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      02-05-2021, 12:06 PM   #1
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AW/FR 6MT E90 Build Journal

Hey all! This will be my journal for my M3 I picked up this past June (2020).

I had been passively looking for an E9x M3 since mid-2018 but really began to look more actively, around 2019. My unicorn was an interlagos on bamboo 6MT '08 that had been taken care of. A car in a colour spec I would love, but from the year that had also taken the biggest depreciation hit of the generation. Save some coin on the purchase cost that I could put towards maintenance/mods and happily put more kms on!

After over a year of searching, I wasn't having any luck. Then in early summer last year, the previous owner of my car reached out to me and asked if I would be interested in the car. Although it wasn't my unicorn colour combo, Alpine White on Fox Red is a sporty combo that I would still enjoy. Most importantly, the previous owner, and owners before him, had taken good care of the car. The body checked out with no signs of body work, and there were plenty of maintenance records with some of the more costly items already taken care of (RB + TA!). With those big check marks, the car also came with many modifications already done that I would do. Notably, the LCI trunk/taillights conversion, lowering springs, painted bumper reflectors, and a few more! Not all the mods were how I would like it, I loved the HRE but wasn't a fan of the black faces. I enjoyed the sound of the megan racing exhaust, but the fake titanium burnt tips were also not my style. In short, I could change easily what wasn't my taste.

Fast forward through the payment and registration process with a pandemic to complicate the logistics, I was driving a car home that I had dreamed of owning one day

Needing nothing, I continued to drive the car 1000 blissful kms the first week. As you can see from some of the first pictures I took of the car below, it got very dirty very quickly












My matching westie puppy and M3
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      02-05-2021, 12:42 PM   #2
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The first week of ownership went very smoothly, with only one brief moment of panic when I realized I needed to carry oil in the car for top ups thankfully I've got a great friend who works in the parts department at a local dealership who helped me out

After driving the car tons, I finally got to get intimate with the car and give it it's first hand wash









After meeting up with some friends, the sky lit on fire for an epic sunset! S65


Before I even drove the car home for the first time, I ordered an F10 shift knob to replace the factory knob! Once you've driven with a weighted shifter like the ZHP, it's hard to go back to the goose neck ones

Getting the factory knob off proved pretty difficult. Trick is to put it into 6th gear, and pull straight up!






A couple days later I managed to get the car up onto a hoist for the first time to assess the underside and check out the exhaust. The previous owner had installed resontated VRSF test pipes and a megan racing muffler.



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      02-05-2021, 04:18 PM   #3
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Picked up a fox red split armrest, with some wear that I will later fix! Yes, in Canada we didn't get the split armrest for some reason. I guess comforting our elbows isn't worth the extra cost to the Germans


I also swapped on some OEM 359M wheels that I had previously and was using on my 335i. Made a huge difference to the look of the car! I liked the HRE C20, but the black faces just isn't my style. We'll do something about that later...

255/35 front with a 15mm spacer and a 275/35 on the rear with a 12mm spacer. Perfect








I then dropped the car off to m3_tristan for a 2 stage paint correction and ceramic coating! The guy is a perfectionist and did a great job. I think the pictures below speak for themselves. Along with the car, I gave him some chrome kidneys to replace my spray painted ( ) black ones, and some beautiful carbon side mirror caps courtesy of GORDON.M3











Old mirror caps wrapped gloss black:


New GORDON.M3 carbon fibre mirror caps :




With the chrome kidneys














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      02-05-2021, 04:21 PM   #4
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Sweet pics, leatherique that interior tho!
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      02-05-2021, 05:29 PM   #5
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HRE were then loaded up to get refinished


I'd been waiting for a nice looking and sounding aftermarket exhaust to replace the megan racing. Fortunately, 6ixSpd was selling his Supersprint Race!




While at the shop, I got my first oil change done. I've used Liquimoly on all my cars and have always been happy so the 10W60 Liquimoly treatment was due here, plus I added the M0S2 additive for some extra protection. I can't say if it was the switch to Liquimoly or the M0S2 additive, but the amount of oil consumption between changes has dramatically reduced.



Don't worry, a diffuser was on order to cover up these blast pipes


Also picked up some OMP pedals off amazon to install
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      02-05-2021, 05:31 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BimmerRookie View Post
Sweet pics, leatherique that interior tho!
Thanks! Yes I really should!
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      02-05-2021, 08:45 PM   #7
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Loving the build progress! Great photos too
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      02-05-2021, 11:06 PM   #8
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Paint is still looking minty fresh 🙏🏻
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      02-06-2021, 03:33 AM   #9
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Welcome to the AW E90 club, the car looks great!
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      02-06-2021, 10:58 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 6ixSpd View Post
Loving the build progress! Great photos too
Just following your lead!

