"In this Special Series about the Mechanical Restoration, I document the repairs, the replacement parts and the upgrades to the E46 M3.
The Phoenix wasn't exactly mint. I've documented at length how the interior and exterior was in poor condition.
In this entry, we review its mechanical condition."
This E46 M3 was previously owned by a guy nicknamed Luc, easily mispronounced "luck".
Screaming his name is a rallying cry of despair whenever I land on puzzling choices of mods, and just stupid decision making.
He sold this M3 to buy a boat. That's all you need to know.
The Mechanical Condition.
It wasn't all 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 (RACP) was reinforced with plates at the top and bottom of the panel. Not bad, but not perfect.
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. The chassis felt pretty sloppy. Pretty much all bushings and ball joints were toast.
The Rear Trailing Arm Bushings (RTAB) are known to be soft and introduce flex in the chassis. He did fit some stoppers to the OEM Rear Trailing Arm Bushings. The bushings were still shot.
Wrong Mods (for me).
The car was fitted with a now discontinued VF420 supercharger kit. It's alright, makes OK power.
It sounded like a vacuum cleaner about 4,000 RPM. We found out the oil leak from the rear of the engine was caused by a misfitted plenum on cylinder 5 and 6. The air leak led to engine stalling issues at idle.
I never really got the chance to experience the VF420, still the supercharger robs of the legendary S54 induction noise. It's coming off pronto.
The car also sounded like it had a bag of bolts in the transmission when sitting in traffic. It was running some kind of lightweight flywheel and stiffer clutch combination.
We figured out it was JB Racing's lightweight flywheel and Sachs' Heavy Duty clutch. This was probably the most aggravating factor to the dreadful behaviour of the car.
The PO 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. I hated it for my use.
The kit was still in pretty good condition and didn'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 exhaust had been swapped to a Magnaflow header-back exhaust. It actually sounded nice, had little drone and completely eliminated the rasp. I just want more out of it: performance, and sound.
The mechanical condition of the car was probably the best next to the interior and exterior.
Still, it needed T&C.
Up next: what we replaced, and what we upgraded.