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      07-23-2020, 06:20 AM   #1
BBri89
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Drives: F31 320d xDrive M Sport
Join Date: Jul 2020
Location: West Sussex, UK

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bbri89's F31 320d xDrive M Sport

Hi all, pretty new member on the forum, although been a viewer for a few years.
This is a pretty long post but got pictures too. It’s my progress so far on my 320d Touring xDrive.

Hope you enjoy the read.


The Background

Coronavirus lockdown has given me quite a bit of time, so I’ve sorted out all the photos of my car, got a timeline together and decided to make a progress thread.

Back in early 2017 I replaced my 13 year old Mk1.5 Ford Focus which was costing about as much to keep running and getting through its MOT as it would to replace it.

I’d always wanted a BMW 3 series, and particularly when the E91 Touring M Sport came out, I was a big fan of that, particularly the LCI.
But in 2017 when I needed a new car I decided an E91 was a little too old by then, and an F31 a little too expensive in the M Sport spec that I wanted, and I didn’t want a lower spec.

I ended up going for a 2014 Ford Mondeo Titanium X Sport estate, 2.0 diesel auto. And it was great. Very high spec as standard, far more than you get on the BMWs, which seem to be a cost-option for anything worth having.
It even had features like climate-cooled seats, which pumped cold air conditioned air through the seat cushions, perfect for hot summers days.

Unfortunately back in late February 2018 there was a pretty horrific week of weather (“Beast From The East” for anyone in the UK) and there was 5 days of continuous heavy snow.
Growing up in “The North” of England (actually hilly Yorkshire, so not that far north, but try telling that to anyone south of Leicester) there were usually quite a few snow days each year, so ever since I’d been driving I’d always stuck winter tyres on my previous 3 cars for about 4-5 months over November to March.
Having been “Down South” since 2016 though and being mocked by everyone for my winter tyres and snow shovel in the car, I didn’t bother with a winter wheel set on the Mondeo, and I had an oh-dear moment.

Because of the week of snow, and a little short of cash at the time (so no purchasing winter wheels and tyres) I found a supplier with some Autosock snow socks that was in the warehouse next to my father-in-law’s business, so on my way to work I took a little detour to pick them up as there was more heavy snow forecast that afternoon, and there’d been moderate dusting of snow all morning.

Driving about walking pace, literally 3 or 4 mph, the car started moving sideways, and not responding to steering, throttle or brake. Despite smooth gentle inputs on the wheel and lifting off the gas and manually shifting the auto box down a gear, the 235-wide summer tyres just did not respond, and the car picked up a little bit of speed down the slightest of slopes, and came off at a slight off-camber bend, hitting a tiny tree at no more than 6mph.
No airbags went off or anything, but the hazards came on, the car went into “Crash Mode” and the engine shut off and wouldn’t restart.

Turns out the road had actually been compacted to firm ice by all the lorries driving up to the rural industrial estate, and the snow on top was just thick enough to hide all the ice, and the tyres just didn’t grip. Even winter tyres probably wouldn’t have had too much grip.

Managed to get the father-in-law to tow me out in his A4 Allroad… Quattro is pretty impressive! And that’s when we saw the full extent of the damage. Instant write-off, despite how pathetic the speed was.

Both xenon headlights damaged, fog lights, front bumper, coolant radiator, air con radiator, bonnet, the oil sump had been buckled so that was leaking, it was a proper mess.

Oh, did I also mention, this was 12 hours before I was leaving to go on a 7-day skiing holiday, and 8 hours after getting back from skiing I was supposed to be driving to work again.


So I spent a spare couple of hours on Autotrader looking at cars. Fortunately because I had GAP insurance, I knew I was going to get paid out to the full invoice amount for the Mondeo, so I’d essentially had a free years finance lease. That meant I could now afford the F31 I had wanted a year earlier.


Because I no longer had a car, I couldn’t afford to take my time waiting for the ideal one. I set my must-haves and my budget, and settled on the first one I could.

Those must-haves were: M Sport, auto gearbox, xDrive, xenon headlights.

In hindsight I wish I’d taken the 320d off the table, and only considered 330d or 335d, because the used prices weren’t all that different, and insurance was within 50 a year too. It just happened that the first one at the right price at the right time was the 320d.

Anyway, one came up in spec and budget so whilst sat on the balcony of our chalet overlooking the slopes, I emailed and paid a holding-deposit to take the car off advertisement, and booked a test drive.


Getting towed out by the future father in law




Snow on top of ice… no grip!!!




Quite the bit of damage!!!




All the broken bits in the boot




My view whilst scouring Autotrader!





The Test Drive, mid-March 2018

Two weeks later and back in the UK, we made the 200-mile drive to the dealership in rural England. The car hadn’t been through its preparation yet, so it was a bit dirty, as the previous owner had only collected his new car a few days earlier.

Happy with the test drive and very impressed overall with the car, I began the haggling. From chatting with several friends who’ve had lots of new and used Beemers, it seems BMW dealers are just allergic to discounting cars.

