Friday, December 30, 2016

Hechtspeed's new ride: 2001 BMW 330ci (E46)

So ya, #dontknowwhattheheckIwantosis has struck again.  I sold the Honda Fit in July 2016 for $9100 with 79k miles on it because, well, I was bored of it. I owned it for 2.5 years, which is a pretty average ownership time period for me.  The thought was to keep it until my oldest son turned 16 and pass it down to him. It would have about 120k-130k miles on it and be worth about $4k or so.  Buuuut, I couldn't make it that long with such a practical, economical, wise to own car.

Here's a pic the day I bought the bimmer.  Dig the "LOL@URVTEC" shirt, eh?!  haha

I bought a 2001 BMW 330ci, which is a 2 door coupe with the 3.0L inline 6 cylinder engine (M52) with a 5 speed transmission for $6500 from the 2nd owner in Syracuse. I really tried to put a lot of thought into what car I would replace the Fit with. Especially once I got the clearance from my wife, I started looking hard on the classifieds. Honestly, I started out looking at 90's Mustangs and Civics. Shocker! I was really considering a 1995 Mustang Cobra with like 45k miles on it for $12k. It was super super clean, yes, 2 supers.  But...the one thing that turned me away from it was it only has 2 seat belts in the back seat.  Sigh....yes, 1 seat belt changed my path.  The Honda Civic force was strong. I really want to build a 90's Civic like I've always wanted to build.  Simple JDM style, lower ride height, wide-ish wheels and tires, B or K series swapped engine, just a clean looking, great handling sport compact car.  But, these cars are now 20-25 years old and essentially need to be restored in some measure to meet my daily driver / reliability requirements. I actually test drove a red EK chassis hatchback, totally stock with 5 speed. It was a female college student's first car.  Aaaaaand it drove like it.  Very mushy suspension and a clutch that was long gone.  It was slipping and the engine revving up while cruising down a city street at like 30mph.  I don't think the girl had a clue that this was a problem or that anything was even wrong with the car.  I don't remember now, but she was asking like $2500 and it was totally worth it.  The clutch could have been done for like $250 in my garage, but #aintnobodygottimeforthat! haha It was a minor project type car and having to do work right up front scared me away.  Oh man, the temptation to spend the $6-7k difference in selling the Fit compared to buying this Civic was so strong (coilovers, engine swap dancing in my head), but in the end, the barriers were too many with the Civics. After driving this car, I decided then and there I was not going to be getting an older Civic. I was back to the drawing board, really.  Mustangs out, Civics out and without even thinking about it, Subaru's were out.  My own dad's 2003 WRX engine rebuilds (all 3 of them) kept Subaru on the "nope" list.  So now what?  BMW? My cousin Benrod previously owned an E36 M3 coupe in Dakar Yellow and had loved that car.  He suggested I look into an E36 or E46 bimmers. Because #ultimatedrivingmachine right?

Close up of the rear 18x9.5 VMR wheels with 255/35/18 Michelin Pilot Sports. Also note the drilled/slotted rotors and Hawk street pads.

The E36 cars are from 1992-1998, which found themselves in the same bucket as the 90's Civics, 20 years old = project/restoration = nope.  That left me with fine tuning the KSL ad search criteria to 1999-2005 E46 coupes and sedans, click the manual transmission button and then the "SEARCH" button.  I test drove 2 cars. The first was a blue 2003 330i ZHP 6 speed sedan in blue. I met the seller in the Point of the Mountain area and drove it down the 15 freeway a few miles to Lehi and back. The owner had done almost all the maintenance himself. I think he was the 2nd or 3rd owner.  It was pretty clean, but not sparkling.  The price was reasonable at $8500, similar value to my Fit would soon sell for ($9100).  This was on a Monday during lunch hour.  The Friday before I had texted back and forth with a black 2001 330ci coupe seller that had some nice bolt on mods, VMR wheels, short shifter, catback exhaust and a recent cooling system refresh with the replacement metal impeller'ed water pump.  He said that an interested buyer had put $500 down on it. After driving the Blue ZHP sedan I texted the black 330ci seller to see if it was still available. He said it was a long story but that yes, it was still for sale. The smartest thing I did was take my wife and 3 boys (1 was down at Lake Powell) to go test drive it. When we pulled up, the car was sparkling!  Seriously, it was super clean. Peeking in the garage was a 2012 M3 with Volk Racing wheels and Titanium exhaust!  Next to the M3 was a Moab modded Jeep Wrangler on jacks! :o So, that told me this kid was from a car guy family and probably took good car of this car. We all hopped in and went for a test drive.  It felt strong and smooth and the boys loved it!  haha  My wife ordered up a CarFax report right there in the driveway and it checked out clean. We told the seller we wanted it and that we could bring cash tomorrow (my wife had already sent the transfer of the funds because of how much I liked the blue ZHP earlier in the day). So, we headed home with the seller agreeing to sell it to me the next day.  He could tell how much I was into the car and that I was legit, I was married, with kids and an engineer. The next day, 29 June, 2016, I was the owner of a 15 year old Bimmer.  Crazy.
My friend took this photo of me driving out of the Boy Scout Camp up in Idaho this summer. This was a week or so after buying the car.  I wanted to protect the paint (took me about an hour and a whole roll of blue painters tape) and knew I had a dirt road to drive on.  It ended up being about 4 miles of dirt road.  It took me about 25 minutes to go 4 miles because I was being extra careful.  #carguylife

Now, being a car guy, I'm fully aware of BMW's, the "BMW-tax" on parts and labor but also BMW's Motorsports history and the 3 series Bimmer being the #theultimatedrivingmachine.

