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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
***** Edit This has now turned into a Build/Repair Journal, see below for the cars journey.

Help me decide what I should do with my new project.

A little overview. I picked up a 2002 Japan Red on Gray leather interior touring a couple of days ago with a bad transmission. It is a very low optioned car, no auto headlights, no cold weather package, no sport package, etc, but it does have a sunroof.

Interior:
Very nice gray, the issues are the front comfort seats are heavily cracked, they havent started splitting but still cracked. The center arm rest is in a similar fashion. Upholstery is loose from the A & B-pillar covers. Asides from those items very nice otherwise.













Exterior:
Overall in ok shape. Paint is still bright, with no clear coat delamination issues on the physical car itself.












Numerous rock chips and dings on the hood, some poorly touched up with touch up paint.






LH mirror cap clear coat peeling, RH mirror cap in primer.




RH rocker panel cover heavily scratched.






RR lower D-Pillar had a dent and then someone tried to PDR it and it was a very poor attempt. Unable to photogrpah.

Normal scratches and dings on front and rear bumpers.






LH doors and LR wheel well have a prett good scrap/dent just above the belt moulding. It still has some transger scuffs, but the paint is still intact.










Driveline:
Engine seems healthy, I have driven it around the block. Needs a Valve cover gskt and Vanos Oil Supply Hose. There is a coolant leak from the radiator or expansion tank, but I have not investigated further. Final drive seems solid, needs a rear bushing.

Suspension:
Control arm bushings and steering rack coupler have a little bit of play. Shocks and struts seem solid, no bearing noises on my short test drive. Brakes are good.

The transmission is junk. It has a gear monitoring fault and a torque converter fault and is making a noise. I initially got the car and it was in failsafe. I cleared all the faults and checked the trans fluid level, it was 1.5L low. I topped it up and test drove it. It drove ok for a mile or two then went into failsafe again. Returned codes for Gear Monitoring 4 and the Torque Converter.

So here's my dilema. I had originally bought the car with the idea my wife would drive it and we would S54 swap her '00 323iT, but she likes the black on black more than red on gray. And now I'm not sure if I am going to keep the car or sell it.

So here are my options:
1. Fix and leave auto, I have a 5HP19, but it has the wrong Torque Converter, I was hoping that the T/C in this car would be ok, but that is not the case.
a. Buy used transmission and replace
b. Buy new remanufactured torque converter and install with my current 5HP19
2. Swap a Getrag 5spd into the car and convert to manual
3. Swap complete S54 driveline/suspension

My concerns with the car are that exterior cosmetics are just not where I think they should be to get full value of a S54 swap or am I wrong? 5spd swap would be more valuable, but if I sell it I'm not sure it is worth my time to swap it vs just fixing the auto.

What is the opinion of the Forum?

Thanks!
 

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Seems like the most cost efficient path is the new TC in the transmission you have. I, too, am not impressed with the red and grey, and I agree that the cosmetics issues just don***8217;t lend themselves to a full S54 swap. My goal would be to fix it as inexpensively as possible and sell it on while looking for a more likely S54 candidate.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks for the opinions. I just love tourings, there are presently (5) at my place right now and no two are alike in color or drivetrain options. I'm always looking for a fun project.

As I wrote that post this morning I decided installing a new TC into my spare trans made the most sense. I posted anyways to see what the other enthusiasts thought too.

But it is already done now and drives great.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Well, I guess this is now a build/repair journal.

This car has a ZF 5HP19 transmission installed. I already had another 5HP19 out of my other 323iT (that I converted to 6spd https://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthread.php?t=1195513). Comparing part numbers I found them to be different, but both being 5HP19s I wasnt sure what would change in 2yrs of manufacturing. After consulting the ETK all individual part numbers are the same between the two transmissions except the Torque Converters (TC). I have a contact with ZF and he told me the 323iT TC is a single disc lock-up and the 325iT has a dual disc lock-up. We determined with the correct TC my 323iT transmission should work properly. Another plus is that while I don't have any documentation in my receipts from the 323iT the transmission has been rebuilt by ZF in the past as it has a ZF Remanufactured tag on the case.

I pulled the faulty transmission and needed to remove the torque converter to get the model number off of the original TC. It was loose but I could not get it out of the front pump. I ended up chaining the trans to my lift and slide hammering the TC out. Upon removal I found the TC had seized itself to the front pump bushing.








A new remanufactured TC was sourced from Transtar and installed into my good 5HP19.




I flushed out the trans cooler lines as best as possible and installed the transmission. The original Guibo/Flex disc was trashed, absolutely junk. I had a good one on hand and installed it when I went back together.




