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  1. #1

    Charlie's ///M Project Thread

    Car is paid off - May 6, 2016

    I've been talking about doing my ///M project thread for quite some time now and have finally written it using my ZHP project as the inspiration so here goes…

    I got my second BMW and car that I realized I could easily obtain for my "realistic dream car", this 2004 TiAg ///M3, in April 2009. It started out by someone I knew in Connecticut asking me to test drive a 330cic since I was going to be in Newport so I agreed. I stopped by BMW of Newport where the car was supposed to be and asked them if they had this car and was told that the car had already sold. I then spotted my future ///M in the back lot sitting all by itself and impulsively asked the sales rep if I could test drive the ///M before reason could take over. He agreed and off I went… Coming from my 323i I was immediately impressed by everything about this car…all the little details and performance… this car nailed it for me with exception of the interior color - Grey. I then thanked the sales person and left.

    Several days later I decided to stop by again to see if I could test drive the ///M again….yes, the power bug was biting on me real hard…got my speed/power fix and then left again. This time the same sales person asked me if I was interested in purchasing the car and I told him I was not looking to buy a second BMW. Anyway I ended up taking my ///M out for a third test drive and knew that I had to have this car….in the process, I violated everything I knew about buying a used BMW….no pre-purchase inspection. When I talked to the same sales person about purchasing the ///M he looked at my 323i and I told him I wasn't going to be trading in my 323i, that the ///M would be another acquisition in addition to my 323i. He looked surprised and I ended up buying the ///M. What clinched the deal was that the dealership added a 5-year wheel and tire warranty and with the wonderful roads here in New England, it made sense to have this for the ///M.

    So here I am, the third owner of my dream car which retailed for $56,195.00 brand new. I got the car for under 50% of the original value with a CPO warranty and was a happy camper… Being a used car, there were several issues that I did not care for and knew that there will be many projects in the future before I am truly happy with my ///M. Like my ZHP project thread here are a few pics of the ///M after I had purchased it in 2009.

    The ///M at the time of purchase had the following:

    2004 BMW ///M3 - build date October 2003
    TiAg / Grey Nappa Leather Interior
    6-Speed Manual Transmission
    Cold Weather Package
    BMW Assist

    Mileage at time of purchase: 74,140 miles

    My purchase price: $25,720.00

    Lots of potential for my next project car! My M3 how it looked back in 2009 after my purchase . . .

    The car did not have any maintenance history associated with it, however, when I informed the service manager that I was purchasing the ///M, I gave them the VIN and they gave the car a thorough look over and did the research to determine the car's maintenance history. Luckily for me, the ///M has been dealer serviced it's entire life and I was assured that I was purchasing a car with a very good maintenance history. I was much more relieved when I heard this and felt relatively at ease with my purchase…

    This is how my M3 currently stands today . . . in 2024

    My M3 had the factory Grey interior... not any more!

    Proper Brembo GT BBKs installed (the actual E46 M3 kit from Brembo)

    Looking below at my mod list you can see I have done a lot to my M3 to make it stand out among other “stock” M3’s and it shows. I have said this before and those who have personally seen my M3 will agree my M3 is far from stock (OEM+). I will add that I’m not even close to finishing and still have more I want to accomplish on this amazing car

    Mod list for my ///M as of October 2, 2023:

