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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 Sun, Dec-04-2011, 05:42:03 PM   #1
bimmerfan08
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Default Gutting stock E46 M3 muffler discussion/compilation thread and my DIY

See the bottom of this post for the gutting of my stock e46 M3 muffler.

I know there has been a few discussions before, but it still seems to remain a mystery of what a stock M3 muffler gutted looks and sounds like. Has anyone who has first hand knowledge/experience done this like the posters below? I have the stock muffler sitting in my shed and have considered doing this baffle delete not primarily for weight because most of the weight is from the shell itself, but for the sound. I enjoy the stock muffler sound but it seems a bit quiet for my tastes. I know paired with headers, the sound opens up a little bit more, but the stock muffler is greatly quieted from the factory. I know there will be probably be alot of "whats the point" in this thread, but I created it soley for discussion for those that are interested and like me, like to tinker with spare parts.

The E46 M3 exhaust system explained in detail:

http://www.m3resource.com/downloads/...ust_System.pdf

See bottom of fourth page for the notes regarding the process of gutting my stock muffler.

Edit: For those interested, the first E46F link contains pictures of a cut open muffler. Start from page 4 and read on

Some links below:

http://www.e46fanatics.com/forum/sho...d.php?t=457451

http://www.m3forum.net/m3forum/showthread.php?t=306860

http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthread.php?t=652801

http://m3forum.net/m3forum/showthread.php?t=321959

http://m3forum.net/m3forum/showthread.php?t=285888


Some of the few videos below:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature...&v=1xFzysbKarE

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature...&v=YfbZe0ATfbs


Links to other muffler dissections on a Z06 and E90 M3:

http://www.m3post.com/forums/showthread.php?t=320052

http://members.cox.net/frank.patry/vette/z06muffmod.pdf


My muffler gutting project explained below in detail:

I have labeled the chambers 1-5 starting from the muffler inlet pips and working down and across the muffler. I began cutting at chamber 5 though. Work on this project in a well ventilated area as the fiberglass particles are fine and removing them releases a black, ashy dust. The thickness of the outer steel shell is 1.50mm thick.

My theory for sound and gas flow is that exhaust gases enter chamber 1 and expand to fill chambers 1 and 2 through the perforated piping producing the metallic sound. The exhaust gases are then carried through the two full closed steel pipes located in chamber 3 and then expand again and fill the cavity of chamber 4. The exhaust gases then exit near the bottom of this chamber out the four pipes near the bottom. Im guessing a small percentage of the sound is produced in chambers 3 and 5 since the outermost muffler outlet pipes are perforated. From here, the exhaust gases exit through the muffler outlet pipes in chambers 3 and 5 and out through the muffler tips. Its hard to pinpoint where exactly the sound occurs but the exhaust gas flow is easy to trace.

The chambers are labeled in blue and the exhaust gas flow is the green arrows.



Tools used for this project. Remember safety first. Gloves and safety glasses are a must when cutting anything.



Stock muffler before gutting on wooden pallet.



Drilling a pilot hole to probe around and see what can be cut.



Intial cut has been made and probing around the inside.





First strands of fiberglass are pulled.



Marking out the rest of section 5 for cutting. This is chamber 5 as I call it.





I decided to cut between the 2 indentations as seen below so that each plate was 3 in length total.



Last cut has been made for section 5 and the steel plate is removed.



A closer look at the fiberglass baffling. Notice the perforated plastic sheet. This surrounded and contained the fiberglass on the inside so as to keep it tightly packed.



The amount of fiberglass baffling from chamber 5.



The inside of chamber 5. The perforated pipe goes to the outermost exhaust tip and the closed pipe leads to the inner exhaust tip.





The steel plate that separates chambers 4 and 5. This is used for the shell bodys support as well. The welds for this plate are noticeable on the outside shell.



I didnt cut open chamber 4 but this what the inside looks like. I pulled this picture from another thread. This view is from the bottom of the muffler (I did all my cutting from the top as there was more cavity space to cut from this orientation). The two solid pipes to the right lead to chamber 5 and the two solid pipes on the left lead to chamber 3. The two perforated pipes up top on the left are the same two solid pipes that run through chamber 3 across the top.



Marking out the cutting section for chamber 3. Remember, to the right of this chamber is a small hollow chamber with no fiberglass that I noted as chamber 5.



Again, probing around the inside of chamber 3 to get a feel for where any piping/supports may be and whether or not fiberglass is present.





Opening chamber 3 up and removing the fiberglass baffling.





First sight of chamber 3 is 2 full closed steel pipes about 1" down from the top of the muffler running logitudinal.



