Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Top 10 E46 Modifications that should be Outlawed!

Top 10 E46 Modifications that should be outlawed!

Of course everyone can mod their E46 how they want, but in my opinion these mods are either poor taste, illegal, dangerous and serve no purpose other than to bro-brag, make noise, cause problems with the law, etc. Others are just really poor taste. I'm sure some are nice people who have these mods but still I stand by my opinion! I would outlaw these mods as they usually take more away then they add! And there's little to no value in them.

1) Loud Pipes and Intakez and Headerz

E46s from the factory have classy, carefully tuned exhausts that make quite a bit of aggressive noise from the factory.  The fact that they make noise, particularly on 330s, means they're not very restrictive.  Unless you drive a dedicated track car, aftermarket exhaust on your E46 non-M doesn't do much for your E46 other than make it loud, obnoxious and improve your 1/4 mile times from 15.5s to 15.458s.  Is that half of a tenth of a second worth it for the $800 for the part (not including install) and $1000 in tickets you'll get? Besides, the stock stuff looks way classier anyway (than a shiny wavy mirrored Wugnaflo) and gives the car a refined appearance--no wonder why BMW chose it!  If your car is dedicated track beast with supporting mods, then sure go for one. But for the street? Why bother. Remove the butterfly flapper on a 330i or get a ZHP muffler and bam. Instant high quality exhaust! And don't get me started on aftermarket intakes for the E46. Stock is the platinum standard.  Aftermarket fits poor, sounds poor, looks poor, and performs poor. This is a fact as premium members of E46Fanatics have confided in me personally. I've helped fanatics remove many aftermarket intakes.  

2) Tint Dark Tinted lights

You aren't batman. The whole point of a light is for light to illuminate so you can see stuff with your eyes.  You know, so you don't hit it.  Painting or tinting your lights is not only illegal and dangerous, but poor taste and lessens your visibility as well as others from seeing you.  For the same reason, lets do away with "stealth" or chrome-coated and blue-tinted bulbs.  Any time you apply paint, you block light. Period.  Yes you can compensate by upping the juice (by increasing the winds in the filament), but the result is increased heat, power consumption, and burnt lights.  Don't pay more to destroy your car.  Besides, amber looks great! Still question this? See California Vehicle Code § 26101-26104.  Don't live in California? Your state has similar laws.

3) Stancing/Stretching/Poking/Tucking

I wrote an article here on why it's bad.  But basically it's dangerous, looks poor, and drastically reduces performance. Don't do it. 

4) Grill stripes

We get it, the company that makes your car has an tough motorsports division and you want to show off the colors on your car like your favorite sports team.  But 1) your non-M is not an ///M and 2, even if it was, people already know it's an ///M because well, it's an ///M.    Besides, what good is your ///M heritage when a stock 2017 Civic turbo will shred your doors off.  The money is better spent on a new set of wheel bolts.  And while we're at it, don't paint your grill surrounds. It just makes your grills look even tinier, like you are plugging your nose.  Lets also do away with the eyelids.  

5) Stickers

You can buy this stance sticker pack on eBay (source)

This one goes out to all you hard-parkers out there who show up at Ikea meets w/ sagged jeans, flat-billed caps, and dollar-store neon sunglasses.   Yes, the guys who plaster stickers representing crappy tuner brands going down the windshield usually tilted--because tilting gives you extra hardness.  It's a throwback to the 90s ricer area where the stickers were on the fenders straight. Now with stance, the stickers are tilted, and go down the windshield, often including a sticker describing the feeling after eating gas station sushi. Less is more, guys. Nobody's impressed that you threw on a bunch of crappy parts and are offering free advertising.

6) Racks with stickers or stancing

Found example photo on Google

Unused racks with wind deflectors that have stickers on it AND stance?  Get em outta here!  If you have a rack on a tasteful car, without stickers, and it happens to be between outings, fine.  But if your rack is the intended emphasis on your car drawing attention to it with stickers and you have pics of your car w/ a rack on your favorite forum, it should be outlawed.  Looks poor, gives poor mileage, and is a poor visual accessory.  Get a rack to use it to do fun stuff. Nothing more. 

7) Generic or aftermarket low dust brake pads, drilled rotors. Bro brakes!

The stock pads are good enough for 98% of people and drilled rotors are definitely a no go.  BMW Performance are OK in a pinch, but for car shows only.  I wouldn't outlaw them. But bubble-bones low dust, and other aftermarket bro-pads, I would steer clear of as they often cost more and do less than stock. See my full brake write-up here. 

8) Aftermarket body kits, aftermarket wide body

These look poor, especially those by RC Hintzelheimer. Just cause it sounds German doesn't mean it's good.  All it does is make it look like a low quality euro tuner car.  Today, premium for BMW body stuff is stock sport such as MTECH or ///M. Stay away from the gaudy, the wavy stuff, the poor fitting stuff. It's noticeable from a mile away and makes the car difficult to sell because the body is all hacked up.  Hope you plan to own it for life!