Quote:
Originally Posted by m3_tristan View Post
Paint is still looking minty fresh 🙏🏻
Hell ya! Wish it was as clean now as it was in these pics though last time I hand washed the car was October

Quote:
Originally Posted by Helmsman View Post
Welcome to the AW E90 club, the car looks great!
Thank you sir!
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      02-07-2021, 03:24 PM   #11
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SS F1 is my favorite exhaust so far. I'm a bit bias..
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      03-15-2021, 12:21 PM   #12
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August 2020:


Spent lots of time driving during the month of August. By this time I had done about 7000kms since taking the car home.

Picked up the HRE C20 from being refinished at Union Rim Repair. They are quite stunning.




My westie is a pretty good mascot for this car, I think

I went to my first track event with the car and it was a great experience. Any time you show up, rip some laps, then head home without any hiccups or issues is a good time for me

I was at Shannonville on their short track which I found to be too small and technical for this car, but great fun to feel how it performs at relatively low speed limits. My biggest take away was that the Swift Spec R lowering springs on the car are very much a visual upgrade. I can't imagine they add much stiffness to the ride over stock, as the car still had some dramatic body roll around corners.
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      03-15-2021, 12:55 PM   #13
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September 2020:

Picked up some carbon side skirt extensions for a price I couldn't say no to. Not usually a big fan of these so was a bit apprehensive about installing them. But I am happy with how they turned out. They're not as big as I was visualizing and so they are subtle enough that I like them. From a side profile you don't notice them much and they're small enough that from an angle, they don't take away from the curvy lines. I find that they nicely continue the line of the carbon front splitters around the sides of the car.



Installed an S54 oil cap to stop some leaking from the cap. Interesting how much the cap can actually leak, as it looks like it would be too much from the cap and must be the VCG.

Installed a Blackvue 900x-2ch dashcam. Had a little bit of a tricky time finding the right fuse to tap to install but eventually managed to find one that works well with the PowerMagicPro.

I had also been having an issue where if I hadn't driven the car for a few days, the initial start up would struggle just a bit. Sometimes I would get an excessive discharge warning on start up too. Turned out the car still had the original battery from December 2007! Impressed it lasted as long as it had. Replaced it with a new OEM battery and start up issues are much reduced. (Fast forward to today, March 2021, still having this issue albeit less profound than it was prior to replacing the battery )

Couple pictures out enjoying the car!





and probably one of the coolest things I got to do with the car in 2020, was be invited to a private pop-up drive-in movie theatre viewing of Jurassic Park that overlooked the Toronto skyline. Raptors FTW!
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      03-15-2021, 02:34 PM   #14
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October 2020:

My first breakdown of M3 ownership

It was quite a dramatic breakdown. Went into a parking garage below a store to pick up some groceries, typical E90 stuff ya know. Leaving, had no issues getting out of the garage and then almost exactly the moment I was back outside, I got a warning for a flat tire. Got out of the car and did a quick check and all the tires seemed fine so continued to head home. 30 seconds later it was like the car was having an aneurysm and warnings starting firing off one by one. Flat tire monitor, abs, airbag, seatbelts, all within 5 or so seconds. Then car went into limp mode for about 5 seconds while I managed to cruise it over to the side of the road right before it died completely. At which point nothing worked, no hazard lights, no window switches, no ignition. Completely dead. Very thankful I wasn't stuck inside the parking garage at least!

Well it turned out to be the alternator so replaced it with a Bosch and we're back

While at the shop I also replaced my front undertray with an MLT engineering tray. Very happy with this tray.

Completed my second oil change, again with Liquimoly 10W60, M0S2 additive, and a Mahle filter.

I had also been hearing the well known 'cowbell' sound so went ahead and replaced the center support bearing of the driveshaft. Completely fixed the sound, while also quite improving the initial throttle response too for a nice added benefit.

Lastly, my carbon rear diffuser had arrived to cover up those big supersprint pipes! I ordered my diffuser from VonCarbon. We decided to take our time and get the fitment as good as we can get it. So with that, the bumper came off.



Strategically self tapped it all around the edges with some big washers to help disperse the tension.


Perfect result I think!

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      03-15-2021, 04:03 PM   #15
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October 2020 pt.2:

October in Ontario is a beautiful time as the fall colours begin to pop.

The next mod I did was install some different LED angel eye bulbs. I wanted to try something brighter, and whiter. The ones in the car had bit of blue-white look and the ones I went for are warmer white. These are the ones I bought here.

