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Old 12-09-2017, 11:57 AM   #1
George Hill
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Modified to Stock(ish) my build thread

I've owned many E46s and now (3) S54 powered cars. I love the E46 chassis and especially when combined with the S54 engine. About a year ago I bought the Alpine white M3 I expected to keep for a long time, but the car is slammed and with the long doors and my height it makes it very impractical for me to use on a daily basis. With that said I've always been a fan of tourings and with the addition of the S54 it would be the perfect complement to my stable of vehicles. Enter the search for my next purchase.


Ideally I wanted a 2001 for the early front end and the M54 engine. I prefer Alpine white and no beige interior, but really I was just looking for the cleanest car I could afford. I searched heavily for a month or two and found some candidates, but nothing that could bring me to part with money. Then I found a 2000 323 that was way outside of my budget, but had an AA supercharger, BBS wheels, Brembo brakes, coilovers, custom stereo, customer interior, etc. At first I dismissed it because of the price and even added it to the touring for sale section. It got a fair bit of attention in the for sale thread and I kept seeing it. I investigated the car more and realized the foundation was very solid and that maybe it would suite my fancy after a transmission swap as the car was currently an automatic and should make similar power to the S54.


I contacted the seller and found out the ad was not very well written to highlight the cars attributes. During my research I found this and that pretty much sold me on the car. If the p.o. had included this link in his ad, I'm sure the car would have been gone immediately.
http://blackforestindustries.com/blog/?p=5531



I made arrangements with work and the seller and bought a one way ticket to North Carolina. With a pocket full of cash I flew out on a Thursday morning with plans to be back to work on Monday. With buying a used car sight unseen especially with this amount of work done and at this "low" price I was concerned that there might be something that breaks the deal when I saw it in person. So if the deal fell through I was going to rent a car and head to New York to look at some other potential cars, but hoping that wouldn't be the case.









Luckily that wasn't the case. The previous owner picked me up at the airport and the car looked great. From my cursory look over of the car in parking lot the car looked exactly as expected, so the deal was made and cash exchanged. Here's my first pic as I was leaving the bank.








The p.o. told me it had previously had a CEL but he replaced a hose and it was fixed, I figured there was a vacuum leak somewhere within all the supercharger plumbing so dismissed it and brought my scanner to clear the fault, and sure enough 10 miles into the trip home I get mixture faults stored. I cleared them with my hand scanner, and just pushed on. I was also told the tires were worn but should make the trip home. Well my idea of that and his are completely different, the tires were essentially smooth and I had 1400 miles ahead of me. But I decided to keep an eye on them and press on, going straight home and avoid playing in the mou
ntains. First night I stayed with a motorcycle riding friend in Pineola, NC. It was a nice little drive to test the car out after leaving Raleigh.


Leaving Pineola I passed the sign for the BRP and had to get some obligatory pics. On Friday the plan was to make it to my aunt's house in central Arkansas effectively splitting the remaining 1200ish miles in half over 2 days of Fri/Sat.








Through Tn everything went relatively fine, CEL was burning bright and the tires were still holding air, but the car was driving good. Fuel mileage was fairly horrendous but I accounted that to the mixture faults throwing off the fuel trim. The tires were making me awful nervous though and I certainly could have bought new tires, but the offset on the wheels is wrong and they rub terribly so I wasn't sure if I would be keeping the BBS's or not and spending $500 on tires that I may not even use was heartbreaking, lol. I had searched craigslist along my route and had found some used tires in my size for cheap and that was going to be my back up plan if needed, but so far still good. I've driven the I-30 bridge across the Mississippi numerous times but this is the first time I got a pic as I'm usually on the motorcycle.




Saturday I was going to Denton dragway to meet some friends that I had been helping on their 1/8th miles drag cars. That 400 miles knocked out easily again. I was very tempted to see how the car did at the track, but again the tires




