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Old Thu, Mar-27-2014, 12:26:18 PM   #1
Dave B
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Default Two is always better than one

In late January I scored an extra gig that put some cash in my pocket. I also joined a new bank that was willing to loan me money. (Idiots.) Since I am the exact opposite of responsible, I chose not to save or be an adult, and instead to buy another car.

2005 M3
Alpine White / Cinnamon Interior
Xenon Headlights
Sunroof (meh)
SMG (meh)
79000 miles

Selection and more importantly pricing for SMGs was quite good, this car was impeccably maintained, and it gives me a nice test bed to compare and troubleshoot with my convertible's SMG system, which lately has been a lot rougher and may need a sensor swapped out.

This car came with KW V2 coilovers, black kidney and side grilles, smoked corners, and a section 2/3 Corsa exhaust. There's also some kind of Dice iPod unit that supports up to an iPhone 4S, but that came out before I even drove away. As I have specific plans for this car, I opted not to buy his beautiful Rotiform wheels, which left me with OEM 19s on Conti DWS, both of which I can't stand, but whatever. They let me drive the car. And as I was heading from the Baltimore area to Chiberia's endless winter, having all-seasons was probably a good thing.

Many thanks to M3Forum member M3dwards for keeping the car up, changing out the alternator before I got there, loaning me an old plate, and driving me the documents I left at his house. I could tell he was a good guy and definitely took great care of the car, so I actually skipped out on some of the inspecting I planned to do, in part due to not wanting to get under the car with it just on jacks, but mostly because it was cold and I had a long drive ahead of me.

Headed west on 70. Accidentally ended up on 70 the whole way including that northbound jog in southern PA before Pittsburgh (instead of 70-68-79-70 as planned), which turned out to be a good thing. I drove a previous M3* home on this same road before and it's so much fun to glide through those long twisties.

( *- holy crap have I bought a lot of M3s since 2011.)

Stopped for gas somewhere in Ohio late at night. Still nice and clean after a day of driving. The front is a tad too low and with the spacers on there the right wheel rubs at full lock. Temporary, so no big deal.

The Corsa tips are pretty. And having clean tips is a new phenomenon for me. Actually this whole car's paint and general cleanliness is worlds better than my convertible. It will force me to step up my game.

Thought this was interesting. This ducting is different from what I'm used to on the vert, which is an 03.5.

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Last edited by Dave B; Sun, Mar-30-2014 at 02:45:38 PM.
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Old Thu, Mar-27-2014, 12:37:01 PM   #2
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Default Re: Two is always better than one

Awesome pick up, look forward to seeing what you do with it! I like that I'm not the only one not being an adult lolz.
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Old Thu, Mar-27-2014, 12:39:17 PM   #3
Dave B
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Default Re: Two is always better than one

I finally had to give up and sleep a bit in Dayton, OH. It had been a long day of flying and driving. Took a six hour nap and continued west, through my old semi-stomping grounds of Indiana/Lucas Oil Stadium (the sight of which was bittersweet), and continued on to St. Louis.

Why St. Louis? Oh, just dropped in to buy an 05 ZCP. No big deal.

Side by side. There was something on the roads in Indy that made the car look like it forded a tar pit even though it was sunny out. So much for a nice clean AW...

Not joking, I bought that one too. (It's not for me though.)

So that puts my tally at 3 blue and two white E46 M3s. It's possible that I have a problem. This is why banks should not give me money.

Onwards to Chicago for the first time in 11.5 months!

While on the road I got started on my first mods... gonna need Goof Off to finish them, though. Warning stickers galore and two EZPass velcro mounts... stuff like that bothers me. Be gone!

Like everything else, this took a while, and with me everything's an adventure, so I ended up racing to Chicago, not arriving til about 9, meeting my friend for a whirlwind dadchelor party that ended in me sleeping for an hour in the car before throwing up all over an OHare bathroom and not being allowed on my plane because I was too hung over to fly back to feed my dogs, who had been alone. My return trip to resume my scheming (of which there had been a lot... just ask Alex how many long emails he got!) would have to be the following Wednesday.

Here are two photos of the convertible from just before the adventure began.

