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E46 Xi Forum
The E46 XI was produced from 01-05 in sedan and touring body styles. Powered by either a 2.5L inline 6 in the 325xi or a 3.0L inline 6 330xi. Discuss all thing about BMW AWD E46 'Xi' here.

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Old 04-23-2013, 07:23 PM   #21
Drkhse
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Lol, it wasn't meant as a jab, take it as a compliment. One of my main problems as far as ordering things go is time and international shipping costs. $35 turns to $75 pretty quick. All for something I can make in under a hour for free in this case. I am planning on getting some coils down the road but I'm unable to do so at this time. I suppose I could but it's seriously not worth the headache I'll get from wife for weeks (anyone who's married will understand this lol) all the car does is go to the grocery store, golf course, and maybe the park. So the loss of an inch or so doesn't really bother me a whole lot. And yeah, I run into more of the useless engineers than decent ones. Sorry I was so quick to judge.
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Old 04-23-2013, 07:25 PM   #22
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And I've disregarded wife and acquired mods enough in the past to know better lol. Should've heard how pissed she was when I came home with the e34 lol. Never going to hear the end of that one.
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Old 06-26-2013, 03:07 PM   #23
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Then with an engineering degree you would know that an ER70S-2 tig rod will have a minimum as welded dynamic load yeild strength of 70, 000lbs/in. Off hand I'd say the actual tube is around 2" which means approximately 4" of weld. So 70, 0004=280, 000lbs of force reqired to break the weld outright. Which is far greater than the yeild of the actual perch in question. The weld strength is not in question, and I'd trust my welds a lot more than the ones from the factory, as like I said I am a certified red seal high pressure welder and the welding would be completed with a miller dynasty div For an e34 this has been done over and over. Would you're response be different if these where coil sleeves on a vastly heavier 5series? How this differs from that I don't know. Everything I know about technique and metallurgy give me the common sense and safety aspect covered. I guess it my lack of a toilet paper engineering degree then...
If you already new what you wanted to do, then you shouldn't have asked. I think that is all samdoe is basically saying in a way. I personally will never do something that could possibly decrease the safety factor. But it sounds like you are knowledgeable enough and extremely qualified to do the welding! I would say why not try.
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Old 06-26-2013, 03:22 PM   #24
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1.)
I like these discussions too. If you ever want to shoot the sh!t let me know, my real specialty is in fluid mechanics/aerodynamics and composite materials but I dabble in many other things too. Any questions on those things, feel free to hit me up. That goes for everyone reading this.

And thanks for the complements. The world is full of arrogant d-bag engineers who got 4.0's in college but can't do any real practical work. The ones who are arrogant d-bags and know their stuff are the ones to really be afraid of.

Worse still are the arm chair engineers.
I would be interested in dabbling a bit about composites. I work at a power plant and don't have much experience with anything other than metals. And boy have I come across the type of engineers you described, mostly the new ones that think they know everything right out of college, or or quite often the interns. I know I didn't know everything when I graduate, but I have slowly learned, and still have a lot to learn. Also, sadly, I fear I may be the arm chair engineer
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Old 06-26-2013, 04:24 PM   #25
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I was hoping this post would end with "I did this mod and it dropped the car, improved the ride, and it makes 5 more mpg.

Around here you gotta do it first then post. I was hoping you could prove some of the above weiner-measuring rhetoric obsolete by a real world experiment.

This concept is not new, it's done in racing and on more "common" cars, it's just usually not worth the work because an aftermarket solution exists.

--

I would personally not try this because the performance benefit doesn't seem worth the time investment.

The stock spring is under a couple inches of preload but also compresses more under car weight. Lowering the mount an inch will thus drop the car an inch lower, while also reducing the preload by an inch. You are in essence dropping the car but also making it softer, which is generally divergent of a suspension mod. This may make the front of the car seem to rise a little more under acceleration and a little softer. You may be more prone to bottom the strut (as you are starting that much lower to bottom with a softer spring).

Note this may cause clearance issues with certain wheel / tire combo's.

Last edited by bikesandcars; 06-26-2013 at 04:34 PM.
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Old 06-26-2013, 05:22 PM   #26
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I would be interested in dabbling a bit about composites. I work at a power plant and don't have much experience with anything other than metals. And boy have I come across the type of engineers you described, mostly the new ones that think they know everything right out of college, or or quite often the interns. I know I didn't know everything when I graduate, but I have slowly learned, and still have a lot to learn. Also, sadly, I fear I may be the arm chair engineer
Feel free to PM or start a topic in OT for discussion. There was an Engineering thread in there at one point. There's also an aerodynamics thread that I participated in quite a bit in the General E46 section.

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The stock spring is under a couple inches of preload but also compresses more under car weight. Lowering the mount an inch will thus drop the car an inch lower, while also reducing the preload by an inch. You are in essence dropping the car but also making it softer, which is generally divergent of a suspension mod. This may make the front of the car seem to rise a little more under acceleration and a little softer. You may be more prone to bottom the strut (as you are starting that much lower to bottom with a softer spring).

