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E46 Touring
The E46 touring forum. Talk about your sport wagon E46 here.

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Old 11-21-2017, 03:41 PM   #1
Dave
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My M3 convertible interior didn't really do all that well with three large dogs jumping in and out and playing clown car:






So I knew I'd need to throw it out and replace it, which could only happen if I picked up a proper dog hauler.

As it happens I've had the idea of an M3 touring on the brain since about 2004, way before it was cool to do so (yes, that's a total hipster thing to say. I mean it though.) My grand master plan has always been: NA M3 coupe for fun/speed, M3 vert for comfort/touring (it's compromised anyway), and M3 touring for daily and dog duty. As a lover and original owner of just about every blue available on an E46 (Topaz 330Ci, Orient 323i, Mystic M3 x2, Interlagos M3 x2) you'd think I'd aim for some kind of multi-colored approach, but instead I chose alpine white, with interior color and brake caliper variety... My only requirement was that the interior had to be black carpet-based. As you can see from my post history, I first started searching this shockingly uncommon color combination in December 2013.

Anyway, after going all the way to McKinleyville, CA on a one-way ticket and 5+ hour drive, only to NOT buy a white on tanin high miles touring donor:



Nick Piper texted me a link to a white on black manual in Houston while I sat there wondering just how in the hell I was going to get home without the car. It seemed too good to be true: single owner, mom-driven, stick, leatherette (preferred for dogs over real leather), four-inch binder of service records, no snow or salt or exposure to Harvey flooding, not all that expensive ($3600 asking price). Miles were just a touch under 200k, at 198.

So I called him, knocked a few hundred off his already low price, which still left me about a grand over budget (hey, if I'm going to swap, I have no reason to pay the premium for manual), but there is a certain acceptable price to pay for the fun of rowing gears on a DD in the meantime while accumulating parts. Given how long projects tend to take me, it's a safe assumption the swap won't happen any time soon. In the meantime, I'll have a factory stick in a car I can trust, and I can also teach my girlfriend and others how to drive stick without fear.

Anyway, I bought it. Took a while to get out there, but he had a deposit, and finally I got there yesterday:



It had a few undisclosed issues, all of which are plastic-related:

- the armrest literally fell apart when I touched it.
- the sunglass slot in the console is upside down and not fitted properly
- while I've seen worse center consoles, this one is not great, nor is the ash tray, cupholders, or coin slot
- the cover for the center rear headrest cupholder fell off
- there is an intolerable plastic on plastic rattle in the driver side dash. I believe this to be related to:
- the right button in the cluster, which adjusts Celsius/farenheit and the time, doesn't work. It spins in place.

The disclosed issues are just a bunch of scuffs and imperfect paint. All of this is in areas I intend to ultimately replace (I will be doing M3 body work) except for a few nicks on the edge of the driver door, which annoy me. At least there's no rust. Yay Texas.

(Speaking of Yay Texas, that Valero had six slot machines in it. They were all occupied. At noon on a Monday. There was also an ice chest full of beers, which they wiped down for you and placed in a plastic bag, 100,000% with the expectation that you're going to drink while driving because what else would you do with a Bud Light tallboy in a paper bag in the middle of a highway? Texas is awesome.)

Anyway, Dude's chemo pills FINALLY arrived yesterday, so rather than visit with the many Houston friends I have, or the guy who PPIed it for me, or check out a Kaiv S54 swap touring, or even pick up the white M3 mirrors I had arranged to buy, I immediately headed east. And drove overnight, straight through, 1252 miles door to door. That might be my record.

(OK, I did stop off and grab a set of 288/280 camshafts for the coupe. It was just stupidly cheap. Still, I shouldn't have, because as it turned out, all my other cards decided to throw fraud protection alerts and that account I used to pay the seller was the only one left that a gas pump would read, but it was drained...)

