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E46 Touring Life

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Some of you know that my daily is an e46 325xi touring.  As of recently, it may be going under the knife soon for a swap that was too good to pass up. Found a complete M54B30 with complete

The ship has landed!

After more failed attempts at coding the B25 DME (kept having issues with connecting and finding the dme in the software), it was time to turn to plan b. Thanks to @m42b32 for having an extra MS43 DME

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5 minutes ago, Bassboy3313 said:

Would be a messy weld as it isn't flush with frame surface. Welding on your back in a tight space isn't the easiest either, lol. 

Ah bummer, the nut trick only seems to work well if there is some of the bolt sticking out. Would be very counter productive to accidentally weld it to the car haha. 

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Took another crack at it with the extractor but heating it first with a torch. As I was turning the extractor with the tap handle, the entire threaded insert broke loose and fell inside the frame rail. 😳😡


Leaving me with an empty hole, a few different ideas came to mind. To keep damage to the frame rail to a minimal, I opted with opening up the hole just enough to snugly tap in a threaded coupling. Ground off the finish and applied a layer of jb weld to possibly help things hold from inside. Left it about 1/16" out from frame in order for the welds to have more surface area to mend with. 



I then welded it all around, ground it flush to frame, put a skim coat of jb weld to fill any pinholes left over and sprayed it black. Paint is still wet in pic, but you get the idea. 



Crisis averted!


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  • 3 weeks later...

Normally all e46s have the rear manual shifter bushing bracket already on the chassis, but of course the touring did not. Went ahead and purchased the bracket from FCP Euro. Had to modify it by cutting the ears off as they were preventing the bracket from sitting flush against surface. Once good, I drilled some holes in the three tabs as well as the trans tunnel and pop riveted the brqcket on with some steel rivets. Sprayed some black paint over everything to prevent rusting as well.



I also installed the front prop shaft and installed clutch fluid line on brake fluid reservoir and finished the wiring for the clutch switch. This required adding wires to a DME plug and an EWS plug. For this. I went to the pick-n-pull and cut out some plugs with pigtails. I then de-pinned two wires to allow me to attach the new wires right into the plugs like factory.  Then just extended the wires to the clutch switch and done! Sorry no pics of that since it was tight under the dash while working. 

Hopefully will have the engine/trans installed in the chassis this week. 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Subframe secured, electrical all connected, new slave cylinder and lines installed, front axles installed, new tierod in, suspension all buttoned up, driveshaft/heatshield/exhaust installed, radiator and all hose connections done, and steering shaft connected.

Waiting on all fluids to show up in mail this weekend. Then it's on to changing oil in front diff, rear diff, transmission, transaxle and engine.  Along with new coolant and brake fluid.


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  • 2 weeks later...

Bad news bears! Filled it up with fluids today and found a slow coolant leak coming from backside of the timing cover area. Which probably means the new orings on one of the new plastic coolant pipes I installed must not be seated properly. 

Time to tear the intake back off to fix it. 😡

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Here is the plus-side though: More practice pulling the manifold while the engine is in the car will increase your confidence in doing any future maintenance items that require it (Hopefully there are none). 
In my E30 ownership experience I had been into almost everything on that car to the point where swapping a diff or pulling the driveshaft was child’s play. Hope pulling the manifold becomes almost second nature like that for you.

There is a very real mental-aspect about wrenching. When you don’t have the pressure to cobble together a repair to be able to drive to work on Monday, the challenge can become enjoyable. 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Got the manifold off again and checked the two coolant pipes by pulling them off. First one was the pipe going to cylinder head. All looked good.


Took the pipe off going to the back of timing cover and found both oring deformed and pinched 🤔


No idea how this happened. I made sure the ports were extremely cleaned and lubed up the orings when I installed it. Oh well, at least it was an obvious issue. I popped two new orings on from my spare stash, luned them up with coolant and reinstalled them. I made sure to refill coolant to see if leak was fixed before reinstalling the manifold and all is good. 


