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Ashyukun (Robert)
Ashyukun (Robert) PowerDork
10/29/20 11:46 a.m.

With the Infiniti out of the garage until I get the replacement metal for the fenders (unfortunately in the rain), the BMW is back in for a number of things that I got started on last night.

One of the first things I did was something that was in no way necessary but i wanted to- I pulled the rear lens housings and the side marker housing to try out the new lens tint Peel Coat spray from Rustoleum. So far? Not impressed. Like, at all. I think for the first few coats it was largely just going on clear with no tint, and then when I started putting it on heavier to get the tint it ran a bit (especially on the backup lens housings off the trunk lid). I think part of the problem is that the instructions say nothing about dry time between coats, unlike the regular PeelCoat I tested out on an old spoiler. I'm guessing i'm going to have to pull it off the backup housings and do it again. Overall, I found it far less effective and more of a PITA than the old trick of a light coat or two of black Plastidip followed by a coat of clear dip.

Next up was trying to resolve the issues with the stereo install- the older E46's use a kind of annoying multi-antenna system such that anything but the stock radio gets crap for reception. The adapter I got that power the antenna amp definitely helped, but it really looks like just grabbing the amp from a newer one (like the 2004 'vert I pulled the trunk from) will make life easier on the whole. While doing this, I did some specific checking on the speakers- and at least the tweeter assembly on the passenger door is not working at all and the mid-bass on that door sounds like it might be blown and I'm not hearing anything out of the tweeters in the back panels. Both the '04 vert and an '01 coupe that just showed up in the lot have the HK system in them so tomorrow when I'm up trying to get the fender metal for the Infiniti I'll see about grabbing some of the speakers as well from the junkyard E46's (assuming they haven't been grabbed). I halfway wonder if my car doesn't have aftermarket speakers installed- I'll find out when I pull the panels this evening.

After that, I got started on the front of the car, pulling the fan assembly and intake and working on pulling the headlights (think this is necessary to pull the bumper to replace the 'kidney bean' trim, plus makes it easier to replace the angel eyes with the new set and re-finish the lenses again). I found that the headlight washer system, which I haven't have hooked up anyway, was a PAIN to deal with- it added something else to grab from the junkyard off the '01 coupe: the trim that will let me delete it completely. Annoyingly, the last screw to remove the driver's side headlight assembly is rounded off so I'm going to have to cut it out, hopefully not damaging the headlight housing in the process. Will tackle that this evening as well after draining the radiator (which has to come out to get to the screw better as well as to put the AC hardware back in and kind of also has to be done to replace the overflow tank as planned). 

Loweguy5
Loweguy5 GRM+ Memberand HalfDork
2/23/22 11:44 p.m.

Any updates?

Ashyukun (Robert)
Ashyukun (Robert) PowerDork
2/24/22 11:21 a.m.

In reply to Loweguy5 :

Yikes- I hadn't realized it has been almost a year and a half since I've updated anything about this...

Right now the 'vert is hiding under a tarp in front of the garage inside the gate- pretty much standard for it during the winter (especially since I've never completely figured out the issue with the front seal on the convertible top leaking...). I've driven it a good bit during any nice weather over the last year and a half, but it's had/has its issues- some more avoidable than others.

Several things that need to be fixed/replaced are a result of my having backed the Infinity SUV into the front of it on a dark, rainy night last fall when I forgot that the BMW was parked behind the SUV on the street (I very, very rarely have them both there). This dented the hood and took out one of the kidney bean grilles and one of the headlight covers. Thankfully the hood still works fine and I'm hoping I can just bang it back into place enough to put in a replacement grille and have it not be hitting where the headlight goes. I already have all of the replacement parts- one kind of nice upside of this is that I will be replacing both headlight lenses, so they'll be in much better shape than they were. 

I'm also going to be swapping the stock manifold back in and taking out the headers- the main reason for this is that I've never been able to get the joint between them and the rest of the exhaust to seal properly, and the exhaust without any cats is pretty noxious- and even an exhaust shop that does custom work said that with the car as low as it is they don't see how to put in aftermarket ones. So it's just easier to put the stock manifolds back in- will also mean the CEL won't be on all the time from not having the all 4 O2 sensors. 

Unfortunately all of this work and anything else I do for the foreseeable future is going to be done in the driveway since the DMC is in the garage and is going to be until I get the frame rust fixed and do all the other things that I've wanted/needed to do on it for a while now.

TED_fiestaHP
TED_fiestaHP HalfDork
2/24/22 1:49 p.m.

    Rear 02 sensors, one trick, if you don't have the OEM cat and they don't like a different cat.  Wire them up but don't install them into the exhaust, they will see fresh air and think the cat is working great.  If you have to do state inspection you install old sensors into the exhaust and route the wiring to make it look good.   

        You would need two small cats, one for each 3 branch header, they would be bigger than the pipe, but might work, although might be the lowest part of the car.

Ashyukun (Robert)
Ashyukun (Robert) PowerDork
2/25/22 8:54 a.m.

In reply to TED_fiestaHP :

I talked with the exhaust shop about that- but they said that the tunnel the exhaust runs through is tight enough they weren't certain they could get a cat that would fit- and that it might still be lower than I'd want.

