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E46 Xi Forum
The E46 XI was produced from 01-05 in sedan and touring body styles. Powered by either a 2.5L inline 6 in the 325xi or a 3.0L inline 6 330xi. Discuss all thing about BMW AWD E46 'Xi' here.

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Old 01-25-2014, 03:48 PM   #1
h2obimmer
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E46 Touring - Clean & Bagged Daily Driver - Build Thread

As a professional photographer I have acquired quite a lot of equipment and quite a lot of miles. My E46 M3 has been there with me through every fashion shoot, wedding, and car shoot and she hasn't let me down yet.
However, my relationship and my job has taken me to a new city in a new state (Dallas, Tx). So, true to form, i must start a new project with this new chapter in my life.

I've always loved the E46 body style along with the luxuries that come with it. It's also the newest model 3-series that I can maintain myself without the use of special computers or equipment only available at the dealership. That being said, i was still on the fence as to what car I wanted to buy.

The journey started by deciding that a wagon would best fit my needs. I needed more storage space for all my photography equipment but I didn't like the height or boring driving experience that a SUV offered. I also needed something with good gas mileage, reliable with a spare tire and cheap to fix (compared to an M3 that is)
After a google image search i discovered many wagons that were to my liking but a 1969 Volvo Amazon Wagon really caught my eye. I found one and was ready to pull the trigger but the day i got my loan and was about to purchase my plane ticket the bastard sold the car out from under me.
Needless to say I was pissed but i moved forward.

So my choices were slimmed down to an Audi or BMW wagon. The Audi was appealing because they are so beautiful and it would be a new adventure. However, i've always owned BMW's and I know them like the back of my hand.

So finally I found a 2002 325 XIT with a 5spd transmission, black interior and clean Alpine white exterior.
Unfortunately, the car was all the way up in Boston, Ma and the Dealership owner was a complete A$$HOLE!!!! (seriously, 777 Auto LLC. is the worst company ever and if the car wasn't such a good deal I would have walked away!) ANYWAY, after 1,600+ miles, 12 states, 3 days and a horrible stomach bug (that had my pulling over the entire trip!) I finally got her home.

My plans for her are as follows:
Air Suspension
Full Stereo Install w/ Sub(s)
Wheels & Tires
M-Tech 2 Front Bumper
Tint
M3 Mirrors
M3 Sport seats with Heat
and probably a serious power increase because going from an M3 to this is killing me!

My goal is to have a super clean car on the inside and out that I will be proud to drive every day and call my own. I want all the bells and whistles of adjustable suspension and full stereo without losing any storage capacity. I have plans to cleanly mount everything in a way that keeps it all hidden but functional. First step is the air ride, next is the stereo.

So here is my well documented journey that starts on December 26th, 2013

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Old 01-25-2014, 03:48 PM   #2
h2obimmer
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first thing I had to do was take off these Janky 16's and put on my old 17's (very temporarily). I also wanted to check the suspension and undercarriage for rust (lots of surface rust but nothing serious. I suggest never buying a car from up north though...but if you want a 5spd BMW wagon, good luck finding one in the south.






my 17's need a respray but until then I decided to plasti-dip them anthracite grey and leave the polished lip. They look great from far away so don't look too closely...lol


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Old 01-25-2014, 03:49 PM   #3
h2obimmer
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Old 01-25-2014, 03:49 PM   #4
h2obimmer
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next upgrade that i desperately needed was a stereo.
listening to the radio gets old really quickly and the ICE system doesn't work for smart people who own Androids...lol

I had a Sony head unit with bluetooth audio that i missed so much.
I also had all the speakers from my 1st BMW (2000 323 CI) however, the speakers in the wagon are drastically different so none of these worked. I will be putting them up for sale soon.




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Old 01-25-2014, 03:50 PM   #5
h2obimmer
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5x7's in the rear...i like the way they have these mounted


stock amp for the highs is neatly tucked away. I will be utilizing this space for something special when I install my new highs amp
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Old 01-25-2014, 03:50 PM   #6
h2obimmer
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anyone know what the hell this little box is for?
I disconnected it and nothing has happened.
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Old 01-25-2014, 03:50 PM   #7
h2obimmer
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everything in BMW's is so nice and neat. they def know how to work with the space they have.

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Old 01-25-2014, 03:51 PM   #8
h2obimmer
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found this OLD SCHOOL speaker from a motorolla car phone system.
it was actually wired into the OBD connector...wtf??


