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Member Journals Do you have a long term project you would like to share with the community? Use this forum to create a single thread which you can update over time to document the progress.


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Old Sun, Apr-29-2018, 10:07:13 PM   #1
wiry
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Default wiry's 2005 Silver Gray M3 Coupe

This is the journal for my 2005 M3 Coupe, silver gray over black, with SMG.

Current Specs:

Engine
Beisan VANOS bulletproofing

Suspension/chassis
Eibach Pro Kit springs over Koni Yellows
Rogue Engineering rear shock mounts with reinforcement plates
H&R 30mm Front sway bar
RTAB limiters
RRT subframe reinforcement plates

Brakes
StopTech coated slotted rotors
StopTech street performance pads
Rebuilt OE calipers

Body
Euro bumper with tow-hook mount license plate holder
Tekarbon CSL-style diffuser
SGT-SCZA FRP CSL-style trunk
Matte black gills and grills
Smoked front corner lights
Lamin-x protective film on headlights, corners, and fog lights
50% tint

Wheels
Summer: Square 18x.9.5" ET35 Apex EC-7 with Michelin PSS, 12mm spacer in rear
Winter: Staggered 19x9.5"/8.5" Sportline CS16 with Continental DWS
Apex 75mm studs

Interior
Recaro Sportster CS seats
Macht Schnell low-profile lightweight seat mounts
Recaro sliders
Carbon fiber SMG shift paddles
PedalHaus (formerly BMWPedals) studded aluminum pedals
Arm rest delete
Dice MediaBridge iPod/iPhone/Bluetooth/Aux adapter

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Old Sun, Apr-29-2018, 10:07:33 PM   #2
wiry
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Default Re: wiry's 2005 Silver Gray M3 Coupe

Hi, all. My name's Chip. I've been wanting to do a journal for a while. After 6 years of owning the car and being on the forums, I've finally found the motivation to dig through old emails and pictures to piece the journey back together and share the story.

I wanted an E46 M3 from the moment I first saw one. I remember being out with my folks, and seeing one in the parking lot of a Chipotle in Fredericksburg, VA, in the early 2000s. I had never had a car grab me like that before, but I was immediately determined to own one.

Getting there would take some time though.

After a busted old 1990 Jeep Cherokee that I gave to my folks...



...a 2000 VW Jetta 1.8 Turbo that was totaled by a wanted woman(!) three weeks after I bought it, that I have no pictures of...

...and a 2001 VW Jetta VR6 that I traded in to CarMax...



...I finally joined the BMW family in 2010 when I randomly found a 2005 330i ZHP sedan at CarMax.



I'd paid the Jetta off all of two weeks before, but my wife is awesome and supports my car problem. She knew I hated the Jetta and loved BMWs, so the Jetta got the boot and I bought the ZHP. It was a good (and much more affordable) stepping stone to the M3, which is what I'd really wanted since the E46 M3 came out.

I kept the ZHP for two years, and had a ton of fun with it. It was the first car I started to really DIY with, and it was great to learn on. It also let me accumulate a lot more tools before all my parts started having the M tax!

In early 2012 I noticed that M3 prices had come down a bit and were at a level I was comfortable with, so I started my search. I watched the forums, cars.com, and Autotrader like a hawk, and in May I managed to see the listing for a silver grey 2005 SMG M3 coupe with only 66k miles on it at Flemington BMW in northern New Jersey about 45 minutes after it was posted. I talked to them via phone and email over the course of a few days getting all the info I could about the car and making sure it was what I wanted.

Some of the pics from the dealer:









The car was traded in by a guy that was "upgrading" to a 2012 M3 vert, and they'd priced it hoping for a quick local sale where they could ignore some minor issues it had. Well, quick was what they got, but unfortunately for them I was the first person to call in about it and I lived 4 hours away. They weren't comfortable ignoring those issues for someone driving such a long distance to buy the car, so they put all new tires on it, refinished the wheels, and replaced the tire inflation kit and the rear-view mirror, all without me even asking.

