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Old 09-04-2015, 08:56 PM
Big02 Big02 is offline
Join Date: Jul 2014
Posts: 84
Default S50 Estoril by the beach

My S50 MCoupe - The first year

I can still remember seeing these cars back in the late 90's, when I was a student. I thought 'one day, one day I'll have one of those'.

When I finally landed my first grad job out of uni I bought a 4 year old 2.8 roadster, which had about 20k on the clock, I instantly loved it. The double vanos 2.8 was a corker as was the tail happy rear end. I decided to move the Z3 on after a few months in a bid to save some cash.

Track forward 10 years and I had a hankering for an MCoupe.

Now, if you ask my friends and family, reckless car buying is not my thing. I am meticulous about the cars I buy and try and find the best deal/example I can.

So, in April 2014 I did something I'd never done before. I bought a car I'd never seen and never driven and another first, I bought it from auction. Those of you with a keen memory will know which car I'm talking about.

The car in question is a W reg S50 in Estoril blue with matching interior, sunroof and cruise control. At the time of buying the car had 71k on the clock. Before bidding the auction house did a walk round for me. It was no garage queen and by all accounts it had been stood for a while as the previous owner had passed away.

My wife went and picked the coupe up form the auction house and drove the 200miles home to Bournemouth, picking me up from Southampton train station on her way. My initial thoughts weren't too bad, the car was in one piece and it had 4 wheels that turned - I was onto a winner! Annoyingly, the accelerator cable was so stretched that 65mph seemed to be the top speed and the drivers seat was stuck in the highest position (both issues the auction house kindly forgot to mention when giving me feedback on the car).

I decided that I wouldn't drive the car until some remedial work had been carried out. First off, I replaced the accelerator cable and removed the drivers seat and fixed the mechanism (both jobs completed with guidance from the forum). Finally, I gave the old girl a good old wash and brush up.

The car had been laid up for some time so I decided an Inspection 1 was called for. I've used a local BMW specialist for years so I trusted them with the coupe. At the service I had the car fitted with an Earls braided clutch hose (night and day difference) and I had all of the fluids changed (engine, gearbox and diff) using C_W's recommendations from Opie Oils. Whilst in the garage the handbrake shoes were changed, a few bushes were replaced as they were found to be worn and I had a new door actuator fitted (which didn't fix the delayed window drop issue I have, grrr).

For the next 600 miles or so I simple 'ran the car in', at the advice of my mechanic.

June 2014
My first proper full on Mcoupe driving experience was in June 2014, when I drove to a friends stag do in Cornwall. I finished work on Sunny Friday afternoon and headed for Cornwall. The drive was immense the more I drove the more the coupe wanted to be driven. I was hooked!!!

A week after coming back from Cornwall I noticed that the idling was rough and that power was down. My heart sank at the thought of laying out a wedge on a vanos service. Anyway, onto the forum to see if there were any cheap DIY fixes I could try first. On investigation it sounded as though the rough running could have been solenoid related. I dropped into my BMW specialist and they hooked up the diagnostic tool. The fault code showed the vanos was to blame but it didn't detail whether it was the solenoids at fault.

On removing the air filter hose I noticed that the rubber sleeve, which covers a T joint was split but not sufficiently to cause an air leak. I replaced the part anyway as it was past its best.

I decided that I'd give the repair a go myself. Armed with a list of parts I went to my local dealer and purchased new solenoid seals, bolts, oil filter and gaskets. The repair was a little fiddly so I removed the fan and the fan cowling to gain access, as it was the fan only had 5 blades on it so that too was replaced.

On closer inspection it was evident that there had been an oil leak in the past from one of the solenoids. On removal there was no obvious damage to the solders nor was there any signs of fresh oil leaks. After a few hours everything was back in place, all parts were cleaned prior to being put back on the car. The turn key moment of truth, had I managed to save myself a big bill and restored the smooth idling? Abso-flippin'-lutely I had, the coupe once again settled into a stable idle. Job done.

Since then, I've had no mechanical issues (touch wood).

July 2014
I removed the plastic door sill covers and cleaned all of the dirt, fortunately no rust to be seen just a build up of grime. I also fitted 10mm H&R spacers all round. Definitely made a difference to the look and feel of the car, both for the better.

Feb 2015
I invested in a Meguirs kit to restore the hazy headlight and the results were astounding, not brand new but an amazing difference. At the same time I swapped out all the bulbs for some more powerful Osram ones.

March 2015
MOT time!! Before dropping the car off I took it for an early morning Italian tune up too clear the pipes. The coupe passed the MOT with a few advisories, two front tyres are close to limit and one rear tyre had a nail in it. Thank the Lord it only wears 17's!

At the time of writing the car has 74.5k on the clock and 3 green lights.

