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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Friends:

I drive a 2000 323i - red - stock all around. It's been a great car for me and I want to pass it down to my son who will be driving in a little over a year. He and I are planning on upgrading and updating the car between now and then. We're not not planning on any big-time mods such as fins, wings, loud exhaust, etc. It's not his style. We are wanting to make sure it's mechanically sound so that he can enjoy it for many years.

We both think it could use new rims/tires and there are a few body dings we'll work on. I have read about wheel spacers and think that would be a cool look. He would like it be a different color but isn't sure what color to choose. Have any of you seen or experienced a complete color change on a BMW that you liked or hated? Any suggestions for this model. He's not one of those kids who wants a lemon-yellow, or bright orange car. He'll gravitate more toward classic colors. We're thinking of replacing all interior lamps with LED's.

Have any of you put wheel spacers on? Any trouble or things we should know about? Also, what things would you do this car either mechanically or on the interior or exterior? Favorite wheel/tire suggestions would be appreciated. We want the car to look classically BMW and like its still ready for action for years to come. Go ahead, barrage me with your suggestions or warnings. Pics of your successes would be awesome.
 

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Wheel spacers make the tire and fender give it a nice flush look, never used them but I've heard horror stories
I say if you're gonna get them, go for some of the thinner ones but if you decide to go larger make sure you also get the right size wheel bolts and also watch out for the infamous tire-fender rubbing

I like red on a bmw
I love the white even more, if you paint it make sure you get a clear bra or in a couple of weeks you'll be seeing chips and scratches on your newly painted bumper... maybe a M3 bumper?:D

Bimmian and khoalty make LED interior lights (bought some from Bimmian for my old e36, loved them!)

other member will also chime in with their opinions and suggestion
and It's always great seeing a father and son doing something they both enjoy :thumbup:
 

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Cogito Ergo Zoom
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How about instead of modding, you two go over the car with a fine tooth comb and do all the standard maintenance items. Refresh the suspension, including new wheels if you like, new cooling system, cvv, change all fluids etc. That way, he learns to maintain his car, and to value something he's put his own sweat into, and you have peace of mind knowing he's driving a safe car that won't let him down mechanically.

The two of you should study the E46 WIKI to get ideas for how to prioritize and proceed from there. Leave the angel eyes until you're sure everything is in top working order.

And I like white Bimmers and am saving for OZ Allegerita wheels.

And avoid wheel spacers. Just get wheels that fit properly.
 

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ROLL TIDE!
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The best mods are suspension related. Springs and shocks along with sway bars will make it a different beast entirely. Well worth the money
 

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I second the sway bar upgrade as money well spent. I had the OEM sport suspension and just installed Hotchkis sport sways. Night and day difference in handling with no ride quality degradation.

IF you are going to get new wheels, go with a more aggressive offset (35) which is still within spec to get a more aggressive look. Spacers have been known to fail and when they do it can be catastrophic. This is your son's safety we're talking about.

Some cheap interior stuff...M3 gauge faces with red needles and silver gauge rings really dresses up the dash. re-paint or wrap the interior trim pieces with carbon fibre cloth.

Clear corner and side lights upgrades the look to a more modern one. shadow grills (black) are cheap (especially if you Plasti-dip spray them) and make the care look more aggressive.

Having said all this, I also agree with spending the time and money to make sure all known failure points and wear items are taken care of first. The WIKI will be your guiding force.
 

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How about you both taking a CCA Car Control Clinic together? That way he can learn how to really drive this car in a safe environment. No amount of mods make up for driver skill and safety. And it'd be a father and son event he'll remember for a lifetime.
 

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Now THAT is a Good Idea. Best one so far....

And one that will last long after the Bimmer is gone and junked.
 

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Keeping it surreal
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Friends:

I drive a 2000 323i - red - stock all around. It's been a great car for me and I want to pass it down to my son who will be driving in a little over a year. He and I are planning on upgrading and updating the car between now and then. We're not not planning on any big-time mods such as fins, wings, loud exhaust, etc. It's not his style. We are wanting to make sure it's mechanically sound so that he can enjoy it for many years.

We both think it could use new rims/tires and there are a few body dings we'll work on. I have read about wheel spacers and think that would be a cool look. He would like it be a different color but isn't sure what color to choose. Have any of you seen or experienced a complete color change on a BMW that you liked or hated? Any suggestions for this model. He's not one of those kids who wants a lemon-yellow, or bright orange car. He'll gravitate more toward classic colors. We're thinking of replacing all interior lamps with LED's.

Have any of you put wheel spacers on? Any trouble or things we should know about? Also, what things would you do this car either mechanically or on the interior or exterior? Favorite wheel/tire suggestions would be appreciated. We want the car to look classically BMW and like its still ready for action for years to come. Go ahead, barrage me with your suggestions or warnings. Pics of your successes would be awesome.
Stay away from spacers, they`re bad news. Changing the color of a car, when done the *proper* way, can exceed the value of that car. Doing it any way other than the proper way will *absolutely* kill any resale potential for that vehicle....that`s your choice.
I would do as others have suggested, and tend to all the maintainance issues, and if there`s any money left in the budget, *then* go for a swaybar upgrade, and some new wheels & tires. HPDE is a stellar idea, as well.
 

