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Discussion Starter #1
So I figure it's time I make a thread, been prowling the forums for a bit now, and I finally found something worth showing off a little.

My introduction to the e46 world was a family owned 2000 328i with an automatic transmission. I always loved the car, it was my mothers before she eventually sold it to me close to a year ago. The car had seen a lot of abuse, both mechanically and aesthetically, interior especially. The only thing that was still in fairly good condition was the Steel Blue Metallic paint. When I was a teen my brother and I would imagine it was a poor mans M3 and drive the piss out of it any chance we had to be behind the wheel. We had 2 generations of Scottish terriers ravaging the dove grey interior, the motor popped around 155k and was replaced by a shop, shortly before I was sold the car. I wound up selling the car at 167xxx. Mostly because I was getting afraid that the next maintenance was going to be replacing the transmission.

Solid car, and after owning it I fell in love with the chassis, the interior, the styling of the 4 door e46. Everything about it was a joy to drive, but I still wanted more, especially after owning nothing but manual transmissions since I got my license. Driving the automatic was a bit soul draining. Nothing felt terribly rewarding, taking a corner, or even just making a pass on a highway.

So pretty much after I got that car I started doing some digging. Looking for a later-ish year model 330i. The only real stipulation being that it's has less miles than my current car, does not have a dove grey interior, and is a 6mt.

Seeing all your guys beautiful M3's on the forum, I got that bug for quite a while, thinking that was what I needed, and although I'll admit, who doesn't need an M3, I finally kicked the itch and decided it just wasn't going to be the car for me.

So I checked craigslist, I checked autotrader, I checked ZHPmafia and this site of course too. I never had my eyes set on a ZHP specifically, but the day after Halloween I see a 330i pop up on autotrader 15 miles away from my house. And to my surprise, it's in my price range, has every option that I decided was what I wanted, and has 55xxx miles on it. The dealership had just received the car a day or two before I wound up picking her up. She wasn't even on the lot yet, was still all the way in the back by the maintenance garage. So I fell in love with her, traded my 328i, put the largest downpayment I could without forgetting groceries, and drove her off the lot 2 hours later.

Without further adieu, my new to me ZHP =)



It's really not much of a build thread, yet at least. There aren't a lot of mods I plan on doing as I'm happy with the vehicle, currently at least!

I will eventually buy some black kidney grills to get rid of the only chrome on the car, and an illuminated shift knob would be nice as well. I'm definitely open to any mod suggestions anyone may have.

Glad to be part of the community, thanks for reading!

Curtis
 

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Para-Magic
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686 Posts
Nice, low miles too..
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks, i've been so happy with the car it drives very nicely. Put her up in the air and checked the subframe over the weekend for signs of cracks, and pretty much wormed around under the car checking bushings and anything I could inspect. Everything looks great so far. Spark plugs and fluids will be coming up in the next few weeks.

Ordered an auxillary kit for my stereo so I can hook my phone up to it. Not sure how permanent that will be though as the Dynavin N6 is awfully tempting. Will probably just route it through the glovebox for now so I don't have to drill anything out yet for the mounting plate.

The only issue so far with the car are that the power mirror switch does nothing. When it's in the drivers side positon and the transmission is put in reverse the auto shunt still engages for parking. Going to start by buying a new switch, and if that doesn't work a new control module. If neither of those fix it then I'll just do more research into the problem.
 

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Jealous for sure. A low mile ZHP is winning!
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks guys, I plan on taking good care of her.

My OEM aux cable came in last night so installed it this morning. All pretty standard stuff. Honestly what took me the longest was manipulating the dashboard trim pieces enough to get them out. I've had bad luck with trim pieces in my past so I'm always incredibly careful when taking them off for the first time.

I decided to run it through the glovebox. If I felt the bmw business CD was going to be more permanant I would have definitely ran it through the sunglasses compartment under the hvac but I'm still toying with buying a Dynavin N6 so I wanted it to be as non obtrusive as possible.

 

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Discussion Starter #8
Decided to clay/buff/wax the old lady today! Completely new experience to me, but I'm pretty happy with the results.





 

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Discussion Starter #11 (Edited)
Alright big update in the form of hammering out my preventative maintenance. The car came with some records, all be it incomplete records. I've been doing a bit of research, and I've taken it upon myself to replace a "few" things. I would love it if someone could look through this list and see if I'm missing anything that they would recommend replacing as well.

