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  •   C Gooch reacted to this post about 1 year ago
    BMW E46 M3 SMG Issue

    / #BMW-M3-SMG-E46 / #BMW-M3-E46 / #BMW-M3-SMG / #BMW-M3 / #BMW-SMG / #BMW

    I thought I’d write in with a query about my car to see if anyone has any suggestions – or if BMW Car’s resident expert, Andrew Everett (my favourite writer), has any thoughts?

    I have a #2005-BMW-M3-Convertible-SMG-E46 with the #SMG-transmission and approximately 80,000 miles. It has had the usual issues associated with these cars but I still love it – once you’ve learned how to drive with SMG I strangely prefer it to a manual.

    It’s had the boot floor reinforced, the Vanos system rebuilt at Mr Vanos in Darlington (www.mrvanos.com) and the dreaded SMG problem (almost) fixed. The gearbox decided it didn’t want to choose every gear when asked so I drove it to my local BMW dealer recently in Cumbria (used for over 30 years). They looked and diagnosed the hydro-electrical actuator as the problem, unfortunately after this was replaced it still didn’t ix the issue. The detent springs on the gearbox were then replaced and finally gears could be selected with a final bill of £4500. I drove it home and all seemed almost fine with life.

    I only use my M3 for longer journeys. After two weeks of it not being used, for the first five minutes first gear was met with some vibration and reluctance for drive to engage. As if the clutch or flywheel were not being engaged properly. All other gears were fine. This problem was not there before the initial SMG problem (the original clutch and flywheel were not replaced). After a few miles the problem disappeared and taking of in first gear was totally fine. I’m not an aggressive driver, I’m mechanically sympathetic to my car and the SMG selector is always left in the middle setting. As for Sport mode... I enjoy having my licence too much so it’s never used.

    I again left the car sitting for a couple of weeks and was met with the exact same problem with first gear. Before I return to my BMW dealer (and yet another bill) I was wondering if anyone could shed any light on this issue?
    • This could be a few things.... We spoke to ex-BMW Master Tech Barry Sheward at BMR Performance (www.bmrperformance.co.uk). Firstly, you need to beThis could be a few things.... We spoke to ex-BMW Master Tech Barry Sheward at BMR Performance (www.bmrperformance.co.uk). Firstly, you need to be taking this back to the dealer that did all the work as it’s clearly not right. For £4500 we guess it’s had either the actuator on the gearbox replaced or the SMG pump under the inlet manifold/airbox – or both. If it’s on the original clutch then this may be the problem – even if the clutch plate still has meat on it, it could be dragging on the gearbox input shaft splines due to a build-up of dirt on the clutch release fork, the plastic pivot and the metal release bearing sleeve will all be very well worn by now. The release bearing wears a groove on it and can stick. The flywheel should be alright at 80k.
      The first thing is to get the fault codes read – these need to be proper BMW codes and not just generic P codes, the clutch should be bled through twice as well. If no fault codes are showing then it is bound to be a mechanical wear issue, and a new clutch with all the parts mentioned above need replacement; clutch kit, clutch fork, release bearing sleeve and plastic pivot pin.
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  •   Elizabeth reacted to this post about 1 year ago
    PRE-PAINTED WINGS / #BMW-E46 / #BMW / #BMW-E46-Wings

    The E46 has always suffered from rusted front arches and to have a pair of wings put on your average example by a bodyshop and painted, is going to be prohibitively expensive. The accepted method to do this on a car is to paint the wing shuts, bolt it to the car, paint both the wing and into the door to blend the colour and then lacquer both panels. That’s into 500 quid, at the very least plus.

    But, these days, few E46s warrant that sort of expense unless it’s a 330Ci Clubsport, or a nice, late-model Convertible. But look on eBay and there are companies selling pre-painted front wings. There isn’t much variance in BMW colours, so the usual suspects – Titan silver, Black Sapphire, Topaz blue, etc, are pretty easy to match.

    The better pattern wings also fit pretty well so, if you can fit the wings yourself (not hard), then this is the answer. Prices are around 100 quid each for saloon and Touring wings, and £115 for Coupé and Convertible panels.
    Clayton Auto Salvage Ltd is a good example of a number of suppliers selling on eBay and, when you can have a new, painted wing delivered free for 100 quid, it’s rarely worth trying to find a rust-free original. Fitting isn’t too bad, although the top Torx bolts can be a real bitch. The rear, A-post bolts are easy with the arch liner pulled back, and plenty of masking tape around the door, sill and bonnet edges.
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  •   Massimo Delbo reacted to this post about 1 year ago
    NORTHERN SOUL #BMW-M3-Cabrio-E46

    The combination of M3 and air-ride might seem strange to some folk, but not to the owner of this clean example. Haters will continue to express their displeasure, but bagged performance BMs are here to stay… Words: Elizabeth de Latour. Photos: Andy Starkey.

    I could start this feature by saying that the #BMW-E46 M3 isn’t exactly a car you’d think would lend itself to an air-ride setup, but considering how many high performance BMWs we’ve seen being bagged of late, it doesn’t really apply any more. I’ve already expressed my love for this #BMW model when writing about the purple example earlier on in the magazine so I won’t repeat myself, but I will say that they’re fantastic cars, fantastic value and in convertible form, have that little extra something that gives the car an additional facet to its character.

    I’m not a fan of convertibles, but you can’t argue that, roof down, the #E46 #BMW-M3 is a seriously clean-looking drop-top and this is a very clean example. It belongs to a young electrician from Lancashire by the name of Matthew Kendall and considering this is his first BMW, he’s done a cracking job on it.

    “I have always been mad about cars. I’ve never been into football or any sport like that. It has to have an engine for me to be interested… or a pulse!” he laughs. Matthew got a taste for modifying with his Astra Sport Hatch and that carried on with the Focus ST that followed but unfortunately that relationship didn’t last long. “Because it was so low the driveshafts were at a bad angle and the torque kept snapping them, and that’s when I decided to go for the M3.

    I had been looking for one for ages, I wanted silver with black interior but I couldn’t find one, they all have red, blue or cream interiors and that isn’t me. I bought the car in November 2012 from a garage in Hutton not far from where I live. After taking it for a test drive I fell in love with it there and then and I knew it was the car for me. The car wasn’t in the best condition but that didn’t bother me at the time, I just wanted to own that M3.” After the problems he experienced with his previous modified cars, Matthew had no plans to modify this one but, as you can see, things didn’t work out like that. “Everyone knows that when you’re a petrolhead it’s never going to stay standard. With the M3 I had the power but I wanted to make it stand out while trying to keep it looking subtle at the same time.”

    He’s not joking: it took exactly one week before he’d started modifying the M3, lowering it and adding a set of red rear lights and while we’re not sure ‘subtle’ is the watchword here, seeing as it’s sporting bright red wheels and air, Matthew has certainly kept things looking clean and OE in terms of the styling. The E46 M3 is a good-looking, muscular car and it’s easy to start getting things wrong if you decide to play with the styling, so the approach of less is more is definitely a good one.

    Matthew got his friend Gary Seddon to smooth the front bumper as well as respraying the front end and some angel eyes have also been fitted but otherwise the exterior has been left alone and Matthew lets his wheels and air do the talking when it comes to appearance. Speaking of wheels, let’s chat about those: “I was originally going with Rota Grids,” he says, “but after looking into them I found a lot of people had done that look on the M3 so I went for the XXR 527s. I wanted something that looked different on the M3 and also had a deep concave look, plus I needed something that wouldn’t break the bank and the 527s were perfect.” XXR might not be a brand that you’d associate with BMW, the wheels seem to be more popular on the Japanese scene, but the company has some good-looking wheels and these are no exception.

    The tenspoke design is clean but with just the right amount of detail to make the wheels stand out and they deliver that concave look that Matthew wanted. Now, coloured wheels are a brave choice, and we don’t mean that they look bad, rather that they’re always a bold look and they don’t suit every car, but here the candy apple red shade that Gary finished them in for Matthew really works against the M3’s silver paintwork and the shock of colour makes the car stand out from the crowd without going down the wild styling route. It wasn’t all plain sailing on the wheel front, though, as Matthew says: “I had a lot of trouble getting them to fit properly, I played around with the fitment for a few weeks until I was happy with it.” It was worth the effort, though, as they sit wonderfully, the stretched tyres tucking up perfectly into the arches.

    That sizeable drop comes courtesy of the Air Lift suspension kit that’s nestling under the car’s four corners and it’s fair to say that Matthew is just a bit happy with the setup. “It’s my favourite modification on the car,” he enthuses. “I was running BC coilovers before but I didn’t want to take it anywhere in case there were any speed bumps. With air-ride you can go anywhere you want and not worry. I fitted it with the help of my mate Jack Darbyshire, it all went to plan, and I did the boot build myself.”

