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E46 M3 (2001-2006) Engine: S54 - Max Hp: 333 hp at 7,900 rpm / 262 lb/ft at 4,900 rpm
Total Produced: 45,000+ - Years Produced: 2001 to 2006.


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Old Tue, Sep-05-2017, 06:03:43 AM   #31
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Default Re: Bad paint/rust - touch up/respray panels or entire car?

Fix the rust spots. Halfassed spot repair painting is fine for a track car. You'd be nuts to put lots of money into paint for that.
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Old Sun, Dec-02-2018, 01:42:53 AM   #32
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Default Re: Bad paint/rust - touch up/respray panels or entire car?

If the rust is surface, maybe repairs aren't too bad, but down to metal there. IF it it "through rust", cut it out and silver solder in metal is old school way to not use foreign patch material, but would need to cut out a square and put something in regardless, so more money.
I wonder if the whole car wasn't resprayed with improper prep, and other panel will have paint failure over time as well. A good shop could tell you measuring thickness, etc. i think it's $5k min to fix rust and spray the car. BUT, what's an alternative cost?
For me, to replace the E46m3 would be over 2x what it's worth to even move my needle on what I like. And none of them will give me 2x the enjoyment. So if I get a new one it will be for comfort, or dare I be honest, status, or whatever; no way I'll enjoy it 2x the E46! So 5-8k in paint starts to look pretty reasonable.
FWIW, my paint is in great shape compared to yours - and zero rust. But I'll likely still spend this much on paint next year to get it better than new. Because there may be other cars in my future, maybe even something like an M2C, but for me, THIS is the car.

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Old Sun, Dec-02-2018, 01:51:12 AM   #33
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Default Re: Bad paint/rust - touch up/respray panels or entire car?

It's been said before and I know you don't want to hear it. This car is not worth paying someone else to fix. For sure if you DIY its ok but as soon as you start sinking thousands of dollars into having someone else repair the body work that money is gone. At the current age and mileage if you are in an accident whether its your fault or not the car will most likely be totaled (rust or no rust) Then there's ever increasing chance of major mechanical failure that could be the end for this car. Just drive it. Then on the weekends get yourself some bondo and sandpaper at Autozone and have a wack at it.
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Old Sun, Dec-02-2018, 03:57:06 AM   #34
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Default Re: Bad paint/rust - touch up/respray panels or entire car?

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Originally Posted by SocratesRising View Post
Maybe attack all the rust and wrap it?

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+1 for wrapping. It would cost you $500 and a weekend. If it’s a track car it doesn’t need to be perfect.
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Old Sun, Dec-02-2018, 04:59:07 AM   #35
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Default Re: Bad paint/rust - touch up/respray panels or entire car?

Fixing all of that would be about the worst financial decision you could make, especially as a student who's just starting a career. It's at least 10k of work to strip the whole car (because you know there's cancer you can't see), fix the rust and repaint it. And at the end of all that you have a 15 year old car with 170k miles on it that's still street driven. Have some senile old man not see your brake lights and enjoy watching insurance cut you a 5k dollar payout.

Take your money, save it, let the car die. When it does, transfer your parts to a cleaner M3 that you can buy with the money you saved and invested.

Continuing to spend money on this is a classic case of good money after bad.
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Old Sun, Dec-02-2018, 06:22:49 AM   #36
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Default Re: Bad paint/rust - touch up/respray panels or entire car?

15 month old thread got a bump, what made you reply today Red?
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Old Sun, Dec-02-2018, 01:47:55 PM   #37
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Default Re: Bad paint/rust - touch up/respray panels or entire car?

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15 month old thread got a bump, what made you reply today Red?
LOL I didn't catch that.
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Old Sun, Dec-02-2018, 03:31:08 PM   #38
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Default Re: Bad paint/rust - touch up/respray panels or entire car?

The suspense is killing me. BTB, what did you end up doing?
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Old Sun, Dec-02-2018, 03:44:03 PM   #39
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Default Re: Bad paint/rust - touch up/respray panels or entire car?

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Originally Posted by SocratesRising View Post
15 month old thread got a bump, what made you reply today Red?
old thread, but a dilemma many of us face. the car hasn't really yet started going up significantly in value, but they're aging to the point where body and paint work are desired. i know i'm in the same boat with a few door dings, rock chips on the front end and fenders, and hopefully adding a CSL boot and all of a sudden you might as well just spray the whole damn car.

i'm resigned to doing it, but i have every expectation that it'll end up costing nearly $10k by the time i'm done with the CSL boot, carbon roof, euro bumper, trim bits, and a proper respray. it probably makes more economic sense to just sell it to somebody that's just going to track/race it and start over with a nicer example. but this car is pretty dang close to the exact spec i want (sunroof being the only desired change), and i have a bit of an attachment and story with THIS car.

not to mention starting over really might save you a few grand, but i don't care about that because it will cost me far more in TIME to go back and sort the things i've already done to THIS car. i know the things that have been addressed on this car have been done properly because I did them.

say you sell your car for $10-$12k, and buy one in nicer shape for $18-$22k that doesn't have the paintwork issues that your does, but might have other problems. You avoided a huge bodyshop bill but have you really saved yourself anything? I know it's painful to stroke that check, but really I don't think the economics of it are as much in your favor as you might think.

I'd say if you're going to keep and just track this car, then fix the rust, do the prep work yourself, and take it to a shop for a $3k paintjob. if you're going to keep it and drive it on the street for another 10 years...strip it and do it properly.
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Old Sun, Dec-02-2018, 04:45:42 PM   #40
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Default Bad paint/rust - touch up/respray panels or entire car?

LOL I posted here but quickly deleted it because I'm an indecisive sod and thought it wasn't really worth the bother. Anyway, for those that are curious I haven't done anything yet, but the rust above my left tail is getting bad:





I think I should get it fixed and hold off on the rest cuz they're all at different corners of the car, no advantage of doing them at the same time. Again, the car was essentially gifted to me so I just can't bear to sell it. Say it would be worth it for me to buy at $12k (I know its old but its fairly well set up), I've put probably $6k in it myself (rest was daddy funded). That leaves some room for me to throw money at it and still feel like it's not a waste. I plan to daily it for ~2 more years and thereafter it'll transition to beater track rat. I don't mind a beater car that isn't cosmetically perfect (not really looking to pick up a clean e46 soon, aiming at 997 C2S down the road).

I'm moving to Anaheim, CA this January so I'll take it to some body shops then. Two other areas where rust is slowly appearing, haven't grown in a while though:

Driver side skirt



Below gas cap



Well see what I'm quoted but there's only the one bad spot above the tail at the moment. At least it'll be dry in California
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Discussing Bad paint/rust - touch up/respray panels or entire car? in the E46 M3 (2001-2006) Forum - Engine: S54 - Max Hp: 333 hp at 7,900 rpm / 262 lb/ft at 4,900 rpm
Total Produced: 45,000+ - Years Produced: 2001 to 2006. at BMW M3 Forum.com (E30 M3 | E36 M3 | E46 M3 | E92 M3 | F80/X)