Dec 23, 2018

What's my car worth? BMW E36 M3/4/5



My stable needs an AWD for my personal winter coolness.  As a poor blogging pharmacist, the M3 may just have to be the car to fund it.  Please comment on the blog, or suggest a value, a trade, send me money or just call me an asshole.

Tiny spoiler is off a E46, but it's applied with tape,
You can peel it off if it offends your sensibilities. 

If it was for sale the add would look like this......................

For Sale:  Made FAMOUS BY THIS BLOG.  MY 1997 M3 4 door 5 speed sedan 116,000 miles and climbing.  All those nagging little projects have been done.  Apparently, I forgot it snows in Colorado. 


This is the car in current state.  Just outside of Estes Park, my favorite Saturday drive.
Saturday drives and cars and coffee is all I do.  I don't have the nerves for  track days
Please note there are no pizza delivery guys or teenagers in it's ownership history.  No offense intended, I'm a big fan of both for different reasons.
  • Owner 1.  ER manager at Seattle hospital
  • Owner 2.  ER physical at same hospital
  • Owner 3.  Pharmacist at Boulder hospital. (Me)

You can see here all the Dinan shocks, springs, sway and muffler.
Dinan is a great compromise between streetable and sporty feel. 
After all, they sold their stuff through most dealerships.

It is not a Carfax virgin, which can put off some folks.  I bought it because the condition was exceptional, not because the Carfax was exceptional. The was struck by a grocery cart, wielded by an angry vagrant in 2007.  Opportunity to paint the entire car and address years of scuffs and scratches presented itself.  So it's been resprayed pretty darn well.

This photo shows the Motorsport belts, but there are other things to admire.
Note the condition of the arm rest, the door panel & the seats side bolsters.
Please note: I'm showing you the worst seat, the driver seat.
Service history: This cars had the privilege of attentive, financially capable ownership.  It is evidenced by a binder thick with original purchase paperwork, maintenance history and repair documentation.  I personally, love service paperwork, just because it shows the owners were obsessed with the car's care. 


  1. Dinan intake, the original carbon not the new crappy ones.  
  2. Dinan Strut Tower brace.  just  front one.  Sedan's w/out a pass through, like this one) are the most rigid M3's you can get.
  3. Dinan Sway bars, front and rear.
  4. Dinan Suspension front and rear.
  5. Dinan Exhaust, not too loud but sounds better than stock.
  6. Dinan short shifter
  7. Dinan pedal kit
  8. BMW Motorsports seat belts.
  9. Aluminum Radiator & upgraded waterpump.  
  10. Kenwood radio well matched to interior coloring.  Pandora, IOS, handsfree etc.   
    1. Installed w/adapter so not a single wire has been cut.  OEM radio included 
  11. M3 Roadster x-brace.  (you know what that is? then this might be the car for you)
  12. Three spoke steering wheel conversion. 
  13. BMW factory alarm system w/remotes
  14. Recent window tint
Stickers are blasphemous I know.  But they come off and I like em.
These are not pristine wheels, but they are pretty darn presentable

Also of note
  • Original window sticker.
  • New plugs
  • New oil
  • New filters: oil, air, interior air
  • New O2 Sensors (Meister Motorworks, Seattle)
  • New seals (I don't like leaky cars)
  • New wipers
  • New clutch  (Glen Shelly, CO)
  • New tail OEM lights  (cheap replacements trigger a service engine alert)
  • New BMW badges, floor mats & many small interior, exterior and engine trim pieces etc
  • New A/C (Dynamic European Service, CO
  • I've had the dent people run through and correct tiny imperfections.
  • Ignition switch issues don't exist. Been there, done that.
  • Door actuator issues don't exist. Been there, done that.
  • Blower motor doesn't rattle.  Been there, done that
New floor mats.  What kind of moron pays $250 for Dinan pedals.
I'm that moron

What you'll need to do
  • If you plan to drive daily, I bet you'll need new tires in 12 months.
  • If you park outdoors (god I hope not) I bet you will need a new Idle control motor too.  When super cold, the idle control feels sluggish.  ($150 for the good ones, $50 for the cheap ones) 


Professionally detailed.
Seriously, I have removed all trim and scrubbed this car to the bone.