The salesman wouldn’t even give me a token 1 off the price of the car (“the price is the price, if you don’t want it I’ve got plenty who will”).
But on agreement of a full deposit there and then, and conditional on using the dealerships finance rather than my own, I did manage to get him to agree to fix a few small dings/car park dents, and refurbish all 4 wheels plus new centre caps, and the major one for me, to discount some parts down so I would pay 25% of the difference between cost-price and list price. Basically I got them for a bargain and the dealership made virtually nothing on them.


On the forecourt…









Delivery Day, late-March 2018

The car arrived 10 days later at the end of March, delivered the 200 miles for free, another thing I got them to chuck in, which they normally charge 1/mile for if it’s not local.

It arrived late afternoon, loaded up with the winter wheels in the boot. The anticipation all day and the excitement when it arrived, but that did not blind me… a quick inspection of the car identified some issues, mostly that not all the dents had been fixed, and the wheels that had actually been refurbished had been done terribly. Missing bits of paint where the primer was clearly showing through. “Diamond cut” with an angle grinder and a flap wheel by the looks of it. Or maybe a rasp. Severe orange peel lacquer. They were a mess really.


Winter wheels:






First Touches, slightly later-March 2018

Because it had arrived late afternoon I didn’t have time on delivery day, so the next day I went about fitting some of those parts I’d got so cheap.

- M Performance black kidney grilles
- M Performance pedal covers
- M Performance twin-exit exhaust

All of which the M Sport really should come with anyway.

Unfortunately despite being a pretty competent DIY driveway-mechanic my angle grinder decided to die on me about 5% of the way through the exhaust pipe, so nipped down the road to the local garage and bought one of the mechanics a 3 meal-deal lunch to whip it off for me. He even stuck the M Perf tips on as well, good lad.


I also fitted the BMW coat hanger, because I’ve often got a suit or jacket in the car and don’t like chucking it across the back seat, and rubber boot liner mat because I’ve got a dog that gets wet and muddy. And when he’s not wet and muddy he’s just hairy.

Having heard great reviews I opted for a Travall dog guard, which was so quick and easy to install, 5 minutes or less, and quickly removes if needs be. And also got a matching boot divider which is great for separating the boot 50/50 so the dog can have one half and the luggage goes on the other side and doesn’t squash him. We usually go away a couple of times a year with the dog so very useful that thing is.

I also debadged the “320d” and “xDrive” badges on the boot, and stuck some chrome indicator bulbs in the headlights .


Grilles:






Pedals:




Pea shooter:




At the local garage borrowing their ramp and angle grinder:




All fitted:






Dog guard:








Bonus pic… the dog surveying his kingdom:





The Wheels Get Sorted, May-June 2018

After several emails and phone calls over the next two weeks, between the Salesman, Aftersales Manager and the Dealer Principle, the threat of escalating it to BMW UK or even rejecting the car, they eventually agreed to rectify the alloy wheels, and less than 2 months after I got the car, they took it away again, leaving me an X1 20d M Sport while they had mine sorted.
The X1 is pretty decent actually, not my cup of tea, but the kind of car I’d get for my wife if she wasn’t insistent on having a Jaguar F Pace.
Another couple of 200-mile drives, my car was picked up virtually empty, and dropped back with a full tank, so at least they paid for the best part of 2 tanks of fuel as well. In the 6 weeks my name had been on the logbook, the dealership had done over 50% of the mileage.
Issue fixed though, second time round the wheels were much better.
(Although a slight bulge in one of the runflat tyres when it came back, and it was slightly imbalanced. I decided not to argue though, and a quick spin on the tyre balancer down the road, a couple of 10g weights and the vibration disappeared).


Terrible refurb job:









Drivers Glovebox Install, July 2018

The original owner hadn’t specced the Extended Storage option, and I was finding I could do with some more cubby holes, so seeing the DIY thread on the forum, I decided to get the parts to fit the Drivers Glovebox.

Got the parts from my local BMW dealers, not too expensive considering, and I went about cutting away at the plastic… no going back now. Fortunately the DIY guide was spot-on and the glovebox is fitted.








The Long Wait, late 2018 and all of 2019

Bought a house, that needed renovating, also got married.
Expensive year. I’m now poor.

I also did about 100 trips to the tip whilst doing the house, not even exaggerating. If I still had the Mondeo then it’d probably have only been 60.
You can fit quite a lot in the back of an F31. But you would not believe how much you can fit in a Mondeo estate.

Did go to a friends wedding held at their parent’s farm. You could pay to glamp in a tee-pee. We decided to put the back seats down and sleep in the car. You can just-about-comfortably fit two adults in for the night.
That was a good trial run, as we were off camping at the Belgian Grand Prix only 6 weeks later. We decided if it was raining all the stuff was getting put in black sacks in the tent, and we were sleeping in the car. Fortunately it was a scorching weekend and not a drop of rain. A nice 800-mile round trip though, very enjoyable roads and scenery, but unfortunately because the car was so loaded up with stuff we couldn’t push too hard on the twisty roads.



The Boot Strut Saga - part 1, December 2019

Around first-frost in December, the electric boot started acting up, not properly closing, either sticking partially open so you could move it around in the latch, sometimes taking 3 or 4 attempts to properly shut, or it would just slam down really hard and lock. The soft close system was not behaving.

