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Karter16

Karter16's E46 M3 Journal

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1 hour ago, Karter16 said:

 Bry5on

Full on build. Yeah my E46 does have a slight on center numbness to it even with all new bits. Im not sure why they used a rubber disc when most other BMW didnt have one, my E39 had better on center precision. With all this talk I may have to try i think before my upcoming alignment. I had a look at this steering column bush because i replaced my entire assembly with low k M3 one (play in upper bush which isnt practically replaceable from what i could tell). I dont recognize the updated black part that he has replaced though. He did the shaft at the same time though so im sure that was most of it.

I also noticed he switched back to rubber RTAB's and is using poly subframe bushings. I do agree with him on them being harsh over sharp edges and for a daily wagon it make more sense if roads are also poor. Handling benefits though i rate them at the top for the money.

1 hour ago, Karter16 said:

Xtrons

What the navigation like?. Probably not an issue now but some of the older android units seem to take ages to connect to satellites.

Do you have OE reverse sensors and\or camera setup on it? 

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Pleasant surprise this morning - look what arrived!

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The box it arrived in was a bit beaten up, but when opening up you can see that the sharp corners are well-wrapped in bubble wrap to protect whatever else it comes into contact with 😂

Marin offers powder-coating as well, but after discussing with him I opted to get it unfinished and powder-coat locally, as a painted item requires much more packaging to protect it and pushes it into a more expensive shipping category. 

I was a bit surprised when I first opened it to see that the brace doesn't have the extra cross member between the strut towers, but looking back on my comms with Marin when I actually placed the order I was not clear on the matter. Secondly, now that I've seen this in person I can say that that additional cross member would be entirely unnecessary anyway. The photos (especially the ones online) really do not give a good sense of just how solid this thing is. I'm glad that it turned out this way as not having that cross member means more available boot space for any odd-shaped objects.

I'm very happy with the build quality of this and just how solid it is in person. I'm looking forward to getting it powder coated and ordering the other bits and pieces I need to get this installed.
 

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On 6/3/2024 at 7:30 PM, Eagle said:

 

What the navigation like?. Probably not an issue now but some of the older android units seem to take ages to connect to satellites.

Do you have OE reverse sensors and\or camera setup on it? 

Good question - I always use Apple Maps through CarPlay so hadn’t checked. 
 

I rebooted the unit and by the time I got into GPs tester it was locked on at 5m accuracy so seems fast. Note that signal strength is average as I just have the gps aerial inside the dash.

 

re reverse sensors - I don’t have them hooked in currently, will likely get the iBus app at some point and do it that way.

 

IMG_9097.jpeg

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That's nice pulsed MIG welding on the jungle gym by the looks, pretty rad !!

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6 hours ago, Cement said:

That's nice pulsed MIG welding on the jungle gym by the looks, pretty rad !!

Yeah I'm very pleased with it - very nicely made, and it should look great once I've got it powder coated.

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Embarked on a bit of an experiment this afternoon.

The SMG shifter on my car is actually in pretty great condition considering it's nearly 20 years old. Aside from needing a clean really the only wear/damage on it is the emblem has bubbled as they tend to do, the pads and the chrome are otherwise in excellent condition.

BMW do not sell the emblem separately, and although you can get replicas off eBay, they are poor quality (essentially printed with a dome on top) and don't replicate the 3D chrome embossing, etc. that the original does.

I thought therefore that I would pull the knob apart and see if I could work out a way to repair it. If I fail then I can just go ahead with the original plan to buy a new one. If I succeed I'll probably still buy a new one anyway and put it on the shelf for the future, but I can then continue using my existing one.

Removing the knob from the shifter was actually easier than I was expecting. A moderate amount of force and off it came. You can see the bubbled emblem in this photo (although if you own an SMG you probably already know what I'm talking about).

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I then carefully levered off the emblem. Because it had already bubbled it split from the backing as you'd expect.

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The backing of the dome is a foamy sticky substance which pulled off in one go.

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With the dome off the rest of the knob can be disassembled. Once in pieces I carefully cleaned everything up (vinegar and water on the chrome to clean on any staining, and then warm soapy water for a general clean and to clean the pads).

