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My 2005 Imola Red M3 6MT Build Journal

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    My 2005 Imola Red M3 6MT Build Journal

    Welcome to my build journal for my Imola Red 2005 6MT M3. Late fall 2019 I began my search for a my M3. I originally wanted one a few years ago, but being in college in southwest Ohio, a RWD sports car didn’t make much sense for driving in the winter. I ended up picking a 2017 Subaru WRX that I love and still handles all of my daily duties with. But even up until the fall, I still wanted my experience with a BMW. I had several friends who had some, everything from base E30s to limited edition E90s. The E46 was in my price range and I think it is a timeless car, and the car for me.

    I wanted something that was stock, not crazy high mileage, and something I could work on and bring back to life if needed. I would check several times throughout the day, but often would come up just short or the distance was too far away. Being located in central Ohio, most of the cars around me spent their whole life in the rust belt and unfortunately were starting to have the salt damage show. I woke up the morning of December 6th and did my normal routine of checking all the online for sale pages, trying to find the right car for me. Out of Sacramento, CA I found a new for sale ad that had popped up overnight. I immediately texted the owner at 6:30am EST, forgetting that this was much much earlier on the west coast. To my surprise, I received a text not too long after saying the car was still available.

    The for sale ad only had 4 pictures, I was eager to see some more. The new pictures I got weren’t the best, and the car definitely had some wear, but nothing that couldn’t be fixed with a little bit of love and attention.





    I continued messaging the owner during the weekend, trying to decide if this was the one for me. By Sunday night, I was one of a few seriously interested parties. I spent the weekend talking with friends what the best method of getting to the car and getting it back to Ohio would be. We talked about booking a pair of one-way tickets and having a cannonball-style drive back across the country in two days. Ultimately, I ended up booking a round trip flight to Portland, OR where I have a friend living 45 minutes away. He would pick me up from the airport and we would drive down to Sacramento and back. I would store the car with him until after the end of the year holidays were over and ten ship it back across the country to its new home – of course, only if a sale went through. Sunday night, I had my flights booked and sent over the information minutes before another party was going to put down a deposit. The owner asked me to send over another small deposit to secure the spot since I wouldn’t be coming out until to see the car for another week. This was enough information for him to hold the car for me until I was able to come out and see it in person. The seller was still skeptical though, how believable is it when you have someone say they’re flying out from the other side of the country, driving down with a buddy named Steve, and taking the car home just days after your posting?

    March 13th, I jumped on a plane at 5am and started my journey west. I landed on Portland where my friend was waiting to pick me up. As we headed south, I grew more and more tired. We arrived at our hotel in Sacramento around midnight pacific time. I had spent a full 24 hours traveling and I was exhausted.
    The next morning, I met up with the owner, Brian. He bought the car new from the dealer and had put 101,000 miles on it in his ownership. He kept almost every receipt, and was only getting rid of the car because his new M2 was ready for delivery. Everything he told me about the car was correct. The car was as described and I was ready to make a deal. After a quick test drive, we signed some papers and I was on my way back north to Oregon on my maiden voyage.
    The scenery of Northern California is so much more beautiful than the Midwest. It was a perfect place for my first drive.



    When the highway was clear and it was just my friend and I, I decided to open up the car in 3rd gear and see what it was made of. The first pull felt strong, but it smelled awful. The now prior owner probably didn’t drive the car very hard during his short commute to work. A few pulls later and all the crap had been blown out of the cats and the odor was gone. We continued north and began to hit some of the mountains.




    We had to stop for gas and decided it was also a good stopping point for lunch. Somehow we picked probably the two slowest gas pumps in the world. It took us each nearly 30 minutes to fill up our tanks. While we waited, I ran inside to the Burger King next door for a quick bite.



    We continued North into the mountains, the roads were still amazing. Really wish we had them back in Ohio.



    We made it safely back to Bend and my new M3 was tucked away in a garage for a few weeks. On my flight home, I passed Mt. Hood. Took this pretty neat photo of it peeking out over the cloud layer.



    I needed to arrange shipping. I ended up using another forum user’s suggestion and selected Andrew Kraus with Capital Auto Transport (capitalautotransport@hotmail.com). I would HIGHLY recommend them for your shipping needs. Here a photo of it being loaded up to be send across the country.



    Less than a week later it arrived! Nothing like a 5:30am pick up in below freezing temperatures. The car was probably the coldest it has ever been. It was covered in salt and I immediately got it washed off.





    The rock chips and swirled paint were to be addressed when it was warmer again.
    I wanted to get a fun personalized plate. To my surprise, this was available! Seems suiting for the car.

    Last edited by Inizes; 03-19-2020, 01:45 PM.
    2005 ///M3 6MT Coupe Imola/Black Leather

    Build Thread: https://nam3forum.com/forums/forum/m...-build-journal

    #2
    Time to get down to business and bringing this car back to life!