The car was out of both its original and its approved-used warranty, but still less than 5 years old.
The local dealership at first were not having any of it, initially wanting me to pay 180 up front for it to be plugged in to diagnostics to read the error codes, (despite that not being their normal practice) and then weren’t willing to try and put it to BMW UK for consideration.
They agreed to invoice me after diagnostics though, which took less than 10 minutes, and so after sitting around sipping several coffees and eating all their biscuits, the idiot who I first had to deal with went to lunch and I spoke to someone else.
The second person was actually pretty helpful and said that it’s unlikely BMW would contribute to the labour, but they might provide the part for free as a goodwill.
15 minutes later he said they’d agreed to comp the parts and contribute 50% of the labour cost, so it would be a total cost of 120 to me, and booked it in for 2 weeks time, which was the earliest I could get back in due to work.


The Boot Strut Saga - part 2, later-December 2019 through to early-January 2020

The car went in again, and unfortunately I had to deal with idiot once more, but I thought at least he’s only booking me in for a 90-minute job, so I figured expect them to take 3 hours, and off I walked 20 minutes into town with my laptop and found a coffee shop to do a bit of work. Still no word after those 3 hours so I headed back to the dealers, and I wait until idiot is free, and he tells me they’ve ordered the wrong parts, and the new parts are non-stock so they’ll take 3-4 days to come from Germany. More idiots. Except they had already dismantled my car by the time they figured that out, and still hadn’t put it back together, and would I mind leaving it with them for a few days. Oh but we don’t have a service department courtesy car for you to take, they’re all out at the minute.

Well how am I supposed to get home when I live about 18 miles away?!
A few gently raised voices with the Service Manager and he scurries off to the Sales Dept, comes back 30 minutes later with a key and says I can take the brand new G20 320d M Sport demonstrator. And it really was brand new. 17 miles on it.

I’ve got a dog, pretty obvious from the dog guard and dog bed in the back of my car… can he come in this car, because he clearly can’t go in the boot of a saloon/sedan car. “Oh yes sir, that’ll be absolutely fine”. Ok then.


Six days later, a phone call from idiot. The wrong parts have arrived again. But at least the mechanic absolutely definitely knows which one is the right part now. Apparently.
But, you guessed it, non-stock from Germany. 3-4 working days puts us bang in the middle of the week between Christmas and New Year. I don’t care, I’m enjoying this brand new G20, putting hella miles on it driving round the M25 and up and down the M1. I just wait for the phone call from idiot to say it’s done. The call never comes.

So at the start of the second week of January I call the dealership, and to no surprise, idiot has actually been sacked. Someone else has taken over all his cases, but a lot of it has fallen through the cracks, mine being one of them. Anyway the car is now done and ready to collect. Finally. I pay my 120 and off I go.


Three days later and the problem comes back continuously.


The Boot Strut Saga - part 3, March 2020

This was no longer something for a phone call, I drove the 20 miles to the dealership to have it out there and then.
End up speaking to a really helpful chap, who gets one of the mechanics (an old housemate of his apparently) to run it onto the diagnostics again and see what’s what. Exactly the same fault codes as before. Rear boot struts sticking allegedly. Despite being replaced only a week before.

Not at all happy, and so the dealership agree to take it back in to resolve, replacing the parts if needs be as under warranty, and I tell them that they really need to make it up to me for keeping my car for 3 weeks and not even fixing the problem.
Asking what I expect, I say a free service & MOT, whilst actually fixing the problem. They say yes to the first two, but tell me that if any additional parts need replacing for the boot then either I’ll need to pay or it’ll have to go back to BMW UK to see if they’ll contribute. I say fine.

Car goes back in the next week, and low and behold, the mechanic spots that the boot trims have been put on upside down, back to front, inside out and the wrong one on top of the other. He switches it all round and fits it as it should be, and the problem has never occurred since.
Free MOT and service to boot.


The Lockdown, March 2020 til ???

So like most people, I had a lot of time on my hands stuck at home. Unable to work from home, and unable to go into work, I was furloughed. Aside from doing about 60 days of manual labour in the garden and digging up a front garden to build a driveway, I also spent quite a bit of time on the forums, chatting with friends and I got the car bug again.

I made a list of things to do to the car, and started working my way through them.


The Wheel Refurb, June 2020

My neighbour has an F30 335d and both our 403M wheels had got the dreaded BMW white-worm corrosion that seems to affect mostly the nice expensive wheels and never the cheap ones. After debating whether to go powdercoat or diamond cut, speaking to a few people including the refurb company who said diamond cut will not only be more expensive, but also will only last a few years before happening again, we decided to get them powdercoated. Him in silver, but me, I’d always loved the E91 LCI M Sport with the ferric grey wheels, so that’s what colour I went with my 403Ms.

During lockdown, one of the other things I’d been doing was watching a lot of youtube videos, and really got into the Tyre Reviews videos (check him out, he’s brilliant).
I decided based on forum and friends advice to ditch the runflats at the same time and go for some Michelin Pilot Sport 4 S, and boy am I glad I did.

The wheels came back fitted with the new rubber, and I promptly sealed them with some Gtechniq C5, and fitted them then went for a drive.

