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Aj's Imola, E46 M3 6spd

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  • Aj's Imola, E46 M3 6spd

    During the last few months, I've been itching to get an S54 powered car. My E36 M3 was at a state where I was happy with it. The car pulled hard and handled really well. The only issue with it was the power. I've now had 3, S52 powered cars so far and I was bored with the powerband. So what was the next thing to do? Replace the S52 with a S54.

    I searched everywhere for wrecked E46 M3s. Copart, Craigslist, eBay, Facebook marketplace, etc. I couldn't find a parts car anywhere for a decent price. At this point, I even considered buying a used engine. But to my luck, I couldn't even find a motor. The numbers weren't working or the sellers were sketchy. The next solution I came up with was to buy a S54 swapped car for 20-25k instead. I was disappointed once again because I couldn't find anything. At this point, I wanted an E46 M3. I found 3 examples.

    The first one was a 02 M3 6spd, 152k miles. Grey with red leather. It had a rebuilt title and the price was very appealing at $7,000. The fact that it was a rtitle car and there weren't any records of the big maintenance items being taken care of. To my luck, this one sold before I could get down to Louisville to look at it

    Car number two, was an Imola vert with a smg. However, it had 77k miles. It had some maintenance done and I expected it to be a clean car for the miles. It was also a local car so it made sense to go look at it. My plan was to 6spd swap it if I bought it. However, this car wasn't as clean in person. The front end had a lot of rock-chips, there was concrete stuck in all 4 wheel wells, the passenger side skirt also had concrete on it. On top of that, there was a little bit of clear coat failing on the car. Needless to say, I walked away from it.

    Car number 3

    I was approached by an enthusiast that was looking to sell his M3. "02 M3 6spd. Imola/black leather interior with manual seats. 97k miles. Vanos done at 87k miles, rear subframe checked at 87k and no cracks and rod bearings done at ~22k miles."

    Needless to say, I was sold on the car. The color combo and the miles sold me on it. The seller and I talked back and forth. At first, we couldn't come into an agreement with the price because the subframe wasn't reinforced but after a few weeks, we settled on a price and I bought it.

    Night I bought it

    The car is bone stock aside from the csl trunk. It hasn't seen a single winter. There's not a single spec of rust on it. The previous owner put Bav auto stage 2 speakers on it and put the 18" wheels. He said he sold the 19s.

    When it had 19s.

    So far I haven't driven the car much after buying it. I've gotta do a few things to the car before I start daily driving it for the rest of the season. Here are a few things that are going to be done to the vehicle:-

    -Reinforce the rear subframe (I've bought all OE bushings for the rear end, turner subframe reinforcement kit, differential fluid)

    -Valve adjustment

    -Spark Plugs

    -Fluids & filters

    It's missing the BMW emblem on the trunk. I've read that Z4 ones fit perfectly. So I'll be ordering that.

  • #2
    Picture and car quality has improved SUBSTANTIALLY from the old forum lol. Congrats on the new car and the Cars and Bids sale. The hellrot/modena looked nice.


    • ajcanadian
      ajcanadian commented
      Editing a comment
      Haha thanks! The quality of my cars have gotten better as I've gotten older, lol.

      Thanks, it was a very nice car. I think it sold for a very fair price.

  • #3
    Congrats! Absolutely love Imola.


    • ajcanadian
      ajcanadian commented
      Editing a comment
      Thank you! The imola sealed the deal for me, haha

  • #4
    Super jealous, very nice. No plans to s54 swap the e36?


    • ajcanadian
      ajcanadian commented
      Editing a comment
      I actually sold the E36s. Currently I only own an E46 M3. I thought about the swap a lot. However, I'm a full time MET student so free time is limited. Plus the fact that E46 M3s are pretty cheap, I figured picking an E46 M3 would be the best choice.
      Last edited by ajcanadian; 08-15-2020, 10:39 AM.

  • #5
    Looks great, congratulations on the purchase


    • ajcanadian
      ajcanadian commented
      Editing a comment
      Thank you!

  • #6

    The first order of business after buying the E46 was to have the rear subframe reinforced. I ended up buying the OE comprehensive rear subframe bushing kit with the rear trailing arm bushing limiters along with turner motorsport, rear subframe reinforcement kit. I also bought new bolts and other hardware.

    I also ended up buying new control arm bushings and right sway bar endlink since it was loose. I got a new center support bearing and guibo too. The control arm bushings weren't cracked (yet). For the life of me, I can’t find any pictures of the parts installed.

    Got a killer deal on Koni yellows with H&R springs. I installed the rears while the subframe was down.

    The car also got it’s 3rd valve adjustment done. Turns out only one valve needed adjustment. It also made sense to do belts and spark plugs while everything was apart.

    The car also got an oil change, new trans fluid with new plugs, and diff fluid.

    Got rid of the gross shift knob for a much nicer shift boot and shift knob

    Also got an alcantara ebrake boot

    Did a little cleaning and tossed on the LED tailights. I’m not a fan of this look. I’ll be reverting back to stock tails

    I also got a replacement BMW trunk roundel to replace my missing one.

    I made an impulse purchase on these wheels. Still haven’t put them on the car yet and I think I’ll be selling these.

    After all the work was done, I dropped the car off for an alignment. Came out to a nasty surprise that my rear right camber adjustment screw was stripped. I’ll be replacing the rear control arms with eibach or turner motorsport adjustable control arms.

    Next up


    Rear adjustable control arms




    Interior trim