A Year In the Life of a BMW E46 M3 Owner

I left my last E46 M3 instalment looking as if I had the right car albeit with a few flaws.  Over the course of the year which has just passed I would discover whether this was the case.

I drove it as it was for a month before I would make a start on rectifying the issues

Initially I sorted out a number of the flaws.  The first of which was to get away from the car sounding like a jet turbine with its semi stuck viscous fan!

Fan Coupling During

 

With the car in position I made a start on removing the fan. I initially believed the internet and tried knocking a spanner with a hammer.  I figured that this probably was not too good for the bearings.  It also didn’t help that the water pump pulley was slipping on the belt!  With the correct fan tool and 22mm spanner later I had the coupling loose.  Sometimes the proper way is the best way as well as the easiest.

However, removing it would throw up a surprise ; the fan coupling was not original to the car.  It was a BERU item of a slightly different design ; a further look would insinuate that it was for a normal E46 but it was tight!  Was I really wasting my money for nothing?

 

Fan Coupling Comparison

Two couplings, but which is the correct one?

Had I really thrown away £90 on a coupling I didn’t need?  With that in mind I went to fit the new item.  After that I put all of the plastics back together and restarted the car.  On the face of it it seemed like it was a waste of money!  The coupling was still noisy!  That was until a few minutes had passed ; the car was quiet for the first time! With an extended test run later on it seemed that the car had become more responsive as well as having the added bonus of lowering the engine oil temperature!  Result!

Fan Coupling New

Then it was time to tackle a clunk from the back ; the ARB drop links.  These however were not gone as you may have thought:

Speaker Rectification (5 of 5)

Yup, they’re broken!

But then I had the challenge of removing the aforementioned items.  Initially I thought “I know, I’ll change them in situ!”  Little did I know that this would become a nightmare and eventually more work!

Speaker Rectification (1 of 5)

And the tool award goes to…. Not the tools!

It was fair to say that my attempts were futile;  Sure I had removed the bottom broken part but then I still could not remove the top half!  The anti-roll bar was preventing it from dropping down!  Did someone say BMW 1 – Chas Nil?  It certainly felt that way!

On the bench I went to put the ARB into the vice and pull it ; All I did was to snap off the remaining ARB!  Wasn’t I clever eh?  It seemed this is meant to be the Bentley manual way of doing it as well.  But I was not going to give up that easily!  Oh no, it’s the British spirit and ingenuity after all!  Enter stage left:

With this tool the remains of the ARB was off in seconds ; why didn’t I just use this the first time?

With the roll bar given a quick clean it was time to fit on the new BMW drop links. Here’s a top tip (in the Edd China voice…). When you put the drop links back on, put on some rubber grease. It really helps over WD40. With some of the red stuff on the drop links slipped back onto the ARB as I put down onto the drop links in around 30 seconds tops.

Speaker Rectification (3 of 5)

Speaker Rectification (4 of 5)

The clattering and clonking was much reduced!  With that in mind it was time to start on a job I had been putting off for some time ; the rear exhaust mounts.  Would I be lucky or would the exhaust studs snap?

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