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Discussion Starter #1
I guess I should introduce myself first. I am a Portland Oregon resident, and a car fanatic. I have a couple of pretty cool builds in my past and have always been a fan of the e46 cars, especially the M cars. I have owned a few bmw's over the years, 2004 545i manual trans and a 2008 135i manual. Both great cars but just drivers, not project cars.

I fell into this project so Ill start at the beginning.

I got into track days and autocross about a year ago when I finished a build on a 1968 F100. Its a fun truck and plenty fast, but I am not really interested in taking it out on wet days or racking up hundreds of miles on it as its pretty aggressive. 2014 Coyote motor, full custom suspension build with Crown Vic front, 3 link rear, 6 speed manual trans, 14" GT500 brakes and 18x11 Rushforths on all 4 corners.





So I am fresh home from SEMA and the Optima Inviational and a buddy of mine wads his e46 m3 up into another car. Mind you this is just weeks after we installed EURO spec headers on it and literally 5 miles from the shop that he had put on all new brakes, AFE Cold air intake and a tune.

We went and looked at the car at the wrecking yard, they totalled it and it was pretty bad. Damage was all to the passenger front, headlight, fender, inner fender, A pillar but we really did not know what the extent of the damage was.

So being kind of excited, I bought it back from the insurance company and a few weeks later, I ended up with this in my driveway.









My first plan was to fix it....so I pulled the front suspension apart and order up some new parts to at least make it a roller. This was the first day of the car being at my house.





So I got some new parts under neath it on the following Saturday, day 2 and rolled it into my little shop. Its 20x35 and not big by any stretch so this will be a tight fit with my other projects going at the same time......I work a full time job still thats 50 to 60 hours a week on a normal week. No kids, just a great wife.

_a_
 

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Discussion Starter #2
So once I got it inside the shop and we really got to looking at it, the car was pretty badly damaged....my initial idea was to repair and turn into a cheap track day toy.

The car is in great shape, has been well maintained and only has a tick over 100k miles on it.

I had a buddy look at it and he confirmed my thoughts.....its not worth fixing. Come to find out when we were tearing it apart, the passenger floor was also buckled and the passenger sill plate was buckled as well, it would have been a major undertaking to get the coupe straight.

So the call was made to tear it apart on Sunday after a day of staring at it and getting my ducks in a row as I really was not prepared for this much of a project right now.

I began with the obvious but took everything from the M car, bagged and tagged it all, from the clips, nuts and bolts to the door locks and pedal assembly. Here are a few cool photos of the M car getting broken down to just a shell.















I didnt take many photos after this, but we removed everything including the dash bar, airbags and necessary wiring, entire fuel system was removed as well.



Rolled the shell out of the shop to make some room for the next project. Total time for tear down of the M car was about 5 days and that was figuring out a few things just out of curiosity.

 

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Discussion Starter #3 (Edited)
So that brings us up to what to do with all this cool stuff...we I tell you, we build a station wagon!!!

So I found this little gem about 4 hours from me and made a quick trip to pick it up. Motor was in need of a ton of help and it had some serious leak issues but other than a little banged up drivers side fender it was in great shape, all original paint and fairly clean.

2000 323i



I had about an hour of just staring at it wondering if I was really going to tear apart this running and driving car and add to my already massive mess from the M3.....that didnt last long and tear down number two had begun.





Now with this car there was a lot more attention to detail as I need things clean and like new. I chose to clean when I got tired of working with the tools and its a great mental break for me.

Before...



After a little cleaning.



Engine bay mostly cleaned up and non essential items removed. The entire drivers side wheelwell was covered in power steering fluid, inside and out, I was pretty happy with how nice this cleaned up for having 200k miles on it.



So with the engine on the stand, I got to cleaning that up and getting ready to drop it into the cleaned up engine bay. An evening of cleaning and scrubbing with the buddy netted me with a nice clean s54. I also swapped back on the factory exhaust manifolds as I want this to be able to pass emissions anywhere it goes. So all new gaskets and the factory exhaust manifolds went on at this time as well. Subframe and rack were removed and cleaned and inspected, new motor mounts went on at this time as well.





And then this happened and slowed down my progress.



I think at this point its been about 10 days since I first brought the M car home.

:D
 

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Discussion Starter #8
guys stop posting S54 E46 wagon.. now touring is getting more expensive by the day :p
I know of two more just in Portland that are being built right now.....do it. :D

Need to keep my wife from finding this thread..
Funny you say that, mine came out in the garage last week and checked out the progress and said....."I would drive this" Keep in mind she is spoiled, has had a couple wrx's, 135i, Trailblazer ss and a few hot rods too.