Car and it's roommate.  
No, I don't want to sell.  But i'm not Jay Leno, and if I want a new car, something's go to go.
If I can't afford to fund something interesting I can experiment with snow tires and mud flaps
Back seats, that's why people buy these.  Kids actually fit.
I've tested it, and yes you will find cookie crumbs if you look

So, now you've seen it.
A Dinan badge worthy package
Manual transmission
Sedan, not couple
Black leather, not grey or white.


What should I be asking?   




    Dec 11, 2018

    12 easy steps to ruining a cars originality.

    I bought a 40-Anniversary Carrera because it was an amazing amount of car for an amazing price not as an investment.  I am not afraid to change things up as long as the work is somewhat reversible.  You know, in case I need to sell it to fund a hemorrhoidectomy or something.

    Black accents, Lower, Louder, & Big brakes. I'm done for now.
    I'd like to think Porsche could have offered such a car in 2004. 
    With just 35,000 miles on the odometer and 25,000 on the motor (IMS failure) the car is practically new and was priced to sell.   Finding any X51 power package equipped 996 with this mileage is pretty unlikely so that makes me a fancy-pants guy.


    I'd say the Carrera T is my benchmark.  Not overly powerful, but well sorted  for Touring.
    It comes with something odd, a warranty.   What would I do without the worry of breakage?


    In an ideal world, I'd live in an RV and get a loan for a new Carrera T.  I've always wanted a new unscratched Carrera.   The 996 is as close as I'm gonna get in this lifetime.  And like any new sports car, it isn't an investment, so let's piss off the traditionalists, shall we?


    Here are my 12 steps to ruining the originality of my car.  

    1. Sell the exclusive 40AE luggage to fund this blog

    Buying the most maligned Carrera of our time left me with money left over but not enough.  So I sold off the exclusive 40 AE luggage to have even more money to play with.  I know I'll kick myself later, but bipolar car disorders come with some regrets.


    Ash, enjoy them!    They were sold for some worthy causes below


    2. Embrace the 996 Headlights.

    I am NOT going to deal with those fried egg lights.  Something this polarizing must be celebrated.  Think of it as Cindy Crawford's mole, but two of em.

    I'm going full-on with #FriedEggPride

    3.  Pay tribute to the past with Cocomats.  

    These old-school mats were common in German cars 40 years ago like Carreras and 356s.   I think they have a place in an Anniversary Edition car.  Made of woven coconut fibers, we are recycling all that coconut water consumed by hipsters.  


    Custom a back window deck , just cut a template and mailed it to them.

    Black and white hides Oreo crumbs well.  Good thing.
    4. Enhance wheel appearance with overpriced rotors.

    The OEM wheels are too good to replace so I opted to enhance behind them instead. Giro-Discs are pretty, and the notable braking improvement was a side benefit.

    Bigger, lighter, floating design. 
    Better than black, but not quite red or yellow.  Painted em blue.  


    5. Porsche Sport Exhaust, sort of.Porsche failed by not adding a powerful exhaust note to match the more powerful X51 motor package.   I have rectified this with Fister HD's muffler mod.  For 10% the cost of the sport exhaust option ($4500) you get the same design w/o the ability to turn it off.   Who the hell would turn it off?  
    Recent PCA tour, Bruce's Seal Grey 996's ride height put me to shame. 
    Something had to be done, and fast.
    6 Stance Stance Stance, $400 The 40 Jahre had the good sport suspension option included but being in the USA they were forced to make it a monster truck for DOT compliance. Some geniuses suggest I need new shocks designed to match my 1/2" drop in height.  RUF and I disagree.  



    RUF springs are same spring rate, just a tad lower.
    Fister's don't need ceramic coating but I couldn't resist.

    7. Making the car recognizable Porsche went all out with a silver that's 10% different, Whoopie Do!   Although GT Silver was an exclusive color, it isn't that distinctive. I solved this with a few hideous satin black accents for bedazlementation.  I'll try to pass them off as OEM. 

    Inspired by the new 991T decal.  I think these are pretty understated.
     others have likened it to a tatoo on my face.  Each to his own I guess
    Man Cave hooked me up with my "blackening"  thanks guys.
    At least now I can find my car during PCA club drive events.
    8. Vanity Plates
    It's easier for fill out Hotel forms if you have a plate you can memorize. 
    40 Jahre is German for 40 Fast years




     


    9. RUF Wheels. 

    If/when I'm stupid enough to buy them, I'll get them painted darker grey too. For now I'm skipping this step.  See, I'm not completely insane.