9) Cheap/generic HID/Blue bulbs

Poor taste, illegal, poor performing.  Don't do it. 

10)  Wraps

Bad stuff.  Your $300-$3000 is much better spent on new tires and brakes or another safety item.  

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Go Pro Hero 5 Session Review - The Best Just Got Better

GoPro Hero 5 Session
The Sequel to The Best Action Cam
Photo courtesy of

4k @ 30 FPS
1080p @ 60 FPS
 10MP Photo and Video Timelapse
Waterproof without Housing up to 33' (up from 30')
Superior USB-C

UNDER CONSTRUCTION -- NEW REVIEW COMING SOON -- For now, See the Old Review of the Session 4 Here!

In the mean time, check out the old go pro 4 hero session. In a nutshell, my preliminary testing shows this new gopro has all the same goodness of the old one, but with superior USB-C, 4k, and better internals for faster boot time and processing.  Much reduced delay!  Buy this new one and sell your old one for $100 and this new one is a no-brainer.

Size and Color

The GoPro Hero 4 Session is without a doubt the lightest and smallest GoPro on the market.  It is absolutely rugged and waterproof without that silly bulky housing you're accustomed to seeing other GoPros in.  This adds a degree of stealth that the larger GoPro Hero 4 Black can't match with its larger size, weight, and even increased dimensions with its waterproof housing it needs.  The GoPro Hero 4 Session weighs in at 74g -- roughly half the weight of the GoPro Hero 4 Black and Silver Editions.  

Another awesome stealth factor is the camera is black.  It doesn't shout "STEAL ME!" as your typical GoPro might.  You can take this bad boy anywhere and nobody would notice.  You can go extra stealth by covering the top LCD screen in a small patch of gaffer's tape (or electrical tape) and disable the red recording LED in front through the settings via the GoPro App on your smart phone.  Lots of customizability here with the app.  This GoPro has virtually all the functionality its bigger more expensive brothers have but in a smaller package.  


The GoPro Hero 4 Session is waterproof up to 30' without a housing.  I took this GoPro Snorkeling in Thailand and Indonesia and it never skipped a beat.  Simply press the big record button on top and it starts recording.  Hold it down for 3 seconds and it starts taking a timelapse at customizable intervals. Awesome! And the GoPro Editing Software it comes with stitches it all together automatically--voila!  No need for a stinkin' bulky waterproof case!  If you do take it snorkeling or in the ocean, I highly recommend one of those GoPro Flotation Stick things or your GoPro will end up at the bottom of the ocean. 

USB Charging

The GoPro Hero 4 Session charges via Micro USB.  This means no need to carry around a bulky block charger.  And since there's no LCD screen showing a live image when recording, the battery can last long.  I was able to use my GoPro a full day in Thailand taking videos, timelapses, and photos of course being careful to turn it off when not using it (which it automatically senses and does perfectly) Just be careful of accidental presses.  Which is hard because the buttons are pretty meaty and take some deliberate effort to press.  I carried around a portable USB charging battery pack if I ever needed to charge on the fly.  Perfect!


The GoPro Hero 4 Session is low profile and in my opinion is much better than your typical GoPro for mounting on a tripod mount suction cup on your car.  Smaller footprint means less drag and also means more stealthy for a low profile appearance.  Much harder to notice a tiny black cube on a single cup suction mount than a large gray rectangle in a waterproof case.  You can also rotate the GoPro Hero 4 Session in its supplied case and the camera will recognize this and record the correct way--all automatically!  It has dual mics for wind noise cancellation.  

Sample Photo:

Chiang Mai, Thailand.  Took this photo very discreetly using my GoPro Hero 4 Session

Sample Videos:

(Cool suspension video)

Biking around Santa Monica

Video driving around (note this recorded  in lower res--oops) 

At half the cost of the larger GoPro Hero 4 Black and GoPro Hero 4 Silver, I think the GoPro Hero 4 Session is a no-brainer @ $199.  

Why you might want The GoPro Hero 4 Black over the GoPro Hero 4 Session?  Very slight edge in image quality when viewing at full res, water resistant at greater depths (130'+), ability to swap batteries, and built in LCD for composing shots.  Also more rugged with the waterproof case attached.  If you break the session's clear glass (though tough) lens cover, you have to replace it whereas with the larger GoPro, you replace the case. So yeah, it's tougher and can go in deeper water. If you're hardcore, go big. 

Recommended accessories:

GoPro tripod mount -- you'll need this if you want to mount your GoPro on a Tripod or Gorilla Pod or anything using a traditional tripod screw mount.  Get it. It's cheap.

GoPro selfie stick -- I don't use this, but you might want to for your family vacation

GoPro helmet mount -- for you bikers out there

GoPro suction cup mount -- for you car enthusiast/track day junkies.  

I hope you enjoyed my review of the GoPro Hero 4 Session. My review of the GoPro Hero 5 Session is coming soon! I appreciate you guys using my links per above--it helps me earn a tiny percentage when you guys make purchases.  Appreciate it!

For inquiries: