Bavsound & Basser E46 Touring Sub Install

Hello Guys and Gals and welcome to the first iteration of BMW Mods N Blogs! Today we will be talking about the subwoofer and Bavsound speaker installation we did this past year in our track support, auto-x tosser, family hauler, daily-driver E46 Touring!

Being that this is a car we spend A LOT of time in, we wanted the car to be comfortable and engaging whether it be as a drivers car or just a road trip cruiser. One way to address the old, worn, 20 year old factory sound system was to bring it up to the current decade and a full Stage 1 Bavsound kit addressed that problem immediately. We had been looking at this kit for some time and for the price and quality of the speakers, there probably isn’t a better option out there. The kit included the 6 speakers in front, 2 in the rear seats and 2 in the very back where all the fun hauling stuff takes place.

Install was very simple and straight forward, and having all the speakers be plug an play made the install rather quick in terms of swapping the speakers. As some of you may know, the speakers in the hatch are somewhat of a pain to get to, but the job is doable one way or another.

Here is a good write up from someone in Europe who did a speaker upgrade on an E46 Touring. We used this write up as the base for doing our install, but used some old fashion Frank flavor on the execution of the job. Especially the 2nd time around when we got to installing the Skar Audio Sub.

A few months after the Bavsound upgrade we finally come to our senses and decided to pull the trigger on the sub install… or maybe this was the opposite of our sesnes?… Huh…

We wanted to keep the practicality of a wagon while still having a good thumpin’ sub, so we bought the Basser sub enclosure, but there was a catch. Being this is a German car, and all the goodies are in Europe, that means sometime you need to source parts from the EU. Parts like the ZHP CSL Splitter, ZHP touring rear bumper and this Basser enclosure from Poland.

When we got the 10″ sub we found out quickly that there was a fitment issue. The speaker wouldn’t fully sit into the enclosure. Many hours later and a lot of cutting later… we found out that the issue wasn’t inside the enclosure… it was the opening to it. We had clearanced the inside of the enclosure and ended up having some more air space for the sub, so it all worked out for the better in the end, but boy was it a head scratcher! The design of the sub and lack of holes available made us have to get very creative when it came to installing the terminal for the power and ground.

After all of that tom foolery took place we finally got to ripping the car apart and taking care of the wiring. We originally had planned to put the amp where the factory cd changer lived, but eventually came to the conclusion that we had a better, more stealthy option and opted for it. The wiring itself wasn’t too difficult, but we had trouble getting the sub to power up and get sound. Good thing a handful of months ago when we did the stereo upgrade we also got a Line Output Converter that was exactly what we needed when it came time for the sub. We had to splice into the rear speakers in order to get sound to the sub, and man was it rewarding hearing the Wubz!

When the time came for final install we wanted to car to look neat and professional, so we opted to keep the original tray compartment and modify both the compartment and the sub enclosure so that the fit was perfect. Unfortunately we couldn’t keep the spare tire in back, but in the end it doesn’t matter since we have 330 brakes and the spare wont even fit over the calipers now.

The wubz are wubby. The sound is crisp. The craftsmanship is perfect. Most of all, the entire sub enclosure can easily be removed and installed in about 10 seconds for Auto-X shenanigans or other needs.

BMW M Tech II ZHP Bumper Restoration

Hey there Guys and Gals and again… welcome!… to another write up here on FJD Performance. Today we are going over our ZHP bumper restoration project that took place over the last couple of months.

Roughly in mid September we had picked up an OEM BMW M Tech II sedan bumper off the list of Craigs for a whooping 50 bucks! What a steal! Especially since these are about 500 bucks brand new from BMW. The bumper had your typical wear and tear from being driven, but also has some gremlins as there were huge gashes under the bumper and a crack from SF hills, streets, curbs, pedestrians and probably small animals too.

Post YouTube videos and Mighty Car Mods jokes later we began working on the bumper. We started off drilling holes around the crack in order to put it back in place and to stop the crack from further growing. While we heard Drift Stitches are a thing… we felt it unnecessary on the Wagon. Shortly after some JB Weld for plastic found itself on the bumper around the crack, and we got bondo to fill in the gashes on the bottom of the bumper and to fill in the scratches and rock chip holes on the front of the bumper. We had about 3 separate sessions of bondo fill and sanding before we got to sanding the entire bumper in prep for primer and paint. CFO Andrew made an appearance for this project as well and helped with the wet sanding and priming of the bumper.

After the bumper was all filled and primed the project was put on a light hold as we waited for Base and Clear to arrive from ERA Paints in Oregon. ERA has tons of paint matched cans of spray paint for the E46, and possibly other BMW models and manufacturers, but we only cared about color code 400, Steel Grey Metallic. During the painting process we tested the paint on our rear door handle cover and the tow hook cover. Needless to say it looked tits. Sorry kids.

Fast forward to our cooling overhaul project, and 4 cans of spray paint later we finally got to finish up the project and get the clear on the bumper followed by some cut, buff and polishing.

Phase 1: JB Welding the broken bits and Wet Sanding using 180, 320, 400 and 600 grit

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Phase 2: Applying Bondo layers and wet sanding down areas using 180, 320, 400 and 600 grit sandpaper

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Phase 3: Filler Primer and Wet Sanding

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Phase 4: Painting with color matched paint and stalling the project

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The one on top is the new paint and the one on bottom is the original paint

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After getting a solid base of paint on the bumper this project halted from September until recently

Phase 5: Finishing the project. Paint, Clear, Sanding, Buff, Cut and Polishing

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Again a very special thanks to Andrew Shultz for his assistance on this project and thanks to ERA Paints!

