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General E46 Forum
This is the place to get answers, opinions and everything you need related to your E46 (sedan, coupe, convertible and wagon) BMW!

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Old 04-30-2013, 05:46 AM   #1
cpepe831
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Hello everyone!

Here's what's up, i have an '02 330i 4dr automatic (sport package) with 95k miles on it (I bought it when it had 60k). I don't have the funds to upgrade to an M3, but have considered selling and buying a manual. However since I know my car is in great shape now and am aware of the past problems, I'm hesitant to switch for a different car that i know relatively nothing about.

So I've come to the conclusion that i should keep my car, but i want it to be faster of course... I'm new to modifications and am not technically inclined, I prefer to have professionals work on my car rather than screw it up myself.

I'm looking to make my car a little faster and possibly sound a little better.

So far in posts I've read here and people I've talked to say that headers will accomplish both tasks, the ebay headers fit on the automatics right? (like i said, i'm new to this)

I've heard people say performance software helps a little, so does anyone know of a good software upgrade for the automatic?

I went ahead and installed a K&N drop in filter, because most people seem to agree that a new intake is not necessary, nor is an exhaust for that matter.

Any advice on increasing performance on the 330i automatic would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you very much!
Christian
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Old 04-30-2013, 06:01 AM   #2
asdetail
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sheesh! 330i auto not fast enough for you? perhaps a trade on something with a stonking big 7.0LT blown V8 under the hood could be the answer

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Old 04-30-2013, 08:40 AM   #3
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Proper maintenance and Headers. Beyond that buy an M3. JMO

Getting everything running properly is the biggest upgrade you can do. Plugs, VANOS, vacuum, CCV, Fuel filter/pump... etc Any serious performance via FI will cost you $$$, and at that point M3 is the way to go. Headers free up a little, maybe a tune. Bring the suspension back into spec. Enjoy your car for what it is, a well balanced sport sedan. Not a race car. And never mind the nay sayers... Your automatic is just fine, just do its maintenance and expect to replace it at some point in your cars life; then do the manual swap if you want.
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Old 04-30-2013, 07:04 PM   #4
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Old 04-30-2013, 07:08 PM   #5
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Just get a spring booster and retrofit an SMG steering wheel to your steptronic transmission (so you can use paddle shifters) and enjoy driving the car Cheap and makes car way more fun to drive!
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Old 04-30-2013, 07:21 PM   #6
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A 330i is not fast enough? Bro I drive an auto 323i, tell me about performance lol
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Old 04-30-2013, 08:11 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cpepe831 View Post
I'm new to modifications and am not technically inclined, I prefer to have professionals work on my car rather than screw it up myself.
You're missing a great (if not the greatest) part of the E46 experience: learning by screwing it up yourself.
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Old 05-01-2013, 05:07 AM   #8
cpepe831
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thanks everyone for the responses, at one point i tried to buy a shark injector, but the online retailer called me and told me that it wasn't compatible with my car since it's an auto, anyone ever hear of this? Does a software upgrade exist for the automatic?
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Old 05-01-2013, 05:45 AM   #9
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Stop thinking like this...read a lot more fanatics...a lot more. I think you'll learn it's not worth it, not when balancing the risks against the maximum possible gain.

Restore your car to factory as you work on it. When it 'is' factory, then you can mess it up all you want...not that you can't mess it up now, if you want, just that I don't think you should.

hth
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Old 05-01-2013, 06:15 AM   #10
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yeah. if you need more speed, save for an m3 swap or an m3 itself. from there you can build on top of that. otherwise, leave all the loud noises and the 100hp+ intake bolt ons to the Hondas. You also live in CA like me (although I have my way with smog check) you should reconsider headers. sure you may not be putting them on yourself, which you should be thankful for, but you're going to need to pay someone to do it every 2 years. get a euro tune. if you're close enough to me, hit me up. best mod you'll ever spend money on.
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Old 05-01-2013, 11:47 AM   #11
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I drive an AUTOMATIC, woe is me, new to mods

Quote:
Originally Posted by cpepe831 View Post
thanks everyone for the responses, at one point i tried to buy a shark injector, but the online retailer called me and told me that it wasn't compatible with my car since it's an auto, anyone ever hear of this? Does a software upgrade exist for the automatic?
Who is the retailer? I'm pretty sure they're wrong. The shark injector should work with an auto, I am looking into the active dme tune and I never heard of it not working on an auto. Pretty sure tunes just optimize the engine, and at the base of everything I believe the engines itself are the same whether manual or auto.