Wow, what a difference. First of all the noise is much quieter, you don’t get that roar/drone like you do with the runflats. Then comfort, it bumps over speed bumps rather than crashing. You feel a break or bulge in the road surface like a little bump, not the jarring that I used to get. And boy, the grip. I got a bit carried away and might have gone round the same big roundabout 5 times getting faster each time.

I went for a 30 mile drive on country roads and it feels so much more, I don’t even know, it just does what you want, goes where you want it, grips like expect. It made me realise that I’d adapted to the runflats and drove accordingly, but these are how the car should have come. I still don’t know why BMW insist on fitting them, no other manufacturer feels the need to, and even the M cars don’t have them because they don’t provide the necessary performance.
Anyway, I know now, and I’ll NEVER get runflats again.


The dreaded white worm (not mine, but pic borrowed off the forum)




New tyres:






Sealed with Gtechniq C5:




Fitted:







The Coding, June 2020

Something else I discovered, was the possibilities through coding. I read the forums and watched youtube videos, and decided I had to get involved. So I bought a Vgate iCar Pro adapter off Amazon, and downloaded the BimmerCode and BimmerLink apps.
I made quite a few changes including
- Alarm acoustic lock/unlock beeps
- Tyre temps on the TPMS page
- iDrive start up animation
- Headlight & windscreen washer settings
- Convenient open/closing settings
- Boot open/close settings







The Lowering Springs, early-July 2020

So one of the things that really bugs me about this car, is that despite being an M Sport, because it’s the xDrive they put the standard SE springs on, so it’s really soft and rolls in the corners, and the front sits really high too, like a speed boat.
I’ve no idea why, they clearly could have managed with a lower ride height, but I eventually got so sick of it I went for lowering springs.

I know on the forum there’s the arguments between ACS, Eibach, H&R etc. On two of my previous cars I’ve had Eibachs and cannot fault them. I know on the F31 the Eibachs don’t drop too low, and a friend with the same car had them fitted and loves them, so I decided to go ahead.

At the same time, I thought I might as well change the rear anti-roll bar too, because it’s tiny, 12mm on my car. I went for a BMW OE 15mm one from the M135i, which if my maths and engineering knowledge is right, has over double the torsional stiffness (15^4 = 50,625 whilst 12^4 = 20,736… 50,625/20,736 = 2.44… so close to 2.5x stiffer).

The springs made a massive difference, there is so much less body-roll in corners now, and the front doesn’t dive down under heavy braking as much. It feels much more poised, and looks soooo much better.
I can definitely feel a difference in the initial turn too, which I’m putting down to the rear bar, the front feels tighter and more connected, less prone to understeer. It handles great, and it’s now been just over 2 weeks so next week it’s getting the alignment sorted.

In total, the front arch gap reduced from approx. 78mm to 42mm (35mm drop) and rear 40mm to 28mm (12mm drop). The difference between the front and rear has gone from 40mm to just 14mm, which makes a noticeable difference to the look of the car. That front arch gap was huge before.

Big thanks to Warren @ WGMotorworks for supply & fit. He can do all sorts from simple service to complex gearbox rebuilds, engine and gearbox tuning, dyno tuning etc.


Ready to be fitted:













Old 12mm rear anti roll bar




New 15mm RARB




Settling down




Before vs After




Numbers talk:





The Gearbox Tune, mid-July 2020

My car has now done 80k miles. It turns out ZF recommend servicing the gearbox at 50-60k which I wasn’t previously aware of, because when I asked BMW they gave the “sealed for lifetime” and whole doesn’t need servicing story.

I noticed that there was a little bit of slip in 1st and 2nd, more than I remember when I first got the car at 50k miles, but not enough to worry me, but I thought that a service would be wise.

So took it to a reasonably local ZF specialist who did the change and even washed the car for me. Fortunately being Alpine White, it doesn’t show swirls too bad, so I’m not as fussy with this car as I have been with others when it comes to cleaning and detailing it. As long as they don’t jet wash the wheels or strip any paint off the panels, I’m not too bothered.
The gearbox service was worthwhile though, the gear changes afterwards were so silky smooth. Driving around in Comfort/D you couldn’t even feel it change 1 -> 2 -> 3 -> 4.
A big improvement, but I guess you don’t notice it get very gradually worse over 2 years and 30k miles, but notice it get instantly better again.


A few days later once I’d let the new ZF oil settle down and my MHD Black adapter arrived, I installed the xHP tune, straight to Stage 3.
I had a 40 mile drive down to a family member to do that day which I stretched out to 60 miles, just did the trip in Comfort/D to let the gearbox sort itself out, and didn’t notice much difference. It was handy having the gear indicator in D mode though.

On the way back once I got the engine & gearbox up to temp, I dropped it into Sport + and S mode and wow what a transformation. That is definitely worth the money. Nice firm aggressive gearshifts without being too harsh or violent. That’s what a “Sports Auto” should be like in Sports mode. It is almost as good as a DCT, and infact with the ZF8 and this xHP, I don’t think I’ll ever go back to a manual gearbox ever again, and probably not even a DCT.
Such a broadly-fitted gearbox, but now with this xHP tune, I can see why Aston Martin and Lamborghini use it, among other manufacturers.