For now, I'm good with going back to the stock manifolds- even if I have the time to take it and autocross it the headers won't make that much difference and it was a ton of fun to drive before I swapped in the headers. Switching back to the manifolds also has the advantage of costing me a nice tidy $0 while solving several problems at once, so that works for me. I've got enough things on my plate dealing trying to get the DMC driving safely again so I'm good with taking the slightly-less-performance approach here.

Harvey
Harvey SuperDork
2/25/22 3:25 p.m.

All these E46 threads are making me wish we didn't sell my wife's 330i ZHP. Man, that was a nice car.

Ashyukun (Robert)
Ashyukun (Robert) PowerDork
3/21/22 8:53 a.m.

On Friday we had a decently nice day here where I had some time, so I finally jacked up the front end of the E46 and wrestled with getting the headers out so I can put the manifolds back on. Succeeded in my task, though unfortunately in the process lost one of the exhaust stud nuts- which means that I need to hunt through my spares for the car and see if I have any- or just wait until the new set of them I ordered arrives in a week and a half or so (it's supposed to rain most of this week so I couldn't drive it anyway, and we'll be on vacation next week). If I have the time and it's not raining I may try and get some of the cosmetic stuff done (i.e. fixing things damaged by my backing into its front end with the Infiniti's trailer hitch). Hopefully the weekend after we get back from vacation will be nice and I'll be able to get the manifolds installed and the summer tires that have been chilling in our basement since I got them last fall put on and the car will be drivable again. 

Putting the manifolds on should be much less troublesome than the headers, since the manifolds aren't wrapped in fiberglass cloth...

Ashyukun (Robert)
Ashyukun (Robert) PowerDork
5/2/22 12:53 p.m.

After weeks of both bad weather and bad luck and stupidity on the part of both the shop that mounted the summer tires I picked up last fall and my part, I finally got the E46 drivable again on Saturday. I unfortunately found that the passenger-side headlight housing that had been damaged when I backed the Infiniti into the BMW was more badly damaged than I had thought and would need to be replaced. So I still need to make all of the fixes to repair that damage, but the car was still drivable- and I don't think I will ever get tired of how much fun that car is to drive. It's just so smooth and solid and will absolutely MOVE when you put the pedal down. I drove it when I ran to pick up our brunch yesterday and had to get across 2 lanes of road from the offramp of the highway to a left turn lane and had a small but sufficient window to get through and punched the throttle- and bounced it off the rev limiter in 1st before I had time to shift into second. It was an absolute blast.

Ashyukun (Robert)
Ashyukun (Robert) PowerDork
5/23/22 2:17 p.m.

Had time the weekend before last to do some work on the E46 and finally get the front end parts swapped in to mostly repair it after the damage from backing into it with the QX4. Replaced both headlights and the kidney-bean grilles as well as the trim under the headlights, and am really happy with the results:

The hood obviously still has a dent in it, but it's not that obvious and I don't want to deal with having to find a replacement hood and swap it on unless I have to.

One result of all of this- I really like how the matte gunmetal-grey of the headlight trim pieces looks, and am very seriously considering trying to plastidip the whole car that color since the paint is definitely pretty scuffed up. The main reason I'm not sure I want to do it is that I'm not sure it will look good with the black top up...

trumant (Forum Supporter)
trumant (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand Reader
5/23/22 4:14 p.m.

Front end is looking good and that hood dent certainly won't keep you from enjoying the drive.

As for the black top over the gunmetal, personally, I think it will look great.

Ashyukun (Robert)
Ashyukun (Robert) PowerDork
6/16/22 4:03 p.m.

Haven't really gotten anything more done on the E46- and I'm not likely to until I get around to replacing the struts on the Infiniti since I'm driving the E46 instead of it (which I'm not complaining about most of the time- but I am very glad I got the AC working, since when it's 95 degrees out it is quite nice to have the air on even with the top down....).

Unfortunately, in driving the car around more- and especially so with The Dancer in it on occasion and thus being more aware of the ride- I'm quite certain that at least one of the rear shocks is shot. I've figured that I would be needing to replace the shocks before too long- they were clearly well used when I got the car 2 1/2 years ago- but was hoping I could hold off for another year, but it's looking like that's not going to be wise. Now I'm just going to have to wait a few weeks so I'm not getting both the suspension stuff for the Infiniti and the BMW in the same month.

I also am going to have to decide what to get for it... right now it has the Koni Yellow shocks it had on it when I got it, which are about $600 to replace with the same thing. Basic replacement shocks are about $200 cheaper... which since it's looking like it's going to very rarely see anything other than normal driving may be good enough. It's also very tempting to see what slightly higher springs would cost- the car rides so low that it is annoying at times.

The coolant level sensor has gone out... again. So that needs to be replaced again, which should be easy enough when replacing the shocks.

Ashyukun (Robert)
Ashyukun (Robert) PowerDork
6/27/22 3:48 p.m.

Ended up ordering the kit from ECS that has the Koni Yellow shocks that the car has on it now along with a set of new springs that should lower it a bit less (so it sits about a 1/2" or so higher). Not cheap, but should considerably improve the ride of the car. Also ordered the replacement coolant level sensor. Wish it would stop killing those, but from what I understand that's pretty common...

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