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  1. #1

    Danny's ZHP (Slicktop 6-speed sedan)

    I'm back! This time, with an actual ZHP!

    Previously, I had owned a 2003 330i/5 sedan in Oxford Green over gray, and then I owned an automatic 2003 330ci coupe in the ever-so-exciting Silver over gray combo. After that I just stuck to daily driving E34's for a few years, and while that was fun, I've been wanting something a little less project-y and more livable for a daily driver.





    Earlier this week on Tuesday night, my friend sent me an ad on OfferUp for a 2003 330i ZHP sedan. The ad was incredibly minimal as far as actual information, but the pictures showed a very clean looking Silver Gray ZHP sedan with a black leather interior, 6-speed manual, and most importantly, no sunroof! As a lover of all things slicktop, I just had to have it. I got the sellers phone number, talked to him on the phone, and then bought some very expensive plane tickets the next day, flying from Phoenix, AZ to Eureka, CA.

    The first leg of the flight was to San Francisco, nothing unusual there. For the flight from San Francisco to Eureka, it was a real small plane, and the whole airport at Eureka was tiny. It reminded me of flying to small towns in Russia and Ukraine as a kid.



    The seller was kind enough to pick me up at the airport, and after talking for a bit and looking at the car, we exchanged cash & title, and I was on my way. My initial impression of the car was that it was actually better than it looked in the ad. The paint is dirty but in pretty good shape, and the interior is remarkably intact for an E46, thanks to the car living in Northern California since 2013 (and it was sold new in Southern California). Yes, those yellow headlights need to be fixed ASAP (more on that later).









    The slicktop headliner isn't perfect, but it's pretty darn good for being original.



    I drove around town a bit, Eureka's a cool-looking place. Very green and lots of intricate Victorian-style architecture everywhere.









    There's a neat harbor and boardwalk too. I'll have to come back some day and explore this city some more. Before leaving, I had an incredibly good burger at this spot called Opera Alley Bistro, it was excellent. The weather was pretty good too, mid-60's and overcast which meant I could eat outside— it's 110º in Phoenix at the moment so I was happy to enjoy a meal outdoors for once.



    Leaving Eureka, I headed down the 101 and was greeted with an incredibly scenic drive.









    A few hours later, I made it to the Bay Area, and got through it without encountering any major traffic. Initially I planned on drinking a bunch of Red Bull and powering through the entire 17-hour drive, but my lack of sleep from the previous night was starting to catch up to me, so I admitted defeat and booked a motel near Buttonwillow, slightly north of the LA area.

    The next morning, I woke up and continued the drive.



    As if by magic, I managed to avoid running into any traffic when passing through LA, and before long, I was back in Arizona.



    I averaged 27.7mpg throughout the trip, running 87 octane because California gas is expensive. The M54 didn't particularly seem to care, since I wasn't really beating on it. Incredibly, the car didn't seem to burn/consume any measurable amount of oil in the roughly 1000 mile trip, which is a nice change for me (I'm used to my E34's burning a quart every 1000 miles).



    All in all, a very smooth and comfortable road trip. The slicktop ZHP was incredibly quiet on the highway, even at 90mph. The M54B30 had plenty of power to accelerate and pass in 6th gear, even when driving uphill. The suspension feels pretty good on this car, I suspect most of it has been replaced at 182k miles. Tires were some cheap brand, but didn't shake and were relatively quiet at high speed. My radar detector easily paid for itself, allowing me to shave a good bit of travel time by going fast in the more open stretches of the drive.

    I'm looking forward to taking this ZHP to 200k miles and beyond— in this initial trip it has proven to be an excellent road trip vehicle so I look forward to doing more long trips in the future.
    2003 Slicktop ZHP 330i - Maintenance Thread

  2. #2
    Looking over the car at the shop, the first order of business was to figure out the headlights... the yellow looks awful. Thankfully, it actually ended up being a film on the lenses, so some heat + Goo Gone had the nasty yellow gone in no time at all, revealing some very clean, clear headlights. I also removed the tow hook plate mount since Arizona doesn't require front plates.



    I also ordered a factory BMW aux-in kit, so that should hopefully get here soon. The CD player doesn't work, so I was forced to just use the radio or my phone + headphones on the drive home. I know, first world problems! I also noticed that some of the speakers are dead, so I'll be making a trip to the local junkyard in the near future to grab some replacements. The trunk also seems to be missing the factory HK subs (probably had an aftermarket sub at some point), so I'll have to grab a set of those as well.