I hope it doesn't feel neglected or lonely. It is going to get more TLC and less of a beating now. As it is about to tick over 140k miles and is now compared to a car half its "age," I can recognize just how solid a car it has been. It's still having a fueling issue (it gets 18mpg as opposed to the 26 I got with the coupe), but having another one will help me solve it. And it has been a high-miles long-drive dog-toting beater car, basically. 28k miles in 19 months since I got it at 112... With an alternative to drive around, now I can do things like remove the interior and recondition it (ie have someone else do it... detailing is my anti-passion, I don't have the patience for it), replace top hydraulic line 31, fix the batwing, and make it the comfy cruiser. A gran tourer, if you will.

The plan for the coupe will be quite different...
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Last edited by Dave B; Thu, Mar-27-2014 at 02:09:26 PM.
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Old Thu, Mar-27-2014, 01:02:07 PM   #4
Dave B
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Default Re: Two is always better than one

The coupe is going to be the no-expenses spared dual-purpose car that I'm going to drive as an M should be driven. I've always had big plans but life and spending limits get in the way or I get distracted and nothing ever comes of them. Not with this car. It will get:

- a fairly severe diet (without losing stock seats... for now)
- SS V1 headers
- CSL airbox
- cams
- brakes
- CSL boot and diffuser
- navigation (decided I couldn't live without it while driving it 1500 miles)
- ARC-8
- different exhaust
- CF roof

And it will get these things very quickly.

Actually the original plan was to pick it up in Baltimore and leave it in PA to have Ian's roof installed. But then the selfish prick (ha) decided to install it himself and deprived my sister of a visit from her loving (and totally not just using her for a bedroom while waiting) brother. (Which turned out to be a good thing because last I heard her family blew up and she's getting divorced...) The secondary plan was a Challenge roof to be installed in Chicago, which Mike Migs was awesomely willing to hook up for me to fit my schedule... but there wasn't shop time on such short notice. So the roof may go on the back burner. That and the bootlid are probably on hold now.

Why? Because the tertiary and fourth-iary (?) plans also fell through and then I got impatient and bought a crapload of other stuff.

I still haven't gotten the insurance payout from the anthracite ARC-8s that were stolen in Chicago, but I ordered another set in the GB anyway. As good as they looked on Alpine White, I envisioned something a bit darker. Not quite black, as from certain angles/lighting black spokes kind of turn invisible, but darker than the Apex Anthracite color. Kind of like the Volk pressed graphite color. There are so many colors and finishes and whatnot for wheels! I had the Apexes, 18x9.5et22 all around, shipped straight to Sergey's House of Wheels in North Chicago and trusted him to finish them in a color that would be appropriate.

Hard to tell in the light, but I think he nailed it:

Ultimately, my goal is to have matching wheels (and everything else) on both cars, with the only difference being the interior and brake caliper colors. But on the vert I may vary it slightly and go with the E92 ZCP 19s. Maybe. I am kind of in love with them right now. We'll see.

This was my color inspiration, as well as why I'm in love with the wheels... from member Neogenesis (also a member of the two E46 M3 club):

Anyway, due to shop time and simple availability of overseas parts, just about all of my big schemes and reasons for driving the car all the way to Chicago were out the window. Definitely could've saved myself that trip. Thankfully, the ZCP seller arranged for a closed carrier to ship both cars to me from St. Louis to Miami, so at least I didn't have to drive it back. And there was still one thing to do in Chicago...

Yes, that's right. I bought a car with a mint-condition highly coveted Cinnamon interior, and I immediately pulled it out and replaced it.

But hey, it's LSB.

(It's also heated and younger... and you may notice that now I have interiors that match two of the three colors of M stripes. As a side note, I've also now owned every single E46 interior available to me except for Natural Brown.)

Nick was gracious enough to inspect/accept these and store them in his hockey rink for me and also to yank the seats while I messed with the door panels.

Pristine driver seat at 80k:

These seats are so well maintained that even though I'm honestly not a cinnamon lover (exception: under blue) and I was very very eager to get the LSB in, I started to have some buyer's remorse about the blue.