    I know they aren't much to look at, but i'm sure with a a good color selection, they will be amazing
    https://rufautomobiles.com/product/ruf-18-inch-wheel-kit-for-porsche-996/




    10. Fancy pedals make you feel cool.
    One night soon, I'll cave and buy these pedal covers from RUF.   Along with the RUF dead pedal cover, that they brilliantly sell separately.


    Image result for ruf pedal covers
    Maybe someday RUF will get the website certificate right and the links will work.


    11. Fancy navigation and back up camera.  
    Be real, nobody harkens back to 2004 and fondly remembers poor navigation systems.   It's not a crime to update a radio in a 996 like it might be in a 50's Speedster.   That said, it's cool goodies like this that make you get a loan and just buy new.   It's nearly $4000 to put high end system in right.*  Thats money you will never get out of an automobile, so for a guy that rarely keeps a car for 2 sets of tires, I cannot afford this kind of indulgence.

    * By high end I mean Apple Play, Garmin NAV (no data signal required), hidden GPS antenna and camera parking technology.  You can do less, but for me it would be all or nothing.   Porsche used fiber optics in this car, which adds $ and complexity.  Perhaps specialized "MOST" adapters are a way to save here,  I am still waiting on Proof of this concept but many installers I've spoke with won't warranty them and fader control is lost. Any audiophile would want more power since Porsche's amps are under powered in their minds.
    Related image
    Porsche used fiber optics in the 2004 Carrera, so retrofitting fancier radios is hard.
    So hard that i'll keep my money and buy a iPhone mount instead.
    If you are balling after xmas call Rod  https://cai-store.com/ he drives a 996 

    11a.  iPhone Mount.
    This I can do. And since its from Suncoast, a Porsche specialty company, it costs $45 instead of $10.  Worth every penny.  iPHone mount,   cheap thrills

    Magnetic Phone Mount - 996/986
    Worth every penny.  iPHone mount,   cheap thrills 

    12. Make your passengers comfortable.
    While Porsche sells a child seat, you really want one w/out armrests.  It makes it easier to reach the buckles.


    Maxi-Cosi Rodifix is a better fit than anything I've seen before. 








    Sep 19, 2018

    Why the hell would anyone buy a 996? The loophole explained.



    Because it’s a genius idea, that’s why.   A $100,000 car for the price of a new Accord is the definition of a loophole people!  Naturally it’s controversial, but that is why its so genius.  
    40th Anniversary Edition is Porsche's successful attempt to make something special.
    Faster than the Carrera S or 4S, this narrow car is the “40 Jahre 911” (#1008 of 1963)  
    Still quite attainable, the 40 Jahre will catch on like every other special P-Car does. 

    Oh I've heard them, bitching about water cooling, IMS, RMS, headlights etc.  Change is never easy, but I've gotten my head out of my ass and bought one.  I can hear them now.

    “Hey Mark, how the hell did Adam get back into the car club?”
    “He bought a 996, so we had to let him in, technically it is a Carrera.”

    In addition to fancy badges, the 40 Jahre had a very fancy X51 performance engine, fancy suspension,
    fancy painted interior trim, fancy colored leather, fancy alcantara headliner, fancy paint from the Carrera GT, 
    fancy turbo front bumper and fancy wheels.  Fancy fancy fancy.



    Engineering flaws have drug the prices down, much further than the real risk.

    The 996 wasn’t developed directly from racing as earlier cars were.  That showed in engine reliability which people rightfully fear.  If you want details tough, I can’t share because its bad luck to speak or write about.  Short version:  Bearings and cylinders should not fail, and when they do it aint cheap.  If one understands the risks going into a purchase he/she can get one hell of an automobile for his dollar.  Understanding the risks means reading all the shitty blogs (like his one) and having a plan, not just crossing your fingers.

    These risks are real and would keep any car guy up at night.  Shop for cars that have the scariest issues already mitigated or budget to mitigate them yourself.  But don't fear everything,  the internet and paranoia has made people a little nutty here.  Each situation is more unique than you might think, so get some guidance on the car in question and pay for that advice.  Meaning, free advise is worth what you paid for it.  If the issues still keep you up at night buy a warranty, get a Kia Stinger or just take Ambien like I will. 

