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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 03-16-2013, 08:18 PM   #1
da Vinci
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New strut bar (strut tower brace)

Once again I could not find anything that looked very effective at tying the strut towers together efficiently. They are either bent or "hinged". Whenever you bend a brace you effective are creating a spring. Picture how a beer can can support your weight as long as the side remain perfectly straight.

I have machined the end brackets and the cross bar will be held in place with two 8mm bolts in double sheer. It will have the stiffness of a rigid brace, with a perfectly straight bat and it will have the flexibility to align both sides perfectly.
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Old 03-16-2013, 08:19 PM   #2
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Old 03-16-2013, 08:22 PM   #3
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I should really start a "build thread" for all these projects,but I do not know what section I should put it in. The Motorsports & Track Forum would be my first choice.
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Old 03-16-2013, 08:51 PM   #4
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interested in seeing the whole finished brace in detail, and installed
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Old 03-16-2013, 09:53 PM   #5
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I can make the cross tube out of aluminum, steel, titanium or carbon fiber. Carbon fiber will require bonding the ends in place and that is plenty strong. Titanium would be sexy, but the ends would be harder to machine, plus I have to come up with the chunks of ti to make them. Steel would make a great cross tube the end ends would add weight. Aluminum would make the lightest ends and be the easiest to fabricate. The fatigue life of welded aluminum in tension is the not the greatest, but that could be somewhat addressed in the way the ends are designed.
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Old 03-17-2013, 12:01 AM   #6
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Those look masterful. I'm no engineer, but your reasoning is sound. They are beautiful pieces.

In for updates.

Cheers!
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Old 03-18-2013, 08:06 AM   #7
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The hinge is not a problem though in a strut tower brace as it's purpose is to keep the strut towers from polling apart. The brace does not have to be a solid rigid structure to be effective.

Your design looks good though. I assume you will have some kind of LHT/RHT turn buckle for adjusting the width of the bar for alignment purposes.

The ECS bar is one that is a solid unit with no hinge and at a great price.

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Old 03-18-2013, 08:47 PM   #8
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I agree that a hinge would not ruin the design, but the rigidity of the structure is paramount. While most of the load will be in tension, there are other forces and that is where having the entire structure rock solid helps. I could not use the above strut tower brace because my AST coilovers have rebound dampers up top. Otherwise, I do like that brace.

The ends on my cross tube will have slightly elongated holes so there will be no loads on the bar in any direct at rest and no need for a turnbuckle. Because the ends will be held in place with two bolts in double sheer and there will be no necked down section or turnbuckle, the cross tube will be the stiffest possible structure for the size and weight.
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Old 03-19-2013, 07:33 AM   #9
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Nice. Make sense for sure. On my 335 I had lots of issues with trying to use the adjusters for my AST's. I can see that your design will work very well by leaving lots of room in the middle for access to the knob. On my 335 I couldn't run the factory brace due to interference with the knob.
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Old 03-19-2013, 09:52 AM   #10
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If the man says he has AST coilovers, that's all the credibility he needs. HAHA!

I would be interested in buying one of these. looks bulky though.. maybe it's just the pics?
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Old 03-19-2013, 05:32 PM   #11
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Today I machined the bar ends. They have not been welded in place. I should be able to do that tomorrow and finish up.
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Old 03-20-2013, 06:17 PM   #12
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Finished!

The bar is rock solid when locked in place.
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Old 03-20-2013, 06:37 PM   #13
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Very Nice!
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Old 03-20-2013, 07:28 PM   #14
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Looks good! Nothing wrong with a little overkill.
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Old 03-21-2013, 02:17 PM   #15
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Great work on that strut tower brace, I like the design a lot. Are you planning on selling them? Or is this a one off piece?
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Old 03-21-2013, 05:33 PM   #16
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He's making me one.
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Old 03-21-2013, 06:01 PM   #17
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I, too would be interested in one depending on pricing.
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Old 03-21-2013, 07:27 PM   #18
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Hey da Vinci, what's up?
I have personally seen his car and his zhp is wonderful. If he is making this bar, I'm sure it is going to be really good. I can vouch for this guy. Oh and mango, he does have ast coils, recaros and one heck of an array of mirrors. Lol.
I might stop by to see the bar personally OP.
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Old 03-21-2013, 08:15 PM   #19
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Thanks guys. I am extremely happy with the outcome, this thing is silly stiff. My 9 y.o. son stood on it and it barely moved. I am working out what it would cost to make a run of of these and will let you know.

tri, Come by the shop any time, but I do not always drive that car. BTW the seats are Sparco's and the mirror is a 5 panel Wink, it is great on the track.
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Old 03-21-2013, 09:33 PM   #20
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if those holes on the bar are bigger than the holes in the brace, won't that allow the brace to move a little more than if it was fixed and adjusted by the mount plates?
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