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'03 325iT Mystic Blau
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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I've had this car for a couple of years now and been here for some time but never had anything going on that made me think "I should start a build thread". Well I figured that I should correct that.


As it was when I bought it after a months long search. '03 325i in Mystic Blue metallic over beige. Sport package, Premium, PDC, and heated seats. 106k when I bought it, 145k now. I flew to NH to buy it and then drove it 15 hrs back, New England corrosion is a non-issue because it only spent two winters there being an AZ car the rest of it's life.


First step was some new headlight lenses and Orion V2 angel eyes (I wouldn't have done this if I hadn't gotten a smoking deal on them. Found them new and uninstalled on craigslist for $40), then shortly thereafter got in on ECS's closeout on clear Euro tails so did that and the turns and sidemarkers.


I did the cooling system and belts/pulleys last year, and did the RR window regulator shortly after. Most recently did the CSB and guibo on the driveline, where I encountered the only four corroded fasteners on the car - exhaust flanges - and had to torch out one that broke off. Next up is LCABs, motor mounts (did the trans mounts when I did the driveline), and steering guibo, along with getting some tires mounted on the 18x9.5" ARC-8s that I've got sitting in the garage. After that, M-Tech II front bumper and a respray on the hood while I've got the spray gun out.

A couple of adventures -

In front of Sierra Nevada Brewing in Brevard, NC

Post bike ride stop for a beer. I was really tempted to go move the car forward a little bit to center the bikes up in the picture frame better, but the beer was really tasty and I didn't want to set it down.:D

And camping with the dogs this past 4th of July weekend.
 

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'03 325iT Mystic Blau
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Discussion Starter #2
Getting ready for the camping trip is kind of what prompted me to finally start a thread. I'd been able to get a spot reserved for the Wednesday-Friday before, but of course the campground was booked for the weekend. They have a couple of loops that are walk-up only though that they don't take reservations on, so I took the days leading up off and planned on heading up and trying for one of those spots, but wasn't really happy about having to move my whole camp and set it up all over again. With that in mind I found an RV sharing site that had a popup trailer listed on it for only $20/night. I thought that if I could do that it'd vastly increase my fun:work ratio for the week, I just needed a way to tow it. E

Enter the Westfalia towbar that I bought from a fellow forum member about a year and a half ago but never got around to installing.


There's a flap assembly to cover the opening that's required in the underside of the bumper cover - parts 6, 7, and 8 - that I kept meaning to order so that I could do the job but it wasn't real high on the priority list until the weekend before the trip, and then it was too late so I'm hopeful that what I've done as a temporary measure here will be covered by the flap once I get it .


Unlike the Curt hitch that's our only available option for towing in the States, the Westfalia hitch goes behind the bumper beam and replaces the impact absorbers. The first step after removing the bumper from the car is to remove the T50 bolts retaining the absorbers and with them out of the way set the hitch in place so that you can take note of where the lower edge of the bumper beam will need to be trimmed.

I think I cut a 1"x4" notch out here, and I cut a chamfer on the lower edge to make it more hand friendly in case I happened to smack it while I was reaching up in there. i made these cuts with a cutoff wheel in an angle grinder.

Here you can see the opening that I cut in the bumper cover, again made with the angle grinder (I've done metal fab for a couple of decades, so I work quickly and confidently with one. Just take your time and be careful).

The perspective of the photo makes it look like the longitudinal cuts are angled, but they're straight.
 

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'03 325iT Mystic Blau
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Discussion Starter #3
The opening is kind of irregular on the pass. side because I needed to leave room to get at the locking knob on the draw bar.



Pulling out on the knob and then giving it about a third of a turn releases the three balls up on the upper part of the taper and makes the draw bar easily removable. And because it goes in/out the bottom of the hitch rather than the rear like our receiver hitches you can't really see anything from behind the car if it's not installed and ready to tow.


Once I get the flap parts installed the cut on the lower edge of the bumper will actually be wider, but will be completely covered by the flap when not towing. It'd take a trained eye to know that I even have a trailer hitch unless I was hooked up.
 

