BMW M3 Turbo – Fabrication

As the weather is turning for the better in Calgary, we were inspired to start moving on getting this BMW Turbo M3 going. So we accomplished a lot this week, from a few parts installs to fabrication, this project is starting to look like a car again.

There is lots of fabrication involved in a custom build like this, so we decided to tackle one thing at a time:


We started by mounting the intercooler. This was easier than we expected, as we were able to use the existing metal bumper supports. We welded tabs on the supports, then simply bolted the intercooler to the tabs.

M3 Intercooler 1M3 Intercooler 2

Next with the intercooler piping, which involved figuring out the precise bends to align the aluminum piping from the intercooler to the turbo, and from the intercooler to the intake manifold. This is done by a mockup of where the piping will be, then TIG welding the piping to spec.

M3 Intercooler 4 M3 Charge Pipe M3 Fab 1

The next step was to fabricate custom mounts to mount the radiator to the chassis. So we fabricated 4 tabs, 2 at the top and 2 at the bottom to hold the Mishimoto radiator in place. Also you can see in the last picture the relocated coolant expansion tank. We had to re-locate the coolant expansion tank due to the top mount turbo. So we modified a Moroso universal expansion tank to fit behind the radiator.

M3 Radiator Brackets 3 M3 Radiator Brackets 2 M3 Radiator Brackets M3 Coolant Tank

Stay tuned. The last piece to fabricate is the exhaust!

Stripping the BMW M3

This particular BMW M3 has always been on the line of being a street car and a track car. This car spent a of time at the track however it also has been enjoyed on the street, or on highway mountain cruises. Due to this dual purpose nature we had left the car with a stripped rear and bolt in half cage, but with the front interior still in tact.

We wanted to change up the style this year, lighten the car, and make it more purposeful on the track. So we decided to do a full interior stripping of the car. With all the interior pices stripped out, the next strep is to chip off the sound deadening, and paint the interior.

BMW Stripped 3 BMW Stripped 2 BMW Stripped 1

BMW M3 Turbo Introduction

BMW M3 Turbo 1

Haute AG here, coming at you again with another project kickoff announcement! Hopefully you followed and liked our Project G35 LS build, now it’s time to announce our next Euro oriented build! Introducing Project BMW M3 Turbo. We will be doing a full custom Borg Warner turbocharger, along with an AEM Infinity stand alone ECU management system. We will take you through the build process with detailed pictures and commentary.  


This vehicle originally started life as a simple yet clean BMW M3. When the latest owner got his hands on it, all of that quickly changed. The car was equipped with a wide body Flossman kit, bolt in cage, and an Active Autowerke supercharger kit. The car saw many track days, including a showing at M Fest. As it seems to go with all enthusiasts, however, the owner soon realized he needed more power.  You can see the previous iteration of this car, in the PAS Mag Feature HERE and the Illmotion Feature HERE


After the engine is this set up blew a piston, it was time to set ourselves apart, we chose to go with a custom top mounted turbo setup. Most guys with an M go with the HPF bottom mount kit, which are great systems as well. However we wanted to challenge ourselves, and be the first to successfully install the largest EFR series turbocharger Borg Warner makes, the EFR9180. So, after some careful planning we figured it should all fit, then we got to ordering a custom turbo manifold, along with an intake manifold and intercooler.
Stay tuned as we make headway through this exciting build, and bring you current pictures/descriptions as we transform this M into a turbocharged monster!

SEMA 2015 – Our Top Picks

Team Haute AG recently got back from a week of sightseeing and networking at SEMA 2015 in Las Vegas. For those who have never been to SEMA or are unsure of what the show is about, Its basically your local car show multiplied by 500 times, and millions of dollars worth of car porn shoved in your face faster than you can say Olé!

The 2015 SEMA Show drew in over 60,000 domestic and international buyers and exhibitors. The show is segmented into 12 sections that include categories such as performance parts, tires, rims, racing parts, suspension, brakes, as well as a new products showcase displaying innovative and new products in the industry. Not only that, but the show also provides attendees and exhibitors with demonstrations, seminars, and networking events.

