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Thread: PIC HEAVY Build Thread: 2003 Alpine White/Cinnamon S54T (130k chassis/115k donor)

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    Raleigh NC
    My Cars
    03 M3T, 03 M5T/SC, 01 M5

    PIC HEAVY Build Thread: 2003 Alpine White/Cinnamon S54T (130k chassis/115k donor)

    Hello everyone! You may know me from the ĎGram as @bmwwagonguy, and/or from my previous builds such as the M5T that sold on BaT for a record price, or the Ferrari Red M3T that is currently getting a stroked S54 installed, but this thread is about a car I began building for my lovely spouse last year and am still working on.

    In late 2022, I was searching for a natural brown E46 interior for my daughterís Orient Blue wagon. I found one, but it was unfortunately nearly across the country in Utah. We made a deal on the interior bits, but shipping was the problem. The owner then told me he was willing to sell the whole project, unfinished, because he needed to move on to something else. The owner before him started a ZHP swap with a minty low-mileage donor only to get frustrated and quit. He sent me some photos:

    Now hereís the interesting part. He fully intended to complete the project, and had just recently spent over $12k on brand new parts to do so, but I guess just got frustrated and wanted out. The car came with all of these parts, many of which were already installed on the 115k mile M54B30/ZHP engine, and the rest were jammed inside the chassis when it arrived. Besides a complete (and I mean *complete*) engine refresh, these parts also included a brand new Ground Control coilover suspension with camber plates, brand new genuine BMW Mtech2 bumpers and side skirts (complete with all genuine trims, grilles, clips, fog lamps, etc) and various other bits. Goldmine, especially for the price I paid.

    We made a deal for the whole car instead of just the interior, and he got it loaded on to a trailer and sent my way:

    And a few days later, it was here:

    Time to unpack the fully-loaded interior and see just what was included in my amazing deal:

    Thatís a LOT of stuff. All genuine parts. First things first, letís explore and see whatís what. First thing I noticed was that the first guy who started the project cut the muffler off and put some awful (and awfully long) straight pipes on it. Sounded and looked awful. Luckily I had a donor and was able to swap in a proper stock exhaust.

    Afger getting a quote for paint from my favorite local high-end shop, and having it be lower than expected, I decided to go for the bumper and side skirt paint right away, so I dropped those parts off for them to get started.

    Meanwhile, it was time to get started on finishing what he started. Headliner goes over to upholstery shop for conversion to M-sport, and chassis breakdown and inspection.

    Luckily the subframe was in excellent shape, but weíll reinforce it anyway. More on this later. Next, letís inspect the RTAB pockets for any issues:

    All good! Ditch the exhaust, put on a nice stock system with brand new tips from BMW, and sheís already looking better:

    My buddy Paul Martin from Fixels (find him on FB) does amazing DME and cluster work so he sorted out the mileage discrepancy on the cluster and fixed the mileage:

    Before I get too far into what I had to do to complete this project, hereís a list of everything done before I bought the car:

    BMW 5W30 Oil Change Kit - Liqui Moly 11427512300KT4
    BMW DISA Valve - Rein 11617544805
    BMW Oil Pressure Switch - Rein 12618611273
    BMW Timing Cover Plug - Reinz 11361433513
    BMW VANOS Unit Screw Plug - Genuine BMW 11361438338
    VANOS Overhaul
    Wiring Harness Engine Ignition 12517518044
    Air Inlet Assembly 13717501988
    Filler Cap - 16117222391
    Air Inlet Assembly Buffer - 07147267586
    Air Inlet Assembly Rivet - 51471919209
    Inlet Duct - 13717509118
    Tube - 13541438761
    Filler Cap - 11127509328
    Dipstick - 11431436293
    BMW Engine and Transmission Mount Kit - 22116779970KT1
    BMW Comprehensive Maintenance Kit - E46TUNEKIT2
    BMW Ignition Coil Kit (Set of 6) - Bosch 00044X6
    BMW Accessory Drive Belt Kit - 11287636379KT
    BMW M54 Timing Chain Kit - 11311432176KT1
    BMW Crankcase Gasket Set - Elring 11111432478
    BMW Engine Oil Filter Housing Gasket Kit - 11421719855KT
    BMW Intake Manifold Gasket Set - Elring 11611436631
    BMW 120 Amp Alternator - Bosch AL0703N
    BMW Starter Motor - Bosch 12412354693
    BMW Camshaft Position Sensor - VNE 12147539165
    BMW Camshaft Position Sensor - VNE 12147518628
    BMW Oil Level Sensor - Hella 12617508003
    BMW Crankshaft Position Sensor - VDO 12141709616
    BMW Ignition Knock Sensor - VDO 13627568422
    BMW Intake Boot - Rein 13541438759
    BMW Throttle Body Gasket - Elring 13547504729