6 months later, what do I think?  I'm happy with my purchase.  OK, so its not my dream car.  Honestly, I don't have a dream car. Well, not an obtainable one. What do I like about it?  It's a great overall design.  The shape of the car is a classic rear wheel drive 2 door coupe.  The 3.0L inline 6 cylinder (making 225hp/200tq stock) is smooth, torquey and sounds great.  The Magnaflow stainless exhaust helps in the sound department. It's not anything like my Suby's straight pipe, but its louder than stock.  The car came with HR lowering springs and with the already low-ish stock ride height of 3 series Bimmers, it looks great with the 18x8.5 front, 18x9.5 rear VMR wheels. Tires are Michelin Pilot Sports in 225/40/18 front and 255/35/18 rear. It also came with a nice quality short shifter and weighted knob. Other things I dig about this bimmer is its the Premium Package (about $37k brand new), which comes with sunroof, tan leather, heated seats (love the heated seats! the 22 year old Honda fanatic Hechtspeed would be cringing right now) and overall really clean condition.  The first owner was a wealthy-ish guy who only drove 72k miles in the first 13 years of ownership and passed down lots of records. Oh ya and picked the car up in Germany! So far there's nothing bad.  The emergency brake needs to be adjusted as it doesn't grab on hills.  But that is a doable fix for me (already youtubed it).
Here is an Xbox Forza4 game car I made to resemble my bimmer. Looks pretty similar, execept mine has blacked out kidney bean grilles and LED "angel eyes" driving lights. Seriously, the LED lights are like my favorite thing about the car.

I've gone 10k miles so far. Actually just did the 2nd oil change today.  I'm using Royal Purple synthetic 5w-20 with the factory filter.  Totally love the oil filter placement.  Right on top in front. No oil mess to deal with.  One annoying thing is to safely jack the car up takes some work.  I won't bore you with the details but mostly related to having an old crappy Walmart jack that isn't low or long enough.  I'm on the stock 17x7 wheels with 205/50/17 Kumho Ecsta All Season tires right now due to Utah winters.  It looks lame!  I can't wait to put the VMR wheels back on.  I put the winter setup on in September, which was too early.  I should have waited until like November.  Oh well.
Stock/winter wheel/tire setup at my work parking lot.  The cool part about bimmers is they all use the same 5x120 wheel bolt pattern.  So, I can find cool looking stock wheels that people sell used.  I'd love to get a more interesting winter wheel for next year.  We'll see...

My skilled and talented wife busted out this 330Ci tshirt so I could represent at the Salzsee Annual Car Show up at the Solitude Resort here in Utah, a Euro specific car show in August. The image is a photoshopped photo I took of my car with DSLR camera.
Here's a collage of my brake caliper repaint using rattle can in Pontiac Blue.  Thoroughly clean and scrub and spend an hour masking off everything you don't want blue for 5 minutes of actual spray time.  I was thinking bright yellow like my brothers Mustang caliper paint job but decided to be less flashy.

Another collage, this time its with photos from the Salzsee (german for Salt Lake) Euro Car Show. What a beautiful drive up the mountains and a nice turn out with some very cool cars.

I guess that's it for now.  Oh ya, we named it Dieter, because we love Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf the German born Apostle and because it also happens to be the name of the German salesman who's business card is in the paperwork from when the original owner picked his car up in Germany in 2001.  Way cool history!

Brentrod's 2016 Ford Mustang V6

It's been too long!  I don't know if its the winter dreary weather and staying indoors, combined with the week off of work, but I'm feeling the need to write about cars again.  With there being over a year since the last blog post, there is a lot to cover. I'll keep this post focused on Brentrod's Gray 2016 Mustang V6 6 speed car, which he bought in late 2015.  He bought it from Galpin Ford, one of the largest (maybe THE largest?) Ford dealerships in the world, at least in Southern California.  For Brent (my younger brother) this is his (hold on, gotta use my fingers to count them all up, let's see, there was the 1987 Mustang LX Coupe that received a total Thunderbird Turbo Coupe drivetrain swap, the green SN95 5.0 GT 5 speed, the blue S197 Mustang GT 5 speed, the white SN95 V6 to V8 swap car (posted on the blog before) and now the Gray S550 Base V6 6 speed car), so that makes this his 5th Mustang in 10-ish years.  The longest he's kept a Mustang is maybe 3 years (the white SN?), but this is the "long term" 'Stang, right bro?  heh heh Here's a pic on his way home from Galpin Ford for a pitstop at In-N-Out Burger (gotta break in "Bruce" right).  Brent and I bounced different names back and forth and settled on "Bruce", you know, the Shark from "Finding Nemo".  Yes, we do the Australian accent when we talk like him.  ;) It's because the dark gray color and those shark gills up front, it totally looks like a Great White Shark.  Camaro's are friends, not Food!

