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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)

I have been searching good condition E46 for 2 years now.
It is impossible to find rust free cars from Finland where i live.
This car was found from Netherland. Owner was nice guy, BMW enthuasist.
It was obvious from the start when we discussed about this car that car is almost perfect condition.
3 owners, 2 first owners in west part of Germany, and then this guy from Netherlands owned this car almost 5 years. There is no winter driving after 2013. And Germany winter is not that kind of winter we have in Finland.
This car will go garage after i have Finnish registration completed.
I measured paintwork with paint thickness gauge. All metal panels are in factory paint. No repainted panels.. So this car is really undamaged.

This will be only in summer use in my ownership.

Comments and ideas are welcome!

Mileage, 135.000kilometres / 84000miles

Prod. Date 2004-11-22
Type 330CI (EUR)
Series E46 (3 Series)
Body Type COUPE
Steering LHD
Engine M54
Displacement 3.00
Power 170kw / 231hp
Drive HECK
Transmission Automatic
S167A EU4 Exhaust Emissions Standard
S205A Automatic Transmission
S226A Sports Suspension Settings
S249A Multifunction F Steering Wheel
S302A Alarm System
S313A Foldin Outside Mirror
S320A Deleted Model Lettering
S338A M Sports Package II
S354A Green Windscreen Green Shade Band
S403A Glass Roof Electrical
S423A Floor Mats Velours
S428A Warning Triangle And First Aid Kit
S431A Interior Mirror With Automaticdip
S459A Seat Adjuster Electric With Memory
S481A Sports Seat
S494A Seat Heating Driverpassenger
S495A 3point Belt And Headrest Center Rear
S502A Headlight Cleaning System
S508A Park Distance Control PDC
S521A Rain Sensor
S522A Xenon Light
S534A Automatic Air Conditioning
S609A Navigation System Professional
S710A M Leather Steering Wheel
S716A Aerodynamics Package
S760A High Gloss Shadow Line
S772A Interior Moldings Alu Black Cube
S775A Headlining Anthracite
S788A BMW LA Wheel Individual
L801A National Version Germany
S863A Retailer Directory Europe
S879A Onboard Vehicle Literature German
S8SPA Control Unit COP
S940A Special Equipment BMW Individual
P972A Comfort Package
Standard Equipment
S210A Dynamic Stability Control
S251A Runflat Indicator
S473A Armrest Front
S520A Fog Lights
S548A Kilometercalibrated Speedometer
S550A Onboard Computer
S785A White Direction Indicator Lights
S832A Battery In Luggage Compartment
S851A Language Version German
  • Sign BMW Individual
  • Z1XX Upholstery
  • Full Leather In Nappa Gold Brown Nb 8 022 721
  • Sewing Thread Nb 8 022 052 And Quilting Yarn Nb 8 022 051
  • In Gold Brown Color Code 1313 B
  • Remainder Of Spec As Standard Leather Montana Black Code N6SW
  • 0940 Sonderwunschausstattung
  • Wood Trim Birch Anthracite Nb 0690 Content As Option 438
  • Additional Handbrake Grip
  • Decorcover Of Steering Wheel With Option 255 In Softpaint Black


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Discussion Starter · #6 · (Edited)
Thank you for your comments.
Yes this car has been at least 2 enthuasist before me (i am 4. owner).

Yesterday i took this car for goverment inspection. It passed without any faults.
Now i am waiting import tax bill from goverment. After i pay import tax, i can have Finnish registration plates for this car. Import tax will be approx 1700-2200$ in US Dollars.

Yesterday i installed DISA repair kit, from X8R / UK.


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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I removed side skirts, cleaned all dust off. I will wax sheetmetal and new fixings..


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Discussion Starter · #11 · (Edited)
Parts shipment #1 arrived

I choose not to buy cheap parts, but only quality brands which i know from my years of experience with different E46 cars.

Inspection 1 parts:
-Air filter (Mahle/Hengst)
-Cabin filter (BOSCH)
-Oil filter (Mahle)

And some extra stuff
- Wiper blades (BOSCH)
- AC belt tensioner (INA)
- Gasoline filter (MANN)
- Front stabilizer links (TRW)
- Beisan vanos seals
- Valve cover gasket + vanos gasket (ELRING)
- 1 used PDC sensor (Genuine BMW).
- Vanos piston bolts, intake manifold caps, vanos oil pipe washer (Genuine BMW).