    First up, replacing the rear quarter window seals. I used 3M 08650 EPDM Hollow Rubber Weather-strip, 7/8” Thick x ¾” Wide. This is a popular DIY method that may have been lost with the loss of the M3forum that proceeded this one. The replacement 3M rubber (there are other cheaper options) is about $40 on eBay. Here is what I started with:



    I removed the trim, the old and cracked rubber, and I installed the new 3M replacement.



    While I was in the area, I also replaced the decorative window trim that sits underneath the rear window as well.





    I cleaned it all up, and reinstalled the new lower trim and the wrap around one with the replaced rubber. I did this process on the passenger side as well.



    Next, I moved up front. I wanted to clean up and detail the engine bay. Unfortunately, one of the hood struts was blown and needed replacement so that the hood wouldn’t fall on my head while I was trying to work. Super easy to replace these – there is a locking clip that you pry loose with a screwdriver and the strut pops off of the ball joint with ease.




    Time to detail! Here is my before shot.



    The car was filthy. The engine bay clearly hasn’t been cleaned in a long time.

    Here is a 50/50.



    And complete!



    While I was in the area, I also replaced the cabin air filter and air filter. Below the cabin air filter are two rubber drains. I cleaned those up as well even though I will never see them.




    Next up was the window cowl. The California sun had its way with this one and it was in need of replacement.





    Originally, I didn’t order the two pieces of rubber that go on either side of the cowl. After removing them, I decided I should get those replaced as well. Both were missing pieces; I don’t have a great photo of either though.



    The pieces all came in, and the cowl is back in and looking great. I replaced both wiper blades at this time as well.



    While I was taking my maiden voyage back to Oregon, I noticed that the wind shield washer fluid wasn’t working. I checked the fuse and it turned out to be perfectly fine. I decided the failure might have been the pump, so a replacement was ordered. Getting to the motor is pretty simple – there is a nice access door through the passenger side front wheel well.





    I cleaned up the area while I was in there too. The change fixed the issue! I could clean my windows once again. My fingers were frozen; I think it was single digit temperatures when I was doing this job.

    Not pictured, but somewhere in here I did replace the fuel filter as well. That was another brutally cold day that for some reason I thought it was a good time to do some maintenance.


    Since I was up front, I noticed the top hood grille was pretty sun faded as well. It was a cheap replacement so in it went. It was pretty easy to pop out. I just needed to be careful with some of the clips that held the sprayer nozzles.





    Last edited by Inizes; 03-19-2020, 07:36 PM.
    2005 ///M3 6MT Coupe Imola/Black Leather

    Build Thread: https://nam3forum.com/forums/forum/m...-build-journal

    Comment


      #3
      Nice work!

      Nothing like a clean car!

      Comment


        #4
        Onto the interior!

        First up was addressing the cracking air bag stickers. For some reason these really bugged me on my first drive. Removed both and used a precision screw driver, oxyclean stain remover, and a warm damp towel to remove the stickers and glue.






        Next, I moved onto a small tear on the driver’s seat. It wasn’t terribly long, but the seat was separating from the bolster. I grabbed some extra tough black thread and a set of curved needles from the local hobby store and set to work.







        It isn’t perfect, but I feel like it was a decent attempt. It is hard to notice unless you’re looking for it.
        Onto the center console. The old one had seen some abuse. The arm rest was starting to crack. The shift knob wasn’t illuminating correctly and looked bubbled.


        This was a great sight to see lol. I wonder what happened to the original connectors.


        I carefully unwrapped the wires and put some heat shrink on the open ends. The new shift knob won’t be wired to illuminate.




        Off the center console came! I was a somewhat surprised how much crap makes its way under the console.


        Looks brand new! I picked up a new set of cup holders as well. I opted for this over the euro tray because my girlfriend likes some sort of livability if we take a long weekend road trip to the Tail of the Dragon or something.




        The rear view mirror had suffered the common failure with the AutoDim. I had a friend who was parting out a car give me a mirror from a 2012 BMW X5 with AutoDim, Homelink, and Compass. I couldn’t find any information on if this swap had been done before. To my surprise, it was completely plug and play!



        Programming the mirror was pretty easy. I found a thread about it on e46fanatics. I will try to find the link for it again here soon.
        The rear parcel shelf had seen better days. Like other parts on the car, the California sun had its way with it so out it came for a refresh.



        Taking it apart wasn’t easy. Had I know the M3F was going down, I would have taken more photos. If anyone needs help, feel free to message me. I will do my best to walk you through based on what I remember. I used Tulip ColorShot Upholstery Spray as my dye of choice. Once 8 oz. can was enough for 5 coats.



        Nothing like a shower paint booth. I should have used more bags to cover for overspray. Cleaning wasn’t that bad though.





        Before and after:




        Back installed and looking factory fresh!

        Last edited by Inizes; 03-19-2020, 02:30 PM.
        2005 ///M3 6MT Coupe Imola/Black Leather

        Build Thread: https://nam3forum.com/forums/forum/m...-build-journal

        Comment


          #5
          Originally posted by Checkabs View Post
          Nice work!