Driving impressions:

- 100% trustworthy.
- a bit of oil burning
- minor wheel shake when turning at highway speeds. Very minor.
- not having a clock drives me insane
- so did the dash rattle
- Square mirrors are more useful than oval M3 mirrors, but they don't dim like my M3 glass does, which sucks
- The 325 motor with a 3.46 is more than adequate power for most purposes
- Sunroofs are pointless. (The coupe is for weight shaving and performance; I have no desire to optimize the wagon or pay a premium for a slicktop. Still, I don't use the damn sunroof and won't, so I still kind of wish I had.
- Louisiana has too many cops. Even without a backup hardwire kit for the V1 I avoided them, but only barely.
- The Florida Panhandle is infinite. And boring.
- The non sport seats are comfortable. For about 12 hours. After that they become unbearable. So would anything, I bet.
- the halogens are surprisingly not so bad compared to stock xenons. Neither holds a candle to Caesar's projectors of course.
- There are way too many radio stations about Jesus.

Reached Miami right in time for rush hour. Nearly had a heart attack. Finally got her home. I've decided to name her Jayquellan, unless I can come up with something better. (The vert is Cindy Crawford. The coupe is Fluffy.)






I took a quick nap and then went to get Moose for the dog test run.



He approved. And he's 12, too, and hopped up through the lift gate, which was a concern of mine. Not only is he old with hips starting to go, but Dude has cancer and is weak, and Bunk is just an idiot and too stupid to comprehend stairs or spatial relations in general... all three of them actually hopped up WITHOUT scratching the bumper. (Nick bought a canvas cover with a bumper protector that I'll probably ultimately get once an M3 bumper I care about is on there.)


Bunk and Dude hanging out with Moose up in the front area of their spacious cabin.



I'd say there's room for one more, no?

Priority 1 is finding a fix for the cluster button. 2 is an armrest. I had an extra but gave it away. Whoops. 3 is that a window regulator is going to go and soon. 4 is putting my friend Jon's super nice black lumber M3 seats in (and swapping the passenger side lower half to the ZCP, which had an unfortunate knife attack incident 2 years ago). 5 will be getting rid of the ambers and accumulating swap parts.

In the meantime, I own 3 M3s and am excited that I just bought a station wagon. Hi. I'm old.
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Old 11-21-2017, 05:26 PM   #2
mjweimer
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Congrats! Another new 5MT touring owner. Great looking fleet of cars and wonderful looking dogs.

I have begun to plan my swap as well and am looking for a good donor vehicle and collecting info. Look forward to your progress.


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Old 11-21-2017, 10:07 PM   #3
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great looking fleet of cars and wonderful looking dogs.
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Old 11-28-2017, 04:06 AM   #4
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After years of my wife transporting our dog, I just noticed the Divider/cargo cover can be attached to back of seatback and net extended up to hooks at oh **** handles for when the seats or folded down.
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Old 11-28-2017, 04:33 PM   #5
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Yeah, I was shocked when I saw one of NickPiper's photos of that too.

In my case, my rear seats will be pretty much permanently folded down - to the point that I'm already wondering about creating a custom lower rear seat cushion that allows the backs to lay flatter - so that is of little value. But with one dog, I can see how it would be quite nice.
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Old 11-29-2017, 08:28 PM   #6
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Nice pick up Dave, and great post!

Cluster is probably an easy fix (broken tab or something). It'll be obvious once you open it. I might have some spare parts to help you fix that.
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Old 11-29-2017, 08:33 PM   #7
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Nice pick up Dave, and great post!

Cluster is probably an easy fix (broken tab or something). It'll be obvious once you open it. I might have some spare parts to help you fix that.
Thanks Kaiv! Yeah I saw one thing that involved winding a wire around the plastic bit to make contact with the button, but it was unclear if it also let you spin it in either direction to change the time. I guess if anyone might have an abundance of clusters without much value it'd be you...

I do hope to just swap it out sooner than later, of course, but knowing the way I am with big projects, it's probably worth getting some plastic from you for the next 3-4 years before I actually get to it...
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Old 12-01-2017, 11:26 AM   #8
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Congrats on the purchase! Glad to see you seem to be enjoying it already. And with the rest of your fleet, it looks like Alpine White was the only choice!

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Old 12-02-2017, 02:32 PM   #9
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Took Dude in to the vet today because he has taken a significant turn for the worse over the last two days. I was worried that he might not come back, so I brought Moose for moral support. They're so happy back there... I am so thrilled with this purchase.



