My delayed Build thread - E90 6MT 335i

langsbr

Captain
Apr 5, 2017
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07 335i 6MT e90
Four years ago I had a 2004 Acura TL that I was in the process of turbocharging when I realized how cheap 335s had become. I immediately changed my plans and went and bought a Sparkling Graphite Metallic 2007 335i. The car was already slightly modded, but nothing insane.

Tl. I still think the body lines on the TL are better than the 3 series! A 'dream' plan of mine would be to convert a 3G TL to RWD and install an N54 and 6MT in it. If I can find a cheap enough chassis, I might see if I could make it work!
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It had Apex EC7s, AR Design downpipes, Spec clutch and flywheel, an upgraded intercooler, and a custom tune (Cobb :-O). A buddy drove me to get it in his CTS-V1 with 400whp and I proceeded to destroy him every time we lined up. The stock turbos spool so fast, even 6th gear acceleration was nuts on the interstate! I was hooked, and it was not wrong wheel drive!

eZz7on61tSIe7RyYJ8uTIGbbG788KgJZQ-6a-W7Iq3yl24cBpF.png


As delivered - so stock looking!

I had already ordered an aluminum chargepipe and Tial (fake!) BOV the first week of ownership. I was shocked the prior owner had a custom tune on the stock intake and chargepipe.

Soon after, VRSF introduced their 7.5” Race intercooler. They had a special discounted pre-order so I jumped on it. You can never have too much cooling. This thing is HEAVY and required a lot of trimming to fit.

Vs the AMS

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I knew I wanted an aftermarket boost gauge and I was very particular about what I wanted. It HAD to be a stepper motor, had to look as close to OEM as possible, and had to go to 25psi. I finally found one that fit the bill - white numbers when daytime, red when lights are on. Perfect!
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It matched even better once I fixed the OEM needles. I originally purchased some aftermarket needles from Bimmian - they are trash, don’t waste the time. Just do the old school sharpie - quick and works fine.
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I soon needed new brakes, and instead of just doing pads and rotors, I decided to look into a BBK. I was only looking for bling, something to look better than the ugly stock caliper.

Everything I found said the direct fit brembos from the performance brake package were smaller than the stock ones. I happened across a small company some may have heard of called “Dickass brakes.” They offered “replica” BBKs. What the heck, worth a shot, right? They fit PERFECT. 4 years later they still work perfect.
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I soon grew tired of the chrome trim. I never understood why chrome is so highly regarded, so I painted it flat black. I also didn’t care for the dark colored wheels. I decided to plastidip them before I painted them to make sure that’s what I wanted to do. The car looked MUCH better. I also added a small lip spoiler to give it a slightly more aggressive look.

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To help the car look a bit more aggressive still, I added the front bumper lip add-ons. Not sure I would have done it again in hindsight - the look wasn’t all that great.

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It needed new fog lights though since the stock ones were shot.

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The car was now in need of more power, and I originally liked how Mauricio Madrid approached his turbo builds. I learned his customer service leaves a LOT to be desired though. Luckily, my turbos are still working great. I opted for the MMP S3s with coated manifolds and WPC treated bearings.

xw72ioNKLXU5Vb8yEd5Z8x6IjktXZD1ykgSfYpc5JXARBY2ZqH.png


The coating while still intact, doesn’t look near as nice. It was probably the cheapest available option. In hindsight, I would’ve opted for cerakote or preferably Swaintech’s White Lightning. Swaintech is awfully proud of their coating, and it’s a bit pricey. Maybe next time.

I did the turbo install, new motor mounts (Skip the 034s, they suck!), relocated inlets, silicone outlets, and a precision raceworks bucketed stage 2 LPFP.

I got a custom tune by Twisted Tuning. The tune took WAAAY longer to get to where it was what I would call close to dialed in, but eventually, I ran a 12.1 @ 128 on E30 with 25 psi. I need a tire and a better launch!

So now the car was fast (or at least fast enough for me!) it didn’t look the part. The stock front bumper is pretty ugly IMHO, so I was looking to get an M3 bumper. I started looking for an M3 hood or M3 style hood to go with it, but could only find carbon fiber for absurd money, or ugly GTS hoods with tons of vents.

I instead decided to do an LCI hood, as it looks much more aggressive in my opinion. The creases really look good, and the M3 style bumper matches nicely. I also did M3 side skirts, and M4 style dual slat kidney grills. I’ve never really done body mods to a car, so this was one of my favorite since it really started making the car look aggressive, but not flashy. Basically OEM+.

