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Benji83

Benji gets an M3

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Welcome everyone.

 

I present to you my manual E46 M3 coupe. It is a Silver Grey facelift with black leather, having covered just over 80k miles and is specced with everything but a sunroof and HK.

 

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Current Mods:

 

Brembo BBK (4 pot front and rear from a Porsche Cayman S)

KW V2 coilovers

CSL reps with hubcentric spacers

Autosolutions short shift kit

F10 M5 gearknob

Matt black kidneys & wing vents

Gel plates

Led interiors, reverse and number plate lamps

 

Maintainence

 

Full service

New rear tyres

 

 

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Having owned a 325ci for the last 3 years, I knew I needed to own an M3 to truly experience what the E46 had to offer. With prices on the rise, roughly 18 months ago I decided to stay away from any serious mods on the 325 and save for an M3.

 

Around a month ago I went to view this fine example, after having seen it on eBay, and realising it was modified near enough precisely how I wanted it as far as the pricey options go. Paint colour, BBK and in the right colour, KW V2 coilovers, CSL reps with spacers and a short shift kit.

 

After a quick chat with the owner, we arranged a visit and upon seeing it the car captivated me straight away. The paintwork was as near to perfect as you could hope for and the interior was immaculate. It took a very short period of time to find out that I was in the presence of a fellow enthusiast. Within the week it was paid for and graciously delivered in a couple of days.

 

By the weekend I was desperate to take it out for a drive, so once I'd made a start with my essential upgrades to the interior bulbs and reverse lights to LED's, I gave it a good wash and polished the exhaust tips with some wire wool before putting some gel plates on and going out to see a couple of friends where I was showered with compliments on finding such a pristine example.

 

 

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I was keen to get the bluetooth working as Aaron had included the old connectivity tray, so once I'd ripped apart the boot to find the code, I got it working but it turns out it's only for call audio and I just wanted it for media, so the cup holder returns. Following this I removed the faded M3 badge on the back as well as the shark fin and plugged up the hole under the bootlid with a spare rubber grommet. I made sure to order plenty of clips as I knew I'd make use of them somewhere.

 

 

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Next I removed the inner rear lights and attempted a refurb to see if I could bring them back to their former glory since they were looking a bit tired. They came out better but I will need to redo them more thoughly to get an acceptable finish as they were pretty far gone. However I have ordered some Lamin-X 6% tint to spruce it up for now and see how I like it.

 

Then it was time for serious business, a full service commenced using Castrol Edge 10w-60, all Bosch filters with NGK R plugs, as well as my first look at the underside. What immediately struck my eye was how badly worn the rears were on the inside, so I ordered up some 255's in Pilot Sport 4 S to match the fronts. The underside was in decent shape, forgiving a small power steering leak and some corrosion around the subframe mounts, which I will be having reinforced in the near future.

 

From every time I had been in it, I knew the rear had to come up to stop the tyres rubbing under acceleration but once on the ramp it didn't pose any issues. With the wheels in the air I noticed that the handbrake was binding, and while investigating, found that the amount of hammering required to get the spacers off (in order to gain sufficient screwdriver wiggle room) ended up freeing them up anyway, so only a small adjustment was required.

 

I had always enjoyed the Harman Kardon in my 325, despite many claims that it was rubbish. Now living without it I can see a big difference. I toyed with the idea of new speakers, then settled on a new head unit as a good starting point for an audio upgrade but have never liked how aftermarket units looked. The only unit I would consider would be a Parrot Asteroid Smart but given the price and how dated they look nowadays, I decided to work on my own solution.

 

 

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I am still waiting on parts and have to trial fit it and make it look clean, but you get the idea...

 

 

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Soon I shall be fitting my retrimmed steering wheel from Royals and to get it out of the way I have booked in at my local main dealer for the airbag recall. While there I shall be purchasing a load of new parts.

 

In the following months I will slowly be ticking off gloss black grilles & vents and a CSL diffuser and complimentary full carbon fibre interior trim. The rear window seal has split so I will be rectifying this and upgrading to matching gloss black trims at the same time.