Pulling out at junctions with decent throttle the torque convertor locks up much earlier now so you don’t get that slipping, it just launches away. I haven’t even tried Launch Control yet. Not sure I want or need to!






The Sliding Armrest, same day in mid-July 2020

I cannot believe on a 50k car (the original new order form shows the first owner paid just over 50k) that clearly has a sliding armrest available, that it’s not just standard fit to all of them.

I am not the tallest person, 5’9 so not too short, but the armrest is just not in the right place. The front edge of it would be right in the soft part of my elbow between the bones. A few inches further forward would be perfect.

I managed to find a sliding armrest in the black leather from some variant of F30 or F80 on eBay the week before, which arrived that same morning as I did the xHP tune.
Nice quick fix to install, took about 10 minutes, although I did poke some of the rear air vent little up/down moving things out accidently when I was pulling the trim away.

They took over an hour of fiddling at the kitchen table to put them back in. Every time I got one to go in, another would pop out of the thin metal bracket at the side. I managed to get 3 in, then the 4th one popped 2 others out again. I almost went onto eBay and just bought a new rear air vent, but eventually I thought if I was going to do that, then I’d first risk individually supergluing them to the metal bracket which held them just long enough to get all 5 in, then moved them around before the glue set. I thought I’ve nothing to lose if I’m going to buy a new one anyway. But now it works perfectly again so saved myself a few quid.











The Future…

- Wheel spacers

I’ve got 4 pairs of hubcentric wheel spacers in the garage. 5mm, 10mm, 12mm, 15mm. I’d heard that the 10mm and 12mm wouldn’t fit on the rear of the F30/F31 because of the hub protrusion, but I did a trial fit when I put the refurbed wheels back on, and if you remove the dustcap then they fit perfectly. I wondered if I decided I need 10 or 12s on the back, if I couldn’t just fit the dust cap on top of the spacer, then put the wheel on. I didn’t fit them back then though as I wanted the car lowered first so I could see how it sat. Now it is lowered, I’m undecided. I might just get another pair of 5mm and go for 5s allround. I need a day when I can be bothered to do lots of jacking up and trying them all on for size and seeing how it looks.






- Goodridge braided brake hoses

I’ve ordered some of these with stainless steel fittings, which I’ll do next time I do a brake fluid change. Should be arriving next week. My discs and pads still have a bit of life left in them but I’ll be fitting Brembo drilled/grooved discs and the Brembo X pads when they need replacing, as well as going for Motul RBF600 fluid. I change my fluid every other year, and have let the dealers change it every 2 years too, so its always 12 months or less. I’ll just change it and leave it off the dealers to-do schedule once I use RBF600.


- Remap

Now I’ve got the xHP done I’m definitely after a remap. A friend with the same car went from dyno recorded 178hp to 214hp. I know the numbers aren’t necessarily real true horsepower, but it’s more about the before/after comparison, and it’s a decent amount. He loves it and says its like a whole different car now, particularly in the mid-range. Hoping to get that done in September 2020.


- Dual-Exit Exhaust, and maybe M Performance diffuser

I do like the twin-exhaust, but I love the dual-exit like on the 340i. I know Cobra in the UK do an off-the-shelf kit for the 320d, and I had a custom designed Cobra exhaust on a previous car, so their stuff is good. It’s a little more than I would hope to spend though, and I know some people just fit a standard 340 exhaust, so I need to do a bit more investigation first, keep an eye out for a bargain etc.
Obviously I’d need a new diffuser as well, I’m undecided whether to stick with the M Sport gloss-grey but with the two exits, or go for the M Performance diffuser. And then if I did go for the M Performance, I don’t know whether matt black or gloss black. Decisions decisions.







- LCI Taillight retrofit

The E90/91 pre-LCI looks very dated now. The LCI doesn’t, it’s aged much better.
I know there are more differences than just the lights, but I still think the LCI looks modern enough.
So I thought about future-proofing my car a bit to prevent it getting that aged look.
The F30/31 LCI lights look great. I’m not a fan of those black M Performance lights, but I do like the slightly darker M Sport Shadow lights. So if I can source some of those, great. If not, I might put a very, very light tint on, just to tone the red down a little bit. Definitely not a dark tint taillight fan though.





- M Performance front splitter, maybe

I’ve been undecided on this one, because I’ve seen it on Alpine White F30/31s before, but the whole thing is black, which I think looks a bit odd. So if I did get it, I’d get a bodyshop to spray those two bits either side that attach to the bumper to match the car, then leave the rest of it black.





- 3D Design (or other) roof spoiler, maybe

I’m undecided. I want something that looks good and sporty and natural, not OTT or too obtuse. So I’ll see.





- Sunvisor label removal

I’ve got the meths spirit, I’ve got the tools, I’ve even got the time, I just haven’t have the effort. But I’ll do that some time. When I can be bothered.

Drivers sunvisor in the UK RHD cars is fine, without label.
When the passenger sunvisor is up, even though its got a label on both sides, I don’t really notice it. But when the visor is down, ie when my wife is in the car, the sticker is quite noticeable and ugly and annoying. So it has to go.


