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    Elizabeth de Latour

    Wide-arch BMW 330Ci E46

    Posted in Cars on Tuesday, 01 January 2019

    Overarching stance wide-arch BMW E46 330Ci. With custom metal rear wide arches hiding in plain sight, this seriously-slick E46 goes the extra mile for perfect fitment. Words: Elizabeth de Latour. Photos: Scott Paterson.

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    657hp 2JZ-engined BMW M3 E46 drift monster

    Posted in Cars on Tuesday, 11 December 2018

    It’s not easy being green Die-hard purists better run for cover because this genetically modified Java green drift mutant is powered by a rabblerousing Japanese straight-six. Prepare to wrap your head around a BMW that Frankenstein would be proud of… Words: Aron Norris. Photos: Matthew Moscone.

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    When your youngest car is 15 years old you always have maintenance and stuff to do and when you have four cars and a project car the list is long! / #BMW / #BMW-E46 / #DISA-valve-replacement-kit / #DISA

    PIERS’ E46s

    This month I have had to focus on the daily fleet. My #BMW-330i-E46 has been neglected of late and I have been meaning to do the DISA valve (the DISA valve alters the inlet runner length to aid low-down torque) for some time. My #BMW-330d-E46 has started to get smelly in the cabin and the fuel economy has got worse. The #BMW-330d has the label of parts car and has always been a bit of a beater but this doesn’t change the fact that it still needs to be maintained to retain some of its value and keep the engine going if I do break it!

    As with all cars there are well-known faults and maintenance issues that raise their head in the car’s lifetime. I have addressed a lot of them in the past with the 330i: the cooling system, Vanos seals, CCV, lower control arm bushes, rear trailing arm bushes, oil filter housing gasket, rocker cover gasket… the list of repairs is really quite long!

    The DISA valve in the #BMW-M54 engine is a component that wears over time and it can then fail and the results can be catastrophic as the engine ingests the plastic… yes again plastic. BMW, why do you love plastic so much for your components?!

    The M57 engine is an all-time great but there are some well-known problems, one of which is the exhaust manifold. The manifold is made from stainless steel and it is made up of several parts which are welded together. As a result the manifold, after many heat cycles, can crack along the weld lines causing it to blow. This means the engine bay has exhaust gases in it, leading to a smelly cabin. The turbo fails to spin up how it should as exhaust gases are lost before reaching the turbo and there is then a knock-on effect on fuel economy as induction is altered.

    As with Vanos kits there are various companies who offer off-the-shelf solutions for these common issues with various cars (not just BMWs). X8R has been the company of choice for me this time as they offered solutions for both DISA valve and manifold issues. They also offer Vanos seal replacements and in addition to that they don’t just cover BMWs, they offer parts for pretty much most makes!

    The DISA solution is to replace the plastic flap in the unit with an alloy one and a replacement stainless steel spindle. This means that there is no longer a risk of the flap and spindle failing. The replacement manifold, meanwhile, is a cast item which is substantially stronger and more robust than the stainless OEM item. All new gaskets and fittings are supplied to ensure the replacement manifold is secured and sealed properly. The DISA valve is a relatively simple job which requires removing the unit from the side of the inlet manifold but the same cannot be said for the manifold swap. You can either come at it from the bottom and up, or from the top and down and both ways are a complete faff and have their respective problems. Without a two-post lift I am going top down! More on this next month where I will cover both jobs!

    DISA-valve-replacement-kit . New manifold for the 330d.
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    Track Monster BMW M3 Coupe E46/2

    Posted in Cars on Sunday, 14 October 2018

    Circuit Breaker Hardcore E46 M3 track car. Transformed from stock E46/2 into a full-on track beast, this M3 is a sublime hardcore machine. Words: Elizabeth de Latour. Photos: Emma Woodcock.

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    Carbon-clad wide-body BMW M3 E46 KEAN Suspensions

    Posted in Cars on Saturday, 15 September 2018

    Back in the early 1900s, a ‘Roi-des-Belges’ was a luxurious style of car – a double phaeton with exaggerated rear bulges. In 2018, this wide-hipped E46 is what the King of Belgium has evolved into… Words: Daniel Bevis. Photos: Sebas Mol.

