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      02-10-2015, 06:38 PM   #15
Nate4641
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Drives: '07 M Roadster
Join Date: Dec 2011
Location: Warner Robins, GA

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Well it was just over a year, but I finally made my way back home. After the last bit of mods I did to the car, I moved from Germany to Sudan. Finally taking leave again last summer I came home to my family, my girlfriend, and my car. Over the course of that year I had been ordering little bits that sat in my parents' basement waiting to be installed. Unfortunately I was so busy when I came home in July last year I didn't take time to get pictures of all the mods or write up a post about my road trip.

I just went home again in mid-January on my way back to Europe from Sudan and got some pics to go along with everything.

Under the hood
I bought an AFE intake, Cosmos Firewall braces, BMW Strut Brace, and Tekarbon CF Engine Cover. The intake went in no problem and sounds great (with stock exhaust). I did have some issues with the engine cover. The mounting holes didn't line up very well and I was unable to get one of the nuts on which ended up falling under the throttle bodies and is lost. I also got a new M badge for the engine cover as the original one was peeling and wasn't worth transferring from the OEM cover.



The wheels
Ever since seeing Dubsesd's coupe with the MORR VS8.2s I've been in love with that wheel. Being that MORR stopped making that model options were getting slim for finding a set. After Dub sold his I started looking and found another BimmerPost member selling his 3 series with a set. I talked the guy into selling me his wheels off the car and in July I finally got them sent out. Got a good price for the set with rubber and TPMS installed. I wanted to get these wheels in the Brushed finished like Dubsesd, but these were the only ones I could find available. They had a very polished face with more a satin finish on the sides of the spokes. I've never bought wheels from anyone so it was a new experience as far as shipping. We ended up using Greyhound and it was a pretty good price. They came with pretty new Conti DWS on the front and some pretty word down DW on the rear and the TPMS were the right model to go with the Z4 too. I had him order a set of tire totes from TireRack to help protect the wheels a little bit, and he did a better job packing them with cardboard to protect the face. I was able to see a little curb rash in the photos he sent me, which I figured would be normal for buying used wheels. What I didn't see until I got the wheels home and washed all the brake dust off was that 2 of the wheels had cracks in the barrel. They still held air, but it did make me concerned.

Unfortunately he wasn't able to give me the specs on the wheels so I didn't know the offsets, but they ended up being the same as Dubsesd's old wheels. I went with a set of 10mm H&R spacers for the rear and . It took me forever to find a set of clean looking lug bolts too. I looked at going with some regular bolts and putting caps on them, but photos of this looked kinda cheap to me. I figured if I am going to spend good money on wheels, I shouldn't ruin it with crappy looking bolts. I did look into studs too, but again, didn't like the look of them. The problem I ran into with the Gorilla lug bolts is that they weren't easy to find, and expensive. Most websites I looked at were $5 each, but you could pick the size you needed. I instead opted to buy a set of 20 on Amazon for $40 and had a buddy cut them down to the size I needed. It took a while to set up a time with this friend to get into his shop so I ended up not being able to install the wheels until later on in my trip home last June/July.

Enough typing, here’s the photos.
My buddy cutting the wheel bolts.


The only photo I took when home in the summer with the new wheels. Yes the exhaust tips are crooked, I'll get to that


Photos from moments before leaving to come out here to Europe.


Nice FAT rear tires





I also added these really cool wheel locks I got from ECS. They allow me to keep the wheel bolts on, and take them off whenever I actually make time to do a photo shoot.
http://www.ecstuning.com/ES260952/

We cut down the front bolts to be the right size and thought the rear would be fine. We were wrong. The rear bolts ended up being a couple MM too long and were slighting rubbing against some parking brake parts. Not enough to lock anything up, but enough that you could hear it rubbing with the windows down.

Cabin
I got my windows tinted locally and what a difference. The tint film I went with was a higher end product that does a lot of UV protection, but doesn't look as dark as other products with the same percentage. I went with a 25% which may not be legal in Maryland, but it looks like a 35% film

I bought a wind deflector from WindBlox. I didn't want to do anything to drill into the leather covers on my roll hoops and the price was pretty nice on this. I thought though from the pictures on the website that the straps would be black, they came grey/silver so I'll have to dye them later. I opted to get it in Lexan and the rubber edge to protect the interior. I also got the nice pouch for it, but I haven't taken it off the car yet! Yes the straps don't look pretty, but honestly I don't care and I can take it off whenever I want. It works pretty well too. In the summer my girlfriend and I took a road trip from Baltimore to Buffalo to NYC and back with some stops along the way. We did quite a bit with the top down and the wind blocker helped out a lot. It doesn't disrupt the rear view mirror at all either which is nice.




