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2001 BMW 330i Daily/Project build thread


basedspider
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Been a while since I have been active on this forum. My BMW ambition left me for a while, but now that this car is back in action I figured it would be a good time to reenter the community.

So, a bit of backstory. June 2020, on my way home to get milk I got in an accident in my BRZ and insurance ended up totalling it. My '90 miata wasnt quite cutting it with no AC, and my truck gets a solid 11mpg on a good day so I went searching for another daily. Ended up finding this 2001 BMW 330i local to me:

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Not too interesting of a spec, 330i 5spd with the mtech1 appearance package. Sunroof, fine wood trim, silver on grey interior. I was told there was no mods done to it, which I later figured out to be untrue but I will get into that. It drove amazing and handled great, had really good maintainence history, and  seemed solid aside from 1 issue... it had a bad throwout bearing. Price reflected such, and knowing that I bought the car anyway. Time to get to work.

Anyone who knows me personally knows that I have a tendency to bite off more than I can chew, and I took a hard left down that route right off the bat. I noticed looking under it one day and noticed that there was only 1 exhaust pipe going towards the rear, indicating that somehow the car had a 323/328 exhaust on it. To counteract, I ordered Active Autowerke catless headers and went Magnaflow the rest of the way back. Then I got to thinking, and after weighing my options for a new clutch setup I decided to go with an ECS single mass flywheel conversion kit and went to FCP for a trans refresh kit. On top of those things I ordered Fortune Auto 500 coilovers to pull the suspension together. Mind you, I ordered all of these things knowing I have never pulled a transmission in my life, let alone on a BMW.

Well now it comes time to pull the trans. Start pulling the car apart and I notice the car has rear poly bushings which was a great surprise! Get the trans off with the help of some friends, pull the clutch/pressure plate/flywheel and noticed that it already had a single mass conversion done, and as expected my throwout bearing was trashed. Start working through the refresh, rear main seal, etc and once I am done with that I start going through the process to pull the headers. Comes time to pull the passenger side motor mount and since I didnt have my cherry picker at the time, I go to properly jack up the motor to pull it out and notice that since the trans isnt on the car I cant get it to jack up on that side, only jacks up the front. I made the decision to wait until the trans is back on to reattempt that. I start to reassemble and go to install the flywheel and realize the flywheel lock kit I bought was complete shit and I ordered one.

Life happens, the car sits and I lose some ambition. Few months roll by I clean up the garage, get a nice heater, and get back to work. Get the flywheel, pressure plate, and clutch installed and its time to reinstall the trans. I have issues getting the starter lined up with the trans bolts I decided it was easiest to pull the intake manifold so that I can properly reinstall the starter and have easier access to some of the other top bolts. Take a day with beer and good friends and pull the intake. Then life happened again and the car sat for another month or two. Come back into the garage and see parts all over the floor (some of which i dont recognize at all), unlabeled bags of bolts, a trans missing half of the bolts, and an ambition level at an all time low. I say "uncle" and send the car unfinished to a shop with a trunk full of parts.

A few hiccups with the shop later, last week it came home and in its best form yet. I got new tires and refinished the BBS RC303s I bought from @Rekpoint and the car has pulled together well. Now its time to dial the car in and clean it up a bit, and enjoy it.20210603_192251.jpg

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On 8/7/2021 at 12:55 PM, pynacl said:

Dude I was wondering what happened with this car! Just made a comment to Ethyn the other day about it. Glad to see it back on the road, looks RAD with those BBS on it. How do you like the FA coilovers?

Love them so far! They ride good for a daily setup on the softer settings, and when you go max-hard it stiffens up a decent amount. Ive noticed the front end still seems to be a bit loose, but that could be something to do with the stock sway bar setup or old bushings.

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Well today I went to the Northern Wisconsin State Fairgrounds for the CVSCC Autocross event! My first time doing anything directly motorsport related and was a good space to see how the car handles some stress and feel if there is anything with it that needs attention.

My first real lap with the car I got a time of 58.9, but I was trying to feel out the course still and it had rained earlier so the track was still wet with a few puddles. By the end of the session I had gotten down to a 52.9 with 1 cone casualty. The drivetrain felt a little bit stressed, but with the current ride height in the front I spent a lot of time riding the fender liners, whoops! I also noticed the front end felt pretty loose and the rear end felt very much all over the place. Before the next session I went to adjust my dampening to all the way hard and noticed both front coils and the passenger rear dampening were all 10 clicks from the hardest setting, and meanwhile the driver rear was all the way soft 🤦‍♂️ that explained the rear end felt less than ideal.

