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BMW E46 3 Series Dinan Cold Air Intake
Written by: Jordan Buser and Tim Jones June 26, 2001

Tools Needed:
8 mm socket
10 mm socket
6" socket extention
8 mm box wrench
T-50 socket drive torx
3/16" drill bit
Power drill
Medium Phillips screwdriver
Large Phillips screwdriver
Flat screwdriver
Utility Knife
Dremel tool (optional, but very helpful)

Estimated time: 3 hours


Use these instructions in conjunction with Dinan's instructions. These directions vary slightly in order and methods from Dinan's to simply and clarify the install. Read both directions before starting the install.
1. The top of the stock air box is held on with five clips. Undo the five clips to loosen the top.
2. The top of the air box is connected to the intake tube by two clips. Undo the two clips and pull the intake tube off the top of the air box.
3. Remove the top of the stock air box by pulling it off the intake tube.
4. Remove the large o-ring from the intake tube.
5. With the air box top off remove the wiring from the back off the air box by pulling up.
6. Unbolt the two 10mm bolts holding the bottom of the air box in.
7. Pull the air box up and towards the rear of the car.
8. If you have a 330 the extra intake tube may or may not come out with the air box. If it does not come out, pull it out towards the rear.
9. Remove the driver side turn signal. Next to the headlights on the fender find the oval opening behind the corner indicator.
10. Use flashlight to locate plastic clip that holds the indicator in. Notice the slight notch, this is where you want to put the screwdriver.
Notch shown here with indicator removed from car.
11. Insert screwdriver in hole, with the blade inline with the bumper so it will get into the notch. Push down on screwdriver with medium force.
12. Screwdriver shown with indicator removed from car.
13. While pushing down also push forward to force the indicator out of car, grab the edges and pull out.
14. The corner of the indicator should pop out.
15. Start to pull the indicator out while still pushing down on the clip.
16. Once the indicator is a little ways out pull the screwdriver out and remove the indicator.
17. Disconnect the bulb holder from the wiring harness.
18. The trim below the headlight needs to be removed before the headlight can come out. If you have headlight washers refer to Dinan's instructions. There are three clips, one on the left and right side of the headlight and one that connects to the fender. Unclip the fender by using a flat screwdriver to pry back the clip, this takes a bit of work. With the fender clip undone, unclip the two headlight clips and gently pull the trim out.
19. The headlight has two or three connections to the wiring harness, disconnect them.
20. Unbolt the four 8 mm bolts that hold the headlight in. Two on the top, two on the bottom rear.
21. Slide the headlight out and place on soft working surface.
22. If you do not have Xenon low beams skip the next two steps. If you have Xenon low beams turn the headlight over and unscrew the two Phillips screws holding the ballast on. Pull the ballast out and place it aside. A simple way to keep track of the two screws is to screw them back into the headlight housing.
23. To install the new bracket to hold the Xenon ballast unscrew the Phillips screw opposite the wiring connector. Use the screw to hold the bracket as shown.
24. The next six steps are coupe specific. To remove the front bumper on the coupe the fog lights must first be removed.
25. Start by squeezing (compressing) the long lateral piece on one side and pull away from car. Work your way across in a similar manner. Set this piece aside.
26. Now you should be able to see two Phillips head screws securing the fog light case and laterals to the front of your car. Remove these.
27. Grab the fog light laterals and slide them towards the fog light (as indicated in the picture to the right). They should move a noticeable amount and then pull out. This may require a little force, but they will come out.
28. With the foglight and laterals in your hand, rotate the light fixture until you can pull it out. Disconnect the bulb holder from the wiring harness and set housing aside.
29. Repeat for other side.
30. Unbolt the four bolts under the bumper with a 8mm socket. There are two bolts in front of each wheel.
31. While laying on the ground use a flat head screwdriver to pry out the plastic connectors that hold the center of the bumper to the plastic engine shield. Put the Blade of the screwdriver between the two parts and twist and pry. The center should pull out then you can pop the connector out. They may be jammed up, there was one that I could not get to come apart and I had to cut it with a utility knife.
32. Remove the 8mm bolts in the wheel well, one per side.
33. Separate the bumper from the wheel well lining. Start from the bottom of the bumper and sneak your fingers behind the bumper between the fender lining. Pull away from the car with a slight angle towards the front. You should be able to get it to flex enough that you can use your fingers to pry the fender lining towards the wheel and get it on the wheel side of the bumper.
34. Use a T-50 torx socket drive to undo the two long bolts that hold the bumper up front. The access holes are under the bumper in the front.
35. Slowly slide the bumper forward, having a friend at this point is very helpful. You will need to disconnect the horns and if you have the sedan the fog lights. Put the bumper aside being careful with the paint.