Testing of the racecars went well and we left Denton for Austin at 3am. And this is where the real "fun" started happening. When I left the track I was cruising through Denton with the cruise control on and the car just turned off. I clicked it into neutral and cycled the ignition and refired the car, it did start and I slipped it back into drive and continued thinking it was a fluke. No such luck, it continued to stall randomly so I pulled over and ran codes. I was getting an idle valve fault along with my mixture faults, I had assumed the idle valve was just stuck so I did my best to hammer it with what I had with me. Luckily the race trailer was behind me and if need be had all the tools I'd need to work on the car. Well this didn't fix the issue, but the car was "fine" as long as I was operating the throttle manually, but using the cruise control was off the table. I ended up limping the car home with having to refire the car only 30ish times over the 200 miles trip, and to make it even more exciting the headlights turn off when the key gets turned off . But I got it home essentially unscathed.
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Old 12-10-2017, 07:13 AM   #2
George Hill
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Back home I gave the car a thorough look over and wow this is going to be a project. The car has been together for over 30k miles so I had assumed it was well sorted but boy was I mistaken. There are so many good parts but it is like someone just opened a catalog and picked a bunch of pretty parts without real concern for how they work together or quality of installation. My first impression is I am still happy with the purchase and will see what I can make of it. It appears everything except the paint has been touched and putting this into a coherent journal is tough so Iíll do my best to outline the car as I sort it out. I am a big fan of stock with tasteful discreet upgrades where the aftermarket has improved without sacrificing usability or comfort that BMW had intended. The following is the progression in bringing the car back to its former glory as a fun hotrod.

The first step was to get the CEL fixed. In my county to transfer the title I need to have the car inspected which requires the CEL to not be on and the p.o. was nice enough to let me keep the N.C. plate until I got the car registered in Tx. So with that said I gave the car a look over before getting started and I am glad I did as I found the hose from the blow off valve had come loose allowing a massive vacuum leak, this was the cause of my drivability issues on the last leg of my trip home.











I had hoped that the hose had been loose all this time, causing the vacuum leak and subsequent mixture faults but no such luck. I cleared the faults and performed a drive cycle and the mixture faults returned. Next step was to smoke test the intake system for vacuum leaks. Wow Iíve never seen so many air leaks. I canít believe the car made it back like it did. Almost every single connection between the MAF and throttle body had a leak. I ordered new silicone hoses for the intake plumbing and then re mounted the intercooler as it was completely crooked and miss-mounted.















There was also a leak at the #5 injector, clearly this had been this way a long time and as you can see the gasket is pinched.






The next vacuum leak came from the dipstick tube o-ring, again another pinched and mangled installation.




With the vacuum leaks fixed I started again to get the CEL cleared and OBD monitors to set. First step secondary air, and of course it failed, luckily a straight forward repair.



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Old 12-10-2017, 07:45 AM   #3
George Hill
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After all of the vacuum leaks were fixed I cleared the faults again and reset the adaptations. Well, now the car no longer idles, it either surges or stalls. I hoped in the car and took it for a drive hoping that it would sort itself out with a few miles. Well, no such luck. I checked the fuel pressure and found it to be 3.5bar at idle, which is spec for a NA engine, I assume it is correct for the AA supercharger as well. So with all of the mechanicals sorted out I reached out to AA as I was thinking there was a software or tune issue. It took a little bit of work, but once I was in contact with AA I got a copy of the instructions and find out the fuel pressure regulator is supposed to be connected to manifold vacuum and should be 3.0 bar at idle and 3.5 bar at WOT. Once that is corrected it runs a smidge better but still very wrong.

At this point after speaking with AA it is decided that we need to check the tune. I ordered AAís tuning cable and downloaded their software. I sent the tune file to AA and find out it is a Dinan NA tune, not a supercharger tune! I donít know how it ran or even how long it had been this way. The p.o. was not the owner when the car was built and he never had any software work done so wow! I contacted Dinan as I had been told it had Dinan EGS software, they confirmed it did have DME software, but not EGS software, ugh!

So now that I need a tune I was a cross road. The car never felt ďfast,Ē it would get into boost and scoot along ok, but nothing exceptional. So do I now go back to the original plan and swap the S54 or do I see this through and finish sorting the supercharger. After talking with AA I think they took pity on me and my situation and gave me a deal on a custom remote tune which I couldnít pass up.

So our first iteration of tune and the car ran really good and immediately got the OBD monitors set. So after 2 months of owning the car I was finally able to get the title transferred into my name, quite the ordeal!

I did some data logging and we revised the tune a couple more times. When I purchased the car it wouldnít up shift at WOT and would just kiss the limiter until you lifted off the gas. The p.o. told me thatís how these cars are, but I knew otherwise from my past experiences and assumed it was something from the Dinan EGS tune (which now I knew it didnt have). I had talked to AA about moving the rev limiter up as I thought it was lower than the WOT shift rpm and that was causing my upshift issue. So when I asked AA to move it up they responded that the auto trans wont upshift at WOT because the load value from being boosted is to high and they never recommended the supercharger for the auto trans.

So enter the M3 6spd conversion.
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Old 12-10-2017, 08:28 AM   #4
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But lets back up. On first inspection I found the auto transmission case was relatively clean and the TC was blue, so definitely not the original trans, but did have a serious leak. On a whim I just checked the pan bolts and they were all loose. Tightened them and topped up the trans fluid for another easy fix.