    - OEM Black Interior Retrofit (dash, front and rear seats, rear deck, and carpeting)
    - OEM ///M Black front seats w/ full Lumbar Support & Memory
    - OEM CSL Interior Door Panels: (thanks to Mike Miggs of Status Gruppe Tuning)
    - OEM CSL Door Handles: (thanks to Mike Miggs of Status Gruppe Tuning)
    - OEM CSL Center Console: (huge thanks to Brendan (Duck360198) from M3Forum for this!!!)
    - OEM CSL Bootlid: (thanks to Donovan (M3Freak) from M3Forum)
    - BMW Performance Carbon Fiber Strut Brace - I have a spare in case this one breaks
    - OEM BMW Factory alarm retrofit
    - Apple Air Tag w/speaker removed covertly installed for added security
    - OEM BMW TCU 13th Gen upgrade/retrofit
    - OEM LCM s/w vers 4.7 coded/installed; one touch-triple blink enabled and Stage 3 Brake Force Display acktiv
    - OEM ///M Oval rear view auto-dim mirror
    - OEM F10 ///M5 lit shift knob retrofit (a huge thanks to Tony (tnhl1969) for this)
    - ///M oil cap
    - OEM E92 LED rear license plate lights: (thanks to Brian (Busabos77) from M3Forum)
    - OEM BMW First Aid Kit (thanks to Stuart (the BMW whisperer) for this)
    - OEM BMW Windshield @ 150,000 mi
    - OEM BMW ALU TECH interior trim - in use
    - OEM BMW Titan Shadow interior trim - spares: (thanks to Mike Miggs of Status Gruppe Tuning)
    - BMW Homelink Module
    - Euro M3 side mirror w/ auto-fold capability retrofitted using M5 rep autofolding motors
    - Euro Power Folding Mirror Control Switch w/ Memory p/n# 61316901383
    - Morimoto LED fog light upgrade from The Retrofit Source
    - ZKW lens swap for my headlight projectors -- OE Bosch lens removed
    - Brembo GT BBKs 6-pot yellow calipers front and 4-pot yellow calipers rear: (thanks to Brendan (Duck360198) from M3Forum for this kit)
    - Brembo 2-piece rotors as part of the Brembo GT Big Brake Kit (380x32mm front and 345x28mm rear)(thanks to Brendan (Duck360198) from M3Forum for this)
    - IAT Relocation: (thanks to Gary (Wolfn8tr) for this)
    - ///M oil cap
    - HPF Carbon Fiber ECU cover
    - CNC'd Oil Filter Cap: (from Max @
    - Billet aluminum dip stick
    - Sprint Booster: (thanks to Dario (Avetiso) for this)
    - Tekarbon 1x1 Carbon Fiber CSL rear diffuser (thanks to my friend Jeff)
    - 365Autosports one-piece CSL 1x1 carbon fiber lip spoiler (ICONZ style) - also have a spare set
    - BC Racing "BR series" coilovers 12kg rear
    - BC front lowering coilover springs 12kg 120mm
    - Authentic Gruppe M Carbon Kevlar CAI
    - Afe smooth Intake elbow
    - BlueBus Integration w/ hands free communication (from Ted Salmon)
    - BMW SIRIUS Satellite module retrofit
    - 19" BBS CH wheels 19X8.5 ET35 (CH004) and 19X10 ET20 (CH017) w/ Hankook Ventus V12 Evo 2 tires: 245 35 R19 front and 275 30 R19 rear
    - ///M aluminum pedals
    - TiAg Color matched corner reflectors
    - White LED side markers
    - CDV delete
    - Monochrome ///M badges (on engine cover, trunk badge, side grill badge)
    - Monochrome BMW Roundels (TiAg/White)
    - Valentine V1 hardwire
    - Eurosport Design Stainless Steel double-walled exhaust tips
    - HID 6000k lighting (D2S)
    - Wheel stud conversion (75mm studs)
    - Brake Force Display (BFD) Stage 3 coded in: (a very huge thanks to Botond and Tony for taking care of my BMW programming needs)
    - Stereo upgrade from stock HK - Rockford Fosgate speakers/amp & Alpine speakers/QuartMB 1000 amp subwoofer - Thanks Kyle!!!
    - Rear window switch mod to allow one-touch close feature - thanks Kyle!!!
    - Smoked side markers - thanks Kyle!!!
    - Rear fenders rolled
    - Aluminum eBrake handle - (from my 323i)
    - Garmin Dash Cam Mini2 dash cam retrofit
    - Rennline iPhone mount w/ Rennline phone charger
    - UUC EVO 3 SSK - (purchased from Hieu in 2012)

    Current mileage: 189,295

    Future mods...

