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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 Sat, Oct-08-2011, 01:45:50 AM   #1
Terrapin
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Default Terrapin

Contents:
- Links of stuff I've designed for the car
- Summary as she sits
- Intro to the rest of the thread

Links:
- Custom Android Tablet IBus interface
- Custom harness for stock HK stereo
- Stereo Upgrade
- Track Adventure Story
- Track Nightmare Story

As she sits:
2002 Topaz Blue. Kinesis F110's on AST4100. Everything else: mostly stock


Introduction:
Today is 10/7/2011. I'm sitting here with my buddy JC (Jack and Coke) thinking about the days of old. I just checked my meticulous records and found that I registered my Topaz Blue 2002 BMW E46 M3 with the Maryland DMV on 10/10/2006. I spent about $32k to buy it and I feel I've already got back a 20x return in living life. Our 5 year anniversary is coming up in 3 days so I figure its about time to document the adventures I've had with the 2nd best purchase I've ever made. I say 2nd because I picked up an engagement ring a few months ago and at the east coast Mfest the current owner of said ring told me she is totally cool with me blowing money on the M3 in perpetuity (probably because she knows how cheap I am ).

So fair warning, what follows is not a huge list of mods but more of a look back of the stuff I've done to the car and the stuff it has done to me. There are already plenty of threads with supercharged dropped BBS LM's but I think I've done enough in this car to call it unique despite its stock demeanor. Oh and check back in the spring to see if I actually go through with all of the mods I intend to do over the winter.

So that's my intro, read on if you're really that bored....
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Old Sat, Oct-08-2011, 01:46:15 AM   #2
Terrapin
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Default Re: Nostalgia++

Chapter 1

Here she is. The first time I saw her, exactly 5 years ago today (10/7/06) in the previous owners driveway:



She was pretty basic. The only upgrades were color matched side reflectors and an "ipod adapter" which in reality was just an inline radio adapter. The wheels were rashed, the interior was gray but who cares? I was stepping up from a 5 speed accord to three hundred and thirty freakin three horsepower. Off it was to my parents house for a quick "detailing" and my first bonafied photoshoot. (note: just a bit more lame than most other "photoshoots" on the board...no offense of course)



Shortly thereafter, winter rolled in and I was able to showcase the bridgestone blizzacks that came with the car (now I wish I hadn't sold them but it made sense at the time). I had a field day in my old elementary school parking lot late at night with my first low traction RWD experience.



Then spring rolled around and it was time for some "mods". Remember now, I'm cheap so that meant a set of OEM 19's I picked up on the forum. A more experienced self detail and I was off for another lame ass photoshoot.



Next up was a significant upgrade to the stereo system that was fully reversible thanks to my home made interface that you can read all about in here: http://www.m3forum.net/m3forum/showthread.php?t=160626



Then after a friend convinced me to do an autocross the real fun began. Autox 1 was awesome, but by the second time I knew it was time to try an HPDE. Reading all of the track sections about how I should buy a BBK and slicks I psyched myself out and got new pads, rotors, tires, ss lines, brake fluid, and a years worth of stress...but the calipers came out looking nice:



If I could do it again I would have chilled out, not touched the car and just worried about driving on a track because I already had waaaaaay more car than I knew what to do with. No need to blow an extra grand when I couldn't even heat up the brakes properly. If anyone out there is thinking about their first track day, just go. Don't worry at all about your car. It will have no problem handling your terrible driving (yes you will suck the first day). Don't worry about it. You're there to learn. The next day you'll be 5x as fast and then you can think about getting track pads. But don't worry, you'll have more fun than your brain can process



That winter I moved from Baltimore MD to Los Angeles California. I left my car behind because I was on a temporary assignment for work, driving an all expenses paid rental car during the year of $5 gas (lucky me). But I was able to make it back for a week to do a quick valve adjustment. If you're at all competent in following instructions, you can do this yourself. Reserve a saturday, get the valve shim kit from tischer and save yourself a quick $1k. Speaking of, I'm due for and adjust in another 3k miles. I hope my vanos bolts are still tight...



A few short months later it was settled. I was moving to LA and the car was coming with. Luckily (?) my job paid for the relocation which included shipping my car out west. This is what I thought was the last time I'd see my car in MD

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Old Sat, Oct-08-2011, 01:47:07 AM   #3
Terrapin
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Default Re: Nostalgia++

Chapter 2

And this is the first time I saw my car in Brentwood (Los Angeles, CA). The shipping had deposited the thickest layer of dirt I've ever seen on a car but after a claybar it was good as...2006 when I bought it.



