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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 04-05-2013, 12:10 PM   #1
raichean
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General upgrade progression for my M3?

Hey guys and yes I know I am asking a stupidly subjective question, and also one where the there is no end to the financial rabbit hole. I am on a really tight budget (and getting tighter) so will do all changes over time and looking for best ROI moving forward.

That said.. the car is my daily driver, with limited at most track plans if at all.

e46 M3 convertible, with 44k miles so in great shape, I have had now for roughly what.. 6 weeks? Spent the last weeks fixing, replacing and repairing bits and pieces here and there. I continue to be surprised how many little things are missing here and there.. covers, screws, expanding rivets and other things.

Thought was to build out this ongoing thread with suggestions and tracking progress.

Fixes thus far including normal wear and tear:
New tires 3/13 (REPLACED 7/13) with Bridgestone Pilot Plus AS
left rear trunk tray plus expanding rivets all over 3/13
Rear bow cylinders repaired (dang it!) 3/13
headlight cover strips, left and right 3/13
Center cup holder console 3/13
one rear seatbelt center clip 3/13
rear M3 emblem (faded) 3/13
washer fluid support tube (to fix a leak) 3/13
cabin air filter 4/13
engine air filter (OEM for now) 4/13
washer fluid pump and filter http://www.ecstuning.com/Search/61667006063/ES2091925/ 4/13
Rear control arm bushings and complete realignment (7/13)


Upgrades and changes
Clear front reflectors (from nasty egg yellow ) 3/13
Carbon fiber cloth wrap for interior trim 3/13
Stereo Aux cable kit installed into ashtray 4/13
//M valve stem covers (yeah, geeky, couldn't resist) 4/13
Umnitza Orion V4 angel eyes 3/13
blacked out kidney grills and side gills (maybe http://www.khoalty.com/bmw-e46-m3-fr...les-combo.html) 4/13
smoked LED corner markers (http://www.khoalty.com/bmw-e46-depo-...er-lights.html) 4/13
Lamin-X smoked film for front clear reflectors, side markers, and tail lenses. 4/13

Ideas for the future, purely ideas
Sound matting doors, and trunk
BSW stage 1 (http://www.bavariansoundwerks.com/pr...s-Convertible/)
BSW stage 2 amp and trunk pass through sub (http://www.bavariansoundwerks.com/pr...e-M3-3-Series/)
K&N cold air intake (or some other brand?) (http://www.horsepowerfreaks.com/part...ance_Kit/19357) (http://m3.madrussian.net/diy_kn.shtml)
HPF carbon fiber vented hood (damn that is sexy) (http://www.horsepowerfreaks.com/part...er_-_GTR/18575)
CSL trunk lid (looks really good!) (maybe? http://www.horsepowerfreaks.com/part...iber_CSL/18473)
Projector fogs if we can figure out my front grill (http://www.khoalty.com/bmw-e46-depo-...er-lights.html)
Dynavin is tempting but would have to see one first for sure!
braided steel brake lines (self install?) (http://www.ecstuning.com/BMW-E46-M3-...Lines/ES11001/) maybe?
Euro brakes -
short shift kit - Autosolutions maybe? (http://m3.madrussian.net/review_as_ssk.shtml) or Dinan?
Hard top - Car HAD one, previous owner sold it. ()
Painted calipers? - G2 paint? Yellow maybe?
CDV delete? Seems the way to go? (http://m3.madrussian.net/diy_cdv.shtml) (http://www.zeckhausen.com/cdv.htm)
Rear shock tower reinforcement plates (http://blog.bavauto.com/13192/bmw-e4...le-etc-how-to/)

Mileage driven upgrades?
At 44k the mileage is still low, but at 60k I have the valve adjustment. Should I tie anything to that work while it is cracked open?

What best ROI stuff should I be looking at? I am within easy driving range of High Performance Freaks which may be good as well eventually.

I know there are a million choices.. exhaust? brakes? all kinds of stuff.

Just looking for where to start..

Last edited by raichean; 08-05-2013 at 10:14 AM.
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Old 04-05-2013, 12:20 PM   #2
DSilk56
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Everything depends upon how much you want to spend. If your vert doesn't have the front strut bar, that is a good addition. Beyond that, I would replace the rubber brake lines with braided stainless steel lines. At about $110 it's a cheap way to vastly improve brake feel. If your pockets are a bit deeper, you might consider upgrading your front brakes to the European market brakes, which replace the one piece cast iron rotor with a separate rotor (cross-drilled) attached to an aluminum hub. It's lighter and dissipates heat better. A good short-shift kit can also be a welcome addition.