As it turns out, the latest issues are more to do with his heart failure than his cancer (which is still everywhere at this point), so some emergency measures and possibly draining his stomach and spleen could take place, but in the mean time a few different drugs to give him as sort of a hospice care might actually give him a few weeks of comfort and even some improvement. The fact that he won't really be around to enjoy his luxury chariot does put sort of a damper on it all, but still... I remain old man excited to have a wagon.
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Old 12-02-2017, 03:33 PM   #10
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Dave, Iím sorry to hear about Dude and his current health situation but from the looks of it, he has had an awesome life and some pretty cool friends like you, Moose, and Bunk to keep him company.

I also like the name of your new touring, such a funny key and peels skit. And man, how I love your all alpine white lot of beauties!

My dogs were also the main reason for getting a touring, as well as having an M3 touring in mind for quite some time. My two dogs barely fit in my CLK500, E46 M3, and 240SX cars I had in 2011 that a touring made perfect sense and it ended up becoming my favorite car of the bunch for multiple reasons. When a girl on her cell phone wrecked into me in my M3, it was only right that the wagon get some special treatment and I have been on this road since early 2012. Currently fitting the M3 front end on the car in my garage and will be sending it out to a bodyshop to do the rear end stuff soon but I love everything about the car.

I look forward to following your progress with this touring as I can only imagine how much nicer that driveway will be once this one is completed.


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Old 12-02-2017, 03:50 PM   #11
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Are you just putting an M3 bumper on with the current fenders or will you be having real M3 fenders with the gills cut and molded to the existing wagon ones?

I intend to - eventually - go the full nine.

The more I look at the front end of this one, it's not just the ambers, but the lines of the hood and everything... makes me VERY tempted to pick up Streamline CF fenders for my coupe and use those to go ahead and just do the front end of this car, even before doing the mechanical swap.

Which is HERESY. But in this car family, matching is important, and I have other alpine white paint work that needs to be done on the other cars too...
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Old 12-03-2017, 09:13 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave View Post
Are you just putting an M3 bumper on with the current fenders or will you be having real M3 fenders with the gills cut and molded to the existing wagon ones?

I intend to - eventually - go the full nine.

The more I look at the front end of this one, it's not just the ambers, but the lines of the hood and everything... makes me VERY tempted to pick up Streamline CF fenders for my coupe and use those to go ahead and just do the front end of this car, even before doing the mechanical swap.

Which is HERESY. But in this car family, matching is important, and I have other alpine white paint work that needs to be done on the other cars too...

Hey, itís your car so do what you feel is best. Youíll eventually be doing the mechanical side of things so it doesnít matter what others think in regards to doing the front end before the swap.

I was going to go the oem route using 4 fenders, 2 M3 and 2 sedan fenders that are cut at the baseline of the door and then molded to the rest of the M3 fenders but some new stuff recently came out so I decided to go the fiberglass fender route. I have the other 4 fenders in my shed in case Iím not a fan and decide to change my mind and go with oem metal in the front again.

I used an M3 core support, oem hood, oem bumper, M3 fender liners, and I purchased a set of conversion fenders from 2Mautowerks. Iíll see how those fit when I get them in tomorrow but I will be getting the fender grills molded closed, I just want to keep some clean body lines. Will also be using oem quarter panels, rear bumper, and spare wheel well.


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Old 12-04-2017, 12:30 AM   #13
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Touring dog haulers are the best!




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Old 12-04-2017, 10:39 AM   #14
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Since we are posting pictures of dogs...


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Old 12-04-2017, 11:10 AM   #15
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Love a wagon build, added bonus it being purpose-built for the dogs! My pups (two labs 10 and 5) love our E61!

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Old 12-04-2017, 03:15 PM   #16
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I am not in any way opposed to this thread doing dual duty as a dog photo thread.
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Old 12-04-2017, 07:07 PM   #17
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So is Dude simply Dude? Or The Dude? Does he abide? Sorry to hear about his health issues. Sounds like you're doing everything you can to keep him happy through it all.

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Old 12-05-2017, 08:39 AM   #18
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He might...









He's the man for his time and place.

https://www.facebook.com/theDude2016
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Old 12-17-2017, 06:34 PM   #19
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Love the dog pics, here is a selfie with ďEnzoĒ and me on a trip to Road America, he is comfortable in back and can stretch out good despite his 160lb weight ?
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Old 12-18-2017, 12:10 AM   #20
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Wait- the cargo cover/net thing can still be attached and used when the seats are folded down?

Yay Enzo!
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