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Discussion Starter · #221 ·
Awesome awesome awesome. So now when you're not sure if you want to do something, ask yourself if it helps you get to that vision.
  • An MT swap? Definitely, the car you described is either MT or dual clutch.
  • Steering rack? I'd say so. @Sold Over Sticker can tell you all about power steering fade in golden era BMWs, let alone any ratio benefits.
  • Wide body? Probably not. While awesome, it'd be expensive to do, and expensive to fix if you rub a wall. Not to mention wheel bearings on a track car are already stressed.
Really helpful, man. Thank you. I have a ZF 5 speed, shifter linkage, pedal assembly and 2 driveshafts among other small items in preparation for the manual swap. It's a must and I know it'll wake up the car. I want to do this swap THIS year so that I can get it done and then worry about sub-frame reinforcement a bit later.

I also have a ZHP steering rack waiting as well. I did my standard few hours of research last night and found that at this point (and really throughout history) there aren't any tasteful and/or subtle kits for an E46. I may just try to source some nice ZHP/Mtech parts.

Etc. etc. That's a vision I've thought about quite a lot, and really, not far off from how I'm building the Daytona. FWIW, in an E46, personally I'd probably be looking at pulling the carpets and back seat but not the dash, center console, or tops of the door cards, as stiff a suspension as I could reasonably stand, basic bolt-on power stuff like cat back and intake, a half-cage/roll hoop, bucket seats (leaving the 3-pt belts but also having harnesses). Going for coffee? 3-pt; I can still check blind spots, reach stuff in the car, and don't need to wear a HANS/helmet. At the track with a HANS? 4-, 5-, or 6-pt. And then Stoptech brakes with the widest wheels that will clear wrapped in a barely legal tire. YMMV on all that--maybe by a lot--but my point is just to keep those decisions in context. 🍺
I was thinking about this kind of stuff too. Rear seat delete but not just leaving it bare. Cover it with a bit of insulation to make it livable (I'm thinking mostly around the parcel shelf and pass-through area). The 3pt harness stuff is very enlightening.

I do have to think about new seats, manually adjustable but something livable and comfortable.

Having a dedicated daily is going to open up your options sooo much. CX-50 is a great car, but 3500lb tow rating is going to be tough for towing an E46. You'd need the lightest aluminum trailer you could get ($$$) and the E46 would have to be pretty well stripped. If towing this car is something you intend to do, I'd strongly recommend looking at bigger stuff, at least 4,500lbs for an open trailer and 6,500lbs for enclosed. It'll cost a little more upfront, and won't be as fun to drive, but it won't cost as much as if you realize you went too small the first time you tow. I doubt you want a truck; on that thought JGC is a good example of something I'd recommend.
These are ALSO great points. IDK if I'd even be ready to get a trailer by the time our planned lease of the CX-50 was still in place. I'm know I'm getting ahead of myself, but I'm also trying to think a few steps ahead. I know tires will be my biggest expense at some point too.
 

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Really helpful, man. Thank you. I have a ZF 5 speed, shifter linkage, pedal assembly and 2 driveshafts among other small items in preparation for the manual swap. It's a must and I know it'll wake up the car. I want to do this swap THIS year so that I can get it done and then worry about sub-frame reinforcement a bit later.

I also have a ZHP steering rack waiting as well. I did my standard few hours of research last night and found that at this point (and really throughout history) there aren't any tasteful and/or subtle kits for an E46. I may just try to source some nice ZHP/Mtech parts.



I was thinking about this kind of stuff too. Rear seat delete but not just leaving it bare. Cover it with a bit of insulation to make it livable (I'm thinking mostly around the parcel shelf and pass-through area). The 3pt harness stuff is very enlightening.

I do have to think about new seats, manually adjustable but something livable and comfortable.



These are ALSO great points. IDK if I'd even be ready to get a trailer by the time our planned lease of the CX-50 was still in place. I'm know I'm getting ahead of myself, but I'm also trying to think a few steps ahead. I know tires will be my biggest expense at some point too.
Not a problem I love this stuff.

On seats, one thing you can do is put in sliders and then skip recline and use cushions for height adjustment. Cheap, light, works so long as it’s only a few drivers and they’re not too far apart in size. I don’t think you want a full halo, but otherwise plenty of comfortable race seat options.

On the trailer, if you buy something that can tow your setup, you may or may not be ready in time. But if you buy something that can’t, you definitely won’t. It’s often a “better to have and not need than need and not have” situation, and while a CX-50 and the like will drove better than a JGC, you won’t care so much if you’ve got a well hone BMW waiting. Hell, as much as I loooove the Cayenne, part of me questions if I should have bought an F-250 instead. It’s a slippery slope and my requirements don’t ever seem to go down. 😂
 

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Discussion Starter · #223 · (Edited)
Ok so, we are nearing completion of parts-gathering for the intake side of the engine.

So far I have a new:

DISA valve
Intake/exhaust cam position sensors
Crank position sensor
Intake manifold gasket
lower intake boot (upper already replaced)
Fuel filter and lines
Turner 8oz baffled oil catch can
A whole mess of o-rings for injectors and the aforementioned sensors
A whole mess of new vacuum lines

I'm going to order a new starter soon, and then do all of this stuff at once.






Then...phew boy. It's time to laser focus on the manual swap. I still need a clutch and flywheel kit, a slave cylinder and hard line, and a buuuuuuuuuunch of random parts like rear main seal, gaskets, hardware, etc.

As everyone reading knows I'm trying to look as far ahead as possible, so I'm forgoing an OEM power steering refresh in favor of the Chase Bays kit.

Chase Bays Power Steering Kit - BMW E46 w/ M52TU and M54

For some reason these fittings seem to instill a bit more confidence than crush washers and rubber hoses that are apparently prone to internal delamination. No thanks.




It's expensive as hell, but nothing on this car is proving to be cheap, which is fine. I actually take a lot of pleasure in having people look over my car and the mods that I've done and say "wow that looks nice." Also since both of these kits (the catch can and PS system) are black anodized aluminum which should really clean up the engine bay.


Also, **** it! I bought front and rear StopTech SS brake lines.



 

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Discussion Starter · #224 ·
Gray to black conversion takes another small step:

Bicycle handlebar Wood Bicycle part Tool Carbon


I quickly realized after putting these side by side that the brushed aluminum trim was never meant to go with dove gray. It looked 'meh' before but now it looks great.

Vehicle Car Motor vehicle Automotive design Automotive exterior



Car Vehicle Hood Window Car seat cover



Car Window Plant Vehicle Automotive design


I then quickly realized that man...that gray carpet has got to go too. I may keep the gray under dash/console/pillars and headliner though. I think that'll strike a nice two-tone balance. The seats, doors, top of dash and carpet will be black, and the pillars, headliner, bottom of the dash and the center console will all be gray. IMO this is unique, tasteful, and helps me focus on driving but not feel like I'm in a cave.

In other news - I went to the junkyard because I thought I could snag an M56 valve cover but as soon as I got to removing it, it was cracked.

I checked the trunk of that same car and...

Pneumatic tool Tire Automotive tire Handheld power drill Tool


$55 out the door. It was on my list anyway.
 

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Discussion Starter · #226 ·
You found what looks to be a brand new starter in the trunk of a car?!? Wow! Score!
Yep! I always tell people to check every part of the car. So far I've found a brand new PS pump, fog light, and starter in the trunks/back seats of junked cars. It takes 2 minutes and once in a while you'll hit the jackpot. This thing was wrapped in bubble wrap and in a cardboard box. :LOL:
 

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Yep! I always tell people to check every part of the car. So far I've found a brand new PS pump, fog light, and starter in the trunks/back seats of junked cars. It takes 2 minutes and once in a while you'll hit the jackpot. This thing was wrapped in bubble wrap and in a cardboard box. :LOL:
Amazing. I can't believe how many E46's are in yards around you. They're unobtanium around here.

Interior conversion also looks great, well done dude.
 

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Discussion Starter · #229 ·
Whoops.

I was racing against time for this happening anyway but a parallel parking job was the last straw. Heading out to vacation in Western MD, start the car and hear a very distinct "SHUNK" sound from under the car. It happened the exact moment my fiance closed the trunk so I thought "maybe that was just something falling or coming out of place in the pile of packed stuff"



I go to turn out of the spot and the telltale resistance of 600lbs of engine and a few hundred pounds of other stuff comes through the wheel.

