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General E46 Forum
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Old 10-05-2012, 07:57 PM   #1
peytonracer4
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Front subframe reinforcement bolt broke. **UPDATE** WTF!

What do I do?
The 3 point reinforcement bar is what I'm talking about. I can get a diagram later when I'm not on my phone.
Anyway, the bolt that goes into the chassis sheared in half. Half is still stuck an inch inside the chassis?
I'm not even going to try to attempt to get this out. But what is the likely hood of a shop being able to get this out? What will they use? How long does it take to extract something like that?
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Old 10-05-2012, 08:17 PM   #2
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I was just about to congratulate you for fixing your steering issue in only 2 hours!

The likelihood of a shop getting it out is 100%.

After all you seemingly did today, I understand you don't want to try, but there are lots of things you could try...but I understand you just want to know it can be done.

At the worst, a shop should be able to weld onto the broken bolt and unscrew it that way. I'm not sure what's on top, but I wonder if you could get it out by just turning it in more. Dremel a slot in it...drill a hole in it and use extractor.

Not sure what tools or access you have...but a shop can do it...assuming you have one with experienced guys around.
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Old 10-05-2012, 08:39 PM   #3
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Thanks Doug. The stress of this project isn't from the project itself, because I can handle that. The stress is I have my last autocross Sunday and work all day tomorrow. So I'm really pressed for time. And this autocross is important because I have a chance to place for the season.
Anyway, let me picture it for you.
The bolt hole is a 3 inch deep. I managed to shear an inch off so the bolt is an inch deep in the hole right now.
This makes it to where I can't weld or slice a slit into it.
It's also VERY tight as the bolt is pretty heavy duty and still managed to shear off. So a screw driver in it will not extract it.
It's not just a matter of getting to it, it still needs to be broken loose.
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Old 10-05-2012, 09:06 PM   #4
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Drill a hole and use an extractor...should have them at local hardware store. They look like a soft ice cream cone swirrell...you know the tool? That might get you the 'bite' you need...you just need to be able to drill a hole in the center of the bolt. Start with a smaller pilot hole...then make it bigger for extractor...

But, as you can drive it, a shop should be able to figure something out and shouldn't take them more than an hour, I wouldn't think. I don't know, but that's an educated guess.

GL...and GL at the autocross!
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Old 10-05-2012, 09:15 PM   #5
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I'll see what they say when I take my car in for alignment. It's nice to know that you think they'll get it out. Well see. I was sure that it was ruined forever.
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Old 10-05-2012, 10:14 PM   #6
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I had the same problem. I drilled the old bolt out and retapped the hole for a slightly bigger bolt. The whole process took me 20 minutes and a $5 bolt.
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Old 10-05-2012, 10:19 PM   #7
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And there was another thread recently where someone broke off a bolt there and worked on it for hours without success.
Took it into the shop and they had it out quickly.
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Old 10-05-2012, 10:50 PM   #8
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The biggest thing to do is to not lose patience. If you start getting frustrated, walk away, smoke a cigarette, smoke a joint, do your wife, kick the dog, (dont get those two mixed up), drink a beer, or whatever you need to do to chill out for a while. Your decision making skills decrease and your risk taking increases the longer you stay on something like this.
I have written a lot about this in the past, but of course I am unable to find it. It boils down to don't try one thing at a time, but attack it from multiple angles at once. Get a screw extractor and a matching drill bit (the extractor usually has the drill bit sixe you should use stamped onto it. Don't get an extractor that is larger than 3/4 of the diameter of the bolt, or less than 1/2. People tend to try to shove a larger one in there (I know, it sounds funny), but that just ends up wedging the bolt in tighter. Soak it with PB-Blaster while you go to the hardware store. Keep soaking it. Get a can of freon with one of those valves that punctures the top of the can, and cut the end off of the hose, so you can make it a freon sprayer. Drill out the bolt, as close to center as possible. Use a center punch to make a divot in the center, so the drill bit does not wallow around. Spring for one of those gold, titanium tipped bits. So, once the hole is drilled, spray the bolt with the freon, until it is quite cold to the touch. Then spray more PB - Blaster, and tap the bottom of the bolt a few times, to help break things lose, and work the PB-Blaster in there. The freon shrinks the bolt, and allows the PB-Blaster to get in a little more. Repeat this a few times. Then, one more good blast of freon. Not too much, because the metal could get brittle, but a 10 second blast. Then use the screw extractor. Also, I forgot to mention, the only way to properly hold a screw extractor is with a T handle Tap wrench/holder. This will hold it securely, and let you press directly in the center of the extractor. Press hard, and make it bite into the metal. If you feel the screw start to move, then work it slowly. If it starts to bind, repeat the freon/PB-Blaster combo. If it gets stuck, try screwing it back in a little, and then back out, and work it around. Whatever you do, don't try to force it out. If you break the extractor, it gets worse. Good luck. I hope I was in time to help.

