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M3Dragon 07-26-2012 12:26 PM

M3Dragon - NorCal CSL build
Full build thread updated as of 12/2/2013

Please be aware this is a VERY picture intensive build thread.

I will apologize for the half ass build thread. For those of you are just reading this for the first time then you did not miss anything. For those who might be re-reading this I have made a proper timeline of the build over a decade of ownership.

Full build thread XLS Document:

Assistance XLS Document - FULL CSL parts listing for M3 to CSL Conversions:


Where did it all start?

After 10 years for going around in circles, I have decided finally, how I wanted to build out my M3. This document is the journey I have taken with my beloved E46 M3 since I brought her home from the dealers in 2002. I hope you enjoy the thread as much as I have enjoyed owning the car.

*All of the car images are of my car and some of the parts images I had to pull from the internet as I did not take images of the parts or I lost them over the years.*

Purchase History and Day 1

I started looking in September 2002 at 330ci's, as I wanted a sports car to have for weekend drives. I had never owned a BMW or even a sports car for that matter. My car ownership experience at the time I started looking at BMW's had only been Ford Bronco's, so I was definitely a fish out of water. After some research, I changed my mind and ordered a M3 as it had the SMG system. I asked the dealer to order a silver one and let me know when it arrived.

About two weeks later, the dealer called me and said they had a customer back out of an order and asked if I was interested. At first, I was hesitant because I wanted silver but they gave me a discount on the several of the ordered options. I agreed to to purchase this car as I was saving money and the color was not bad. I am glad they did, as now the Steel Gray Metallic is, is one of the rarer colors for the M3 now. October 15th 2002 I bought my M3 with 88 miles on the clock and the journey began.

Vehicle Specifications:
2002 BMW E46 M3
Build Date: XX/2002
Steal Gray Metallic.
Black Nappa Leather
Premium Package
Bi-Xenon Headlights
CD Player
19inch wheels
Harmon Kardon Sound
BMW Car Cover
BMW M3 Floor Mats (1).jpg (2).jpg (3).jpg (4).jpg

M3Dragon 07-26-2012 12:27 PM

The next morning I could not wait to walk out to the garage to see if the car was actually there or was it one hell of a realistic dream. Thankfully when I walked into the garage, there she was, sitting all clean and pretty.

Now take this as coincidence but here are some interesting things I realized after I bought the car. I bought the car on October 15 2002. My favorite month is October, 15 is my lucky number, I was 22 at the time, the car vin ends in 15, and the stock horse power matches the last digits of an item we all need to drive. They say when things are meant to be they will just happen.

Based on what I have seen when I bought this car, it was supposed to be mine. Fast forward to 2011 and the 1M I bought had 8 miles when I bought it along with other interesting items like above. That though is a different build journal.

M3Dragon 07-26-2012 12:27 PM

The Start of the Journey 2003

As I was new to the sports car world, I wanted to get out and meet fellow car enthusiast and go out on drives. In 2003, I was only on the E46fanatics forum which is where I learned all about my M3 before I purchased it. This was also where for the next few years I hung out to learn about upgrades for the car.

The very first event I went to was at Sacramento State in February 2003. This was setup by some of the local BMW guys and was my first event ever for any organized car meet. After meeting at Sacramento State and taking a few pictures, we headed out for a drive on some back roads around Folsom Lake.

M3Dragon 07-26-2012 12:27 PM

The next event I went to was in March of 2003. I can't recall if I tried to setup this meet but my memory says this was my first attempt at organizing a meet. Mother Nature decided to remind me that she dictates when car meets happen as it ended up being a very wet and windy day.

There was one car that showed up and the two of us did a short drive on the only road I knew at the time. While the drive was short we did pull off and take some pictures to show these cars do not melt in the rain. After pictures we took a ride in each other's car as the E46 was still a new car at the time. I have a real respect for the continental tires that were stock on the car at the time as I drove like a idiot in the rain when I look back on that day.

M3Dragon 07-26-2012 12:28 PM

In June of 2003 I organized another meet and drive with some of the people I meet on the Sacramento State meet and my co workers. As you will see we stopped at the same turn out for photos and completed the same loop around Folsom Lake. It was the only drive I knew and it was starting to get old driving on the same road over and over again.

This drive was also when I test my first modifications. I bought a K&N panel filter which might not seem like much but it was the first step down a very long road. Granted at the time I did not know that the road would have been this long as well as take so many twist and turns if we are staying with the car theme.

M3Dragon 07-26-2012 12:28 PM

The next performance upgrade I purchased was the UUC Rasp X system in September of 2003. I bought this to get rid of the raspy metallic noise that the E46 M3 seemed to make at higher RPMs. This was the first generation of this system and it does remove the metallic rasp. The one drawback to the system is it does not add any power and but does add weight. So the removal of the rasp sound negates any real performance in retrospect but at the time it was the hottest thing on the block. (5).JPG (6).JPG

M3Dragon 07-26-2012 12:28 PM

Three days after I installed the UUC RaspX system I went on my first group drive up HWY 1 North of San Francisco. Only three cars went on this drive but that was more than enough to have a good time. The group coved over 330 miles from start to finish which made for a long day and a great shake down run to see how the RaspX system worked on the car.