Here you can see the steel plate that separates chamber 3 and 4.



Here you can see the other exhaust outlet pipes that exit to the exhaust tips closest to the driver side. Again the outermost pipe is perforated while the inner pipe is closed.






Aerial view of work completed so far and the 2 chambers I cut open. Between the two chambers as noted above, is another small sealed off chamber.



Fiberglass removed from chambers 3 and 5.



Sectioning off chamber 2 for cutting. Notice the weld marks on top of the muffler, you do not want to cut through these as the steel plates sit directly below the weld marks. Cut in between the welds and section off the chambers for gutting.



Making cuts into chamber 2. Dont cut too deep, the steel exhaust pipes sit about 1.5-2" down below.



Cleaning out the fiberglass baffling from chamber 2.



The inside of chamber 2 shows 2 perforated curved pipes. From what I observed regarding volume of space, this chamber was the largest.



The steel plate separating chambers 2 and 3. The perforated pipes here turn into the 2 full closed pipes in chamber 3.



This is the last steel plate that separates chambers 1 and 2. Its perforated just like the steel pipes running through it. Chambers 1 and 2 technically could be one large chamber because of this perforated steel plate.



Here I have taped off the locations of the vertical steel plates inside the shell that separate each chamber. There are 4 internal plates total. The plate closest to the muffler inlet pipes (top left) is perforated, the rest are solid steel plates. Remember that these tape lines represent the visible weld marks on the outside of the muffler.





The total fiberglass baffling from chambers 2,3, and 5.



Sectioning off chamber 1 for cutting. This is the smallest chamber and located near the muffler inlet pipes.



Chamber 1 cut open and the first sight of the fiberglass baffling.



Pulling out the strands of fiberglass. This stuff is packed tightly. Use a pick or pliers to reach in between piping for hard-to-reach fiberglass.



The inside of chamber 1 yields two perforated identical pipes.



The perforated steel plate that separates chamber 1 and 2.





Total fiberglass baffling removed just about filled a large kitchen trashbag.



Aerial views of all chambers cut and fiberglass removed.









A better view of the bent piping in chamber 2 running into chamber 3.



After several weighings for the muffler with one exhuast hanger, the average was what you see here (yes the removed plating was stuffed back inside the muffler before weighing): 45.4 lbs



The total weight for the fiberglass baffling removed, minus the trashbag weight is probably around 8.1 lbs



This is what the separated fiberglass baffling and empty muffler look like together.

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But what I see daily are typical German car colors; blacks, silvers, grays and whites. They look nice, I agree, but to me the appeal is what the M cars were in the 1980s an event. Its not so much that I want to be noticed, but more that I want to stand apart from the crowd. And to me, Phoenix Yellow and Laguna Seca Blue are two of the best ways to differentiate your M3 experience from the norm.

Last edited by bimmerfan08; Mon, Jan-16-2012 at 04:41:44 PM.
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Old Sun, Dec-04-2011, 07:06:15 PM   #2
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Default Re: Gutting stock E46 M3 muffler discussion/compilation thread

the increased sound is nice, but i wish there was a way to lighten the muffler also, being that its so heavy and its one of the nice things about the aftermarket ones. maybe weld back in thin sheet metal instead of the shell where you open it up? shouldnt make much of a difference in the strength of it as long as its just some areas

also i just saw a thread the other day where someone connected the pipes inside the muffler, i cant find it or remember if it was here or on e46f
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Last edited by opey; Sun, Dec-04-2011 at 07:20:41 PM.
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Old Sun, Dec-04-2011, 07:44:20 PM   #3
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Default Re: Gutting stock E46 M3 muffler discussion/compilation thread

Wow, very cool. Thanks OP for putting all those links together! I would be interested to see how it sounds catless.

I've heard of people claiming that if you spray water into the exhaust tips it breaks down that crap they pack in there and helps deepen the sound.. but then after just reading about the guy who took all of the stuff out by hand and heard no difference, I'm guessing it was more of a placebo effect for the others.
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Old Sun, Dec-04-2011, 09:04:12 PM   #4
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Default Re: Gutting stock E46 M3 muffler discussion/compilation thread

Quote:
Originally Posted by ///Marini View Post
Wow, very cool. Thanks OP for putting all those links together! I would be interested to see how it sounds catless.

