Short-changed tax return shopping

April 1, 2013 at 11:44 pm

Well, as it turns out, I’m not getting as impressive of a tax return as I had hoped. On the flip side, I don’t owe the federal government any significant sum of money. So, while I won’t be stepping up to a Koni adjustable suspension for the E46 any time soon, I have put together a few more budget friendly plans representing both cosmetic and performance upgrades.

  • Hella 550 stone shields: I’ll never know why, but I’ve been obsessed with how cars look when they’re adorned with thick black-and-white covers for various lighting accessories. I have to cut them down to size to fit over the E30’s stock fog lamps, but I’m fairly confident it will look pretty killer. Thanks, Amazon gift card from Aunt Laurie! 
  • UUC 19 mm rear sway bar: Thanks to the kindness of a friend, I was able to sell some fairly valuable BBS centercaps for an early Mazda Miata on eBay and turn those profits into a significantly larger rear bar for the E30. This will replace the E30 M3 14.5 mm rear bar, which I can then sell for a decent profit (especially after getting it during a special 50% off sale at a parts yard that was going out of business.)
  • OEM mudflaps: There’s no reason I should be so excited about these. Other than knowing the rear mud flaps for the early E30s are MIA and no longer available, I also just plainly love mud flaps.  And when the Euroweaves go back on, they’re going to make the E30 that much chunkier, complementing the added offset nicely. I’ve got another pair that I’m going to sell that are in worse condition but I grabbed out of fear I’d never find another pair, anywhere. Not sure how mud flaps got so irreplaceable, other than getting shredded to bits when the mounting points rot out. Fortunately, mine are intact.
  • DISA valve replacement: Apparently, that rattling sound I hear upon cold start-up of the E46 is due to some butterfly/flapper valve located on top of the intake that controls the length of the intake runners. It also apparently can cause significant damage when it goes south, which is right around my current mileage. This isn’t a tomorrow purchase, but it could be next month. eBay knock-offs are fairly cheap.
  • Refinishing ZHP wheels: Ugh. This has been on my list for quite some time and I’ve been avoiding it like the plague. It’s expensive and it involves carrying four 18 inch wheels down three flights of stairs. Next month for sure, if not the month after.

Fingers crossed nothing creeps up in the meantime that thwarts these largely financially-responsible plans. See the entry under “Legacy GT” for what I’m talking about.