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    Elizabeth de Latour

    680whp turbo S54 BMW M3 E46

    Posted in Cars on Tuesday, 24 July 2018

    Boost Mode 680whp turbo BMW M3 E46. Making a mighty 680whp from its turbocharged S54, this full-on E46 M3 is one hell of a performance machine. Words: Elizabeth de Latour. Photos: Peter Wu.

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    Chris Graham

    Buying guide: BMW M3 E46

    Posted in Cars on Sunday, 11 June 2017

    Jekyll and Hyde? Our essential advice on picking up this performance bargain. Buying guide: E46 M3. All you need to know to buy this iconic M car with confidence. Chris Graham spotlights the E46 M3; a car widely regarded as an awesome driving machine but, at the same time, with a growing reputation as a maintenance and servicing nightmare. So what’s the truth?

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    CAR: #BMW-E46 / #BMW-M3 / #BMW-M3-E46 / #BMW-E46 / #BMW-M3 / #BMW-M3-E46 / #BMW-3-Series / #BMW-3-Series-E46 / #BMW-3-Series-Coupe / #BMW-3-Series-Coupe-E46 / #BMW-M3-Coupe / #BMW-M3-Coupe-E46
    YEAR: #2002
    MILEAGE THIS MONTH: 156
    TOTAL MILEAGE: 87,276
    MPG THIS MONTH: 26.9
    TOTAL COST: £167 (tyres & locking nuts)

    Clubsport? Lightweight? Race car? Well, not quite; but sitting inside, the M3 does have the look of a car midprep for an attack on a Nürburgring laptime. A couple of delays mean the M3’s interior is still missing a fair proportion of its trim, but the guys at Perfect Coating (www.facebook.com/ perfectcoating) will have that sorted by the next update, so I’m looking forward to photographing the interior in its shiny new glory in time for next month. Talking of next month, with good weather on the cards and some events in the calendar I’m planning to take the M3 to Wales with some mates, and if things work out just-so, a sojourn to the Nürburgring too. Throw in another visit to Bruntingthorpe for VMAX and I’ll have a chance to put some good quality bonding miles on the M3. Truth is, I’ve not used it as much as I’d like of late which may be good for the mileage (a relatively low 87k considering the 2002 year of registration) but this is not a car to be afraid of using – you only need to look at the amount of M3s deep into six figure mileages to know that if well looked after, there is nothing to fear. With the service indicator telling me I have 800 miles left before the next service, she’ll be well looked after very soon, most likely by Highams Park Motor Company in East London.

    It’s the perfect time for some routine maintenance, meaning I can look forward to summer fun with her! That’s not say I’ve not had fun in the dark months, and now I’ve had a chance to put some proper miles on the M3 with the 18-inch wheels I’ve really grown to love them. Unsurprisingly, after last month’s sideways fun the rear tyres were looking rather sorry for themselves. Lucky for me, my local tyre shop happened to have a pair of very lightly used correctly sized Pirelli P Zeros in stock; an absolute bargain for £150, and I had some new locking wheel nuts fitted at the same time. The old lockers were looking pretty sorry for themselves, and I had visions of being stranded with a flat, unable to change wheels due to a rounded off key. It’s a small thing, but it gives peace of mind. As I reported last month, initial impressions on the smaller wheels were a marginal trade off in ultimate grip in return for better ride quality and even more benign, playful handling characteristics when pushing on.

    With the new Pirellis, a good run on some of my favourite local B roads cemented that impression. I’ve never been one for chasing ultimate grip anyway – I’m not setting lap times – so I’d rather have a car which has grip levels well matched to the power output, with really enjoyable handling which can be exploited at sensible speeds. On the 18-inch wheels, the M3 delivers this by the bucket load. I’ve grown to love the look on the dark grey smaller wheels too; the polished 19-inch wheels always looking a bit bling for my taste.

    Despite sharing space with cars worth 50+ times what I paid for the M3, it still managed to turn heads and secure a prime spot at a local breakfast club meet. If you’re an Essex dweller, I’d heartily recommend a trip down to The Hare near Roxwell the first Saturday of most summer months (check its calendar to be sure). Get there early enough and there’s even free coffee. But more importantly an excellent mix of old, new, and sometimes hugely rare and valuable cars to have a look at… and a 15 year old M3 with half the interior missing. It was my morning jaunt to the last meet that gave me the chance to enjoy my favourite local roads, and driving back I was feeling pretty pleased with life. I think it’s fair to say my love affair with the M3 is going pretty strong…
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