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Discussion Starter · #15 · (Edited)
Amazing interior. Pretty piece, good luck and hope you will keep us informed about the maintenance. It is funny about these cars that no matter how enthusiastic the owner is and how much money and effort do we put in our E46s, there is still something to invest to. You said that two previous owners were enthusiasts and you have to do sway bar links, PDC sensor, VANOS, Valve cover gasket, DISA. I brought mine from Germany too, previous owners were diligent too, one of them flush 4600***8364; in it in one and a half year according to bills just before selling it and I keep spending more and more. As it was written somewhere here, maintaining this car is like keeping supermodel happy.
This car was so expensive i really dont have plans to rebuild it totally, just the most important things. Now i have bought most of the parts, first package from autodoc and second arrived yesterday from autohaus Pielmeier (Germany).
I have to consider later next year if i replace expansion tank just to be safe.
I know these cars will be expensive to keep top condition. Just 2 first weeks in this car ownership and i have over 1000eur spent in parts and different things.
Before i put this car for insurance next year i have to buy front tyres.
Little more money will be thrown..

Beautiful car, looks like you did well in the purchase. Very clean for any car but exceptional considering it was in the snowy areas. That interior, well there's just not enough words!
Thanks! It took 2 years to find rustfree and good E46 from Europe.
I really dont know how much this car was driven in wintertime in Germany.
3rd owner (the guy from Holland) said that car was not driven in wintertime 2013-2018. It was waxed and stored in heated garage.
I am sure he was car enthuasist, but maybe we are in different level. I agree that PDC sensor should be fixed, but for example he did not know what is DISA or Vanos. Most important thing for me was that the car was unmodified and really good condition from inside and paintwork too. He told me that he only drove approx 3000-4000kilometres / year 2013-2018. After summer, car was washed, waxed and stored in heated garage.

Car has been in Germany 2005-2013, and i dont know how much car was used in wintertime.
Winter in Germany is not so difficult for cars if you compare for example michigan state in us or Finland.
In my country (Finland), you can see in wintertime how salt is eating cars alive.

Yesterday arrived second parcel from Germany, genuine BMW parts from autohaus Pielmeier.

-New front kidneys (originals were broken, almost fell off when i open bonnet).
-New side repeaters LED model original
-Gas tank cap
-Bumper grill
-All new fixings for side sill trims
-New trunk BMW logo


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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
I really like your thread. We are in similar situation and we both think the same. It took me some time to find a good E46 as well. I had to go to Germany for mine too this summer and I did so because of minimum rust on cars from over there. Seller had even sent me pictures of undercarriage so I knew there were only few rust spots on rear trailer arms, carrier frame, and sway bars. In my country they love to salt roads abundantly and it takes usually just one winter to eat the car from the bottom, one can hear it chews. I have already treated rear fenders against rust as you can see in my thread:


Next week I plan to address these few rust spots and apply Fluid Film on whole undercarriage. Have you heard of it? Have a look on YouTube, there are some impressive reviews. I think it looks promising. I have also already bought a new expansion tank with radiator and water pump for peace of mind. As you can see we have a lot in common. One question, why are you replacing gas tank cap?
Yep i have been reading your progress and updates, thanks for posting nice story about your car :)
I am not so worried about rust because i think car is mostly rust free, and i have no plans to drive in winter. I will take coupe out from garage maybe late april or beginning of may 2019.
I have that 316i 1.8 2005 sedan for winter driving.
I am not familiar with fluid film, i have to read about it.
I replaced gas cap because that strap which is holding it was snapped.

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Discussion Starter · #19 · (Edited)
PDC Sensor replacement completed

There is quite lot of swirl marks in rear bumper as you can see. I have to do full machine polishing for this car, including rear bumper.
I removed rear BMW Badge, i have new genuine replacement. But that will be the last touch before car is completed.


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Discussion Starter · #23 · (Edited)
Wow...this is a true gem. Please keep it as clean as possible and keep us posted!
Yep, i will post updates
First, Welcome. Its great to see another BMW Individual on the site.
Second.... WOW! I was amazed at the first pics of the paint, then I saw the interior..... the stitched leather on the console! Then I saw the condition of the undercarriage and wheel wells. That is the nicest looking 330CI I have ever seen.
Thanks, i agree with you that there is not so many E46 with special interiors. Individual extended leathers are rare. Interior was one of the reasons why i bought this car.
Beautiful car. Was the trim painted in chrome black or is that genuine BMW shadowline trim (sorry if i missed it in description)
Trim around windows? Yep, it is "high gloss shadowline" .. original from factory.
Option list: S760A High Gloss Shadow Line

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Discussion Starter · #25 ·
Protection flap for reinforcement plate

Replaced rear diff oil, Teboil Hypoid 75W-90


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Discussion Starter · #27 · (Edited)
You will be probably the only one on this planet with the reinforcement brace protective flap:clap:I have no idea where all these flaps are going..to some protective flap´s heaven or something...tell me please You have been down there...is it possible to remove front fender liners without removing reinforcement brace?
I am 94% sure that this reinforcement plate flap is not installed in factory. Maybe it is accessory?