I've heard of people claiming that if you spray water into the exhaust tips it breaks down that crap they pack in there and helps deepen the sound.. but then after just reading about the guy who took all of the stuff out by hand and heard no difference, I'm guessing it was more of a placebo effect for the others.
Listen to the videos, it does in fact get a little louder. The problem I believe is that shell. Its heavy and thick, and I believe is the source of minuting most of the sound.
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But what I see daily are typical German car colors; blacks, silvers, grays and whites. They look nice, I agree, but to me the appeal is what the M cars were in the 1980s an event. Its not so much that I want to be noticed, but more that I want to stand apart from the crowd. And to me, Phoenix Yellow and Laguna Seca Blue are two of the best ways to differentiate your M3 experience from the norm.
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Old Sun, Dec-04-2011, 09:11:09 PM   #5
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Default Re: Gutting stock E46 M3 muffler discussion/compilation thread

Quote:
Originally Posted by bimmerfan08 View Post
Listen to the videos, it does in fact get a little louder. The problem I believe is that shell. Its heavy and thick, and I believe is the source of minuting most of the sound.
Oh, I was just going off of what this guy said about taking the packing out:

http://www.e46fanatics.com/forum/sho...6&postcount=76

Maybe the key is the packing near the inlet?

http://www.e46fanatics.com/forum/sho...3&postcount=80
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Old Sun, Dec-04-2011, 09:24:55 PM   #6
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Default Re: Gutting stock E46 M3 muffler discussion/compilation thread

Quote:
Originally Posted by ///Marini View Post
Oh, I was just going off of what this guy said about taking the packing out:

http://www.e46fanatics.com/forum/sho...6&postcount=76

Maybe the key is the packing near the inlet?

http://www.e46fanatics.com/forum/sho...3&postcount=80
Im hoping this thread will spark more interest as I want to dissect mine over my college winter break and have my friend weld it back up for me. We shall see.
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But what I see daily are typical German car colors; blacks, silvers, grays and whites. They look nice, I agree, but to me the appeal is what the M cars were in the 1980s an event. Its not so much that I want to be noticed, but more that I want to stand apart from the crowd. And to me, Phoenix Yellow and Laguna Seca Blue are two of the best ways to differentiate your M3 experience from the norm.
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Old Tue, Dec-06-2011, 01:10:28 AM   #7
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Default Re: Gutting stock E46 M3 muffler discussion/compilation thread

bump for more discussion
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But what I see daily are typical German car colors; blacks, silvers, grays and whites. They look nice, I agree, but to me the appeal is what the M cars were in the 1980s an event. Its not so much that I want to be noticed, but more that I want to stand apart from the crowd. And to me, Phoenix Yellow and Laguna Seca Blue are two of the best ways to differentiate your M3 experience from the norm.
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Old Tue, Dec-06-2011, 02:45:36 AM   #8
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Default Re: Gutting stock E46 M3 muffler discussion/compilation thread

Bump again, great thread. Thanks for letting me and others know back on e46f. I will definitely try this one day. It's definitely worth it, and more of a matter of knowing what to remove and alter to receive the best results. I also love the way the stock exhaust sounds, but it does need to be amplified and I think this is going to be the best way to retain that sound. It's funny when people look at your exhaust and see a stock unaltered looking muffler and wonder where the sound is coming from too lol. I plan on finishing my car up during winter break, haven't had much time during the semester (I'm also a college student). Afterwards some time during the initial months of next year I will give this a try with a few buddies and see what type of results we can get. Hopefully we'll have some info by then on people who have tried it already, if not I will make sure to document everything with pictures, video and detail. Even though I don't have all the know how and tools myself (most of them I do) I know plenty of people who will be able to help me, so this shouldn't be too much of an issue, just a small project.
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Old Tue, Dec-06-2011, 03:17:00 AM   #9
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Default Re: Gutting stock E46 M3 muffler discussion/compilation thread

Not completely sure how the inside of the muffler looks, but my plans will be to remove all the baffling/sound deadening related materials inside. I'm not sure how I will cut the muffler open just yet though, so if anybody has an idea let me know for when I'm ready. Then possibly cut out any potential perforated piping and get an exhaust guy I know to bend and weld back in regular steel piping. Basically what I am going to try and have is a muffler that is hollow internally with only non perforated piping from the flange on one end to where the two pipes coming in split into four and out each tip. Then have everything welded back together as an enclosed system to keep contaminants from getting inside. Logically thinking though this may change the sound a bit. I'd prefer to have everything closed up, but maybe exposed will sound better, who know? Won't be much lighter, but every little bit helps. That to me sounds like the best way to do it, not necessarily the easiest, but then again I'm no expert lol.
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Old Tue, Dec-06-2011, 07:19:49 AM   #10
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Default Re: Gutting stock E46 M3 muffler discussion/compilation thread

I don't know whether to laugh or cry at the ghetto-ness
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Discussing Gutting stock E46 M3 muffler discussion/compilation thread 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)