But now here comes the 6spd. I have a complete E46 M3 drivetrain, eng, trans, frt and rear subframes, pedals, electronics, etc. Out comes the auto trans and in goes the 6spd.








Flywheel and new LUK clutch kit. Also new throughout bearing, guide tube, clutch for and pivot pin.






Now from my research the big issue with the M3 6spd swap is the driveshaft if you donít use the M3 final drive. Another crossroad, do I swap in my M3 rear suspension now? If so how will the Brembo brake kit work? The other side is the M3 suspension needs to be freshened where the rear that the car has is complete with poly bushings throughout and has a Turner LSD too. I contacted Zeckhausen racing to get their opinion on the brake kit and whether it is worth converting to the M3 or what they would do in my situation. Dave was very prompt to reply to my questions and gave me some great advice. Next was driveshaft, if I have to have a custom shaft made is that cost worth it? After comparing the M3 shaft to the auto shaft the only difference is the auto shaft is shorter in the front section, but the guibo flange is the same size. To me this looks like a simple stretch of the front half, balance and reassemble. BUT not so easy, none of the driveshaft shops in Austin can balance it. SO I reached out to Driveshaft Specialists in San Antonio, they built me a driveshaft for a previous swap and were great to deal with. I told them what I was doing and gave them dimensions. Luckily they would be able to use to stock halves (front section from something else, idk what thought) and make a shaft that would work without any custom fabrication. So the decision was made to press on and make the ďcustomĒ shaft. I got it in 3 days and cost me $400 including new u-joints and CSB, great deal in my opinion.

M3 shaft on top, auto on bottom






ďCustomĒ shaft






Only thing for my swap that I was missing was a shift knob and boot. BMW offers a performance kit that is an unbeatable value if you are starting from scratch. My parts car was a Dinan S2 car so I a shifter from that and an old ZHP knob, boot im still searching for. But for fun hereís a comparison in the Dinan vs BMW performance shifter.



I ended up going with the Dinan for cost purposes and I do like it, I may add a heavier knob though. But now when I drive my E46 M3 it feels soooo different the gear changes take forever as the throw is long, lol.
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Old 12-10-2017, 09:23 AM   #5
George Hill
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Coding was next, and with the great DYIs out there it was no big deal with the use of NCS Expert. The car is much more fun to drive now and it really moves out once the boost is on in 3rd and 4th gear. Now back to the tune, but first I took a trip to Dallas (abut 450 miles roundtrip) to look at a 330ci for a buddy. The car was horribly misrepresented and I knew we werenít going to buy it 30 sec after seeing it.

To add insult to injury, right after we left the 330ci the super charger charge pipe blew off the throttle body. It took a moment to diagnose, but we were able to limp it to the parts store, buy tools and get the car fixed. Luckily I had the laptop with me to reset codes and adaptations in the parking lot Roadkill style.




The fuel consumption gauge has been off the entire time Iíve owned the car so this was the first time I could see what it gets for mileage. With the 3.46 gear and 6spd running 80+ the car struggled to make 18mpg! Now Im sure most will laugh and I feel like AA did when I brought this up to, but apparently this is a normal fuel economy for their kit. Well that was the straw that broke the camels back. My M3 with shorter gears and more power will get over 25mpg at the same speeds. So out with the blower and in with the S54. I started looking to the value of the blower kit and casually mentioned it on a Facebook group and 5days after the Dallas trip it was sold and on its way to Michigan.




And with all of my hoarding and having a friends car that I could borrow some parts off of I have the car running NA until I swap in the S54.

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Old 12-14-2017, 05:13 AM   #6
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Wow, quite the journey with this car! Thanks for sharing your experiences with it thus far. It's really a shame it has ended up being parted out, as you had hoped to save it as is. The mileage situation certainly helps me in keeping a supercharger off the power adder list.

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Old 12-14-2017, 10:05 AM   #7
George Hill
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Yes and even more so a shame that the amount of money spent on this car was utilized better.

Onto the S54...

Long story, but a few years ago I bought a M3 parts car for the S54 to swap into my S54 M-Roadster that had a spun rod bearing but I ended up not using that to keep the car Z3 numbers matching. So later I bought a M3 with a blown up Vanos unit. I put the parts car engine in that car and now I have an engine that needs Vanos work. The plan is to obviously fix the Vanos damage, replace the rod bearings, and perform any other maintenance necessary.