    I’ve personally forgiven Porsche for the unreliability of the past 20 years   That’s not to say I feel the 996 is equal to its predecessors; it isn’t.  Frankly, those incredible predecessors are gone for me, so   I've stopped looking back at cars with crappy a/c and scary handling.  Look forward at the $12-30,000 Carreras on Craigslist right now. The time to strike is last year.   Oh, and dare I say it....

    These cars are also superior to their predecessors in many ways too.   Let the hate mail begin.
    Clearly visible here the 40 Jahre has no 996 cylinder issues due to the enhancement of the X51 package.  
    For those unfamiliar with Carreras: the engine is between the luggage and the spare. 
    IMS and RMS issues inherent to 996's have been addressed on this one..  
    Lastly,  the Porsche Anniversary luggage set makes me feel fancy inside.  



    The available body colored hard back sport seats are NOT ugly?  They are however, uncomfortable.

    They are ugly and like strippers, ugly does not fetch top dollar.

    True, but they’re only ugly because they’re so unattractive.   Those headlights suck and Porsche back pedaled with the 997's design due to the outcry. That back pedaling sealed the 996's fate as the ugliest Carrera in history. Now that hideousness can be your savior in the form of savings.    For me, I wear bifocals now, so who really cares?

    The ugliest Carrera ever made is not necessarily the ugliest sports car ever made. At the end of the day it is still a freaking Porsche and it’s a spectacular sports car.  Just park far from the 993's at Cars and Coffee.



    Truthfully, I think the headlights are actually attractive, just different.  Relax, it's just a f#!king headlight, not a nose-ring.

    Speaking of ugly,  why didn't Porsche upgrade the brakes to fill out behind the wheel better? 
    Stay tuned for my plan.

    They are middle aged, and nobody likes that.  Not even middle aged people

    These have hit the bottom of their market.  Couple that w/a bottom that is lower than warranted due to hideousness and unreliability and you get you end up with the loophole of which I'm speaking.  You have got to know the shittiest Porsche is still one of the coolest cars in the world.  People are paying $30,000 for VW powered 914's for crying out loud!  I’m not going to build a chart for you because I've lost my crayons, but wouldn’t your rather own a Carrera?  

    Here’s how to look at it to fully embrace my genius.  Stop comparing  996's to older and newer Carreras and compare them to sports cars you can afford.  Which do you want?  Can you mitigate the risks to your satisfaction? Do you have sleeping pills?  If you buy carefully, and plan ahead for the unexpected you can drive an amazing car and we can then be friends, because you'll be cool like me.    

    996 40 Jahre rear badge is unique, as are the body colored rear bumpers.
    I
    In this world of over sensitivity, I''ll clarify for the sarcasm-challenged.  I think the car is magnificent looking.  It is a tremendous automobile,  to drive it is a pure joy, especially when driving fast.  My son fits in the back and spending time together w/him in the 996 will be some of the happiest moments I've had in a while.

    Quality information instead of smart ass remarks can be found at  The 40 Jahre Story

    Apr 2, 2018

    Doubling Down




    Spending like an idiot is the true path to sports car bliss. I like this car so I'm doubling down, like any clueless jackass would do in my situation. Then I will reach the promise land.

    The M3/4/5 is esoteric slang for the M3, 4 door, 5 speed.   Not rare but not
     terribly common either; many have been totaled, worn out, or converted
    to race cars due to the fantastic handling, and stiffer sedan body pillars.
     
    I like it as much as my previous Carrera (no I don't). Doubling down on everything on an old M3 costs about as much as a shift knob for a Porsche.  Of course the Porsche was cooler, but the M3 is an old rock star that still has what it takes.  I could name rock stars now, but don't want to be judged.

    More importantly you should follow me and do the same.  Let's be stupid together; I'll be your leader


    Here's how you get started,  you find this online, then say to yourself  "I'll buy this 
    rather than some newer car with a big payment plan.  I'm so conservative and wise."  
    These cars are at the bottom of their market, for the moment.  They won't go lower.

    Start by explaining to yourself that buying a new is easily $60 - 80,0000 so you've saved your family a fortune.  Ignore that little voice saying  "new cars are faster and have a warranty", that's pride f**in' wit ya. F** pridePride only hurts, it never helps.  This as an extra car for that 3rd bay in your garage.  You know the one with the recycling, and your artificial xmas tree parked in it.   Your minivan can be the "safe" purchase, lets take some risks and get a AAA card. 
    Dirty fingernails are a badge of honor.  Wear them with pride (or paint them)
    Bargains are bargains because you  can do the work,  not because there isn't work. 
    Go get a Toyota Camry S or get a better job if you don't want to get your hands dirty.
    The internet will help you justify your decision,  you can trust the internet.