Elise’s First Make Over

Hey there Guys and Gals and welcome back to FJD Performance! This entire month of November has be one for the books, and one to remember (no pun intended). We found ourselves in a bit of a bind on the first due to an unexpected mechanical need for Elise, our E46 BMW Wagon; only to be later followed by some fuel related issues with the Mare, but we will talk about that in another write up.

Fresh out of October and Halloween Elise had some trouble with her cooling system which required immediate attention, and cause the hood of the car to get damaged among other bits. We knew that a cooling system overhaul was going to be happening, but we weren’t expecting to do it right then and there. We got the car towed back and started ripping into the car on Saturday. We also felt a bit of need to finish up our M Tech II ZHP bumper that we picked up for $50 a couple months ago. More on that later.

We paid – pun intended – a quick trip to Turner Motorsports’ website and picked up a full cooling system overhaul kit for about $500 consisting of: a new radiator, all the needed hoses, water pump, blue BMW coolant, coolant overflow tank, thermostat and housing and also picked up a new fan clutch and water pump pulley. Having worked on a 97 Audi A4, and watched many YouTube videos, we had an idea of what to expect when working on the car, so full destruction ahead!

The car was fairly easy to work on, and we actually had the majority of things done within the working day, but due to waiting on parts to arrive the full project lasted 2 weekends. All in all still not too bad; just very involved. In addition to the project we picked up some M Tech style fog lights for the bumper and a cover for the fog lights for us to route some ducts of our own to the new brakes Elise will be getting in the future. We painted, cleared, buffed, cut and polished the new bumper as well, but during this project, on top of the cooling project, was the very unfortunate fires here in the North Bay/Chico area of California, so air quality was very poor, and made for somewhat tough breathing in addition to the painting.

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A very special thanks to FJD Performance CFO, Andrew Shultz, for all the time and help with this little project of ours! More will be happening with the wagon over the next few months as well, so keep your eyes on the look out.

Don’t Always Trust the “Experts”

Hey there Guys and Gals!

Today’s write-up is short and sweet, but this time isn’t related to the Mare. You may be thinking…
“What?!”
“You’re not talking about the Mare?”
“On the official FJD Performance website?!”

That’s right! We aren’t talking about the Mare this time; instead were talking about the DadCar, Andrew’s 2003 540i.

Recently Andrew has been taking his beloved BMW in to get inspected at his local BMW dealership because he has been chasing down a noise that, quite honestly, has been annoying the hell out of him! Andrew has special ties to this dealership, so he isn’t your typical BMW customer; he’s even more special (picking up what we’re putting down?), thus the reason he feels so comfortable taking the car to them. Why he didn’t ask us to take a look at the car in the first place is beyond us, but we’ll get to that later.

During movements requiring torsion, like pulling in and out of a driveway or turning, he was noticing a pop and clicking noise coming from the front of his suspension; with the car now seeing 15 years of age and seeing 107k+ miles that noise could be anything in the suspension. Typical culprits could be components like ball-joints, control arm bushings, sway bar end-links and bushings, struts, issues caused by the Dinan STB or even some other, more expensive and difficult parts to get access to. Andrew took the car to a few of his trusted techs at the dealership, and they all gave their opinions and thoughts, but none of them could really identify what the issue was. Some suggested replacing old components (like we previously mentioned), others simply came back with the obvious stating that “the car is old… it’s going to make noises”. However that answer wasn’t a sufficient enough answer for Andrew. It wasn’t until a mutual friend, and tech, at the dealer mentioned the sound may have something to do with the sway bar, but still wasn’t able to identify any issues with it.

With Andrew’s patience growing thin, and the urge to fix this problem that nobody seemed to want to fix; Andrew found himself asking FJD Performance to take a quick look at the DadCar, and of course we were game! Upon taking immediate receipt of the 540 we drove around a parking lot for about 10 minutes putting the car in different situations and scenarios trying to first identify the noise Andrew was referring to. Needless to say it didn’t take long to hear the noise, and think of what it could be based off of experience with the Mare. Finally getting the car up on stands we got under the BMW and were pleased to see how neat clean it was under there! Unlike the Mare…

(sorry)

We took a look at the ball joints, control arms, struts, STB, sway bar end links and all other bushings, but didn’t see anything out of the ordinary. A couple head scratches later we decided to go through all the nuts and bolts to check if they were loose…
Bingo.
We started with the sway bar end-links and then found that all four of the mounting brackets and bushings for the sway bar were loose. We quickly tightened them all up and continued to look around for anything else, but couldn’t spot any additional problems. We put the rims and tires back on the 540, sat her down, and jumped in the car and immediately could tell the car felt tighter. A quick drive around the block and about 10 up and downs in driveways and; we couldn’t hear the clicking and popping noise; we couldn’t believe how much more responsive the front became!

So what’s the point in all this? Sometimes, professionals just don’t want to waste their time of day, and we aren’t saying that in a negative light, or to make mechanics look bad, but we are saying… If you want your car looked at, and respected the same way you would treat it; you sometimes have to put your trust in someone who is a enthusiast, and flat out enjoys working and tinkering on cars because its a passion, and not just because it keeps the lights on and pays for toys. There have been plenty of times working on the Mare where we get completely frustrated and want nothing to do with the car, but in the end we know how much the car means to us and what it stands for. FJD Performance will always be willing to lend a helping hand to our kinfolk in the car community.

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After we put the car back together we did a complimentary rim detailing and photo shoot for the BMW.

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