Tear down has begun on the S54 and while I was hoping a new Exh Vanos hub and a re-drilled Vanos oil pump would be enough to get it back together it turns out to be a bit more banged up than I expected. When the hub tab broken it fell into the timing chain and then went back up and around the cam gears blowing out the valve cover. Surprisingly though the engine was still able to run with the only indication of issue being the CEL, and was driven until the oil leak from the hole in the valve cover was large enough to start smoking.










During removal of the Vanos the splined shaft for the intake cam broke. The splined shaft was jammed within the cam gear and camshaft, luckily I have a new one in the spares pile.






With the Vanos removed heres the source of the damage.






And further damage






Once I got the Vanos off I discovered the chain rail is also broken, and unfortunately it canít be replaced without removing the lower timing chain cover which also requires the head coming off. So, this simple repair has turned into nearly a full rebuild.


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Old 12-14-2017, 10:31 AM   #8
George Hill
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Next, tearing down the long block.






Oil pan off.




Cylinder head off.




Broken Chain guide.




And with the chain and guides off I was able to inspect the timing chain and luckily I did as it was damaged in a couple of links. It probably could be used (if the timing cover didnít have to be removed) but Iíll definitely replace it at this point. (Donít mind the dirt on the chain, I threw it in the trash before and had to retrieve for pics)






And that brings me to this day. This was supposed to be a budget build so at this point Itíll get new gaskets where needed, rod bearings and then simple head resurface. When the head is apart weíll check the valves for proper sealing and address any that leak otherwise itíll just get new valvestem seals and then everything will go back together.
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Old 12-16-2017, 12:13 AM   #9
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Wow. Great story, but very glad I wasnít the protagonist.
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a first name, I'd probably name it "Alan".
Mostly because I like puns.


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Old 12-23-2017, 03:42 PM   #10
George Hill
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Progress has been a little slow for the last few weeks but Iíve got the cylinder head torn down and off to the machine shop.




More timing chain carnage




Waiting for parts, but I did get some Euro Headers for the build.




The car came with these really nice and sturdy floor mats, but are really uncomfortable with bare feet, so Iím going to swap them out for rubber or cloth.




But when I pulled up the LR I found a wet floorboard. It had just rained the day before so luckily it has been sitting like this forever, but still needs to be addressed.




A little inspection finds the water looks to be coming from the door.








Pulling the door panel off reveals a loose vapor barrier. Ideally I would replace the vapor barrier and ribbon sealer (or butyl), but for a temporary fix heating it with a heat gun and to soften it and rolling it with a heavy roller so for now as good as new. I use an old idler pulley affixed to a pair of vice grips.





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Old 12-31-2017, 07:47 AM   #11
George Hill
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If you didnít like the part about the supercharger coming off you definitely arenít going to like this update.




Earlier I mentioned researching brake fitment options and whether the Brembo kit would transfer to the M3 suspension. From talking with Zeckhausen Racing it was determined that the rear kit would be a downgrade from stock M3 and the front would require new caliper brackets and rotor hats. I also found out the front rotors are at their wear limit of roughly 31mm, so really the only part usable for the M3 conversion is the front calipers. And in the meantime now knowing I need rotors soon what do I do? I figure there is some wiggle room designed into the minimum thickness, which for the street Iím fine with, but the concern is how these would hold up on the track. I also learned the rear rotors are a special design for this application only and NLA. I found replacement 355mm rotors ranging from $300-800 and to be honest thatís just more than I want to spend on a kit that wonít transfer when I do the M3 suspension down the road.

The other problem with the brakes is they limit my wheel options. I want to size down to a 18Ē or maybe even a 17Ē wheel and finding something in those sizes that will clear the brakes and is affordable is posing a challenge.

So, taking those things into consideration and looking to raise some money for the S54 conversion, off the brakes come. I had all of the stock 325 brakes from a parts car to put back on the car, but it sure was sad pulling off those big brakes and putting the dinky little brakes on the car.








Iíve got the Brembos and wheels listed for sale now, but am not ready to give them away as I really like the way they look on the car so who knows, if they donít sell Iíll upgrade the rear and put them back on the car.

https://post.craigslist.org/manage/6...lay&go=display

https://post.craigslist.org/manage/6...lay&go=display




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Old 02-12-2018, 02:10 PM   #12
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nice project
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OE CSL WHEELS - OE CSL BRAKES - OE AUTOFLD MIRRORS - CSL RACK - CSL TRUNK - CSL DIFFUSER - AA TUNE - AA PULLEYS - AS 40% SSK - BILSTEIN PSS9s
CF CSL LIP - NAV- BMWP CF STRUT BAR - BMW GROUP N MNTS - GRUPPE M CF INTAKE - SUPERSPRINT - UUC S/S LINES, RTABs - H&R SWAYS - 4.10 M-SPORT DIFF
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Old 02-12-2018, 08:29 PM   #13
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Old 02-12-2018, 11:03 PM   #14
BullCityBimmer
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Old 02-13-2018, 08:50 PM   #15
George Hill
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Thanks for the interest. It has been quite the journey so far and not even close to being done.

