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Benji83

Benji's 325Ci progress thread

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Been waiting until I had a few things to post before I started one of these threads, thought I'd start off with a quick before & after and then a list of work I've done.

 

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Mainly just cleaning up and little improvements here and there (constantly edited)

Maintenence

  • New clutch & flywheel (Valeo OEM+ solid flywheel conversion)

 

  • 3 Oil changes
  • 2 Brake fluid changes
  • Air filter
  • Pollen filter
  • Fuel filter
  • Spark plugs
  • Diff and gearbox oil
  • Coolant change
  • Replaced water pump, thermostat, radiator and expansion tank
  • New drop links

 

  • Fixed vacuum leak
  • New auxilliary belts
  • X8R Disa rebuild
  • Cleaned out washer fluid tank and de-gunked pump filter
  • New exhaust tips
  • X8R Vanos rebuild
  • Replaced the worn out boot and bonnet struts with re-gassed units from SGS
  • Painted wipers
  • Painted poppers
  • Painted lower grille and fog surrounds
  • New OEM headlights with Philips Whitevision headlight bulbs and silver indicators
  • New OEM side repeaters
  • New centre console
  • New starter motor
  • New propshaft guibo

"Mods"

  • Painted calipers
  • Lamin-X rear lights
  • Front number plate bracket delete
  • Tinted front fogs
  • Sliding compartment
  • Led interior upgrade
  • Black & white badges
  • Debadged bootlid
  • Aluminium pedals
  • Refurbed + powder coated wheels in medium anthracite
  • Aux cord in sliding compartment
  • Carbon fibre hydrodipped grilles and diffuser
  • Royals steering wheel retrim and custom handbrake / gear lever gaiters in black alcantara with purple stitching
  • Replaced all interior trims with hydrodipped Walnut effect, also recovered armrests in black alcantara (to match)
  • M3 style electric fold wing mirrors

 

 

So I purchased my car in June 2016 for £3,900 with 72,000 miles on it. All seemed good until an amber engine management light came on one day on a drive to the north. A quick code read brought up lean codes from both banks O2 sensor 1's. Clearing this code made the light disappear for another few weeks (which I suspect was what the previous owner had done) at which point I decided to investigate as I was back home. Dismantling the intake system ended up showing me that this pipe had split around the back of the elbow. A trip to BMW and £12 later we were back in business. My ~£6 Amazon sourced bluetooth code reader and cheap app worked a dream.

 

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A while later I decided to refresh certain bits, starting with the wiper arms and exhaust tips.

 

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Edited by Benji83

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Also, after looking at Hawk's Clubsport thread, I realised how irritating it was to look at the "window poppers" when you notice that the paint is coming off. So with a bit of sanding, pretty masking and lots of newspapering I managed to rejuvenate them.

 

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Apologies for the portrait photos! If I was to advise anyone to do this I would sand it down more than I did and use a lot more newspaper than I did. I managed to get around not sanding it down enough by building up the primer and paint slightly more from one side. As with the newspaper it was a bit windy towards the end so a bit of black spray caught the rear wings. Luckily a bit of brake cleaner and a microfibre cloth on the factory clear coat got rid of it quickly and without lasting damage. I would also highly recommend this box idea I came up with to keep dirt and stuff from the air getting onto the paint between coats.

 

I also fancied some aluminium pedals and later a footrest which I purchased from someone on ebay which I will dig up if anyone wants them.Very good quality from what I can see and feel. Only downsides are that you cannot access behind the lower screws on the accelerator pedal to get the nuts on, so I have had to glue mine in place, and because of the size of my drill and the position of the dashboard, I could not drill the holes for the top of the footrest at the right angle. However it all fits an I suppose it will only bother me. (Yes the picture could be better, I was sure it was OK when I took it)

 

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Finally the most recent of my adventures that I remembered to get photos of was the Vanos rebuild, took a while but a necessary bit of preventative maintenance.

 

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Mega thanks to 50skid on Youtube for just one of his very informative and easy to follow videos.

 

Many thanks for looking!