New:


Old:



Next, I finally figured out (after posting another thread on it) that the previous owner didn't run the sirius sat radio cable to the antenna when doing the CIC retrofit, which was why I wasn't getting any signal.

The cable should go into the pink plug on the back of the head unit


Few pictures with fall foliage








Spent some time in Niagara-on-the-lake winery hopping


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      03-16-2021, 06:35 AM   #16
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Looking good!!
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      03-17-2021, 12:20 PM   #17
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Around this time I also bought the Alpine tune through the group buy. My initial thoughts here:

Quote:
Originally Posted by mtlblaue36 View Post
So finally got around to flashing my first maps/tunes from Alex.

Alex gives you a limit of 2 map requests per week so for my first request I asked for:

Map 1
91 Octane Stage 2
Cold start delete
Servotronics
Top speed limit removal
Launch control
Redline increase to 8600

Map 2
94 Octane Stage 2
Cold Start Delete
Servotronics
Tops speed limit removal
Launch control
Redline increase to 8600
Burples

Initial impressions, very impressed overall. Really noticeably smooths out the power band. Feels like a much more refined delivery of power. What I noticed right away, is the improved throttle mapping. Power mode truly feels like a power mode now. When off, it feels much less lazy than before. Still a subdued setting, but actually useable. I always left my power mode on previously, whereas now, I think Iíll actually make use of that button.

The install process was fairly easy and straightforward. Iím someone who doesnít have any coding experience so the idea of plugging my computer into the car was a bit daunting tbh. However, the instructions to install the flash software are easy to follow. No hiccups. After doing it the first time, I was confident to flash another map easily in a few minutes. Should be handy when on a road trip/away from the city and find myself having to use lower octane (91).

The 94 map feels very nearly identical to the 91 map. The butt dyno canít feel a significant difference between the two. Mayyybe the very top of the power band but can't say for sure without trying on a dyno.

I also tried the burble tune with the 94 map out of curiousity. From watching other videos in this thread, I thought it would be fun and not overly obnoxious. It is pretty fun, ngl. Especially with my girlfriend in the car who HATES any attention . My favourite part is the way itís controllable with the 6spd. It makes for some fun upshift pop or pops depending on how high you rev and how slow you shift while giving some throttle. Overrun burples from 7k are pretty obnoxious though. I thought it would be more subtle as I still have secondaries/stock xpipe but itís not I canít imagine how ridiculous it would be straight pipe. There are no burbles below 4K, at least with my exhaust set up. So driving around the city more calmly, I forget itís there. I think now that Iíve tried it, I will just go back to a regular 94 map. Maybe Iíll miss the sounds, but I doubt it tbh. The S65 doesnít need them to sound good imo!

I have found a certain aspect of the tune a bit conflicting. Despite the car definitely feeling smoother, more refined, and (not really noticeable but Iíd assume) faster, I feel like the car has lost a bit of the crazy character/soul. I read on another thread, someone described it as no longer having the Ďhair-on-fireí feeling to it. It certainly isnít less dramatic, but it does feel less like a bull bucking you and instead more like a horse youíre spurring on. Much of that feeling could be due to the throttle mapping being much smoother.

Overall, super happy! Thanks Alex! Second batch of map requests coming
Since posting those initial impressions in October, I am still very happy with the tune. Some of the updates Alex has made to the tune since have also improved on the smooth power delivery. Feels like the engine is even happier.

Next, I was getting some pretty awful squealing from my front brakes so went ahead replaced the front rotors with some OE zimmerman and new front pads.


I then put my winter wheels on, albeit a bit early, but I was in the middle of moving homes and didn't know when the next time it would be easy for me to do the swap. The winters I had came with the car, black ASA Sport Edition A7 18x8 et20 with 235/40/18 Michelin X-Ice. As with the black faces of the HRE, black really isn't my taste, but being winters I decided to just suck it up and use them since I have them already.




The difference going from the ZCP to these winters was dramatic. Much lighter making the car feel very nimble, but also much much less stable. Especially on the highway just going normal cruising speeds, the 235 width made the car feel less secure. I didn't like it. The flipside was that it made drifting around corners very easy! Felt like driving on space saver spare tires.
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      05-14-2021, 03:22 PM   #18
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Had Max at ColorGloGTA redye my split armrest. 5 star quality work and great guy to do work with.