- Folding rear headrests

The centre one folds. The outer ones do not. I’ve got the part numbers. It’s something that I’ll just occasionally check classifieds and eBay for. It’s not a major thing, if I find a bargain I’ll do it, but I won’t pay for new ones from a dealer.


- Seat back storage

Something else that would have been good if the first owner specced the Extended Storage package is the storage nets on the backs of the front seats.

Like the folding headrests, if I find a bargain, great. If not, I probably won’t spend the money because it’s not that important to me.


- Reversing camera retrofit

I miss this feature from my previous car. I never thought I’d need it, but it’s so useful to have, and I would always spec it on any new car I got. I actually find it more important with PDC fitted. I’ve been distracted by the PDC before and reversed into a traffic cone that the sensors clearly hadn’t detected. Fortunately no harm done, but if it had been a concrete post or a bollard, it could have done some damage.

I’ve done a little bit of looking into it, and I know there are aftermarket ones out there that can be done, and I know you can retrofit the OE BMW one too. I want genuine OE but it’s not cheap, so I’ll see.






- Next Car, one day

G21 M340i. I’ve already been mentally shopping.

My car is 5 years old now, 80k miles and still for the most part going like it’s almost new. I reckon I’ll keep it until early 2025… I’ll have had it 7 years then and it’ll be 10 years old, and probably around 150-160k on it by then. They might have a decent nearly-new G21 M340 LCI, or maybe I’ll treat myself to my first ever brand new car.
I’ll probably more likely end up with an M340d though due to the mileage I do.


UPDATE M3 TOURING confirmed... this is what I have been waiting all my adult life for, and would without doubt have been my replacement car. Except they may go ruin it with that awful front grille. And I just can't do that.



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      07-23-2020, 10:59 AM   #2
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Great detail sir!

Have been looking for an extendable arm rest myself, just need to find in the right colour- glad to see it's not too tricky to fit, even if I may need a bit of super glue!

RE Brake lines - interesting upgrade. I asked BMW last month during my service if there was a MP set of steel brake lines or some sort of upgrade (m3/4?) for the standard 340i lines but they looked at me blankly and said no.
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      07-23-2020, 11:15 AM   #3
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Great detail sir!

Have been looking for an extendable arm rest myself, just need to find in the right colour- glad to see it's not too tricky to fit, even if I may need a bit of super glue!

RE Brake lines - interesting upgrade. I asked BMW last month during my service if there was a MP set of steel brake lines or some sort of upgrade (m3/4?) for the standard 340i lines but they looked at me blankly and said no.
If you don't carelessly break the air vent then you won't need the superglue 😂

Remove the outer part of the rear air vent trim thing, like in my picture, rather than the inner bit, and it's a really really easy job.


I've had braided lines on every single car and motorbike I've had, pretty cheap but useful upgrade. Never need replacing then unlike the rubber hoses, and it gives a firmer pedal especially if the old hoses were a bit stretchy. Having boiled my brakes on another car pretty badly once I always go for decent brakes now, good quality parts and fluid.
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      07-23-2020, 11:37 AM   #4
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Comprehensive thread - curious as to what the options were for it to cost 50k new for a 320d?

Mines a saloon but Alpine White and I'm undecided on the front splitter too. I have the rear diffuser and side blades and stickers. Haven't done the black grilles yet either
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      07-27-2020, 08:11 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by bishbosh View Post
Comprehensive thread - curious as to what the options were for it to cost 50k new for a 320d?

Mines a saloon but Alpine White and I'm undecided on the front splitter too. I have the rear diffuser and side blades and stickers. Haven't done the black grilles yet either

To be fair that was the total invoice price rather than the car price... it did have all the kinda stuff the dealers throw in, like the service pack, paint protection etc, and some subscription services included in all that.

Not sure how much xDrive and Sports Automatic added over a standard 320d sD manual, it also had the M Sport Plus pack, 19" wheels, Professional Nav and Heated Steering wheel. That along with the service pack and paint protection and subs will have easily added several grand probably over the basic price of a 320d.
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      07-27-2020, 08:17 AM   #6
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Hunter 4-wheel Alignment - July 2020


It's been a few weeks since the Eibach springs and RARB went on, so time to get the alignment done.

In the time I've had the car, it hasn't been redone (although it was done as part of the AUC sale), but in 2 years with runflat tyres on UK roads, I suspected it was out a little bit by now anyway.

Went up to Abbey Motorsport in Oxted, Surrey who have a Hunter 4-wheel laser alignment setup there.
They are a mostly Japanese motorsport-oriented place, but do non-Jap and road stuff.
Fantastic staff, and meticulous mechanics with great attention to detail.


Despite spraying a load of Plus Gas on the rear adjustment nuts, as I know they have a habit of seizing, it must have not made much difference, as they had to get the induction heater out (better than a blowtorch but not cheap... 150 filaments that only last several times apparently). That's why its quite expensive if everything is seized, it takes time and costs money.