No fluid on the ground, no real explosions....and sadly I hate to admit this but I just drove the f**kin thing to our AirBNB. It wasn't fun, but it worked. So, pour one out for a poorly-designed LUK LF-20 pump that lasted a good 21 years. She was pumping some metal flakes into the fluid a few years ago and I decided to just let it ride.

I have a new HD pump, a new 712 rack, and just ordered the Chase Bays power steering lines, reservoir and cooler.

This is ON TOP of the interior swap and A/C fix that I have to do this weekend. I suppose 10 months of relatively uneventful driving around Baltimore was long enough.

Lots to do coming up. I will say, I'm happy with how the black carpet looks. No stains (any discoloration is just leftover Bissell stain remover I need to rinse)

Sleeve Grey Denim Pattern Font


Pile of other crap waiting to go in. I went ahead and ordered that plastic plate that the accelerator pedal slides onto because apparently nary a soul alive has removed it without breaking.

Packing materials Rectangle Auto part Plastic Plastic wrap



le sigh
 

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Discussion Starter · #230 ·
I'm pretty tired today.

Friday:
Car Vehicle Automotive tire Hood Light



Saturday. Photos are a bit out of order but the giant hole in the firewall is where the air for the HVAC box comes in (the giant black plastic thing is the HVAC box)
Hood Automotive tire Motor vehicle Vehicle Automotive lighting

Automotive tire Motor vehicle Hood Tire Automotive design


The IHKA (HVAC) unit:
Motor vehicle Hood Bumper Trunk Automotive exterior

Car Land vehicle Vehicle Motor vehicle Hood






Wood Font Art Tree Electric blue


My workspace. 1/4 mile from my apartment.
Automotive parking light Tire Wheel Car Vehicle


Hood Automotive lighting Motor vehicle Automotive design Vehicle
 

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Discussion Starter · #231 ·
With the IHKA box out, I took it back to my apartment to clean, disassemble and investigate.
Typewriter Office equipment Office supplies Gas Machine



This is the reason my AC wasn't working. Was such a relief to see this mess instead of everything looking clean

Wood Mesh Rectangle Gas Font

Floor Automotive design Urban design Flooring Wall


Heater and AC cores replaced, final stage resistor, and expansion valve. Carpets were last to come out, so they're the first to go in:
Motor vehicle Hood Automotive tire Automotive design Vehicle

Hood Motor vehicle Automotive design Automotive tire Automotive exterior


Hood Automotive tire Motor vehicle Bumper Automotive design


IHKA box back in, cabin filter housing cleaned and reinstalled, passenger airbag, curtain airbags, cluster, and fuse box reinstalled, black dashboard in.

Vehicle Car Motor vehicle Hood Steering wheel

Vehicle Car Hood Motor vehicle Automotive tire


Me every couple of hours:

Glasses Chin Hairstyle Vision care Goggles
 

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Yeah, black interior looks much better. I'm interested to see the grey contrast with everything else in there.

I assume you have somewhere else to do the mechanical work?
 

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Discussion Starter · #233 ·
Yeah, black interior looks much better. I'm interested to see the grey contrast with everything else in there.
It really does. It's changed the entire feel of the car. It feels more grown up if that makes sense.

And yeah, I'm actually not entire sure what to do about the remaining gray stuff. I need new kick panels for drivers and passenger side, but the center console being gray may bother me. I could buy a new black one, but the plastic ages so poorly that I've been considering having it vinyl wrapped black.

As far as the A/B/C pillars and headliner? Well I just replaced the pillar covers but my headliner is sagging. Now that the car has black carpet I was thinking about a sunroof delete and black Alcantara wrapped headliner.

I assume you have somewhere else to do the mechanical work?
Although my mechanical confidence increases with every job I do, I won't be tackling the oil pan/steering/intake stuff. I'm going to take my car to a local BMW specialty shop that can do that stuff for me.
 

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It really does. It's changed the entire feel of the car. It feels more grown up if that makes sense.