I then turned my attention to the emblem. The chrome embossing is essentially milled/cast in relief on the underside of the dome, and then chrome plated. The flat back of the dome then affixes to the black background which also has the coloured M stripes on it. My intention in attempting repair is to paint on the M stripes, and then paint the entire rear surface of the dome black. The finished item can then be reaffixed to the knob. Why paint? It's going to be the only way to get a perfect bond to the dome. Otherwise without this it's still going to look like there's an air bubble in there. I am not going to attempt the painting myself, rather I am going to get my brother (who has been expertly painting very tiny things for a long time) to give it a go - if he can't do it I certainly wouldn't be able to.

But before it can be painted I needed to clean up the dome.

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I very carefully wet sanded the back surface of the dome with 2000 grit sandpaper. It can't be seen in the photos but where the coloured M stripes go you can actually see on the surface of the dome where the colours lay. I was very careful to not sand this area, in order to retain this as it may be useful for my brother when it comes to applying the colour.

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I'll get the dome to him next weekend for him to have a go. The nice thing is that if anything doesn't go to plan it can just be sanded off and attempted again.

In the meantime here's a photo of the rest of the knob all cleaned up and ready to go. The pads in particular look so nice now they're back to a lovely matte black.

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As I'm sure everyone knows sourcing some E46 M3 parts is starting to get pretty dicey - Like some others I've started to modify my purchasing priority based on how likely I estimate it is that various things will go NLA. This is of course educated guess-work and I'm primarily focussing on anything CSL that I think I might need and second to that any of the more cosmetic pieces. I guess/hope that more regular mechanical components will be more likely to remain in availability for longer.

To that end although it's not likely that I'll get to doing the airbox any time soon, I've ordered all the ancillary parts that I'll need to do it when the time comes. I've been monitoring some of these parts pretty closely and it certainly seems for some of them that we're coming to the end of availability (unless BMW decide to do further production runs at any point).

I'll put these parts on the shelf and will order the airbox and whatever snorkel solution I decide on closer to the time.
 

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1 hour ago, Karter16 said:

As I'm sure everyone knows sourcing some E46 M3 parts is starting to get pretty dicey - Like some others I've started to modify my purchasing priority based on how likely I estimate it is that various things will go NLA. This is of course educated guess-work and I'm primarily focussing on anything CSL that I think I might need and second to that any of the more cosmetic pieces. I guess/hope that more regular mechanical components will be more likely to remain in availability for longer.

To that end although it's not likely that I'll get to doing the airbox any time soon, I've ordered all the ancillary parts that I'll need to do it when the time comes. I've been monitoring some of these parts pretty closely and it certainly seems for some of them that we're coming to the end of availability (unless BMW decide to do further production runs at any point).

I'll put these parts on the shelf and will order the airbox and whatever snorkel solution I decide on closer to the time.
 

If you haven't experienced a CSL airbox in person yet, feel free to get in touch. One quick ride will probably be enough to prioritise the purchase 😅

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Well that worked better than I could have hoped! 

The enamel paints arrived in the week and my wife is out this evening, so while I was keeping an eye on the boys I decided to do some colour tests. That went well and I had a go at painting by hand. I'm absolutely not skilled enough for it, but then I tried masking with sellotape and that worked surprisingly well, I was expecting the paint to seep badly, but it was very minimal.

I very carefully masked for painting the light blue and the red and did those first. I found it was best to let the paint set for about 15-20 minutes before removing the masking (I didn't want to leave it too long and lift the paint with the tape).

I then allowed an hour for drying, and then masked for the dark blue and painted that, another 15-20 mins for the masking and then another hour to harden. I then very carefully cleaned up the edges with a sharp knife before applying the black paint.

For a hand-made effort I'm very happy with the end result. With the macro shot below you can see it's not perfect, but with the naked eye it looks perfect.

Great success!

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If I'd known in advance how well this was going to work I'd have taken proper before and after photos, but first photo is about the best shot I've got of the bubbled dome.

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And after

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