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Old 01-25-2014, 03:51 PM   #9
h2obimmer
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only pain in the ass of this stereo install was getting this AC vent out....PAIN IN THE A$$
HINT* there are tabs on top AND bottom. you gotta pull really really hard and try not to break stuff


bluetooth microphone
i'm told the sound quality is good but not to make business calls on it...lol
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Old 01-25-2014, 03:51 PM   #10
h2obimmer
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I bought a new leather shift boot, e-brake boot and armrest for the M3 but decided it looked so good I wanted it in my wagon. very impressed with the quality and the perfect fit. I used contact cement and patience to install.



removed the battery to find the only rust damage on the whole car.
turns out the antenna was leaking and dripping into the battery tray for however long it took to rust out the floor.
luckily i'm learning how to weld so once i feel confident I will fix this.


Head unti fits perfectly
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Old 01-25-2014, 03:52 PM   #11
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Had to fix this UGLY A$$ woodgrain trim. I **** woodgrain trim...looks so out of place in this car.





Plasti-Dip Aluminum looks so damn good



very impressed with the quality

I know a lot of people think plasti-dip is cheap and a waste but i've used it for wheels and trim and other things and have been very pleased with it.
btw, the cracks were in the trim and the plasti-dip didn;t cover em
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Old 01-25-2014, 03:59 PM   #12
h2obimmer
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in my search for wheels that will look great and fit perfectly i decided to swap wheels with my M3




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Old 01-25-2014, 04:49 PM   #13
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Did a shoot with the M3 ZCP wheels on

the windchill was below 10 degrees so i spent VERY little time on this shoot and was not very inspired by the location but i got a few i was happy with

the fronts fit but the rears rub
I think 19's are just a bit too large and I am probably going to go with 18's




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Old 01-25-2014, 04:54 PM   #14
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the asshole who used this to hold the bumper on needs his legs broken and the person who invented this can go to HE!!
seriously, it was a major pain in the ass to remove and i hope none of you run into these

Last edited by h2obimmer; 01-25-2014 at 05:06 PM.
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Old 01-25-2014, 05:05 PM   #15
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BMW likes to make sure everything is held in place very well
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Old 01-25-2014, 05:06 PM   #16
h2obimmer
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Ordered a M3 front for the wagon from ebay. description specifically said that the bumper was made to fit a 2002 325XIT

sadly, i was very disappointed to discover that it did not fit

new brackets were required for bumper to fit


original stock brackets
the offer more support and have a channel that keeps the bracket in place
OEM = intelligent engineering
aftermarket = bare minimum engineering to get the job done



Bumper is on and looks good at first glance


But there was a large gap on either side of the bumper



also the part of the bumper that slides onto the bracket (on the body) broke after a slight push of the bumper.
OEM bumpers are 1 solid piece whereas the aftermarket bumpers have parts plastic welded on...which is very weak
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Old 01-25-2014, 05:10 PM   #17
h2obimmer
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If anyone needs an M3 bumper for a non M3 please contact me
i have a feeling it may fit the e46 coupe but not sure. i'll try to find one and see if fits.

it's in perfect condition and comes with OEM fog lights and i'll even throw in the brackets.
if you have a plastic welder the broken piece can be easily fixed.
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Old 01-26-2014, 03:06 AM   #18
h2obimmer
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so after the fiasco with the M3 bumper not fitting i decided to go with a bumper that was made for the car.

The M-Tech 2 bumper was also pretty and gave the wagon it's own personality as opposed to just trying to emulate a M3.

I ordered the bumper from Khoalty.com and even emailed them to first to ensure that the bumper was made to fit my wagon.

They assured me that it was so i bought it. But of course, it didn't fit.



i dry fitted the bumper with no brackets or anything holding it in place except for the push screws and there was a huge gap



also, this was causing problems once i did put the brackets on to try and hold the bumper in place



and of course, poor craftsmanship and plastic welding failed me again. the bumper mount fell off with very minimal force


2 bumpers down and i'm still where i started.
i decided to just have the ugly black moldings painted.
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Old 01-26-2014, 03:07 AM   #19
h2obimmer
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my e-brake was non existent so i had to change the e-brake pads ASAP



my roommate's dog couldn't resist helping



rotors were still in good shape





The pads were in MUCH worse shape than I had imagined
there was nothing left on the passenger side!!
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Old 01-26-2014, 03:07 AM   #20
h2obimmer
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I've always disliked the chrome trim on the E46 and after seeing it painted black on my M3 i just had to do the same to the wagon.



all the big pieces were easy to remove but the pieces under the windows would not budge and i didn't want to bend them. I'll mask them off and paint them when I have time.


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