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E46 (1999 - 2006)
The fourth generation 3 Series (E46 chassis) was introduced in 1999 and set the standard for engineering and performance during it's years of production including being named to Car & Driver's 10 best list every one of those years! ! -- View the E46 Wiki

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Old 01-21-2013, 06:56 AM
1972ford's Avatar
1972ford 1972ford is offline
Function over fashion
Location: NH
Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 886
Mein Auto: 325xiT
An unlikely but perfect DIY combo

So this weekend I made some time to work on the car, since I had a sort-of christmas present UUC short shift kit that I really wanted to install. Since there's been a recurring O2 sensor code coming up, I though I'd do those while I had the exhaust separated and had easier access to the sensors. At 181,000 miles I figure I'll never have to do them again.

I was able to get the SSK in without removing the driveshaft or dropping the transmission, but if my hands were any thicker or shorter, I would have had no chance. The carrier stayed in place since I did not replace the selector rod. The UUC carrier bushing screws into the shift rod carrier with 6 tiny screws, which were rather difficult to do in place, but it still only took about 15 tedious minutes, and I only dropped one down into never never land; I think to R&R the carrier itself just to be able to have it on a workbench would have been much more than 15 minutes.

The O2 sensors spun out easily enough, using a cheap 7/8" (~22mm) wrench I picked up at a local hardware store. I figured if I had to hack it apart to get it in there, it was only $6.50 instead of $25 for an O2 sensor tool. It worked like a charm. You can feed the plug right through the box end of the wrench and then you've got great grip on the sensor and a nice long lever. I don't know if that configuration is unique to an XI but I was able to easily reach both sensors once the exhaust rear section was removed. Alternatively you could just cut the wires for the old sensors, but I saw no reason to do that since I used the old wire to pull a string down to route the new ones back up. It would have taken more time to get the wire cutters than to feed the 3 feet of wire through the wrench.

All in all, 3.5 hours total for both jobs, with a helper. And I love the feel of the SSK, my wife said it perfectly, "it feels exactly like it should." Throws aren't too short, and at the high mileage of my car, it tightened up the shifter feel just enough to make it feel much younger, but not too "notchy" or too difficult.
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Old 01-21-2013, 07:02 AM
BigMotherWheels BigMotherWheels is offline
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Location: Salem, Virginia
Join Date: Mar 2012
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Mein Auto: 06 325ci Coupe ZSP
The joy you express in doing this makes me think of a Porsche poster I saw that reads, "it's like children, you can't understand until you've had one".
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Old 01-21-2013, 07:17 AM
1972ford's Avatar
1972ford 1972ford is offline
Function over fashion
Location: NH
Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 886
Mein Auto: 325xiT
Haha, I did enjoy it actually... I struggle to find free time these days so I have to choose my hobbies wisely. In fact it's my child that causes this situation. It seems like DIY car maintenance is about the most justifiable "hobby" one can find.
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Old 01-21-2013, 12:26 PM
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smolck smolck is offline
Location: Birmingham, AL
Join Date: Jul 2007
Posts: 22,954
Mein Auto: 2002 330i ZSP
Congrats! Yea, installing those kits requires some serious bending of the hands and arms in weird ways.

Check out my YouTube Channel for DIY's and other fun stuff HERE
Originally Posted by Fast Bob View Post
now, go burn your Man Card, and buy yourself a Camry....
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