G_Body_Man UltraDork
4/11/20 11:08 a.m.

Part 1: This could get expensive.

After pawning off my rusty, crusty and no-longer-trusty G35 I picked up a 2006 325i in Arctic Metallic not even 24 hours later. It's got just about a new everything and was specced almost exactly how I would've back in 2006 (sport package, heated seats, full-zoot stereo, xenons and nothing else). It needs a handful of things to pass inspection (BST, DRL bulb, tires) but I can use the indefinite temp tag extension to my advantage here.

Overall it drives great and more importantly, it's stock which should help me with PAX. It needed to be a 325i or early 328i because those have brakes small enough for 16" wheels and we have a set of still-good 16" RE-71Rs left over from our long-term ND2 last year. Hopefully I can finally maintain a build thread well enough to chronicle the journey of this uniquely-pigmented 3er.

mr2s2000elise Dork
4/11/20 11:17 a.m.

Nice car. Pretty colour. 

nedc Reader
4/11/20 11:35 a.m.

Don't think I've ever seen that color in the wild- I like it. How many miles and what kind of maintenance has it had? 

G_Body_Man UltraDork
4/11/20 11:48 a.m.
nedc said:

Don't think I've ever seen that color in the wild- I like it. How many miles and what kind of maintenance has it had? 

Thanks! It's got 170k miles and a whole list of maintenance done.

New OEM clutch and dual-mass flywheel.

New valve cover gasket.

New oil filter housing gasket.

New oil pan gasket.

New belt, tensioner and idler pulley.

Water pump and thermostat done.

New plugs and coils.

Newer battery.

New front control arms.

New rear arm bushings.

Newer OEM Bilstein shocks.

Fresh German Castrol and Mann filter every 5k.

New OEM air filter and cabin air filter.

New pads all around.

New VANOS solenoids.

Probably some more stuff I'm forgetting right now.

Not bad for $3k Canadian, eh?

FatMongo New Reader
4/11/20 12:07 p.m.

Damn - I was about to yawn thinking it was an auto, but I see its a manual!!! Awesome!

newold_m (Forum Supporter)
newold_m (Forum Supporter) New Reader
4/11/20 2:26 p.m.

Wow, great deal! With all the big ticket items have been addressed you should have not have worry about much other than fuel and oil for the foreseeable future. 

dj06482 GRM+ Memberand UltraDork
4/11/20 3:26 p.m.

That's exactly the kind of BMW you want - all the right options, and a whole bunch of the typical maintenance items already taken care of!

Professor_Brap (Forum Supporter)
Professor_Brap (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand SuperDork
4/11/20 3:27 p.m.

Needs more "burrrrr" meme

paul_s0 Reader
4/12/20 8:36 a.m.

Ooo, I'll be following this with interest, I've half looked at a few down here, but I've been scared by the maintenance issues (forget main dealer help down here).

G_Body_Man UltraDork
4/12/20 12:53 p.m.

Part 2: Hot brakes, cold air.

Before the current social distancing laws took effect, I used the opportunity to take my new car out on the road and see what it was made of. The result? Good balance with the square setup and some new and interesting pad deposits on the front rotors. They will need to be changed when autocross season starts, methinks.

One glaring issue when I got the car was low charge in the A/C system. The condenser looked good and the compressor kicked on so a simple re-gas was done and it's blowing cold air again for now.

Service time brought a fresh injection of German Castrol and an opportunity to change a burnt-out rear bulb. Cartridge filters are lovely things and I wouldn't want another daily driven car without one.


Lovely. With how little I drive, that should be good for a year. I don't quite trust BMW's insane OCI on these motors but 7k/12 months should be quite alright on a modern synthetic.

G_Body_Man (Forum Supporter)
G_Body_Man (Forum Supporter) UltraDork
4/15/20 3:39 p.m.

Part 3: "I said front towards ENEMY"

As techs aren't seeing as much work these days due to obvious reasons, I decided to finally get rid of the big spinny claymore in the room - the infamous Takata airbag. Much to my surprise, not only was the service counter experience completely painless, they even Ubered me to and from the dealership in lieu of a shuttle. Very nice, now I don't have to worry about being fragged by my own safety device.

I also did a shiny thing.


No doubt some of you know what you're looking at ;)

Karacticus GRM+ Memberand Dork
4/15/20 3:51 p.m.

Regarding low charge in the A/C system, both by 2007 Z4 and 2008 328xi developed leaks in the evaporator, which is damn near the first thing that the rest of the interior is installed around.

Sold the Z4 before addressing it-- just kept recharging it about once a year, so it was a slow leak.  

The 328xi was in the same state.  Still have it.  Eventually bit the bullet and paid someone else to replace it.

The 3 has always had a bit of a mind of its own regarding exactly what the climate control does in auto mode.  Mix that with irregularly blowing hot/cold from low A/C (and a squealing blower motor that I've since replaced) and it will drive you nuts.

G_Body_Man (Forum Supporter)
G_Body_Man (Forum Supporter) UltraDork
4/15/20 3:55 p.m.

In reply to Karacticus :

Yeah, evaporators seem to be a weak point on E90s. My system's held charge pressure over the past 3 weeks so I'm not terribly worried. Gassing it up once a year is still cheaper than paying someone to change the evaporator.

adam525i (Forum Supporter)
adam525i (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand HalfDork
4/15/20 5:27 p.m.

In for pics of the M-Parallels. 

G_Body_Man (Forum Supporter)
G_Body_Man (Forum Supporter) UltraDork
4/15/20 7:14 p.m.