 

I will then move on to subframe reinforcement and working my way through Powerflex bushes and new ARB's, valve adjusting, sorting out the cooling system and any other preventative maintainence. I may even get myself an exhaust system to cap it all off. I am going around Wales in the middle of June with a couple of friends, one of whom is the photographer for the first couple of shots, so will have plenty of content then.

 

Thanks for reading 🙏

Edited by Benji83

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Very nice! Any shots of this F10 M5 gearknob?

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Thanks. Unfortunately not, it's just the same as a Clubsport knob. Never been a fan of the super long M3 one.

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Ah ok..

Yeah every M3 i've seen has a stupidly long gear stick. I think it's made worse with the super long knob.

Apparently fitting a 330d stick gives it a shorter throw. Then personally I would get a storm motorwerks knob - VERY heavy and makes it feel so much smoother. I have one in  my 330d

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Fortunately it has an SSK on it anyway, people also use e60 545i levers as well I believe for the same effect. I'm not a huge fan of the Stormwerks knob as I like the OEM style, but I can imagine they add a nice bit of heft.

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Wow, I bet you're made up with this car. I'd love an E46 M3 but cannot afford one and that's not going to change,  especially as prices are on the up!

It was sensible to buy one with the mods you'd do anyway as you've saved a fortune!

It's a great looking car!

Kirkynut 

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On 29/05/2019 at 08:20, kirkynut said:

Wow, I bet you're made up with this car. I'd love an E46 M3 but cannot afford one and that's not going to change,  especially as prices are on the up!

It was sensible to buy one with the mods you'd do anyway as you've saved a fortune!

It's a great looking car!

Kirkynut 

Thanks mate, shame I couldn't have bought one 5 years ago really but I couldn't drive then so would have been a bit tricky

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Steering wheel and gaiters are HERE! Had to pop them on to see how they go with the new airbag. Next up for the interior will be carbon fibre trims and a new centre console as this one has seen much better days.
 
 
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Also got a load of maintenance out of the way ready for the Wales trip next weekend. Painted the wipers and the poppers...
 
 
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And fitted the new headlight lenses...
 
 
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Then got cracking with all the big jobs, a massive pain on my uneven driveway and cheap lifting kit but managed to get it done in the end. I replaced the leaking power steering hose, both of the engine mounts and the absolutely knackered aux belts and went for all new tensioners to really finish it off.
 
 
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And finally today I gave it a good thorough hoovering and a wash and wax. Don't mind the daily...
 
 
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All ready to chew through a few tanks of fuel next weekend, hopefully the weather is nice.

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Just some quick mobile pics from Wales. I highly recommend anyone to go, if possible with friends. The roads and scenery will keep you entertained for hours...
 
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Wow! That's a collection of cars you and your mates have!

How does the Abarth do in keeping up? They look like fun cars!

Kirkynut 

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6 hours ago, kirkynut said:

Wow! That's a collection of cars you and your mates have!

How does the Abarth do in keeping up? They look like fun cars!

Kirkynut 

Surprisingly well actually. Driving through the little villages all the attention goes straight to the Alfa unfortunately. Although I did get a compliment from a guy in a slammed R32 on Bentley wheels while in a petrol station, but I also got asked if it was a real M3 by someone else 😂

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I like this, great looking car. Top mods too.

I wish i had bought an M3 instead of an S4 avant. 

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5 hours ago, Mark_F said:

I like this, great looking car. Top mods too.

I wish i had bought an M3 instead of an S4 avant. 

Thanks mate, it was between this or an e92 M3, but the e46 is in more immediate need of supply running low, and every time I see one I know I made the right choice.

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On 17/06/2019 at 16:58, Benji83 said:

Surprisingly well actually. Driving through the little villages all the attention goes straight to the Alfa unfortunately. Although I did get a compliment from a guy in a slammed R32 on Bentley wheels while in a petrol station, but I also got asked if it was a real M3 by someone else 😂

A real M3? Since when have there been fake E46 M3's all over the place? 