    - Bilstein PSS-10 coilovers w/ Ground Control Camber Kit - (planned)
    - Euro no sunroof headliner - (purchased)
    - Roof Insulation - (purchased)
    - Challenge Carbon Fiber 1x1 CSL roof panel retrofit - (roof panel and roof bow purchased)

    - Original OE bootlid
    - Scorza Carbon Fiber CSL Center Console - deleted and passed on to Gary
    - Scorza Carbon Fiber CSL bootlid - deleted and passed on to Sean
    - OEM LCM s/w vers 4.5 - installed in blauzed
    - OE front and side chrome grills
    - BMW Euro cross-drilled rotors (front and back): Donated the complete set to Botond
    - Center front license plate holder
    - Front yellow corner reflectors
    - OE SOS Rear View Auto-Dim Mirror
    - Black center console arm rest (transferred to my Imola ZHP)
    - Entire OE grey interior
    - OE ///M Strut Brace (mounted on my Mystic ZHP)
    - OE "Broomstick" shift knob (replaced by a new F10 M5 lit shift knob)
    - OEM BMW 6-disc CD changer/HK Amp & Speakers
    - BOSCH AL headlight lens (replaced by ZKW lens)
    - Strassentech style front lip (replaced by full 1x1 carbon fiber Iconz style lip)
    - OE 4th Gen TCU Module (replaced by a 13th Gen TCU)
    - OE OEM 18 inch wheels
    - 35% window tint (reluctantly)
    - VMR VB3 CSL Reps in Hyperblack wheels (given to Kyle)
    - ARC 8 18" hyperblack wheels w/ Hankook Ventus V12s 245/275s (summer ///M wheels) 18X9.5 ET22 and 18x10.5 ET27 (given to Gary)
    - OE brake calipers and Performance rotors
    - UltraGauge OBDII Gauge
    - BMW Performance SSK

    On to the list of mods by pics

    One of the first mods I did was to get laminate film to cover my headlights, corner lights, and tails…and my color matched corner reflectors (the yellow had to go)
    I also got rid of he hideous front license plate bracket in favor of the Skene designs custom license plate bracket.

    Next came the Hamann fog light covers (you can see the Skene designs license plate bracket in this pic)

    Somewhere in-between during a trip down to Manassas, VA… I decided to tint my windows and had it done there however a wonderful State Trooper here at the local barracks had something to say about it and I had to remove it after having it on for 4 years... Funny how other Troopers told me not to worry about it since it was not too dark... anyway rather than go thru more BS from this one trooper in particular I just removed it until the day comes when I move to a state that does allow window tint. This was my M3 while I had 35% window tint...

    Then my friend Anthony told me that blacked out grills/side grills would really have my car pop out….glad I listened to him!

    While I blacked out the grills, I managed to get a set of monochrome ///M3 badges The ARC-8s in this pic came from my friend Brian

    When I used to have VMR VB3 CSL reps in hyper blacks mounted on my M3...

    The Strassentech Style front lip to clean up the front end...

    Another detail-related accent I chose for my M3 was to insert TiAg internal headlight trim pieces taken from a 330ci. They add just enough to make my ///M different from the others

    Next came the double-walled tail pipe tips since I am okay with the stock exhaust for the time being…

    I had installed the BMW Performance SSK and a lit F10 shift knob (courtesy of Tony - tnhl1969)… easily the best lit knob you can find in my opinion…glad to have this

    It was also time to replace my Scorza full carbon fiber CSL boot lid with something authentic so I got an OEM CSL boot lid from a good friend of mine.

    The Scorza CSL Rep bootlid was a very nice bootlid I enjoyed having then I sold it to Sean when I was able to source my OEM CSL bootlid...

    To me, nothing beats the fitment and look of OEM CSL....

    The car looks so right with the CSL bootlid installed. Really changes the look of the car!

    Then in May of 2012 I picked up a much needed daily driver…a 2003 ZHP to share the garage with the ///M. The ///M had a family again!

    Now I had to share mod duties between both cars….for the past year, most of the mod duties have been going to my ZHP as it will assume 100% of the daily driving duties as well as winter driving…I had lots of TLC to put back into my new baby and it shows…

    The interior with grey seats and dash before I removed them...

    Next was to change out my complete interior as I really hated the all grey color.....

