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Suspension & Braking
Have some questions about suspension or brake setups for your E46 BMW? Get all your answers here!

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Old 03-19-2011, 10:08 PM   #1
El Polo
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Mushroomed strut tower

Hi guys,

My mechanic had a hard time aligning my car, he wasn't able to get the front passenger side within specs.
Now, the PO supposedly replaced the hole front suspension few months before I bought the car, so I don't really think about putting the blame on it first. Plus, I checked it all visually the best I could, and so did my mechanic, and we couldn't figure out what could have been bent, except the strut itself of the spindle.
That said, I read a thread few days ago about the strut tower being possibly bent by a strong impact (giant pot hole as we have around here ).
So I searched around but didn't find any good explanation on how to straighten it back to stock. Some say rubber mallet and a piece of wood... etc.
So what should I do:
  • Jack the car up on jack stands (obviously)
  • Should I remove the wheel? the suspension?
  • How do I proceed? Tapping it a little bit or hammering it quite hard?
  • How do I place the wood piece?
  • What if I want to reinforce it so it doesn't bend again? Strut brace, reinforcement plates? What? How?
  • If you can link me to a DIY I would be more than happy to follow it. Couldn't find one on here tho.
I will take pictures if it can help. Basically, I saw that the 3 bolts holding the suspension were not pointing in the same direction, not parallel to each other.

Thanks a lot guys.
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Old 03-19-2011, 10:55 PM   #2
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i wouldn't attempt something like this myself. Just find a competent mechanic /body guy who can correctly fix it.
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Old 03-21-2011, 04:05 PM   #3
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Old 04-29-2011, 03:48 PM   #4
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I started this thread a while ago but have been busy and sick as heck.
I am contemplating adding reinforcement plates (part #51717036781).
The diagram on RealOEM states that you must have the blind rivet (#54128144789).
Is that the little alignment pin that goes through the tower? I don't have it, should I install it at the same time?
I am also thinking that those plates have an certain thickness, obviously. Will this affect camber? My car currently has too much negative camber and eats the inside of the tires (because of the mushroomed tower I suppose).
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Old 05-02-2011, 02:31 PM   #5
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Old 05-02-2011, 09:46 PM   #6
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Is that rivet necessary to install the reinforcement plates if you don't have the original ones in there currrently? ..............Cause I don't..........
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Old 05-03-2011, 04:49 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by El Polo View Post
Hi guys,

My mechanic had a hard time aligning my car, he wasn't able to get the front passenger side within specs.
Now, the PO supposedly replaced the hole front suspension few months before I bought the car, so I don't really think about putting the blame on it first. Plus, I checked it all visually the best I could, and so did my mechanic, and we couldn't figure out what could have been bent, except the strut itself of the spindle.
That said, I read a thread few days ago about the strut tower being possibly bent by a strong impact (giant pot hole as we have around here ).
So I searched around but didn't find any good explanation on how to straighten it back to stock. Some say rubber mallet and a piece of wood... etc.
So what should I do:
  • Jack the car up on jack stands (obviously)
  • Should I remove the wheel? the suspension?
  • How do I proceed? Tapping it a little bit or hammering it quite hard?
  • How do I place the wood piece?
  • What if I want to reinforce it so it doesn't bend again? Strut brace, reinforcement plates? What? How?
  • If you can link me to a DIY I would be more than happy to follow it. Couldn't find one on here tho.
I will take pictures if it can help. Basically, I saw that the 3 bolts holding the suspension were not pointing in the same direction, not parallel to each other.

Thanks a lot guys.
http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthr...969&highlight=

I have been through this. 3lb sledge hammer and a 1x2 or 2x4 are your friends.
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Old 05-03-2011, 04:52 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Minnoe07 View Post
Is that rivet necessary to install the reinforcement plates if you don't have the original ones in there currrently? ..............Cause I don't..........
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Old 05-04-2011, 06:27 PM   #9
El Polo
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Thanks a lot guys for your help. Thank you tincup33 for the other thread. Lot of useful info there.

So let's make sure I get it right:
  1. Jack the car
  2. Remove the three bolts at the top and lower the suspension
  3. Place a block of wood on the tower (2x4)
  4. Whack it with a hammer until it is flat
  5. Put the reinforcement plate on top of the strut assembly and install back up in the tower
  6. Profit

EDIT: for future reference, How to install reinforcement plates

Last edited by El Polo; 05-04-2011 at 06:38 PM.
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Old 05-11-2011, 09:02 AM   #10
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Old 05-11-2011, 10:46 AM   #11
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Yep, pretty much Also, make sure you hammer around the edges of the tower mounts instead of right across the center and you will probably want to replace the mounts on top of the struts as well, they are probably hosed too if it's bad enough. I ended up replacing them on mine and it wasn't a big deal nor was it that expensive.


Quote:
Originally Posted by El Polo View Post
Thanks a lot guys for your help. Thank you tincup33 for the other thread. Lot of useful info there.

So let's make sure I get it right:
  1. Jack the car
  2. Remove the three bolts at the top and lower the suspension
  3. Place a block of wood on the tower (2x4)
  4. Whack it with a hammer until it is flat
  5. Put the reinforcement plate on top of the strut assembly and install back up in the tower
  6. Profit

EDIT: for future reference, How to install reinforcement plates
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Old 05-16-2011, 04:48 PM   #12
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I had to do this last year after buying my car. I just took a small wood block and a dead blow and worked around the rim of the tower. The tower is surprisingly soft and bent into place fairly easily. A competent BMW tech told me that they're so malleable that you can bend it back by installing the reinforcement plates and torquing to nuts above spec (no hammering required).

You'll need new strut mounts since the bolts on the old ones will be bent radially outward.

A strut tower should offer a bit reinforcement but I think it's overkill. I still got one .
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Old 05-16-2011, 10:16 PM   #13
El Polo
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rostasteve View Post
I had to do this last year after buying my car. I just took a small wood block and a dead blow and worked around the rim of the tower. The tower is surprisingly soft and bent into place fairly easily. A competent BMW tech told me that they're so malleable that you can bend it back by installing the reinforcement plates and torquing to nuts above spec (no hammering required).

You'll need new strut mounts since the bolts on the old ones will be bent radially outward.

A strut tower should offer a bit reinforcement but I think it's overkill. I still got one .
Thanks a lot for this input.
I am thinking about putting the reinforcement plates. I will use wood block and hammer anyways, just to make sure everything goes back where it belongs.
That comment about the strut mount... makes me wonder, will I be able to do it myself?
Here is the diagram, please note that only listed items are on my car.
http://realoem.com/bmw/showparts.do?...08&hg=31&fg=10
Is that the part #1? Doesn't this mean I have to disassemble the strut, hence using a spring compressor? Is changing the mount 100% necessary if I add the reinforcement plates anyway?
I'm not cheap when it comes to replacing parts, but I won't try something until it really is necessary, especially when it looks above my skills and equipment levels. Or maybe it's just me being scared of the unknown?
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Old 05-17-2011, 12:58 PM   #14
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The mount will conform to the shape of the tower, so if your tower is noticeably mushroomed your mount and/or studs wouldve bent to the same shape. Once you fix the tower the mount may not be flush with the tower/reinforcement plate, the studs may not line up with the holes, and the nuts may not be flush with the tower. The strut mount may fail. It really depends how badly mushroomed your tower is...

Yes it's part #1. And you'll need spring compressor. I also consider an impact gun a must for this job.

Buy a new mount and compare it side by side with your old one. If they look the same (ie. all studs are pointing vertically) thne leave it alone and return the one you bought.
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