Edited by Benji83

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Thats the way get all the silly mechanical jobs out the way.

Good progress.  Where did you get the exhaust trim's from Bmw ? mine are looking bit grotty 

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1 hour ago, DaveNE said:
Thats the way get all the silly mechanical jobs out the way.

Good progress.  Where did you get the exhaust trim's from Bmw ? mine are looking bit grotty 

 

Thanks, yeah genuine BMW. About £50 for the pair, I thought mine were too far gone to bother trying to polish.

Edited by Benji83

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Finally managed to get my bits back from Mark at Demon Dipping today after work. Gave the car a quick wash and fitted everything. Unfortunately the light was just on its way out as I got to photo time so I'll try to get a good full picture over the weekend. Still not sure whether I like the door handles.

However, overall I have to say I am very pleased with the quality of the product, the finish is especially impressive, the depth of shine is fantastic. The only complaint I would have would be that the weave stretches out slightly on the curved part of the diffuser that you see, but is perfect on the flat bit that you don't, however I appreciate that this is a limitation of a very curved surface.

 

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Again the pics don't do it justice (you've all heard it before). Other jobs for this weekend will be installing the angel eyes and restoring the headlights, as well as wrapping the interior trim in brushed grey steel.

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Just a quick update, finished the gear lever surround in brushed grey metal this morning, working my way through the rest of the trims today and tomorrow. I'm pretty pleased with it, though it it could be better around the window buttons (as they don't exactly hold the film down due to them being inserted from the bottom), but you cant win them all.

 

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I definitely need to plastidip the centre console as well at some point to cover up all the scratches.

As always, comments are welcome and thanks for looking!

Edited by Benji83

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Right, bit of a gap in the progress but here is whats happening.

With the interior trim, I've decided to get it dipped as well, going for a wood effect. The guy who did such a good job of my carbon bits has unfortunately decided to shut up shop so I've had to find someone else, but I'm confident they will do a good job.

I'm also getting a re-trimmed steering wheel from Royals in full black alcantara, with matching gear lever and handbrake gaiters to match, with dark purple stitching, which should all be arriving in the middle of June. I also plan to cover the armrest pads in black alcantara as well.

I also had a bit if bother with my headlights, since I got the car there were hundreds of tiny little stone chips in the lenses that I wanted rid of.

 

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I therefore decided to restore the lenses using multiple grits of sandpaper, but after hours and hours of redoing them (over three consecutive weekends) using countless grits of sandpaper, there were always some of the deeper scratches left over from the beginning, and it was really starting to do my head in. I then decided to make a decision I never thought I would, and went for aftermarket headlights.

These are the new headlights, I think they look pretty good, but wasn't really convinced. I definitely don't like the black bit where it wraps around the side. I'm working on a solution for it though.

 

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I also went out on a drive Saturday night with a friend and a load of others, luckily he had his camera so when we ended up losing the rest of the group, decided to find somewhere for some photos. I think in the dark the headlights look a lot better. At first I thought I had completely ruined the car but I think it's alright really.

 

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I can also be quite smug that at 5 times the price, he still couldn't get away from me!

 

Thanks for reading.

 

Edited by Benji83

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Like the progress you have made with this, its looking great. I must get my VANOS done this year, didn't do it last summer when I changed the valve cover gasket and regretted it. Like the headlights you fitted, despite now being OEM they look real good.

Do you mind me asking how much the hydro dipping set you back? I just about to purchase a carbon fibre rear diffuser to match my carbon front splitters, so will have spent over £300 on two splitters and a rear diffuser! Thinking it might be cheaper to hydro dip the OEM diffuser..

.

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1 hour ago, Ruesta said:

Like the progress you have made with this, its looking great. I must get my VANOS done this year, didn't do it last summer when I changed the valve cover gasket and regretted it. Like the headlights you fitted, despite now being OEM they look real good.

Do you mind me asking how much the hydro dipping set you back? I just about to purchase a carbon fibre rear diffuser to match my carbon front splitters, so will have spent over £300 on two splitters and a rear diffuser! Thinking it might be cheaper to hydro dip the OEM diffuser..

