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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 Wed, Sep-24-2014, 04:16:07 AM   #1
lmattiso
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Thumbs up 2003 Convertible makeover

Wanted to share a little about my 2003 Vert I picked up in Jan. I had been casually looking for a while and around Jan I picked up a 2003 Vert for a great price (<$14k) especially in the Bay Area. Took it in to get a PPI and it came back with a couple small issues (small oil leak, RTAB needing replaced, supposedly subframe was checked and ok). There were alot of small cosmetic issues too that I think scared buyers away. It came with the dirty gray on gray and being a convertible, it had gathered extra grime over the years. The plastic pieces had the usual rubber coating scratched and flaking off, the steering wheel was worn down, it was missing floor mats, small hole in the wings of the interior lining, radio power button broken, shift knob worn etc. The driver's seat was worn through to the metal and the passenger was extremely cracked and worn also.

I knew I should tackle a valve adjustment and VANOS inspection first but I couldn't wait to fix most of the worn interior. I ended up picking up some black floor mats and doors from a couple locals then switched to a gray/black interior. The next step was to recover the front seats and paint or swap their trim with black. Before I could complete the seats, I found a great deal on a cinnamon interior. The cinnamon had worse wear than my original gray seats but I cleaned up the doors and rear seats then took off the front seat covers and visited a couple shops for quotes on new ones. Found out that they really weren't repairable and it would be over $1k to get new ones which were out of my budget. After hunting around on eBay, I found a seller that had listed some coupe seat covers but was no longer a member. We emailed back and forth and I ended up sending him my busted cinnamon front seat covers to use as templates for new ones ($299, couldn't pass up the chance even if it was a scam). A couple weeks ago, I got them back and installed the covers plus a new black dash, new black carpet, removed all the flaking rubber coating off the plastic pieces, installed new shift knob, new emergency brake leather, new euro mirror glass, new led tail lights, new led center light and some other minor cosmetic stuff.

I'm pretty happy with the interior, I know there's some wrinkling on the new covers but I believe that it will shrink a bit as the leather heats up and drys out. If anyone is interested in the place that I sent my covers to, let me know (not sure of the policy on listing shops here). The burned orange leather they had matched my cinnamon really well. I can see some difference but some of that could be attributed to the age of the leather. I may take apart my gray rear covers and send those in so that they'll have a template for that as well.

Right after shift knob replaced


Here's new center console and recovered the armrest


I liked the black and gray, just needed to recover front seats and get black seat trim


Got sidetracked by finding a cinnamon interior, fronts much worse than they look in the pics though


Tore apart interior, replaced everything gray


Carpet was filthy, old coffee stains from previous owner


Final product, only a couple weeks in so hopefully the creases will iron out a bit





Last edited by lmattiso; Wed, Sep-24-2014 at 04:22:02 AM. Reason: Wanted to add picture of entire car
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Old Wed, Sep-24-2014, 06:21:41 AM   #2
Lyudmil
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Default Re: 2003 Convertible makeover

Wow, definitely a huge upgrade. Looks much better than the grey interior.
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Old Wed, Sep-24-2014, 06:47:43 AM   #3
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Default Re: 2003 Convertible makeover

Put the top up, close all the windows and put the heater to full blast for a couple hours. It will help tremendously
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Old Wed, Sep-24-2014, 01:01:20 PM   #4
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Default Re: 2003 Convertible makeover

Thanks, I may try that. I was to tempted to use my heatgun but I didn't want to overheat the leather. I used it to fix my faded seat belt holders but one of them got a little too hot and now it's harder to fasten them.
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Old Wed, Sep-24-2014, 01:32:51 PM   #5
Steve M3
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Default Re: 2003 Convertible makeover

Nice job saving this one!

You can use a steamer to help with the seats, or do as mentioned above.
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Old Wed, Sep-24-2014, 02:19:56 PM   #6
infinkc
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Default Re: 2003 Convertible makeover

Wow looks good, im in the process or replacing all my worn gray from my vert also. now i have more inspiration to get the job done.
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Old Wed, Sep-24-2014, 02:30:29 PM   #7
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Default Re: 2003 Convertible makeover

nice save, but I have to be honest, the fitment of those covers is terrible imo (particularly the headrests). Like mentioned above try heating the leather to see if it can shrink any better. That won't shrink on its own.
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Old Wed, Sep-24-2014, 02:42:33 PM   #8
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Default Re: 2003 Convertible makeover

The headrests do have more slack than I want, I have a feeling they won't ever be as tight as the stock rests were. I may take the seatbacks off and redo some of the hog rings in the passenger seat too. For a diy job and for the price I'm really happy with them, the pictures actually make the wrinkling look much worse than in person. I did the same replacement on my old Prelude and the sears were wrinkled worse than these but over time they shrank up.
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Old Wed, Sep-24-2014, 04:11:32 PM   #9
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Default Re: 2003 Convertible makeover

Nice save indeed. Nothing like driving a vert m3 in Cali
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Old Wed, Sep-24-2014, 05:20:07 PM   #10
Steve M3
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Default Re: 2003 Convertible makeover

You could give this a try as well if you don't have access to a steamer. Can't say I'm a huge fan of WCC, but there are some pretty good tips in this video.

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Discussing Front tire rubbing lower spring pad 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)