Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Top 10 Signs You're a Euro Bro

Top 10 Ways to Spot a Euro Bro

So you just bought a BMW/Mercedes/Audi and want to look like a bad ass, huh?

(Picture of a black BMW I found on google)

You see that shiny new $100,000 BMW M5 barreling down the road with its paper plates being piloted by an executive and think to yourself, "Damn that's bad ass."  Indeed, it is.  But you can't afford it.  So what do you do?  You buy a second (or many times third/fourth/fifth/etc.) hand BMW 3-Series for $5,000!  Sweet.  You've worked hard saving up for a down payment on a bad ass BMW. Now you can be a part of the "baller" club.  All of your friends will be impressed when they see you roll up in this fine german automobile.  And I agree, it is very cool you can get a lot of car for little money this way. 

But it's not enough for some.  Some of these new owners soon come to the realization it's never enough.  You start browsing forums for your car researching all the cool mods you can buy for under $100.  You post questions helping you in your search for things like super wide wheels and tires, blacked out lights, the best exhaust or the best intake, cheap $20 HID kits, and second-hand roof racks.  You know--to use for your bad ass looking signature picture for your bad ass looking euro car.  Badassedness to the max.

These euro bro mods are not only a downgrade performance and functionality, but are usually in poor taste, but worse yet are often irreversible.  These cars often make their way to those "no job no problem" type used car lots in low-income neighborhoods where the next eurobro eyes down its next victim. It's usually someone cross-shopping a 2003 Chrysler 300 or 1999 BMW 323i. Careful. Don't let your jewelry dangle and scratch the paint.  Ah fvck it.  Let it all hang out. 

Top 10 ways to know if you're a euro bro

1) Roof rack

Your signature pic is of your slammed car with an unused roofrack which is never or seldom used.  Why why why is the defining identifier of a euro bro car is an unused roof rack.  Extra eurobro points if said roof rack has stickers up the wazoo on the front wind deflector.  Even more points awarded if said stickers are: Stance nation, euro bro brands, two fingers and one pinky in the whatever, or stance nation or whatever the hell that is. They don't realize that nobody's impressed with the roof rack pics and it substantially lowers your fuel economy. If you are an avid mountain bike rider, then sure.  Whatever.  But these guys spend most of their time hard parking at their local bro meets. The roof rack, in their eyes, just makes their parking that much harder.  

2) Vinyl wrap

Ahh, the ubiquitous black vinyl wrap.  "Is thatta wrap bro?" usually followed up with a quick touch of pre-greased KFC fingers. The official mod of "I wanted a black car but the only one I could find was a salvaged craigslist example in "college-girl-white."  No can do.  Needs to be black.  Add points for stripes.

3) Stickers

Sticker culture.  This one is a carryover from the JDM crowd.  Yes you know the cars I'm talking about.  The ones with the Kmart trophies that attend car "shows".  The ones with the stickers down the leading edge of the door--ON THE DOOR--hah.  Those stickers are now popularly displayed on the back window bragging of all the sh1tty parts they tacked onto their car. The stickers are usually on the rear window and tilted sideways for increased bad-assedness effect. They're so large you can read them from far away. So you know "what's under the hood bro."  It shows their accomplishment.  Add points for ///MFest windshield banners. Or colored ///M stripes on the kidney grills or other aftermarket/misplaced/fake emblems.

4) Plastidip

Yeah. You know who you are. Plasti-dipping the sh1t out of everything that's plasti-dippable. Wheels, grills, emblems, the ENTIRE CAR.  It's a quick way to make your car look like a steaming pile of sh1t.  It's usually peeling and bubbling too.   In subtle moderation, I suppose it could be OK. Like maybe one or two trim pieces or emblems here and there that flow with a tasteful theme of the car, and of course properly prepped prior to application.  But don't go overboard here.  And whatever you do, DON'T DO THE WHEELS.  Tack city.


Yeah.  The cramming, stuffing, and jamming of $25 chinese generic ebay HID kits into factory housings that weren't designed for it. Or worse yet, in aftermarket housings.  The official mod of "I didn't have the patience nor the budget to buy a car that actually came with these stock so this is the cheapest way to join the club and look rich"  You plop your sh1tty "HID" kit into your yellowing faded headlights and pull up to a 2016 BMW/Lexus/Mercedes with factory HID/LED and think you're in the same camp. Cut from the same cloth.  Brothers of sorts.

