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Bringing my E46 back to it's best

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Today was time to open more boxes, the Mayle HD arms and ARB link rods had arrived along with a new headlight washer ram for the passenger side.
First fail of the day was the front central jacking point, I think I need a bigger wooden block or something because it just crushed in.
So up it went on the side jacking points with the stands on the main chassis rails, Out with the headlight and another To-Do list item showed itself, the fog light is broken away from it's top bracket. Swapped the washer ram and after a quick test involving a cheap pair of jump leads and a pair of screwdrivers (powering the pump directly) That was passed fit for service.
Wheels off and arms out.
The left side went swimmingly, a light smear of rubber grease and the new bush slipped on easy, some recommend WD-40 but that can attack rubber so I used the proper grease, I keep some in stock for cleaning out the callipers on the bike. 
On to the right, and I couldn't get a socket on the inner balljoint nut from above because of the engine mount so off with the under tray and 1/12th of a turn at a time with a spanner it was a bit slower than buzzing the other side off with my impact gun. 
The outer nut was a swine, after a few turns it locked up, jack under it and even lifting the car off the stand didnt get enough friction on the pin to unlock it... Hacksaw time, great fun... Mental note, buy air powered buzz saw.
All done and the car drives like it should now, the front tyres are almost ready for changing now though, and the brake pads, and discs all round, and the drivers door speaker has a loose connection.
It's a good job that I am a tinkerer by nature, this car will keep me happy for a while.

I thought I had better create my first ever blog to document the work which I am doing to my cheap E46 touring and have a little grumble about the thing without cluttering up the forum.

Despite all the car's faults and niggles, I love the thing and have committed myself to keeping it for 4 years, am I mad? Well my Idea of fun is spanking the stuffing out of a motorbike on a track day so probably, slightly.

The work so far...

Cooling system refresh

Radiator - replaced with a Hella item (which said Valeo on the box, still a good brand)

Header tank - Hella again

Thermostat - Wahler, the original was sticking open and was the same brand

Water Pump - Hepu brand, the bearings in the original were on the way out

A pair of belt tensioners and continental belts - The pulley bearings were shot on both of them but being the INA brand with a spring tensioner rather than Hydraulic, the whole thing needed changing... £300 the pair at BMW or £85 at ECP with a bit of discount for being a regular.

Oil + filter change - I used a bosch filter and Castrol magnatec 5-30

And a FSR - Meyle brand, what a fun job that was....

Planned work.... Ball already rolling.

I have a pair of front wishbone rear bushes on order at BMW and some Meyle HD wishbones and drop links coming from eBay to be fitted on my next day off. Then get it aligned.

Then next Tuesday it is booked in to BMW for a recall on the passenger air bag and a health check.

Further ahead...

When the logbook arrives I can get it into BMW again for a new key and get them to see if there are any gremlins in the immobilizer system causing the random non-starting. When it happens it is as if you are not turning the key to the start position at all, no click from the solenoid or anything and it refuses to fire on a bump start.

Then I will have a look at the rear suspension, there is a faint click on very small bumps, anything bigger and it's silent so I'm thinking top mount... ARB links just don't shut up and drive you mad.

Also at some point I will replace the scratched rear window, the heating elements are all worn through too so it should get done before winter.

And finally (for now) I will also fix the N/S headlight washer, it doesn't pop out or anything so it needs a new ram/sprayer.

After all that I will replace the carphone cradle with a roll top storage bin and call the car done until next year when Phase 2 begins... Bodywork...

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