Rear parts of front fender liners go under reinforcement plate, you have to remove it. It is only 8x bolts, easy job..

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Discussion Starter · #28 · (Edited)
Paintwork correction is in progress. Left side is almost ready.
Some pictures from yesterday. Tomorrow i will do roof.

1 step:
Rupes LHR 15 Mark 2 & Meguairs MF-cut + Scholl S3 Gold XXL
Flex Rotary PE 14-250 & Chemical guys hex logic green + Scholl S3 Gold XXL

2 step:
Flex Rotary PE 14-250 & Chemical guys hex logic black + Scholl S30+ finishing compound


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Discussion Starter · #32 ·

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Discussion Starter · #33 · (Edited)
Right side sill installed
New genuine fixings.

Now it is ready for machine correction process.
I will attempt today or tomorrow with rotary machine.

Plan B: I will remove sill again. New paintwork solves all scratches..


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Discussion Starter · #36 · (Edited)
Big kudos to you. This car is an absolute gem and as I see it's in the right hands now. Also the option list is very impressive. Too bad Harman/Kardon sound setup was not selected along with the Becker Professional head unit. That would make it even more perfect.

Kind regards,
a jealous 325Ci M-Sport II Individual Carbon Black metallic owner :)
Unfortunately Harman/Kardon package is missing, also adaptive headlights would be cool option to have.

Awesome car and very interesting thread to read through. This special car definitely deserves the special care you're giving to it.
Thanks and i am happy to read that you are enjoying my work.

Yesterday 3h was quick gone when i installed left sill, and i did 2-step machine polishing for all swirls and scratches. This is not best picture, but it is now good. Money saving is istant, i dont need to pay for sill repainting.
Now car is almost complete when we speak about machine polishing. Rear bumper is only part that is not ready. After i complete rear bumper,i will wash car carefully and check if there is any holograms in the paintwork.


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Discussion Starter · #37 ·
Front bumper + some extra parts are going to my local car paintshop next week.
I hope colour match will be good.

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Discussion Starter · #39 ·
Power folding mirrors would be nice to have for me. On the other hand, I don't mind not having any kind of navigation system. Sometimes I have a hard time figuring out why certain option combinations were selected at the time of purchase. For instance, I have H/K from the factory but with a basic cassette tape deck. (Siemens/VDO I believe, which outputs sound, but does it in an inferior way compared to Alpine, or not to mention a high-end Becker, which should be the designated head-unit for this sound setup)

Were those sills tricky to remove? Did you follow some guide on that?
Luckily my car has powerfold mirrors, my garage door is so narrow it is impossible to drive E46 coupe inside without folding mirrors. E46 sedan fits perfectly with mirrors open. Coupe is so much wider compared to sedan.

It is so strange when you think about E46 options. What buyers have been thinking in 2005. For example: My car has Full loaded navigation system.. with CASSETTE deck under screen.. WTF. And there is no CD-Changer in boot.
Also throw money lot for extended individual interior with walknappa leather but again.. no harman/kardons?.

Side sills are easy to remove.

1. Take black rivets off from bottom part of sill.
2. Then you grap one end of sill, front or rear you decide and just pull directly away from car. It pops off from fixings. There is 11 white fixings in the car body which holds side sill in its place, + 1 different in the rear part of sill.

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Discussion Starter · #41 ·
Are you doing/will you be doing some retrofitting or keep it 100% true to VIN?

Good to see another maniac. :) I also bought a genuine replacement as I could not stand not having it on.

Great, I will give them a good cleaning once the car is off of its wintertime sleep.
I have no plans to do any tuning / retrofits for this car.
I think it will keep its value best 100% original.
Maybe i am too old for tuning..

Yesterday i took small video from left front fender.
This is the first panel which is finished with S30+ scholl compound + black quantum hex pad + Rupes LHR 15 Mk2.

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