My E46 M3

Quick Links: Paint 2020   Underside 2022   Everything M3 2023    Update 2023 Job list   Update 2023 Boot Lid    

The car was produced 10.12.2003, delivered 11.12.2003 to Barcelona, Spain and registrated there January 2004. Untill 2019 it remained in Spain. A Belgium dealer bought it and brought it to Zulte, Belgium, for selling. I bought it from him in November 2019 and brought it to Denmark.
One of the reasons for me for buying this particular one was that it was free from rust (it never drove in Belgium) and was newer than 2003/06 ie had the upgrades (piston rod bearings, vanos etc) that BMW introduced in 2nd half 2003.


In order to get an idea of which parts of the car that may have been resprayed I measured the paint thickness. It seems as both rear fenders and the bonnet have been resprayed. The bonnet is only to be expected, since nobody can drive 130.000 km and have so few stone chips as the car has. The fenders may have been scratched since I cannot find any signs on the inside of fenders of dents or rust for that sake.

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Recently (25.06.2022) I have cleaned the underside partially, fitted new underside (plastic) protection plates and got some parts powder coated.  The restoration process is intended to continue in my own pace until I am satisfied – which means that the car is as good as new.

This, naturally, apart from the much looked forward to visit to UK where I intend to book for a RACP-procedure, a differential rebuild and perhaps something more. And “Yes” – I really intend to drive all the way to UK to get this done properly.

I am a bit slow - but then again there's no reason to hurry.

Below pictures from partial cleaning. Happy to find out that rear muffler is relatively easy to clean - and that discolored area not is a sign of anything serious.

More pictures from earlier - ie before front end cleaning, powder coating of a few parts and new plastic underside protection items. See here

I’m not always quite politically correct – but I know what matters :-)  

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EverythingM3 update 2023

Presently (20-09-2023) my M3 is at EverythingM3 in the UK. Progress is a bit slow, but here is a status.
All cracks, busted spot welds and issues on the rear underside is fixed. RACP reinforced, naturally.

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Update per 25-09-2023

Picked up the car at Everything M3.
List of work done:

  • RACP Repair - Includes reddish plates, all broken spot welds drilled and rewelded, all cracks end-drilled and rewelded, all rust attended to and rust killed, plates welded to chassis, all exposed metal coated with POR15 rust-preventative paint. From the tank cavity to the rear bumper, everything is repainted with Raptor underbody protective coating. Also includes rear subframe bushes and replacement genuine BMW rear brake lines. Rear inner arches scrubbed and repainted with Raptor (in body colour paint).
  • Complete rear axel refurbishment: Powder coat rear subframe. Powder coat rear trailing arms. Powder coat rear spring arms. New rear adjustable camber arms. Powder coat rear anti roll bar + brackets. New bushes, Bolts and bearings all round.
  • Supply KW V3 suspension set up. Labour to fit suspension kit. Full vehicle GEO setup.
  • E46 M3 / Z4M 4.1 differential exchange service – Fully rebuilt, main casing shot-blasted and painted, new rear casing with new bushes and bolts, new bearings throughout, new oil seals, uprated LSD clutches, LSD modified. Brand new crown/pinion 4.1 ratio.
  • E46 M3 / Z4M Vanos Overhaul - Full overhaul includes Beisan systems seals kits, anti-rattle kit, sealing plate kit, updated cam bolts, updated hub springs, new timing chain tensioner guide rail, rebuild VANOS Solenoid, VANOS micro filter, new cam cover gaskets, modified oil pump drive, camshaft timing optimized, valve clearances checked and reset.
  • Replace both rear inner arches with a 180 degree lip to allow for a wider wheel fitment and to stop the ingress of dirt and corrosion. CSL-style arches. Done in conjunction with the RACP.
  • Additional labour to completely strip out car interior and protect any remaining components from metal dust and sparks and then rebuild once welding is complete.
  • Repaint both rear quarter panels since paintwork is affected from the inner arch replacement.
  • Rear lifting points need corrected and reinforced.
  • Prop-shaft donut and center bearing replaced.
  • New fuel sender unit in right hand tank cavity, new suction jet pump in fuel tank
  • New HEL blue braided brake lines.
  • Oil service (E46 M3 / Z4M) - Castrol 10W-60 oil and genuine oil filter.

Quite a list – isn’t it? I have only myself to “blame” – if perfect is the standard one must be willing to pay for it.

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Update June 2024

When I bought the car it had a “CSL” style boot lid – however the original boot lid followed the car. Since my preference is original I have fitted the original boot lid – and at the same time fitted a new boot lid grip in which I have integrated a rear camera.
The rear bumper had some small dents and scratches from parking “accidents” so I had a brand new fitted. At the same time I took the opportunity to fit a new original “diffuser” instead of the “CSL” style with carbon.

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