Great read so far...I like where this is going
Thanks

Very nice!
Thank you!!! Ill try and keep it updated as I move along.

We will call this the next chapter in my little project. SO with the engine bay all cleaned up, new motor mounts and a pretty good idea of what hoses and stuff I needed, I stuffed that beauty of an engine in its new home. Its a tight fit but really fit like a glove. I transfered over all of the M cars heat shields, hoses and such as well. I opted to go for the factory looking appearance of the engine bay for the most part so I kept the coolant reservoir and secondary air pump in place and operational, this required the fabrication of a new bracket as the wagon did not have the provisions for it and I was not willing to weld on that nice engine bay.



SO with that in place, we needed to do more cleaning and lots of it. I spent a night or two crawling around in the fenders of this thing and although this is not a restorataion, I am a bit OCD when it comes to cleanliness so a lot of dirty work happened.

Before....



After a few hours of cleaning, the front inner fenders were all cleaned up and looking pretty good.



And apparently I missed a bunch of photo opportunities. We pulled the rearend from the 3 series and swapped the entire tank from the M3, it was just easier and gave me an opportunity to clean the tank, run all of the lines from the M3 front to back for the fuel system and all that. The tanks were exactly the same by the way.

So that meant some more cleaning on the back of the car.



We swapped in the M rear shocks at this time as well....what a major pain in the ass.

I disassembled the entire rear suspension, inspected all the bushings, cleaned and reassembled getting ready to bolt it in its new home.





And just like that, an M3 rear everything into the old girl.






I then moved onto the front suspension in hopes that I can keep everything from the M. My calculations show the track width difference WMS to WMS of 20mm per side so I think I can push it and make it work with some interesting offsets front and rear.

New lower control arms, control arm bushings, sway bar end links, inner and outer tie rod ends and steering rack boots and clamps and in she goes, the wrecked car had literally brand new rotors and pads on it when I got it...they had maybe 10 miles on them and braided stainless brake lines as well, so those all got swapped onto the wagon.



From the pics, it looks like I have some more cleaning to do on those brake dust shields.



Just out of curiosity I bolted on the M wheels just to see how bad it would be and measure up for wheels and it honestly isnt terrible.

 

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Hackster - nice build - I love to see time taken to clean things up.

All of these swap threads are starting to create a huge problem for me. Damn it.
 

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Nice work! I was on board for a swap in my last Touring due to oil consumption issues, but had backed off now that I'm in a newer, lower mileage car without oil issues. This, and all the others, really puts the bug back in my mind. This is definitely the right way to do it, with a complete donor. Maybe some day.

As for the wife aspect, a friend of my wife has been drooling over my Tourings for a while, and would definitely be into it even more with the swap. We all have gas in our blood, though. My wife has a 2008 GTI with a 6 speed, her friend has been driving an Audi TT recently, and her husband has had several Audi S4s and an RS4.
 

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Awesome stuff. My wagon got swapped at Rohm Innovations in Portland and currently have it back home in Seattle with the M3 front end going on now. Looking forward to more pictures. Would be cool to get all the local PNW S54 tourings together one day.
 

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You sir are what I aspire to be. Need to let us know when you bring it to Fontana and I'll be there
 

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Discussion Starter #19
when swap is completed can you do a DIY on wiring for us peasants lol.
I can probably put something together, the biggest issue is the differences between the cars. For instance, my car was a 2000, it was drive by cable throttle and an automatic, so that meant not only did I have to wire in the electronic accelerator pedal, I also had to add in a clutch safety switch and make the modifications to where the pins landed on the M3 ecu. None of which was hard by the way, its just work.

Wow. Thing is clean.
Haha...it certainly did not start out that way though...thanks.

Great build thread! Very thorough!


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Thanks

No kidding! :D
Thank you

Hackster - nice build - I love to see time taken to clean things up.

All of these swap threads are starting to create a huge problem for me. Damn it.
I really wish I would have had more time to tear apart the rear suspension and blast the aluminum and powdercoat the parts but this is a low key quick build and the time just was not there

Nice work! I was on board for a swap in my last Touring due to oil consumption issues, but had backed off now that I'm in a newer, lower mileage car without oil issues. This, and all the others, really puts the bug back in my mind. This is definitely the right way to do it, with a complete donor. Maybe some day.