Here is, like, the only picture of the car in factory stock form. No, the 'Stang did not stay stock for long. Here's the current list.

Custom carbon intake tube with open filter
BBK 73mm throttle body
Ported stock upper and lower intake manifolds
JLT oil separator

BBK Shorty headers
Stock cats
SR "X" pipe
Custom Hechtspeed quad tip axle back with muffler delete
(This is like the 5th exhaust and is finally where its got the best sound to noise ratio (very subjective obviously)

SCT X4 MPT 91PRX tune
(Multiple tunes as the mods have been added over this first year)

ACT Billet steel flywheel
ACT HD clutch

Eibach PROKIT lowering springs
BMR poly differential bushing inserts
BMR Cradle lock out brackets
SR Billet spherical links
Steeda Billet shifter bracket
Steeda transmission bushing insert
Custom carbon fiber shift knob
14" 4 piston Brembo Mustang GT swap up front, stock rear V6 brakes

XXR 521 18x10 ET25mm
Federal SS595 275/40/18
(Black chrome, then flat black, then bronze, then back to black)

Mustang GT front upper and lower grilles with mesh delete
Emblem delete with "Cyclone V6" emblems in red added
Custom Hechtspeed rear diffuser fins (design sold to AmericanMuscle who is now producing them in injected molded plastic)
Custom Hechtspeed fiberglass rear spoiler (Revision B since Revision A was sold)

Powerwise, the once stock ouput of 305hp/280tq is now estimated to be about 350hp/330tq.  Which puts it in the S197 3V 4.6L V8 with intake and exhaust territory, very respectable. MPG is a non-GT like 32 on the highway.  In town with "normal" driving, he's getting a more V8-like 20MPG, LOL.

Here's the first "Stage" that Brent arrived at.  Starting on the tail end of Brucie, you can see the quad tip exhaust with the emblem delete and the revision A of the Hechtspeed spoiler.  This was a carbon fiber version, which was later sold (to fund more mods, duh, or was it RC airplanes...). The stance is from the Eibach springs with stock dampers. The wheel color here was painted black and shows the yellow calipers nicely.  
This picture shows a comparison of Bruce Version 2.0 vs 2.5. In the lower picture, you can see the brakes have been changed to "Ford Blue" with the wheels painted in a Japanese style bronze with the trunk being wingless. This is the 2nd set of tires on this wheel setup.  Race car flavor was added with the "FEDERAL" letters being painted white.  Looks great in both looks, eh?

In the summer Brent and Pappy took there 'Stangs to Famoso (Bakersfield, CA), along with some Tehachapi area hot rodders (white Trans Am and Red WRX in the background). Pap's green SN95 has been in the family since 1997.  "Sally" is a legend in the Hechtspeed shop.  With the stock block, stock heads (ported), stock cam with a ton of supporting mods and slicks it went a best of 12.85@106mph at Famoso (that's with about 255whp (dyno proven)).  To date, this is the fastest 1/4 mile run of any Hecht.  I like this photo a lot because it shows our family doing what we love together.  It's family history!
Back to Brucie...Brent's fastest time on the worn crappy 285's was a 13.6 @ 103 with a 2.15sec 60ft time. The DA (density altitude) was 3000ft, which is crappy for the strips actual elevation.  With that mph the car has a 12 sec run in it if it had some drag race specific tweaks and tires. But, drag racing is not what Brent has built this car for.

 Here's a rear shot of the current look (as of this week), red "Cyclone" emblem (this is the name given to the naturally aspirated 305hp V6 in the Ford family, quad exhaust with custom diffuser fins on the black painted lower bumper and custom rear spoiler.  #becauseracecar
 Bruce Version 3.0 has gone back to black painted wheels, blue calipers and the revision B rear spoiler.  Which do you like better?
 Glamour shot in Tehachapi's December low light from yesterday.  You can see the rear fins better here and that purdy gray color.

Brent took me for a Golden Hills Touge Run when it was at about Version 2.5 (cheap 285/35/18 tires, not the Federals) this last summer and man, does it stick. Brent really knows these cars and is able to push them hard. Mustangs, while, known as "Muscle Cars" are really not much like there originals.  With the S550's independent rear suspension and modern brakes, suspension and powertrains they perform like legitimate sports cars. For the money, the Mustang is still the best bang for the buck, with plenty of chassis and aftermarket to make it whatever you want.  This is what Brent has made (so far) and its a rad machine. I got to drive Brucie before heading back to Utah and it was a blast. I didn't push it nearly like Brent, but was more interested in getting a feel for it.  It is very direct, has really nice steering and shifter feel and almost too touchy brake feel.  Of course, I'm comparing it to what I've been driving, which is the Honda Fit and a 15 year old BMW (more on that later, heh). Nice work bro!  Can't wait to see where you take it from here.