Anyway they managed to free them off without too much trouble, and got about adjusting. He got it pretty much in the middle 1/3 of the green range, but that wasn't good enough for him, so he spent about 5-10 minutes on each adjustment making micrometers of adjustment so it was bang in the middle. Went back and made a few more adjustments and tweaks again.

All in all was about 60 minutes on the ramp, and worth the time/money.
Surprisingly not too far out of whack beforehand, considering its been a couple of years and it's been lowered.






Room for a bit of spacer action there:







Heating the bolts up:




Penetrating spray burning off:







Rear's almost done:




Front's turn now:




Printout:





BONUS PICS:

Supra loving... 2JZ:




295-wide Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2s on the Supra... some serious traction there!




Drag Mk1 Escort. Over 600 hp, less than 900kg. 9.something 1/4 mile.




Needs a wheelie bar and parachute pack!




As a child of the late 80s and 90s, I grew up on Fast & Furious and Gran Turismo.
Nissan Skyline R34 GT-R, in Bayside Blue. It was my dream car as a teenager. A real 4-wheeled hero.

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      07-27-2020, 08:23 AM   #7
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Sun Visor warning label removal - July 2020

It's a wet and miserable Monday. The wife is at work, and I'm on a day off.

So I decided to remove the airbag labels off the passenger-side sun visor.


Surprisingly easy to remove... I've had cars in the past where they are basically fit-once-and-never-remove, and attempting to remove them causes damage to bits that aren't really fixable or replaceable.

Fortunately a nice easy T20 torx once you lift the screw cover. Even the bracket and wiring comes out easily.

Took about 40 minutes, although most of that was waiting around whilst the spirits soaked the labels.

The inside label (vanity mirror side) was easy to remove, the other side a bit more difficult. No idea if that's because its usually up so the mirror-side one isn't exposed to sunlight/UV as often.

Managed to get them both off with a bit of rubbing, and then got rid of the gluey residue around the edge with some Gtechniq panel wipe which is basically isopropyl alcohol. (I used methylated spirits for most of the label, because its much cheaper than the panel wipe).

Almost can't see where the labels were, certainly better than before.












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      07-27-2020, 11:20 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BBri89 View Post
To be fair that was the total invoice price rather than the car price... it did have all the kinda stuff the dealers throw in, like the service pack, paint protection etc, and some subscription services included in all that.

Not sure how much xDrive and Sports Automatic added over a standard 320d sD manual, it also had the M Sport Plus pack, 19" wheels, Professional Nav and Heated Steering wheel. That along with the service pack and paint protection and subs will have easily added several grand probably over the basic price of a 320d.
Heated steering wheel is a great option and I have it on my 335d! It's also got heated electric memory seats, extended display, M sport+ and the usual gubbins that includes. I think original price was about 45k but not sure, I bought it at 3 years old.
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      07-27-2020, 12:03 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by bishbosh View Post
Heated steering wheel is a great option and I have it on my 335d! It's also got heated electric memory seats, extended display, M sport+ and the usual gubbins that includes. I think original price was about 45k but not sure, I bought it at 3 years old.

Maybe it depends how hard you negotiate. I don't know the previous owner but apparently he's been a long-time customer, replacing with brand-new every 3 years, does a lot of long-distance driving.

Perhaps his company pay the bill or something.
I know when I specced up one of the last F31s out of boredom, it came to just under 55k on the website from what I remember.
I guess the G21 will be a bit more than that.
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      07-28-2020, 05:04 PM   #10
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[QUOTE=BBri89;26489076]Sun Visor warning label removal - July 2020

It's a wet and miserable Monday. The wife is at work, and I'm on a day off.

So I decided to remove the airbag labels off the passenger-side sun visor.


Surprisingly easy to remove... I've had cars in the past where they are basically fit-once-and-never-remove, and attempting to remove them causes damage to bits that aren't really fixable or replaceable.

Fortunately a nice easy T20 torx once you lift the screw cover. Even the bracket and wiring comes out easily.

Took about 40 minutes, although most of that was waiting around whilst the spirits soaked the labels.

The inside label (vanity mirror side) was easy to remove, the other side a bit more difficult. No idea if that's because its usually up so the mirror-side one isn't exposed to sunlight/UV as often.

Managed to get them both off with a bit of rubbing, and then got rid of the gluey residue around the edge with some Gtechniq panel wipe which is basically isopropyl alcohol. (I used methylated spirits for most of the label, because its much cheaper than the panel wipe).

Almost can't see where the labels were, certainly better than before.

————————————-

Acetone free nail varnish remover works very well too
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      07-29-2020, 03:21 AM   #11
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Great thread

Although modding isn't my thing I can really appreciate you've done everything tastefully and to an obvious high standard

Great work and has made a really interesting read
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      07-29-2020, 03:35 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by Sasquartch View Post
Great thread

Although modding isn't my thing I can really appreciate you've done everything tastefully and to an obvious high standard

Great work and has made a really interesting read
Thanks... I've always had an OEM+ approach to modifications.

Was never a Max Power bodykit person in the early 00s, the only non-OEM wheels I've ever had were Compomotive MO5s on a Corrado VR6, and they were very similar to the original-fit Speedline alloys anyway.

I've always been of the belief that subtlety and enhancing is the key, improving what's already there.
And there's always such a thing as too much... especially when it comes to things like carbon.