M3Dragon 07-26-2012 12:29 PM

The last major activity I did in 2003 was organize a drive up to Lake Tahoe for the first time. This drive took place on October 15 2003 and is a far cry from the Tahoe Drives I organize now. Like anything, you have to start somewhere and this was where it all began for the Lake Tahoe runs. As this drive was the first time I had been to Lake Tahoe on my own I let one of the other drives lead the group. This was a great day and something I look forward to planning every year. (1).jpe (3).jpe (4).JPG (4).jpe

M3Dragon 07-26-2012 12:29 PM

2004 The Adventures Continue

The start of the New Year brought the start of the real performance purchase for the car. First item on the list was an Eisenmann Race muffler with 83mm tips. I went with this muffler because I like the tip design and it was one of only three choices at the time. Over the years mufflers have come in and out of favor but this is still the only muffler I can never get enough of its sound. I also ordered the color match front reflectors as a late Christmas gift to me.

*In owning this muffler for almost 10 years the only issue I have had with the muffler was one of the side brackets broke on a drive in 2011. It was a quick weld job to re-attach the bracket* (1).jpg (2).jpg (3).jpg (4).jpg (5).jpg

M3Dragon 07-26-2012 12:29 PM

The second performance upgrade was a set of Eibach sway bars. I installed these myself using the PIT at my parents house. I also installed a set on my buddies 330I at the time. I still have these sway bars on the car to this day. *I did order a set of UUC sway bars and tried to install. After fussing with them for half a day I gave up and sent them back.* (2).jpg (1).jpg

M3Dragon 07-26-2012 12:29 PM

By this time it was February and I wanted to get out and try out my new upgrades. I organized a weekend of drives to Napa for the first time. This drive was to bring the Bay Area and Sacramento guys together for a fun day of back roads turns. I did the drive twice and the first day I got one car and the second day I got my buddy to go at the start and we met four Bay Area guys in Napa. Not stellar turnout but I was still learning it seems.

Saturday drive to Napa (2).jpg (3).jpg

Sunday drive to Napa (2).jpg (1).jpg

M3Dragon 07-26-2012 12:30 PM

As March 2004 rolled around I was able to order a set of BMW E46 M3 CSL rims. At the time I got these rims they were one of the hottest items on the market for any BMW. I also got my rims before daytonaviolet for those who are keeping track. When I bought the rims I also installed a set of Nitto 555 per the suggestion of the tire shop that did the install. (1).jpg (2).jpg (3).jpg

M3Dragon 07-26-2012 12:30 PM

At the end of March I went down to the Bay Area for the Stanford Mall meet. This was the predecessor meet to the now famous Santana Row meets. I sadly over the years I seem to have lost the images from the many events I attended down there. Luckily I have the very first meet I was at. (1).JPG (2).JPG

M3Dragon 07-26-2012 12:30 PM

April 2004 I decided I wanted to take some pictures of my car. So I pinged the E46 forums and got a few guys together to meet up and take some photos. I only had a point and shoot camera so the pictures were not that great but I did get a few that I still love to this day. (10).jpg (7).jpg (8).jpg

MalibuMafiaV 07-26-2012 12:31 PM

That's PCH near my house lol. Also that's the exact straight away the "famous" Ferrari Enzo crashed on:).
You've got a great mod list. But it's missing FI imo.

p.s. mad respect on you putting a REAL CF roof on unlike wanabe's CF people who have CF wrapped roofs :rofl:

M3Dragon 07-26-2012 12:33 PM

2004 was my first time going to Bimmerfest at the Santa Monica Fair Grounds. I was there with three of my driving buddies at the time to spend a few days in SoCal. Before the day of Bimmerfest I purchased and install a GrouppeM Air Intake system from one of the big vendors at the time. I can't find the name of the shop now which is kind of a bummer.

One thing that I was not able to confirm at Bimmerfest 2004 was if I was the only one there with OE CSL rims. I had six people on the spot ask me if I was willing to sell them the rims. Of course I declined all of the offers.