    He’s opted for a straightforward build for the air components, the compressor and tank dominating proceedings, but it looks very clean and tidy, a job well done. The finishing touches on the car are a set of carbon interior trims and a Cobra back box, with some meaty looking tips to enjoy a bit more of that straight-six soundtrack.

    Matthew’s had this car for around two and a half years now and it’s come a long way since he picked it up, and he’s definitely pleased with the results and the attention it’s been getting. “The first show I attended was Unphased in Worden Park, Leyland. The car got a lot of love and really good comments because it was a bit different. I then sprayed my wheels and went to Cumbria VAG where I was more then happy with the feedback.” While he’s happy with his XXRs, Matthew says he’s got his eye on a few other sets of wheels at the moment, and if he had the funds then a set of BBS RSs would be finding their way onto the car.

    As it stands he is planning to change the wheels and having done the concave thing, he’s got his heart set on some dish. He is also thinking about a new interior “to really set the car off” so we can only imagine what’s he’s got in mind, and we can’t wait to see it…

    “With the #M3 I had the power but I wanted to make it stand out while trying to keep it looking subtle at the same time”

    DATA FILE #BMW-M3-E46 Cabrio #S54 #BMW-E46

    ENGINE & TRANSMISSION: 3.2-litre straight-six #S54B32 , #Cobra back box, six-speed manual.

    CHASSIS: 8.75x18” ET20 (front) and 9.75x18” ET35 (rear) XXR 527 wheels finished in Candy Apple red with 205/40 (front) and 225/40 (rear) Nankang AS-1 tyres, #Air-Lift air suspension with V2 management.

    EXTERIOR: Smoothed front bumper, angel eyes.

    INTERIOR: Carbon fibre trim.

    “I’ve always been mad about cars. I’ve never been into sport. It has to have an engine for me to be interested… or a pulse!”

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  •   Andy Everett reacted to this post about 1 year ago
    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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  •   Andy Everett reacted to this post about 1 year ago
    What about the BMW 325ti E46?

    I’m commending you on such a great magazine. It really covers what I feel are the cars most of us mere mortals aspire to or do own without having to sell our souls. I love the mix of makes and the direct comparisons that caused such debates when the cars were new in our youth. Indeed, you featured one of my cars (my glorious BMW 850CSi E31) and that issue has achieved cult status on my coffee table.

    I would like to draw your attention to a car you seem to have overlooked, unless I have missed an article somewhere. In fact, the only mention of it appeared two years ago where you tipped it for future stardom. I give you the BMW E46 Compact 325ti.

    It’s about time we looked at the BMW 325ti E46.

    / #BMW-325ti-Compact-E46/5 / #BMW-325ti-Compact-E46 / #BMW-325ti-E46/5 / #BMW-325ti-Compact / #BMW-E46/5 / #BMW / #BMW-E46 / #BMW-3-Series-E46 / #BMW-3-Series / #BMW-3-Series-E46/5
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  •   Rob Hawkins reacted to this post about 2 years ago
    ZAK KINGSBURY #BMW-E46 / #BMW-318Ci-Sport / #BMW-318Ci-Sport-E46 / #BMW-318Ci-E46 / #BMW-318Ci-Cabrio-E46 / #BMW-318Ci-Cabrio / #BMW

    Zak says he has been working on his E46 for over a year now and we’ve got so say it’s a job well done so far. BC Coilovers have been fitted, giving a serious drop over those black 18” CSL-style wheels, along with black kidney grilles and the front and rear lights have been treated to a fly eye wrap. Zak has also added a full, custom stainless steel cat-back exhaust with twin tips. Inside you’ll find an iPad Mini stereo fascia build with steering wheel controls, a custom-trimmed steering wheel in half-leather, half-alcantara and M tricolour stitching, front and rear armrests finished in quilted leather plus a sub enclosure built into the ski hatch between the rear seats. There’s also #5D-carbon-wrapped trim and M tricolour stitched gear and handbrake gaiters plus a weighted Sport gear knob.
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  •   Bob BMW reacted to this post about 3 years ago
    PIERS’ E46 330i TOURING / #BMW-E46 / #BMW-330i-Touring / #BMW-330i-Touring-E46 / #BMW-330i-E46 / #BMW / #BMW-3-Series / #BMW-3-Series-E46 / #BMW-3-Series-Touring / #BMW-3-Series-Touring-E46/3 / #BMW-3-Series-Touring-E46