In reply to adam525i (Forum Supporter) :

I just gotta get the new tires mounted and balanced.

G_Body_Man (Forum Supporter)
G_Body_Man (Forum Supporter) UltraDork
6/16/20 4:36 p.m.

Long time, no update! Chrome M-parallels with dubiously cheap stopgap tires installed (surprisingly, they throw pebbles). Next up, autocross on Sunday!

adam525i (Forum Supporter)
adam525i (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand HalfDork
6/16/20 4:49 p.m.

Who are you running with on Sunday? PITL?

I might make it to the PITL with the E28, should be pretty neat at exhibition place.


G_Body_Man (Forum Supporter)
G_Body_Man (Forum Supporter) UltraDork
6/16/20 5:26 p.m.

In reply to adam525i (Forum Supporter) :

Yup, PITL. Should be a blast, I'd love to see you out there.

adam525i (Forum Supporter)
adam525i (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand HalfDork
6/21/20 5:21 p.m.

We didn't connect at the event today but the car looked really good on the m-parallels! I got a video of the start of probably your last run, the car did well on course. What are the cheap summer tires you have and what do you think of them? 

Dropbox Link to video


G_Body_Man (Forum Supporter)
G_Body_Man (Forum Supporter) UltraDork
6/22/20 12:28 a.m.

In reply to adam525i (Forum Supporter) :

Hey man, the 5-series looked amazing out there! Sorry we didn't connect, next time for sure.

The cheapo summer tires I'm using are Aptany RA301s and I wouldn't really recommend them to anyone. They have poor transitional stability and terrible road nvh, but I bought them because they were $75 each in a 225/40R18 and my car sits around either on the driveway or in press fleet lots all the time and I didn't want to flat-spot decent tires. Funnily enough, they do throw pebbles when I get some heat into them. I was surprised to run 58s since I haven't autocrossed in three years. Excited to get more seat time this season!

G_Body_Man (Forum Supporter)
G_Body_Man (Forum Supporter) UltraDork
6/23/20 12:26 a.m.

Alright, after a day or so, here are some first impressions after driving this thing hard. Those cheapo 300TW tires that are awful on the highway? Progressive breakaway, surprising overall grip, little sidewall roll at street pressures. The rest of the car? Well, it rotates surprisingly well on the brakes for such a heavy mac-strut thing. The square setup definitely helps with that. It likes to be launched at 3k or so which isn't bad. The 1-2 shift is a bit balky due to long throws and a poorly-defined clutch bite point so I could've shaved off a touch of time if I really powershifted it.

Super-consistent 58s put me ahead of several other things on street tires including several S550 Mustang GTs, a few BRZs and a 228i M-sport. Granted, I reckon most of that was in the driver as on paper as those Mustangs should've had me. Now I just gotta remember to not kneecap myself on the centre console next time. Ouch.

G_Body_Man (Forum Supporter)
G_Body_Man (Forum Supporter) UltraDork
6/24/20 10:50 p.m.

After connecting INPA again it looks like my passenger seat belt buckle isn't throwing a code anymore. Now all I gotta do is adjust the handbrake and it should pass inspection no problem.

G_Body_Man (Forum Supporter)
G_Body_Man (Forum Supporter) UltraDork
7/27/20 8:35 a.m.

Would you believe that this little 325i was the quickest stock BMW at autocross yesterday? There was only about seven-tenths of a second between me and a 330i being driven by a seasoned veteran but I clinched it in the end despite fighting sidewall roll issues all day.

G_Body_Man (Forum Supporter)
G_Body_Man (Forum Supporter) UltraDork
10/8/20 4:54 p.m.

Surprisingly enough, the cheap tires I bought explicitly to flat-spot and corner on the sidewalls of have been broken in to the point where they're reasonably stable and comfortable. Definitely better than the OEM Dunlops for this car.

After a few months of regular use, more parts are arriving for the 325i! It started with a ZHP gear knob because the stock one was flimsy, plasticky, too light and aging poorly.

Much better. I genuinely couldn't wait until I got home to swap gearknobs so I did it in the VW press fleet parking lot. What's next though is much more technical.

The horsepower difference between a North American E90 325i and an E90 330i is basically down to just an intake manifold. Both cars got three-litre N52B30 engines but 330is got a three-stage manifold versus the 325i's simpler manifold. These three-stage manifolds are normally quite expensive but I took a chance and bought a used one for $365 Canadian or so. Of course, ECU tweaks are necessary to accomadate the three-stage manifold and this is where things get interesting. Early cars like mine used an MSV70 DME (ECU)which is less supported than the later MSV80 DME. I could spend $640 on an Active Autowerks tune but that's not very GRM now, is it?

The solution is a $50 cable and a hodgepodge of cracked software and files floating around the internet. The cable is a K+DCAN cable, fairly standard stuff for BMW diagnostics. In terms of software, Bimmergeeks Standard Tools is free and will work perfectly for this. I still have to update SP-DATENs but for anyone with an OBDII-equipped BMW it's a superb bit of software. The next party piece is courtesy of Bimmerlabs.  They've created a WinKFP (part of Standard Tools) batch file to run 330i DME mapping on a 325i and they've released it for free. Even counting new manifold gaskets and hardware, I should be under $450 CAD ($340.99 USD) into the swap at $11.25 CAD/bhp ($8.52 USD/bhp) or $90 CAD ($68.198 USD) per additional i (I know BMW nomenclature doesn't work like that but just go with it).

The big question is, will it actually work in practice? We'll soon find out.

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