One project that just didn't work out was my attempt to have a semi hard-wired dash cam installed in the car. I saw a really good deal on a highly rated camera on Jalopnik and went for it, but I can't remember what model it is now. I bought an add-a-circuit to go into the fuse panel for power to the camera. The plan was to get a cheap USB cable, cut it up and have it wired to the fuse panel for power so that it only turns on when the car is on and doesn't take up the only accessory socket which I use for my phone. It took me forever to get this done because I ended up dropping a couple screws down the side behind the passenger air vent and carpet. After tearing a ton of stuff out of the car something wasn't right and it blew up the camera. It stopped working a day later and I couldn't figure it out. Turns out my crimping skills aren't great and the power cable from the USB came out of the add-a-circuit. I got a replacement camera and just decided to power it from the accessory socket using a 2 USB adapter. I routed the cable through the A pillar and through the dash to keep it hidden though. Now I just have to take the USB thing out of the socket when I'm done driving. Also found a nice right angle USB cable to keep the camera closer to the rear view camera for a cleaner look. The angle of the windshield makes the camera tilt a little to the side, but its not too bad.




I'll have to notch out a little spot for the cables to come through this panel.


Exhaust
I already had the RPI exhaust installed, but when I went home in the summer I decided (with heavy influence from my girlfriend) that I needed to put the stock cans back on for our week long road trip. In the fall, it came out that RPI has silencer inserts available for the exhaust so I ordered a set for the next time I would be home. Going back to the shop where my friend works we drilled the holes for the silencers and I put the RPI back on. I was able to get them set back just far enough that I didn't have to drill through the polished tip. The silencers helped a little bit, drone was cut down some, but they are still pretty damn loud! The silencers are a little noticeable if you're standing behind the car, but next time I go home I plan on taking them out and painting them black.


Summer '14 Trip events
I had about 3 weeks home and was busy almost every day. After getting most of the mods put on right away when I got home, aside from the wheels, I met up with Calichase at a Cars and Coffee event just North of Baltimore. I forgot to take photos, but I'll steal one of his


There was this gorgeous group of Panteras there too


The next day I went to a BMWCCA autocross in Southern Maryland. Had a pretty good time running for fun, nothing serious. One of the officials asked what kind of exhaust I had and was surprised to find out that just a set of mufflers were so ridiculously loud.

My girlfriend and I took a trip up to Buffalo to see my grandmother stopping in Erie to meet a friend along the way. We did a couple hours of top down driving through the mountains of Eastern PA which was pretty cool. A lot of my family came to Buffalo for the 4th of July and some of them I haven't seen in years wanted rides in the Roadster . My girlfriend and I left after a great dinner to catch some fireworks, but ended up running late so when we got close to the show we pull over on the side of the road and put the top down with the seat heaters on and watched from the car.

We also spent a day up in Niagara Falls which was pretty cool. Spending a few summers and my Grandmother's house I've been there a number of times before, but always went to the Canadian side. This was the first time I've been to the US side of the falls.

On our way towards NYC from Buffalo we stopped at the Zippo Museum in Bradford, PA. If you're ever on a trip through this area this is a cool little spot to stop and stretch your legs, even if you aren't a smoker. The company has a pretty cool history and the museum is really neat. Plus they have this super cool car parked outside!


We originally planned on driving through Times Square with the top down just for the experience, but decided not to go into the city. We did go to Red Bank, NJ to go see Jay and Silent Bob's Secret Stash from the AMC TV show Comic Book Men. None of the guys from the show were there, but they were going to start shooting the next season the day after we were there


On the way home from Jersey we stopped in Philly at the Peterson Auto Museum. We barely made it there before they closed but got to see all the cool stuff inside. Highly recommend this place as well!








Between trips
At the tail end of the summer '14 trip the car's computer was telling me it was time for a service. Given the mileage I figured it was time for Inspection II. In November I had my father drop the car off with At Speed Motorsports. If you're in the Baltimore DC area I can't recommend these guys enough! I stopped by their shop in Jan and was very impressed. They mostly work on Porsches, but there were a handful of BMWs and Lotuses in the shop and even a Diablo. They do everything from services to full on race prep.

I had the car dropped off to get the Inspection II, parking brake checked out, new Conti DWS wheels mounted on the rears, and get the wheels refinished and fixed from the cracks and curb rash. It wasn't cheap, but their service is excellent. The wheels ran into some trouble that their machine's couldn't handle the concave shape, but they got it worked out and they came out looking amazing! Although for as much as it cost I could have spent a little bit more and had the wheels refinished by MORR to have the brushed finish on them . I am also considering trying to plastidip them white to see what it looks like for at least a temporary experiment.

Jan '15 trip
After being in Sudan for longer than I ever cared to be there, I got to go home before coming here to Greece. My girlfriend (now Fiancée) wasn't able to get off of work so this trip was a lot easier on the wallet (aside from the ring ) This time I didn't have too many mods planned and just wanted to relax. Unfortunately the weather didn't care about me and decided to snow a couple of times, but damnit I wasn't about to let some snow and salt stop me from enjoying my car! -Warning- Some people may find the following photos upsetting





These photos were taken before I washed the car and left for the airport so most of the salt should have been removed lol.
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Last edited by Nate4641; 06-01-2015 at 06:50 AM..
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