Plans for the next 12 months

It all depends on available funds really. I have a young family so funds are limited. Below are what I'd like to do in the next 12 months:

- Fit new tyres, I'm happy with the Goodyear's we've had fitted to our E91 so I suspect I'll go for these.

- Suspension refresh, I think at 15 years old it wouldn't hurt to show a bit of love here.

- Fix the drivers door window, the window doesn't drop quickly enough when the door is opened. If anyone has any suggestions how to resolve please let me know. I've replaced the actuator with no luck.

- The drivers seat has just started to creak so I suspect some new bushes are on the cards.

In all, it's been a great year. The coupe is entertaining and gets attention wherever I go. So far, the running costs are sufferable and on a run it isn't too bad.

Would I buy the same car again? Absolutely, at the time people questioned the price i paid and yes the car could do with some cosmetic touch ups but at the end of the day it is an M coupe and these cars are about driving and enjoying. Given the current climate, what I paid 12 months ago for my car doesn't seem that bad.

I may not be the most frequent of bloggers on here but I hope you've all enjoyed reading. Look out for me if you're ever in Bournemouth.
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Old 10-04-2015, 05:56 AM
Spooks's Avatar
Spooks Spooks is offline
Senior Member
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: Derby
Posts: 4,577

A great read! If you refresh the suspension it'll be the best job you've done

Try some silicon spray down the runners of the window to help speed up the window dropping (available from all good retailers but mine came from ScrewFix)

Ps....Bournemouth in the Prem, reckon they'll do it?!
2002 '52 S54 - Titanium Silver with 18" BBS LMs, AP Racing BBK, KW V3, H&R anti roll bars & ACS flippers (previously 2000 'X' S50 - Arctic Silver)
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Old 10-04-2015, 04:16 PM
Big02 Big02 is offline
Join Date: Jul 2014
Posts: 84

Cheers Spooks. I was thinking Bilsteins either B6 or B8 with H&R springs. I don't want too harsh a ride and my car isn't going to be tracked. Any advice is welcome.

The forum seems a pretty friendly place - so long as you don't mention prices

I'll grab some spray and give it a go. The sticky window is an intermittent issue but is persistent when opening and closing the door. So annoying.

Bournemouth in the prem - who knows, there is all to play for and there is a hushed optimism in the town. Never did I think a few years ago, when the club was close to administration, did I think we'd be playing to enter the premier league. Be great if we can pull it off so fingers and toes crossed.
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Old 11-04-2015, 04:44 PM
Dave P's Avatar
Dave P Dave P is offline
Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: Cheshire
Posts: 27,706

bigger pictures,

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Old 31-10-2017, 07:08 AM
Big02 Big02 is offline
Join Date: Jul 2014
Posts: 84

October 2017

Itís been quite some time since posting on this, so here goes . . .

The Coupe has generally given me little trouble over the last couple of years.

Iíve had to fit a new water pump, oil sensor and had the front brake calipers refurbished by Big Red. Other than that itís been BAU.

A couple of things that have always annoyed my about he car are the paint (more on that in a bit) and the suspension.

I agonised for ages over what to do on the suspension front original, aftermarket, but is that, springs/shocks or coil overs?!?!? After a lot of deliberating I decided that Iíd never use my car on a track and that the (work) stock suspension was a bit vague.

I finally opted for B8ís and H&R springs - these are being fitted by my specialist as we speak.

Whilst at it, Iím having the following fitted . . .
Rogue top mounts
Front and rear drop links
Track rods

Iím hoping that the handling will be significantlly improved!

Oh and whoever designed the access to the rear mounts needs a good slapping - no CurryWurst for

Last edited by Big02; 31-10-2017 at 07:13 AM. Reason: Pasting issue
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Old 31-10-2017, 12:26 PM
Broadbandylegs's Avatar
Broadbandylegs Broadbandylegs is offline
Join Date: Mar 2015
Location: Stirlingshire
Posts: 50

Originally Posted by Big02 View Post
October 2017

Oh and whoever designed the access to the rear mounts needs a good slapping - no CurryWurst for
Ha! You're right!
I replaced my top mounts a couple of months back. Easy job but took me 3 hours to get at them and 30 mins to actually do the replacement.
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Old 05-11-2017, 09:08 PM
Big02 Big02 is offline
Join Date: Jul 2014
Posts: 84

In the words of Alan Partridge - ĎRuddy bloody good, actuallyí.

All the suspension has been fitted and Iíve had the tracking done on a Hunter alignment machine.

What a transformation!!!! So much tighter, you can really push it into a bend and keep on pushing with confidence. It finally handles like the car I always thought it should do.

The only negative is that it can be a little bouncy but Iím sure with use and bedding in this will dissipate.

Iíve fallen in love with it all over again.

Hereís a great guide to removing the boot interior. Tested and it works a treat.