In fact the show was so big after going every day for the entire week, we still did not see it in it’s entirety! There was many notable builds at the show from heavy hitters such as Liberty Walk, RWB, Rocket Bunny, Accuair, Vorsteiner, DUB, OS Giken, and so many more. The magnitude of it is almost daunting. Just when you think you’ve seen enough, you round the next corner or enter the next convention hall, and the same overwhelming experience starts all over again. The team here at Haute AG took it upon themselves to allow the sensory overload to take place, so we could bring you the vehicles that we chose as the highlights. We hope you enjoy, and feel free to disagree or agree in the discussion section of this blog. Without further ado, Haute AG’s Top Picks!



This showstopper was built by Bulletproof Automotive in conjunction with Varis. Featuring a full Varis widebody, with custom split windshield and custom rear buttress to give it a speedster look. A truly amazing build.


Varis Z4 4 Varis Z4 3 Varis Z4 2 Varis Z4 1



This Superstreet magazine cover car is no joke, and is one of the best examples of a Supra that we have seen. The owner spared no expense from the custom V-mount radiator with custom ducting, to the BBS motorsport wheels and the Precision 6667 turbo, this car boasts upgrades that most people dream about.


Supra - 3 Supra - 2 Supra - 1



Amazing clean build by Jon Sibal and RWB.


Sibal RWB - 2 Sibal RWB - 1



We saw a few examples of these at the show, and it really seemed to be a love or hate thing for most people. On our side, we loved them. Aggressive, American styling cues up front, blended into a clean, curvy, bumper-less tail end made for an awesome looking car. Let us know what you think; Love, or hate?


S14 - 2

S14 - 1


BMW E46 M3  

This car immediately caught our attention. This was the first E46 to feature the new Rocket Bunny kit. The car also features air bag suspension from Airlift, as well as a blown LS engine. Very cool build.


E46 - 2

E46 - 1



This is one of the cars during the show that attracted so much attention, but nobody really knew what it was or where it was from. Unique styling, aggressive lines, and a name that very few people recognized really set this car apart. We immediately knew what it was, as one of our own happen to own a slightly modified G35 coupe, and have priced out the kit previously. But, to see it complete was simply awesome.


Vaydor - 1

Vaydor - 2



As if this car needs much of an introduction or an explanation as to why it made it on our Top Picks list. To see this car in person, it was pure automotive perfection. It was difficult to get a clear picture, as a crowd was always present around this work of art.


Pagani - 2

Pagani - 1



Another widebody stunner was this awesome Porsche 911. These guys went all out in making the biggest booty 911 we saw at the show. The body lines were perfectly blended, and pictures don’t do justice as to how much width they added on to this beast.


Porsche Targa - 1



To our Aussie friends and followers, this may not seem so interesting. But for the rest of us from North America, this was a pretty cool car to see make it to the show. A company based out of Texas imports and makes these fully street legal for our market. From the airbags, to DOT approved glass, bumpers, and restraint systems, these guys really appreciate these vehicles and what it takes to make them street legal for enthusiasts. Worth a cool $75,000 USD to you, or not?


Holden - 1



We had to share this, simply for the craftsmanship that went into this paint job. The depth and detail was just phenomenal. We looked over the entire vehicle, and were hard pressed to find a single flaw. We can appreciate the man hours something of this caliber takes.


Art - 1Art - 2



The RWB display at the Forgeline wheels booth brought tons of attention from the crowd as well as media. All the latest RWB cars were on display, ranging from Porsche 930’s, 964’s and 993’s. Truly an impressive display!





This car was probably one of the most famous builds from SEMA 2015. In fact it won the Need For Speed award for best build, and will be featured in their upcoming video game. This car has gone through several iterations since the owner purchased it in 2007. The current iteration boasts a mix of rat rod and motorsport styling and engineering. This car was originally a BMW E38 sedan, and was custom built on a tube chassis with Group 5 motorsport widebody and Porsche 935 motorsport wheels. The car features racing technology, from the chassis to the engine to the suspension, and brakes. Truly a one of a kind build!


Rusty - 5 Rusty - 4 Rusty - 3 Rusty - 2 Rusty - 1



A stunning example of the RCF in track car guise. This car features a Rocket Bunny body kit, full cage, big wing, and other race spec mods. This car definitely stood out!


RCF - 2 RCF - 1



Rocket Bunny kits were everywhere at this years SEMA show, and this beautiful NSX was another great example. This car had many other stunning features such as the GT style rear wing and BBS LM wheels.