    BMW Air Pump Rubber Mount - URO Parts 11727559515
    BMW Oxygen Sensor - Bosch 15109
    Pre-Cat Oxygen Sensor - Bosch
    BMW Secondary Air Injection Pump - Pierburg 11727553056
    BMW Secondary Air Injection Control Valve - Pierburg 11727553063
    BMW Secondary Air Pump Hose - Rein 11727555680
    BMW Air Pump Bracket - Genuine BMW 11721715273
    BMW Bracket - Genuine BMW 11721714230
    BMW Air Pump Rubber Mount - URO Parts 11727559515
    BMW Secondary Air Valve Vacuum Line - Rein 11727574490
    BMW Vacuum Hose - Genuine BMW 11657803732
    BMW Vacuum Control Valve - Genuine BMW 11747810831
    BMW Air Injection Check Valve - Pierburg 11611312737
    BMW Cold Climate PCV Breather System Kit - OE Supplier 11617533400KT3
    BMW Mass Air Flow Sensor O-Ring - Genuine 13541438760
    BMW Mass Air Flow Sensor

    BMW Comprehensive Cooling System Hose Kit (E46) - 11531436408KIT
    BMW Plastic Water Pump Pulley - Meyle 11511436590
    BMW Cooling System Overhaul Kit With Water Pump - E46COOLKIT

    Rear Brake Rotors - Zimmermann 34216864044KTR3
    Rear Brake Pads - Akebono
    BMW Brake Kit - Zimmermann/Akebono 330BK4
    Brake Master Cylinder - Centric 13034106
    BMW Brake Booster - ATE 34336779682
    BMW Clutch Hydraulic Hose - Genuine BMW 35006857512
    BMW Caliper Bracket Bolt - Genuine BMW 34116772428
    BMW Caliper Bracket Bolt - Genuine BMW 34203414763 Drivetrain /
    BMW Brake Master Cylinder - ATE 34336785666 (failed and replaced with Centric Part)
    BMW Brake Reservoir - Genuine BMW 34326750798

    Power Steering Reservoir Clamp Genuine BMW 32411092940
    BMW Power Steering Pressure Hose - Genuine BMW
    BMW Powering Steering Reservoir - Genuine BMW
    BMW Power Steering Return Hose - Genuine BMW
    BMW Power Steering Suction Hose - Genuine BMW
    BMW Power Steering Pressure Hose - Genuine BMW
    BMW Plastic Power Steering Pump Pulley - Febi 32421740858
    BMW Steering Coupling Assembly - Genuine BMW 32301094703

    Transmission / Drivetrain
    URO Brass Clutch Fork Pivot Pin - 21511223328
    Clutch Spring Clip - 21517570284
    Clutch Hose from Reservoir to Master Cylinder - 21521163714
    Clutch Slave Cylinder - 21526766279
    Genine BMW Shifter Rubber Boot - 25117522149
    UUC DSSR - E46 330i (6 Speed)
    Turner Motorsport Shifter ZHP Weighted
    UUC EVO3 Competition Short Shift Kit E46 330i 6 Speed
    Shift Rod Joint - URO 25117580281
    Shifter Arm Bracket - Genuine BMW 41128246251
    Backup Switch - Genuine BMW 23147524811
    BMW Drive Shaft Flex Joint (Giubo) - Corteco 26117511454
    Valeo Single Mass Clutch Kit - 330i 6 Speed
    BMW Manual Transmission Drain/Fill Plug - Genuine BMW 23117531356

    BMW Exhaust Manifold Gasket - Victor Reinz 11621732969
    BMW Porsche Volvo Exhaust Nut - OE Supplier 18301737774
    BMW Exhaust Pipe to Manifold Gasket - Elring 18107502346

    Ground Control Coilovers
    Ground Control Camber Plates
    Ground Control RSM
    BMW Sway Bar Link - Genuine BMW

    Interior: (all parts below brand new still in box)
    BMW Black Short Console - Genuine BMW 51168234154
    BMW Ash Tray Rear - Genuine BMW 51168225988
    BMW Cup Holder Black - Genuine BMW 51168217953
    BMW Console Coin Tray - Genuine BMW 51168217957
    BMW Console Bracket - Genuine BMW 51168235570
    Dynavin E46 HVAC Relocation Bracket with 2 USBs
    2022 ***** Quad Core Car Radio with IPS Display/GPS, Compatible with BMW 3 Series 1999-2004(E46), Built-in Apple CarPlay, Support Android Auto-9 Inch-GA9450B