This being CA I wasted no time in putting it to good use. Note: if you're young, don't let this car sit in your parents garage or something. Use it to do whatever you need to do. It works for everything guaranteed.





A few months later it was time for my first real M road trip. What better place than the grand canyon? Almost exactly 1000 miles round trip from my doorstep. I was able to stretch the legs somewhere across the desert and broke my personal land speed record. This wasn't too difficult because my previous best was a Summit Point's Shenandoah Circuit. Anyone who's been there knows high speed is not it's forte. Driving back resulted in a massacre of mosquito's on the windsheild but I've wasted enough space already so you'll just have to use your imagination.





I drove a ton of canyons since technically Topanga canyon was on my way home (albeit the long way) but one of my best days was at California Speedway in fontana. I missed the first session trying to change pads and tires, the classroom instructor said I was a wasting my time, I spun in session 2....but then everything clicked. I was up to 135 on the oval section and I was driving smooth enough for my instructor to send a text...or maybe boring enough...



Eventually my first stay in CA came to an end but I went out with a bang. An 11 state, 3600 mile cross country road trip on the company dime. I saw the country like every citizen should at least once in their life. And a good chunk of it was immortalized on the internet for nearly 200,000 viewers


But just for the forum, here is my favorite image of the trip of a lifetime:

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Old Sat, Oct-08-2011, 02:31:08 AM   #4
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Default Re: Nostalgia++

Chapter 3

So here I am, back in MD. Back to my old job, crab cakes, bay bridges and finally my own garage. Sadly its just a one car so I won't be staying here forever. If you're in the market and on the fence and think you can make due with a one car garage I'd advise you to look a bit longer. The market is in your favor and you'll really appreciate the extra space to work on the car. If I end up staying here more than 5 years, a detached 2 car garage+workshop is mandatory. Fortunately, the basement has facilitated DIY like no other place I've ever lived. I experimented with spray painting wheels on my tacoma and the results totally blew me away. I was about to buy a new set but I ended up liking my Saturday morning spray paint job more than any black wheel pictures I'd seen online.



This opened the rattle can floodgates. First up were the door panels



Then a somewhat misguided set of white wheels. They looked amazing when I finished with them. The blue of the car with the white wheels perfectly matched the BMW colors. But after a day the brake dust was noticeable and after one track day, I decided I was going to have to paint them black, ASAP.



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Old Sat, Oct-08-2011, 02:31:32 AM   #5
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Default Re: Nostalgia++

Chapter 4:

So the morning after I finished creating this journal about all the fun you can have while stock, I drove 7 hours round trip to pick up these:



The barrels have a few nicks but the centers are flawless. I spent 2 hours detailing them and couldn't see any marks on them from more than 5" away. Sorry, no good pictures yet but trust me, they transform the car. I used to park far away from other cars to avoid scratches but now I park far away so I can look at the car longer as I walk back to it. IMO, black wheels don't go well with blue cars so these are a perfect fit. And super light. The rears are 19x10 and only weigh around 19lbs! (not that it matters much for street wheels).



So now, my only choice is to get a set of coilovers but feel free to leave a bunch of comments about how it "needs a drop".
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Old Sat, Oct-08-2011, 03:28:26 PM   #6
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Default Re: Nostalgia++

great journal, look forward to more updates
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Old Sat, Oct-08-2011, 04:40:22 PM   #7
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Default Re: Nostalgia++

Good stuff!
I have really come to love Topaz. It looks really nice in the sun.
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Old Mon, Nov-28-2011, 01:04:59 AM   #8
Terrapin
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Default Re: Nostalgia++

Now I've gone and done it...



Picked up 2 extra OEM rears cheap this weekend. Add in some copper engine paint and you have the perfect storm. I think it looks awesome despite the terrible job I did. Metallic spray paint is a mystery to me. Now I just have to wait till after the holidays to pick up some RS-3's and I'll be good to start oversteering...
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Old Mon, Nov-28-2011, 02:09:27 AM   #9
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Default Re: Nostalgia++

Awesome story and journal!
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Old Mon, Nov-28-2011, 12:45:16 PM   #10
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Default Re: Nostalgia++

Very cool. I enjoyed the cross country trip. I look forward to seeing the copper.
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Discussing Checkmate's AW/FR E90 M3 Journal 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)