Project 46: Introduction

For a while now we’ve been discussing the idea of a project car that brings together some of our most popular products. Well, we’re very happy to introduce a new member of the Clickable family, this 2003 BMW E46 330Ci M Sport. We had the opportunity to purchase an E46 that wasn’t completely neglected, but is at a point in it’s life where it needs some improvements to bring it back to its former glory. In the coming weeks and months we’ll be fitting a whole range of products that we offer on our online store to every area of the vehicle. We’ll be fixing known issues and replacing parts that commonly fail as a part of good preventative maintenance, and documenting the entire process.

It’s a common misconception that parts for BMWs are expensive and the cars are difficult to work on. Neither of those things are true, but people are often scared of the prospect of having to repair their BMW when something needs to be done. Often overquoted, we know many people simply decide to upgrade to a newer model when faced with a repair bill. In many cases the issue can take a few minutes to diagnose and fix, with just basic tools and know-how. The aim of this project is to help demonstrate that even on a limited budget, slightly older BMWs can be restored to a point where they can provide years of enjoyable and reliable driving. We wanted to find a clean and honest car that had was a good basis for our project, allowing us the opportunity to showcase our products and how easy it is to bring a car back to life. A good example is the fact that the car was delivered to us with three different brands of tyres. The car also has the usual stone chips and scratches that you would expect on an eleven year old car. We like that, as it shows a certain level of honesty in how it’s been cared for and maintained over the years. In the coming weeks we’ll be performing a complete paint restoration, coupled with a full detail inside and out. There are also a few obvious jobs to be done through the car, such as the rocker cover gasket. It’s clearly been replaced at some point recently, but the person who did the job was a little careless with the liquid gasket sealer, with bright orange remnants throughout the engine bay.

Mann

One of the first things to be done after purchasing a car is to check the filters, as they can give  a good indication of the car’s general condition. The cabin filter was the first thing we changed on the car, as the one we pulled out had the valleys completely clogged with dirt, hair, and debris. Replacing it with a new charcoal-infused microfilter from Mann has already made a big difference to the smell of the interior. We generally recommend replacing the cabin filter every twelve to eighteen months at most.

Driving the vehicle for the first time, the classic E46 suspension wear was quite obvious. It displayed soft, indirect, and off-centre steering. The wheels certainly need an alignment, as they tend to follow the seams and camber of the road. It very common for us to see customers overlook the severity of worn suspension components like this. Without a point of reference for them, they become accustomed to the gradual deterioration of the parts.

After taking the vehicle for its first drive we also noticed that there were some performance issues, with an erratic idle particularly noticeable. The cruise control was inoperative, and we quickly traced both issues back to a defective mass airflow sensor. The one we removed from the car looked as if it had been replaced with a used item from a wrecker. We pulled a brand-new VDO MAF from the shelf and fitted it along with a new Mann air filter. The cruise control immediately began working as it should, but the idle is still somewhat erratic. When the MAF stops working, the computer adapts to protect the motor, enrichening the fuel mixture which may have in-turn masked another issue. We have a good idea of what we think the problem might be, and we’ll be investigating it further in the coming days.

We’re really excited to be able to bring this project to you and showcase a whole range of products that we offer on our store. Keep an eye on our Facebook page for the latest announcements.

New Mechanical Repairs:
Mann Cabin Microfilter - $35
Mann Air Filter - $15
Mass Air Flow Sensor - $279
Power Steering Cap Seal - $5
Total Cost of Repairs: $334


New Non-Essentials:
Autoglym Ultimate Screenwash - $12
Total Cost of Additions: $12


Total Cost To Date: $346

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