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The Showroom
This is the place to show off your BMW to other members of the community. Post pictures and videos of your car and the modifications you have done to it. If you need a picture of something on a coupe, sedan, convertible or touring you will probably find it here!

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Old 04-25-2015, 11:55 PM   #1
6th Element
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6th Element's Build/Story Thread

Warning! Bad iPhone picture quality lol

It all began on Christmas 2013. The day my new to me, E46 330i was dropped off at my house. Being 17 at the time, this was the first car I could officially call my own. I had always loved the E46 M3, and I wanted that to be my first and only car. After thinking about it long enough, I came to the conclusion that it wasn't the right "first car". Expensive to maintain, and being a kid, I would've probably killed myself had I gotten one.
Anyways... So of course, immediately after taking my time admiring the beautiful lines of the E46, I quickly jumped in to go for a drive. Let's just say, it was the best drive of my life!

Here's how it looked the first day I got it.




First time washing the new car.


At this point, I had decided to drive the car for a good while stock, and just maintain it. So I did just that for the first few months. I changed the oil, flushed the coolant, oil filter, air filter, cabin air filter, RTAB's, and control arm bushings. To start off with, and drove it for a few more months.
Well, that didn't last too long. Shortly after I was bit by the mod bug. I completely blame this forum for that by the way

So it all began.
First thing I did was debadge it and Plastidip the "plate filler" which I still have to this day. I like the way it looks. Specially since I have the M-Tech I rear bumper.




Next thing I wanted, was more loud, but I couldn't justify spending a lot of money on a system that the forum members approve of, without trying a muffler delete first. So I went ahead and got one.



It sounded good to me, and I was happy with it for a couple of months, until I wanted even MORE loud. Guess what? Yup.. You guessed right, it was time for straight pipes after the cats. This time I went to my buddy's shop and did it together. It looks ugly, but it's ok.





After having good luck with Plastidipping my plate filler, and trying different things with my interior trim, I decided to Plastidip those as well. Looked good, it was a cheap, and has held up just fine until now.




All was good until one day, as I was driving home, I heard a horrible knocking noise coming from the engine bay. I immediately pulled over, shut off the engine, and looked under the hood. Luckily, I caught it in time before it overheated. Again, luckily, I was only a couple of blocks away from home and it was night time. So I pushed the car around the block to my house. The morning after, I had the car towed to my friend's shop, and we immediately started pulling the bottom of the motor out. Keep in mind, my car had developed a ticking noise prior to this. So I was almost certain it was a failed rod bearing. After finding out the hard way that it wasn't in fact a failed rod bearing, we discovered that the water pump impeller had broken off which caused the loud knocking noise the night before. What a relief! At this point, I decided to just renew most of the cooling system for peace of mind. Thanks to Mango for making that decision a no brainer. So I ordered a new radiator, radiator hoses, fan clutch, water pump, belts and pulleys, and went to work.
Unfortunately I do not have pictures of this process, as I was eager to just fix my car and get it back on the road.
A few days later, car was running better than ever, and was back on the road. I also discovered the ticking noise my car had developed was due to a spark plug coming loose. As I was torquing down the plugs, I saw a bit of oil in the spark plug wells, so I ordered a new VCG and plugs. Changed those and all was well.



It was finally time for the mod I've always wanted to do since my car is auto. That is the SMG steering wheel retrofit from the E46 M3. I purchased the wheel from Mike @ CobyWheel, and the clock spring from eBay.
As I was waiting for those to arrive, I ordered the wires and connectors I would need for this retrofit.



They all finally arrived, and I started assembling the steering wheel and creating the wiring harness.



Made the wiring harness


And the results!


Now was the time for suspension and wheels. As I was saving for this, I started photoshopping pictures of what I wanted my car to look like. Trying different ideas.





I went through a couple sets of wheels until I found what I thought I would keep for a while





Sure enough, these were the wheels I wanted to keep. (Which are for sale now)



However, in order to install these on my car without rubbing issues, I had to roll, and slightly pull my fenders. So that was next.



Finally the wheels were on my car, and I was very happy.




