Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Exhaust Tips for the Warranty Cautious Modder

I really want a Eisenmann quad exhaust system. Really. After looking into adding an after-market exhaust that wasn't Dinan, to my Dinan modified 335i, I decided to wait until I'm out of warranty before I change the whole exhaust system on my car. A good modification that is low cost and adds a nice after-market look is exhaust tips.

I went with 3.8" chrome tips from Cyba off the E90 board. Ordering was easy and the price was far better than Dimsa tips. The Cyba tips ran $99 including shipping. Dimsa tips are $145 (special right now down from $175) not including shipping.

Locally, I went to S & K Muffler in Royal Oak, Michigan to have the tips installed. They do require that the stock exhaust is cut and the tips are welded on. Cost was $60 for the installation. It took about an hour to install, while I waited.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

An Even More Striking Interior

Tastefully modifying your interior is a very difficult thing when you start changing trim pieces out with non-OEM or something different from the typical carbon fiber treatment. Sometimes, interior customizations look a bit too "Pimp My Ride." Fortunately, a customization worthy of consideration was done by Richy, Richy@RichmannMotorSport.com, from BMW MotorSport (Richmann Motorsports).

The center console is wrapped in black leatherette, giving the 3-series interior a bit of a M3 look and actually it really cleans up the look of the aluminum trim and black leather interior combination. Fit is a bit tight, as the installer mentioned it took some strong arming to get the trim to pop back into place since the leatherette ads some thickness to the pieces, but it does click in.

Sorry, but there are no details on pricing. It looks pretty low cost though, particularly if you are just trimming the center console section with your existing parts.

All in all, I think it looks amazing and may consider this as a way to give my car some new life after five or so years. Provided of course, I stop looking at the photo and think 'damn that looks good and probably isn't too bad price wise...' more.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

A Sexier Skirt

I was on E90Post.com yesterday, yeah I know -- big surprise, and I came across some great photos of one of my favorite E93’s on the board (see photo at left.) Of course, the first thing you notice about Steven’s montego blue 335i convertible is the BMW star spoke 179 wheels. If you take another look, you’ll notice some aggressive side skirts.

At first, I thought the skirts were the OEM M3 side skirts from the M3. That’s not the case as Steven told me his were a better choice as the OEMs don’t fit properly and require quite a bit of customization to get a better fit, that still isn’t perfect. Fortunately, an after-market supplier has solved the problem.

The car above features M-Force Design’s E92 M3 Style Side Skirts. Fitment is 100% and the installation requires no tape or glue and are installed “exactly like an OEM replacement part." Pricing painted that includes shipping from a recent group buy on E90Post is $570, $410 unpainted/primed.

These definitely have my attention as my stock side skirts could use a more aggressive look and the car wash I used during my first winter with the car put some nice scratches into the clearcoat, though I was able to buff most of them out using my Flex random orbital polisher.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Featured Custom Phillipino 335i Convertible

This car has been featured in several global car magazines. For the most part, it is a beautifully modded alpine white convertible. The wheels, quad exhaust and various touches make it a standout. My only gripe is the black and white hood. It's not horrible, just not my thing. Other than that, it is a beautifully executed, extremely modified convertible.

Accolades include, "Auto Extreme (local TV show) and has bagged 8 trophies in 7 major car shows here in the Philippines. Mostly best Euro and best BMW. She has been featured in 2 international magazines and 2 local magazines. She has also been featured in a Japanese website and a local website."

You can see all of the featured publications, full articles, on E90Post.com - check it out.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

M Sport Perforated Leather Steering Wheel Installed

After researching various steering wheel options, I decided to forgo the BMW Performance Steering Wheel once I learned its installation estimate at the dealership increase from 1.5 hours to 4 hours. The install also seemed beyond my skill level since it required some wiring modifications from both sides of the . I was very impressed with the new M Sport Perforated Leather Steering Wheel after I spent some time checking out my friend’s 2008 M3 convertible.

