rd to 4th on the back straight but accidentally put it in 2nd. As I began to feel the car start to buck as I was letting the clutch out, I immediately kicked it back in. The RPMs didnít jump high enough to cause any damage. No mechanical over rev. I did a cool down lap to reset my mind afterwards and finished the weekend out strong after that.
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Old Sat, Aug-27-2016, 03:50:50 AM   #5
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A few weeks later, my friend was selling a lightly used set of Stoptech rotors. They were practically brand new. Wound up buying them from him.



A few days later, I ran across an OEM oval rear view mirror for sale on the forums. Bought it because I prefer the shape of it over the standard one in my car. That same day, I bought a pair of Schroth Quick Fit harnesses off of a friend with an E36.







I tried to install the harnesses a few days later but found out the E36 seat belt set up was not similar to the E46. I posted them for sale on here and sold them a few days later.

By this time, it was mid October 2015 and my second track event was here. This time it was at PittRace. I went with the local PCA and we were one of the first clubs to drive on the recently refinished track. It was also my first time at that track too. Unfortunately, this also happened to be my first wet event as well. It kept raining on and off the entire weekend. For the majority of the time, I drove the track with my super awesome mismatched all season tires. Not going to run the NT01s in the rain.

As far as the track goes, itís a really fun track. Lots of elevation changes. The esses in the new part of the track are fun and difficult. And there are a few blind turns. Some of them are kind of scary at first. You just have to trust that thereís usable track going into some of those turns blindly. Definitely took a while to get used to that. Since the track was new, most people havenít driven the new layout. It was interesting because people were less concerned about lap times and more concerned about figuring out the perfect line around the track. On the last session of the day, I took a fun video. I was the camera car. My friends all lined up behind me and I let each of them pass to get front and rear views. I thought it turned out pretty good for a last minute idea.

My friends who were my unofficial pit crew. They helped me swap to my NT01s when it dried up for one of the last sessions.



The car ran pretty good for the event. I had a weird issue. Every time I would go above 6.5k RPM, my battery light would turn on. So I started short shifting right at 6.5k RPM. The car ran fine and I was able to finish the weekend. About a week later, the battery light stayed on and I knew it was time for a new alternator. I jumped on ECS and ordered a brand new Valeo alternator. Around the same time, I picked up new OEM front and rear brake pads since the brake pads that came with the car literally had 1mm of pad left. I wish I had taken a picture.

Once all the parts came in, I tore right into the car to change the alternator. The swap is pretty straightforward. Since the intake was off, I took the liberty to install the aFe Stage 2 intake that the previous owner gave to me with the car. Again, another straightforward install. The intake looks pretty cool and makes some decent induction noise. Not going to lie, itís difficult to hear with the B&B section 3. Either way, still looks cool. Just needed to drive it to see what it feels like.





The culprit


Replacement slipped right in


Once the alternator was installed, I took a break for dinner. It was dark when I was done so I had to roll the car into the garage for some light.


aFe Stage 2 installed


After the PittRace event, I kind of got fed up with the sloppy shifter and found a UUC EVO3 with DSSR for sale in the classifieds. Picked it up for a fair price. Funny thing is, I still have yet to install it!



Around this time, itís mid-November 2015 and since Iím in Ohio, weíre basically just waiting for it to snow. First snowfall means the car goes away until the spring. But we were lucky and had an extremely mild start to the winter. So I drove the E46 as much as I could. During this time, I put some miles on the aFe Stage 2 intake. I saw no real performance gains whatsoever. Any additional power ďup topĒ was unnoticed or negligible. It made the car difficult to drive. Throttle response worsened. Low-end torque suffered. But the worst thing about it was the fact that it would cause the engine to stumble. I just wasnít fan of the product.
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Old Sat, Aug-27-2016, 03:54:13 AM   #6
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I ran across a guy on the forums liquidating his OEM brake parts and related items. He upgraded to StopTechs and wanted to sell everything. I struck up a package deal with him. Everything included in the sale consisted of: OEM ZCP front and rear calipers with brackets and brass bushings, front and rear stainless brake lines, two sets of PFC 08 fronts at 80%, two sets of PFC 08 rears at 80% and one set of PFC 01 fronts at 80%.







About a week later, the Black Friday sales started popping up. A few things I had my eye on went on sale. So, naturally, I pulled the trigger. Picked up Umnitza Orion V4s, matte black grills/gills and a set of VMR CSL reps in 19x8.5 ET40 and 19x9.5 ET22.



We had a couple nice days in December, which typically never happens, so I took full advantage and installed the Orion v4s and matte black grills/gills. I know it’s not everyone’s cup of tea but I think it turned out really nice!









At the end of December, I found a guy on the forum selling a pair of red Schroth QuickFit harnesses for the E46. I swear, they look like they were never used. Score! My car was in storage so I wasn’t able to mock them up for a picture.

The snow started falling in January 2016 so the car went into storage. I also started a new job. So I was preoccupied with a number of things. But, mid January, I ran across a set of used Agency Power headers for sale on the forum. Picked them up for a fair price.