Supporting the OKC Thunder?
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Last edited by Dave B; Thu, Mar-27-2014 at 01:06:37 PM.
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Old Thu, Mar-27-2014, 01:54:17 PM   #5
Dave B
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Default Re: Two is always better than one

The finished product, in bad light:

For now I've got the brushed aluminum trim in the front 4 pieces (dash, dash, dash, center) and the four armrests are the Titanium shadow that also matches the lower wheel and SMG dome. I'm going to leave it like that to get an idea for how the contrast looks, with an ultimate goal of probably replacing the titanium pieces with Karbonius CF and the brushed with alpine white. I have had an alpine white E60 shifter sitting in Chicago (and now Charlotte) for a year now with the intention of putting it on the vert, but I'm used to the Storm one in there and the way it all looks, so I'm going to use it on this car. This one will be the opposite of the vert, which goes dark shifter/ring/center with white dome:

Though I may switch the white lower wheel trim over from vert to coupe to get more dark in the vert. We'll see.

Meanwhile, the rest of the Cinnamon interior remained in Nick's house. For all of a day, because Nick has the coolest parents ever invented.

Most parents say things like:
"You should be responsible with your money. Save it, use it on productive things, and set yourself up for success later."

Nick's parents:
"Wow, that interior is really nice. I love it. I think you should get it."
(High priced luxury item that isn't necessary at all? Do it!)

So now it's in Nick's car. Where it surely looks amazing. Except for the black fabric Recaro.

As always, things ran long and got complicated, though, so by the time we finished the LSB install it was too late to get to Waukegan Tire, where I had a square set of PSS 265/35-18 waiting. Side note: Waukegan and North Chicago are not just right there on the north border of Chicago... theyre F'ing FAR. And tire shops should not close at 6.

Given that I had a paid flight out of St. Louis for noon the following day, sticking around wasn't an option. I had really hoped to get the 19s off the car and leave them in Chicago, where there'd be many more buyers for all-season tires, but instead I'm stuck with them on the car and now have to pay to ship the Apexes to me. They're actually still at Sergey's right now, and honestly, if anyone in Chicago wants a brand new set of wheels in a custom finish you can buy them from me and I'll just do it all again locally just to save the shipping.

With all my cool mod ideas out the window, I cruised on up to Northbrook to drop in on the ChiTown M meet. Everyone there looked at me funny. As well they should. This is now the fourth car I've taken to a meet there. Also, I live in Miami.

After that I loaded everything from my garage in Chicago into the trunk and back seat (after getting used to a vert trunk the coupe trunk is AMAZING to have again) and hit the road for an overnight drive to St. Louis. Took a quick nap when there were some snowflakes south of 80 and then continued on to another longer nap on the seller's couch, as he was cool enough to give me his garage code to get in. Then it was up at 9 and on the road to the shipping place and ultimately the airport. Even the return flight wasn't without adventures, but I won't bore you (and me) with the details...

So the cars should arrive here monday or tuesday... I guess they haven't actually even left yet, but they're coming straight here. Since my roommate has an Interlagos E92 ZCP, that's going to make for some really fun photos in the driveway for the short time that I'm hosting the ZCP. I'm not really sure how that's all going to work out, especially while I have one or two cars up on jack stands.

The first order of business will be to swap the suspensions on the white cars. I picked up a set of 550 and 650lb springs for the TCK coilovers and I don't want to run those on the vert. I actually did want to stiffen the rear of it since it weighs more and rolls a lot more than the same setup (500lb rears) did on the coupe, but I swapped those springs and it feels like crap. The KWs are a bit softer and the convertible is going to be the comfy car. It'll also be nice to run stock camber up front on it again too (the driver front TCK shock is bent a bit from the wreck that totaled my original M. But it works. It's just -3.5 camber.) as the front tires are already showing some serious camber wear. I suppose all this means is that I'll just wear out the tires on the coupe instead, but at least that's a square setup. And 18s are cheaper. This will also give me a chance to swap out the front springs and see if that is the cause of the ponging noise I get in the front of the vert right now that has been increasing in frequency.

I want to run AKG 75D bushings pretty much everywhere except the diff on the coupe as well. But it might be a while before I get to any of that. Just as with the vert, I'd like to do all the rear work at the same time, and that'd be much nicer to time with a 4.10 acquisition. Of course, finding one of those is near impossible, let alone two... so maybe I'll drop it anyway. Who knows.