          Nothing like a clean car!
          Thank you! Still trying to catch up! It has been a busy first 3 months of the year for the car. The rest of the world has been crazier though.
          2005 ///M3 6MT Coupe Imola/Black Leather

          Build Thread: https://nam3forum.com/forums/forum/m...-build-journal

          Comment


            #6
            The C pillars came next on my to-do list. They too suffered from the common e46 failure of the fabric peeling. I carefully pulled back the fabric and used 3M 90 spray adhesive and carefully laid the fabric back into place. This goes on almost like a gel, but give it close to a minute or two to tack up before laying down the fabric. If you lay the fabric too early, the glue will soak through and essentially ruin the entire pillar. You can see I messed up slightly on one of them. It will be replaced eventually.





            Sometimes you just catch the right angle. Looked like toy car I used to play with when I was a kid! Look at those hips.



            A deep clean of the floor mats and the carpet was next up. I used a Bissell heat extractor for this whole process.
            Hard to really capture a before and after since the dirt was all embedded, but it was nasty. I pulled out several of these.




            Sometimes it’s the small things that make a big difference. Changes out the key emblem roundel.





            When the floor mats were out, the foam on the bottom was falling apart and making a huge mess. I had a “smart” idea of using the extra spray adhesive and thread to stitch on a new felt bottom. I did this process for both front mats. While I am pretty happy with the result, it was not worth the effort. Save yourself and just buy a new set.






            The seat belt buttons were faded and bugging me. I had some leftover ceramic coating laying around. After a good cleaning and putting on the ceramic coating, they came back to life a little bit. Not perfect but an improvement.




            I noticed the speaker covers had faded to almost a brown color. I taped off the edges and used the same dye as the rear parcel shelf. However rather than spraying directly onto the door card, I sprayed into a disposable bowl and transferred the dye with a sponge. Back to black!





            Here is a good 50/50 on the passenger side door.




            We are almost back up to today! This last Sunday I replaced the transmission fluid with Red Line ATF. I also replaced the transmission mounts with E21 mounts thanks to a DIY Tbonem3 put together on M3F. See the DIY post here: https://nam3forum.com/forums/forum/m...d-fluid-change

            I promise I cleaned up the transmission better than this.

            Last edited by Inizes; 03-20-2020, 04:37 AM.
            2005 ///M3 6MT Coupe Imola/Black Leather

            Build Thread: https://nam3forum.com/forums/forum/m...-build-journal

            Comment


              #7
              Nice work, love imola

              Comment


                #8
                Originally posted by T3amfish View Post
                Nice work, love imola
                Thank you, I appreciate the support. Me and this car have a ways to go until I am happy with its condition. But its getting better every day.
                2005 ///M3 6MT Coupe Imola/Black Leather

                Build Thread: https://nam3forum.com/forums/forum/m...-build-journal

                Comment


                  #9
                  Wow! That 3M wether stripping gives me hope...my quarter window gasket is cracked pretty bad too, thought I’d end up having to replace the whole unit. How hard was it to do? I’ve already done my quarter window wether stripping that sits underneath the window.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Originally posted by props View Post
                    Wow! That 3M wether stripping gives me hope...my quarter window gasket is cracked pretty bad too, thought I’d end up having to replace the whole unit. How hard was it to do? I’ve already done my quarter window wether stripping that sits underneath the window.
                    I just wrote up a DIY for it. I think it took me about 90 minutes per side? It’s honestly pretty easy. Only tools are a Phillips head screw driver, a pry tool, scissors, and an exacto knife.
                    2005 ///M3 6MT Coupe Imola/Black Leather

                    Build Thread: https://nam3forum.com/forums/forum/m...-build-journal

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Originally posted by Inizes View Post

                      I just wrote up a DIY for it. I think it took me about 90 minutes per side? It’s honestly pretty easy. Only tools are a Phillips head screw driver, a pry tool, scissors, and an exacto knife.
                      Sounds easy enough, knowing me it will probably end up taking a whole day...regardless, it’s worth it haha. I’ll definitely read that DIY, thanks for making it!

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Love the attention to detail of this build. Imola red is a wonderfull color for the e46.

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Lots of good things done, awesome work.
                          BMW / E46M Interior & Trim Restoration.
                          https://nam3forum.com/forums/forum/c...ch-restoration

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Originally posted by TexaZ3 View Post
                            Lots of good things done, awesome work.
                            Thanks! I might be reaching out soon to get my steering wheel trim refinished (if you're still going it)


                            With the self-isolation going on, I have been putting a lot of time into correcting the paint. The results are pretty good - not perfect. Ceramic coating to come to bring some of the gloss after a plolish. This is touch up paint only. Anyways, here is a teaser:



                            2005 ///M3 6MT Coupe Imola/Black Leather

                            Build Thread: https://nam3forum.com/forums/forum/m...-build-journal

                            Comment


                              #15
                              Where did you find the part to replace the decorative window trim that sits underneath the rear window?
                              I know you bought the 3m for the upper part but i want to make sure i buy the other part also

                              Comment

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