I decided to save $300 on the part and do the install myself, as it looked fairly simple. There is an excellent DIY on E90Post.com that helped a ton and the install only took me 40 minutes. Post #573 in the DIY helped immensely as the removal of the airbag took the most effort and it was unclear in the original post to see how you pop the airbag off with a screwdriver. I was also able to avoid the step of disconnecting the battery. The car goes into “sleep mode” if you let it sit with the door open and keep the key inside the house and don’t open a door or engage an interior light. If you do the sleep mode thing, you avoid the hassle of getting access to the E93’s battery, which involves removing several screws.

The M Sport wheel really has a nice feel. It is much thicker than the standard wheel. You can see the difference in the photo on the side. You’ll love the feel and it is a great modification, though a bit pricey for models with paddle shifters ($695 for the part from Tischer BMW online.) You always grab the wheel while you drive, so it really is a modification you enjoy all the time.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Is This Too Much of an Exhaust Note for a BMW?

One of the best parts of making the car you have "yours"is the research in finding what performance and cosmetic modifications make sense to your car and your taste. Choosing a pedal set or a front lip is pretty simple stuff. Deciding which exhaust upgrade to buy is the most complex of all, in my opinion. Sound, look, cost, and performance gains all go into one of the most cosmetic performance upgrades you can do to your convertible. Most performance changes you can see when you pop the hood, exhausts can beautify and increase your horsepower gains.

After spending a little time in my friend's new 2008 E93 M3 and hearing how amazing the quad exhaust of the M3 is, I decided to spend some time researching exhausts. I had narrowed down my choices to two: Active Autowerks and BMW Performance. I thought for sure I'd order one of these in the coming month that was until I heard the Eisenmann quad RACE exhaust and how amazing a quad exhaust looks on an E93.

Of course, going with a quad exhaust requires some other cosmetic changes to the rear end of the car. The best look I could find is using the 92/e93 OEM M-Technik Rear Bumper with a carbon fiber rear diffuser. An example can be seen on the E93 at right; though, not with quad exhausts. The M-Technik gives the rear a clean look in my opinion, add quad exhausts and you'll have a very sweet custom change to your E93. Non of this is cheap when you add the $2,300 for the quad exhaust and about $1,800 for the M-Technik parts.

For those interested in a less dramatic and less costly change, the BMW Performance exhaust is getting some great reviews on E90Post.com and you can pickup this exhaust for about $1,500 and it is a simple bolt-on installation.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Intake Options for the 335i

My latest infatuation is researching air intakes for the 335i engine. There are quite a few out there now and some really have a great looking setup. Here are few things I've learned looking at intakes:

1. Dual or Single cone? Dual cones definitely give you a higher performance boost and most choices give you about a 12-15 horsepower gain. Single cone benefits are minimal compared to stock so if you are doing this you want some performance gain.

2. Costs range from $130 for a nice BMS dual cone to almost $2,000 for a beautiful, yet insane, all carbon GruppeM model. I find the better choices are in the $300-$400 range for a good looking dual cone setup.

3. Low or high sitting intakes. Some intakes are installed where the filters sit low in the engine bay and this setup can cause water getting easily into the filter's air flow which can lock up your engine. The best choice is to go with an intake that sits high in the engine bay so water is less likely to get into your air flow.

4. Warranty. Replacing an intake could affect your warranty with BMW (or in my case Dinan.) It's a rare thing but intakes affect engine performance and if you have a major engine issue it seems you could get into some sticky discussions on a warranty claim if the reason for an issue isn't crystal clear. So, be aware of this when considering this kind of modification.

There are two dual intakes I'm considering. The best looking one is the Injen model (see image above) that runs in the $400 price range and even comes in a red color with red filters. Sure the red/red thing is a bit "ricey" but there is something very cool about the look that is appealing. The other choice is probably the favorite preference of the E90Post.com board, aFe Dual Filter Intake; it's gain is a supposed 27 horsepower. It's a nice setup in the mid $300 range. It looks good and actually is considerably easier to install than the Injen product.

My big issue with any option after researching all of this is warranty. I have the Dinan software and really wonder if any future claims could be derailed if I do have an engine issue before my 4 years or 50,000 miles are up. For this reason, I may just wait two and a half years and do this modification and look at getting the BMW Performance Steering Wheel now.