.

Thanks, the from the breakdowns I got from the two hydrodipping companies I found with the highest quality of work, a diffuser comes in at £150, obviously have a look for the best places near you and fiddle around with the weave you want

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2 hours ago, Benji83 said:

Thanks, the from the breakdowns I got from the two hydrodipping companies I found with the highest quality of work, a diffuser comes in at £150, obviously have a look for the best places near you and fiddle around with the weave you want

Thanks for that. There isn't much in it price wise so I think I will go ahead with the purchase of the carbon fibre rear diffuser.

Going to look at hydro dipping for some other bits though, yours looks spot on.

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My main reason for hydrodipping was to get a consistent weave across all the bits, as you can't get carbon handles or a decent spoiler. I also thought it wasn't really worth getting real carbon fibre for a non M car, especially not even a 330

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22 hours ago, Benji83 said:

My main reason for hydrodipping was to get a consistent weave across all the bits, as you can't get carbon handles or a decent spoiler. I also thought it wasn't really worth getting real carbon fibre for a non M car, especially not even a 330

Makes perfect sense mate. I'm only going with front splitters and rear diffuser externally, any other bits will be on the inside - the dash and door trims I was thinking about so might go with hydro dipping for that..

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Got my Royals stuff back today, no fitted pics as my interior is a bit of a state at the minute with all the trims off (which I'm taking Saturday for dipping). The quality is absolutely sensational, a proper job well done if ever I saw one!

 

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Edited by Benji83

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Since I got these non-OEM headlights, I've never liked the gloss black corner where it meets the silver paint, I managed to find a way to blend it better that I'm reasonably happy with, not sure how well it'll hold up. Basically I used masking tape to make the shape of the area I wanted changing, then I peeled it off and stuck it down onto the backing paper of some vinyl wrap and cut it out to stick to the lights. I did have pictures but instead of uploading them I deleted them :l at least I have a before and after.

 

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They're a bit rough in places, I have enough to redo them, it's just quite hard to get a smooth line with the scissors, or make fine adjustments.

I've also ordered a new centre console and have dropped off all my interior trims for dipping. Should give me something to do next weekend!

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Picked up my interior trims yesterday and they look fantastic. There was a small chip on the gear lever surround that I pointed out so that is being re-touched and posted ASAP. I also covered my spare armrests in black alcantara to match the steering wheel/gaiters. I can't even begin to tell you how nice it feels to drive with an alcantara wheel.

 

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If you look at the passenger armrest you may notice that it is lacking the blanking plate for the wing mirror controls. Before taking it away I filled and smoothed it to get a sleeker look.

 

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And here's a before and after of the armrest.

 

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I've also got a gloss black fascia for when I get a Parrot Asteroid Smart, next up on my list is to get some paint sorted out. Thanks for reading!

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Looks lovely!
I'm usually quite the OEM-junkie, but I find most of your upgrades come across as quite subtle and tastefull.
Well done...  ^_^

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1 hour ago, 02Anders said:

Looks lovely!
I'm usually quite the OEM-junkie, but I find most of your upgrades come across as quite subtle and tastefull.
Well done...  ^_^

Thanks Anders, means a lot :lol:

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Time for a decent update. Back in August I carried out the annual service, this year it consisted of an oil filter, gearbox and diff oil as well as a full coolant flush. The coolant flush was well overdue anyway but I decided to change the water pump as the same time to one with an upgraded metal impeller from Meyle. Taking out the old one revealed there was a lot of play in it and was probably living on borrowed time. It also revealed itself as the horrible noise I had been chasing for ages from the engine at idle.

I also had to replace the driver door lock as it was not unlocking on the key, but fortunately you can get good ones on eBay for £30. I tried soaking it in WD40 and silicone spray for a while to see if I could free it up that way but had no success. Then I tried my hand at leather restoration on my gear lever using the furniture clinic kit the results were fantastic, but says to leave 24 hours before using (which I did) and soon after using it all the dye rubbed away. Maybe I needed to leave it a little longer.

