R60BBA's '02 E46 M3 / Carbon Black

Discussion in 'Member Rides' started by R60BBA, Sep 24, 2018.

  1. 24 Sep 2018 at 11:37 PM #1
    R60BBA

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    Cutters!

    I bought my BMW M3 in July and thought it was about time to get one of these build thread thingys going.


    Why did I buy an M3, specifically an E46 M3?

    Being no stranger to BMWs (owned 4 in total before my 25th birthday), I took my previous motor (a Montego Blue 2007 Z4 Coupe 3.0si) on a 2,000 mile road trip throughout Europe (see video here: https://youtu.be/y0ymv8jOC0Y). Naturally this included a stop at the Nurburgring (my second visit). My first trip was in a 65 plate F21 116D in 2016, but with an extra 150bhp I thought I would be able to have some real fun in the Z4 Coupe. Although a rookie to track driving, I was able to get a sub 10 minute BTG lap in the Coupe. I posted my first lap (3rd lap ever) in 10 mins and 27 seconds, but was able to get under 10 mins in my second lap (4th lap ever), mainly due to the help of an E46 M3. I managed to stay with the M3 for a total of about 6 corners, before it pulled off into the distance, but from that moment I knew that I had to have one!

    On my return to the UK, I started to look at M3s, toying with the idea of an E92, but my passion desired for an E46. The E46 is more raw than its younger brother, it is more nimble which provides a more engaging driving experience. Coming from a 2 seater Z4, this was important for me. It was also cheaper to insure, run and buy (which meant more money for modifications and track days!). After endless browsing on Autotrader and Pistonheads, I found this one:

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    Spec:

    2002 BMW E46 M3
    Carbon Black
    Manual
    Laguna Seca Blue leather interior
    Sunroof
    PDC
    19" 67m alloys recently refurbed (car originally came with 18" 67m)
    75,000 miles on the clock
    Full service history.


    My car's history

    Before buying any car I like to do my homework and so asked the seller a bit about its history. Turns out the car only had 3 previous owners. 1st owner (2002 - 2004), second owner (2004 - 2010), third owner (2010 - 2017).

    Now you might be thinking what about 2017-2018? I bought the car off a car collector who buys and sells cars under his company's name so as to not increase the number of owners on the logbook. The car had been dry stored for just under a year and taken on runs once per month to ensure all was well. The seller proved this to me by showing me his garage (in which a number of other collectible BMWs were sitting such as an E30 M3 Evo and a low mileage Dakar Yellow E36 M3.) The seller also pointed out that the car's second owner was a BMW master tech who had set up Auto Independent, a BMW/Mini/German indy garage on the Isle of Wight. I decided to call the tech, and ended up speaking to him for about 30 mins over the phone where he confirmed what the seller had previously told me about the car. He also informed that the bearings had been replaced under recall in 2005 and the person who he sold the car to (3rd owner) went back to him for servicing (as the service book shows). After a 1 hour test drive (I kid you not), I knew this was the one and put a deposit down.

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    First wash :drool:

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    Last edited: Dec 9, 2018
  2. 24 Sep 2018 at 11:38 PM #2
    R60BBA

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    Problem Numero Uno

    The following week after putting a deposit down, I travelled to Derby to pay the rest and take ownership my new E46 M3.

    On my way home from London I decided to 'run the car in' by putting in a full tank of V-Power (I have continued to do this), not going over 100mph (not that I do this anyways :muttley:) and not revving out to 8,000 rpm. I reached home with no issues but pure smiles on my face. So large was my grin that after being at home for just 10 mins, I wanted to take it for a spirited drive by myself.

    When pulling onto my local dual carriageway, I revved the car out to 8,000rpm at which point the engine cut power, went into a limp mode and the EML light came on. I couldn't believe it, I managed to pull over safely, turned the car off and then turned it back on again. The car started up fine, but I decided to turn around and go back home. However I got up to 4,000 rpm when the same thing happened. Pulled over, reset etc and managed to get home by driving under 4,000rpm. I was initially very concerned as I thought I had spun a bearing (but did not hear any knocking noises so ruled that out). I called the seller and explained the problem, as he owns a garage in Derbyshire he kindly offered to collect my car from my house in order to take a look at it.

    He came the next day and towed my car back to Derbyshire, yet the truck that he had rented ended up breaking down on the M1. :confused: In the end it took him 7 hours to get back to Derby. :eek: Nevertheless, his mechanic ran the codes and realised the car was going into limp mode because it needed a new MAF. His mechanic also noticed that the diff was leaking from the input shaft bearing. Long story, short the seller decided to sort out both these issues for me and the next week I went up to collect the car.