As for the wife aspect, a friend of my wife has been drooling over my Tourings for a while, and would definitely be into it even more with the swap. We all have gas in our blood, though. My wife has a 2008 GTI with a 6 speed, her friend has been driving an Audi TT recently, and her husband has had several Audi S4s and an RS4.
Do it!!!!:D

Awesome stuff. My wagon got swapped at Rohm Innovations in Portland and currently have it back home in Seattle with the M3 front end going on now. Looking forward to more pictures. Would be cool to get all the local PNW S54 tourings together one day.
Nice, Rohm had done the work to the car the day of the wreck. Pay close attention to front wheel offset if you are using all of the M stuff on the front of the car like I have. It widens the track by 20mm per side so you will need to run wheels with some pretty serious offset. You can make an 8" wheel with a ET42 work on the front, but will need to roll the fenders. I now have some 18x8.5" front wheels with 245/40/18 tires on the front with an ET48 and they are darn near perfect with the wider track width of the M stuff.

I know of at least 2 more M swapped wagons getting built right now in Portland alone

:drool: incredible work. I love threads like these
Appreciate the kind words, its a fun little project.

You sir are what I aspire to be. Need to let us know when you bring it to Fontana and I'll be there
Thank you, this one is pretty easy, its just work but the other projects have been way more intense.

I traveled all over last year for the Optima events and it was a ton of work. I made it to four events, ThunderHill, Las Vegas, Fontana and Vegas for the Invitational and not only was it expensive, it was a lot of time and dedication away from work and Family.

Not sure I am going to run in that series again but probably get more involved in SCCA locally and hit some NorCal events.

Sean
 

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Alright, time for a little update. let me see where I left off on this.

I was able to swap out the entire core support items from the M3 to the 323 core support. So for those of you learning here.....yes you can use your stock wagon core support and put all of the M bits onto it. A bunch more cleaning and it went on like it should have.

I am running the M everything, power steering cooler, oil cooler and ducting, radiator, coolant reservoir, vent line and everything. Also you can see the AFE Cold Air intake on the car as well, it was on there when I got it from my buddy and I figured what the hell.



I wanted to get an idea of what my front suspension situation was going to be so we dropped it on the ground with the M wheels and tires...two of them are hammered from the wreck and I am not a stanced guy so the rear was just temporary. This is an 8" wheel with an et42 on the front and entire M front suspension, subframe, upper strut mounts and all. It widens the track by about 20mm per side.



So then I got to swapping out the remaining of the wiring, this is the harness that runs over to the O2 sensors, EGT sensor and has the automatic transmission harness in it. I removed it in its entirety.



There was some items in here that were not plug and play unfortunately. This is where having the donor car was awesome. I was able to take the female ends from the M3 and essentially make a jumper wire so none of the wiring on the Wagon was cut.

I spent a few evenings in this box making it look better than factory.



There are a few wires in the 60004 connector that are going to be removed. For those wires, I removed them from their original harness location, labeled them with where they originally were in case they need to be worked on later.



Each of those wires were folded back and zip tied nice and tidy for future use.

The timing could not have been much better. I got this in the mail from Jim the same day and got right to work putting it in with the new harness and modifications needed. Jim was great to work with on this, he is a wealth of knowledge and we ran through a couple of different wiring bugs on my particular car. I think we ironed it out though.

SO quick plug for Jim at Kassel Performance.



All wiring in ecu box buttoned up, every wire is terminated and in its correct location, the extra white plug is for the DME Fan, which I believe is controlled by the car, not the ECU. If that is determined to be different, I will hook that up.



Onto more less exciting stuff but its work that needs to be done. The M car heat shields were used as I wanted to maintain the theme of all of the M stuff, including the underbody aero items, that hook into these heat shields, not to mention they are quite a bit more heavy duty than that 323i ones.

After an hour or so of cleaning and a little time with a hammer and dolly to get them back super straight.



I got the M3 driveline installed with all factory hardware, then the heat shields and got to more cleaning.

Exhaust all got cleaned, the wire brushed and hit with a scotch brite pad, front to rear...I know that nobody is going to see it but its out, why not clean it up??



So the exhaust all got installed with the exception of the rear muffler....still working on that but have a resolution planned.

I then finished the under dash stuff, wiring in the clutch to the EWS box, finishing the wiring for the accelerator pedal under the dash and got the upper panel trimmed out and fitted. I know the seat and carpet are less than stellar....Ill get to that soon enough.

Cluster was programmed by Kassell as well and reflects cars actual mileage. Pretty cool huh?





I had a little extra time and could not stand that giant silver cover for the intake, not to mention, This is the kind of stuff that passes for quality control with some of these companies.



Now that is better!!



A bit of VHT Wrinkle paint on it and a bunch of heat and the end result looks excellent and almost OEM.





I should be able to update some more in the next few days.

Sean
 
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