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///M3 Forum
The BMW E46 ///M3 is the M version E46 and puts out an amazing 333 HP and 262 lb-ft of torque at stock specs! There are an amazing amount of modifications for both the coupe and convertible models so read up and get started modifying your cars today!

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Old 01-23-2013, 11:54 AM   #21
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Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: Murfreesboro, Tennessee
Posts: 20
My Ride: 2004 M3
Hey guys,

Time to get it rolling again. As mentioned before, my next step is going to be upgrading my sound system. I have decided to go Dynavin. I just really like how it makes the car look stock and the fitment shouldn't be as much of a pain. I have also picked out one of my amps. I have gone with the JL XD600/6.


I need some recommendations as to which speakers to get. It obviously isn't going to be any kind of competition system, but I definitely want something that I can appreciate, is the most bang for my buck, and that sounds a lot better than the crappy stock HK system. My amp can support 75 watts at 4 ohms or 100 watts at 2 ohms. I have been looking into Kicker and Boston Acoustics.

Recommendation for a second amp and sub/subs would also be appreciated. Am I going to be happy with something like 1 12? I think I am going to build a custom box for the back that will mount up where the original "subs" were. I don't want anything huge as I would also like to have some trunk space, but I do want something to be appreciated for when I pull into shows every once in a while.

What do you think?
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Old 05-13-2013, 01:57 AM   #22
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Location: Murfreesboro, Tennessee
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My Ride: 2004 M3
Alright, time for an update. As you know, I was over the crap that I had coming out of my speakers with the OEM setup. My plan was to upgrade the speakers, and upgrade the head unit as I wanted to have a double din receiver. After a few nights of sleeping on it, I decided that I'd go for the Dynavin unit. The idea of having the interior looking as factory as possible just wasn't something that I was able to pass up. I knew that It wasn't going to have the performance of a brand that specializes in pleasing the ear of all the sound junkies, but I'm really not an audiophile. I just want something that will sound better than OEM.

Next I decided that I'd probably want a little more power than what I had through OEM, though I was not wanting to add a ton of weight to the car in the process or needing to modify the alternator or battery just to supply the power to drive the amps. Just trying to keep it practical. I decided to go with the JL Audio XD600/6 to power 6 speakers which includes 4 mids and 2 tweeters.


Next was the amp to power the subs I was going to replace those ridiculous 6x9s in the trunk with. I went with the JL Audio JX500/1D.


Total list of speakers:

* 2 sets of JL Audio C2-525Xs

* 1 set of JL Audio C5075-CTs

* 2 JL Audio 10WXv2s

So now that I got that out of the way... now for pictures...

My original plan was to build a box completely out of MDF that would mount in the same location as the OEM "subs", but still be able to retain as much truck space as possible. The more I thought about it, the more the idea of in someway throwing the balance of the car out of whack (I'm not pretending to be some track nut... because I'm not...) just kind of made me sweat. So I decided I'd try my hand at building one out of fiberglass. With no experience with fiberglass, naturally, I was nervous. A few YouTube videos later and I had built up my confidence enough to be dangerous.

Here is my first rendition of the frame I was going to go with, didn't like how the speakers were going to be protruding so I moved them back a bit. (This image is of the box actually upside down in relation to how I was going to mount it.)

Next was to wrap it in the "shell" on which to fiberglass. Any material that you feel will give the amount of stretch you need will do the job. I just pulled it over the frame and stapled it in place.



Next to harden that material I coated it in fiberglass resin. Once it dried, I was actually fairly impressed as to how sturdy it had become. I was expecting it to be like working with an egg shell.


Once that dried, it was time for fiberglass. I cut it into 4x4 squares (now I know I probably would have made them a bit larger just for convenience), put a coat of resin down, fiberglass, then resin until the 4x4 looked almost transparent. Finished product before sanding...


After sanding...


You can sort of see the little specks of white where I think I got some bubbles it the material. Irritating, but I thought I was doing fairly well for a first time. Besides, this was just the first coat.


Second coat. A few less bubbles...



Ill not post the third coat in attempt not to bore you with a picture that would look the same as the last.

Just a quick test fit. Just to make sure everything was going to work out.




Not too bad. Now to smooth everything out in order to paint it. I used Bondo as a filler. It worked out really well and created a great surface to sand. I placed the first coat, sanded, next coat, sanded... repeat. Total was 3 coats. The finished product was completely smooth and felt more like a solid piece of material rather than the individual 4x4 squares that I had used.




Primer to fill the holes that Bondo may have missed. (Please make sure to put this on in thin coats... It is almost impossible to sand when you lay it on thick!!!)



Primer sanded.



First layer of black. (To match the exterior color... sorta.)






I'm certainly not a professional with this, but I don't think it was a bad first attempt.

