Last weekend I did an easy but important piece of DIY maintenance. I removed, cleaned and reoiled the Conforti cold air intake (CAI) on my 1999 BMW M3.
Two years ago I had to replace the foam filter as part of a full DIY tuneup. I needed to replace it because I never cleaned it, and the foam eventually deteriorated. So I didn’t want that to happen again.
The process is very simple. Simply loosening a clamp allows for easy removal of the foam section of the CAI. Then you use a mild detergent like Dove to thoroughly clean the filter.
Allow some time to dry, and then the foam filter needs to be reoiled. For convenience I chose to go with a oil spray, which is easier to use and provides more even coverage than liquid oils. Allow time for the oil to dry, and the CAI should be all set for another two years. Here’s a quick cleaning tutorial from Turner Motorsport.
I enjoy keeping my 15 year old M3 in great shape and it continues to be an amazing ride. For a quick trip down memory lane, check out this “super sedan” showdown review from September 1999 in Car and Driver. After being the top choice from it’s NA introduction in 1995, in 1999 C&D found the Audi S4 an overall better car due to the M3’s tighter interior and a little too much hard plastic in the interior (have to agree there). But the E36 M3 remained the best driving car.
Time and automotive technology marches on. Today there are many cars on the road that meet or beat the straight performance numbers of the E36 M3. But very few are as fun to drive, or represent so much performance bang for the buck.
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