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The difference is much more stark when compared directly:

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China came thru for me again with a new part. I had been wanting a flat bottom steering wheel, but wasn’t going to pay the crazy prices vendors wanted. Got this bad boy on the cheap - and it looks immaculate.

QovSlcvkixLyKSI4ZL4wMbl7ec6dr5msbJo6OtQUVOSuPiqSID.png


3 years later it still looks brand new and every stitch is perfect.

My adaptive headlights began to not adapt, and they had tons of plastic crazing so it was time for some new ones. I had ordered a set of lenses but they weren’t for an E90 as described. The only other set of lenses I could find were Bimmerjakes and they were $250 for just the lenses. Pass. I removed one of my stock lenses and the OEM permaseal is NO JOKE. I decided to pass on the customizing plan as it takes too long and wasn’t sure I could get what I wanted.

I bought a set of aftermarket headlights. They get no love on forums or Facebook, but I like them and I get nothing but compliments in person.

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To be fair, the optics COMPLETELY SUCK, but eventually I’ll retrofit a decent bi-xenon projector in them. I don’t drive much a night, so for now they are fine as is.

I knew I needed some better tires if I wanted the car to hook, and I preferred to go to a 17” wheel. The only good looking 17s that are wide enough to run a tire I want are Apex ARC8s. Why are 17x9.5 or 10 so hard to find in a 5x120? Makes no sense.

I ran across a local guy selling just a pair of 17” Arc 8s in 17x10 fitment. Score! They had brand new Mickey thompson ET Street RRs on them. I sold the Mickeys and bought a pair of R888Rs. LOVE THEM. But now my front and rear wheels don’t match!

I had planned to purchase a pair right from Apex’s website, but I always check their blem sheet to see what’s available. They had a single 18x9 +31 in hyper silver listed, and an 18x9 in a weird offset in hyper silver. I emailed them, and sure enough it was a typo! Got both of them for a great deal! I don’t know how or why they listed them as blems, they were perfect in every way.

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Mickeys on the rear still.

I figured I was done with power mods for a while, and the exterior was looking good. I decided to change up the interior. I now had a nice steering wheel, so I started looking in to some better seats. I was considering the Braum, as many do, but I think Braum is just another chinese brand - nothing special, and you lose airbags, electronic control, etc.

I had seen some youtube videos and forum posts of guys putting F80 seats in an E90. If you’ve ever priced F80 seats, they are NOT cheap by a long shot, so I figured this was just a dream. I wasn’t on a timeline, so I figured I’d start scouring FB marketplace, craigslist, and forums to see what was out there.
I started my internet scouring and scored a phenomenal deal on a complete Sakhir Orange interior - Competition seats too! I did a write up on the install. Love these seats. I never thought I would like a red interior but it looks great.

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I still have some things in progress. I’m working on changing out the M bade in the seats for something that says 335i. This is just a prototype:


Normal
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Illuminated
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I currently have the car on jackstands to fix an oil leak. It appears the oil feed line on the rear turbo is leaking and it makes a YUGE mess all the time. It’s amazing how a small amount of oil can be such a huge mess maker.

Since it’s cold, COVID is still canceling things, and I work from home, I decided to take my team, clean things up, and try to make the engine bay look better.

I have AR Design Downpipes and I couldn’t tell if they were coated - if so, it was a shoddy job. I had them dustless blasted - it’s a pretty cool concept where they mix shot media and high pressure water instead of just sandblasting. They were completely blasted and now getting cerakoted. Again, Swaintech was just not cost competitive. Interestingly, Jet-Hot now has a coating that they say compares to Swaintech, and they were nearly 100% more expensive than Swaintech. My wife has cerakoted headers on her Escalade and even 2 years later they look like they were installed yesterday and immaculate, so I have faithin the cerakote.

I’m also trying a DIY lower charge pipe on the cold side. The VRSF intercooler exit is 3”, and has a coupler to taper to 2.5” for the lower charge pipe, and another coupler that transitions to a 3” for the main chargepipe. I figured I’d give a shot at making my own full 3” lower chargepipe. We’ll see how it fits. Pictures to follow.
 

Milan

Sergeant
Dec 24, 2016
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Badass thread man. I still have to do my f80 rear seats. I think I talked to you about that one point. The front seats are one of my favorite mods I’ve done to the car.

out of curiosity where did you get your m3 bumper ?
 

langsbr

Captain
Apr 5, 2017
1,250
737
0
Ride
07 335i 6MT e90
Badass thread man. I still have to do my f80 rear seats. I think I talked to you about that one point. The front seats are one of my favorite mods I’ve done to the car.

out of curiosity where did you get your m3 bumper ?