No.  You're not.  Nowhere close.

Don't mistake your giant 8,000k blue hotspots right in front of your vehicle as effective lighting. The color of your light alone does not make it good lighting. Lighting is supposed to light up objects in front of you while driving, not the immediate 5 feet of road directly in front of your car. Your blue dim spotlight is nowhere near the level of a factory halogen system, let alone a factory HID/LED system.  Do your lighting right or not at all.  I can spot your cheap ass dangerous lights immediately with its often mismatching blue/purple hues.  And usually because it's because it's blinding me cause light's going everywhere except where it should.  You don't have "HIDs" bro. You have poor taste.  Stop listing "HIDs" in your mod list if you are using some generic tacky crap.  You do not get to brag about your $25 setup. A quality lighting setup can be retrofitted for as little as $200.  Don't cheap out here. It's painfully obvious.

6) Large cheap wheels and tires

You've seen it.  Large (often 19") cheap black aftermarket wheels with chrome lip with cheap rubber band generic tires.  Or any large black/blacked out wheels in general.  Why? Why? WHY?  Your rent-a-wheels are impressing nobody and you certainly have degraded the ride and handling characteristics of your car. You took a once classy car and made it look like like a South Central LA used car dealer no job no problem type of used car.  

7) Colorfully painted brake hardware (usually black or red)

This one goes across all car sub-cultures, not unique to euro bro'ing.  But I'll mention it anyway.  If your calipers are large, factory, or other big brake upgrade then no worries there.  But why on earth would you paint your factory little runt of a caliper bright red? You are only drawing attention to your 10" brakes in your 19" wheels. You've just turned ridiculousness up two notches. 

8) Stancing and slamming

A subtle performance enhancing drop or proper setup is fine. But most euro bros don't stop there. "Needs a drop MAN."  or "DAT WHEEL GAP BRO"  But I can't even fit two fingers in there.  Still... "DAT WHEEL GAP BRO."  Euro bros are not satisfied until their wheels are so deep into the fenders that it requires a call to their local "FENDER ROLLER BRO" Your YEAH HES ON ALL THE FORUMS MAN HE DID A GOOD JOB guy is immediately called to take a baseball bat (literally) to your car.  Crunched the fenders, flaked paint off? NO PROB BRO. It's a badge of HONOR.  Then there's the stancing.  The ultimate trying to look bad ass mod.  Ultra low. Ultra camber. Ultra gangster.  Don't fvck with me bro. My car is touching the ground, my fenders have more bumps then a teenagers face, and my wheels are so leaned. Now excuse me while I pull up my pants.

No matter what anybody says, stancing your car is dangerous.

Your excessively negative camber means you are literally riding on a smaller amount of tire. This means less grip, obviously.  

OH BUT MORE CAMBER MEANS MORE GRIP IN TURNS. Yeah... to a point.  Besides you are not doing any "turning" in your stanced car.  That's for track cars.  What you are doing is daily driving.  

Your negative camber coupled with sh1tty generic rubber band tires and tiny suspension travel will make your car unstable over every day driving situations, especially in the wet.

Do whatever you want at your car shows winning your plastic trophies, but don't endanger the lives and property of others.  

Extra points if you take an otherwise high-performance car/icon and turn it into a steaming pile of sh1t by slamming and stancing it.  Think M3, S2000, 911.

9) Blacking out of lights and windows

Yeah, man.  My car is so mean.  You see my lights?  Exactly.  There are none. Who needs lights when you're as bad ass as me?  

Don't black out your lights, folks.  It looks dumb and you can't see sh1t. And worse yet, people can't see YOU.

Also please stop blacking out your windows. This is not typically super offensive on its own but it's ridiculous looking when combined with all the other mods on this list.  Unless you drive a twin turbo 1,000hp Lingenfelter Corvette, your blacked out windows are not impressing anyone. Just an FYI.   Extra euro bro points for tinted out windshields.

10) Driving style

It's already bad enough that drivers of stock/new european cars are seen as giant douchewads when driving through traffic.  Don't make this perception worse by cutting and weaving through traffic in your loud blacked out slammed monstrosity of a car. No one is impressed by your Nexen tires, 43 pounds of plastidip, loud awful rap music, and overdrawn bank accounts.  Drive like a normal person please. And certainly don't park in a handicap spot if you aren't legally allowed to.