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'03 325iT Mystic Blau
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Discussion Starter #4
On the wiring side, I used a Curt 56146 lighting adapter. I cut the pigtail for the trailer side off near the converter so that I could run the wires through the grommet for the PDC harness, then spliced it back once inside.

The converter is setup with one long wire that's meant for the right turn signal while all the other wires are shortish and you're meant to mount it on the driver's side, but for our cars it works better on the pass. side since it's right there next to the battery, so I cut the long wire short and spliced an extension on to travel under the hatch sill trim over to pick up the signal from the driver's turn signal. There's a nice little ledge right under the tail light that was, as far as I can tell, made for mounting the converter.


I tapped the BLK/BL wire for the brake, the BR for the tails, the BL/GN on the left side for the left turn signal, and the BL/BRN for the right turn. I grounded to one of the taillight bolts with a ring terminal, then ran straight to the battery with an inline fuse for power.

This gets me a flat four electrical connection for lights, but the popup trailer that I'd planned on getting would need a round seven connection, so for the time being I got an adapter that I will mount to the tab that hangs down from the towbar to the driver's side of the socket for the draw bar, but at some point I'll ad a brake controller so that I'll actually be able to make use of the full 3100lb towing capacity that Westfalia gives. That beats the hell out of that Curt hitch!


Oh, that trailer that I wanted to rent for camping? You didn't see it in the camping pic up above? Dude never responded to my inquiry so after all this effort to get ready for it I ended up just tent camping after all. At least when I checked in the the campground and told them that I intended to try for a walk up spot for the weekend they put me in a spot that had just opened up that had no reservation, so I didn't have to move part way through the week.
:thumbsup:
 

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'03 325iT Mystic Blau
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Discussion Starter #5
Today's fun was replacing the driver's door latch. Went to head back to work after lunch Thursday and the door just bounced back open. I had to drive around with a rope holding the door closed the last couple of days until I could get the part here. Between that and having just sent my Dynavin N6 in to have the white screen fault repaired, and having a huge gaping hole full of wires in my dash as a result, I felt pretty ghetto this week!
:lmao:
 

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How much was the Westfalia? I have the Curt, but it scrapes a lot as low as my car is. I haven't installed it on my current touring, yet, because I don't really use it. I like the better aesthetics and towing capacity of the Westfalia.

As for the lighting, those tail light bolts are not a good ground. They only tighten clips that hold the tail light against the body. There should be a chassis ground stud that is a much better ground. Also, with the lamp out indicator on the e46, it is advisable to use a powered converter setup. This eliminates any false lamp out warnings while a trailer is connected.

Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-G930A using Tapatalk
 

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Discussion Starter #7
How much was the Westfalia? I have the Curt, but it scrapes a lot as low as my car is. I haven't installed it on my current touring, yet, because I don't really use it. I like the better aesthetics and towing capacity of the Westfalia.

As for the lighting, those tail light bolts are not a good ground. They only tighten clips that hold the tail light against the body. There should be a chassis ground stud that is a much better ground. Also, with the lamp out indicator on the e46, it is advisable to use a powered converter setup. This eliminates any false lamp out warnings while a trailer is connected.

Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-G930A using Tapatalk
Noted. Will be simple to run an extension to a better spot, I used it because it was convenient and didn't think about that as I got good continuity, but that doesn't mean that it'll carry any current to speak of. The Curt unit is a powered converter and will give no lamp out errors.

Even with the good currency exchanges right now it looks like the Westy hitch would still be over $500 by the time you pay shipping from U.K. or Germany, I got mine for $300 from a user here who got an offer that he couldn't pass up on his wagon just a month after installing it.
:excited:
 

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That's about what I was seeing on ebay.uk. $330-ish before shipping. :eek!: lol! Not quite ready for that expense, and don't need to install a hitch right this moment, so I will continue to sit on mine.

I couldn't tell from the pics if that was the powered converter, or not. Nor could I remember which one I have!

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Looks good... FYI If you don't include photos of the dogs in the wagon I might ban you.
 

