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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey all, just wondering what the best first upgrades/mods for an '04 325i would be? Looking to spend a few thousand in total on everything. No mechanical issues as of now, everything working properly.

Already have new rims so that's one box checked off :woot:

(Also looking more for name-brand, trusted companies, not just generic "ebay headers" or etc.)
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Any suggested suspensions? Live in a pretty hilly city and scrape as is if not careful on steep hills. Still want to drop it a bit though :p
 

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Any suggested suspensions? Live in a pretty hilly city and scrape as is if not careful on steep hills. Still want to drop it a bit though :p
First mod. Cooling system refresh..

The car come with a sport package?
If not, the OEM sport package will lower it slightly and firm things up.

330 brake swap and good pads and rotors.

Roll bars.
 

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2004 325i automagic
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You are already scraping bottom and want to go lower?? Does it have the regular or the sport suspension right now? The sport suspensiob is a little lower than regular by half an inch or so, so that might be an option if you don't want to go too low. Find a set of good junkyard sport springs for $100 total, then get a set of Bilsteins, new mounts and bushings (fcab, rtab, and sway bar bushings at a minimum)

If this car is new to you, catch up on deferred maintenance first. The cooling system in particular, as it will blow the headgasket if you let it overheat. A friend of mine needs an engine swap because of an overheat on a 03 325i with 170k.

Also, practically speaking headers and intakes won't give you much extra power. You need to go forced induction (turbo or supercharger) to see any real gains.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
First mod. Cooling system refresh..

The car come with a sport package?
If not, the OEM sport package will lower it slightly and firm things up.

330 brake swap and good pads and rotors.

Roll bars.
Will definitely do the refresh. Everything is basically stock, no sport package. Only current mods include new rims/angel eyes.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
You are already scraping bottom and want to go lower?? Does it have the regular or the sport suspension right now? The sport suspensiob is a little lower than regular by half an inch or so, so that might be an option if you don't want to go too low. Find a set of good junkyard sport springs for $100 total, then get a set of Bilsteins, new mounts and bushings (fcab, rtab, and sway bar bushings at a minimum)

If this car is new to you, catch up on deferred maintenance first. The cooling system in particular, as it will blow the headgasket if you let it overheat. A friend of mine needs an engine swap because of an overheat on a 03 325i with 170k.

Also, practically speaking headers and intakes won't give you much extra power. You need to go forced induction (turbo or supercharger) to see any real gains.
It only scrapes very minimally on the real steep hills if accelerating too fast, go slowly and you're fine. Just thought it would be good to add. The gap between the tires and fenders is just god awful currently with the reg suspension, I just want some remedy. Was thinking an inch maximum for lowered springs.

I've driven this for a few a little while now, my brother had it before me until I bought it off him, so I know its history/issues from the past few years. I make sure to check fluid regularly, but a coolant refresh might be in order soon.
 

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OP,you live in PA, and as mentioned, if you go lower, you'll scrape even more. I live in NJ and the stock height will make it nice when you need to get through snow, over a pitted street, or a speed bump.

Think of it as the nicest tank you'll ever drive.

Cooling system first, pulleys, belts, clean icv and tb, replace vac hoses, control arm bushings, motor/trans mounts, guibo, csb, trans and diff fluids...then drop it as low as you'd like. :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
OP,you live in PA, and as mentioned, if you go lower, you'll scrape even more. I live in NJ and the stock height will make it nice when you need to get through snow, over a pitted street, or a speed bump.

Think of it as the nicest tank you'll ever drive.

Cooling system first, pulleys, belts, clean icv and tb, replace vac hoses, control arm bushings, motor/trans mounts, guibo, csb, trans and diff fluids...then drop it as low as you'd like. :)
Yeah, PA is not the kindest place for some car mods, but woe is me. Belts are pretty new (a year or so), but god knows how old the tranny and diff fluds are...
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Side note, been looking for a decent muffler that doesn't cost an arm and a leg, and won't make me sound like the local douchebag constantly. Something throaty /loud at high rpms, but won't get the cops on your tail just driving normally. I've looked around on other threads, but everyone suggests either real expensive or sketchy ebay ones. Just want something reasonable and cost-efficient.

And yes I've contemplated a delete, but I'd prefer passing inspection. :D
 

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Side note, been looking for a decent muffler that doesn't cost an arm and a leg, and won't make me sound like the local douchebag constantly. Something throaty /loud at high rpms, but won't get the cops on your tail just driving normally. I've looked around on other threads, but everyone suggests either real expensive or sketchy ebay ones. Just want something reasonable and cost-efficient.

And yes I've contemplated a delete, but I'd prefer passing inspection. :D
Browse the classifieds here or look around online for an E46 ZHP Muffler. Sounds great while keeping things quiet.
 

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Trust me, you're putting the horse before the carriage. You're going to need maintaince work like VCG, OFHG, Fuel Pump, Fuel Filter, cooling system and vacuum hoses sooner than you think. I predict that your first lean codes will appear before Spring arrives and you better plan ahead.
 

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2003 M3 6MT Slicktop
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Stance it :thumbup:

go hella flush
 

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Trust me, you're putting the horse before the carriage. You're going to need maintaince work like VCG, OFHG, Fuel Pump, Fuel Filter, cooling system and vacuum hoses sooner than you think. I predict that your first lean codes will appear before Spring arrives and you better plan ahead.
Yep.
Lots of things end up going undone on cheap e46s. All of which should be done before mods.
 

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And a lot of lights on the underside so it looks like it's a spacecraft.
It was Halloween and I thought it would look cool. I wouldn't have thought I'd love it as much as I did, but it's held on well for almost 6 years now. All you need is an LED christmas light rope and some gorilla tape.

The ladies are asking me about it all the time...then they notice my green tires.
 

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2004 325i automagic
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Lol ... hey partecon ... don't take things the wrong way. No one is sayin don't mod the car, just that as a first step you really should make it reliable. Especially the cooling system which is major weakness that ruins motors if they overheat.
 

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It only scrapes very minimally on the real steep hills if accelerating too fast, go slowly and you're fine. Just thought it would be good to add. The gap between the tires and fenders is just god awful currently with the reg suspension, I just want some remedy. Was thinking an inch maximum for lowered springs.

I've driven this for a few a little while now, my brother had it before me until I bought it off him, so I know its history/issues from the past few years. I make sure to check fluid regularly, but a coolant refresh might be in order soon.
Just saw this post. The sport suspension is less than an inch lower than regular, but can't remember offhand. It might he close to half an inch. It still retains the ability to go over speed bumps and into driveways without worrying while still improving handling. (Sport has 17inch rims, non-sport has 16 inch rims.) It sounds like you want just a little bit lower than that.

Maybe check out some of the threads in the suspension forum. Also, to find info here, its best to do a Google search and add the site search tag at the end ("site:e46fanatics.com").
This might also be a good time to check around the rear subframe for cracks in the chassis, especially if the car has been driven hard.

Btw, are you doing your own work, or paying a shop?
 
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