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Old 10-06-2012, 06:01 PM   #9
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Well the shop I took it to couldn't get it out. They said they might have been able to get it out if they had more time but I only scheduled an alignment so they did not have time. Guess ill take it somewhere else on Monday
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Old 10-06-2012, 06:08 PM   #10
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Bentley adamantly stresses not to drive the car without the reinforcement plate installed. Damage to the car can happen.
Take that into account.
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Old 10-06-2012, 06:11 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stinger9 View Post
Bentley adamantly stresses not to drive the car without the reinforcement plate installed. Damage to the car can happen.
Take that into account.
Can you take a picture of what it says?
Im auto crossing without it secured at one point.
After that I'll park the car till I get it fixed.
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Old 10-06-2012, 06:21 PM   #12
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typing is easier

Quote:
Originally Posted by peytonracer4 View Post
Can you take a picture of what it says?
Im auto crossing without it secured at one point.
After that I'll park the car till I get it fixed.
Caution--

Do not drive vehicle without the front end reinforcement in place.
Damage to chassis or front suspension may result.


I suspect one bolt missing would not be the end.

Last edited by Stinger9; 10-06-2012 at 06:22 PM.
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Old 10-06-2012, 06:26 PM   #13
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Blah thanks.
I'll get it fixed as soon as I possibly can.
I'm gonna bring some extra tools to this autocross just in case.
Really hope I can find a shop to get this thing out. Ugh
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Old 10-06-2012, 06:27 PM   #14
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Peyton...you're going for a win tomorrow, you'd said...in an autocross.

If you're not winning thousands of dollars, it might be best to take the cautious route. Without that reinforcement, you're front end really doesn't have the reinforcement it needs. I'd look for reasons why you shouldn't more than why it's probably okay.

Will it probably be okay? IDK. An autocross puts a bit of stress on things. I'd at least wait until someone can say definitely that you'll be fine or not fine. To me, it just doesn't sound like a good idea. You should post a picture of Marisa Tomei to thank Stinger for the warning!
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Old 10-06-2012, 09:03 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dmax View Post
Peyton...you're going for a win tomorrow, you'd said...in an autocross.

If you're not winning thousands of dollars, it might be best to take the cautious route. Without that reinforcement, you're front end really doesn't have the reinforcement it needs. I'd look for reasons why you shouldn't more than why it's probably okay.

Will it probably be okay? IDK. An autocross puts a bit of stress on things. I'd at least wait until someone can say definitely that you'll be fine or not fine. To me, it just doesn't sound like a good idea. You should post a picture of Marisa Tomei to thank Stinger for the warning!
I think dmax is right.

A few months ago I used my car without the reinforcement but only to go to work and back one day and everything was ok but.... An autocross is a very different thing.

safety first!!!!
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Old 10-06-2012, 06:38 PM   #16
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How is it reinforcing the front subframe in anything other than a direct blow to the steering rack or subframe? No other stress is being put in the subframe that would compromise it other than an impact.
The control arm are mounted to it, but the mail stress on them is supported by the control arm bushings which are separate.
I don't see a reason why I need this plate short term. Long term I could see it possible that the subframe would maybe rip from its mounts without reinforcing or possibly chassis deformation.
But like I said, short term I see little to no negatives.
Please point out anything wrong that I just said if I was wrong.

I do plan on getting it fixed ASAP. I'm not one to drive around with something wrong.
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Old 10-06-2012, 06:57 PM   #17
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few facts

Bentley obviously got this info from BMW

BMW not only paid for this part for each e46, but upgraded the unit in the early part of the run.

This goes beyond subchassis. The e46 has no frame as it is unibody. This forms the strength of the car and the reinforcement plate becomes an integral part of this structure.
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Old 10-06-2012, 07:06 PM   #18
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So you mean one of the two bolts in the front of the 'triangle' support broke, right?

IDK what Bentley knows...but Bentley probably takes what the BMW TIS said. It's extra stiffening it wants you to have...probably to prevent flexing and bending beyond what the front axle support provides. IDK how much over-engineering is in that, nor what forces are applied.

BMW made your car mostly out of sheet metal and wants to be sure it doesn't go wiggling around...especially the part that's around the engine.

I can't give you odds or leeway because I'm not an engineer...but some engineer somewhere decided you needed that reinforcement.

I'm just saying...not to argue with you or piss you off...just saying that barring an expert saying it's fine, you either have to go with with BMW says or what Fanatics guess. I wish I could say I think it'd be fine. I can't say it isn't fine either...just that I'd defer to the experts.

Search tis.spaghettidecoder.org and I think you'll find that Bentley publishes what the TIS says word for word.

You know I'm always going to err on the conservative side. You get to make your own decisions, obviously!

GL whatever you decide!
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Old 10-06-2012, 07:29 PM   #19
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No the bolt that broke is exactly where #4 sits. It's the passengers side bolt. Not a front bolt.
I wish it was a front bolt.
It's not really hanging down because the bar is pretty stiff. But it's not connected at that point.
My choice is I'm going to run it tomorrow. I understand the potential risks but under the conditions, I personally do not think ill have a problem.
As soon as I get home tomorrow the car will sit until I can get it fixed. I'll drive my e30 (which I'm getting tired of doing)
I miss my e46!! Ugh
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Old 10-06-2012, 08:59 PM   #20
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Sorry to hear it's #4. That seems to be in a critical place. And in a place where they have put in two bolts in the updated plate.

You only have to ask yourself how you would feel if you got home tomorrow and it turned out that your chassis was bent so much that the reinforcement plate would not fit back where it bolts in? Will you be comfortable picking up the bill for frame straightening if it comes to that?
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