Are there any euro bro mods out there that you'd like to discuss?

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Mango's secret detailing tips! How to keep your E46 looking FACTORY NEW!


I get this question asked of me several times a month:  "Mango, what products do you use?" or "Mango, what's your cleaning regimen?"

People often expect some exotic concoction of chemicals or some rigorous cleaning methods.  It's in fact quite the opposite.  Clean once very well and maintain thereafter very gently with minimal chemicals.

I won't say I use zero chemicals, but fewer than you'd think.

If you just bought your car second-hand, what you want to do is "think new."  That is, restore the car to its factory condition as close as possible.  This means strip away whatever is etched and embedded on the surface of the paint and interior.

For the paint, this means loose dirt, acid rain, environmental fallout, bug and tar, tree sap, and just crap in general that sticks on the surface of the paint.  Most people don't know better and just wash their car when it gets "dirty" to them and to most people, that usually means weeks or months.  This gives anything on the surface of the paint time to bond to it on a microscopic level.  It may not be visible to the naked eye the first few times, but over time it builds up before your paint starts looking like crap and you don't notice cause it has creeped up on you.

For the interior, this means years of skin, sweat, food, drinks, soda, odor causing bacteria, etc.

I'll teach you how to strip the car down of anything that doesn't belong there.


Mango's E36 M3 using Chemical Guys Foam Bath

First things first, pressure wash.

Pressure washing allows you to blast off as much dirt, grime, sand, and loose stones and pebbles as possible so you don't drag them over your paint when you scrub your car with whatever you scrub your car with.  The mistake people often make is they touch their car too much when cleaning it. You want to clean your car with as little contact as possible.  This minimizes fine microswirls and scratches.  If you have scratches, I've used Meguiars ScratchX 2.0 with tremendous results. Make sure you use a quality automotive clay bar before you polish or else you'll just be polishing whatever grit is on your paint into the clear coat! 

After you have thoroughly blasted your car with high pressure water, you can elect to use a pre-soak shampoo/foam.  I like Chemical Guys CWS110 .  It takes paint cleansing a step further.  You can use it in conjunction with a foam cannon kit like the Chemical Guys HOL302. If you have your own water connection, I highly recommend a high pressure washer like the Ivation Electric Pressure Washer.  Yes proper car care can be pricey.  Your local coin-op car wash works fine as well.

If you decide to use a foam cannon and foam your car, rinse it then use some high quality chemical guys car wash soap and a high quality car wash mitt and scrub your car by hand.

Then you'll need to clay.  I recommend Chemical Guys CLY402 clay bar (medium).  Yes you notice a trend here. Chemical Guys make some damn good affordable car care products.  You'll see though I'm not exclusive to Chemical Guys.  I'll recommend non- CG stuff later on in this article.

The clay is absolutely essential to removing stubborn road debris, grit, stuck on grime.  You'll be surprised what clay is able to remove.  Your clay bar will literally be a different color after you are done.  Your paint will feel glass smooth after you are done.  Remember the whole goal here is to return the car as to close as a factory state as possible! This means freshly manufactured and painted panels on the BMW factory floor.  This means removing anything and everything not there (on a molecular level) when the panels left the factory.  As close to it as you can get!  Tips: Keep turning, stretching, and re-molding your claybar as you use it.  Do one section at a time and be thorough being sure to overlap the area you just did.  Use plenty of lubricant such as Chemical Guys clay bar lubricant.  You can also use chemical guys car wash soap and water.  After you are done claying your paint and glass, give the car yet another wash and rinse.  Yes this is going to take all day.

So you've stripped the paint of all gunk and debris.  Now what?  Well, that depends.  Does your car have swirl marks?  Would you like to remove them?  For most people, a proper wash and wax is good enough.  If you have light swirls, it may be better to leave them alone and not correct them.  Before taking any paint correction measures to your car, ALWAYS take a digital paint depth gauge to the paint and assess whether or not you have enough clear coat first!  You do not want to correct a car with failing or thin clear coat.

If you are brave and want to correct swirl marks and other fine scratches, proceed at your own risk to the next step.

