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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 Mon, Apr-08-2019, 07:13:58 AM   #1
umichchris
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Default Project Imoly | E46 M3 | Ultimate Weekend Cruiser

The E46 M3 was my computer screen wallpaper my entire first two years in college and it was always on my must-own list of cars. Over the years, especially after moving from the Midwest to SoCal the vert was the only way to go in my eyes. If I didn’t already own an E60 M5, more than likely I would have bought a coupe.

That being said, the M5 is the big fast loud cruiser, a buddy and I are building out a E36 track car, my daily driver is Range Rover Sport Supercharged and that leaves one spot open for a weekend convertible cruiser and canyon carver. The entire purpose of this build project is to improve the aesthetics and canyon driving enjoyment of the car.

Some parts of this build traditional people will love….some parts of this thread traditional people WILL HATE….you’ve been warned.

Before we jump in, here’s my past E36 M3 Sedan (manual) which served as a killer daily driver for a few years before a company car took her place.

Returned back to stock before i sold her...
[IMG][/IMG]

Lowered on BBS Style 5s
[IMG][/IMG]


Style 5s that i refinished in my garage - pay someone...it takes too long lol
[IMG][/IMG]

My E60 M5 is a money pit but I love her to pieces. I’m the second owner and have owned it since 2011.









(the M5 is wrapped gloss red now btw)



Finally, here’s my E46 M3. I purchased it in October 2017 with 95k miles on it. Original ad below…and they didn’t budge a dollar on the asking price lol



The very first drive of ownership...straight to the gas station.






Last edited by umichchris; Wed, May-08-2019 at 08:02:20 AM.
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Old Mon, Apr-08-2019, 07:31:18 AM   #2
umichchris
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Default Re: Project Imoly | E46 M3 Vert | Ultimate Weekend Cruiser Build

Here's a link to my sales tracker thread contribution where i listed out all the details of the purchase. But in summation, the car came with the following:

- BBS RGR - in need of a refinish
- OEM 18" wheels and tires
- KW V3 Coilovers + OEM suspension
- Rogue Engineering El Diablo w/ Titanium Tips + OEM exhaust
- Vorsteiner Carbon Fiber Hood
- Vorsteiner Carbon Fiber diffusor
- AC Schnitzer strut tower brace
- NO MAINTENANCE RECEIPTS

My first order of business was a deep clean and get started on vehicle maintenance given that i wasn't truly aware of how well she had been taken care of...

Oil change, Oil Filter and the Oil Temp Sensor wasn't working so i ordered a replacement on that as well...







Next up, it was time for new belts - these were pretty shot. I also could hear some squeaking and potentially some play from the pulleys, so I swapped those too...









Last edited by umichchris; Mon, Apr-08-2019 at 07:44:06 AM.
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Old Mon, Apr-08-2019, 09:44:29 PM   #3
umichchris
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Default Re: Project Imoly | E46 M3 | Ultimate Weekend Cruiser

After some initial maintenance, i began the lengthy process of cleaning up the interior. I could tell that at some point the previous owner really loved and cared for this car....but in recent years, there care and attention just wasn't there.

All of the surfaces in the interior needed a DEEP clean. there was a lot of surface dirt and wear. the seats were in good condition (no rips, no tears) but really needed some conditioning. overall, i could tell the entire interior needed a full revamp...so we started with a deep steam clean....including taking the seats out so we could get every inch of the carpets.










Deep clean on the steering wheel too...


Last edited by umichchris; Thu, Apr-18-2019 at 07:54:59 PM.
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Old Mon, Apr-08-2019, 11:44:40 PM   #4
umichchris
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Default Re: Project Imoly | E46 M3 Vert | Ultimate Weekend Cruiser Build

Pulled the seats out once more...this time for a deep recondition of the leather.

I used a product that ive relied upon for years. Leatherique is great for cleaning and restoring leather. the trick is having the time and patience for multiple coats and allowing the leather time to absorb the oils.

the front seats and rear seats got about 4 coats over the course of roughly 10 days.

once it was all complete, the leather was soft, supple...felt like new!









Last edited by umichchris; Wed, Jul-03-2019 at 07:28:52 AM.
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Old Tue, Apr-09-2019, 06:14:34 AM   #5
umichchris
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Default Re: Project Imoly | E46 M3 Vert | Ultimate Weekend Cruiser Build

Next up, the interior trim was pretty nasty after 16 years of use & abuse. nearly all the surface areas were cracking and peeling. the center console was sticky and scratched. rather than invest hundreds and hundreds of dollars in brand new OEM parts or carbon fiber parts, i decided to refinish each & every piece in careful detail.

Center console was refinished in satin black. The door and dash items were refinished in high-gloss black.