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    Last edited: Sep 24, 2018
  3. 24 Sep 2018 at 11:39 PM #3
    R60BBA

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    Exhaust Debaffle

    Coming from a Z4 Coupe which I had put a Supersprint Race system on, one of the first things that I noticed was the lack off bass coming from the E46's rear. I considered an aftermarket system for the M3, but noticed that most of the good ones (Supersprint, Eisenmann, Bastuck etc) were about 30% more in price than my Z4 Coupe's system.

    After watching a video by DannyDC2 where he explained that his OEM backbox had been 'debaffled' I decided to do some research. After listening to endless YouTube videos and reading up various threads, I found a thread on M3forum.net where multiple members explained and displayed the exact methods in which they had debaffled their exhausts. For my ears, the best method was the 'TrueBlue mod' which involved leaving chambers 1 and 2 of the OEM backbox stock, but gutting chambers 3, 4 and 5 and then installing new equal length pipework.

    I was very pleased with the outcome, especially for the money.

    See more here: http://forums.m3cutters.co.uk/showthread.php?t=199357

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  4. 24 Sep 2018 at 11:40 PM #4
    R60BBA

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    Inspection II, CSLs and removal of private plate

    Call it overkill, but I like to service my cars yearly, as that way I know that I can enjoy them to their full capabilities without having to worry about things breaking. Although the car came with a comprehensive service history, and the car had been serviced in early 2017, it had not had an Inspection II since 2010 (45,000 miles).

    So I booked the car in:

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    The lads at BMS Surrey were very helpful and ended up giving me this report.

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    All valves clearances were spot on, which was great news and there was nothing majorly wrong with it. Apart from a broken rear spring and some knackered RTABs.

    I also got an oil analysis done by Millers. All good :thumbsup:

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    Although I already knew this, BMS pointed out that my rear tyres were dud, the front tyres had decent tread but were Kumho (which I don't really know much about) and so I decided to pull the plug and order a new set of Michelin Pilot Sport 4S tyres. I had ran either Michelin or Pirellis on my previous cars and so knew the importance of premium tyres. I also wanted to make sure to get this done before we embarked upon the cold and wet autumnally weather.

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    Furthermore, instead of fitting them to the 67M wheels, I opted for a full set of CM Wheels CSLs in Hyper Silver (19 x 8.5 ET38 fronts and 19 x 9.5 ET27 rears) and silver Bimecc bolts and lockers to match. I guess after seeing the BMW M3 CSL in the flesh at the BMW Museum in Munich, I just couldn't resist. I opted for OEM CSL tyre sizes (235/35/19 fronts and 265/30/19 rears), I also protected the wheels with Chemical Guys Wheel Guard before I sent them off for fitting.

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    The CSL @ the BMW Museum in Munich.

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    I also got bored of people asking whether I drove an automatic due to the private registration and so I removed it back to its original. The explanation behind the private number plate is that the 2nd owner (BMW Indy owner) bought it for his business 'Aut'o Independent and I guess it stayed on there ever since. (My own private reg will go on there in due course but I am actually enjoying the retro 51 plate look at the moment).

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    The car was then booked in again to sort out the issues from my Inspection II report.

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    All issues were done, until it was noticed that I needed a new offside rear lower arm. BMS did not have this in stock and are fully booked for the next 3 weeks and so the car has been booked into Munich Legends on Friday to get this sorted and a KDS alignment. The funny thing is that BMW Park Lane wanted nearly £900 for this job. :roflmao:

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    Last edited: Sep 25, 2018
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  5. 29 Sep 2018 at 1:53 PM #5
    R60BBA

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    Hunter 4 Wheel Alignment @ Munich Legends

    The technicians at BMS Surrey informed me that my offside rear lower arm was bent and needed replacing, however they were fully booked and so I decided to book the car into Munich Legends.

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    On my way I did a bit of car spotting and saw a Morgan Aero 8 on the M25.

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    The service was top notch, I was given a courtesy car (Mini Cooper) as they needed my car for the day and I was kept up to date by Stuart (General Manager).

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    Whilst the car was in the garage I went for lunch in East Grinstead and then visited the National Trust Sheffield Park & Garden. Fully recommended if anyone has their car booked into Munich Legends for the day and are lucky enough to have good British weather.

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    I did not get a picture of my rear lower arm, however it was bent pretty badly; it had the same angle as a banana :eek:. They also replaced the bolts, washer, lock plate and hex nut.