Mid February rolled by and I ran across somebody on the forum selling a basically brand new ZHP shift knob and boot. Picked those up for a fair price, as well.

March had rolled around and the snow was almost gone so it was time to start getting the car ready. Since I picked up a set of VMRs during Black Friday, I needed to get tires for them. I wasn’t going to use the tires from the M6 reps I had for many reasons. So I started looking for the best bang for my buck. Discount Tire’s eBay store was running their $100 off of a $400 order sale. I wound up getting a set of 245/35/19 and 275/30/19 Continental Extreme Contact DW for a pretty good deal. The trick was, order two tires at a time. Two front tires cost $440 so the $100 discount applied which made them $340. The two rear tires cost $535 so the $100 discount also applied which made them $435. $775 for a brand new set of tires? I’ll take it!



Got them mounted a few days later!


A few days later, I realized the sale also included track tires. So I picked up a pair of 275/35/18 Nitto NT01s. Normal price was $541, $441 with the discount. Great price on those tires!



When I pulled the car out of storage, I decided to sell the aFe Stage 2 intake. I really didn’t care for how the car felt with it. I put the stock airbox back on and noticed an immediate improvement. I believe the stock airbox should stay in this car unless you are going with a CSL airbox or a supercharger, that’s it.



Since I was getting the car ready for track season, that meant doing the annual brake fluid flush. All my track day buddies were in the same boat. So I wound up ordering a case of Motul RBF 600 to save a few bucks for all of us. Got brake fluid?



A couple weeks later, I ran across a guy on the forum selling brand new OEM FCABs pressed in the lollipops, RTABs and limiters for a fraction of what they cost new. I had no choice but to buy them.

A few days later, I ran across a local guy selling a set of AST 4200 coilovers with Ground Control Race camber plates and Ground Control Race RSMs. Everything was in great condition so I picked them up.



I was also part of the TTFS remote tune group buy. Received my cable so it’s official!



By the time I had acquired everything I needed, it was the end of March-beginning of April. My first track event of the season was on April 30th-May 1st. Time is ticking!

More to come when I get it typed up and the pictures uploaded!
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Old Sat, Aug-27-2016, 04:52:54 PM   #7
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Subbed, keep the updates coming, and see ya in Oct!
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Old Mon, Aug-29-2016, 08:23:14 AM   #8
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Funny I looked into a manual E60 545i a few years prior to buying my M3. You're on the right track so far. Looking forward to the updates!
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Old Fri, Sep-02-2016, 08:35:37 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CrookedCommie View Post
Subbed, keep the updates coming, and see ya in Oct!
Thanks! Definitely looking forward to it!
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheGenius46M View Post
Funny I looked into a manual E60 545i a few years prior to buying my M3. You're on the right track so far. Looking forward to the updates!
Thanks! I absolutely loved that car! It was a lot of fun. Very comfortable but was also very sporty and quick. I keep debating if I should trade my daily in on a newer 5 series but I'm afraid the F10 is just too large.
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Old Fri, Sep-02-2016, 08:39:27 PM   #10
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With the tires mounted to the new wheels, I couldn’t wait to take the M6 reps off. So on a nice day, I did the swap. The car looks so much better! The CSL wheel design is one of my all time favorites. The offsets are just about perfect. I had purchased spacers to try to make the M6 reps work but it just wasn’t the right wheel design for the car. I’m so much happier with the new wheels!







During the next couple weeks, I purchased a bunch of miscellaneous items. Motor oil, header installation kit, CPV o-rings, new center caps for the new wheels, etc. Nothing fun but all necessary.

The next step was to start installing everything. I laid everything out in the garage. I later found out there was no way I was going to be able to install everything in one weekend.

Here’s most of what I purchased.


And so it begins.




Wheels and tires, anyone?


I always get freaked out when the car is up on jacks and I need to be under it. Safety first, right?


Rotors came off first. There was one hell of a lip on them. I’m willing to bet they were still original.




First strut installed.


Second


Struts and camber plates look nice installed.




The compression adjustment is kind of a pain in the butt to get to. No biggie though.


Old springs and shocks.


New Stoptech rotors.


They look pretty nice installed.


Now to the rear. The rear springs have rubber pads on the top and bottom. I decided to modify the pads so I could run them with the new set up. I wanted to reduce any possible NVH.






Turned out nicely and fit great!


Rear compression adjustment.


Ground Control Race RSMs


Top view including the AST rebound adjustment.


Rear rotors installed.


Time to put the wheels back on and see how it sits.










Family photo


Overall, the rear sat a little high and the front sat a little low. I knew I had to take it out for a drive to get everything to settle properly. So I jumped in, took it for a spin and this is how it looked when I returned.

The front stayed about the same and the rear settled a little bit. I’d had to wait until the next day to jack it up and make a couple adjustments since it was getting dark.




__________________
2004 BMW M3 6MT - TiAg/Gray
2016 BMW M3 ZCP 6MT - AW/SO
2000 BMW M Roadster 5MT - TiAg/Black
2014 VW GLI 6MT - Black/Black


E46 M3 Build Journal

Last edited by silvergray545; Sat, Sep-03-2016 at 02:35:22 AM.
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