About a week after, I ended up driving an hour and a half to pick up a set of almost brand new Megan Racing Coilovers from a guy that had just got them for his 330i that no longer needed them. They were listed on Craigslist for $600. As I exited the freeway, I get a call from the seller saying he had changed his mind about selling them and wanted to keep them. Frustrated and angry, I turned around and drove back home.
The day after, I ordered a set of Coilovers that I had researched about for months prior. (Let the hating begin). In my search about these particular Coilovers, I heard nothing but good reviews from people that actually own them and have first hand experience with them. All the negative comments I read about them, were from people that have never owned them. So I pulled the trigger and bought a set of Raceland Ultimo's. Go ahead and criticize. It's fine, and your opinion will be respected.
3 days later, they arrived, and they looked great!



I realized I couldn't install them with the Style 32's as the tires were too wide. My only option was to either get smaller tires, or get new wheels. Yeah.... Went with the latter. So once again, I started searching for wheels. A couple of days passed, and I had finally made up my mind about what wheels I wanted. I contacted Narvin & Navith @ Vordoven. Also known as Baest & WhatsBFC as most of you may know. Talked to them about the options of re-drilling the wheels as they were only available in 5x100 and 5x114.3. They said they would be able to do it for only a small charge. So I finally went down to their office and ordered the wheels.
A couple of days later, they were ready to be picked up. So I immediately drove down and picked up my new set of wheels.
Lucky a friend of mine had just gotten rid of his wheels that were the same specs as the ones I ordered. So I bought his tires for my wheels the same day and went down to the tire shop.
(Fitting 4 wheels and 4 uninstalled tires in an E46 IS possible). I wish I had taken a picture. My car was a cluster F*** that day lol.



By the time the tires were installed on my new wheels, it was around 7pm. I called my friend and asked if he could keep his shop open for a few more hours for me to use his lift to install the Coilovers. I couldn't wait till the next day. He happily agreed. So I went down and started. They were finally installed and I loved the way my car looked.
Only problem I ran into was, the inside lip of my wheels contacted the helper spring on the bottom. Luckily I had purchased a pair of 5mm spacers beforehand that I could use, but that wasn't enough clearance. So we came up with the idea to use washers as spacers for a couple of days until I got new spacers. So we installed the the 5mm's along with one washer around each lug bolt in the front, and it worked.
Finally got home after that long night and ordered a pair of 10mm's for the front, and 12mm's for the rear. Along with those, I also ordered a stud conversion kit with racing lug nuts. They were mandatory because of the size of spacers I wanted to install. Stock bolts aren't really safe to use with anything more than 5mm spacers.
A couple of days later, the 10mm's, and studs arrived. I installed those and headed off to the carwash.






Doing the dishes


The day after that, the rear 12mm's arrived and shortly after, they were installed on the car.
Here's how the car sits as of today 4/25/2015.







The ride height still needs some adjusting, but ultimately, I'm very happy with the way it turned out. Huge thanks to everyone that helped me out with this "build" up until now. I'm sure there will be many more mods, as I can't seem to stop.
This thread will be updated accordingly. It might be slow, as I've done most of the mods I had visioned already.
Feel free to criticize me for "being cheap" or whatever you may call it. I'm happy with my car, and that's all that matters to me, and all of us that choose to mod our cars, because we do it for our own pleasure, and not others.
So far I've put only around 100 miles or so on the Coilovers. So I can't really write a review, but it does ride nice. However I come from blown OEM suspension. So anything would feel better. For those of you that are interested, there will be a review on them in a few months down the road.
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Old 04-26-2015, 12:09 AM   #2
Davconelectric
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Excellent build/story thread. Nice write up. I'm not a fan of plasti dip, but the interior trim is a cool idea, something different for sure. Look forward to seeing future developments
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Old 04-26-2015, 05:03 AM   #3
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Nice progress

My input is to get rid of the plasti-dip from the trunk where the plate is, get some clear corners/side markers and rcr or led tail lights and install projectors into those headlights
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Old 04-26-2015, 09:49 AM   #4
6th Element
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Originally Posted by Davconelectric View Post
Excellent build/story thread. Nice write up. I'm not a fan of plasti dip, but the interior trim is a cool idea, something different for sure. Look forward to seeing future developments
Thank you. Not everyone is a fan, but I think it's very easy to work with, and it's usually always reversible.

