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Go Back   E46Fanatics > Tuning & Tech > Driveline, Engine & DME Tuning

Driveline, Engine & DME Tuning
Talk about driveline improvements, NA tuning and DME tuning your E46 BMW here. This includes diffs, intakes, exhausts, chips, software and OBD tuning.

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Old 03-04-2014, 08:06 PM   #1
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Join Date: Mar 2014
Location: Miami, Fl
Posts: 30
My Ride: 2003 E46 M3
Exhaust and Header advice needed!

First post so bear with me for any of the new guy mistakes that I am sure to make...
I recently picked up a 2003 E46 M3 with 33,000 miles on it. It has H&R coilovers, H&R anti sway bars, brembo 6 piston 15" up front, brembo 4 piston 15"in the back. The engine is bone stock other than K&N filters and intake elbow but that stuff really doesn't count... car has some pretty sexy deep dish HRE's on it. So now lets get to the fun part... tuning time...
I love every aspect of the car expect for the sound. I don't think its quite loud enough or a nearly good enough sound quality... to be honest I'm embarrassed of the way it sounds cause it sounds kind of like a Honda with that rasp that overpowers the exhaust sound. I don't hate the rasp just hate the fact that I hear more rasp than I do exhaust note.
Looking around a bit, I noticed that Active Autowerke is located only 5 minutes away from me so I decided to go check it out and give a listen to some of my options. Got lost on the way but the 700hp E92 they had on the dyno could be heard from miles away so I just followed my ears. Long story short they started up an E46 with headers and their exhaust so I could give a listen to it... It sounded so sexy and I was practically sold right then and there, it had a good tone but wasn't too loud in where I couldn't daily drive it comfortably, when he would step on it it would get muh louder than you would expect from the calm almost OEM that it was at idle .
I called him up today so he could price everything out for me and with their headers, signature exhaust and ECU tune installed it amounted to around $4000!!!
My problem is that I have about $3500 to spend on this and want to be able to get the best sound and power gains possible for my money. I am younger so I don't really mind having a louder car but nothing too unbearable. This is just so frustrating... he told me they would give me some sort of discount for doing it all through them and using their products but he literally just gave me the same prices from their website
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Old 03-06-2014, 09:02 AM   #2
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Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: Maryland
Posts: 212
My Ride: 08 335xi
that seems steep to me. Active Autowerkes makes great products from what I've researched but if you are looking for strictly power/performance you can get a lot more for the money. quick example I've seen used supercharger kits, for $3-$4k. Most Tunes/reflashes cost between $300-$600 and I thought I've seen some companies do pretty much a custom tune or re using what someone else did with the same mods for around $500-$600 and Active autowerkes I thought was one of them.

If I were you I would go with bimmerbrakes headers (middle grade between quality and price compared to "ebay headers" and Supersprint or any other big brand name) I think they run around $350-$400 now. If you want to avoid any bottlenecks in your entire exhaust system, your best bet is probably getting high flow cats and mid section custom made at a local exhaust shop. Then go with whatever over-axle or cat-back exhaust you like based on sound,brand,price,performance (I don't think performance differs much between different brands here,IMO). Then of course a Tune/shark injector to get the most out of everything. This will cost significantly less than $4k, then again I'm not sure how much of that quote was just labor.

Even going with bimmerbrakes headers(vs. AA) and the rest of the exhaust AA would probably save $700-$800. I haven't price AA headers for a while but IIRC they were close to Supersprint prices. Good luck.
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Old 03-06-2014, 09:14 AM   #3
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Join Date: Mar 2013
Location: Buffalo ny
Posts: 724
My Ride: 2002 330i
Id go BB headers and a shark flash. If you have emission testing in florida the shark might take care of your SES light. If not talk to ace on here for o2 sims or weld cats into the mid pipe. Id say you will save 1/2 your budget.

234HP/197TQ Just bolt ons :) New Numbers Coming Soon!
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Old 03-14-2014, 02:10 AM   #4
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Join Date: Nov 2013
Location: Monterey, CA
Posts: 19
My Ride: 05 e46 M3 ZCP
Go with ebay headers, they can work great, except you may need to have a fabricator tweak them alittle for alignment, that's still a lot cheaper then all that SuperSprint crap. I bought mine for 140 bucks. I did the ebay headers with bimmerWorld exhaust, and it is super loud, but it sounds awesome. Prolly too loud for street. This is a RaceCar build. I did the Alpha N tune, plus the CF airbox. I'm putting 346 hp to the wheels. I think the ebay headers are working .

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