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E46 Touring
The E46 touring forum. Talk about your sport wagon E46 here.

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Old 06-08-2016, 12:34 PM   #1
shields42
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DIY Sound Improvement on 2000 BMW 323i Wagon

Hello, all. I have a 2000 BMW e46 323i Sport Wagon. It's not a fast car and I don't have the desire or funding to make it fast. All I want to do is make it sound a little less like a minivan and a little more like a sports car.

I have already fitted a K&N cone filter directly to the intake in front of the airflow sensor. The sound is already twice as good. Though I have seen a very small drop in low-end torque, I have also seen a decent bump in peak power, especially in the way it carries through gear changes. Currently, the OEM intake ducts are blowing fresh air onto the side of the filter. I am working on fabricating a heat shield using sheet metal, Themaflect, and rubber tubing. I also plan to run a filtered ram intake from the lower bumper up to the new enclosure to give it some more air than the OEM intake system.

As for the exhaust, I'm a little unsure of what to do. The goal is to keep the budget as tight as possible. Obviously, if I could afford it, I would just get the UUC TSE3, but I don't have that kinda cash lying around. Furthermore, I also do not have access to welding gear, so that's an issue as well. The way I see it, I have the following mod options (from least desired to most desired):

1. Stock
2. Muffler Delete
3. New Muffler (MagnaFlow/Borla)
4. New Muffler + 2nd Resonator Delete
5. Full Stock w/ Electric Cutout After 1st Resonator

I am really leaning toward option 5, but I'm not super confident in my abilities. I am staying with my grandparents for the summer (internship stuff) and my grandfather has been working on cars for 50 years (and recently finished restoring a '64.5 Mustang Convertible), so he is helping me with the project. I have access to a wide array of tools, but I can't weld. Any suggestions from seasoned professionals would be greatly appreciated.
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Old 06-08-2016, 12:48 PM   #2
MichaelStar
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Not being able to weld will limit your options (or at least make it more expensive). Id look for a used muffler on teh forums.
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Old 06-08-2016, 12:55 PM   #3
shields42
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I really want the cutout option. It would be awesome to have a loud angry sound for car meets and highway pulls, but the OEM sound for neighborhood driving and other instances where one would rather not look like a massive tool.
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Old 06-08-2016, 01:15 PM   #4
MichaelStar
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I can tell you, it isn't angry sounding, just loud lol.
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Old 06-08-2016, 01:48 PM   #5
shields42
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All the videos I've seen of straight-piped 323i's sound pretty loud and angry to me
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Old 06-08-2016, 02:38 PM   #6
BKMrSteel
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^^^ Loud, yes. The filter probably makes the car feel faster up top because its a clean high flowing filter. However, you probably noticed a drop down low because you removed the factory box. The open cone filter will induce some TB noise, although without a proper box is rather negating its self.

If a bolt on is not what you are looking at, you need to find an exhaust shop.
Edit: or find a way to weld.
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Old 06-08-2016, 03:23 PM   #7
Geo31
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I guess I'm just an old fart. I like mine NOT loud. If it's loud, it better be that way for a GOOD reason, especially since there are great high-flow mufflers that aren't loud.
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Old 06-08-2016, 03:25 PM   #8
shields42
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Ok cool. I'm really just going for a better sound. Tonight, I'm going to test fit pieces of cardboard in the engine bay to help create a template that I can use to form an intake box out of AC panel. Once I have the box built, I want to run some AC tubing up from the lower part of the MTech 1 bumper, so that it feeds fresh air into the new box. I'm also going to make a cutout for the OEM intake scoops to feed into the box as well. I'm hoping that with a higher air-flow filter and more air being fed to it, I can get back some of the power I lost AND get that awesome full-bodied sound that the cone filters produce. In the end, I'll probably just buy the electric cutout assembly and have a muffler shop splice it in.
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Old 06-08-2016, 03:27 PM   #9
shields42
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Geo31 View Post
I like mine NOT loud. If it's loud, it better be that way for a GOOD reason, especially since there are great high-flow mufflers that aren't loud.
Oh I don't want mine to be loud ALL the time. Just when I want it to be loud. That's why I really like the cutout option. It'll let me cruise through neighborhoods without sounding like a tool, but then I can open it up on the highway or in parking garages where the stupid Civic SI in front of me thinks he's hot stuff lol

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Old 06-08-2016, 04:46 PM   #10
EthirD
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nothing humbles a man quite like the sound of a 17-year-old bmw with an exhaust leak
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Old 06-08-2016, 06:41 PM   #11
BKMrSteel
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I don't bother my worries with a Civic SI... Aside from my friends, turbo charged, at 400 hp and everything under the sun.
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Old 06-09-2016, 12:21 AM   #12
Geo31
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EthirD View Post
nothing humbles a man quite like the sound of a 17-year-old bmw with an exhaust leak
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Old 06-09-2016, 02:48 AM   #13
Onizukachan
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EthirD View Post
nothing humbles a man quite like the sound of a 17-year-old bmw with an exhaust leak
OP have you ever heard a BMW 6 with open pipes?
It sounds like a Tractor. A Ford 8n to be precise.
I had to run sans exhaust at one point for a day or so, it doesn't sound good at all.
It sounds less aggressive than a decent muffler, so your cutout idea is a waste of time.
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Old 06-09-2016, 09:34 AM   #14
lamsv
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I think a cut-out the last resonator box (Not the first, as that will sound like doo-doo) will sound pretty good.. When I cut off my stock muffler to replace it with a ZHP muffler, I had to drive to the exhaust shop with no muffler. It sounded good to me.

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Old 06-09-2016, 09:45 PM   #15
BKMrSteel
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^^^ That's just tips sticking out? You have the factory cats, and resonator then? I would say its purring, however not what you would have expected.
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Old 06-10-2016, 09:49 AM   #16
lamsv
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Yep. That video shows the rear muffler removed, replaced with straight pipes and tips. Just factory cats and resonators.
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Old 06-10-2016, 02:08 PM   #17
BKMrSteel
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Originally Posted by lamsv View Post
Yep. That video shows the rear muffler removed, replaced with straight pipes and tips. Just factory cats and resonators.
From a performance stand point, I went vise versa with cat and muffler. However, my new tires have come, and you did appropriately advise me on size (Thanks! )
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