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    After replacing the arm, senior tech James undertook the wheel alignment using a Hunter system. After a bit of fiddling the alignment was set within OEM M3 19" tolerances. The car feels a lot better now, much more direct upon hard acceleration and turn in. :drive1:

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    Around 4pm I went back to collect the car, but ended up having a little look around their impressive showroom. I went in February earlier this year for general servicing on my previous motor and so was familiar with their stock. However, this time they had a cracking Z1 and I couldn't resist having a snoop. The interior gave me nostalgia of my Z3 days and it was also my first time sitting in a LHD, felt weird!

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    Last edited: Feb 2, 2019
  6. 20 Oct 2018 at 11:31 AM #6
    Evil Six

    Evil Six Wearing official underwear

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    Lovely motor mate, good to start getting the niggling things taken care of and know the car is sorted in the right places :thumbsup:
     
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  7. 20 Oct 2018 at 12:20 PM #7
    ADL

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    good stuff mate sub’d
     
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  8. 9 Dec 2018 at 8:47 PM #8
    R60BBA

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    Revival of R60BBA & some Exterior Restoration

    After sorting out some of the niggles of modern classic M ownership, I decided to personalise the car by putting my private number plate on. However I couldn't do that without refreshing the rear end at the same time, and so I also decided to refresh the inner tail lights.

    I looked into buying new lights, but OEM quotes were coming at at £100 per side (£200 for the lot!) which I wasn't prepared to pay. Thus my alternative: some water, Turtle Wax, a toothbrush, a micro-fibre cloth and 30 mins of my Saturday afternoon; was all that was required.

    Now a word of warning, the lights don't look brand new and would probably need machine polishing to have a near to new finish, but they look much better than before which is what I was hoping for.


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    Whilst I was tinkering, I noticed that my airbox did not have an oil sticker on it. After a bit of research I realised that LCI E46 M3's had an oil sticker whilst most pre-LCI's did not. Yet, I did see some pre-LCI's with oil stamps, (perhaps owners retrofitted), nevertheless I ordered a vanity sticker from Pukar Designs and installed it a week later.

    Before:

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    The goodies:

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    Last edited: Mar 10, 2019
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  9. 9 Dec 2018 at 8:48 PM #9
    R60BBA

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    The Beginning of my Interior Refresh

    What is the point in refreshing the exterior if the interior isn't also given some attention?! When I bought the car it did not have cup holders which was really annoying, looking back it is probably my only car which has not had cup holders fitted as standard. So I put an order in from Cotswold (part numbers 51168217953, 51168217957).

    However, that same day I was siting at a traffic light on my way to fuelling up when a BMW i3s owner told me to put down my window. In an attempt to put it down quickly I accidentally yanked back the rear window switch and through force it broke. Eventually I got my passenger window down for the i3s owner to inform me that he liked my car and that he used to have one. Chuffed but at the same time annoyed, I went to real-oem to find the part number (61316902178) for the switch so that I could amend my order from Cotswold. Here are some flics of the installation of the cup holders and new window switch.

    Broken passenger window switch:

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    New switch:

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    Old centre set up (with California Scents air freshener):

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    16 years without being cleaned (not too shabby)!

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    New centre set up with cup holders and coin holder:

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    Ta-da!

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    When I removed the gearbox surround, I noticed that some (knob) had cut the wires which illuminate the gear knob at night. Why would someone do this? If you don't like the light then just swap the knob! Now, my current knob has seen better days (no pun intended), however I am going to leave it for the time being as I am not sure whether I want to stick with OEM or replace with a fully alcantara one. There is more stuff to do interior wise (e.g. refresh the leather and soundsystem etc) but this will have to do for now.

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    I also refreshed the carpet plugs as a couple of mine were missing.

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    Last edited: Dec 9, 2018
  10. 9 Dec 2018 at 8:48 PM #10
    R60BBA

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    The Diff went BANG pap, pap, ka-ka-ka skidiki-pap-pap, and a pu-pu-pudrrrr-boom :(

    Whilst driving back from a cheeky Friday night Edgware Road shawarma, my car went BANG in St Johns Wood (right by The Beatles' Abbey Road zebra crossing). I was only doing 25mph but it literally sounded like a firework had gone off underneath the car, it was awful!

    To put this into context, my car had developed a clunking noise whenever engaging the clutch or accelerating whilst in gear. I highlighted this in a post on the forum (see here: https://forums.m3cutters.co.uk/threads/odd-noise-upon-clutch-disengagement-and-acceleration.204353/ ) where Paul46 correctly diagnosed it as my front diff bolt being the culprit. As I don't have a jack and needed some other bits doing, I decided to book the car into the garage to get it sorted. Yet, unfortunately I was too late, as the bolt popped out of the thread the day before the car was due to visit the garage. As it was 10.30 at night and the car was undriveable, I had to get it towed to my house, and then get it towed to the garage first thing the next morning (all covered by breakdown).