    As promised I am finally getting on with re-suspending the old girl! The old subframe that I pulled apart too long ago was taken down to Trestan, a powder coating specialist local to me in Southampton. They have been around for years and do a top-quality job. It was interesting going down there and seeing all the different things they were doing for customers: big brakes, railings, BMX bike frames, wheels and motorcycle frames. If it’s metal they will strip it and coat it!

    One of the things that I am really enjoying about my journey with cars is the people I am meeting and how there is a community in all things metal and powered by fossil fuels! My buddy from the garage with the T-Rex arms has just finished his bike build with Attitude Cycles in Southampton.

    We have joked that he had to have a custom build in order to deal with his shortcomings! Mickeytaking aside, his bike is awesome and I got to go down and have a look around Attitude Cycles, total respect, blown away with what they do! With everything powder coated I have started getting bearings in with the aid of Preston the press at KWR. B and B Components have again sorted out all of the wheel bearings and new Meyle lower control arms and tie rods, they really are a super-easy internet company to deal with! Once I have completed the initial work of preparing everything, one day with Kirk at KWR should see the whole shooting match on the car. Exciting stuff!

    It is going to be a bit of a journey into the unknown… Will things be too extreme? Will I have ruined my comfortable daily? Getting a bit lower, staying flatter, greater control, I think those will be a given. Once this is all done, I think you know what will be next on the list of things to do… more power! Oh and the UUC shifter has bedded down and I love it, it just works!

    No powder coating job too big or too small for Trestan.
    Subframe and E30 Touring wheels prior to powder coating.
    Looking shiny and new after powder coating.
    Fitting bearings an easy job with help from Preston the press.
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  •   Bob BMW reacted to this post about 3 years ago
    HARRY NEWMAN #BMW-E46 / #BMW-330Ci-Sport / #BMW-330Ci-Sport-E46 / #BMW-330Ci-E46 / #BMW-330Ci / #BMW-3-Series / #BMW-3-Series-E46 / #BMW-3-Series-Coupe / #BMW-3-Series-Coupe-E46 / #BMW

    Just over 18 months ago, Harry made the move from 318Ci to 330Ci, but it’s not just any 330Ci, this is an Individual example and needless to say Harry is over the moon with it. It’s finished in stunning Mora metallic which, according to Harry’s research, makes it one of possibly just 28 examples produced in this colour, making it an exceedingly rare machine. Nice as it was, a little tasteful modding was on the cards and, not being a fan of aftermarket parts, Harry has gone down the OEM+ route with his E46. A set of Eibach lowering springs have been employed on the suspension front, along with a solid aluminium front strut brace, and the 18” CSL-style wheels that he’s fitted really suit the car. As far as styling is concerned, the kidneys and front lower grilles are now gloss black along with the rear diffuser, the windows have been tinted as have the LED rear lights that Harry’s fitted, along with the front indicators. Under the bonnet there’s a GruppeM carbon intake, which will soon be joined by a set of bigger injectors and a custom remap plus an Eisenmann exhaust system.
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  •   Bob BMW reacted to this post about 3 years ago
    Tariq Vadgama / #BMW-E46 / #BMW-320Ci-Sport / #BMW-320Ci-Sport-E46 / #BMW-3-Series / #BMW-3-Series-E46 / #BMW-3-Series-Coupe / #BMW-3-Series-Coupe-E46 / #BMW-320Ci-E46 / #BMW-320Ci / #BMW

    Five years ago Tariq treated himself to a gorgeous Imola red E46 320Ci and the ensuing half decade has seen him take it from standard to decidedly not-standard. It’s been lowered on a set of FK coilovers and when we say lowered we mean lowered, with Tariq winding them all the way down front and rear. The front and rear bumpers have been smoothed, the bonnet has been debadged and the grilles have been colour-coded. When it came to wheels, Tariq didn’t want to go aftermarket, so he’s added a set of 18” Style 32s from an E38 while inside, the cloth interior has been replaced with a leather one from an M3 in Kiwi. Tariq says he took a risk with the colour but he loves the end result and we have to agree.
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