I haven't yet decided if it's worth the effort to swap the steering racks, but if/when I do, I'm going to pick up the AKG steering coupler as well. Wish I had known about that before I put the new rack into the vert. I want to do some measured comparisons between all three E46 racks before making any decisions... oddly the time I spent behind the ZCP wheel felt much much tighter and more put together than the 13.7:1 rack. And the white coupe's stock 15.4 feels fine as well.

The other 3-car troubleshooting I'm going to do is on the external temp sensors. I've now received two from ECS and both make my vert read 122 and skew the oil temp reading well over the center line. Something's up there, and I suspect it's not the sensor. (Which is why it's so weird that the older one that I intended to replace is still reading mostly accurately.)

Second order of business... brakes!

Because anything worth doing is worth doing to excess and at extreme cost, both cars are getting a big brake kit. A kit much bigger and brakier than either of them need.

For the coupe:

Stoptech ST-60 front, ST-40 rear

And for the convertible:

Brembo! with brand new 380mm rotors... Because as you can see they don't exactly fit on the ZCP wheels:

I'd never buy a 380 Brembo kit if it wasn't already attached to a car. But hey, it's here and the vert will fit it. Especially under these HREs, which could clear calipers twice that size. Still, the photo of how much space there is between caliper and barrel makes me hold out a shred of hope I'll remove them and measure them and they'll actually be the smaller kit, but I doubt it.

I still can't believe I actually bought those Stoptechs. They're such overkill. Even the Brembo 355/345 I had singled out and was planning to buy is overkill.

I could be wrong, but that might be the most I've actually spent in cash on any one item at one time in my entire life. But AlexN was local and they're in amazing shape and it was an excuse to go see RaehZa's shop and most importantly I was being really impatient after three other brake sellers had backed out on me in recent months (seriously). And those which weren't backed out on got bought by Surge709, who has been competing with me for literally every single thing on my shopping list beginning with the very conveniently located slicktop he bought. I'm very eager to compare these side by side with the Brembos when they get here, because these calipers are GINORMOUS. I'm a size 12 foot, for reference... not exactly dainty. And that caliper makes me look like a kid. I have no idea how these fit under ARC-8s. But they did...

So they'll be headed up to the powdercoater today. I've had a hardon for a blue brake kit behind dark wheels on a white car for pretty much my entire E46-owning life, and I've seen exactly ONE photo of it ever, so this should be pretty freaking cool. When the Brembos come off the other car I may list them for sale in a fresh coat of whatever color the buyer desires, since the vert doesn't need them at all, but if it's not a quick sale they're going on there. The rotors are wearing down and it needs fluid anyway. (So yeah, why not a giant brake kit?)

Obviously I'm insane. Completely insane.
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Last edited by Dave B; Thu, Mar-27-2014 at 08:02:59 PM.
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Old Thu, Mar-27-2014, 02:16:23 PM   #6
Dave B
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Default Re: Two is always better than one

Two shots of the brakes on Alex's car... his old car, that is. He sold the Volks and brakes and picked up a drool-worthy suspension instead, and it's all getting transferred from that grey on grey E46 M to a Sterling grey on Imola E46 M. Too cool.

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Old Thu, Mar-27-2014, 05:30:33 PM   #7
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Default Re: Two is always better than one

This thread is awesome. Can't wait to see it come together.
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Old Thu, Mar-27-2014, 06:31:17 PM   #8
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Default Re: Two is always better than one

Originally Posted by Dave B View Post
Since I am the exact opposite of responsible, I chose not to save or be an adult, and instead to buy another car.
lol. This had me laughing.

Pure awesomeness. Very nice addition man.
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Old Thu, Mar-27-2014, 07:03:41 PM   #9
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Default Re: Two is always better than one

Just FYI, that "ducting" on the coupe is some sort of emissions thing for 04.5+ (Or maybe 05+) models. It's basically the same thing as that suction jet pump for our brakes. I think the idea is to capture blowby even when the engine wouldn't be doing so on its own
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Old Thu, Mar-27-2014, 07:36:07 PM   #10
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Default Re: Two is always better than one

holy freaking crap.

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Discussing Two is always better than one 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 (E30 M3 | E36 M3 | E46 M3 | E92 M3 | F80/X)