Once the transmission was installed I corrected the fluid level with Pentosin ATF1 (NOT LV). According to my ZF guy this is the only true replacement fluid that is not ZF branded.

https://www.amazon.com/Pentosin-Long-Life-Fully-Synthetic-1058206/dp/B00JMAQ0LW


With everything back together and fluid level corrected, I reset adaptations and cleared fault memory. I gave it a short test drive and everything is shifting as it's designed. Due to the extent of the repair I wanted to let the car cool down and double check the fluid level before and extended test drive.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
After verifying the correct transmission fluid level I’ve put about 40-50 miles on the car and even though there are some underlying issues it drives very well, so well I almost like driving it better than my 323iT. But now that I know the transmission is sorted I need to look at the other things.

Here’s the first round of parts getting installed:
Control arm bushings, driveshaft center support bearing, radiator expansion tank (and transmission cooler t-stat if necessary), vanos oil supply hose and valve cover gasket




Control arm bushings are junk.




Valve cover gasket done, engine is very clean inside for 159xxx miles.




Rad exp tank had a pretty good crack in it.




At the bottom of the expansion tank is the transmission cooler thermostat. For some reason the housing that holds the top half almost always breaks when the tank is removed. So, with that in mind I had pre-purchased a tstat just in case. In this case someone had previously broken then tstat and then didn’t replace it. I’ve seen cars that have had no tstat in them, but this is a first for one that is broken in half and left in there. I wonder if this had something to do with the transmission failure? There was also stop leak in the cooling system. I ended up removing the trans cooler to fully drain the radiator and then then engine block coolant drain plug. I’ll flush the system a time or two more to try to get all of the green antifreeze and stop leak out of the system.








Next, is the steering shaft coupler. The steering shaft and the steering rack are connected via a rubber disc, the rubber disc is riveted to the opposing parts. Overtime the holes in the rubber disc where the rivets pass through get loose and this allows a “dead” spot in the steering. In my opinion this is one of the biggest things that can be affect the driving experience with a higher mileage E46. It is hard to photograph but I tried twisting it and you can see some slight deflection, this has a huge effect on the steering.






And now I am waiting on parts. Hopefully Monday I will have the differential bushings so I can get those replaced and then replace the driveshaft bearing.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
More progress.

All (3) differential mounting bushings were severely deteriorated causing a heavy clunk when shifting into gears.










And when I had the driveshaft down I had noticed the center support bearingrubber was tearing. I pulled the driveshaft apart and replaced the CSB assembly.






Only a few items left to address, but this car really does drive nice, I think I might like it better than my gray wagon, lol.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
After getting the driveline sorted I started putting miles on it to correct any other issues.

There was an additional oil leak from the LH side of the engine. A closer inspection found the drain hose off of the crankcase vent valve had a faulty a pinched o-ring and the was dry rot cracked.






Also observed a slight vibration when braking, I figured it had a bit of brake pad transfer from sitting and a light resurfacing cleaned that up.




The A/C felt just a bit weak during these 100*+ Texas days. Turns out it was about a half pound low of refrigerant. Charged to spec and blowing cold.




During the last test drive the CEL came on. Pulled codes and it had a fault for the intake cam sensor. Removing the cam sensor showed it to be an aftermarket sensor and the insulation from the wiring had failed.




And that pretty much brings us to today. My part of this story has ended and with a happy ending at that. After I picked up the red wagon the previous owner and I stayed in contact, at first to give advice about his E92, but as the time went on I also kept him updated with his red wagon and we eventually made a deal for him to "purchase" it back from me. Sentimental value was high with this car and I can definitely see why as I had already made up my mind to keep it if he ended up not taking it back. The car left this morning, back to its old family and I'm thrilled they will get to enjoy the car for many more miles to come.
 

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Nice to see it go back where it came from. Sounds like the owner needed to find the right person to help them care for the car and now they have.

Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-G930A using Tapatalk
 

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It is with a heavy heart that I type this, but early this year Mark, who bought the wagon back, unexpectedly passed away. I'm not sure how many miles they have since put on the car, but I would expect it to be not many. I do know that around November Mark replaced all (6) coils, but otherwise I don't think anything has changed since the last time I saw it. His family is now making plans to sell the car, If anyone is interested in the car it is located in San Antonio, Tx and the asking price is $3500. Please contact me through email and I will put you in touch with the family
 

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Sorry to hear about your friend, George.

Sounds like a great car. Hopefully someone on her will do it right.

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