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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
This thread is a place for me to document any work I do on my 2000 323Ci. We purchased the car in late 2014 and have used it as a daily driver since. I've been interested in BMWs since growing up with my father's '97 328is, and knew that I would find my way into one someday.

My first car was a 1987 Thunderbird Turbo Coupe that I rebuilt with my father and brother. That car was a great experience, but I came across the E46 and sold the Thunderbird. The E46 had about 230,000 miles on it when it came under our ownership, but it came with service records dating back to 3,000 miles and all the original documentation which was amazing.

Here are some pics from when we first brought it home back in 2014. It has sport and premium package, and had a spoiler installed on it that looks pretty nice.





At first it was a good amount of cleaning to make acceptable for our standards, but it eventually got there. As the miles started racking up, we slowly replaced the entire cooling system and a few other preventative items. Luckily the previous owner installed Bilstein HDs all around along with Meyle HD control arms so the suspension was good for a while.

In 2015 I found a set of style 68s that came as a option for winter wheels for the M3. These retained the "square" size setup but had a different offset for the rear wheels which was pretty cool.



And that is pretty much how I drove the car up until today.
 

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Formerly Snox400
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Car is looking great inside and out! Especially given the mileage. I like how you've retained the stock look, too.
 

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OEM ///PLUS
2003 M3 6MT Slicktop
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looks pretty clean still. is that Steel Blue? wow, so it had 230,000 miles on it four years ago..what does it have now?

my original 2000 323Ci was steel Blue, great car. I swapped the ambers to clear all the way around. i think clears look great on Steel Blue.
 

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Discussion Starter #7 (Edited)
looks pretty clean still. is that Steel Blue? wow, so it had 230,000 miles on it four years ago..what does it have now?

my original 2000 323Ci was steel Blue, great car. I swapped the ambers to clear all the way around. i think clears look great on Steel Blue.
(if youre curious how it looks click on the left in VIEW MY GARAGE)


Yeah it was very well kept by the previous owner over the years. It is Steel Blue. It's got about 249,000 miles on it now but is still my daily driver while I'm going to college right now. It's still on the original clutch which is amazing.

I've actually been on the forums for a while now and have seen your 323Ci, it was pretty cool. You have a really nice M3! I hope to get one someday!


Sent from my iPhone using E46Fanatics mobile app
 

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Discussion Starter #9 (Edited)
A couple years ago I un-buffered my temperature gauge and noticed that my radiator fan was soft failing in the low speed range. Instead of spending $300+ for a new replacement fan, I decided to grab an auxillary fan from an automatic car from the junkyard and wired it up in front of my radiator with a fuse and relay along with a switch. Now when I am in heavy traffic and the main radiator fan doesn't want to turn on low speed this should take care of any issues. Should also help keep the A/C blowing colder with more air flow through the condenser.


Jacked it up in the garage.


Pulled the bumper off.


Fan installed.
 

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Discussion Starter #12 (Edited)
Got some parts in today. Noticed that my sway bar end links were freely moving around so ordered Meyle HD links from FCP. Also saw that the large rear differential bushing had some cracking which may have been contributing to my rear "thud" when releasing the clutch quicker than usual. So I ordered the Powerflex diff bushing since I have had good experiences with their products in the past.



 

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Discussion Starter #13 (Edited)
Swapped out the end links this afternoon.

Old:


New installed:


Still have a clunk when going over bumps at low speed. I can especially hear it when slowly leaving my driveway. I'll have to take the wheels off again tomorrow to check everything once more.
 

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OEM ///PLUS
2003 M3 6MT Slicktop
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nice work.
it***8217;s hard to tell from photo but are your Bilsteins fully seated down into the steering knuckle?

also make sure the nuts on endlinks are tight. I always touch them again with a wrench after a few miles.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
So I jacked the car up again and checked all the swaybar/endlink bolts/nuts. I was able to get about a quarter turn on the endlink nut but the clunk remains. I have a hunch it is my front strut mounts since they are about 70,000 miles old and I do occasionally hear creaking when I get out of the car.

Also took the engine belly pan off and took a peek at the bottom of the engine since I last did an oil change (roughly 3,500 miles) and was pretty impressed with the cleanliness of it. I really can't ask for much more with close to 250,000 miles on the car.

Under engine:


Also while I was under the car I decided to spray down the nuts/studs on the catback exhaust flange with penetrating oil to make them easier to get off when I do the giubo and diff bushing.


And this morning I went to Caffeine and Octane with my brother and father. My dad's E46 M3 vert is on the left, brother's E36 M3 is in the center and mine is on the right. It was a great day for the show and saw some really awesome cars!
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Today I was able to get the new giubo installed, it went fairly smoothly.

Car jacked up:


Exhaust stud nuts removed and exhaust removed:




With the exhaust removed there is a good amount of room to work with:


Marked up the CSB so I know the pre-load it needs, and removed the old giubo:




Old vs. New


Bolted everything back up and had to hold the torque wrench at an interesting angle but was able to get everything tightened down to spec:


All done!


I left the exhaust off so I could change the rear diff bushing tomorrow...
 

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Discussion Starter #18
I was able to drop the differential out today. It really wasn't that bad to do, but was definitely grateful to have my dad there to help me lower it out of the car since it is so heavy.

Differential out:


The front diff bushings still looked pretty good so they will stay for now:


The rear bushing was definitely in need of replacement:




Here is a quick video showing how much the old bushing moves with just my hand applying force:
https://youtu.be/KTjcsnxFgsQ

After various attempts at trying to get the old bushing out, my dad and I went to Home Depot and put together a puller that hopefully should get it out. I'll be trying it out in the morning, so hopefully it works!

Failed attempt to remove bushing:
 

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Discussion Starter #19 (Edited)
So after a few trips to Home Depot, all home made tools broke when compressed on the bushing. Rather than chance getting hurt with tools flying around under the car, we rented the ball joint/u-joint puller tool from our local AutoZone. In combination with a plate from our Harbor Freight brake caliper piston push-back tool, we were able to easily push the bushing out from the driver side of the car. I had also sprayed the bushing down with penetrating oil about 3 different times, so the bushing slid out with minimal effort.

The home made tool that broke :facepalm:


The caliper push back tool that fit the old bushing:


The loaned tool:


The old bushing vs. new Powerflex bushing:


I also pressure washed the diff, but it was still filthy:


New bushing installed:




And back in it goes!


Just pulling the car out of the driveway was a completely different experience. I used to get a loud "thud" as I engaged the clutch in 1st, 2nd, and occasionally 3rd gear. Now as I release the clutch the revs simply drop smoothly and driving in general is a much more enjoyable experience. Before, I could not rev match smoothly. But not I have no issue with high rpm rev match downshifts. Also, accelerating off the line to keep up with traffic has become much easier and enjoyable since I no longer have to feather the clutch at the biting point to make the shifts smoother.

Overall, I cannot believe that I did not do this 3 years ago. The car truly feels like it should and is now the ultimate daily driver :woot:
 
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