And yeah, I'm actually not entire sure what to do about the remaining gray stuff. I need new kick panels for drivers and passenger side, but the center console being gray may bother me. I could buy a new black one, but the plastic ages so poorly that I've been considering having it vinyl wrapped black.

As far as the A/B/C pillars and headliner? Well I just replaced the pillar covers but my headliner is sagging. Now that the car has black carpet I was thinking about a sunroof delete and black Alcantara wrapped headliner.



Although my mechanical confidence increases with every job I do, I won't be tackling the oil pan/steering/intake stuff. I'm going to take my car to a local BMW specialty shop that can do that stuff for me.
I'm a sunroof guy, so I'd want to keep it assuming it's still in working order, but I like your plan as well. Having had an E46 w/ all black, I vote for consistency because I do think the grey may stand out a bit much. No idea how well vinyl wrapping will work though.
 
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Discussion Starter · #236 ·
I'm a sunroof guy, so I'd want to keep it assuming it's still in working order, but I like your plan as well. Having had an E46 w/ all black, I vote for consistency because I do think the grey may stand out a bit much. No idea how well vinyl wrapping will work though.
To be honest, the sunroof has proven to be crucial to this job. I placed my high power LED light box face down on the sunroof and it flooded the entire car with light. It was great and would've been miserable without that much visibility for everything in the car.

But...it's really heavy and raises the center of gravity. I don't use it all that much, and really as time goes on I'll likely be using this car less and less. Plus...cool points for a carbon fiber sunroof plug.

My thoughts for the gray contrast are: Carpet, seats, dashboard, center console and door panels all black. A/B/C pillar covers remain dove gray, and then the black Alcantara headliner would give the car what I'm imagining is a 'vaulted cockpit' feel. Basically below and above my line of sight would be black, and everything between belt line and roof would be gray.

So while the black headliner would effectively feel like the roof was lower, the light colored pillars may make it feel airy and cozy at the same time.

In my head, it kinda works.

Can't believe you did all that in a parking garage. Mad props dude.
I was talking to a fellow TCLer and we agreed that it actually worked out really well because ZERO people bothered me the whole time I was there. I got a couple of looks, but other than that nobody said a thing. It was awesome.
 

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But...it's really heavy and raises the center of gravity. I don't use it all that much, and really as time goes on I'll likely be using this car less and less. Plus...cool points for a carbon fiber sunroof plug.
I mean, are you going to be using this as a time attack car? If not, that 20-50lbs isn't going to be noticable. Now...if you're gonna replace the whole roof skin with a carbon fiber piece, that is another story. just a plug? I'd keep the glass.

My thoughts for the gray contrast are: Carpet, seats, dashboard, center console and door panels all black. A/B/C pillar covers remain dove gray, and then the black Alcantara headliner would give the car what I'm imagining is a 'vaulted cockpit' feel. Basically below and above my line of sight would be black, and everything between belt line and roof would be gray.
This could work, but if you're already doing the headliner, I'd just make it all match. I remember wishing my E46 had black abc and headliner, when i finally moved into my E92 w/ M-sport thats how it was despite being an Oyster leather (white/cream) car.
 

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Discussion Starter · #240 ·
I mean, are you going to be using this as a time attack car? If not, that 20-50lbs isn't going to be noticable. Now...if you're gonna replace the whole roof skin with a carbon fiber piece, that is another story. just a plug? I'd keep the glass.
Yes, eventually the car will be relegated to very infrequent weekend trips but mostly track time. Since I've decided against an LS swap, the idea is to strip as much as I can down from this thing while preventing it from being exhausting to drive. Replacing the entire roof skin might be just a step too far for me, but nothing is set in stone just yet.

This could work, but if you're already doing the headliner, I'd just make it all match. I remember wishing my E46 had black abc and headliner, when i finally moved into my E92 w/ M-sport thats how it was despite being an Oyster leather (white/cream) car.
Well the good thing is I can always quickly replace the gray pillar covers with black if I decided I want to go that way.

The headliner is cost-prohibitive to just replace, so re-wrapping it is the best option. Since the pillar covers are brand new and I put them on a couple months ago, I can deal with the difference for a bit. If I eventually tire of the contrast I can buy new covers.
 
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