Good luck with everything.
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Old 04-05-2013, 12:22 PM   #3
raichean
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Originally Posted by DSilk56 View Post
Everything depends upon how much you want to spend. If your vert doesn't have the front strut bar, that is a good addition. Beyond that, I would replace the rubber brake lines with braided stainless steel lines. At about $110 it's a cheap way to vastly improve brake feel. If your pockets are a bit deeper, you might consider upgrading your front brakes to the European market brakes, which replace the one piece cast iron rotor with a separate rotor (cross-drilled) attached to an aluminum hub. It's lighter and dissipates heat better. A good short-shift kit can also be a welcome addition.

Good luck with everything.
Great suggestions.. short shift kit, meant to have that on the list. Never HAD one, but certainly read about them. Any brand suggestions?

My upgrades will be definitely over time and setting money aside to work towards goals.

I will update my projected lists with those items.

**edit - front strut bar.. is that the brace that runs across the top of the shock towers? (if so, got one) or a sway bar that runs underneath and if in that case, don't know.

Last edited by raichean; 04-05-2013 at 12:27 PM.
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Old 04-05-2013, 12:30 PM   #4
dabears
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Exhaust (unless you like that rasp)

I think the blacked out side grills look cheap (I went as far as to purchase them, but never put them on car)
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Old 04-05-2013, 12:51 PM   #5
raichean
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Originally Posted by dabears View Post
Exhaust (unless you like that rasp)

I think the blacked out side grills look cheap (I went as far as to purchase them, but never put them on car)
Good feedback.. I don't mind the silver gills as much, but drawing out the black and red theme instead of silver accents feels the right way to go.

Suggestions for exhaust? Obviously a bigger (cost) project there..
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Old 04-05-2013, 02:20 PM   #6
dabears
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I just recently purchased a rogue engineering el diablo muffler, with a borla v2 midpipe (section 1&2). The note & build quality are what attracted me to this setup.

There are lots of options if you search, but a louder alternative to the above would be the supersprint race exhaust setup. Those two I would consider the most highly recommended / used.

yeah the side gills could very well look great on a red car, I have a carbon black and was not a fan
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Old 04-05-2013, 02:20 PM   #7
dabears
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i also think smoked depo corners are a must, they make the car look much more aggressive with such a simple mod
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Last edited by dabears; 04-05-2013 at 02:21 PM.
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Old 04-09-2013, 10:47 PM   #8
raichean
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Smoked LED or smoked bulb you think? And yeah.. thinking so too as I black out the grill and gills. What do you think of those Khoalty ones?
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Old 04-10-2013, 11:42 AM   #9
SledgeHammer!
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Originally Posted by raichean View Post
I am on a really tight budget (and getting tighter) so will do all changes over time and looking for best ROI moving forward.
Lets bring this guy back down to reality. Aside from the needed fixes, none of the mods you are suggesting should even be mentioned in the same sentence as "ROI". Any mods you do are in YOUR taste and will likely detract from the value for somebody looking for a stock car. The only mods that offer ROI are performance mods that noticeably increase performance (i.e. FAI). Everything else, you are just flushing your $$$ down the shitter.
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Old 04-10-2013, 11:45 AM   #10
raichean
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Originally Posted by SledgeHammer! View Post
Lets bring this guy back down to reality. Aside from the needed fixes, none of the mods you are suggesting should even be mentioned in the same sentence as "ROI". Any mods you do are in YOUR taste and will likely detract from the value for somebody looking for a stock car. The only mods that offer ROI are performance mods that noticeably increase performance (i.e. FAI). Everything else, you are just flushing your $$$ down the shitter.
Oh no argument there whatsoever.. most mods and upgrades are about style and particular taste. Won't argue that.. spent $200 on angel eyes which doesn't do anything performance wise.

But.. just looking for that advice on the things that DO make sense. This is absolutely a blend of subjective modifications and real performance changes as well.
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Old 04-10-2013, 12:30 PM   #11
taylor192
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ROI is subjective. Do you mean final resale value, or value added to daily driving?

Short shifter was a must for me, this car felt like rowing a boat coming from the very short shifter I had in my MB (surprisingly). For $150 you can get the 330d shift lever with the ZHP shorter weighted shift knob. DIY takes about an hour, helps if you have small hands. Still not as short as my previous car, yet so much better!

Same with a clutch stop. Make one for $2, or order one for $20.

