Thx EuroStyle; someone gets it..... This thread wasnt started to create a discussion on the relevance of the blockage, but to inform Max members of a potential issue with our e46s that most people (including myself) would not typically check. The results of removing the blockage are nothing short of amazing!.. With the blockage you have a 50% restriction in the amount of air the car can "push through". Air that can't be exhausted, builds up and creates backpressure which the engine fights to produce HP. Thats why guys spend over $1000 to replace existing exhausts.... the primary way those systems produce more HP; reduced back-pressure = more airflow + more noise..... A 50% reduction in output capacity from the exhaust will have NOTICABLE reductions in power (HP) because the car won't breathe properly and I found it particularly noticable @ RPMs above 2,500....
A note to all Max members that read this thread; don't debate, just check the exhaust valve function and remember to check as part of your maintenance!!! Thats it!