Hi. My name is Chuck and I am a modaholic. Hi Chuck. It starts slow and insidiously just like this: I love my new BMW. It’s perfect in every way and I am not going to change anything. Then you see that set of clear side markers and they are only $25. Well if I do this, I am not really modifying my car by ridding it of those nasty amber front corners. BMWs are like this in Germany I tell myself.
There are many of us afflicted with the “mod” bug. The problem is you think you can control it but you cannot. Many of us seek counsel on forums only to be guided farther down the dark path. Many members freely dispense advice to others on how to tastefully update their ride. The forums even facilitate this obsession by allowing post signatures to display the mods they’ve done to their cars and post counts.
New name for Moding disease gone fulminant in its untreated form is called a “build.” To have a nice “build” implies that one has a complete overall plan and direction of this modding for one’s car. This is of course, non sense. It just means you cannot control your moding and have now completely lost it and are changing everything your credit card will allow.
Now that so many cars are turbocharged, this modding disease is spreading rapidly. There is no easier way to make your BMW faster than to get more boost. There are a few ways to go with this.
One the legit way via BMW’s Performance software or DINAN that won’t void your warranty and come with not only power upgrades but increased cooling capacity. These, however, are expensive. Many choose a flash that is supposedly easily removable so it “cannot” be noticed when you take your car in for service.
One Mod Leads To Another
After a flash for your N54 inline six in your 335i, you find that your fuel pump can’t keep up with your new software. Now you “need “ a fuel pump with greater capacity. Who knew they were so easy to change? But man the gas smell takes a while to go away. Next thing you know a few days later, you find yourself on the side of the road from a blown a fuel line in the engine bay and are lucky to have just stalled the car and not burnt it up.
When you get bored modifying the mechanical aspects of your ride and have a little computer aptitude, which of course you will by now because of having constantly having to clear check engine lights. It’s time to “code” you car. Mere “stock” emergency flasher notify others of your lack of coding if they only go BLINK blink BLINK blink as they do in all other cars. Now my emergency flashers go Blink bu-BLINK BLINK pause Blink bu-BLINK BLINK.
Coding can actually be useful. I’ve used it in my E92 M3 to get rid of that pesky auto Start/Stop. If I wanted better gas mileage, I wouldn’t have bought a 4.0 liter V8 with a 8400 rpm redline.
Some i3 owners in the U.S. are using coding to allow use of the full fuel tank on the i3 REx which State of California had deemed bad for the environment and the HOV lane. Thus BMW decided to punish the rest of the U.S. by coding all i3 RExs like they were going to California.
i3 REx generator use above the state of charge of 6% is known to cause cancer in California. Here again, coding can come to the rescue and allow the i3 REx’s back-up generator to be engaged manually like the rest of the world, so one doesn’t run out of electrons going up a mountain for example.
There are a few helpful strategies in coping with the modding disease. The first and foremost is to have your new parts shipped to your friend’s house so your girlfriend/wife/partner doesn’t notice. Seriously.
Second, when you start running out of money do not let this dissuade you. Start selling other mods off of the car to pay for new parts you need. Surely someone will want to pay for the “as new” M3 Competition Package wheels so I can get some new HREs.
Some are better at this selling stuff than others. I am not so good. Once sold an amp out of my old M3. Buyer wanted to pay via Cash on Delivery. Never thought of that but seemed reasonable. However, when it reached his place he had found a cheaper one, the jerk declined it. Not only had I not sold the piece, but I got to pay to ship it back and forth to California. Life lesson learned.
Don’t Replace, Upgrade
Another coping strategy is to over maintain your car. I once pulled the oil pain off my old E36 M3 because I read on a forum the oil pump nut could spin off and kill your motor. Nope it was fine. However, this presented an opportunity to remove the stock oil pump nut and replace it with a special one from Bimmerworld with a pin that absolutely will not come off.
On this same M3, I installed first a new water pump, because the M3 had 60k miles. This however didn’t stop the modding bug as I promptly realized I needed a Stewart High Flow Water Pump to prevent over heating, because race car, to borrow an over used phrase. You see not long after this I did so much to my M3 I “had” to do One Lap of America in this same M3 to give justification for all of my mods.
Having tried all the above treatments for my moding disease and failed, I thought I buy what I thought was the perfectly “modded” E92 M3 about a year ago.
The gorgeous one owner Space Gray M3 Competition Package had been lowered, breathed better with a DINAN Intake, cross pipe and exhaust. It also had a host of very subtle appearance mods. I promised if I got this one, I wouldn’t need to do anything to it. Then just one month into its ownership, I ordered the Carbon Fiber Spoiler because the M3 needed it to complement the rest of the mods already on the car. Then a few months later, I just had to have a set of HRE wheels because they filled out the wheel wells, added grip and just looked so damn good.
So the big question is why do we “moders” do this to our cars? Well the simple answer is each incremental mod to my BMW brings great satisfaction. I like to do one at a time so each one is to be savored. I love knowing my BMW goes a little faster, handles better and that pesky brake fade on track is gone. Modding and sharing those mods, keeps me engaged with the car and engaged in the community of car nuts just like myself.