NSX - 3 NSX - 2 NSX - 1



Very well done example of a Liberty Walk Porsche. This car featured a retro scheme that turned out very classy.


Liberty Walk 997 - 1 Liberty Walk 997 - 2



There was so many wide body Nissan R35’s at SEMA this year, it was hard to keep track! This was one of the few that stood out. The combination of metallic purple paint, mixed with the Liberty Walk kit, and air bagged suspension and aggressive offset deep dish wheels made this car really pop!


LB GTR - 1 LB GTR - 2



Another perfectly executed Liberty Walk and Airrex collaboration on this stunning Ferrari 458. This car looked great from all angles, especially aired out. Not only that, but the owner is Canadian!


LB 458 1 LB 458 - 2



It was extremely difficult to get pictures of this car, as it constantly drew crowds of people. This GTR have air bag suspension, and an Aero Monster widebody kit, and came straight from Japan. But the real head turner was the out of this world hand engraved metallic paint!


Kuhl GTR - 1 Kuhl GTR - 2



Really like the Rocket Bunny kit on the E36, really compliments the body lines well.


E36 - 1 E36 - 2



This Datsun was so clean it looked like it rolled off the showroom floor. But the main show piece of this car is the engine, featuring the legendary OS Giken built TC24-B1Z twin cam cross flow cylinder head. This built L28 produces an amazing 370 n/a horsepower!


Datsun 240Z Datsub 240Z - Engine



This R8 was just so clean, built by Boden Autohaus, Accuair, and Prior Design.


Boden R8 - 1 Boden R8 - 2

There was so many quality builds at SEMA, but we hope you enjoyed our top picks. Please contact us if you want to inquire about any of the products featured on these cars!

BMW E46 M3 – VANOS Repair & Maintenance

The Vanos system in many of BMW’s is an integral system of the engine operation, we will discuss the importance of maintenance and improvements available for the BMW Vanos systems. We see failures of these systems quite often, and in some cases they can be catastrophic. So, there are several steps you can take to not only avoid this, but also upgrade the system for better performance along with peace of mind. “Vanos” is BMW’s name for its variable valve timing units. Vanos units take on various shapes and design according to car year and model (engine model). The vanos discussed here is the S54 (E46 M3), and there are many improvements available. We will be referencing Beisan Systems specifically. They continually provide top quality products, and are very professional in dealing with.

The first item that should be replaced and causes the majority of catastrophic failures is the factory oil pump disc. The clearances of these discs is not ideal direct from production, and what happens is the 2 “ears” of the oil pump drive have the ability to knock back and forth. Over time the ears on the drive can physically break and become lodged in the Vanos unit. Lack of oil pressure quickly damages other components, making it necessary to dig much deeper into the engine to inspect what other items have been affected.

Broken pump disc

The second item we replace while the Vanos unit is disassembled is the bearing inside of the splined shaft. This shaft is what physically causes the camshafts to adjust valve timing. As they wear the bearing clearances become too great, causing the notorious BMW Vanos rattle as it is commonly referred to. We disassemble the splined shafts and change out the bearing races, and add a thicker shim to reduce the axial clearances. This completely eliminates any noise caused by the shafts.


Shaft componentsShaft disassembled








Last but certainly not least, is the Vanos Solenoid Coil Pack. This is the most common failure on the BMW’s, and it is basically inevitable to fail at some point. This is a harder item to diagnose as it causes minor driveability issues, however an automotive enthusiast will notice the slight changes and often contact us with concerns. The reason for failure is a manufacturer defect in how the circuit board is constructed. The fastening points are all located on one side of the circuit board, which allows the opposite end to deflect while the engine is running. This essentially causes a “diving board” effect and allows the circuit board to vibrate very heavily on one end. What Beisan Systems does is drills out a locating pin on the problem side, and installs a fastener to eliminate any potential movement. Illustrated below is the failed solder connections, and a comparison between before and after the fastener is retrofitted.


Failed solenoid contactsSolenoid coil pack








All of these repairs combined, once performed, can make the driving experience of your E46 M3 take on a whole new meaning. The timing is adjusted after installation, which is also often slightly off from factory, making your M3 much more responsive and fun to drive. If you have concerns some of these components may be showing wear or even damage, feel free to contact Haute AG, and see how we can assist you today. We hope this information was helpful, and encourage you to check out Beisan Systems for more pictures and testimonials on their quality products.