"In this Special Series, I document my complete paint & body restoration along with the exterior upgrades to CSL specifications. In collaboration with my long time friends at @exclusivautomotiv, we hope to cast light into the world of custom paint & body.
In this entry, it's a test of patience. The build is put to a stop as parts slowly creep in and shop time gets limited."
No doors, all stop.
In January, I commissioned 1:1 E46 carbon doors but the manufacturer hit unforeseen delays throughout the development, manufacturing and logistic aspects of them.
We hit a snag when the carbon doors delivery was delayed with no clear timetable. It's part of the process - but it's always unexpected.
We juggled with the idea of respraying the OEM metal doors in the meantime, but it was pointless work. I preferred spending that money elsewhere.
Space is money.
By mid April, the shell and underbody had been stripped, primed and painted. We had a few body panels left to paint during another spray session and the topside subframe reinforcement to be performed.
In its current state, the Phoenix needed to stay in dry conditions. It was outside when sunny and dry, or needed to take space indoor.
The car acted as storage for every other trim pieces we had laying around.
Until we had every panels needed, Jonathan preferred leaving panels that hadn't yet been painted in their primer'ed state.
The wheels were primer'ed into a darker shade of grey for a special project.
The hood's underside was painted.
The top side of the hood was left in its primer'ed state. We found a spot for it above the paint booth.
The front and rear bumpers had been already been painted.
We ended up loosely fitting the rear bumped to avoid mishaps. Jonathan wanted to limit risks to the freshly painted panels: there had been too many close calls.
Lightning never strikes twice.
Aw, yes, that should be an adage of good fortune? Wrong. We hit similar delays on the engine work, with a twist.
Phil B. at InnovAuto was full steam ahead on bulletproofing the VANOS when we hit a snag with the Schrick cams.
We got delivered the wrong cams, twice. At one point, we had 3x exhaust cams laying around the shop.
We got the correct intake cams delivered later in April.
Unfortunately, the carbon doors hadn't yet showed up and shop time was also limited for Innovauto with Spring showing up. The cams, VANOS and rod bearings have been sitting on the shelf since.
The engine has been in a corner as well, with its valve cover back on.
With the build fully stopped, I focused on the M5 V10 and brought the M3 V8 out of storage to plan the 2023 season.
I took the downtime to reassess my build plans for the E46 M3 and switched a few things up in the process.
I initially had Pole Position ABEs that were personalized in M-texture for the Custom Seat Program.
My dad is 5'11 and I am 6'2 - with we both have broad shoulders. The Pole Positions were too tight for comfortable steering driving, and the lumbar support was lacking.
The Pole Positions also made the rear seats pointless due to limited forward movement of the OEM sliders and bucket seat pairing.
I sold the seats to Charles, a local member of EuroConnex who's restoring an E36 M3 into a Clubsport racer.
I ordered a set of Sportster CS in synthetic leather from Germany. They showed up in May and we've been working on the custom seat program for the Sportster CS since.
The Brey Krause mounts for bottom mounted seats was ordered in March and was finally shipped in May.
I also sourced the original CSL e-brake bezel and boot to fit the Karbonius CSL carbon center console.
Last but not least, the RDracing pedals were done. I sourced a set from Turner in aluminum.
An exceptional gloss.
The S54 was fitted with the first ever Frozen CSL airbox by HaimusRacing. I liked the matte aesthetics with the plastic snorkel, but it had a Phoenix Yellow touch that I wanted gone.
My replacement CSL airbox is on the way from Bulgaria as we speak. I will be documenting the new version in my Special Series here.
The HaimusRacing logo had been painted with Phoenix Yellow accents.
While in there, I also sourced a Radtech OEM replacement S54 performance oil cooler.
Exploring chassis optimization.
In 2022, I had little time to explore chassis optimization for the E46. I was able to restore, replace and upgrade a few parts in the mechanical refit but many core components remained to be addressed such as the coilovers, brakes and suspension arms.
During the hiatus, I sourced many chassis parts from the Turner catalog, including their complete sway bar kit.
I sourced Turner's front and rear end links along with the massive rear camber arms.
I also decided to revisit the FCAB using the delrin, sleeved 95A units from Turner after disliking the monoball variant due to creaking and noises.
A big stick.
I figured it was time for me to try a solid mounted shifter solution to enhance the bolt action rifle feel on my 420G with the carbon driveshaft.
I sourced a RTD solid mounted shifter with InnovAuto.
Obviously, the battery died.
Last but not least, the Lithiumax battery died over Winter. The car sat outside during Winter for a few days at a time, and was off the trickle charger since November.
I had hoped the internal, bluetooth activated restart function would save it, but it was below the minimum voltage.
These batteries need to be kept on a charger if they will be stored.
Vic @ Lithiumax replaced the unit out of good will, and sent over a new 60Ah battery to test in the E60 M5 as well. I sourced a second NOCO Genius10 charger from Turner to ensure this wouldn't happen again.
Sir, your papers!
Amongst a bunch of miscellaneous Genuine BMW parts like clips, trims and missing engine bay plastic panels I ordered throughout the build, two of them were final touches critical to the restoration.
The original door stickers had to be sourced from BMW Germany via my local BMW dealership, using the VIN number to validate and giving justification to needing new stickers.
You'll notice the French language on there. These are specific to the original destination country of the associated VIN.
The tire pressure sticker wasn't associated with the VIN, and could be ordered without showing registration papers and providing a justification. I'll be recreating the engine bay sticker as BMW won't supply one with the new paint code.
In late June, the carbon doors finally showed up.
Up next: we get back to work.
Doors get ready for paint. The subframe gets reinforced and the engine work is back on.