Thank you! My thread doesn't compare to a lot of the excellent builds here, but I figured it would be a way for me to keep a record of what I've done. I had to go thru some old Google Photos to remember when I did some stuff, lol.

I agree, the seats are hands down one of my most favorite mods. The seats sit just enough lower that I can fit comfortably with a helmet on now and not scrape the headliner ever. The Reboot Engineering rear seat kit is really an engineering marvel. While it isn't cheap, it really makes the F80 seats fit as good as they possibly could.

Believe it or not, I got the bumper off of Amazon of all places. It was under $300 shipped and since it was thru Amazon, I knew I'd have their protections vs. dealing with just a vendor if I had an issue. Fitment was perfect. Honestly I think they are all the same manufacturer, just a matter of what seller you use. I wouldn't hesitate to get one off of ebay, as long as it's not Duraflex.
 

langsbr

Captain
Apr 5, 2017
1,250
737
0
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07 335i 6MT e90
Have you ever taken your whip to the dyno?
Not yet, this is a 'delayed build thread' lol. I just added a Stage 3 LPFP and Spool Helix, so I plan to try and max out the turbos and tune and see what it's got. Hopefully heading to the track tomorrow night to see what it can do. No ET expectations really, but I'd love to trap over 130mph. Gonna try to get to the dyno in the next couple of weeks.
How'd you get your seat badge prototypes done? They look neat.
Well, they aren't really done yet. They are still on my workbench, life keeps getting in the way. Right now I'm using an EL panel and covering it with black vinyl. I think I might need better quality vinyl as the stuff I'm using didn't stay adhered very well. Granted I could have just been sloppy and not had the surface clean enough. I should hopefully have something in the next couple weeks.
Not sure how I missed this in the past but love the build!
Thank you! I follow your posts as well. I wish the forums were more active. Facebook seems to be where people post things now, and I get it - it's quick and easy, but it's so not made for perpetuity. I figured I better be a contributor if I want the forums to be what I want, I just wish I had more knowledge and experience to contribute more.
 
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NoGuru

Captain
Jan 9, 2018
1,156
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I only use Facebook to find local Cars and coffee meets or the occasional race events. Try and post a question and get destroyed by someone who's got think's there opinion is the only and best way to do anything.
There are a few other forums I go to but this one has the most maturity and better place for discussions then most.
 

seb.apprenti

Corporal
Nov 28, 2018
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Je n'utilise Facebook que pour trouver des voitures et des cafés locaux ou des événements de course occasionnels. Essayez de poster une question et soyez détruit par quelqu'un qui pense que son opinion est la seule et la meilleure façon de faire quoi que ce soit.
Il y a quelques autres forums sur lesquels je vais, mais celui-ci a le plus de maturité et le meilleur endroit pour les discussions que la plupart.
I totally agree with you
facebook groups tire me
French groups have a narrow mind (I hope the translation is understandable)
despite my level of English close to zero, I prefer to ask questions, to have information here.
my project is progressing thanks to all of you
 

langsbr

Captain
Apr 5, 2017
1,250
737
0
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07 335i 6MT e90
January 2022 Update

With a new year, I figured I should make a new update. As for power mods, the only changes I’ve made are a Precision Raceworks Stage 3 LPFP (an additional 450Lph pump), and a Spool Performance Helix HPFP overdrive.

I’ve been very pleased with the Spool overdrive - granted my car is not a daily driver, but it’s held rail pressure really well on E60. I’ve yet to really turn up the turbos, Twisted isn’t a haphazard tuner and makes sure each log is good before moving up, so right now it’s around 29psi max and 9* timing.

While I can’t cut a decent 60ft at all, it does pretty well from a roll. At the local ¼ track they have roll races. Interestingly enough, most cars that can cut a decent 60 ft - e.g 1.3 - 1.8, trap the same from a 40mph roll as they do from a ¼ pass. My car was trapping 135 in those races, which I was very pleased with. A friend has a CTS-V that runs 10.0 @ 132, and I beat him every roll race, as well as a C7 Z06 with bolt ons that runs 10.8s at 130. I almost won the <140 class until a 150mph Supra entered and was sandbagging, lol.

