"In this Special Series about the E92 OE+ 1:1 Carbon Doors, I document the development, logistics of getting these doors to America. With the Atlantic bridged, I cover the unboxing, fitment adjustments, installation notes and final paint & body steps.
In this entry, I cover my unboxing impressions: both doors made it safe and sound - with a few things I'm looking to improve for production of the upcoming E46 M3 variant."
From Latvia to Canada.
I've often touched on the logistical challenges of shipping body panels from Europe to America, notably with the CSL bumper and widened fenders for my E46 M3.
It's specifically been a hurdle to importing large European made body panels such as carbon hoods and doors for M cars since 2021.
I've sort of figured it out, using a DHL Connexion for the E46 panels made in Germany, saving members (and myself!) over 1,000$ in shipping fees.
EMS is not perfect, but it worked.
The initial quotations to ship the doors were unsurprisingly in the 1,000$ + range - being shipped from further East in Latvia, the challenges were slightly different as well.
We ended up picking EMS: a global cooperative between member's national postal service. In my case, it was CanadaPost. For Americans, it'll be USPS.
It took 2 weeks and I only had to pay duties one of the doors. This was a pleasant surprise - but most pleasing was the lack of damage, it made it safe.
The doors were well structurally well packaged with a higher rated cardboard used to build up the frame of the box.
Internally, the door has foam covering all the edges, with paper protecting the carbon finish itself, and fully wrapped in bubble wrap.
The sketchy part of delivering the doors via EMS is meeting dimensions requirement. In more obvious terms: the mirror portion of the door sticks out like a shark fin.
It's as light as they say it is.
Obviously, the first thing I had to do it was to lift the door up in the air to feel how light it is. Each door weights 5 lbs / 2.4kg, your 5 year old can lift this, with some help to balance it!
Yours truly, not breaking a sweat.
The carbon is work is great.
The doors are made using vacuum infusion: it's the carbon process just below pre-preg and autoclaved in terms of finish quality and tensile strength.
Vacuum means just that - the mold is wrapped in vacuum bags, with the carbon fiber being infused into the mold instead of being hand laid like pre-preg carbon.
It's most often used in large body panels as it is a more flexible production process to balance development costs and expectations of lower production quantities.
It says something about the guys that they still care about getting the best looking weave possible on the outer shell
2x2 weave is used as it helps conform to more complex curvatures. 1x1 would look amazing on the outter side, but inner sections would be atrocious.
Vacuum infusion also enables the usage of various fabrics such as kelvar which nearly match the tensile strength of carbon while being vastly less expensive.
An extra layer of kevlar was applied to strengthen the inner section of the door shell.
This was the only weave deformation I could find zoomed in to 200mm on my 70-200 2.8. I can live with that - it's getting painted anyways.
It's an OEM replica.
What makes this door truly special is the insistence in development to match the OEM doors 1 to 1. Other manufacturers take liberties in the eliminating or adding features along with the disparate hardware used.
The door handle section will be a critical section for usability.
The mirror section was undamaged, and OEM like.
Having previously taken off the door cards from my OE doors, the inner section is OEM.
Every single cut out for locking mechanisms, accessories, wiring and rubber component is here.
Down to all the little OEM design features that should make installation of the numerous components easy.
The hardware is OEM.
The guys were adamant about reusing the OEM hardware. Unfortunately they cannot be purchased individually with BMW, you need a whole door! They source hardware from used E92 doors.
They didn't feel sourcing aftermarket hardware was credible, and could introduce additional risks on fitment and safety.
The studs across the door are all visibly used.
Some hardware such as this bolt and lock feature could be transferred from your current doors without permanently trashing them. Still, they are included.
There are groups of rivets in 2x sections of the door.
The optional crash bar.
The guys also source the OEM crash bars from used E92 doors. These are connected across the body of the door are made to protect you from side impacts during airbag deployment.
Whether it's purely placebo, matches or exceeds the safety requirements of OEM doors is not something I am qualified to judge.
The crash bars are refurbished during the paint process.
The crash bars are bolted down to the doors in Latvia. You do not need to fit them yourself.
The clear coat is an afterthought.
No ifs and buts about it, the clear coat is meh. There are drips, runs, dust specs, and popping clear across both sides of the door.
You can see some of the dust specs and overall low aesthetic quality of the clear on the inner sections.
A drip, one of many.
This is the under section of the inner door. Urgh, my eyes! I'm being needlessly picky for a few reasons, scroll below.
[...] and I don't see the point to receiving it clear coated.
To get a perfectly straight panel, matching the other panels of the M3, these doors will absolutely require professional fitment, paint & body expertise - in other words, it's getting redone anyways.
The outside section is getting painted and you want the visible inner sections looking mint for when you open the door.
This all makes the clear coat pointless from my vantage point.
It'll get fixed for future orders.
Clear coat is expensive and takes time to apply and dry, along with taking away from your unboxing impressions.
My E46 M3 carbon doors are nearly finalized, and will be shipped in raw carbon. Exclusiv Automotiv will take care of the paint and body part of the work.
Up next: the Stripper heads to Exclusiv begin its '23 readiness package.
These doors are getting test fitted, adjusted, sanded, primed, sanded again, and painted.