Next session came and I had my fiancée riding shotgun, by the final lap I had gotten down to a 50.2 with 0 cone casualties which I felt very proud of. The car had more speed in it, but even with the dampening maxed my front end still felt loose and I had cooked my brakes by the end. Plus I am sure my fender liners are worse for wear after all the stress they endured too 😂

I am going to be moving forward with upgrading the front control arms to ZHP arms, replacing tie rods, getting better brakes, raising the front ride height, and also rolling with a stiffer sway bar setup and seeing how the car goes forward with that setup. The cooling system has not had any hiccups /yet/ but I would like to work on that as well.

Overall a fantastic experience and I cannot wait to get back out there again next year!

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Did an oil change on the car last night at 134k miles, first time in my ownership. Went with the liqui moly oil change kit from FCP and was pretty impressed overall with the quality of everything. Im hoping when it comes time for the next oil change to utilize their lifetime warranty 😂

My car is too low to get onto the lifts at work so I just chucked it on the alignment rack and while the oil was draining I got a good look under it. Bushings for the front control arms look pretty junk which explains why the front end feels a tad loose, and it also appears my front main seal is leaking. Something to keep an eye out for.

20210810_165513.jpg20210810_165509.jpg

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On 8/11/2021 at 11:02 AM, basedspider said:

Did an oil change on the car last night at 134k miles, first time in my ownership. Went with the liqui moly oil change kit from FCP and was pretty impressed overall with the quality of everything. Im hoping when it comes time for the next oil change to utilize their lifetime warranty 😂

My car is too low to get onto the lifts at work so I just chucked it on the alignment rack and while the oil was draining I got a good look under it. Bushings for the front control arms look pretty junk which explains why the front end feels a tad loose, and it also appears my front main seal is leaking. Something to keep an eye out for.

20210810_165513.jpg20210810_165509.jpg

Love their packaging. The sticker on the top left of the bottle is meant to be ripped off and slapped right on the windshield, which I thought was pretty neat!

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  • 10 months later...

Been a while again. Been messing around with a few projects the last couple months and finally got around to getting the E46 back in action for the year.

After a hard winter of this thing sitting outside the whole time (my now ex-fiancée talked me into storing her car last winter instead of mine) upon everything melting and the super cold and rainy spring we had here, I discovered a major water leak on the driver side of the car. There was a roughly 1 inch deep puddle front and back, which pushed me to start vacuuming and drying. Vacuumed it out semi regularly over the last few weeks and left it in the garage with the windows open for over a month and worked on other stuff in the meantime. Once it was plenty dry I got it over to my work and had the guys start looking at it. One of the techs let me know that one of the sunroof drains got unplugged and was leaking water from the A-pillar pretty good. Got that fixed and now she's bone dry!

Another issue that I finally got around to dealing with was the suspension. When I had the car in the garage I pulled the front wheels off to get a better look at everything underneath and put together a parts list of what I might need. Started looking at my coilovers and realized that there was literally no pre-load at all and the shock collar was able to move freely with just my hand. Likely due to my negligence when throwing the car together in the garage last winter, I properly set the preload, raised the front suspension to a nicer height, and tightened up the collar adjustments. Since then the vehicle rides a lot nicer and is a lot more confident in the corners than it used to be.

Going forward I have a lot of work to do on the interior of the car due to some mold that showed up in the carpet from the flooding, and I plan on taking some time and ripping the seats out to really clean everything properly. The seats also very badly need a lot of love so I am going to try to condition and save them, but we will see.

In the meantime though, enjoy this picture of my 2 main projects right now.20220613_184047.jpg

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Today was my 2 year anniversary with this car and the weather turned out nice tonight so I ripped the drivers seat out and got go work. What a disgusting mess.

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The rain left a slew of mold, coins molded into the carpet and some pretty heavy staining. I knew the grey carpet wasnt going to look perfect given the amount of time I had to do this job and the lack of proper tools I had but I tried my best to get it clean and looking slightly better.

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Not perfect, but substancially better. I cleaned up the rest of the interior following the carpets and I couldnt be happier with the car now.

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