The grunt work begins.
"The Phoenix wasn't exactly mint. I've documented at length how the interior was in poor condition, and the mechanicals aren't exactly any different.
I will accept no less than mint on this restoration, no corners cut."
The Previous Owner: Luc.
This E46 M3 was previously owned by a guy nicknamed Luc, easily mispronounced "luck".
More like bad luck.
He sold this M3 to buy a boat.
That's all you need to know about the guy.
Screaming his name is a rallying cry of despair whenever I land on puzzling choices of mods, and just stupid decision making.
When I picked it up in Fall 2021.
The Mechanical Condition.
It's pretty bad, but not that bad.
The car recently had Valve Cover Gaskets done along with Valve Adjustments.
The Center Support Bearing was also recently changed.
It doesn't matter much as I won't re-use it with the mods I got planned for it.
The Rear Axle Carrier Panel was reinforced with plates at the top and bottom of the panel.
Not bad, but not perfect.
I will be fitting the Simplified VinceBar later this Summer during body work.
What's somewhat cool about a 20 year old car is how easy it is to know where corners have been cut.
Aging parts are obvious.
Bushings & Ball Joints.
Pretty much all bushings and ball joints were toast.
The chassis felt pretty sloppy.
He did fit some stoppers to the OEM Rear Trailing Arm Bushings.
They are known to be soft and introduce flex in the chassis.
The bushings were still shot.
The car came with TSW Beyer Mesh wheels.
Aesthetics are personal tastes, but tire brand and selection isn't.
It's an objective science.
My guy Luc thought it was a good idea to fit off brand Chinese tires from different brands in a measly and totally bald 255 at the rear of a Supercharged E46.
Wrong Mods (for me).
The car was fitted with a now discontinued VF420 supercharger kit.
It's alright, makes OK power.
I didn't buy the E46 to be the fastest around.
I want emotions, feelings and goosebumps.
The supercharger gives me none as it robs of the legendary S54 induction noise.
It sounds like a vacuum cleaner about 4,000 RPM.
It also seemed to have a vacuum leak which lead to engine stalling issues at idle.
It's coming off pronto.
The (f*cking) Flywheel & Race Clutch combination.
I get why he did that mod.
Luc lived out in the woods and it was a weekend car without any traffic and barely any stops and lights.
I live in the city.
This was probably the most aggravating factor to the dreadful behaviour of the car.
We figured out it was JB Racing's lightweight flywheel and Sachs' Heavy Duty clutch.
Not a cheap, low rent kit by any means.
I still hated it for my use.
The kit was still in pretty good condition and doesn't have much wear.
You can see how the car has been sitting for a while by looking at the bolts marks on the flywheel.
Signs of a car that hasn't moved in a while.
The Magnaflow Header-Back Exhaust.
That exhaust isn't problematic per say.
It actually sounds nice, has little drone and completely eliminates the rasp.
I just want more out of it: performance, diameter, and sound.
Up Next: What we replaced, what we upgraded.
Here's a tease.