Now on to the incredibly ridiculous installation. I originally looked up the forum post of the guy who so craftily figured out how to rewire the factory speaker wire and I was going to use that post as a guide... but then my OCD kicked in and made it impossible to sleep at the thought that "but what if I ever wanted to upgrade..." So I decided to run all new 14g wire. The first step was to create a "wiring" harness, if you will, to run from the unit to the amps in the trunk. I was also worried about the insulation degrading over time so I fell into buying Techflex for all the wiring I was going to be doing. I purchased a 500ft roll off of Ebay for what I could see was a fairly reasonable price... And went to freaking town!



And then for the speaker wiring. It was actually a bit of a pain trying to guess how long 4 different units of wire needed to be in order to wrap them in a way that they could split at the appropriate lengths while in the car. I left a bit of a tail on each end in anticipation of needing to pull it through the car without actually pulling on the wire itself.


And now to pull my entire car apart. I wanted to make sure to do the install correctly. No short cut stuffing wire behind trim and the like.

And it began...



Seats out. The sound deading material that BMW used was cracked and dry-rotted. Came out in crumbles...


Pulling trunk apart.


Front seats gone.


Center column.


Pulling apart the dash to remove the carpet.





From the inside of the car looking through the trunk.


The one thing I think would drive me crazy is to do all this work and to have a rattle at the end, so I decided to Dynamat the entire car. I picked up 2 of the Extreme Bulk Packs and went at it.


Last edited by gearhead2069; 05-13-2013 at 06:00 AM.
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Old 05-13-2013, 02:32 AM   #23
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Location: Murfreesboro, Tennessee
Posts: 20
My Ride: 2004 M3
The harness from the receiver to the amps. I ran it in with the original speaker wires on the opposite side of the power harness. I held it in place with some extra strength masking tape. It actually worked really well. I pulled around on the harness quite a bit and after deciding that it was going nowhere, (didn't want to drill clamps into the car) I was satisfied.


Ran up the center column to the receiver.


While my car was torn apart, I decided that I was tired of the ugly amber hue of all the interior lights. I replaced them with LEDs from ECStuning.com. (quickly becoming one of my favorite sites.)







For the AUX and USB inputs I purchased some flush mounts to hide the wires. The idea of random wires hanging out of my glove box would drive me crazy!




Bluetooth MIC.


Skip though all the putting the car back together and the receiver is in. Because all of my connections used RCA cables instead of just using original harness... Getting it in was a painful!

Here is a picture of the finished center console.



I'm really happy with the hide-away look to the inputs.

I decided that I really was never going to use the nearly age old tire service kit so I used that to mount my amps so that I could have the original carpet back in and the amps not be showing.


And done!


And... I hate it! The problem I have is that with the new speakers mounted in the rear deck in the same way that the OEMs were, now it rattles like crazy! I can crank the volume and hold down the rear deck to eliminate the rattle so I am going to have to figure something out before I go nuts! I have seen a few people modify their rear deck and I think I am going to try something along those likes. If ANYONE has any suggestions as to how to tackle this, let me know.

NEXT ISSUE: now that I have completed and installed the sub box, I feel like I could have done better. For someone with a bit of obsessive compulsion... it sucks! Now that I have the experience of once having done it, I know I can. So, first I think ill redesign the rear deck to get rid of the rattle, then I'm making a new box

Last edited by gearhead2069; 05-13-2013 at 06:06 AM.
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Old 05-13-2013, 04:27 AM   #24
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Join Date: Jan 2013
Location: LA,CA
Posts: 32
My Ride: AW E46 M3
OMG dude... When I saw how your sub box fit, and that awesome little hide away usb/auxiliary set up you have I was instantly filled with envy haha! Awesome stuff.. You are definitely inspiring me to take the audio route with my mods.. Let me know how good the JL's sound in the trunk!
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Old 05-13-2013, 09:27 AM   #25
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Location: 7zero3
Posts: 376
My Ride: 04 M3 JB/Cinn
Stereo is not something I want to upgrade on this car since but hats off to you for the custom job!
2004 Jet Black/Cinnamon 6spd ///M3
Tuning Tech Frank Smith /// Custom Performance Innovations /// Active Autowerke
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Old 05-17-2013, 04:26 PM   #26
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Old 05-17-2013, 05:40 PM   #27
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Good work
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Old 06-12-2013, 10:49 PM   #28
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Location: Murfreesboro, Tennessee
Posts: 20
My Ride: 2004 M3
Alright, now that I've had a chance to play with the box a bit, time for round two in the next box/rear deck build.


*Make it lighter
*Reclaim just a bit more space
*Make better porting
*Fix the rattles in the rear deck!!!

I want to reclaim so weight out of it. I think I am going to attempt to construct the entire box out of fiberglass and only use MDF in the most necessary places such as the speaker mounts. I like the way that the current one sets but I want to see if I can bring it up just a hair more to prevent the little amount of stuff that might go in my trunk from sliding around and hitting something. The porting really just slams into the rear deck and I think it really contributes to a lot of the rattling that is going on... got to go!!! I think I'll play with the deck and rear speaker mounts a bit to see what I can accomplish.