 

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Next I got round to fitting my new centre console, the old one was letting down the interior since I had the gear lever gaiter and surround improved and a brand new sliding compartment. 

 

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Then, a few weeks back, I decided to tackle a shark fin delete, which was surprisingly easy, but does require patience. If I was to do it again i would double layer some masking tape around the outline to be safe, but I wouldn't say it was necessary.

To start off with I began cutting away as much of the rubber as I could, to give me some levering room, I've read that you want to lever it front to back rather than side to side to avoid denting the roof.

 

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Then I proceeded with my heat gun, just trying to rock the fin back enough to get my squeegee underneath it. Once I did, I needed a microfibre/terry cloth to put under the squeegee so you can start really lifting up the fin. At the point where I could get my fingers underneath it, it was time to keep alternating between heating the glue and cutting it. Once it starts to go it becomes really easy, at which point it comes straight off and just needs a bit of glue remover and polish.

 

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The wire pulls out between the bead and the body and goes through a grommet under the bootlid on the left going into the wheelarch. I just cut it off and told myself I'd finish it properly one day but I've honestly forgot.

Finally I purchased some new Magnetti Marelli headlights as I decided to go back to full OEM (which let's be honest is always best) and popped in some Phillips Whitevision headlight bulbs and silver indicators. I also got some SSDD M3 style wing mirrors with an electric fold switch. I plan to code them to operate on lock/unlock one day.

To capture all the magnificence I went out with my amateur photographer / fellow car person / good friend on Sunday to get some pictures. On the journey there I was ovetaken by a Clubsport on the A23 (Might've still been on the M25). Reg was something like "A4 ALX" that's no-one on here is it? We were looking for somewhere with a nice rolling countryside as a backdrop but there was nowhere to pull over really so we had to improvise. I think we did OK...

 

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Thanks for reading, comments of course welcome

Edited by Benji83

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Pretty much done for now with messing around with "mods". Decided against coilovers and wheels and am saving for an M3. On the maintenance side of things I had a really bad judder form the clutch pedal, for a while I thought I'd forgotten how to find the bite but I was assured by a co worker that it wasn't just me. So I whipped the gearbox out and went for a solid flywheel conversion from Valeo at a cost of £376. I believe it was the dual mass having a bit of play in it that was causing my issue but feeling it didn't reveal anything excessive. The new one is also not self adjusting so the pedal is a bit lighter. While the gearbox was out I replaced the starter as it doesn't retract fast enough in start up sometimes so makes an embarrassing noise. Also went for a new guibo as the old one had a crack and it was out.

 

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I also went for another photoshoot, this time in Regents Park.

 

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:)

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14 hours ago, Benji83 said:

I also went for another photoshoot, this time in Regents Park.

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Great shot! Still a great looking car even at 15 years of age. The e46's have aged really well, especially the face lift IMO.

Edited by 2clubsp

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3 hours ago, R11CH said:

Great update.

How you finding the clutch ? 

Thanks, it drives exactly the same as it did before it was knackered - I'd been dealing with the judder or getting lifts to and from work for 2 weeks so it's good to be able to enjoy it again. I'm thinking of turning the old flywheel into a clock for above my toolbox.

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8 hours ago, 2clubsp said:

Great shot! Still a great looking car even at 15 years of age. The e46's have aged really well, especially the face lift IMO.

I agree, I much prefer the facelift, but at the same time I'm glad the M3 kept the pre-facelift headlights.

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On 16/11/2017 at 21:39, Benji83 said:

To capture all the magnificence I went out with my amateur photographer / fellow car person / good friend on Sunday to get some pictures. On the journey there I was ovetaken by a Clubsport on the A23 (Might've still been on the M25). Reg was something like "A4 ALX" that's no-one on here is it? We were looking for somewhere with a nice rolling countryside as a backdrop but there was nowhere to pull over really so we had to improvise. I think we did OK...

 

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Thanks for reading, comments of course welcome

Still looking great, much prefer the new OEM front lights. Great pics too looks like the Balcombe road??

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