But I know everyone is different and individuality is key, but it's about what pleases you as the owner. It's pointless doing it for anyone else, because most people don't care.
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      08-24-2020, 11:04 AM   #13
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LCI Tail Light Retrofit


As part of my plan to freshen up the back end, and to avoid it looking too dated too soon, I went about searching for some LCI rear lights.

eBay had several but all way way over my budget, so put a WTB thread of the forum and AR68 had some that would be available once he fitted his new lights.

They arrived last week and today I went about fitting them, having read through the various DIY guides, and youtube videos. It all looks far more complicated than it actually is. But it is very fiddly and time consuming as you have to remove lots of trim pieces and refit it all.


Original non-LCI lights (quite flat)













Old ones off...






Boot trims all taken out








LCI lights fitted (much more sticky-out and rounded)








Tail lights (also now coded in as DRLs)






Indicators






Fogs






BEFORE vs AFTER side by side








Big thanks to @ar68 for the lights, and to @jdr78569 and @RJF92 for their DIY guides.
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      09-09-2020, 11:15 AM   #14
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Air Conditioning Condenser replacement


For several weeks the air con has only been mediocre, on Max AC, the temp coming out the vents was 65F or 18C. Should be closer to 45F/8C. When the temperature was in the high 20s and 30s, I was struggling a bit. The car wasn't getting anywhere cold enough.

I haven't had it re-gassed in the 2.5 years I've had the car, and it probably (almost certainly) wasn't done in the 3 years the previous owner had it, so I figured at 5.5 years old, it needed topping up.


Booked it in to local BMW specialist for a re-gas, as well as Front & Rear diff & Transfer Case oil replacement, and they found a leak on the air con radiator.
The usual stone damage. So had to get it swapped out.

I've ordered some black aluminium fine mesh which I'll fit behind the grilles to protect the new air con rad.


At least it's blowing really cold again now.






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      09-14-2020, 07:31 AM   #15
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STAGE ONE Remap


I'd been planning to get the car remapped however due to work situation that got pushed back a little bit.
I've just got back from getting it done by WG Motorworks who specialise in performance tuning, mostly of BMW M and Vauxhall VXR vehicles.

Very, very pleased with the results, and combined with the xHP gearbox tune, it is a completely different car to drive compared to how it was a few months ago.



















As you can see from the graph, previous peak torque was 270ftlb.
Now, between 1900rpm and 4150rpm we've got 270 or more available, with a new peak torque of just a fraction under 320ftlb at about 2600rpm.

Previous peak power was 172hp (down a little bit on what I expected for the N47 181hp/184PS but not too bad).
New peak power is up 42hp to 214hp, hitting the old power of 172hp about 1600rpm earlier.

It's still reasonably conservative, we could have pushed it much more to achieve a bit more power, but I'm not chasing numbers. I'm after drivability and reliability.
Inlet temps, boost, fuelling, EGTs pre/post-Cat etc are all still nice safe numbers.


It now drives brilliantly, really can feel the difference, particularly rolling acceleration, like on a slip road or overtaking other cars.
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      09-14-2020, 10:42 AM   #16
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Love the 403's painted dark..!
Thanks for posting up your efforts.
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      09-14-2020, 11:17 AM   #17
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Love the 403's painted dark..!
Thanks for posting up your efforts.
Thanks.
I was going for the same kind of look that the later E91 LCI has on the M Sport, with the grey wheels.
Didn't quite look as I expected but still happy with it, and definitely better than the typical BMW diamond cut corrosion.
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      09-14-2020, 11:40 AM   #18
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Great information on your thread by the way ...Thanks for making such an effort.

I am considering the 15mm ARB's on my car, but am wondering if it worth the effort, or if it will reduce comfort levels?

Also the xhp gearbox map? i had considered doing the Alpina map, but xhp seems to be more popular now
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      09-14-2020, 12:09 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by McBeemer View Post
Great information on your thread by the way ...Thanks for making such an effort.

I am considering the 15mm ARB's on my car, but am wondering if it worth the effort, or if it will reduce comfort levels?

Also the xhp gearbox map? i had considered doing the Alpina map, but xhp seems to be more popular now
I don't think the ARB will affect comfort, but definitely tightens things up, reducing understeer and body roll.
I'd only upgrade the rear one though, doing the front as well will keep the balance the same which is a bit understeery imo, whereas now it's a bit more neutral, not lots of oversteer but the rear is definitely happier turning now.

I don't know much about the Alpina map, but can not fault the xHP and would definitely get that on my next car if it's available.
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      09-14-2020, 12:18 PM   #20
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BBr, you mentioned earlier about the Cobra dual exit exhaust, when I was researching the same exhaust 'look' for my 320d, Cobra's system was around 500.
I eventually decided on a back box delete/custom exhaust that was built for me as I watched and was 180.
The result is a deeper grumble sound but thankfully no louder than before with no effect on emissions and my car now looks like this.
It is just an alternative idea for you to consider
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      09-14-2020, 12:20 PM   #21
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The end result
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      09-14-2020, 12:21 PM   #22
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No unsightly silencer from the rear
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