E46 Fanatics Forum banner

New to me, here, 2002 330i

437 Views 13 Replies 7 Participants Last post by  Stück
No stranger to BMW's, I've had more than I can count off hand. Mostly a E30 guy at heart, but getting too old to consider driving one as a daily anymore. Recently sold my F90 M5 and needed something cheap to toss about and subject to daily driver duty @ 70 miles per day while waiting on whatever is next.

I manage a BMW Specialist shop here in Houston, and a long time client brought his 2002 330i in for what would be the last time. It was seldom driven, and he was moving back out of the states so he wanted it gone through before he listed it for sale. The resulting inspection was more than he wanted to do, so he asked if anyone would be interested in buying it as is where is knowing what it needed.

Me being me... I raised my hand. He offered it for $2k, and I gladly obliged. He was the 2nd owner, and the car changed hands to me at 59k miles.

Here are some pictures of the day I took over, February 2023.

See less See more
  • Like
  • Love
Reactions: 5
1 - 8 of 14 Posts
First order of business was to knock out all of the repairs needed, mostly deferred maintenance, to get it up to snuff for daily driver duty.

That first weekend with the car saw:

New valve cover
New VANOs oil line
Oil service
New engine air filter
New spark plugs
Four new Michelin AS4's
New front lower control arms
Steering shaft coupler
Steering rack boots
4 wheel brake pads/rotors/sensor
4 wheel alignment.

I also replaced every single exterior lamp so no worries about burned out bulbs ( people with lights out are a pet peeve of mine ) and ordered a set of TRS MLED projectors to update the frontal lighting.

Then pulled the alcantara M3 steering wheel off to clean the previous owners hand gunk off of it. Steam cleaner and some degreaser works wonders, followed with some 1000grit sand paper to take care of the pilling, Came out nearly like new.

See less See more
Managed to roll about a thousand miles on the car before the presents started.

I had our mobile window tinter come out and installed XPEL black ceramic film at 80% UV rejection and 20% light transmittance.

Both rear window regulators saw use for the first, and last, time in a long time.... 2 rear window regulators added to the window tint installation lol...

Following all of that fun I decided to run the car through wash on my way home, and watched the temperature gauge backlight snuff out and never come back.

Some basic trouble shooting led me to believe the issue was internal to the kombi so I pulled it out, disassembled and started looking for where the pixies got lost. There was some schmoo around one of the capacitors and I suspected it was electrolyte that leaked out of the cap, and damaged the trace that passes under. Verified an open with a multimeter and also that it was connected to the SMD LED for the temp gauge... bingo.

Cleaned away the schmoo and the ate up trace is clear to see.

Debated on trying to bridge the trace, but after testing the cap and finding it still in spec elected to solder it back in place and build a bodge wire bridge between the vias.

Reassembled the cluster, reinstalled in the car and bam.. backlight is working perfectly!
See less See more
Thank you, I've been around these cars a long time and work on them for a living so I've learned a thing or two as I went.

Phase 1 was completed earlier in the year, with it mainly being the "boring" maintenance and upkeep items to make the car dead nuts reliable.

Phase 2 was to be quality of life improvements, window tint being #1 on that list.

#2 on the list was music.

The car came with a Eonon GA-9450 and a MINT CD43 loose in the trunk so that was nice. I'm going to roll with the Eonon for now as it plays FLAC files off a USB.

I ordered the full BSW speaker set to replace multiple dry rotted and blown drivers in the vehicle and went about installing them.

I also installed a small sealed box with a JL 12TW5-4 and a JD500/1 amplifier for some low end, rotated to fire through the skipass. Its not the Bowers and Wilkins stereo in my F90, but it sounds pretty damn good.

Another present has developed, which is an intermittent gear cog lamp on key-on which leaves the transmission in limp mode for duration of that key cycle. Cycling the ignition and wiggling the shifter usually resolves it for awhile. Looks like the neutral range switch is faulting and setting a code for implausible position.... which brings me to #3 on Phase 2....
See less See more
Yes and no, we wrote up about $5500 worth of work the car needed to get up to 100% (as the client requested) and with what the cars get at sale even with one as physically clean as this I get why he'd rather sell to someone that knows exactly what they are buying than deal with a whiner that was good with the deal they got but bite off more than they bargained for.

Yes I am an avid fan of the hands with no face that we call AvE ! I grew up in New England and his voice reminds me of my dad, and the content is generally agreeable.

Phase 2 # 3...

I've been looking for a suitable donor / parts car with a manual swap setup in it to buy and break as a donor for mine. I don't mine the new 8HP automatics, but the 5HP19 in this car is the epitome of a slush box and its positively rotten to drive, sucking the life out of what would otherwise probably be a fun to drive car. I put a word out with some friends and colleagues to keep and eye out for a suitable donor and last week I got a message about a prospect.

Another shop I know had an abandoned manual 330i they have had sitting around for 10+ years, and they finally got an abandonment lien (can't be registered on the road again, only junked) on it to be able to get it out of their way. Car apparently blew the engine way back then, trunk is full of engine parts and that was about all the details I had. Price was right and I sent a flatbed to bring the car in from out of town.

Shows up and its pretty beat up outside from being in the sun for 10+ years. Has a janky aftermarket shift knob with a 6spd pattern, k. Check door jam, 2005 330i/A hmm.. car has been converted to manual. Ran the VIN and yeah it was an AT ZHP car. Look at trans from engine bay, that isn't the ZF GS6-37bz I was expecting for. It looks like a Getrag S6S 420G ( E46 M3 6MT) Look under car... I see a big 210mm diff case with matching finned cover hanging down... M3 diff... M3 axles, Subframe is M3 as well, interesting interesting... damn what a score. Someone shoved a whole M3 rear suspension assembly under this car. Same story up front, M3 struts, brakes and control arms. Subframe and potentially steering rack look original, couldn't tell for certain.

Looks like the full M3 suspensions, driveshaft and transmission are getting shoveled into my car.
See less See more
  • Love
  • Wow
Reactions: 2
That is a nice find! Can't wait to follow along with the suspension/drivetrain swap. If this build is anything like your old E39, it'll be incredible.
Wasn't sure if anyone here would remember me from back in the BFc days! Not looking to go that far down the rabbit hole with this car, but I tend to have an MO....

my jaw hit the floor at 2k with 59k miles what a steal.
Bro, what a find) Congrats))))
Arguably the parts car was an even better deal than the original car, but I'm not complaining about either one!

The parts car had four dead tires, with sun beaten Style 135's on it. Never been a big fan of Style 68's my car came with, nor will they clear the brakes.... so I sent the 135's out for refinishing yesterday. Got them back today and man they look scrumptious. Color is a perfect factory match although the tonality looks off in these photos.

Ordered a metric shit ton of parts to support the swap, FedEX and UPS going to see me a lot towards the end of the week...
See less See more
Parts car had a decently nice set of Alcantara insert door cards (these are going in my car) along with a full set of BSW speakers... including the BSW D110 powered parcel shelf underhanging subwoofer box. So many good things shoved and stacked into the trunk...

I'm thinking I may keep the subwoofer, or may sell. Pain in the butt to ship... will consider it. Will lay it in the trunk and compare to the shallow 12" JL and see which I like better.

See less See more
Not that I'm ready for them yet but KW V2's and a pair of front ZCP rotors just arrived for the parts pile.

Going with the Rallyroad caliper brackets & lines to retrofit 996 front and rear Brembo calipers over the E46 M3 bi-metallic rotors.
See less See more
1 - 8 of 14 Posts