The one thing I did insist on them doing was inspecting the subframe. After I agreed to buy the car and put a deposit down, they agreed to check for cracks with the understanding that if any were found I would get my deposit back and not purchase the car. Luckily, no cracks were found, and we scheduled the pickup date for Saturday, May 12th, at 9:30am!

The wife and I left northern Virginia after work on Friday, and stayed at a hotel near the dealership that night. The next morning, we drove over to Flemington and after a bunch of paperwork, she was finally mine.

The wife and I after getting handed the keys:



The guy I'd been working with at Flemington had told me several times there had been a ton of interest in the car and they had a long list of names after mine on the list should the deal fall through. I kid you not, while we were standing in front of the building chatting, someone walked up and asked if the car was for sale. I'm sure my grin was a mile wide when I said, "No."

Driving the car home that day was pure joy.

In the driveway at her new home:

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Old Sun, Apr-29-2018, 10:07:58 PM   #3
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Default Re: wiry's 2005 Silver Gray M3 Coupe

I had black gills and grills, and smoked front corner lights waiting to be installed - and thus began my modding adventure. Strangely I can't find any pics from when I did this.

I had my go-to shop, Ferris Automotive in Winchester, do a bumper-to-bumper check to make sure things really were in good order. The only maintenance they recommended was new belts and an oil change, so I took care of that right away.

First DIY maintenance on the M3:



I sold the ZHP to a guy and his brother in Florida. They drove up and got it in July. On the last night I had the ZHP, I put it in the garage with the M3 - partially to make sure nothing happened to it before the sale the next day and partially hoping they'd make little BMW babies. Alas, the latter did not happen.

One last night together:



Later that year, I decided to look for an E30 325iX to have as a winter car. Winters in Virginia can mean surprise snows, and chemically-treated roads topped with salt and/or sand. At the time I was working about an hour away from my house, and I didn't want to risk the M3 getting caught in some nasty winter mess. After searching for a bit, I found a red, 4-dour, automatic sedan in Maryland. It wasn't the color I wanted, it wasn't the transmission I wanted, and it wasn't really the body I wanted, but it only had about 65k miles on it, had a great maintenance history and build journal (this was Stuart Moulton/smoulton0204's car, for those that know him), and was in great condition. After working out an agreement on price and what aftermarket stuff he would remove from the car, it ended up in my hands in mid-November, 2012.

I called it the sled:

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Old Sun, Apr-29-2018, 10:08:20 PM   #4
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Default Re: wiry's 2005 Silver Gray M3 Coupe

In early 2013 I developed a crack in the barrel of one of the original 19" wheels, and I couldn't find anybody in the area that would weld it. The refinishing process that the dealer had used altered the look/finish of the face of the wheels a little bit, and I was concerned about finding a replacement and getting it refinished to match. So I decided to switch things up and go with some CSL replicas. After some research I decided to try the Sportline CS16 reps that ModBargains carried at the time.

Got the Sportlines in April, 2013.
Before:



After:



Took the M3 and the iX for a photo shoot after having them both detailed:







Around that time I also had the transmission and SMG hydraulic fluid flushed and a new trans filter put in.
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Old Sun, Apr-29-2018, 10:08:43 PM   #5
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Default Re: wiry's 2005 Silver Gray M3 Coupe

In June, 2013, it was finally in the budget to get the subframe mounts reinforced. I took the car to RRT in Dulles, VA on June 10th and had them weld in their reinforcement plates, install new subframe bushings, updated BMW differential mount bolts, and new RTABs with limiters. When I picked it up on the 12th they confirmed that there were still no cracks anywhere. The car felt great afterwards.

In July, 2013, I ordered a Euro front bumper from getbmwparts.com. The one on the car had been curbed a couple times and it drove me crazy. I liked the reflector-less design of the Euro version and I could pick it up locally from Tischer BMW in Maryland where those guys are based out of. I also got a tow hook mount license plate holder, new fog lights to replace my cracked old ones, and new headlight lenses. To prevent future cracks and pitting, I put a Lamin-X film kit on the fogs, corners, and headlights. I also installed new Philips Xenon bulbs in the headlights.