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    The morning after:

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    Munich Legends were concerned that the bolt had sheared which would result in it needing drilling out. However luckily it had popped out of place and so it was replaced with the revised bolt BMW issued following a PuMA case in 2008. However, after that experience I decided that I did not want to go through another breakdown and so I requested for a rod bearing service to be done whilst the car was in the garage.

    Rod bearing service

    Munich Legends had my car for a week, it wasn't a cheap bill (especially so close to Christmas) however they did a fantastic job on fixing up the car and I was kept up to date from Sean on a more or less daily basis. As you can see in the pictures, my rod bearing service was successful with minimal scoring on all shells. It's definitely a testament to the previous owners, as the car has had oil changes at an average of every 7,000 miles and clearly not been thrashed from cold either. The shells probably could've lasted another 50,000 miles, however I did not know this until they had been taken out of the car and I now have the peace of mind that I can enjoy her for years to come. (FYI I replaced with OEM shells and ARP titanium bolts).

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    Here are some more pics (excuse the quality as they were taken from my iPhone which has a cracked lens) of the impressive toys at Munich Legends.

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    First fuel fill after the rod bearing service. Next job is to drop the oil after 750 - 1,000 miles on the new bearing shells.

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    Last edited: Dec 9, 2018
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  11. 9 Dec 2018 at 9:10 PM #11
    ADL

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    Fantaistic thread. Great to see things being done properly. some of the photos look really good too. Great work mate! Keep it coming.
     
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  12. 9 Dec 2018 at 9:16 PM #12
    ADL

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    Have you thought about the f10 knob? Really nice little upgrade and it illuminates too
     
  13. 9 Dec 2018 at 9:22 PM #13
    Buttertubs

    Buttertubs Rocking a new hat

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    Really do like carbon black’s on a set of CSL alloys. Looks so much more modern than the standard alloys.

    Must resist getting some for mine lol.
     
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  14. 9 Dec 2018 at 9:25 PM #14
    R60BBA

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    It's on the list of considerations.

    My only concern with that knob is that I had it in my 65 plate 116D M Sport and the leather scuffed pretty badly after just 8 months of driving.
     
  15. 9 Dec 2018 at 9:44 PM #15
    AgSurfer

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    Fantastic write up. Makes me want to buy one too.
     
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  16. 10 Dec 2018 at 9:04 PM #16
    R60BBA

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    Quick Wash Video Update

    Here's a short clip I did of washing the exterior of my car a couple months back.

    I wash the exterior of my car more or less every week (weather permitting) and the interior once a month. As it is a weekend toy my interior doesn't really require much other than a quick hoover and every 3 months I protect the leather with Simoniz.

    For those interested in how I wash my car: I use the snowfoam / 2 bucket method and wax the car every 3 months.

    As you will see in the last image of the video, there are quite a few swirls in the paint. However I won't be addressing these with a detail as I am putting her in for a full respray next year.

    N.B. this is not a tutorial on how to wash your car (there are already loads on YouTube), it's more about just having a bit of fun with the GoPro.

     
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  17. 10 Dec 2018 at 9:13 PM #17
    Ralphhh

    Ralphhh A mere Chipper

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    Looks really nice man!
     
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  18. 2 Feb 2019 at 9:45 PM #18
    R60BBA

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    Re-Running In Service @ iRock Performance & Unusual Oil Leak

    After 950 miles of mixed driving on my new conrod bearing shells, I took the car to iRock Performance for an oil service. Although Munich Legends advised that a sub 1,000 mile oil change post rod bearing service was not necessary and that the car did not need to be re-run in (due to the fact that there is no metal to metal contact [ie the shells are not touching the crank]), to be on the 'safe side' I decided to re-run the engine in and drop the oil.

    Interestingly, the mechanic at iRock Performance found microscopic flakes in the bottom of my oil filter housing. I forgot to take pictures of this and we did not check with a magnet to see whether they were ferrous or not, however they were clearly not metallic shavings (which are the pieces of metal you can pick up with your finger in oil).

    After discussions with both iRock and Munich Legends about this and taking into consideration my oil report in August 2018 and the condition of the bearing shells themselves (no copper showing), it was decided to drop the oil after 6,250 miles (as per the service book) and re-inspect the filter housing.