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Old 05-02-2013, 04:19 AM   #12
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this might shed some light, this from TurnerMotorSport:

"Hello Christian,

Unfortunately the shark injector does not work with a E46 330 that has an Automatic transmission. There have been problems in the past where the DME gets completely erased. Because of this we no longer sell it for the automatic for liability reasons.

You have not been charged and I am going to cancel the order."


I know Dinan makes an automatic transmission performance software, anyone know any details on that one?
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Old 05-02-2013, 04:56 AM   #13
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I drive an AUTOMATIC, woe is me, new to mods

Why not look into active autowerke?


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Old 05-02-2013, 05:12 AM   #14
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I am amazed at posts like this that ask about improving performance. You got a automatic---that says it. And lets be real, how much are you going to improve performance, how many tenths of a second??
Just like one of my neighbors who went out and paid a few hundred dollars to increase performance by how much---less than a second, perhaps much less. I call this head games, it is all in your head that you
have a more powerful car now that you increased performance when it is the same car, same everything, and on paper--the specs show that performance is better by quarter of a second (or whatever). If you feel better go for it, but the reality is that your car is what it is. Be happy with the 330, it is a good car. For me, I would not have BMW make anything but manuals--that is what a BMW should be.
PS-if you want to appreciate performance without spending a nickel, go out and drive something like the standard ford or chevy, then drive the BMW and note the performance.
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Old 05-02-2013, 11:24 AM   #15
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Don't mod an automatic car. You already wasted money on an automatic. Don't double down on a bad decision.
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Old 05-02-2013, 11:30 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dmax View Post
Stop thinking like this...read a lot more fanatics...a lot more. I think you'll learn it's not worth it, not when balancing the risks against the maximum possible gain.

Restore your car to factory as you work on it. When it 'is' factory, then you can mess it up all you want...not that you can't mess it up now, if you want, just that I don't think you should.

hth
That about sums up the correct answer for OP.
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Old 05-02-2013, 12:32 PM   #17
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Lol. Anyways the autos arent that much slower. Owning a manual has always been considered in a stereotypical way the only way when you talk about speed. If you guys havent noticed, bmws new auto, the one with like 11 gears would dust a manual version by several seconds. Yeah, whole seconds. That means the next time you pull up next to gramps and he laughs while you rev your engine, get ready to be embarrassed.
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Old 05-02-2013, 12:35 PM   #18
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Lol. Anyways the autos arent that much slower. Owning a manual has always been considered in a stereotypical way the only way when you talk about speed. If you guys havent noticed, bmws new auto, the one with like 11 gears would dust a manual version by several seconds. Yeah, whole seconds
Not sure what specific car model you are talking about but I doubt several seconds in the 1/4 mile.

Also, the "new" autos also are nowhere near the same autos we (or you, I assume) have in your car. Worlds, galaxies different. E46s autos are old-fashioned traditional high-loss slushboxes. Can't compare.
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Old 05-02-2013, 12:38 PM   #19
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The autos I'm talking about are the ones without a 3rd pedal. Unless the guys who have manuals consider the smg as a manual too?
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Old 05-02-2013, 01:31 PM   #20
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Contact Tuner Motorsports for your Shark they should sell you one. Just installed one on my car its a manual but there are instructions on how to install it in an automatic car.

Basically you are required to electronically disconnect your transmission from the computer prior to installation. The instruction are VERY specific about the procedures and frankly scare the hell outa ya with the fact that if you don't follow them Exactly you my fry the computer

As far as upgrades I agree with the others refreshing it to new condition is your best bang for the buck.

A gear or differential change to 3.64 would help with the fun factor too
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