Bentley wheels are so scene and last year,  or the year before! Nice of him to compliment your car as another car guy though. 

I've a fancy for an Abarth. I love the nimbleness of short wheel base cars.

Your car is still the pick of the bunch of you and your mates cars for me though!

Kirkynut 

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On 29/06/2019 at 07:17, Adm... said:

Were did you get the gear shift boot and handbrake one from? Thanks 

 

Gear lever and handbrake boots were made to match the wheel by Royal Steering wheels. All in was £250 for all 3 - great service and a huge number of colour/material options for customising.

 

On 30/06/2019 at 10:17, kirkynut said:

A real M3? Since when have there been fake E46 M3's all over the place? 

Bentley wheels are so scene and last year,  or the year before! Nice of him to compliment your car as another car guy though. 

I've a fancy for an Abarth. I love the nimbleness of short wheel base cars.

Your car is still the pick of the bunch of you and your mates cars for me though!

Kirkynut 

 

It was great to have that fellow car person moment with the Golf owner in the petrol station, and I think the other guy has just seen too many 320d's with M badges on 🤣  thanks for the kind words.

 

I've got a load more photos to post up, will do it tonight hopefully. Haven't been able to get on to the zone without an error message in a while for some reason .

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On ‎24‎/‎07‎/‎2019 at 13:58, Benji83 said:

 

 

Gear lever and handbrake boots were made to match the wheel by Royal Steering wheels. All in was £250 for all 3 - great service and a huge number of colour/material options for customising.

 

 

It was great to have that fellow car person moment with the Golf owner in the petrol station, and I think the other guy has just seen too many 320d's with M badges on 🤣  thanks for the kind words.

 

I've got a load more photos to post up, will do it tonight hopefully. Haven't been able to get on to the zone without an error message in a while for some reason .

The error message thing has been fixed - Admin Sam kindly responded to a post I put on the E46 Zone facebook page - get your pictures up now!!!

 

Kirkynut

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18 hours ago, kirkynut said:

The error message thing has been fixed - Admin Sam kindly responded to a post I put on the E46 Zone facebook page - get your pictures up now!!!

 

Kirkynut

Never came across the facebook page till I seen this thread but please please people keep posting updates I love sitting down with a good build thread.

 

Beautiful M3 and a perfect selection of upgrades, would love to get my hand on one of these some day 

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On 13/08/2019 at 21:29, kirkynut said:

The error message thing has been fixed - Admin Sam kindly responded to a post I put on the E46 Zone facebook page - get your pictures up now!!!

 

Kirkynut

 Here you go then, all of the Wales pictures (and the paragraph copied from M3 cutters)

 

A couple of months ago - before I even had my M3, me and three friends decided to plan a trip to Wales. We left on Friday morning and returned Sunday afternoon. Friday consisted of traveling to Wales and driving around the South, Saturday we tackled the North, and Sunday we had a nice chilled drive back.
 
We got very fortunate with the weather which may have added to the enjoyment, but I cannot take anything away from how simply stunning this country is. It seemed like around every other corner was a new landscape reminiscent of a Bob Ross painting, each more impressive than the next. At some points I felt like we were in Spain or Italy, at others Canada or Austria. Driving for over 600 miles not once did I get bored, I spent every minute with all my senses engaged, and completing the journey with friends made it infinitely better.
 
As the scenery switches from winding roads to the quaint little villages, we slowed down to respect the quiet and the speed limits, and the attention of every single person was on the Alfa. Countless men breaking their necks to follow it as far as they could see, it really is a peice of art. The only thing that came close was an orange Huracan we crossed paths with on the Evo triangle. I shall now stop going on and let the pictures do the talking...
 
 
 
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And finally, woke up early last Sunday morning to head to Waterloo Bridge for sunrise, still editing these photos to a point where I'm happy with them. In the meantime, I followed by nipping around to a quiet spot afterwards to have a play with my first DSLR...
 
 
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