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@B C came over this morning to attempt some coding as it's all foreign to me. We noticed that the shifter seemed to be rubbing on something when going into 5th and reverse is a no-go completely. The shifter carrier seems to be jammed up against the tunnel floor as well, which doesn't seem right. 


I know the shift rod is on the correct side as it would hit the top of transmission when flipped the other way. I had to install the rear bushing carrier bracket due to my car missing this. I am curious if the way I installed it (check previous posts) pit the bushing too high which is lifting the whole carrier? 

All I can find online is stuff for RWD e46s, nothing for the XI AWD shifter carrier as its different. 

Any ideas? I will have to remove the exhaust and heatshield, possibly driveshaft again to get a good view on what's going on. Just figured I'd see what ya'll think in the meantime.

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Auto to Manual coding in NCSExpert:  All credit to 50sKid on youtube for the information. He had some trial and error in his video but I consolidated the correct required steps for future reference:


NCS Expert

1)      File>Load Profile>Expert mode (or Factory Coding,  depends on which version of NCSExpert you have)

2)      Go to “F1 VIN/ZCS FA”>”F3 ZCS/FA f.ECU” (reads vehicle order from module)

3)      Select E46 Chassis

4)      Select AKMB

5)      Select “F2 Enter FA”, ignore incorrect VIN, click OK

6)      Remove $205 (automatic transmission control module) from vehicle order by selecting it from the list and hitting the delete key.

7)      Hit “OK” to exit

8)      Click “F6 Back”

9)      Click “F4 Process ECU”

10)   Select AKMB, click “OK”

11)   Click  “F2 Change Job”

12)   Select “FA_Write” , click “OK”

13)   Click “F3 Execute Job” watch for it to show “job ended”  under AKMB


Now write the updated vehicle order to the ALSZ module:

14)   Click “F1 Change ECU”

15)   Select ALSZ

16)   Verify that JOBNAME = FA_Write, if not,  select “F2 Change Job” to “FA_WRITE”

17)   Click “F3 Execute Job”

Exit NCS Expert

18)   Open NCS Expert to check that $205 is gone from the vehicle order (steps 1-5)

19)   Click “F6 Back”  

20)   Click “F3 Process Car”

21)   Click “F1 Code Car” (these steps reset everything to default, this will not undo the $205 being removed from vehicle order)

22)   If trans icon is flashing, unplug transmission control module.

23)   Unplug blue connectors near DME (GM Module)



Clear error memory

Clear adaptations

You will know you are successful when the gear indicator on the instrument cluster is no longer illuminated (will not show a gear icon, will not show "P, R, N, D, or S", nothing) and the car can start with the clutch switch/clutch pressed

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4 hours ago, YoungCR said:

Interesting. So did all the xi's have the raised tunnel then?

This is my assumption based on everything I've read, seen and experienced through this process...

All preface lift e46 xit's, regardless of auto or manual, had the raised tunnel since bmw based all chassis' off of being manual even if they became auto's on the assembly line. 

Then, for some unknown reason, the facelift xit's that were manual got the raised tunnel and auto's got the flat tunnel due to shifter assembly. 

Again this is just my speculation with what I've seen and experienced. 

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Well I'll call that a success. Ended up cutting the dash console piece in one spot to make room. This spot will allow everything to bolt back together and never be seen. This extra space allowed me to cut back the carpet inside shifter area. 




I made a template of the inside hump piece and traced it on the car to prep for cutting. 


I then proceeded to cut it out carefully with a dremel, not to hit any of the wiring or catch something on fire.



Fits great and shifting feels exactly as it should now! 👍

Now I just have to get some panelbond, seam sealer and rivets to attach it permanently and put all the interior back together. 

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Like it never happened...



Still have to seam seal and undercoat the underside, but I'm very happy with it. Shifts through all gears like it should. 

I have to get a new black leather shift boot instead of the grey one I found at the u-pull. Also, once this whole project is wrapped up, this thing is getting a full interior detail for sure. Yikes!!!

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