Fresh new face:



I also got new carbon fiber shift paddles, as the original ones had a lot of deep scratches on the back which made shifting a bit uncomfortable.

The CF ones are also much longer which made shifting easier as an added bonus:

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Old Sun, Apr-29-2018, 10:09:03 PM   #6
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Default Re: wiry's 2005 Silver Gray M3 Coupe

At the end of August, 2013, the wife and I took the car to the Baltimore Grand Prix and joined in the BMW CCA Car Corral there. My buddy drove up with us in his Interlagos Blue Comp package M3. Although it was one of the hottest days I have ever experienced and there was a minor incident in the bleachers with some assholes from the Corvette club, it was also an incredibly fun time and I'm extremely glad we went.

In the car corral:



More pics from this event here: Flickr Album
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Old Sun, Apr-29-2018, 10:09:31 PM   #7
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Default Re: wiry's 2005 Silver Gray M3 Coupe

Shortly after the BGP, I installed studded aluminum pedals from bmwpedals.com (now pedalhaus.com). The original pedals were always way too slippery for me so I got something that grips a lot better.

And they look a lot better too:



I also got rid of the arm rest with a new center console:

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Old Sun, Apr-29-2018, 10:09:54 PM   #8
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Default Re: wiry's 2005 Silver Gray M3 Coupe

In February 2014, a forum member listed the suspension setup I wanted for sale on the forums for a great price, so I snatched it up and set it aside to install a few months later.

March 2014 brought about the culmination of a project that I'd been gathering parts for very slowly over many months. I finally had everything I needed to replace my front seats with Sparco Evos and delete the rear seats. I custom made the rear seat delete panels with the help of my wife using a 2" thick hard foam insulation panel from Lowes, some suede-like material I found at a fabric store, and a whole lot of fabric adhesive. The setup included a Sparco Evo driver's seat, a Sparco Evo 3 passenger seat, Sparco side mounts, sliders, and floor mounts, a Macht Schnell seat shim kit, an airbag sensor mat for the passenger seat, and the rear panels.

I did the install myself after a lot of research, and with a lot of elbow grease. Fitting the Evo 3 in was really tricky, as it is a *very* wide seat, but I wanted my passengers to be comfortable. While I had the rear seats out, I took out the rubber mat material from underneath where the rear bench sits, and I also removed the rear deck and refinished it with some black fabric spray-paint.

It was a super fun project and I was thrilled with the results. The original M seats were never supportive enough for me, even with the lumbar and side support adjustments. I was always bracing myself with my legs or arms around turns, and it was killing my back. The Sparcos solved all that, and made driving the M3 even more fun than it already was.

Because racecar:

















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Old Sun, Apr-29-2018, 10:10:18 PM   #9
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Default Re: wiry's 2005 Silver Gray M3 Coupe

I finally got around to installing the new suspension at the beginning of May, 2014. In addition to the Eibach Pros and Koni yellows, I got a new 30mm H&R front sway bar, Rogue Engineering rear shock mounts and reinforcement plates, and I removed the alignment pins at the top of the front for additional camber.

The new suspension setup was fantastic. The car was about an inch lower, a little stiffer, and the sway bar made it feel like it was on rails. I still love the way it handles.

Install:







(As I understood it, Koni Yellows don't come with dust boots and the seller had left whatever ones he was using on there when he shipped them to me. I couldn't figure out a way to attach the bottom down by the spring plate, so I just left them how they were with the mindset of "something better than nothing.")

All buttoned up, but still riding high as the suspension hadn't settled yet:

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Old Sun, Apr-29-2018, 10:10:38 PM   #10
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Default Re: wiry's 2005 Silver Gray M3 Coupe

Later that month, I got a CSL-style diffuser in 2x2 carbon fiber from Tekarbon. I had them paint it, as I'd read good things about peoples' results as far as color matching. Unfortunately, when it arrived, the color was not a good match at all. They did right by me and refunded the paint cost, and I took it to my local body shop and had them repaint it.

Before:



After:

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