Each piece was sanded down to the bare plastic, primed, base coat and top coat. i also did a wet sand and buff on the gloss pieces to ensure there was no orange peel texture before reassembly.





























Last edited by umichchris; Tue, Apr-09-2019 at 06:24:32 AM.
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Old Tue, Apr-09-2019, 06:28:45 AM   #6
umichchris
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Default Re: Project Imoly | E46 M3 Vert | Ultimate Weekend Cruiser Build

Here it is after the first pass of reassembly. Center console looks BRAND NEW NOW!



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Old Tue, Apr-09-2019, 06:53:55 AM   #7
umichchris
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Default Re: Project Imoly | E46 M3 Vert | Ultimate Weekend Cruiser Build

Next up...it was time to address that steering wheel.

the leather was worn really smooth. the threads even after a deep clean still weren't too bright & vibrant. the lower trim was pretty gnarly and in need of replacement.

the airbag was the original (seemingly) from day 1 and the center section was depressed and dull.

the only piece that was really good were the solid aluminum aftermarket paddle shifters. however, they were pretty loose and felt wobbly so i knew they needed some adjustment as well.

first order of business was that lower trim. i decided to sand it smooth and repaint it satin black.

however, once complete, the satin paint really didnt seem even and smooth enough for me....definitely not something good enough to sit right in my face all day while driving.

plan B....satin black vinyl wrap to the rescue for a nice even & smooth, durable finish.

(not pictured, i also took the upper portion of the wheel completely apart, removed all the button assemblies and wrapped the upper portion satin black as well. this ensured that all the surface areas of the wheel espcially the portions near the buttons would be the same unified finish)

















went to the dealer and had both airbags replaced under the BMW recall, so now the center of the wheel looked brand new too!


Last edited by umichchris; Tue, Apr-09-2019 at 07:00:57 AM.
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Old Tue, Apr-09-2019, 07:12:08 AM   #8
umichchris
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Default Re: Project Imoly | E46 M3 Vert | Ultimate Weekend Cruiser Build

a few steps in the right direction, but i still wasn't happy with the feel of the leather wheel...even after extensive cleaning.


my two choices were OEM replacement/new leather....or go step it up to alcantara w/ a pop of color....i went with the latter and i love it!








one additional small update was for the +/- in the aluminum paddle shifters...i couldn't help myself and wanted just a little color tie-in to the yellow stripe. plus, the yellow accent matches much better in my opinion.

(no worries, the yellow accents will make more sense later in the build progression)








All the pieces tied together now. looks like its all 100% new!

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Old Tue, Apr-09-2019, 07:24:03 AM   #9
umichchris
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Default Re: Project Imoly | E46 M3 Vert | Ultimate Weekend Cruiser Build

...one last tweak on the wheel. i decided to swap the paddles over to carbon fiber when i came across a used set for only $40...i literally couldn't pass that up. but im keeping the aluminum ones in the event i change my mind later.






took the time to carefully cut out some overlay +/- icons out of yellow vinyl to match the center stripe and carry the theme...








fully installed now...looking good!




zero f**ks given, i got some nice driving gloves to match my accent color...

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Old Tue, Apr-09-2019, 04:06:41 PM   #10
Dave B
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Default Re: Project Imoly | E46 M3 Vert | Ultimate Weekend Cruiser Build

One thing I've noticed as a vert owner is that alcantara for the steering wheel was a terrible idea. With your attention to detail and patience for interior work though I imagine that will not be nearly as much of an issue. But be prepared to have to clean that thing often. It gets FILTHY from even short bursts of time with the top down. (As does the Tonneau cover. I've actually had decent success cleaning that with the Leatherique Prestine Clean though without a ton of effort... I'm sure better products exist though.)

For the leatherique - It's the conditioner that you used 4x over 10 days, right? How hard/stiff would you say the leather was before? Did it really soften up a ton? I've gotten good results with a single application before, but after having felt the brand new leather in some of the Cobra seats from the GB recently, I'm no longer satisfied. I want softer/newer feeling...

If you're able to paint the center console in a way that looks like the OE soft touch finish but is more durable than that... you could probably sell those by the hundreds. I know I'd be first in line. I replace those parts often, as a wear item, and while it's not that expensive, it does add up when you have 4 E46s. Plus the convertible is tougher to do since it requires cutting in back.

Great work. You got a pretty good deal on that car with the wheels and all, and it will be very interesting to see where you go with it. At first I thought the yellow was cringe worthy, but there's actually a copue for sale down here that's Imola with some yellow stripe accents and brake calipers and it actually comes together pretty well (aside from some other poor taste mods also done to it).
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Discussing Project Imoly | E46 M3 Vert | Ultimate Weekend Cruiser Build in the Member Journals Forum - 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. at BMW M3 Forum.com (E30 M3 | E36 M3 | E46 M3 | E92 M3 | F80/X)