New exterior items

Got a new rear trunk spoiler for the car, love how the M4 style looks:
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Also got some M3 style mirror caps:
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Interior Updates:

For the interior, I had been working on 335i bades for the F80 M3 seats, since I don’t have an M3. My original plan was to simply use a vinyl wrap over the existing badge and an EL panel for the lighting. While it ‘worked’ the vinyl wrap would crease due to the bends, and I didn’t care for it overall.
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5Z3DXNvpyQf-rL3DZQd0hgwxfAmilecZ_bb--tjcxbhDk1_3qO.png


You can see the outline of where the EL tape didn’t sit flush, and the creases all around. The vinyl also didn’t like to stick completely and I was worried about temperatures in the car in the south.

This led me to thinking of an alternative - make it myself. While I’ve had a 3D printer for a few years, I’ve only ever printed designs I’ve downloaded, I’ve never designed my own part, or even knew how. Enter Youtube! I used Youtube guides to learn how to use Freecad.

This is what I am trying to replicate, except for the logo:
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I started with just the dimensions of the badge, and ended up with this:

muJH6KRyO9-wxLYqAjhD5eQ6k_aSsE0jRkUGPsAYc6VlFJxuoB.png


Then I worked on the 335 logo. I decided I could make the backplate solid, with a slot for the EL Tape wiring to go through, and then overlay another 3d print with the 335i logo:

Ae9CKbGc2FPdZV9hd4U0fxDkbSJ7MtY2nVS52bjCOvaiVI6u6j.png


I then needed to learn how to make slightly more complex shapes to get the posts on the back of the backplate, and ended up with this:

YfP-SEOBu-X_xj3Br9arvPtobCgycw5s0Sr8qeoSLPeMrvAc6d.png


My apologies for the shadows in the pics, I’m not a camera person at all, lol. Here’s how the initial one turned out:

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I then decided I needed something make the face more solid, I didn’t want the EL tape exposed. Enter epoxy resin.

I’ve never used epoxy resin before and this was indeed a learning experience. The ratios must be JUST RIGHT or it will never cure. Trying to mix batches smaller than one ounce can result in bad mixtures even when correct. This means a lot of wasted product.


While I’m not satisfied with the end result, I will use them until more EL tape arrives from China.
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This first one you can see the white spot on the first 3, and a spot on the second 3. This was the result of having to sand off an entire layer of resin that never properly cured. No sense in throwing away the whole project - it was a good practice round!

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The second one I used different epoxy and not sure if that played into the pitting on it, but I can’t sand or polish them out, so I may have not popped all the air bubbles in them.

Overall, I learned it’s much better to do multiple very small skim coats instead of a large thick pour, at least for what I am doing. The skim coat will allow it to close any gaps in the surface, and then add thickness and it won’t all run down.

I also decided to have some fun with my 3D printer to create some custom badges.

BLoeazTUZmxVHhbYdt3eqz8R-vsbydp_3mLrFYBwYL4adt3SC4.png


VOoNo5uV-r7li3egepBiwPx-uDsRse6nnm1u1Dtp4JXpzHp13L.png

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These were all just temporarily stuck on with doublesided tape, not 3M tape, so some were not perfectly level, it was just for the pictures.
 

langsbr

Captain
Apr 5, 2017
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07 335i 6MT e90
Got tired of rocking the M3 seat badges so I installed the first iteration of the ones I made. I'm in the process of making another set since I've learned a bit with epoxy resin; hopefully they turn out better. These do OK though. I was lazy and didn't wire them up yet. Maybe this weekend.

seatsbadge.jpg
 

langsbr

Captain
Apr 5, 2017
1,250
737
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07 335i 6MT e90
and now I need new seats.
These seats have been my favorite mod to the car (ok, next to the turbos :p). They sit about an inch lower which is great when wearing a helmet. They are wide, but have lumber support, which makes them comfortable on long trips. The best part is they install and function like OEM and retain all the OEM features like airbags and occupancy sensors.
 

fmorelli

Lieutenant General
Staff member
Aug 11, 2017
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E89 Z4 35i, F10 535d
Gentle heat gun on the epoxy after layup will help get bubbles out. Are there bubbles inset that are bad enough to concern you, or just on the exterior? If latter you could take some finish epoxy, slick them with a thin coat and work into any pits, then wet sand and buff out.
 

langsbr

Captain
Apr 5, 2017
1,250
737
0
Ride
07 335i 6MT e90
Gentle heat gun on the epoxy after layup will help get bubbles out. Are there bubbles inset that are bad enough to concern you, or just on the exterior? If latter you could take some finish epoxy, slick them with a thin coat and work into any pits, then wet sand and buff out.

