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Well, I missed out on this (again) for quite a while. That's some amazing progress!

I love the new interior. Do you notice a difference in the smell? Sometimes old cars don't actually smell bad, but cleaning carpeting and everything underneath can make everything seem so much fresher.
 

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Discussion Starter · #262 ·
I like the top one the best too.

Although you misspelled automotive.


Great work on the car!
Thanks man, and same to you!

Well, I missed out on this (again) for quite a while. That's some amazing progress!

I love the new interior. Do you notice a difference in the smell? Sometimes old cars don't actually smell bad, but cleaning carpeting and everything underneath can make everything seem so much fresher.
Well, yes and no. I still smell the mothball remnants but it's not as pungent as it once was. At least now that everything is in the car I can get some ozium and douse it.
 

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Man I've got a 2 car garage 30 feet out my back door and I can barely get myself to vacuum my car out sometimes. Excellent work and you make me feel real lazy.
 

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This thread is TL;DR, but having driven the Cabin 325i and owning a C5, I would not LS swap an E46. I loved the sound of his car and how smoothly it revved out to 7,000rpm.
 

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This thread is TL;DR, but having driven the Cabin 325i and owning a C5, I would not LS swap an E46. I loved the sound of his car and how smoothly it revved out to 7,000rpm.
I've driven an LS3 swapped E36 and while it was a really cool experience and I appreciate the work, it wouldn't be anything I'd want outside of short drives. It completely changes the character of the car in a way that makes it.... Not feel like a BMW at all.
 

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Discussion Starter · #271 ·
Update on the A/C situation below the stuff below this (it relates):

After pricing out some new center consoles and armrests, I decided to refinish my center console myself. These pieces are molded ABS plastic with an impossibly thin rubberized soft-touch coating on them. As mentioned previously the weird thing with this car is the mileage and the wear & tear don't add up.

So again, that means anything I buy used or from a junkyard, I run the risk of paying for something in the desired color, but in worse shape than what I already own. So of course what do I do? I take sandpaper to my perfectly good (but dove gray) center console.

I wanted a finish that would hold up better than just spray paint and a clearcoat. I did some research and after looking at some photos of a finished product I decided this stuff was perfect:





It came out pretty damn good:

Wood Automotive tire Rectangle Hardwood Gas


It has maybe 20% more tooth/texture to it than the textured dash, which I think once it sees some use and some oils/dirt from my hands it'll knock down and age fairly well. The best part is, it's virtually impossible to scrape off. I tested some parts with my fingernail and it will not come off.


So there I am, console installed and interior looking good and I think "I have to figure out why the A/C isn't working." I spoke to some folks who have lots of experience and they told me they've started the car with the A/C on, and there's no pressure spike, so the chances the car started and blew a hole in the evaporator core are slim.

That leaves the expansion valve. I replaced this with the core out of the car, and as I was doing that I thought "what a weird and complex connection"

And I was right. I pulled the cabin air filter housing and heater bulkhead off, shined a light on the expansion valve and sure enough, a puddle of stinky fluid underneath it. I found the issue:

Hood Grille Automotive tire Motor vehicle Automotive design



Vehicle Automotive tire Motor vehicle Hood Rim


You can see the fluid in the pic above, just up and to the left of the Torx screw. This is 100% the reason I'm getting a stink and hot air. THIS is the culprit. THIS does not require pulling the dash again. THIS is the best bad news I could hope for.

So there's a 50% chance I screwed up the installation, a 50% chance it was a bad valve, and a 25-30% chance something very weird happened and I'm not good at statistics.

I'll be dropping the car off at my dude's shop to have him investigate/replace this thing. I already have a spare on hand. I'm going to try to have the A/C shop refill it again for free, since...they really should've been able to spot this while testing...right?

Either way, the console is in and looks good. Now to find a black armrest in good shape:
Car Plant Vehicle Speedometer Motor vehicle


Once I get this all squared away, I'm going to do a major detail too.
 

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Not gonna lie I was scared when I saw that can and even the center console by itself. But in the car?

Forehead Hair Nose Cheek Chin


I wonder if you might do the other hard plastics in it. Like the steering column cover, wheel trim, seat trim, stuff like that. It's got a cool and unique look about it and will obviously hold up really well.

On the armrest, as you say you may spend a lot of time and money just to get something else worn. Why not double down and take it to a leather pro and see if they can recondition/paint it? That's why it's grey now after all, BMW painted the hide.
 