    A week after my oil service at iRock Performance, I drove to Tescos and saw an orange oil light when I turned off the engine. To clarify, the dash did not show an oil light whilst driving, but solely when I turned off the car and this only occurred on an intermittent basis (usually after a hoon). After some quick research (page 19 of the Owner's Handbook) I found that the purpose of this light was to inform the driver that the oil level had dropped, but not to the minimum level. If the oil had dropped to the minimum level than an orange oil light would appear whilst driving and then permanently remain (even when the car has been switched back on) until the oil has been topped up.When I got home, I popped the hood and straight away I noticed that my engine cover had oil around the filler cap. I then took off the filler cap and noticed that the bottom of it was covered in 17 years of old dried up 10w60 Castrol. I checked the dipstick (which was fine) and so instead of inputting more oil, I cleaned the oil filler cap and put it back on. Yet, a week later the same thing happened again. At that point I decided to order a new cap from Cotswold (part no. 11121405452) and inputted a quart of oil into the engine.

    Apparently this is a common problem on BMWs in general (not just the E46 M3) and occurs because the rubber which sits on the bottom half of the filler cap perishes and subsequently allows a vacuum effect into the cylinder head. As a result, when the car is driven hard, oil pressure increases yet due to the perished rubber, the pressure cannot be contained, which ends in the oil pushing up and through the bottom of the cap. I have since done 700 miles and have not had any issues (no lights on the dash and no oil around the engine cover) - weird, but fixed!

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  19. 2 Feb 2019 at 9:47 PM #19
    R60BBA

    R60BBA Achieved official socks

    Joined:
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    Location:
    London
    Your Motor:
    2002 E46 M3 Coupe
    Colour Combo:
    Carbon Schwarz / Laguna Seca Blau
    Boxing Day Blast

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    After being in the house all day for Christmas, I took the car for a B road Boxing Day blast around Essex. If you haven't done this route, I highly recommend the B1053 from Braintree to Saffron Walden. Cracking road and to my surprise I wasn't the only one out on a blast, I saw a few bikers on Harley Davidson's, an old WRC Subaru Impreza, and a couple of lads playing with petrol remote control cars.

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    Over the Christmas break I also decided to make a compilation of my debaffled exhaust, see here:

     
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  20. 2 Feb 2019 at 9:50 PM #20
    R60BBA

    R60BBA Achieved official socks

    Joined:
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    Messages:
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    Likes Received:
    562
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    Location:
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    Your Motor:
    2002 E46 M3 Coupe
    Colour Combo:
    Carbon Schwarz / Laguna Seca Blau
    Interior Refresh #2

    When I got home I decided that I could no longer put up with my tatty gear knob and bubbled door trims and so it was time to finally take action. For those wondering, there are actually two part numbers for an OEM gearknob (25112229429 and 25112282451). Cotswold confirmed that the first is actually a knob that has been finished in maple wood, coming in at over £250. Not wanting to beg off the Bentley vibe,I decided to stick with the leather knob.

    As an avid fan of the CSL, I decided to order the following in a 1x1 weave*:

    • Dashboard trims
    • Gearbox surround trim
    • Front door handle trims
    • Rear armrest trims

    *Note that these trims are carbon fibre skinned. In essence, a layer of real carbon fibre has been carefully laid on top of the moulds. These have not been wrapped, nor are they 100% carbon fibre, but when done properly, it is almost impossible to tell the difference between skinned carbon fibre and 100% carbon fibre.

    I originally got a quote for £1,200 from NVD Autosport, but ended up going with Carbonized who came in at under £500 (including VAT and delivery). I can highly recommend Carbonized to anyone seeking carbon fibre bits for their car (whether in a 1x1 weave or 2x2 weave finish). At first I was slightly concerned about sending my hard earned cash to some dude in Bulgaria, however rest assured, Andrey of Carbonized was very professional in his dealings, he completed the work in just over a week and as you can see the quality is top notch.


    As soon as the trims arrived, I replaced the dashboard trims myself. However, I'd like to note that upon replacing, I ended up snapping the clips behind and the trim so had to order new ones from Cotswold (part nos. 51458266814 and 51458266808). Thus it may be worth ordering some spares before you attempt to undertake this job.

    For the door and rear armrest trims, I decided to take the car to Revamp Wraps (a mate of mine who is arguably better than Yiannimize, let alone much better priced). It was a bitch job removing the armrests from the door cards (for example, the rear bench had to come out to do the rears), however we got it done and I am very happy with the results.

    Future jobs for the interior include a leather refresh and replacement of my centre console and front ashtray.

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