    I mean everything inside that was that puke grey color went out!!

    In with the black carpeting...

    The complete interior swap took me one day to accomplish much to Botond's surprise!

    Now the interior is starting to look proper for my tastes....

    Added the OEM CSL door panels.... those are very hard to source and they are expensive!!!

    Last edited by cakM3; 07-04-2024 at 03:03 PM.

  2. #2
    Recent updates to the ///M:

    BMW Performance Carbon Fiber Strut Brace

    The first group shows the strut bar mounted but I haven't modded the battery terminal yet.
    These pics were taken with my ultra-high quality iPhone

    The next group shows the strut bar mounted with the battery terminal modded.
    These pics were taken with my Nikon DSLR

    My hands were shaking on the first pic since I was still getting used to the chilly weather yesterday morning.

    I used liquid electrical tape to cover the exposed you can see it seemed to do the job fairly well

    a few pics of the strut tower top where I have access to my coil over adjustments...

    driver's side

    passenger's side

    I took my ///M to work this morning and enjoyed the drive....checked the strut bar after parking my car and everything was A-OK!
    Last edited by cakM3; 04-12-2013 at 05:32 PM.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 1970
    32.8 N, 117.3 W
    great car Charlie, I've been waiting for this thread

  4. #4
    Crestwood1001 Guest
    This thread is full of win

    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Melbourne, FL
    Great start bud. I cant wait to have one of my own.

    Sent from my DROID RAZR using Tapatalk 2
    2005 IR ZHP Alcantara 6MT l Bimmian phone mount l Khoalty Angel Eye's l Khoalty Fog's l AFE Stage 1 Intake l AFE Dynamic Air Scoop's l CDV Delete
    Besian Sealed VANOS l Flat black Kidney Grills l Magnaflow Cat-Back

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Jupiter, FL
    Subscribed!! Great pics so far! But why oh why did the ///M not get the facelift?!?!???

    Sent from my iPhone 4/4S hybrid on Tapatalk...
    2011 E90 Lemans Blue/Bamboo Beige M3- Harrop Supercharged IG: lmb_zcp
    2013 F25 Alpine White/Chestnut X3 35i- Family Hauler
    2006 R53 British Racing Green/Panther Black Mini Cooper S FOR SALE! DM for details!
    Past: 2010 X5M, 2014 328d, 2003 330i ZHP, 2004 330i ZHP, 2012 X3 35i
    WTB!! 2009-2012 E91 328i Touring Contact me with info!

  7. #7

    Charlie's ///M Project Thread

    Thanks guys! It's been a long time coming...I've been meaning to start this thread but have been keeping this thread sidelined because of other projects going on.

    Since some of my progress for the ///M have started creeping into my ZHP project's thread, I felt it was time to put this thread out

    I feel very fortunate to own two very special, and well maintained BMWs BP has had the most "behind the wheel" time on my ///M, he can chime in

    @JP...I know you have been waiting patiently for this....I hope I don't disappoint

    @ Jon...the ///M did get a facelift but the changes/refreshes were not as noticeable as they were for non-///M's. Looking at the boot, facelift ///M's trunk handle extend out beyond the license plate indent, and they got the LED tails from the factory. There may be other updates but they are probably under the hood so to speak....the front end was kept because of the more aggressive look compared to the non-M "facelift" look but there will be those who disagree...

    Pre-facelift style - note early style tail lights as well...(trunk handle does not extend past license plate indent)

    Facelift style - w/ extended trunk handle and LED tails

    More to follow

    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk HD
    Last edited by cakM3; 11-14-2017 at 10:09 AM.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    San Francisco, CA
    always nice to see the car that started it before the zhp! Awesome job Charlie!

  9. #9

    Charlie's ///M Project Thread

    Quote Originally Posted by derbo View Post
    always nice to see the car that started it before the zhp! Awesome job Charlie!
    Thanks Derek! I will do my best to detail my progress here!

    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk HD
    Last edited by cakM3; 09-14-2018 at 01:35 AM.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    San Francisco, CA
    is that halogen AE? Deep down I don't like AE but something about 4000k AE appeals to me...

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