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I've driven an LS3 swapped E36 and while it was a really cool experience and I appreciate the work, it wouldn't be anything I'd want outside of short drives. It completely changes the character of the car in a way that makes it.... Not feel like a BMW at all.
This thread is TL;DR, but having driven the Cabin 325i and owning a C5, I would not LS swap an E46. I loved the sound of his car and how smoothly it revved out to 7,000rpm.
I don't even know who you guys are any more.
 

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Discussion Starter · #274 ·
Not gonna lie I was scared when I saw that can and even the center console by itself. But in the car?

View attachment 200445

I wonder if you might do the other hard plastics in it. Like the steering column cover, wheel trim, seat trim, stuff like that. It's got a cool and unique look about it and will obviously hold up really well.
Yeah there were times where I looked at it and thought...is this gonna be awful? But honestly I kinda dig the texture. That photo is a bit washed out and makes it look grayish. I'm going to keep this in my back pocket for surfaces in the future. There's a good chance that my sills and kick panels would benefit from it too, and it would make things consistent looking.

On the armrest, as you say you may spend a lot of time and money just to get something else worn. Why not double down and take it to a leather pro and see if they can recondition/paint it? That's why it's grey now after all, BMW painted the hide.
Yep, I might go that route too. It probably won't cost too much. It's a low priority but I'm keeping options open. I could remove the fabric and source new stuff, do as you say and go to a shop to have it reconditioned, and there are a definitely some later model part outs I'm seeing with nice examples.
 

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Discussion Starter · #277 ·
That paint definitely looks more durable. I think its texture adds some grit to the interior. Some toughness. Some moxy.
I was pleasantly surprised too, but I saw this result from an E46fanatic and I was convinced


This pic shows how close it matches the faux leather texture of the dash.


This guy did the storage containers too, which is a possibility in the future. And obviously the lighting is much much better, but I was not expecting something so durable and cheap to be so refined looking.

I'm usually not very happy with rattle can jobs, but I over applied on the cupholder by accident on my first try and all it took was a quick swipe with 220 grit to get it back down to gray. I reapplied and it looks great. So, not only does it look good, and is affordable, and durable, it's not the kind of thing where if you screw up you have to go back to square one.

Armrest turned out great and I'm glad the AC is an easy(ish) fix. Well done man.
Thanks dude. Hopefully a $50-$60 bill from my mechanic and another recharge and we should be all set.
 

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Wow. I'd love to see that in person. Looks like it came out great. The original soft touch stuff is a "when not if" proposition as far as peeling is concerned, so your solution should definitely outlast any swap option you could have found. Storage containers may be worth a go when they start removing stuff for the transmission swap.

As for the armrest, I'm surprised you haven't come across one with everything else you've lucked upon. Maybe black interiors weren't that prevalent at that time? I guess in my own anecdotal experience they're mostly grey/beige colors.
 
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Discussion Starter · #279 ·
Wow. I'd love to see that in person. Looks like it came out great. The original soft touch stuff is a "when not if" proposition as far as peeling is concerned, so your solution should definitely outlast any swap option you could have found. Storage containers may be worth a go when they start removing stuff for the transmission swap.

As for the armrest, I'm surprised you haven't come across one with everything else you've lucked upon. Maybe black interiors weren't that prevalent at that time? I guess in my own anecdotal experience they're mostly grey/beige colors.
Thanks for the good juju.

I managed to snag an armrest assembly with everything for $70 shipped. I got it and the outside looked great. one small blemish but it's much less noticeable than the actual disintegrating material on the original.
Musical instrument accessory Bag Material property Luggage and bags Tints and shades


Nothing is without it's problems. I opened it up and...yeesh. An illustration of my aforementioned conundrum. PIECES of newer parts might be in better shape than my car, but other pieces of the same exact part may not be. The inside of my armrest vs. the one I bought:

Rectangle Cable Auto part Gas Electronic device



shakes spraypaint can

Automotive tire Finger Household hardware Thumb Wood


Rectangle Gas Gadget Auto part Metal


The new (old) one next to the old (new) one:

Blue Rectangle Wood Auto part Bumper


Annnd boop:
Automotive tire Wood Flooring Floor Luggage and bags


I'm currently waiting in a starbucks for my third A/C recharge this year. Pray for me. Pray for mojo. Pray for Project Melissa.
 
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