Paint correction

There are a multitude of ways to correct your clear coat.  It's best left to the professionals. You only get one chance at it.  But if you want to, there are safer choices.  The safer and most popular choice is using what's called a dual-action rotary tool.  It's a machine specifically designed to rotate in such a way where it minimizes the risk of burning your paint or creating buffer holograms.  A popular choice is the Meguiars Dual Action Polisher.   These are intended for light to mild corrections.  This will do fine for most peoples needs. Of course you'll need appropriate pads and polish to attack those swirls safely and effectively.  If you feel unsure, seek a professional's help.  Never attempt this if you don't know what you are doing.

There are other more severe correction methods using heavy duty machines but I'll leave that for another day.  I feel that if you are reading this page for paint care tips then you should already know how to use such a machine.  There's videos on youtube on it if you wish to learn.

Protection - WAX/Sealant

OK so if you've removed your swirls or your swirls are minimal and acceptable to you and your paint is cleanesed and clayed properly, the next step is protection!

My preferred method as most of you know is Collinite IW 845 insulator wax!   This stuff is awesome.  It's known for it's stellar durability.  Nothing touches it as far as durability is concerned.  Very easy to work with and comes off very easy.  Let it sit for at least half a day to a day before removing it for best results.  Use it on glass and wheels as well.  This is my preferred and only method of sealant.  Sometimes if I have time, I'll throw on two coats.  Use it with foam wax applicators.

Paint Maintenance

My preferred paint maintenance method is once a week pressure wash and a quality quick detailer such as Chemical Guys V7 Hybrid . This stuff smells great and I've never used anything like it. Very high quality product.  The paint glosses like you wouldn't believe and becomes super slick after you apply this with a microfiber. Once you've done all the above, it's VERY EASY to maintain your paint!  Pressure wash regularly and then use a quality microfiber and detailing spray like Hybrid V7 to give the paint a nice glossy sealed finish then wax with a coat of Collinite twice a year.

Mango's E36 M3 after a full DIY Professional Paint Correction using all the above Products.  As you can see, the paint is GLASS.  Before was extremely faded with tons of swirls.  Near perfection now!


So what's the equivalent of pressure washing and claying your interior?

Steam.  One of my favorite tools is my Wagner 915 Steamer.  I can't tell you how much I like this steamer.  Nothing better to strip off odors, bacteria, gunk, grime, grease, etc with steam. You'll literally see black water dripping off whatever you are spraying the steam onto.  Stereo buttons, leather seats, dashboard, door panels, anything and everything.  Of course use it wisely and don't direct steam into any electrical/screen areas for too long.  Simply apply the steam to whatever you are trying to clean and wipe off with a microfiber. Repeat if stains are stubborn.

I've never had any problems.  The steam will instantly melt away dirt.  I've used it on calipers too to watch stubborn grease literally melt off and run onto the ground.  I use it inside the house too. It's so awesome.  Works great on shoes as well!  Get one and tell the wife it's for the house.

Then after you have stripped your interior away from years of dirt and grime, you simply maintain it.
Personally I use 1Z Einszett Cockpit Premium cleaner.  It cleans and protects.  It's like a good finishing touch/detailer/maintainer for your interior.  You can also use a damp cloth if you wish. But this stuff is the same company that makes BMW's car care cleaning products.

I also love Gummipflege.  Use it to condition (after cleaning of course) door seals, trunk seals, all rubber and trim.

There you have it.  Simpy clean WELL. Strip and steam and clay EVERYTHING down to the bare surface.  Then correct if necessary and PROTECT!  Then maintainance after that is simple!

You don't need to waste money on specialty products for every single different part of your car. Wheel cleaner, tire cleaner, this and that.  Most of this overlaps.  Treat your wheels like you treat your paint.  Scrub your tires with car wash soap and a tire brush.

Exterior Trim

Many people use Back to Black.  I don't I feel that's just oil people cake on to give the appearance of black.  I've only used one thing to restore interior trim: The Magic Eraser. This is a micro-abrasive so be careful around painted surfaces.  Use painters tape to mask off painted areas you don't want to scratch. This will literally scrub off all the white haze that's accumulated on your trim for years.  People ask me how my trim looks so factory new and deep black.  This is the secret.  It's been picked up over the years and becoming popular.  Of course if you want your trim extra black, I suppose you could use back to black.

Tires and Wheels

Mango's own Professional Pilot Super Sports and M68s!

As mentioned, for wheels. A simple car wash soap and rinse will do followed up by a layer of Collinite 845.  As for tires, Chemical Guys tire dressing. 

