Monday, 18 June 2007

Updated 2009

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You will need basic welding, diy, body repairs and spraying skills to carry out this Conversion Yourself.

If you want to make your E36 look like an E46 follow my instructions and I'll show you how.
(please note:these plans are for a convertable and may differ slightly for the saloon and the coupe)

firstly a list of main parts you will need i got most of mine from breakers yard or ebay:

  • E46 m3 xenon head lights
  • E46 m3 front indicators and side indicators
  • Rear convertable lights and boot lights
  • E46 m3 bonnet
  • four E46 m3 front wings
  • E46 convertable boot
  • E46 m3 front bumper
  • E46 m3 rear bumper
  • look alike E46 m3 door mirrors to fit E36 (on ebay)

    In picture 1 you can see what i started with, firstly i removed front and rear bumpers, front panel,
    headlighs and indicators.
    then starting with the E46 m3 bonnet i deskinned it by cutting down the lower part of the bulge from the top
    of the windscreen end, when you get about 3 inches from the bottom (headlight end) stop,

    then from the side of bonnet leave about 0.5 inch and cut straight across to the bulge
    you can see in pic 2 and 3 where i cut from and to, the E36 bonnet is black and the e46 bonnet
    is silver.
    then take 1 of the E46 wings and cut (with a jigsaw) the arch off start the cut at the lowest point of
    the arch so that when you place it up to the E36 wing you have got the wing as wide as it can be,
    then cut off the front part off wing which holds the indicator and headlight washer cover,

    start the cut so you have at least an inch to play with.in pic 6 you can see how much i cut off.
    you can also cut the vent out (if you want to put an original vent in) leave a 0.5 inch around
    it or its easier to buy a copy vent and that will have a template you can cut round.

    in pic 4 you can see ive marked the E36 wing ready for cutting, all i done is put the arch from the E46
    wing i just cut off, up to the E36 wing and judged where it needed to go, by mocking up the
    front bumper headlights,front part of E46 wing youve just cut off , bonnet, indicators and
    headlight washer cover, just use masking tape to hold every thing in place use blocks of wood
    to hold bumper up when it all looks well, its best to put a couple of rivets in the E46 bonnet
    which will hold it good on the E36 bonnet (as you cant weld it as the E46 bonnet is aluminium
    and the E36 is steel ) then tack weld the front part of the E46 wing to the E36 wing then slide the
    E46 headlights in, you may need to trim part of the slam panel away to fit them in, later you can
    use angle brackets to fix them in. when youve cut the E36 arch out tack weld the E46 arch on
    you will need to extend the arch at the front slightly as you can see in pic 5 and 6.
    then use P38 to fill and smooth out arch and front part of wing its best to leave the indicator
    the headlight and the headlight washer cover in, just mask them up first to stop them from
    getting P38 on. see pic 7,8, 9 and 10

    then making sure everything is still looking good, start at the bottom of the E46 bonnet and rivet
    it to the E36 bonnet, when youve done that use P38 filler to blend it in, because the E46 bonnet is
    shorter than the E36 bonnet it will fall short of the top of the E36 bonnet, so it needs to be blended in
    well. then make some brackets to fit the front bumper, i used steel angle, cut the E36 bumper rams
    down and weld the angle iron to them then the bumper will be bolted to that. it should be looking
    like pic 11 and 12
    the doors have been shaved this means the door handles and locks have been taken off and a metal
    plate made and welded in to the hole, then P38 filler over it to smooth it out, you can leave the door
    handles its up to you but it gives it away with the E36 door handles
    see pic 13 and 14
    the rear arches are made from E46 m3 front wings do the same as before cut from the lowest point
    so you get the full arch then put the rear bumper up to the car you will need to cut the bumper where it
    bends round the car so you can shorten it just cut a triangle out and rivet it back together
    put the rear arches youve cut out up against the car and use a rivet to secure arches then you can
    make sure youve got the rear bumper in the right position when it all looks good tack weld arches
    on and make brackets to hold the rear bumper use the same formula as the front bumper
    then use filler to smooth out arch see 15,16,17,18 and 19

    then comes the boot the best thing to do is cut the rear part of the E46 boot off (the part which
    holds the lights) but only the skin then cut the same part off the E36 so your left with the top part
    of E36 boot and the skelton part of the E36 boot which holds the locking mech, put the part of
    the E46 boot up on to the E36 boot skelton and weld it at the bend then you can use a grinder
    to smooth it out, tack weld on the inside of boot to hold the bottom of the E46 boot on

    see pic 20 and 21 to see weld

    wrap a peice of card around the rear lights, and trim round it so you have a template of the light
    cut out, close the boot and mark out where the lights should go, then cut out the rear quarter for the
    light, cut it out 0.5 inch smaller than the template cut, then you can adjust it easy when you put
    the light in mask it up and use filler to fill any holes then use some brakets to hold the lights in,
    fit the lights into the boot as normal you can use a rear boot spoiler to hide the weld if you want

    The last thing is the exhaust which is 2" exhaust pipe take it from the back box see pic 22,23,24 and 25.

you can fit all the E46 seats in aswell the rears fit straight in and the bolt them to floor and to
rear of chassis
the fronts can be bolted to steel plate and then welded to floor see pic 26
also the E46 interior mirror fits on to the windscreen easily.
And there you have it-Thats how to convert your E36-into-a-E46,Not the easiest D.I.Y Ive got too admit and not really cost effective as you can buy a E46 for less than the conversion(if you shop around)But it just shows nothings impossible when you put your mind to it.I now have a E46 with feel of an E36, PERFECT!!!


Anonymous said...

mate i want to do the same thing with my e 36 ,but only the front...can you help me or tell me someone who can do it.07902212994 is my phone number...kind regards

Anonymous said...

Just picked up a e36 today to do the same thing.... should have it a bit easier though coz i've got a e46 to pull apart for bits!! wish me luck and when i get a bit of the way through i'll come back and post a web address for the build if anyone's interested i'll be taking copys so i can build the parts again.

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