    Unfortunately I'm still paying for the stupidity of my past,  so actually
    this should be a photo of a dude rolling coins instead of throwing bills
    The truth is out there.  Just read between the lines in magazines.  They'll confirm what you know in your heart; that newer cars stink.  Trust your feelings, give in to your hate.
    1. Electric steering systems falsely struggle to feel like the E36 M3
    2. Magnetic ride suspension is cool, but must suck somehow. 
    3. Big Brakes on production cars are cool, but too automated. You loose light braking feel.  
    3. New cars are massive, full of cameras, sensors, airbags, and HEPA filters
    4. Wheelbases keep increasing but mountain roads aren't changing at all.
    5. Speakers to create a fake auditory exhaust experience. WTF? 
    6. Don't get me started on automatics with paddle shifters.
    7. They are faster, Oh wait, that's a good thing.  Just focus on the first 6 points. 
       
    Suspension,  Okay, so that new car magnetic ride shit is amazing. Don't be so concerned about speed bumps or spilling that Starbucks.  The sporty feel of Dinan KONI Springs Shocks and Stabilizers reminds you you're driving a damn sports car, even at slow speeds. It's nothing to be ashamed of so let your freak flag fly.    
    Dinan's yellow and blue crap makes me feel good inside.
    Rest assured, you'll never get your money back for these
    This is what a proper sporty exhaust look like.
     No wires no solenoids; no moving parts at all.
    You look cool upside down on track day with all that yellow and blue.  If you need a car that turns into another car at 145mph, then you are not looking for a bargain sport sedan, you are looking for a race car.   Buy one, and get off my blog.  (and take me with you)
    You may need more Speed.    It's hard to compete with the power modern cars are putting down.  Supercharging can get you back in the game a little. Don't be affraid, everybody's doing it.  But boost is like heroin, so keep it moderate and let those Kia Stingers pass if they are tailgating you. 
     Much more power and actually probably devalues the car.
    (which is why I never got around to doing it.)

    Speed yes, but restrain yourself.  Nobody is fast if on the back of a flatbed.  Know your old motor's limitations. I have spent a few years and beers watching the Dyno at Blood Enterprises devour a car or two.  Unless building a motor for supercharging, be conservative as hell.  I'll be setting boost to 6-psi to match what Dinan offered and warranteed back in the 90's.   Everyone will tell you to do more boost, you can always do more. It might even hold up,  but it might not. Those guys aren't going to replace your head gasket are they?  If you are cheap, broke, or just plain uninspired then keep to this mantra: "Keep it simple stupid"


    Note Ken's aftercooler, a must have upgrade for heat reduction.
    Secret confession:  Boost is negated quite a bit at CO elevation, 
     those internet folks aren't that crazy, but I drive to Seattle often. 
    You know all you really want is to open your hood at Cars and Coffees, Caffeine and Gasoline, or Douchebags and Donuts. 
    Just keep telling yourself that new cars suck.  Any Autozone employee will tell you,  most new car developments are not for enthusiasts despite what the magazines say.  They are for the transportation safety board and Starbucks compatibility.


    Add caption
    You are a now a genius? You are going to be the envy of every drive through liquor store attendant in town.  Once you've got $20-30,000 spent on your $10,000 BMW, you are set.  You have improved your ride, AND assured it will never be feasible to sell. Congrats, and you're welcome 



    But wait, there's more.

    Doubling Down is an ongoing process.  There is more you will need to make your M3 special.
    Future stupidity for me lies below.
    These serve no purpose other than looking unique.  I want em.
    Red or Blue colored Motorsports belts can be purchased various places online.
    With an M3 sedan it's nice to bring back some sporty things to prove you are cool
    Brakes are not something you need on an old M3 but they're certainly trendy.
    When I buy some I'll paint them to look OEM-ish and match my seat belts too.

    Over $3000 a set, Dinan/Fikses are the epitome of stupid.
    That essentially guarantees I will eventually have them.  



    This blog is brought to you by envy.  
    Today my envy is primarily pointed at the new GT350 and GT360R,   Thanks for the inspiration
       




       

      











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