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Old Wed, Oct-14-2009, 10:59:19 PM   #1
Stone-man
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Default E46 performance on a budget (AKA bang for the buck)

Hey there fellow enthusiasts,

I'm a recent addict who'd like a little more from my new toy (2006 'vert SMG).
Is there some kind of reference where I can find out which mods give the best return on investment and relative DIY-ability? Additionally, which mods would void an extended BMW warranty and what can you do and maintain it. If this already exists on this forum, please point me at it.

BTW, loved the post from another part of the forum. Something like "Learning to drive the M3 properly is the best performance mod you can get."

We could possibly arrange it by Engine/suspension/brakes/tire and wheel combos, etc.

ie: Best working exhaust system vs price (maybe add links to good deals).

Again, if all this has been done previously, pardon the "noob-i-ness" of this post, and just point me in the right direction.

Thanks in advance
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Old Thu, Oct-15-2009, 01:57:50 AM   #2
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Just search for it, basically it is what ever you can afford.
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Old Thu, Oct-15-2009, 02:09:37 AM   #3
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Best Bang 4 the Buck performance wise are 4.10 gears.
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Old Thu, Oct-15-2009, 03:48:16 AM   #4
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save some money and gain some power:

Intake:
-a high performance filter
-intake scoop which eurodyne sells
-manifold elbow sold by bimmerworld (or if you can find the gc gizmo)
price is around $200 at that point you could spend another $100-$200 and get a K&n intake or AFE. The stock e46 m3 airbox is quite good though and very little horsepower is gained from it.

Exhaust
Ebay headers go for around $200 they seem to be quite good a lot of the forum members have gone with them, personally i wouldn't just because they are from ebay. Headers give this car a pretty good power increase. You could keep your midpipes stock if your on budget same with the back exhaust section, although the car will be very load and raspy. There is minimal power gain from the rest of the exhaust if it is upgraded.

ECU reflash (chip)
if you get headers you must get a chip, popular cheap ones seem to be shark injector for around $300, its dyi no sending out your ecu.

Drivetrain:
4:10 gears are the way to go. This may wind up costing you around $1000-$1500 if you buy gears and have them installed by a shop. Also, short shifters are great they really change the feel of the shifting with the e46. Also a tranny fluid and diff swap to something like red line or royal purple makes shifting smoother.

Engine:
not sure if they provide more horsepower but you can upgrade the spark plugs (i personally wouldn't) but it seems to be popular across the forum. Pullies give you some power (not much).

Brakes:
stainless steel brake lines
the rest of the brake setup is quite good if you have life left in them. You could upgrade the pads, wouldn't replace rotors until they are due.

Suspension:
front strut bars are great for verts, i think verts came with them
sway bars by hotchkis, h&r, eibach, gc, tcklein, and uuc all have great reviews.
Coilovers are the best upgrade although they tend to be $1000 and up new
Also upgraded rtabs with the tms kit improve handling need a special tool to remove them and u need an alignment afterwards.

Wheels:
Wheels are on the expensive size, when people get wheels its either to a.)look good or b.) get lightweight wheels to loose unsprung weight. PS2's are the best tires for this car and any other sports car bar none!

Hope i helped everything is pretty much diy except the gears. good luck, sorry had no time for links.
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Old Thu, Oct-15-2009, 03:48:46 AM   #5
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check out m3madrussian.org you will find all your answers
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Old Fri, Oct-16-2009, 12:17:27 AM   #6
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Thanks for the help! BTW, your link doesn't work (typo maybe?).
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Old Fri, Oct-16-2009, 12:41:03 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stone-man View Post
Thanks for the help! BTW, your link doesn't work (typo maybe?).
He meant http://m3.madrussian.net/
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Old Wed, Feb-09-2011, 02:28:06 PM   #8
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Default Re: E46 performance on a budget (AKA bang for the buck)

Could always go the Euro header/mids route.
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Old Fri, Feb-11-2011, 02:57:47 AM   #9
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Default Re: E46 performance on a budget (AKA bang for the buck)

Headers are the best bang for the buck, some good tires will make a difference (I recommend the Dunlop star specs) although they won't work well once it gets below 40F
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Old Fri, Feb-18-2011, 06:48:45 PM   #10
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Default Re: E46 performance on a budget (AKA bang for the buck)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Stone-man View Post
I'm a recent addict who'd like a little more from my new toy (2006 'vert SMG). Is there some kind of reference where I can find out which mods give the best return on investment and relative DIY-ability? Additionally, which mods would void an extended BMW warranty and what can you do and maintain it.
I've pretty much modded everything you can mod. My Vert will now be close to 1,000 HP.

There are not many mods you can do that won't potentially void your warranty if that is a concern. With that said, here are my reccomendations.

1. Drivers training. You will get more from this alone than anything else.

2. A good coil over kit, you can get better handling and better stance. I personally chose the tried and true Bilstien PSS10's.

3. Some BMW motorsports 4:10's would make the car feel more peppy. I would stay away from headers, it sounds to me like you wouldn't like the cons that come with owning them.

4. For engine performance, hands down a supercharger kit. Best bang for the buck you are going to find.

5. My favorite mod hands down for a vert?.. a BMW wind deflector.

Lastly.. engine mods such as intake, exhaust etc.. are really just a waste of money. You'll spend several thousand dollars and if your lucky get 10HP out of it. For just a little more money you can have 100+ HP with a Supercharger kit. If warranty is an issue, then use Dinan products as they are recognized at many BMW dealers.

However.. last but not least.. there are NO mods you can do that will have a ROI for you. BMW's are expensive cars to mod. Any mods you put into them will not provide you a return and may even lower the value of the car.
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