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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I recently read a post about a guy's almost 2-decade journey with his e46 and how the community has changed, and he referenced that about half of people who drive e46's are teenagers who saw their mufflers off, blackout their tail lights, etc, and I fall in this category it'd seem. So this got me thinking about not doing some of the mods I had planned ie swapping a ZHP muffler, plasti-dipping the wheels, CAI, etc. So I'd like some input on tasteful mods, that wouldn't make you cringe seeing it drive down the road, but maybe add something more to the looks, sound, and overall driving experience. I really do love this car, and I would hate to look back at myself knowing I absolutely butchered what was a great machine.

P.S. this is what the car looks like now for any of you wondering

 

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'02 330i 5-Speed
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Check out the showroom subforum for some ideas.

Bringing your car up to "330 spec" with Sport springs and dampers, Style 68s (or another nice-looking OEM wheel set) and MTech 1 or 2 aero kit would be a nice upgrade.

I'd also recommend reworking the front end of your car. The headlights and corners look like Pep Boys specials, and the blacked-out kidneys get lost on a dark-colored car.
 

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Lowering it a bit would be tasteful, but not so much that you have clearance problems with the wheels and tires. Consider replacing the wheels on it with M-sport wheels like Spannerhead has on his, or go with a set of E90 alloys. Above all, don't do anything stupid that is irreversible - you may regret it in the morning. +1 on the grilles - the rest of the car looks good, but they make it look like you're 17. One of the neat things about BMWs is that you can trim them out using factory parts and come up with a car that looks just right.
 

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Don't chop-top the roof, don't paint any idiotic flames on it, and don't put a big, gay spoiler on the rear end.

I always say, the way a man treats his car is how he treats himself.
 

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E46 F10 W204 W212
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Try the maintenance mod. Or the wash and vacuum mod. Best bang for your buck!

<img src="https://live.staticflickr.com/65535/49602554978_6482f00e8b_z.jpg" width="640" height="480" alt="Untitled">
 

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04 325XIT 05 325IT 03 325XI 05 X5 3.0
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Do whatever you want with it the way you like it, it's your car ...we been there ....mine however was a Mitsubishi Lancer, A Toyota Corolla and a Honda Civic that all looked like they make 1000 hp.And then I got older and wiser ....LOL
 

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'03 325iT Mystic Blau
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IMO a ZHP muffler would be a tasteful mod, a muffler delete however is not.

Those headlights are hideous and are really hurting the appearance of your car, but short of returning those back to stock wheels and tires really are the biggest bang for the buck apart from the aforementioned maintenance mod.
 

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My list of poser/rice mods are plastidip, aftermarket headlights like you posted, too aggressive offset wheels and fake M3 vents or logos to name a few. You are doing the opposite of CAI when you install a cone filter and it***8217;s like putting a baseball card on a bike wheel, a sound effect.
 

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None of those mods are rice, I think you***8217;ll be just fine. The problem comes from when people put a $600 spoiler on their $2000 car that needs $1500 in repairs already. Then they have the audacity to call people haters. If I was you I would just save up for a nice set of coilovers before any other mod.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Well, I definitely did not expect this many replies. I suppose I'll address some of the things you guys mentioned

1) the eBay headlights - I threw those on after the lens in my stock ones broke, didn't have the money for some nice ones, so I bought the cheapest ones I saw. Any suggestions on nicer ones, or should I just fix the old ones that I still have?
2) coil overs are something I have really wanted to do, but I'm not really sure which ones to get out of the sea of ones that are available. Any suggestions on nice, affordable ones?
3) rims - I can't really see a point in slapping on 700 dollar alloy rims on a car that I paid 3,000 dollars for. I would go to a junkyard and take some off an e90, or a different style of e46 ones, but where I live people really don't drive German cars so the junkyards consist of old pickups and other domestic cars, so not really sure what to do there.
4) maintenance - since I bought the car in September after my Celica threw a rod bearing; I have taken it from 3 cylinder misfires, leaking a variety of fluids, and peeling clear coat. To a car with a very slow coolant leak. I haven't addressed that because I can't find where the damn leak is.

I really appreciate the replies, this is by far the most friendly, constructive, and active community for a car I have ever seen. Took me almost a week to get replies on problems I had with my old Celica.
 

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'03 325iT Mystic Blau
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If you still have the stock headlights get some new lenses off eBay for ~$25 and put them back in.

Store the wheels that you have on it somewhere and pick yourself up a set of wheels from a local BMW group (we're everywhere, I guarantee that you've got a local FB group) and you can always resell the wheels separate if you choose to part with the car down the road. That said, I just spent almost three grand for wheels for a car that insurance would total for less than that.
 

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Honestly the E46 chassis is pretty sexy as it is. All you really have to do in my opinion is throw a set of M-wheels on it and either coil overs or lowering springs. Would definitely go with coil overs thoe. But other then that maybe some spacers and go back to stock headlights and but the clear lenses on eBay for 30$ and buy some halos for 20$ and throw them on too and your bimmer will look sexy asl. Land vehicle Car Vehicle Luxury vehicle Personal luxury car here’s my daily. Only halos on it and it looks great. Gonna Throw on it a set of black rims I picked up for cheap on offer up.