36. Now you can start installing the intake. Located the Air Flow Meter (AFM) bracket. The AFM installs on a stock bracket on the drivers side shock tower.
37. Slide the bracket in from the top with the bolt on the bottom and facing the engine. Look for the hole in the bracket towards the bottom front of the stock bracket. Basically the bracket has to be forced into the hole and the hook rests on the top of the bracket. On the sedan it was not hard, for the coupe the corner of the bracket had to be ground off with a Dremel tool or the stock bracket can bet away from the shock tower slightly. Rock the bracket into place.
38. Check that the bracket will not chafe on any wires. Put on the nut and tighten up.
39. Loosen the hose clamp that holds the rubber boot. Remove the AFM from the rubber boot and slide it onto the end of the Dinan bracket. This fit is so perfect it is amazing. Reconnect the rubber boot to the AFM, check that it is secure on all sides and tighten the hose clamp.
40. Slide the silicone hose onto the other side of the AFM, put the hose clamp on but do not tighten. The end of the Dinan AFM bracket needs to go under the clamp. Line up the clamp so the part with the adjuster screw is directly over the bracket.
41. Next the filter bracket (large metal plate) needs to be mounted in front of the driver's side wheel. The bracket uses the two mounting points from the brake duct and one that you need to drill. Unbolt the two 10mm bolts, put the bracket in place and reconnect the bolts. Tighten the front bolt first, this will help hold the bracket and the brake duct in place.
42. Once both bolts are tightened down we need to drill a hole in the fender for the third mounting screw. Use a 3/16" drill bit from the bracket side. If you have a big drill you may not be able to sneak it in to drill, but I found that with a small drill the filter bracket could be left in place.
43. With the hole drilled slide the quick nut onto the filter bracket. Use the screw and washer that came with the kit to snug up the bracket.
44. Coupe only: If you have the coupe you will need to cut a section of the brake duct as it is in the way. I found that a Dremel tool make quick work of the plastic on the brake duct. You want to cut as little duct as possible so eye where the filter is going to go and start cutting. Test fit the filter by removing the hose clamp and inserting in from the bottom side. Test fit often.
45. Remove the hose clamp from the filter and insert if from the bottom side. Put the hose clamp back on the filter from the topside.
46. Install the 6" rubber channel on the top of the frame rail behind the bumper shocks. This protects the carbon fiber from damage, which is good.
47. Insert the bottom end of the intake tube into the filter. Hold the filter with one hand while pushing down on the intake tube. Turn the filter to help get the tube in, the filter is oily and the tube should slide in. Do not tighten the hose clamp at this time.
48. With the bottom end of the intake tube in the filter connect the upper end to the AFM. Push the tube into the silicon hose on the AFM, make sure you have both hose clamps on the AFM.
49. With the intake connected on the top and bottom test fit the headlight. If you have Xenon low beams feed the ballast in first and the place it aside. The intake tube should have even spacing between the headlight and the frame rail. Adjust the tube by twisting and adjusting the amount of tube on the filter and AFM sides. I also setup up the intake tube so that it was lined up with the AFM and stock rubber intake tube. I have seen installs where the intake is not lined up and it does not look as good.
50. When the fit is satisfactory tighten the hose clamps on both ends. I had some difficulty that the filter would slip off the intake tube. This was because I did not have enough tube into the filter, I readjusted the fit and the problem was solved.
51. The intake should now be installed and all the Dinan parts should be installed, if not you have a problem.
52. Xenon low beams only: Bolt the xenon blast to the stock air box mounting location. The bolt under the ballast is tricky, put in the bracket first, then position the bracket in place while trying to get the bolt in the fender. Use a 10mm box wrench to tighten the bolt under the ballast and a 10mm socket to tighten the other bolt.
53. Bolt the headlight back into place and reconnect the wiring.
54. Coupe only: The brake duct on the bumper also needs to be cut to fit around the filter. The brake duct is a soft rubber; I found a utility knife works best. Test fit the bumper and eye where the duct will need to be cut. Cut small amounts and test fit often. Have a friend help you so you don't scratch your fenders with the end of the bumper. Make sure that the brake duct does not crush or deform the filter.
55. Have a friend help you fit the bumper back on. Remember to reconnect the fogs for the sedan, for the coupe make sure the fog wires are pulled out the fog holes. Don't forget about the horns.
56. Bolt the bumper back on, snap the headlight trim back in and for the coupe reinstall the fogs and you are done.
57. Additionally you can remove the air intake that went to the stock air box. Three plastic connectors hold it to the frame.
58. Insert the blade of a flat head screwdriver in between the top and pry up. With all three plastic connectors removed the air duct can be pulled off.