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Originally Posted by Solidjake View Post
Nice progress

My input is to get rid of the plasti-dip from the trunk where the plate is, get some clear corners/side markers and rcr or led tail lights and install projectors into those headlights
Thank you I've actually been looking for clears for the longest time, but no one local to me seems to have them for a sedan. I'll keep my eyes open.
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Old 04-26-2015, 10:34 AM   #5
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Thats an excellent wheel choice. Im surprised they didn't come in 5x120 though. Who makes em?


If you cant find em used locally. Try new from a vendor. Or, if your willing to pay shipping, lots of guys in the UK love swapping their stock clears for our stock ambers. Weird right?
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Old 04-26-2015, 11:14 AM   #6
6th Element
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Thats an excellent wheel choice. Im surprised they didn't come in 5x120 though. Who makes em?


If you cant find em used locally. Try new from a vendor. Or, if your willing to pay shipping, lots of guys in the UK love swapping their stock clears for our stock ambers. Weird right?
Thank you. I was surprised they don't come in 5x120 as well. However, the 19's do come with that PCD. Mine are 18's. They're made by Vordoven. Just under a different name. Enza Vatore MVMT-01 is what they're called. Navith did tell me they were going to start making them under the same Vordoven name soon.

Edit: That is weird actually haha. I'll keep a look out. Thanks for the idea
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Old 04-26-2015, 11:54 AM   #7
Vader
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They look really similiar to BBS wheels. Probably cheaper though lol.

I follow a guy on Instagram from the UK, and he recently swapped his OEM Clears for US Spec ambers. Ironically, he got the ambers from Germany, even though he said they were US spec lol.
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Old 04-26-2015, 12:02 PM   #8
6th Element
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They look really similiar to BBS wheels. Probably cheaper though lol.

I follow a guy on Instagram from the UK, and he recently swapped his OEM Clears for US Spec ambers. Ironically, he got the ambers from Germany, even though he said they were US spec lol.
According to Vordoven, they are a mix between BBS LM & Work VS-XX. You're right. They are much cheaper than real BBS.

Haha US spec from Germany. Very ironic indeed lol.

What's your IG? I'm gonna stalk you
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Old 04-26-2015, 12:19 PM   #9
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Old 04-26-2015, 01:50 PM   #10
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Great progress! Having your first car to call your own is a good feeling. I got my e46 when I was the same age and ten years later I'm still modding it haha. Good luck with the car!
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Old 04-26-2015, 04:03 PM   #11
6th Element
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Your E36 is

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Great progress! Having your first car to call your own is a good feeling. I got my e46 when I was the same age and ten years later I'm still modding it haha. Good luck with the car!
Thanks bud! It is indeed a good feeling. 10 years is crazy haha. I don't think I'll have this particular one 10 years from now, but definitely an E46 for sure.
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Old 04-27-2015, 02:22 PM   #12
Vader
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Your E36 is



Thanks bud! It is indeed a good feeling. 10 years is crazy haha. I don't think I'll have this particular one 10 years from now, but definitely an E46 for sure.
Haha, thanks!

In regards to the 10 year comment... I bought my E36 on May 4th, 2005. Coming up on 10 years of ownership!
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Old 04-27-2015, 07:02 PM   #13
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You have done some really nice work it your 330i.
Bump for your wheels. A really good deal for someone.
http://losangeles.craigslist.org/sfv...994191339.html
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Old 04-29-2015, 02:40 PM   #14
6th Element
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Haha, thanks!

In regards to the 10 year comment... I bought my E36 on May 4th, 2005. Coming up on 10 years of ownership!
That's a great achievement. Wish I could keep my car for 10 years!

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You have done some really nice work it your 330i.
Bump for your wheels. A really good deal for someone.
http://losangeles.craigslist.org/sfv...994191339.html
Thank you! Those wheels actually sold last night.
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Old 04-29-2015, 04:01 PM   #15
6th Element
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Made a tow hook license plate bracket today with some nuts and bolts from Home Depot. Also trimmed the plate extension off the front bumper center trim.

It's pretty sturdy and looks 10x better than how it was before in my opinion.
If any of you are interested in one of these brackets, buy the stuff needed, and I'll make one for you free of charge

Here's what the bracket looks like




Here's how it looks on the car


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