First step... Mask EVERYTHING off. I am going to try and make a fiberglass mold of the top where the box will mount. I have never seen anyone do this upside down so I guess we will see how it goes.

The hardest part was getting the fiberglass mat to stick to the top of the trunk after everything was masked off with masking tape. I tried coating it in resin and allowing it to tack up and sticking it up there but the adhesion wasn't enough. Then I tried to mask in double sided tape... still didn't work. However, I sprayed some adhesive that is used to adhere decals to the car. Made by 3M from Auto Zone- bingo. Once I allowed that to dry with the glass up there for about 30 minutes, I was able to start throwing in some resin.

So... Just letting that dry really well then I'll add a few more coats of resin to try and make it stiff for when I bring it down. Once it is off I can start loading on the glass to make it into a really good bracket to hold up the box. I have never seen anyone do it this way so I will let everyone know how it goes. I doing it this way will give me a great way to mount it as everything will be much more snug. As I'm sure you know, the top of that trunk has all kinds of super fun turns and valleys...

I plan on using the air valve attachment for my compressor to separate the tape from the top of the trunk. I'll see if I can't give an update tomorrow after I have taken it down. If anyone has any ideas or experience with building boxes, please feel free to chime in.
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Old 06-13-2013, 11:46 AM   #29
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My Ride: 2004 M3
Alright... ran out this morning to get to work. I was actually fairly pleased with the way it came out. A little more difficult than I had expected but it worked out fairly well. I think the only thing I would have changed would be to attempt to place an additional layer of fiberglass down or at least a few more coats of resin just to make it a bit stiffer. It was tough to keep the piece from bending too much as I was afraid it wouldn't keep a good shape. I had to just work my fingers in as best I could as I used the air gun to blow a separation in the tape.

And here is what I'm left with...

Now to pull the tape off. I wasn't expecting this but the adhesive didn't fully dry but just held a tacky consistency helping to remove the tape as all I had to do is keep a firm tension and the tape just came right off. You can see the places where there were gaps in adhesive because the small pieces of tape just would not come off. So, looking back, I'd say more coats of adhesive would have helped out a lot.

Then I added a few more coats of resin to that side to cover all of the fiberglass that the resin wasn't able to penetrate while it was upside down. I wanted to give it a few good coats because I don't plan on adding any more fiberglass to that side. I am afraid that any more thickness to that side of the bracket will result in poor fitment to the top of the trunk. However, I will be adding multiple layers to the opposite side to build up some strength.

So, just to let that part dry for a while then to move on. I am really pleased with the way it turned out. I tested it for fitment in the trunk before adding the additional layer of resin and it just sat in very nicely. As I took it back out I could feel the air being sucked in around it so I am sure it fills in with the curves of the trunk very well.
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Old 05-21-2014, 10:09 AM   #30
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Join Date: May 2014
Location: Midtown, ATL
Posts: 1
My Ride: E46 ///M3 Coupe 6MT
BAD NEWS: this car has been sold
GOOD NEWS: it was sold to ME!!

after an exhaustive search for an E46 M3, i quickly learned that there are TONS of convertibles and/or SMG available, but finding a coupe with 6MT is really tough, especially with clean carfax, well-maintained, and black/black. luckily for me, i found the perfect car in Nashville's craigslist a couple weeks ago and picked it up from the OP on sunday. the car now has 110k miles, but it's in excellent condition given the mileage. the OP was extremely cool to work with, and it was one of the best car-buying experiences i've ever had, so huge props to him...he's a really really good guy.

the car is exactly as he documented above, with the exception of the subwoofer. it was removed b/c he said it didn't sound good which is fine with me b/c i need the trunk for storage. however, now i have 2 barely-used 10" subs and a barely-used 500w amp for sale! pm me if interested

i'm not sure which direction i'll take the car, but if i do any further mods, i'll continue the theme of keeping it as tasteful and as OEM-esque as possible.
-E46 ///M3 Coupe, 6MT
-BMW X3, 6MT (for sale!!)
-Mercedes ML550 (wife's)
-Porsche 996 Turbo Cab (RIP)
-Jaguar XK coupe (sold)
-E36 ///M Roadster (sold)
all black
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Old 05-21-2014, 01:44 PM   #31
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Location: Bay Area, CA
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My Ride: Imola Red M3
nice job so far!
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Old 05-21-2014, 08:51 PM   #32
J.Reyes Jr.
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Location: Oregon
Posts: 18
My Ride: 2004 BMW M3 - SMG
Nice thread. Very detailed. Keep up the mods!
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Old 06-04-2014, 12:32 PM   #33
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Location: louisiana
Posts: 75
My Ride: 2002 m3
so much for Op's HPF car lol
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