    Looking under the hood, I spotted the radiator leaking a bit from a small crack at the top. Good thing it waited until I got back home to start leaking. Time to start gathering parts for a cooling system refresh, especially since it's going to be 110º+ for at least the next week or so.



    After that, I found an aftermarket clutch stop and adjusted it so that I could start the engine consistently— it previously kept not allowing the clutch safety switch to disengage unless I really forced the pedal down.

    Other things I noted:

    - The CSB needs replacing soon, as it causes the driveshaft to thump against the floor when taking off hard in first gear. I can keep it happy for now by taking off smoothly. Would be a good excuse to do the shifter bushings too...
    - The diff bushings are starting to split apart, so they'll need to be done soon.
    - The transmission feels a little notchy when it's cold, so I'll plan to replace the fluid.
    - Power steering lines are all leaking/seeping, so they'll need to be replaced.
    - Hood/trunk badges are looking pretty cruddy, along with the wheel center caps.
    - The paint is in good shape but a little dull, it would really benefit from a good paint correction. I'll wait until it cools down to do that though.
    - The window switches on the rear doors are falling apart, so those will need to be replaced.
    - The alcantara steering wheel is incredibly gross, so I'll have to find a decent leather wheel.
    - The interior needs a good cleaning to get the cigarette smells out from the previous owner.

    I'm sure I'll find more things that need doing once I find some time to put the car on the lift at my shop.
    2003 Slicktop ZHP 330i - Maintenance Thread

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Location
    Austin TX
    Posts
    7,154
    Good find, sir. Congrats.
    2005 IR / black / 6MT
    153,000 miles

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2014
    Location
    Portland, OR
    Posts
    10,169

  5. #5
    Thanks y'all! Glad to have a ZHP, I've been enjoying the heck out of it.

    Earlier today, my friend Dane and I went to the junkyard to grab some parts for our cars. He's got a 330i/5 with the M-Tech 1 body kit. We showed up at 8am to try and beat the heat, as the high for today was forecasted to be 112ºF.



    I grabbed a bunch of door speakers + tweeters from an HK-equipped car, along with some interior lights, and a window switch. I also found a really nice cupholder, so I grabbed it just to have a spare. Unfortunately every E46 at the junkyard with HK had a trunk that was closed with the emergency release torn off, so I ended up bashing out a ski passthrough on one and removed the subwoofers through that... needless to say, it was an incredibly sweaty and uncomfortable time.



    Once back at the shop, the first order of business was replacing the nasty blue LED's in the trunk with stock bulbs, and then I installed the factory HK subs. Thankfully the sub amp was still present, just dangling around.



    Much better.



    After that, I replaced all the interior lights with proper stock ones. I don't like LED's inside a car, especially when they flicker.



    With the lighting situation fixed and the subwoofers working properly, I turned my attention to the blown door speakers. The driver's door only had a working low-mid speaker, the mid and tweeter were almost completely dead, emitting nothing more than a crackle here and there. Swapping both out, I was rewarded with a fully working left channel. The passenger door ended up needing a tweeter as well, and after that I had a 100% functioning sound system.

    The other day I got a factory aux-in kit, but when I had the radio out, I discovered that somebody had already wired a Bluetooth adapter in, score! I'm so annoyed I didn't check for that when I first got the car, I could've avoided driving home listening to music in headphones, haha.
    2003 Slicktop ZHP 330i - Maintenance Thread

  6. #6
    Got to 183k miles today, at this rate I'll be at 200k in no time! (One of my previous cars I got from 267k to 312k in like 1.5 years). The car's been doing great, with the AC keeping up pretty well despite the brutal heat... it was 112º over the weekend, and was 114º earlier today.



    Not wanting to run into any potential problems from the leaking radiator, I took it upon myself to replace most of the cooling system today. You can see what a mess the radiator was making from the crack on top:



    The radiator was also starting to bow out at the bottom, lovely.



    The expansion tank, radiator hoses, thermostat, and water pump were also removed. Aside from the expansion tank and thermostat, all of the parts were original from 2002/2003, pretty crazy that it made it to 183k miles. The thermostat was from 2015, likely replaced due to emissions reasons (they throw a CEL if the electrical part fails).





    And now for the shiny new parts:



    I went with a Nissens radiator, Mahle-Behr thermostat, Saleri water pump, Rein for hoses, and Mahle-Behr for the expansion tank/cap. I also got a new OEM sensor for the lower radiator hose, because why not.



    Everything went back together really nicely, perks of a slightly newer car, I suppose; I'm used to 30+ year old BMW's where everything fights me. Bled the cooling system, verified the thermostat was working correctly via the secret OBC readout, and then drove it to get dinner.