The first one I did was a mixing issue and it didn't harden properly, so I sanded everything off and redid it - it doesn't look bad, except one spot o the first 3 got messed up and was no longer red.

The other one, I used a different kind of epoxy resin and it was looking excellent the whole time - I used a heat gun to remove bubbles, and was loving it. Then it dried and it just didn't have the same clarity as when it was wet. I sanded and polished it, but it had too many small pits. I may try and so a thin coat as you suggested to see if it will improve it. I have another project I'm going to start soon and I am going to use a polyester resin which I was told was a bit more forgiving, and has better UV performance than epoxy.
 

fmorelli

Lieutenant General
Staff member
Aug 11, 2017
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The first one I did was a mixing issue and it didn't harden properly, so I sanded everything off and redid it - it doesn't look bad, except one spot o the first 3 got messed up and was no longer red.

The other one, I used a different kind of epoxy resin and it was looking excellent the whole time - I used a heat gun to remove bubbles, and was loving it. Then it dried and it just didn't have the same clarity as when it was wet. I sanded and polished it, but it had too many small pits. I may try and so a thin coat as you suggested to see if it will improve it. I have another project I'm going to start soon and I am going to use a polyester resin which I was told was a bit more forgiving, and has better UV performance than epoxy.
Ok ... so hear is kind of the suck part ... well ... having to redo work sucks (as me how I know). I do a lot of finishing work, and work with epoxy in that regard. You want a finishing epoxy. My favorite is Silvertip but that costs money for just one project. You might try BSI Finish Cure https://www.amazon.com/Finish-cure-20min-epoxy-4-5oz-Smith/dp/B001NIC3VW/ ... if you have a local hobby shop they may carry BSI. It is often used for fiberglass layups and that kind of stuff. Heat of course, which you know.

I would work back the material you have, maybe scuff to 400 grit wetdry, before you add the BSI on top. That should key sufficiently well.

I'm not sure you will end up with the optical clarity you want, jut from epoxy. But if you get it bubble free and good and hard, you can wet sand it out (to say 2000 grit) and then buff out as you would an automotive finish. I use large canton wheel buffers which you won't have, but your random orbital with the usual paint repair type process will get you to a polish. Whether you get the surface clarity you want, I'm not sure. If not, I'd scuff back to about 1,200 grit and then I would shoot several coats of rattle can gloss lacquer - shoot a tack coat first, then a mid coat, then 3-4 full coats. Lacquer will need to sit and cure for a while - you can accelerate this with convection (a.k.a put them in front of a fan). If you are happy with the final product, great. If the lacquer is less than perfect, then sand 1,200 to 2,000, and again go through the compounds to high polish.

Hope this helps.
 

langsbr

Captain
Apr 5, 2017
1,250
737
0
Ride
07 335i 6MT e90
My latest project was a mild success. I'm not totally happy with everything yet, but I learned a lot, so that counts, right?

My first time doing any carbon fiber stuff. I used hex carbon kevlar and instead of epoxy resin, I used Silmar 249a Polyester resin. I figured it would be easier to work with for a first timer, and have better UV protection since this is in the car.

I need to figure out a better plan for the sides, they were not as easy as I would have hoped. When I did this, I had the fabric longer than needed, thinking I would easily trim off the excess that was not in resin - much easier said than done.

I'm also not super happy with the DOI (distinction of image). There's not as much clarity as I was hoping for, and it doesn't seem that any amount of wetsanding or polishing is improving it.

Overall though, I'm happy with the results for a first time effort. I learned a LOT about the silmar and how to use it and what it likes. I think I might try a different method on the other seat, not quie sure yet. These Competition seat backs are freaking outrageously expensive to purchase new. I had nothing to lose on this one because it had a gash on the bottom right, so if I failed terribly, I could just by another one anyways. The drivers seat back is in excellent shape so I'm deciding on how to proceed.

resizedseats.jpg
 

langsbr

Captain
Apr 5, 2017
1,250
737
0
Ride
07 335i 6MT e90
What do these seats go for in good condition?

Edit: Damn you guys...

Prices are all over the map. Plus, with the Venezuelan style inflation advertising prices, they are absurd right now. Before Covid, you could find a pair of Comps in the 2 - 2500 range, a bit more if it had rears and door panels. I got an absurd deal on mine since I bought in 'peak covid' when prices were low.

I'd say if you find a pair of non-comps for 2K right now, that's a good deal.