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The BIG Voice of Reason
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Eh, I'm gonna get my red 323 repainted white next spring, red is kinda queer and ricer-style. Instead of modding, why not just do a high end tune up? Why buy replica wheels when you could get Style 44s or 45s. Angel Eyes? C'mon. I'm 16 and a BMW is a proper car not some teenage rice bucket. Just a few words of wisdom ;) Anyway, it's a great first car, very reliable and cool.
 

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Keeping it surreal
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Eh, I'm gonna get my red 323 repainted white next spring, red is kinda queer and ricer-style. .
Don`t tell that to all the guys on this Forum who drive Imola Red cars ! :rofl::rofl::rofl:
 

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Eh, I'm gonna get my red 323 repainted white next spring, red is kinda queer and ricer-style. Instead of modding, why not just do a high end tune up? Why buy replica wheels when you could get Style 44s or 45s. Angel Eyes? C'mon. I'm 16 and a BMW is a proper car not some teenage rice bucket. Just a few words of wisdom ;) Anyway, it's a great first car, very reliable and cool.
Uhm, wouldn't painting an entire car count as money wasted on a mod that could've easily been used on maintenance? A proper paint job will cost at least $5k. You'd be better off selling your car, adding $5k to that budget, and getting yourself a white 330i - a car that's newer, performs better in any way, possibly more reliable (no "version 1" bugs), better looking (especially if a ZHP), and possibly better gas mileage (330s are surprisingly good in this regard, especially the 6-speeds).

Also, red is neither "queer" nor "rice". A stock Imola ZHP looks better than most modded E46s.


I really miss that car... :( The M3 is a lot more fun, but that ZHP will always have a special place in my heart...

vs.



While neither look ricey, I'd say the first one looks a lot better (maybe I'm biased though) -- it seems worthy of the title "The Ultimate Driving Machine" and seems like a real sport sedan. The second one just looks... slow. and boring. I don't know what else I can say about it.

Not everyone gets the opportunity to buy a car that looks near-perfect from the factory... That is why people mod... It's simply amazing what a few minor tweaks like different wheels and a body kit can make. Will it make the car perform any better or more reliable? No... But I find owning a good looking car just makes me feel happier, even though I can't see most of those differences while driving. Does that make me superficial? Maybe, but aren't we all to some extent?

Also (IMO) angel eyes aren't necessarily rice either... a good set could really help modernize the E46. IMO they work very well on the right car. I would prefer fiber-optic rings like the OEM AEs, but they sadly don't exist (yet). If/when they're ever made for E46 fitment, I'll be the first in line to buy them (OEM looking angel eyes with the glass rings would look amazing on the E46 IMO). For now my Orion V2 Opaques will do...



I do have them wired in a manner that I can easily switch them off (controlled by LCM), so I can have my cake and eat it too (Either revert to the classic look, or have the more modern and aggressive look depending on my mood.).

Anyway all I'm trying to say is that everyone has different tastes. Just because *you* don't like something doesn't mean that it's "queer" or "rice." For example, the ZHP, E46 M3, E39 540 M-sport, E39 M5, and E60 550 M-sport look great from the factory, and just need minor tweaks here and there to make them perfect. The "lesser" cars in the series generally need to replicate the look of the higher-end cars to look good. Even the ones that are more "individualized" have components that are inspired by parts from higher-end models.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Thanks everyone! Those are good suggestions, keep them coming. Another question: Has anyone replaced the front bumper panel with an M3 style? I've seen them available but unpainted. What does it cost to have them painted? Is it hard to get the matching paint color?

I guess the wheel spacers are out. And to all those who have suggested taking care of the mechanical issues first - we are already doing that. I have a list from front to back we're in the process of completing.

I'll look into suspension upgrades. Somebody suggested wrapping the interior trim pieces in carbon-fiber cloth. Can anyone provide a link to a supplier or examples? Thanks.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Mechanical

As I posted before, my son and I are working through a list of mechanical pugrades/maint items. What would your top priorities be on a 200 323i with 80k miles?
 

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Thanks everyone! Those are good suggestions, keep them coming. Another question: Has anyone replaced the front bumper panel with an M3 style? I've seen them available but unpainted. What does it cost to have them painted? Is it hard to get the matching paint color?

I guess the wheel spacers are out. And to all those who have suggested taking care of the mechanical issues first - we are already doing that. I have a list from front to back we're in the process of completing.

I'll look into suspension upgrades. Somebody suggested wrapping the interior trim pieces in carbon-fiber cloth. Can anyone provide a link to a supplier or examples? Thanks.
I got my carbon fibre cloth from JLevis. a couple square yards was enough to do the car with lots left over. I went with silver for the contrast. They also have the dark . PIc attached. Not very good contrast but gives you an idea.
 

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Change color??

How can you not like a red BMW???? I wouldn't change the color at all...new lenses all around, maybe a black grille??? NO color change, IMO
 

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As I posted before, my son and I are working through a list of mechanical pugrades/maint items. What would your top priorities be on a 200 323i with 80k miles?
1) Cooling system re-build (expansion tank, water pump, thermostat, hoses, belts and pullies)
2) control arm bushing or maybe control arms depending on condition of ball joints.
3) if not already done - differential and tranny fluid change and every 30k miles therafter
 
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