    Exterior / Body:
    M-tech Bumper Cover (Front) - 51-12-7-893-489
    M-tech Bumper Cover - Euro(Rear) - 51-11-7-893-328
    M-tech Rocker Molding - 51-71-2-693-225
    M-tech Rocker Molding - 51-71-2-693-226Molding - 51-11-8-195-289
    Molding - 51-11-8-195-290
    Center Molding - 51-11-8-195-304
    Cap - 51-11-7-893-378
    Lamp Cover - 51-11-7-893-067
    Lamp Cover - 51-11-7-893-068
    Lower Grille - 51-11-7-893-331
    Lower Grille Adapter - 51-11-7-893-324
    Bumper Cover Support - 51-11-7-895-415
    Bumper Cover Support - 51-11-7-895-416
    Bumper Cover Bracket - 51-11-8-191-149
    Outer Molding - 51-12-7-893-319
    Center Molding - 51-12-8-212-589
    Cover, Lower Part Center M - 51-12-7-891-916
    Water Deflector - 51-12-7-895-234
    Fog Lamp Assembly - 63-17-7-894-017
    Fog Lamp Assembly - 63-17-7-894-018
    Liner Extension - 51-71-8-265-467
    Liner Extension - 51-71-8-265-468
    Tow Eye Cap - 51-12-7-893-314
    Outer Molding - 51-12-7-893-320
    Tail Lamp Assembly - 63-21-6-900-473
    Tail Lamp Assembly - 63-21-6-900-474
    E46 Sedan/Wagon Windshield Cowl Grille - 51-71-8-208-483
    Vent Grille - 51-13-7-075-324
    Cowl Grille Clip - 51-71-8-234-698
    Roundel Emblem Replacement 82mm - 51-14-8-132-375BMW Hatch Lift Support - Stabilus 51248232873
    BMW Headlight Lens - Magneti Marelli 63126924045
    BMW Headlight Lens - Magneti Marelli 63126924046

    Engine Oil 5W30 Genuine BMW
    D4 ATF (1 Quart) - Red Line 30504
    BMW Differential Service Kit 75W90 (E38 E39 E46) - Red Line 33117525064KT4
    DOT 4 TYP 200 Brake Fluid (1 Liter) - ATE BF1200
    BMW Coolant

    Now back to the storyÖ.

    In January I had my good bud Evan from Dynamic Details NC come and do a paint correction and we used AMMO NYCís Reflex Pro 2 to ceramic coat the body, in anticipation of the painted parts later.

    In February, we replaced the subframe bushings with Powerflex Poly (for street use), new OE diff bushings, replaced the rear lower control arms with Powerflex adjustable units, new Bimmerworld stainless brake lines, flushed the brake and clutch systems, ditched the DEPO side signals for OE units I found on another car (they are NLA from BMW), and installed the repaired cluster from Fixels.

    In February, I also tossed in new center stack components including cupholder, console, sunglass tray, and surround. Decided I didnít like the ***** head unit included with the car so I put in a Dynavin N8-Pro, backup camera, and microphone, tossed in a subwoofer and installed the freshly reupholstered black headliner with all the pillars and trim bits that came with the car. A new battery, fresh alignment, AC recharge, two brand new BMW keys, new BMW floor mats, and a freshly welded shifter bracket also went in (PO had screwed the bracket to the chassis Ė bad!)

    Finally by April, the body parts were ready and I got them installed along with freshly refinished upper window trim (from chrome to matte black) and brand new BMW lower window trims in matte black.

    In May, I installed brand new rear wheel bearings and hubs, swapped out the UUC shifter for a Rogue shifter (much better), new factory selector rod instead of UUC, and a few other misc things.

    Airbag recall was done in September and I also opted to upgrade the headlights with much higher output projectors, white halos for DRLs, and installed Morimoto projector fog lamps as well.

    In October, I fixed some PDC errors so that it was fully functional.

    Here is where it gets interesting. My wife loves how the car drives (we both do) but she loves how my M3 wagon feels and smells (new leather) when she gets in, so she requests a fresh interior. My original plan was to get some M3 seats and reupholster them in new natural brown leather but I ended up finding a source for nappa cinnamon leather instead, so I bought some used M3 front seats, my friend Stephen helped retrofit brand new foam, lumbar support, and heaters from another set of donor seats, and I sent the entire interior to the upholstery shop for the new leather. The seats are now fully functional M3 seats, but in a wagon, and without the side handles that we deleted during upholstery. They feel and smell amazing.

