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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
WIP

Showing my e46 for the first time in a few years. I've always been too critical of my own stuff. Never even had a forum avatar before today. But the past few weeks have been pretty rewarding compared to 4 years of mostly maintenance so I'm feeling finally ready to start this build thread I've always wanted to do.

My goal here has always been OEM+ and to closely resemble and perform like a ZHP or better. I like M3s don't get me wrong but damnit they should have made a sedan. I'm still undecided on keeping it auto or just buying a true 6 speed ZHP in the future.

January 2016, 1 month after purchase
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It was sold as a 2002 330i ZPP auto on chrome style 38s at BMW of Corona. I bought it off the original owner at 63k in Dec 2015. It was my reachable dream car at 22 years old. She didn't drive it very much or far and always garaged it. 99% handwashed. I remember her driving her son and I to the skatepark in it and I'd be talking to her the whole time about it. This was the second TiSilv e46 I fell in love with another friend had a 323i standard. I had to buy it. I showed her the cash before she could even start to type a craigslist ad.

Sounds perfect right? Well her only son beat the car up a quite a bit. Everything from his bike hitting the rocker, his dog scratching a small section on the roof, him head butting the upper rear quarter and leaving small dents, him backing into the hood AFTER I had bought it from his mom, broken sunroof. He's a simple guy, wasn't a mech or an enthusiast. Decent driver. The both of them just didn't care much.

Luckily, BMW of Corona and Irvine did. The interior was still in nice shape, the wheels were going anyways, the tint could be removed, the sagging bumper replaced, coolant system was ready to go, etc. I found a diamond in the rough and am thankful for it every day there is no way as a just graduated business student I could afford a car payment right now. She upgraded to a new 430i and her son took me on the craziest yet sketchy residential 5 minute sprint of my life to date in it. Haven't seen him since.

Premium package, smoking package, folding rear+passthru, wood trim. Xenons. Harmon Kardon. With everything happening right now (COVID19, riots, graduating) I finally had the time to really get into the exterior and interior.
Photo taken July 2020
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Sneak peek at its current state - still a lot to get done but I've never been so happy with it.
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Enter; the bane of my existence and part of the reason I'm shy to share. I've stared at that rust square under the left tailight for 5 years. The PO told me back in 2007 she had a small dent there, and a mobile rust mechanic (??) told her that he could fix it. Apparently it rusted out a few years later. It hasnt grown much since I bought the car. When changing the tailights in seemed the growth was not catastrophic. But its the first thing I think of when I think of when thinking of working on the appearance of my car. I really shouldn't be bummed because its the only piece of rust on this California car, but I feel as if this is the only thing truly out of the scope of fixing myself without the in-person guidance of someone or just taking it to a professional. I learned to wrench in 2011 on my e28 (fuck I miss that car) and wish I practiced on that as there was plenty of rust.

Thanks for reading. I'm thankful for this forum and its members, youtubers like 50's kid, shoplifetv, bullshitkornr, etc. and my buddy who sold me my e28 then taught me how to change my oil back in 2011.

I'm going to be updating this thread with pics of the interior and engine bay, etc. Nothing special but I figure I have to show it all haha. I'll also be updating the thread with a full maintenance and upgrade list with some before and after pics.

Feel free to comment absolutely anything you want or message me if you'd like.
 

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the people’s mod
2004 330Ci 115k miles
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You still in Corona?
We should update the DME and EGS software to the latest. You’ll like the improvement. Hit the link below.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
You still in Corona?
We should update the DME and EGS software to the latest. You’ll like the improvement. Hit the link below.
Thanks for reading. I'm forever in debt to this forum and its members, youtubers like 50s kid, shoplifetv, bullshitkornr, etc. and my buddy who sold me my e28 then ttaught me how to change my oil back in 2011, for paving the path for us.
Part of that was directed at you man, you didn't even know it and here you are helping me out. Thanks for helping us all out.

edit I read the link and already have experience with remote desktop and have INPA and NCS installed but not BMW Standard Tools, I'll install that and give you a ring if that's easier. I'm living in San Diego currently but am actually heading up to LA either tomorrow or Sunday to stay for a few days, I'd love to stop by whatever works. I was actually thinking of messaging you yesterday after I left the BMW dealership when I realized I forgot to ask about software updates. They ran a full inspection - is that something they would've just done automatically when they hooked it up or is it something you have to ask for?
 

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the people’s mod
2004 330Ci 115k miles
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14,454 Posts
I left the BMW dealership when I realized I forgot to ask about software updates. They ran a full inspection - is that something they would've just done automatically when they hooked it up or is it something you have to ask for?
Pretty rare for a BMW dealer to update an E46 these days. Even most indys won’t do it.
I’m doing them all remote now, because of COVID-19.
Message me when you have time and we’ll get it done.
 

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Discussion Starter #8 (Edited)
Met up with BaliDawg today! Read about the experience and gains I got on the DME/EGS thread in his signature.
The car and I came a long way and we've been through a lot together. I've always wanted to post these pictures but am glad I waited to tell the story!