Those 2 items will provide the best ROI for daily driving a manual.
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Old 04-10-2013, 12:34 PM   #12
raichean
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Originally Posted by taylor192 View Post
ROI is subjective. Do you mean final resale value, or value added to daily driving?

Short shifter was a must for me, this car felt like rowing a boat coming from the very short shifter I had in my MB (surprisingly). For $150 you can get the 330d shift lever with the ZHP shorter weighted shift knob. DIY takes about an hour, helps if you have small hands. Still not as short as my previous car, yet so much better!

Same with a clutch stop. Make one for $2, or order one for $20.

Those 2 items will provide the best ROI for daily driving a manual.
Well I already adore the car, so all goals are for long term daily driver at this point, and making those fun additions to customize the car to me, plus add to the overall performance.

For example.. I sincerely doubt I would ever change the exhaust simply to change the tone, though I would for HP gain and then I would get all detailed on how it sounds. 8)

Clutch stop.. really?!
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Old 04-10-2013, 01:20 PM   #13
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Well I already adore the car, so all goals are for long term daily driver at this point, and making those fun additions to customize the car to me, plus add to the overall performance.
That is what I have done... to the tune of about $3K (wheels, SSK, blackout grills, AE, front lip, rear diffuser, lowering springs + shocks, ...).

Like you, the next thing I want to do is speakers. After 10 years the HK system needs some love.

Quote:
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Clutch stop.. really?!
Really. Depends on your driving preference. I've always owned cars with the clutch engagement close to the floor so I never learned to stop when the clutch feels engaged. Meanwhile my brother owns a Civic Si with a high clutch engagement and doesn't like hitting a clutch stop.
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Old 04-10-2013, 01:22 PM   #14
raichean
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Originally Posted by dabears View Post
Exhaust (unless you like that rasp)

I think the blacked out side grills look cheap (I went as far as to purchase them, but never put them on car)
Willing to part with the gills for cheap?
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Old 04-10-2013, 01:39 PM   #15
taylor192
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Originally Posted by dabears View Post
I think the blacked out side grills look cheap (I went as far as to purchase them, but never put them on car)
The matte ones look cheap, the piano black ones from Khoalty look great!
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Old 04-10-2013, 01:40 PM   #16
raichean
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The matte ones look cheap, the piano black ones from Khoalty look great!
Now THERE is some valuable info as I absolutely am looking at the matte for both kidney and gills. The piano looks so plastically shiny..
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Old 04-10-2013, 01:57 PM   #17
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Now THERE is some valuable info as I absolutely am looking at the matte for both kidney and gills. The piano looks so plastically shiny..
Have you seen them in person? The piano black looks painted, while the matte black looks like unfinished plastic... cause that's what it is.
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Old 04-10-2013, 03:52 PM   #18
SledgeHammer!
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Originally Posted by raichean View Post
Well I already adore the car, so all goals are for long term daily driver at this point, and making those fun additions to customize the car to me, plus add to the overall performance.

For example.. I sincerely doubt I would ever change the exhaust simply to change the tone, though I would for HP gain and then I would get all detailed on how it sounds. 8)

Clutch stop.. really?!
Dunno what car you used to have before your M3, but unfortunately you came to the wrong car if you want easy hp gains. Serious. If you were on something like a Honda, Ford, etc. they often leave plenty of room for tuning just by software alone. Not so on the M3 and the S54 engine. It is finely tuned out of the box. You can sink $5000 or so into a freeflow exhaust, cold air intake, etc. & software and get something measly like +5hp at the wheels.

Noticable gains aren't going to come until you do FAI.
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Old 04-10-2013, 04:23 PM   #19
dabears
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Originally Posted by raichean View Post
Smoked LED or smoked bulb you think? And yeah.. thinking so too as I black out the grill and gills. What do you think of those Khoalty ones?
Buy the DEPO smoked corners or tint the current ones, and then also get the smoked bulbs. At the very least smoked bulbs, that orange is hideous (same with reflectors)

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Willing to part with the gills for cheap?
yeah maybe shoot me a pm, im in edmonton alberta canada. I can take a pic or two... They've been sitting in my closet in a box for the past 3 years lol, I literally bought them, looked at them, and never even bothered to put them on car. They come with blacked out M3 logos that haven't been stuck on yet (side grill sized).
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Old 04-10-2013, 04:25 PM   #20
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If the 333hp stock isn't enough for you, the M3 is not the car you want to be driving. The ROI just isn't there for things like stage 1 turbo etc etc. in my opinion, though lots of guys have that kind of cash to throw into it (which makes the car undeniably unreal).
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