    Comparison of cinnamon (top) vs natural brown (bottom):

    Rear seats installed, front still original:

    Fronts installed:

    Door panel comparison (Note: Iím not happy with how the door panels turned out so Iím having them redone soon):

    Now that the interior is done, and my old S54 will soon be available, I had a thought. What if I just M3 convert the wagon so sheíll have some more power and fun and as a bonus, this would allow keeping the S54 ďin the familyĒ since Iíve owned it and maintained it since 2016 and know it well. I contacted my friend Jorge at MPartsWorldwide and we put together a huge crate of parts in order to start the conversion process.

    The parts arrived and I began planning the next phase. But first, since Iíll be pulling the rear end anyway, itís time to do rear subframe reinforcments and a nice bonus Ė the V-brace from the M3 can be retrofit using some cool brackets from Attilla Csontos at M3Projekts in Hungary. My friend Jon from Speed House in Durham brought his welder over and got started. Heís done this multiple times and I wanted someone experienced to do the work. He's not cheap but quality rarely is:

    Next, I spent a few days disassembling the M3 parts, refurbishing and repainting as I went along. New upper and lower bearings, new wheel bearings, new hubs, new diff bushings, transfer the poly subframe bushings from the 330 subframe over, new diff cover, a freshly rebuilt diff from (itís so smooth and quiet), and a host of other things. Iím a bit particular so I also clean all the hardware as I go along. Since the S54 isnít ready to go in yet, I decided to install all of the M3 rear end parts now while we wait. Hereís how that turned out:

    Now, in preparation for the F80 M3 brake upgrade, I realized that the ZHP Style 135 wheels do not fit over them, so I upgraded to Bimmerworld TA5R wheels in 18x9 square:

    And in the mean time, I sent the four calipers to a local powdercoat shop, had new seals and bleeders installed, ordered some ///M decals online, installed the decals, gave them each 4 coats of 2k clear, and now we wait 30 days so I can ceramic coat them before they go on the car:

    This is where the car stands now. Waiting on S54Öwill get back to this project soon.
    2003 Ferrari Red M3 3.5L wagon // 2011 Montego Blue tri-turbo 335d wagon
    2012 Deep Sea Blue X5d // 2003 Orient Blue 330i wagon
    In progress/For Sale: 2003 Alpine White M3/ZHP wagon // 2003 Japan Red M3/ZHP wagon

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2014
    Los Gatos, CA
    My Cars
    05 330i
    This, this is beautiful. I need a cinnamon interior. Good luck with the build.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    Raleigh NC
    My Cars
    03 M3T, 03 M5T/SC, 01 M5
    Big updates on this project.

    Last week I pulled the M54B30 ZHP engine and ZF 6mt in preparation for this past weekend when my friends Paul and Steve from Charlotte came into town to help with the S54 and F80 swap.

    This brings us to Saturday morning. Of course you don’t remove an engine without detailing the engine bay and undercarriage of the chassis, now do you?

    Time to start getting the parts pile ready for transplant:

    Got the low mileage (about 115k) S54 back from Partee Racing (this is the same engine that was in my red M3 touring), fully re-sealed. Every exterior gasket was done.

    Also while we have everything apart, it’s time to replace all wear items on the ZF 6-speed for reuse with the S54:

    She also got brand new front lower control arms, wheel hubs, wheel bearings, dust caps, all power steering lines, PS reservoir, a restored subframe, engine mounts, header gaskets, and soon a big fat Hotchkis front swaybar to match the rear that is already installed.

    Let’s mount the rear brakes:

    Paul swapping the fuel pump to the M3 pump:

    Rogue shifter mounted to the transmission:

    After starting on Saturday morning, here’s where we ended Saturday evening, ready for Sunday:

    Now, Sunday morning!

    Now that the front subframe is in, time to start assembling all the new suspension goodies starting with brand new wheel bearings and hubs:

    And now the F80 brakes:

    A nice underside photo showing how clean everything looks:

    Sport button wired up and cluster installed:

    Airbox getting ready to go in:

    And finally, on Sunday afternoon:

    2003 Ferrari Red M3 3.5L wagon // 2011 Montego Blue tri-turbo 335d wagon
    2012 Deep Sea Blue X5d // 2003 Orient Blue 330i wagon
    In progress/For Sale: 2003 Alpine White M3/ZHP wagon // 2003 Japan Red M3/ZHP wagon

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