After seeing all the sights of Bimmerfest, we took off early and did the planned drive route the rest of the Bimmerfest was going to do later that day. I heard later from others said the drive was a giant cluster and there was some kids causing trouble. Glad we left early when I heard that. The images I have of that trip are of the drive after Bimmerfest, at the hotel and me using a old video camera to film down Pacific Coast Highway. (1).JPG (2).JPG (3).JPG (4).JPG (5).jpg

M3Dragon 07-26-2012 12:33 PM

When I got back from Bimmerfest I ordered the H&R Sports Spring Kit with Koni Yellow Adjustable shocks. I went with this kit at the time because one, there was only one coilover kit option at the time, and two I did not want a slammed look which most people were doing with the coil over kit. This kit is still something I remember on how well the car drove and would recommend this kit to anyone with an E46 M3. (2).jpg

In June I went ahead and ordered some more power upgrade for the car. I ordered the Confrti Shark Injector from Turner Motorsports, the Rouge Engineering Power Pullies, and ignition solution plasma coils with Denso Iridium spark plugs.

M3Dragon 07-26-2012 12:34 PM

We are now into the first part July of 2004 and it is time for the Lake Tahoe Drive. This time I lead the entire drive from start to finish. There was a good size group this time and the new performance modifications we definitely a help at altitude compared to last year. (1).JPG (3).JPG (7).JPG (10).JPG

M3Dragon 07-26-2012 12:34 PM

At the end of July I headed down to the Bay Area again for another one of the Stanford Mall meets. I finally got a rolling shot of me in my car for once. (16).JPG (17).JPG (19).JPG

M3Dragon 07-26-2012 12:34 PM

In August 2004 I purchased my CSL trunk from Bekkers. This part seemed to start a trend of me having a story around a parts install. When I was driving to the shop to have the trunk installed I was pulled over and got a no front plate ticket. Not how I wanted my day to go to say the least. I get to the shop and they install the trunk but when they were backing the car out they backed my car into a Z06 corvette that the other tech was backing up. The look on my face must have been I am going to kill you because the guy turned pail white. Car was ok other than the paint in the right light showing some spider marks. I have yet to repaint the rear bumper and will need to do it sometime in the near future. (1).jpg (2).jpg

M3Dragon 07-26-2012 12:35 PM

Late August I went down to the Bay Area again for another Stanford mall meet. If I remember correctly I believe this is where I took over the meets to include an after drive activity. (1).jpg (5).jpg (8).jpg

After organizing the meet and drive I was driving back over the Bay Bridge and hit some debris in the road. I just side swiped it enough to cut the tire and take a chunk off the lip of the rim. I was able to limp across the entire Bay Bridge as it happened right as I entered on the San Francisco side heading east. I have no clue how I survived not getting rear-ended. (3).jpg

At the time I took a chunk out of my rim, I did not know you could fix them so I ordered a new CSL rim. It was not until recently in the last few years I found out you could repair rims. I have had the damaged rim fixed along with another front rim and a rear rim. Joys of driving on crappy California roads. At any rate now I have a "spare" tire in case I need it. SpareRim.JPG

M3Dragon 07-26-2012 12:35 PM

November 2004 I organized the NAPA drive again and was now starting to get the hand of organizing meets and drives. (1).jpg (2).JPG

December 2004 I organized another Stanford Mall meet and drive. This event was also combined with a toy run for Toys For Tots. I did this so we could give back to those who were less fortunate than us that year. On the way down someone took one of my favorite rolling shots of my car going through the tunnel on Treasure Island. The first image is the Sacramento meet up point for the drive down. (1).jpg (2).jpg (3).jpg

M3Dragon 07-26-2012 12:36 PM

2005 Same old different year

The next big purchase I did was order the SuperSprint Headers, SuperSprint Race Cats and SuperSprint Center section with resonator in February 2005. This was to replace the RaspX system and start the path down a more performance based setup. There of course is a story behind the install. I had the local dealer do the install and they did a piss poor job. So bad in fact they use vice pliers to remove all four 02 sensors that needed to be replaced. Needless to say I had to work through that issue with them but it was all worked out in the end. headers.jpg

M3Dragon 07-26-2012 12:36 PM

Sadly I did not think about making a build journal about the car till more recently. That means a lot of images I have taken have been lost over the years because I did not think of them as being important. By February 2005 I remember I had Discovery Automotive race software installed to take advantage of the new SuperSprint setup. I also decided to do another Sacramento State photo shoot as I had the trunk installed this time around. (2).jpg (5).jpg (8).jpg

M3Dragon 07-26-2012 12:37 PM

Throughout the year I was organizing meets and drives for the NorCal BMW gang. By this point in time I had become a seasoned organizer and was continually looking for new roads to drive on for our regional meets. One of the only images I have of the meets of 2005 is a picture of me driving to either the Bay Area or Napa. Not sure which.

In June of 2005 I ordered up some serious stopping power. I spoke with Will Turner no less and ordered the StopTech 355 mm BBK in Yellow. The kit included stainless steel lines and ATB super blue which made for a nice package. I have had no issues with the StopTech brake kit and could not be happier with the purchase. The only thing I wish I did was go with the slotted rotors to get a little more bite and braking surface. Even with the cross drilled the car stops on a dime with change to spare. (1).jpg (3).jpg (4).jpg

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