    2003 Slicktop ZHP 330i - Maintenance Thread

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 1970
    Location
    Southern California
    Posts
    18,004
    Good info, nice pic!

    Sent from my SM-F926U1 using Tapatalk
    Randeaux/Rando/John/jr - '06 Cic ZHP; Southern California
    "ZHP or not, I still like you"


    ZHP Performance Package, Cold Weather Package, Leather, Jet Black/Black/BlackCube, NAV, Anthracite Black "my individual" interior trim
    ESS Stage 1 Twin Screw Supercharger, Sprint Booster, BMW Perf Intake, Magnaflow Exhaust, Dinan TB & STEP S/W, UCC Sway Bars, Apex EC-7 18x8.5 ET38
    Suspension: AST 44100 dampers, Bimmerworld front adjustable end links, Swift springs (8K front, 10K rear), Vorshlag camber plates
    Dynavin D99+, Hardwire V1 (w/V1 Connection), BSW Stage 1 Speakers, Kicker Amp/Subwoofer
    BMW Performance Strut Brace, Orion V2 Angel Eyes, No-holes License Plate, SMG Paddle Shift Mod, Besian VANOS, Gold DISA, Fan Delete, M3 Side Mirrors
    Note: Actual car no longer resembles signature picture

  8. #8
    Nice looking car, and really rare to see one without a sunroof. Congrats on the new E46!

    The adventure of flying down and driving back is something that makes buying a car something special to remember. The scenery you had along the way was beautiful.

    When I bought my E46 wagon I got a cheap rental car and drove from WI to VA, and then drove the wagon back. I'll never forget the scenery through the mountains in West Virginia and that feeling of excitement the whole way home.

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by ///Mark_D View Post
    Nice looking car, and really rare to see one without a sunroof. Congrats on the new E46!

    The adventure of flying down and driving back is something that makes buying a car something special to remember. The scenery you had along the way was beautiful.

    When I bought my E46 wagon I got a cheap rental car and drove from WI to VA, and then drove the wagon back. I'll never forget the scenery through the mountains in West Virginia and that feeling of excitement the whole way home.
    Thanks! For sure, the journey to get a car home is one of the best ways to bond with a car, especially if it makes it home without any major issues.
    2003 Slicktop ZHP 330i - Maintenance Thread

  10. #10
    The other night, my friend and I took the ZHP out to our favorite mountain road for some mild nighttime hooning. Even with the craptastic tires, the car did quite well, with the M54 providing plenty of torque to keep things moving at a brisk pace.

    About halfway through, I started noticing the engine bucking, with the battery light coming on briefly. My radar detector had a voltage display and that showed the voltage holding steady around 14V, so it wasn't the alternator. We decided to turn around and head back into town, as being broken down in an area that was quite remote with shoddy cell service wasn't a great proposition. On the way back through the mountains, I noticed the engine had a pretty good misfire, but oddly enough no CEL. Code reader didn't show any active or pending CEL's, very strange.

    Thankfully the engine ran well enough that we were able to make it back into town and drive back to the shop. Once back at the shop, I turned the engine off and tried starting it again, which was followed by a very long crank before it sputtered to life. Checking the fuel pressure at the rail, I saw a pretty consistent 50psi, so I ruled out the fuel system. By this point, the car finally had a CEL, for the crankshaft position sensor. Makes sense with the way it failed, we got it pretty hot on the mountain road and it started shorting out. That also explains why it took out the traction control, since DSC had no idea what the engine was doing.

    The next morning, I had a Continental VDO sensor delivered to the shop, which came in a pretty fancy box.



    After removing the intake boots and DISA, I had a fairly good line of sight to the crank position sensor. Oh and my DISA is in good shape too, diaphragm is intact and the pin is still staying in, looks to still be the original BMW unit. Anyways, after unplugging the sensor, a bunch of oil came out, wonderful. Reminds me of the M20 oil pressure switches that start leaking when they fail.



    Removing the sensor wasn't too difficult, a ball head allen socket + compact ratchet made quick work of it. You can see how full of oil the sensor connector was:



    You'd think that for $70, the new sensor would come with a new o-ring, but it did not. Good thing I had also ordered an o-ring, just in case.



    With the new sensor installed and all the codes cleared in ISTA, the car fired right up with no misfire. A test drive confirmed that everything was back to normal.

    Funnily enough, this is the only time I've ever had to replace a crank sensor, having owned 31 cars before this one (mostly old BMW's).
    2003 Slicktop ZHP 330i - Maintenance Thread

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