Couple more pics with the black sport edition wheels. Still weren't super happy with them, but they were growing on me a bit. At least the look, for the contrast of the black wheels on alpine white gives a very sporty aggresive look. Despite the ridiculous skinny 235 tires









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      05-14-2021, 03:43 PM   #19
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Mid-January I decided I couldn't live with the Sport Edition wheels anymore, the skinny tires were too much of a drag on the performance of the car. I began looking around the local marketplaces for 5x120 wheels that would be interesting to change it up with. I was hoping for something in 18" but stumbled upon some 19" style 641M wheels with 255/35/19 Pirelli Sottozero mounted on them. These wheels are the dealer option winter tire package for the F8x with carbon ceramic brakes. A style I hadn't seen anyone else do on the E9x M3, so I figured it would be something different and interesting for that, at least. Their specs are 19x8.5et27 and 19x9et29. Paired them up with some floating center caps I got for a Christmas present and also a 15mm spacer in the rear to line up the track width a bit better.











After mounting them on the car, I was very happy with them. At first, I was uncertain if the sharpness to the spokes would suit the E9x. But I think it works well and gives it a nice classy but sporty look. We'll see if I keep them for next winter too.
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      05-14-2021, 04:09 PM   #20
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thanks to GORDON.M3 for his reference to these OSRAM Cool Blue H3 replacements for the cornering lights. Matches the xenon low-beams nicely and the white angel eyes.





STOCK


OSRAM

Next up, swapped the kidney grills again This time with the LCI style chrome outers with black slats. LCI on the left, Pre-LCI on the right.


I then decided to swap the cluster gauge faces with some Venoxy gauges. Always bothered me that the M logo in the cluster didn't light up from the factory, and that the E9x m3 didn't get the nice distinguishable grey face colours that the E46-era Ms and even the 335is got. Also opted in for the higher redline to match the 8600rpm redline of my AlpineMSS tune.

A little bit stressful of an install, but not too bad. Only part I struggled with a bit was reinstalling the gas needle in the right location. If you're going to tackle this, I suggest taking a picture of your cluster before removing it from the car so you have a reference for exactly where the gas needle needs to be reinstalled.









^that range tho... lol
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      05-14-2021, 04:33 PM   #21
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Couple more pictures out and about with these 641M before swapping back to the summers again.









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      05-18-2021, 12:12 PM   #22
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Swapped the 359M back on at the beginning of April. I actually had plans to use square rears, 19x10 all around, and had picked up a second set in the fall of last year for that purpose. After thinking about it more and more, I came back around to the regular staggered set being my preference. Reasons being, to use the square setup, I would have to go down a profile size on my tires to 275/30 from the 35 profile I currently have on them. I would also only be gaining a 275 over the 255 in the front, which to me is a marginal performance increase, not at all proportional to the value of the second set of wheels. I quite like my fitment with the staggered set, so didn't want to compromise as I felt I would be with the square rears. Sold off one of my sets and kept the nicer condition ones.






I had been using some basic 15mm spacers on my fronts, and was getting some strong vibrations through the steering wheel on the highway. I thought it might've been my old set of 359M but when I swapped the new set onto the car, it still vibrated. So I decided to pull the trigger on some Future Classic 15mm spacers to replace them with. I figured that, if it's the spacers causing vibrations, the Future Classic one's will be the best at reducing them as they are the only ones that I could find that actually screw to the hub. Do it once, rather than wonder if that little extra feature would've made the difference.






I've got to give it to them on the packaging. It is a very nice product.



Even the extended bolts felt nicer quality than any spacer set I'd had before. They have a small concavity to the bolt head that gave them a nice little extra detail.

With the hype that Matt @ obsessed garage built up about their brush in his video, I expected the brush to be nicer. Not that it matters at all...but if I was to critique this relatively quite expensive spacer set...



Same with the anti-seize, I expected and could've used more. It almost seemed like a waste to even put such a small amount in this tiny little container lol But again, doesn't really matter and still a nice touch to include it in the package.



Ultimately, they're the best quality spacer set I've seen and used. The vibrations were drastically reduced, although still there slightly. Might need to try a Future Classic set on the rear too before ruling out that better spacers could remove the vibrations all together.

Got tires delivered from Tire Rack. First time ordering from them, I usually go to a local tire shop to order all my tires. It was much easier, and MUCH faster than I was anticipating. I thought it would take a couple weeks to get them. Was 4 days from placing the order to sitting on my driveway. They contacted me right after ordering to confirm the sizing was the correct size that I wanted, then verified inventory, and shipped. Super easy process and good customer service. I ordered from them because I wanted 275/30/19 for my HRE, and everywhere I looked was out of stock as the AD08R are no longer being produced in this size. However, Tire Rack had one set left


Out taking some more pics with the beautiful spring blossoms popping.





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'95 325i Convertible MT Montreal Blue on Sand Beige

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