You can find parts of Canada so rural, a diehard gearhead could live his entire life without ever seeing an E46 BMW M3. Hold that thought for a second – never seeing one out of person, only in magazines and online!
Such was the truth for Kenton von Hollen. He’d never seen one until he actually bought an M3. That didn’t stop him from buying and believing a 2003 E46 BMW M3 in Imola Red, even though for those he knew, it could have been a unicorn.thanks to Labb22, M&B Cylinder Heads, a Precision turbo and AEM standalone
I’ve been a car guy, having owned a built Z31 300ZX with a big turbo together with a Duramax diesel truck that made over 1200 lb-ft. comfortable, sophisticated and fast but could haul my loved ones, von Hollen said, but I’d always wanted a European car because they seemed more sophisticated. I live in a rural province of Canada (Alberta) that’s bigger than California yet merely has three car dealerships. It’s the kind of desolate place that you don’t see performance cars too often, he added.
He’d never laid eyes on the real E46 M3 till the day he bought one, as a result of his geographical location.
I’d never seen one, but based on everything I’d read, I knew it was the car for me, Kenton confirmed. I can still remember the first time I drove the BMW M3. The handling was out of this world plus it was built so well. It wasCall it fate, but the Imola coupe was only one hour far from his home, tucked away in another small town away from the beaten path. The very first owner had only driven the pristine M3 during the summer, along with a mere 55000 miles were registered in the clock. Similar to most good car stories, I initially desired to keep it stock. But when I turned to the net for information, the upgrades ignited from that point, Ken said.
What started as as simple fishing expedition into E46 car care and maintenance was transformed into a Horsepower Freaks (HPF) turbo build before you know it.
After learning everything I really could about the E46 M3 on the forums and in magazines, I made a decision to look into performance mods, and before long I had been dead-set on the turbo kit, Ken said. Shortly after conversing with HPF, I scheduled a scheduled visit and drove the car to Portland, Ora young upgrade right after the stock brakes melted on some high-speed runs
Two short months after acquiring the 2003 BMW M3, he was about to embark on a journey that will begin with a Stage 2 turbo kit. Five days after delivering the car at HPF, it had been making 600whp with methanol injection and 110-octane leaded fuel.
As luck would have it, on his long drive home, von Hollen cooked two pistons in the motor. Losing compression was traced to a faulty boost controller and a malfunctioning fuel pump.
Depressed by his bad fortune, von Hollen was unwilling to admit defeat and wasted little time having M&B Cylinder Heads build him a minimal-compression short block. When run on the same 110/meth combo, it made 680whp with an extra 100 lb-ft of torque compared to as soon as theBad luck was lurking around the corner, as with many parts of this build. This time it metamorphosed being a rogue turbo that would grenade his exhaust system.
The morning I got the built-motor back, the exhaust wheel in the turbo sheared off and destroyed the exhaust system and several other components. Thankfully, the debris went downstream and not in the motor, he added.
If you’re going to stick with a build on this caliber, learning to look for the positive is a crucial trait. So, ken was now hell-bent on perfection, and the thought of another failed turbo led him to a dual-ball bearing Precision 7168 turbo with billet wheel that kicked the boost to new levels, even though a replacement 67mm turbo was the fast fix.
Simply how muchWith this form, our Canadian friend was able to amass more than 20,000 miles driving throughout Canada, cruising down to California, and even hitting track days and Shift S3ctor’s half-mile races.
I took the auto everywhere, from airfield events to the drag strip and also road courses. Naturally, I turned down the boost for your latter, however it was a lot of fun and so i soon got hooked on track days, he was quoted saying.
Like all gearheads, enough is rarely enough, so von Hollen wisely decide to upgrade the M3 fuel system next. I upgraded to PTFE lines, a Radium multi-pump surge tank, twin Walbro 400 E85 pumps, a Fuel Lab filter and pressure regulator along with a Radium rail and Injector Dynamics ID2000 injectors, he said.
This time on ethanol rather than the race gas/methanol combo he’d been previously using, even though the fuel upgrades were finished the night time before Shift S3ctor 3, where the car again threw down 800whp. Fresh in the dyno, the M3 claimed the title of Fastest BMW having a speed of 178mph.
As you’d guess, Ken was just getting started. His next modification would ultimately become one of his favorites: the plug-n-play AEM Infinity standalone engine management system. Even the Vanos, The Infinity opened a lot of tuning doors as it allowed us to control every OEM feature. We could also tune for various fuels and it also helped increase power through the entire rev band. It even made it more drivable! von Hollen said.
Along with the AEM Infinity, a flex-fuel sensor and fuel pressure sensor were added to take advantage of the standalone’s ability to switch maps. With all the standalone and sensors I canIncorporating the AEM ECU kicked power past 900whp and 700 lb-ft on E90 ethanol, or 680whp on pump gas.
The M3 has withstood more than 250 dyno pulls, thousands of street miles, and plenty of full-throttle track outings, being a testbed for AEM and a lot of other parts. Just like all good things though, it eventually came to a stop when the head gasket blew.
As he’d done before, Ken took a bad situation and turned it around, choosing to build a high-compression motor. The truth is, the team at Lab22 removed the old motor and installed its new high-comp replacement in less than each day.
The Lab22 guys were crucial and phenomenal to the car, both from tuning and tweaking, to the installation of the motor. They also designed the turbo system upgrades. I’ve got nothing but good things to statecarbon, FMIC and grilles splitters aren’t really enough to indicate this car could eat you alive
With some additional cylinder head work to the latest 11.5: It easily made 925whp on E75 and 25psi boost pressure just days before Shift S3ctor 4 1 motor. Although they didn’t increase the boost until the event, the same combination in another M3 made 1040hp in the wheels on E90 ethanol with more boost.
The car is so docile however it absolutely flies. It’s so fast that it’s genuinely hard to describe. Thank goodness I upgraded the brakes in early stages when the first turbo setup overcooked the stock brakes following some high-speed pulls. That was scary, to say the least, Kenton said.
His binders associated with preference are six-piston Brembo monoblock calipers in advance with 355mm rotors, while a four-piston/345mm combination was fitted within the rear.
For suspension, TCKline dual adjustable coilovers and camber plates plus Powerflex bushings retain the M3 pointed straight. And whenever it stumbled on putting the energy down, von Hollen continues to be ecstatic using the sticky Toyo R888 tires. Apparently, they hooked up very well, the rear subframe had to be reinforced. Extra precautions were taken with Level 5 axles from Driveshaft Shop plus an OS Giken R3C triple-disc clutch and lightweight flywheel to make von Hollen said, it’s certainly one of my favorite mods because it transformed the shifting and I’m reminded of this every time I change gear.
Including the cosmetic modifications are hard to identify, as with its mechanical upgrades. I wanted more tire for better traction, so had the rear fenders widened .8 on both sides. They retain the stock appearance, so you have to look hard to notice them, Ken said.
Simpler to spot are theposesses a significant sound system but it uses quick-release connectors for track-side removal
Once more, it’s not really the norm, although inside, you’ll find more subtle touches and a significant stereo. I needed a killer stereo but needed so that it is easily removable for the track, so it utilizes a quick-connect system that allows me to remove all things in 5min, Ken told us.
Kenton had it nailed, though some might wonder why you’d fit a stereo in a purpose-built car similar to this: I’ve owned the car almost three years and, despite all the motor problems, I’ve driven more than 35000 miles. I really can’t get enough of it. At the end of your day, I only want to drive it and enjoy every mile.