Thank you, CSBM5! I couldn't agree more! When I told my friend that the car only had 45k miles his comment was that the car is practically new and that there's nothing to be done.
Well, wrong, it wasn't owned by an enthusiast and now I'm going through all of the common stuff and bringing it up to date with preventive maintenance.
Reading those exact posts where the fan blades where lunched through the hood, is why I replaced the fan clutch immediately and don't think about it anymore. I noticed that it was too loud when I was checking the car in Italy and gave it revs with the open hood (although it can be heard even with the hood closed).
I inspected the fan blades closely, they had no cracks and I felt confident enough to reuse them with the new fan clutch. Even if I change my mind about it down the road, it's literally a 5 minute job.
Keeping up with the preventive maintenance I addressed few more items.
E46 M3 oil cap and new lower timing chain tensioner. I didn't have startup rattle, but I wanted to have fresh tensioner in there.
Old tensioner put up a bit of fight and I had to loosen it with pliers and it came right out. Soaked new tensioner in fresh oil and installed it.
Next on the list were Vanos solenoids. No related codes or problems, but again wanted to know that everything was fresh and in good working order.
Have to thank Sailor24 again for being patient and helpful for when I was doing this for the first time, as well as the creator and participants of the excellent DIY thread for doing this.
Another sign of the low mileage is that the little net on the mesh filter was still present and was just starting to degrade so I was just in time to catch it.
On my old blue M5 with 100k miles the mesh filter was completely gone.
Then I activated each solenoid with a 9V battery and thoroughly cleaned them with brake cleaner until the stream was clean and strong.
I used a compressed air can to blow it out. I know it's best to use a powerful air compressor for this, but I couldn't get my hands on it quickly enough.
I repeated the process until I was satisfied with the clicking of each solenoid.
I removed the old solder and resoldered the contact points with a fresh coat, slapped new O-rings and tested them one more time before installing them back on the car along with the new Vanos gasket.
I got the same results like when I did this on my old blue M5. I felt the car was missing some low-end power compared to the old M5 and servicing Vanos solenoids really made the car feel alive again in the lower rpms.
Very happy with the outcome and I definitely recommend this as part of preventive maintenance!
Past Saturday I replaced pre-cat sensors and much-needed thermostat replacement which I will document in the next post.