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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 01-06-2013, 02:34 AM   #1
ChiefM3
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Question First improvements to M3???????

Hey guys, I am new to this forum and I am looking for some advice. I recently bought an E46 M3 SMG after selling my E36. I am wanting your guys imput on the first improvements/ Modifications that i should make to my new baby.I have a little bit of bread to spend but im not looking to buy everything under the sun. What was or would be the first thing you did to your M3? Thanks for the advice.
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Old 01-06-2013, 03:32 AM   #2
djantlive
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i would spend the money fixing any issues first. as for mod, i replaced the smg paddles with some alum ones that are bigger. i also stripped the peeling paint on the center console with paint thinner and goo off.

check your tires too. mine were worn due to negative camber in the back
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Old 01-06-2013, 03:43 AM   #3
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i would spend the money fixing any issues first. as for mod, i replaced the smg paddles with some alum ones that are bigger. i also stripped the peeling paint on the center console with paint thinner and goo off.

check your tires too. mine were worn due to negative camber in the back
But negative camber is good. Haha

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Old 01-06-2013, 04:35 AM   #4
Bmw0224
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After maintenance, first modification I would do to my m3 would be maybe an exhaust intake or suspension maybe wheels
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Old 01-06-2013, 05:02 AM   #5
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Old 01-06-2013, 07:14 AM   #6
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I say just cruise around stock for a while. Decide what you really want, and wait for it to pop up in the forums for cheap.
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Old 01-06-2013, 07:58 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChiefM3 View Post
Hey guys, I am new to this forum and I am looking for some advice. I recently bought an E46 M3 SMG after selling my E36. I am wanting your guys imput on the first improvements/ Modifications that i should make to my new baby.I have a little bit of bread to spend but im not looking to buy everything under the sun. What was or would be the first thing you did to your M3? Thanks for the advice.
Mileage on car?

+1 on doing the maintenance and if you have cash, then invest it in preventive maintenance...get a new cooling system, or at least wp, therm, and ET. Get new control arm bushings, guibo, csb. Change all fluids...all of them. Pulleys, belts, filters, maybe plugs and coil boots.

If this car is new to you but used, you have to assume little was done, despite what the PO might have said (at least in most cases you need to assume this).
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Old 01-06-2013, 10:12 AM   #8
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I would suggest exhaust.
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Old 01-06-2013, 10:39 AM   #9
rjskalet
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Depending on mileage and where you live check and make sure the rear springs aren't broken. I just found out over Christmas that this is a problem among m3s from the north.
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Old 01-06-2013, 10:57 AM   #10
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While M3 water pumps last longer. They still fail, seems most go over 100k miles before the bearings go out.
Here's the kicker. The E46 M3 water pump retails over $350. So. I would make sure u have one replaced if its still the original one. That and the expansion tank and thermostat and the fan clutch.

Smg, I sure hope it doesn't fail on you. But there was talk way back on one of these forums on a theory that E46 SMGs may be failing because they overheat? E60 SMGs or euro E36s don't fail half as often. One theory was maybe making some kind of air duct to the pump to keep it cool. Just. Though. but def upgrade the paddles. They look proper with bigger paddles.

Check your diff. Mine has a bad seal and leaks. Works fine still, but check.
Also don't be afraid to replace all them bushings. And M3 center bearings and thinks don't last as long. Neither do the clutches. Compared to non Ms and previous gen M3s.
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Old 01-06-2013, 02:43 PM   #11
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Make sure maintenance is completely up to date before anything else.

1. Tires
2. Brakes
3. Suspension (if you need it)
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Old 01-06-2013, 03:29 PM   #12
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I would get your stance right with wheels and susp/lower the car first
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Old 01-06-2013, 03:34 PM   #13
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I would get your stance right with wheels and susp/lower the car first
^ This.
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Old 01-06-2013, 03:50 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by djantlive View Post
i would spend the money fixing any issues first. as for mod, i replaced the smg paddles with some alum ones that are bigger. i also stripped the peeling paint on the center console with paint thinner and goo off.

check your tires too. mine were worn due to negative camber in the back
Second that. I would make sure all the major maintenance are up to to date -- water pump, cooling, transmission/diff fluid, steering fluid, fuel filter, spark plugs, RTAB ...

Then get a Mason rear strut tower bar to stiffen up the rear so you can add better either coilovers or lower springs as the stock chassis may flex under hard corner loads. I plan get get the Mason myself because my after market springs probably pushes the stock chassis more than I would like.

After that it's all up to you.
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Old 01-06-2013, 05:36 PM   #15
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Do the maintenance first. Don't worry about the other things for a bit until you know your M3 is in top notch shape.
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Old 01-06-2013, 06:17 PM   #16
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Oh yeah. And if you want something to worry about besides smg and rear floor failure. Go read up on M3 forums about the vanos failure.

I will be selling a set if DPE wheels here soon tho. At a good price too.
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Old 01-06-2013, 07:45 PM   #17
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Maintenance first. Make sure to check RTABs and subframe.

After all my maintenance was taken care of, I went ahead and put on AA exh, headers and a tune
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Old 01-06-2013, 07:48 PM   #18
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Maintenance first for sure! Coilovers, exhaust.
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Old 01-06-2013, 10:37 PM   #19
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Do all the maintenance first. Then drive it stock for at least 6 months before you do anything/modifications. Honestly, these cars are really really great stock from the factory. You should really learn to drive this car well and see all it's nuances before modifying it immediately. Honestly, the more and more I have my M3, the less and less I want to modify it; I just want to enjoy it as much as possible as it is because the BMW engineers did a great job with it.
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Old 01-07-2013, 04:17 AM   #20
ChiefM3
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When i purchased the car, I had a full maintenance done at Mercedes Benz.(I know but have a connection and purchased the car there). The car was a weekend driver from an older gentleman and has 27k MI. Their is zero maintenance issues and all fluids were replaced. Tires are good. Its amazing how well this guy maintained his car. As a bimmer enthusiast, I can respect the love someone has for their car but it seems like this car was never driven out of the driveway. I have some time before i will be able to drive it due to me waiting for the vehicle to ship from my home to my military duty station. I plan on driving stock for a short period of time but wanted to see everybody's input when i do decide to do certain modifications. Thank you everybody for the input, I am getting alot of good advice.
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