This was 2015, I had just bought the 330i and saw an opportunity for a little shoot so I went for it.
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1985 e28 535i. Just looking at this picture hurts damn I miss it. We can talk about this car in another decade :(

First thing you'l notice on the e46 is the wheels which I always received mixed opinions on. I tolerated them because they were chrome and super easy to clean, and they weren't the imo even uglier stock wheels. My dream wheels for this car to this day are just some authentic style 135s. The front end was completely stock with the vanity plate. I didn't mind but upon joining this forum I quickly found motivation in getting rid of it. Overall I was only researching maintenance because the car hadn't had much besides oil changes, one set of pads, a window regulator, a windshield and a couple battery up to the point I bought it. I have a few other receipts I'm forgetting.
Photo taken Feb 2016
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Next you'll notice the tint and its complete stockeded-nessity. I didn't mind either at the time as the e46 still looks beautiful in pretty much any shape or form (sedan>coupe tho) and I had my hands full with two cars. The tint was old, bubbling, purple and took way, way WAY too long to take out. I used 3 different methods. Even on a blistering summer day with a harbor freight heat gun. I've had to do this to both of these cars - I pray to the German Gods of Old I never have to do it again. I'm not going to tint the car (OEM+ remember) so I think I can rest easy.
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Until this happened, about 6 months later. In a twist of fate the original owners son backed into my car in the driveway one morning. His mom paid about 1500 out of pocket and recommended a local bodyshop. I got fleeced. I didn't really know what I was doing and went in there in a tank top, sandals and a backwards hat one day after surfing. I was assured I would be taken care of and had always seen the place around.

I picked up the car and drove home a few days later with an ill fitting aftermarket silver hood, gaps all over the front end, screws missing everywhere in the headlight assemblies, a bad fender blend. It took me about a week for me to really notice everything except all the screws they left out under the hood. I went back and they did their best but it still looked like shit. They had the audacity to return the car tape and all.

I never specified genuine only, I never realized the loose tape around the engine compartment were missing screws marked and left by their servicemen, I didn't look at a portfolio, I didn't do research, etc....yeah I fucked up.

Note the bumper falling apart at this point.

This marks the start of a war. A war between a man and his car... and a bunch of dumbasses including myself 😑

But then, on the horizon...
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Enter the best craigslist buy to date. I picked up this painted Chinese rep with hardware,trim or lights, an entire ZHP headliner and pillar set and a hood. The hood was in pristine shape, matched well and made me closer to my wanna be ZHP status, although there's no difference whatsoever.
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First and only time on the trailer. It started puking coolant while idling - radiator had finally clogged up. I didn't want to take any chances of an overheat so I called for a flat.
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After throwing in depo clear corners and turner clear side markers.
 

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Discussion Starter #9 (Edited)
Photo taken July 2017
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Genuine ZHP trim all around on the bumper, Genuine Fogs, brackets. I kept them for when I return to glorious Mtech. Might trade in at FCP if they've faded too much. I still don't have all the appropriate fender/well liners and aero ducts required to get that full look.
Photo taken April 2016
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Love the pic. Back end...not so much. Anyone else hate when reg tags don't match your car gross.
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Installed LED trunk lights as well. The rear seat fold comes in handy for trips. Although I bought it at 63k I never wanted to baby the mileage or be scared to use it for its purpose. Being careful with loading goes a long way.

My car has had a lot of different looks to it, I'm curious on what your guys takes are. There's still a lot to show I'll be trickling out - I eventually replaced these wheels with
some e90 wheels I can beat on a bit before getting a permanent set of style 135s.
Photo taken april 2018
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Whoever can collect the clues in the picture and things visibly wrong with the car can probably guess what happened and where it happened the night before this picture was taken. I'm really interested to see if someone can guess, its a doozy 😅 🤣 first person to guess correctly gets an e46fanatics sticker in the mail. Idk either man just roll with it.

Updating soon
 

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I am going to guess you were on a surfing trip to Mexico...Baja maybe...and you hit something... what has me puzzled though is how warmly they're dressed...It's hot in Baja now....
 

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the people’s mod
2004 330Ci 115k miles
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Flew too fast, went back in time to the early 70’s when full denim was popular, broke off the front spoiler in the process?

Or, like eff said, on a Mex trip, too much te-kill-ya, took the car cactus surfing?
 

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OEM ///PLUS
2003 M3 6MT Slicktop
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Flew too fast, went back in time to the early 70’s when full denim was popular, broke off the front spoiler in the process?
Obviously guy in truck got in a time machine, intercepted him and said, “the ‘90s called and wants those chrome tri-spoke rims back.”
 
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Discussion Starter #13
this post should probably be in the build section, can I move it myself or should I message a mod?


I am going to guess you were on a surfing trip to Mexico...Baja maybe...and you hit something... what has me puzzled though is how warmly they're dressed...It's hot in Baja now....
Flew too fast, went back in time to the early 70’s when full denim was popular, broke off the front spoiler in the process?

Or, like eff said, on a Mex trip, too much te-kill-ya, took the car cactus surfing?
Obviously guy in truck got in a time machine, intercepted him and said, “the ‘90s called and wants those chrome tri-spoke rims back.”

All of these are correct. The guy in the time machine also told me the e46 stickers are going to get lost in the mail. That said, once I finally put one of these stickers on (I hate car stickers but love e46fanatics) SOMEBODY is getting one of the extras.

BaliDawg got the closest Tequila was definitely involved. Non lit dirt roads + a big ol dip in the road + enjoying the night = limping the car home and removing the most of the front end and putting it into the trunk at 4 am. Then we woke up and noticed we didn't have any bottled water and no ride. Still one of the best trips of my life.

Casualties
an ill fitting mtech II rep, a scratched sideskirt, a tire and eventually the riddance of these wheels. Win in my book. I've since thrown on the original bumper.

TO BE CONTINUED WITH LOTS OF UPDATES and 100+ PART REFRESH LIST
 
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