Sent from my iPhone using E46Fanatics mobile app
 

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OEM ///PLUS
2003 M3 6MT Slicktop
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cheap coil-overs is the riciest thing you can do!!!! NO. absolutely no need for those. :slap:
going with Sport springs (your sig says ZSP but doesn’t look sport height) and good street-sport dampers is all you need.

and those headlights are all chrome yet you blacked out your kidneys. best advice is to go with a theme and go from there. (not a fan of those headlights).

ZHP muffler isn’t r1cer imho. legit CAI isn’t either but honestly spend money elsewhere before intake.

only thing good about plastidip is it can be removed. black wheels makes cheap cars look cheaper imho. hate the look, blends in with black tires and shows no detail or wheel definition. the Style 68s are nice and easy to come by used. being staggered they make a 325 look sportier. they’re other factory wheels out that look great too.

keep it clean and same color and don’t do CF hoods or trunks. don’t put ///M badges on car either.
 

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2001 330i (5-speed)
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I always say, the way a man treats his car is how he treats himself.
This is one of the most interesting statements regarding rizer I have seen. Can you elaborate on the 2nd part? How do rizer treat themselves?
 

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2001 330i (5-speed)
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The premise is always the same:

Young kid between age 17-24.
He can afford the car, and not much more.
He has no real concept of "cost of ownership"
Usually has some minimum wage job and/or is a student.
His real career not yet begun.
He's often in school (which means big debt these days)
The person is basically broke, yet wants to drive a BMW or Benz, because he thinks he's a special snowflake.

That's not my business, but I will say that you should do some homework about what repairs these cars typically need.

The kid buys the car....Car has 100k-150k miles and sometimes has has little work yet done to it (Or the service history is unknown)
If the kid does have money to burn, the new owner immediately focuses on spending thousands of dollars to pimp out the poor car.
(wheels, "slamming", headlights, bumpers, trim, spoilers, tinting, etc)

Here is my response to these guys:

Spending on cosmetic mods vs. budgeting for real mechanical issues:

You sound like a customizer. This forum's true value is that it provides you an opportunity to learn real mechanics vs. just bolting on accessories. I never understand how people tell a new owner to spend (big) money on nonsense like lowering the car and new rims. Where do these people go when the real repairs come? How many miles does your car have? 100k miles can be a ticking timebomb. Can you please post the service history? A used BMW is a car that could require $3k to $10k worth of repairs, to make it DRIVE as good as it looks.

Spend money and time on real repairs, not wheels & accessories.

1) Learn about your car. (sounds like you've been doing this....)

2) Fix the common maintenance items!

Engine:
  • Air filter
  • Cabin air filter
  • New wipers
  • New Battery
  • New tires
  • Change all fluids: Differential oil, transmission oil, flush power steering fluid
  • Cooling system; water pump, radiator, thermostat and housing,
  • Sepentine belt, tensioners, pulleys, fan, fan clutch
  • Oil leaks: Oil Filter Housing Gasket leak, Valve Cover gasket leak.
  • New brake pads and rotors
  • Bleed brake fluid
  • Replace all vacuum lines
  • Spark plugs & boots
  • Fuel filter
  • Replace power steering reservoir and hoses
  • Replace entire front suspension: Struts, control arms, thrust arms, sway bar bushings, etc.
  • Change DISA value (flap breaks)
  • Engine and transmission mounts
  • MAF Sensor
  • O2 sensors (pre-cat)
  • Intake boots
  • Alternator
  • Fuel fump
  • Replace coils
  • Camshaft and Crankshaft Position Sensors
  • New Window Regulators
  • FSU (Final Stage Unit) Errant blower motor
  • CCV - Gets clogged. Rough idle
  • Center support bearing (CSB)
  • Guibo
  • etc.....

Once that stuff is done,
and you've spent $5k to $10k to have a good running car,
AND still want to spend money,
THEN blow some money on wheels and crap.

This is just one guy's opinion.
You'll do what you're going to do..

On budgeting and finances: All I am saying is that you should save some of your money, and have a budget. Everyone here has a different financial picture. I am just advising you not to blow your entire wad on "looks", and then have no cash when real problems come up. In other words, keep a warchest of money. Save that for repairs. Don't spend ALL your money on accessory stuff. In theory, you could have $5k to $10k of repairs if everything that can go wrong DOES on a used BMW. Odds are it won't, but don't you prefer to be prepared for the worst? Maybe that's just me....

Anyone else think a college kid shouldn't buy a BMW? Even an old cheap one. You can't afford a car hobby at that age. One major repair can wipe you out.
I would not get into BMW restoration on a budget. Who is going to pay for ongoing repairs? You? Him? A teenager can barely afford a car, let alone an older BMW. This whole idea might backfire, in fact.

This is not meant to offend, but here is the advice you should be getting from your parents:
If you're a student, then drive a used Honda until you have more money and a proper adult career.
Not how to sneak your way into a car you can't afford.

In fact, here is the advice your dad should be giving you:
Get a beater Honda
Finish your education
Start your grown up career
Save up a 1 year emergency fund
Start your investing portfolio
Pay off your student loans
Save for a house/condo
Buy a used BMW

Deviating from this is what poor people do.
 
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