You want full reliability for your E46, huh? Here's the most common parts to replace on your BMW E46 323 325 328 330 and M3

You want full reliability for your BMW E46 323i 323ci 328i 328ci 325i 325ci 325i 330i 330ci?

I've compiled a list of parts that based on my experience are known to leave you stranded.  If your car is over 10 years old or has more than 100,000 miles on it, then there's a fairly good chance these will leave you stranded.  Good news is that these are cheap and easy to replace.  Replace them and easily get another 10 years and 100,000+ miles out of your car.  Trouble free operation.  Nothing worse than being stranded especially with your kids or your wife in the car.

Electrical and Ignition

This is by far the most important part of the list!

Battery - $90-$150
BMW part# 61218381749
Every 5 years or so, your battery's ability to hold charge.

If your battery is five years old or older, or you don't know - replace it.  This will cost between $90 and $200.  Try Autozone, Walmart, Costco, etc.   Make sure the battery you purchase comes w/ a vent tube kit.  This item is best bought in person. Sorry no online link to it.

Voltage regulator - $50
purchase here - square plug voltage regulator Bosch
(your car may require a oval/round plug regulator.)  Usually it's 04+ cars that require this.  Check your connector to be sure if it's rectangle or rounded.

How does the voltage regulator go bad?

You may suddenly get a battery light while driving down the road one day. It may flicker or stay on. Either way, your voltage regulator is toast.  The brushes that make contact with the alternator have worn down. If you have a Valeo alternator, it makes sense to just replace the entire alternator as replacing just the voltage regulator is around $150.  You will have to look with your eyes to see which voltage regulator you need.

Final Stage Resistor - Only $40! 
VERY IMPORTANT!  Can cause your car to drain its battery by itself while parked or worse yet catch fire. VERY problem prone.  Another symptom is your AC won't blow air at all.  If the blower speed is intermittent or non-existent, very high chance that this has failed. Purchase the NEW revised updated design by BMW here: Final Stage Resistor

E46 starter motor

Key - $160 at your local dealer

Bring your registration and driver's license to the local BMW dealer. Order a new key.  They've been known to fail (though rarely) and all the new parts in the world won't mean anything with a busted key. Plus a new one looks so nice. Expect to pay around $160-200.

Ignition Coil Spark Plug Boots f
Bosch coils part number 12131740477 or for Bremi coils: part number 12139067831

Ignition switch
Purchase here

These can sometimes go bad on BMWs.  Intermittent electrical errors when you turn the key.  Wonky dashlights when you turn the key or while driving.

Crankshaft Position Sensor
Purchase here

Camshaft Position Sensor - Intake

Camshaft Position Sensor - Exhaust

Fuel Pump

*Buy a universal clamp! A member recommended size 1/4-5/8"*
DO NOT FORGET THE SEALING RING or you will SMELL FUEL in your car and have fuel leaks. Fuel Pump Sealing Ring

Fuel pump relay 
Purchase here

Critical Vacuum

Crankcase vent valve  kit: Genuine BMW CCV Kit

Or if you need pieces separately:

Vent pipe (attaches to valve cover) 11611432559

Vent pipe #2 (attaches to top of CCV valve) 11617504535

Vent pipe #3 (attaches to bottom of ccv and dipstick tube) 11157532649

Vacuum hose 11727545323 (attaches to side of ccv)

Vent pipe #4 11617504536

Manual cars/Clutch Hydraulics

Clutch line, part number 21526774267

Clutch master cylinder, 21526773670 - Purchase here

Clutch slave cylinder, part number Purchase here -21526785966

Grand total manual cars: $1,096-$1,306 
Grand total automatic cars: $956-$1,156 


DME compartment.  Remove cover, clean/vacuum/condition seal w/ gummipflege. Inspect for any leaves, dirt, or debris or anything weird with the wires. Never know what previous owner junked up the wires doing teenager angel eye wiring!  Make sure any splices or cuts are properly joined/repaired, well protected, and insulated.

General wiring
Inspect all wiring harnesses and plugs for damage or exposure.  Re-wrap any exposed wiring harnesses with new loom if the loom has broken off or disintegrated. Remove all sensors and clean with electrical contact cleaner then apply dielectric grease to the pins/contacts.

Links, part #s, prices subject to change. Check your particular car and requirement for your particular needs.  Always hire a professional to do work.  This goes for every page and link on this site. If you decide to perform work yourself, always work safely using appropriate safety equipment and procedures.