Updates with this car are small as I have been prepping a bunch of cars for a Driving Event last weekend.




My old RV going strong. Its not much to look at, but kept us relatively warm and out of the weather during the less than 20* temps and sleet at the track last weekend.




*The Beige wagon is a car I just built with some buddies, its a complete 330 drivetrain swap incl suspension and also converted to a 5spd. It has M3 shocks/struts/springs and a square set of E90 wheels wrapped in 255/35/18s.

*The White E36 328i is a buddies. Simple bolt-ons, M3 cams, CAI, Muffler, and suspension.

*The Calypso E36 is a also a car I built. Started off as a 325is, now it has a full S52 OBD-I converted drivetrain, incl front and rear M3 suspension and auto diff gear ratio, with pretty much all of the entry level go fast parts you can hang on it. Car is quite the hoot to drive and only weighs 2800#

*The Mustang is the odd duck, it was borrowed as his Z06 engine was down for the count.

*And then my my M3.


But I did sell the wheels and have swapped on my BBS LM replicas with 225/40/18 frt tires and 245/35/18 rear tires. They have a very crappy finish but are fine for the time being. I think the car really benefits from the light colored wheels. I'm still on the lookout for new wheels those, would love to find silver 18x8.5 or 9 CH-Rs.

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Last edited by George Hill; 03-31-2018 at 09:15 AM.
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Old 03-31-2018, 09:53 AM   #16
George Hill
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Progress has been pretty slow on the car as I usually have numerous other projects ongoing which right now has been subframe repair on the M3




and getting our new tow rig RV ready for our upcoming track day.




So, in the meantime I've just been driving the hell out of it and keeping my eye out for good deals on parts. I've had 0 luck selling the Brembos so they may be going back on it if I can find a 18" wheel that will clear them. Also looking for an Alcantara shift and parking brake boots along with a Nappa leather gray armrest.

But one of item I can scratch off the list is a new steering wheel. While the Bimmian is cool looking it was a bit much for my taste. I really like the Alcantara wheels and found a used competition wheel on one of the forums and breathed some new life back into it. I'm still on the hunt for some buttons but I was kind of hoping the DSC button would work but no luck, maybe itís because of the MK20 DSC, but honestly I havenít looked into it.








And while it isn't perfect I'm super happy with how it has turned out so far. I first started with just simple castile soap diluted with water and a soft bristle toothbrush. I wanted to see how bad it really was before I invested money into a cleaning product. But its good enough to keep going, so the next step will be Sonax cleaner. For the trim, I went with plastidip and while it is ok, I'm going into looking at more of a matte finish and/or anthracite color, itís just a bit dark black. And interestingly enough when it was newly painted it was much more grippy, but as its heat cycled from sitting in the sun, it has turned to a much slicker finish which I prefer. Still not ideal, but for the time being fine.







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Old 04-30-2018, 12:58 AM   #17
George Hill
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I've got a HPDE coming up next weekend and I've decided to retire my M3 from track duty. So next up is the wagon, there's just a bit of maintenance to do to prep the car.

I'm really burned out on the LM replica wheels so I've been on the hunt for something new. Initialily I was going to go with a 17" because of cheap tire options, but I havent had any luck selling the Brembo brakes and if I'm going to get new wheels, might as well get something that fits the brakes and reinstall them. That led me to 18's. I found a set of Arc-8s for sale in Houston and made the trip down to pick them up. I had a spare knuckle so I mounted up a rotor and caliper and brought them with me to make sure the wheel fit and with tons of room it did. So far I've had a 19x9.5 et35, 18x9 et35 and now the 18x9 et42 Arc-8s, im slowly moving towards a tire that tucks inside the fender better and think I may have found it.




And now back on the car.

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Old 04-30-2018, 05:03 AM   #18
yjsaabman
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"...tons of room..."

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Old 04-30-2018, 09:35 AM   #19
George Hill
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Quote:
Originally Posted by yjsaabman View Post
"...tons of room..."

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Lol! Pic is at angle that makes it look more extreme than it is, but ya I guess it's still tight.
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Old 04-30-2018, 11:14 AM   #20
yjsaabman
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I'm just chuckling as I know what you mean, but a lot of people wouldn't think of it that way.

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