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'03 325iT Mystic Blau
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Discussion Starter #11
Several of you know that I came into a set of tannin red seats and door cards a while back, and that these are exceedingly rare here in the U.S. Unfortunately, when the seller first listed the interior right after his car had been hit I'd had a dog that needed surgery and couldn't spare the cash to make the purchase, by the time that I reconnected with him he'd scrapped the car and only pulled the seats and door cards so I didn't get the full interior like I would have earlier, leaving me to source all the black pieces. This has slowed my progress as even more common black interiors aren't all that common.

I got a dash, carpet, and all the lower trim in front of the C-pillar from a wrecked ZHP sedan over the winter, but the parts from the cargo area have been even trickier to source. yjsaabman got me maybe half of what i need, and a favorable exchange rate with the Euro currently has allowed me to get a brand new spare tire well cover from Italy so I'm only missing a handful of parts from inside the cargo area, but the hatch trim itself is super duper hard to find so far.

Found a wrecking yard in NV selling a whole hatch on eBay yesterday and, lo and behold! hatch trim is still on it, and it's black! Message the seller to see if he'll sell me just the trim. He will!

He broke it into a million pieces trying to get it off the hatch.
:cry:
 

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'03 325iT Mystic Blau
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Discussion Starter #12
Slight set back. Got into an accident last Thursday and busted the front of the car all up.






Found a straight hood at a wrecking yard last night, along with headlights (upper tabs are broken on mine although they seem to still be pretty secure), and lower headlight trims. Probably going to order the Umnitza M-tech II bumper.

My bumper cover had had a small crack already and I had rock chips like mad, will hopefully come out of this for the better when it's all said and done, but may well take effort to get the estimate low enough that my insurance doesn't call the car a total.
 

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Good luck in your negotiations. Hopefully the "Tourings for sale thread" has a few current listings to help your cause. Worst case, if you like the car enough, buy it back and fix it anyways.

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Good luck in your negotiations. Hopefully the "Tourings for sale thread" has a few current listings to help your cause. Worst case, if you like the car enough, buy it back and fix it anyways.

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That is the worst case plan.

Appointment on Monday. If they say it's totaled then I start telling them about the parts already in the garage.
 

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Discussion Starter #16 (Edited)

I've had to replace most everything on the front end. New m-tech 2 bumper, wrecking yard hood, core support, and headlight housings. I've ordered the m-tech 2 rear bumper at the dealer and I'm going today to pick up side skirts of a zhp sedan in my color so I'll have the whole package when I'm done.
Still haven't been able to get estimate taken care of, it's to long a story to type right now, but I'm hoping to get enough to be able to spray the whole car. :Fingers crossed:
 

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looking good so far. Sorry to hear about the accident. Looking forward to seeing your sport body conversion. Will you lower it to sport height? I ordered all my euro corners and m sills from the UK. Found a M Steering wheel for $100.. picking that up this week. Will you spray the bumper and hood yourself?
 

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Discussion Starter #18 (Edited)
looking good so far. Sorry to hear about the accident. Looking forward to seeing your sport body conversion. Will you lower it to sport height? I ordered all my euro corners and m sills from the UK. Found a M Steering wheel for $100.. picking that up this week. Will you spray the bumper and hood yourself?
The car is already on sport suspension having had the sport package from the factory. I don't believe that the zhp setup is any lower, but I wouldn't want it any lower anyway as I already have to be careful entering driveways and over speed bumps. Already learned that I won't be able to use my ramps for oil changes any longer as the new bumper hangs lower that the non-M one.
I'll be using the money from my collision claim to hopefully get the whole car sprayed. I've sprayed paint before but never on a whole car and I don't currently have a compressor.
 

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Lord, I can***8217;t use my rhino ramps without a 2x4 in front of them with the stock bumper. Or jacking it up by the center point and sliding the ramps under the tires and setting it back down! Minor variations in ramps I suppose?
 

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Discussion Starter #20
It was close with the old bumper, right out now.
More likely to be minor variation in ride heights I think.
 
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