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Old 28-02-2019, 10:51 AM
Big02 Big02 is offline
Join Date: Jul 2014
Posts: 84
Default Feb 2109

Wow, time flys by doesnít it, Iíve not been on here for a while so itís time for an update.

July 2018 - I decided to have the dreaded VANOS replaced by Mr Vanos. All in it took him 3 hours to replace the unit. What an epic transformation to the car. Iíd clearly not realised how Ďlazyí the car had become. Power is now more instant and the engine feels as though it has some freedom.

[B]Sept 2018 - [B]Inspection 2 time. Nothing was picked up on the service but again the car felt that bit better for new plugs,oil, etc

[B]Feb 2019[B]- Coming back from a weekend in Sidmouth the car started to lurch intermittently when at constant throttle at low speeds. It really bugged me and I was concerned that the Vanos was playing up but this felt different than the Vanos issues Iíve previously experienced. After a bit of internet detective work, it looked as though the Throttle Position Sensor was on the way out. It was a cheap enough option so I bought one from ECP and within 20mins the new item was installed. A quick test drive confirmed that this was the offending item and it cured other annoyances Iíd noted for some time, including; jerking at low speeds when lifting off throttle approaching traffic lights and lifting off throttle when slowing down from speed. The drive is far smoother now and the car feels easier to drive. If youíve not changed the TPS in a while then itís worth changing.

Next up - Iím on the hunt for a decent body shop near me. Iíve used Kustom Kolors, Christchurch before but pinning him down to a date is a nightmare so I am casting my net wider. I hear good things about Honiton Bodyshop.

I also have an annoying smell of coolant in the cab/outside but Iím not losing any and the carpets inside are bone dry.

The car has just ticked over 85k now.
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Old 08-07-2019, 03:37 PM
Big02 Big02 is offline
Join Date: Jul 2014
Posts: 84

July 2019

The coupe has been doing a great job and given me no problems at all. I managed to attend a ZRoadster meet in the New Forest. There were only two Z3Mcoupes, mine and Martinís. The meet was well attended though and a Z4 coupe in Stratus Grey looked the absolute business, sitting on 19s.

Itís not all been fun though, about a week ago the coupe suffered some idling problems. When starting the car it would surge to 2k rpm and sit there for 30secs and then it would drop down to 400rpm as though it were abou to cut out. The car would then backfire when under any sort of load.

A bit of internet searching and fingers pointed to the Idle control valve. After a bit of spannering I managed to get it free along with a perished hose that attaches to it.

I cleaned the ICV inside and out with some carb cleaner and renewed the pipe and jubilee clips.

I put the car back together and fired her up. Now, at this point I always have a Ďwill it, wonít ití moment. The car fired into life and settled down to a perfect idle. Actually, it idled better than itís done in the last 5 years.

I took it for a little shakedown test over the Lulworth firing Ranges last night and basically, wow, what a difference. The car feels a lot tighter and the engine feels a lot better.

If you have a slightly dodgy idle then give this inexpensive job a go.

On the paint job side of things, Iíve been a little lax and life has got in the way again. Iím trying to get into see Gavin at Reef Bodyshop who has an excellent reputation for working on e46 M3ís, checkout his FB page.
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Old 12-04-2020, 07:03 PM
Big02 Big02 is offline
Join Date: Jul 2014
Posts: 84

April 2020
Well, what do you do on a bank holiday weekend in lockdown? Turn your attention to the Zed, that’s what.

The poor Zed really needs a bit of a spruce up inside and out.

I’ve amassed parts over the last few months and nows the perfect time to get stuck in.

First up is the interior.

Seats remember removed, I broke out the Van carpet shampoo, a scrubbing brush and I set to work. I used the carpet cleaner to suck up the excess water and allowed the car to air. It all went well and the difference is amazing. I’ll aim to do the boot tomorrow.

Next up we’re the seats, they’re looking a little tired and scuffled and would certainly benefit from some -“attention. I’d purchased cleaner, dyes and sealer from a German supplier last year but I’ve not had the time/inclination to get on with it.

Anyway, seats removed, scrubbed, degreased, filled and sanded it was time to put some colour on. I say it was time to put colour on, it was actually time to mask up the two tone seats. Its a really annoying job but once done it does allow you to crack on. I used a sponge applicator and I used a hairdryer to speed up the drying process.

I’ll have to do the black sections tomorrow, however I think you’ll all agree the blue has come up really well.

First job of the day is to source some more masking tape so u can do the interior items and the black infills of the seats.

On the list is to fit a new to me rear wiper motor, send the injectors off to be cleaned and to try and find somewhere that will refurb the headlights.

I’d posted on here a while ago about getting the car painted, well, I did find a place, Reef paint shop, Trowbridge. The owner is a decent chap, really into his beemers and is building quite a reputation as a go to place for the mark, especially e46 M3’s.
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