Currently sitting at 66xxx miles

No huge signs of any issues as of this moment no codes, so I'd like to keep it that way for a long time. I have a bit of a studder in the lower rpms, that ranges from noticeable to nonexistent. I have a good squeel during cold engine start up, only effective when I'm letting out the clutch and providing revs, goes away after about 5 minutes of driving. Also I have a consistent air sucking sound coming out of the engine bay. Hard to gauge if it gets worse in higher rpm's because that's generally when it gets drowned out by road noise. Car eats about a quart of oil every 5 to 6k miles. No leaking fluids I check the garage floor pretty consistently.

So, hoping that the squeeling sound is belts and tensioners, doing a full replacement on those, the air sucking sound I'm unclear on, I've read that it may be anything from lower intake boot to small vacuum leak. Hoping that the CCV refresh will slow down the oil-eating, I've also heard that 1 quart every 5-6k isn't unheard of and not crazy unhealthy, but Its enough for me to throw money at the problem to see if it can be remedied.

While I'm doing spark plugs I plan on doing a full pressure test / wet / leak down to find compression.



K so here's whats been eating my savings fund.

OEM Air Filter
AC Belt Tensioner with Pulley
Mechanical Belt Tensioner with Pulley
Upper Idler Pulley for Main Drive Belt
AC Belt
Serpentine Belt
Lower Intake Boot
OEM Fuel Filter
Power Steering Fluid Resevoir
Oil Filter Housing Gasket
Bremi Spark Plug Connector Boots
Fel-Pro Valve Cover Gasket + Grommets
Mann Cabin Air Filter
BMW OEM Heater Fan / Blower Motor Resistor
NGK Laser Platinum Spark Plugs

Turner Motorsports Cooling System Overhaul
OEM Radiator MT - 17119071518
EMP/Steward Water Pump
Coolant Temp Sensor
Coolant Level Sensor
OEM Expansion Tank
Electric Fan MT - 17117561757
Thermostat
Radiator Cap
BMW Coolant stuffs

ECS Tuning Cold Climate Oil Separator Kit Level 2
Contains a bunch of oil separating goodies

DrVanos Dual Vanos, Fully rebuilt
DrVanos Disa Valve (Rebuilt w/ Aluminum Stuffs)


I decided to do my engine maintenance first, I know I am completely overlooking suspension/tires at this point, but that is going to be coming within the next month or two. Everything feels pretty good, no weird noises. A little steering wheel vibration on some road surfaces, but I'm thinking that might be more due to my tires being at the end of their life.

Anyway, thanks for listening, and any advice is much appreciated!
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Thank you MrT

The reason for my shotgun approach to preventative maintenance is that I am a part time student, getting an AA transfer down to Central WA for a bachelors degree. Right now I have a full-time job that pays my bills with enough extra to do the little things I like to do.

Once I go down to finish my bachelors I really don't see myself having the time for much more than a part time job, and with that, not a lot of money coming in. I'd like the big PM stuff on the car to be done, and not have to worry about it until I am graduated and working in my field.
 

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Discussion Starter #15 (Edited)
Had a huge storm this last weekend, Fall is definitely here in Washington. The bad news is that the power and internet was out all weekend so I wasn't able to finish everything I had in mind, on top of the skin on my thumbs just being downright raw by the time I started putting the car back together. Very thankful for the investment into the Honda generator, she was trucking strong all weekend.

So I did the entire cooling system, radiator, thermostat, water-pump with emp-stewart, new radiator, new expansion tank, coolant level and temp sensor, and all related hoses are new as well plus a new electrical fan.
Pulleys that showed excessive wear were replaced with new belts also. However I did it I accidentally ordered an extra set of mechanical tensioners from TMS, so those will likely be going up on the classifieds on the cheap, pm me if you're interested.
Valve cover gasket came off for a fresh one, dual vanos came off and was replaced with a rebuilt Dr.Vanos setup, spark plugs came out as well for ngk platinum. Being that i'm a painter by trade the valve cover was the part that made me most nervous as I'm not super comfortable with engine internals. I used the Besian systems write up and just kept reading and checking the steps as I went, all in all very easy to do. Thankfully I had that page cached before the internet went out for the rest of the weekend. =)

Compared to the two Fords and the Chevy i've owned, this car is an absolute pleasure to work on. Everything is put together very rationally. I only called her a dirty wh*re once, and it was specifically directed at the expansion tank.

Its been almost a week, put about 300 miles on the car and everything seems to be ship-shape.

I still have the intake side of things to do + fuel system (CCV refresh to cold weather package, DISA, lower intake boots throttle body clean, assorted o-rings and the likes), but as I said, by mid saturday, getting everything back together and checking for fluid leaks I was pretty well out of steam for turning bolts.





More to come soon.
 
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