Note this may cause clearance issues with certain wheel / tire combo's.
Loaded spring (car on ground) pre-load and spring force doesn't change but overall strut travel decreases by the amount of the drop.
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Old 06-26-2013, 05:38 PM   #27
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I have a few comments and a few questions. And before I begin, I will state that I am a retired tool and die maker that specialized in vehicular structures with welding experience, oxy-act, mig and fig, BUT I am not up on some of the newest technics since I retired in 2000.

Oxy-act welding used bottled gas and a filler rod, mig used electric current with an inert gas to void the area being welded with the wire filler and tig was similar, but high frequency and used short filler rods with a different inert gas. Both oxy-act and mig were for steel, both cold rolled and hot rolled steel and tig was for 6041 aluminum and for stainless steel.
In welding of any type, you are super heating the 2 pieces causing them to fuse together and the filler rod (no matter if it is a rod or wire) is used to fill the voids and help create a strong bond. In most cases, tig welds are pencil tip thin, lots of heating of the 2 pieces for fusing and pencil tip welds are STRONG, but the parent material on either side of the weld becomes weakened. For example; look at the welds of a costly stainless steel exhaust system, they are not pencil thin because the parent material on either side of the weld will crack under the heat of the exhaust and the vibration of the exhaust system (I helped prototype the Billy Boat, B&B Tri Flow CAT Back stainless exhaust system for the 1991 318is with the M42 4 cylinder motor, the the first copies I tested on my personal car, had very pretty pencil thing tig welds and the muffler failed due to vibration about 1/2 inch on either side of the welds). To correctly weld 2 materials together, there has to be an "undercut" to make a good fillet weld.

The spring perch and the strut tubes are steel, so I question the use of tig (unless the technology now allows for the welding of steel), but the heat required, even doing short 1/4 inch sections at a time, will both damage the shock cartridge inside the strut housing and weaken the strut housing itself within 1 inch of the weld seem, the weld will hold forever, though.

Next, it was stated before, by dropping the spring perch, you are putting less at rest load on the spring since with the lengthen distances between top and bottom perches has increased, so the spring will "lengthen" in the perches and not have its intended at rest load. Also taking away from the load will be the shocks, the shocks are matched for their travel to the spring rates and lengths, and in this case, your car will be riding more on the shocks than on the springs, i.e. when you hit even a small bump, the shocks will be doing much more of the work before the springs come into play. Exactly the reason that when you install lowering spring sets, you use shocks made for lowering springs, their overall length has shorted and their valving is changed from the stock shocks, and as stated previously, if lowering springs are used in the rear with stock length shocks, the springs are not loaded and can actually fall out.

It was also stated previously, its not a good idea to cut/shorten the stock springs as they are high carbon, heat treated parts and when you cut them, you are taking away some of their strength as they get warmed/heated around the cut and therefore not heat treated to the correct tensile strength any more, making them weaker besides not fitting into the spring perches correctly.

Kuddos on being a certified high pressure welder, that took a great amount of time to attain. And I'm quite sure I'll get some "flames" on what I've written.
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Old 06-26-2013, 05:41 PM   #28
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And just on a side note, are you aware that you can "weld" 6041 aluminum to steel? I experimented with this for 3 years to be used by Chevy in the Corvette when they were trying/prototyping an all aluminum frame with carbon fiber over balsa wood floor pan. If anyone wants to know the technic, go ahead and PM me and I can go thru it.
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Old 06-26-2013, 05:53 PM   #29
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^ One common misconception is that the shock carries load, it does not. The shock tube carries the weight of the car but the damper itself does not carry any load whatsoever. The only reason the damper is there is to slow the oscillation of the spring during compression and rebound (no bouncy feeling), it won't do any more or less work when you have drop perch mounts or whatever. The springs will always carry the main load no matter what and there's no riding on one or the other, you are always on the springs and the damper won't carry any mass load. If you were to remove your springs and ride only on the damper, the car would immediately drop to the point where the damper is fully compressed and you'd be riding only on the metal housings.

When using drop hats, your springs will be longer at rest than normal but once the car is on the ground, they will go back to normal as the car's weight will now be applied to the spring. When this happens, the shock absorber's "idle" position will now be lower by the amount equal to the drop of the drop perch. The valving of the shorter stroke absorber is different for the stroke of the piston but using a shorter spring or dropped perch on longer stroke absorbers isn't going to destroy them any more than driving across the country with three buddies in the back seat (actually having friends back there would be worse).

All of your other points are bang on, especially about the welding to the shock tube (I had pointed that out on the previous page but thank you for writing it in increased detail as I'm not a welder whatsoever and my welds look like a cat barfed on the metal).

Also, no flaming, this is a good discussion.

Quote:
Originally Posted by tomoyer View Post
And just on a side note, are you aware that you can "weld" 6041 aluminum to steel? I experimented with this for 3 years to be used by Chevy in the Corvette when they were trying/prototyping an all aluminum frame with carbon fiber over balsa wood floor pan. If anyone wants to know the technic, go ahead and PM me and I can go thru it.
I couldn't weld steel to steel with any strength that I would trust your life on, let alone mine.

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Old 06-26-2013, 06:46 PM   #30
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Sam, for the most part, you are correct in saying that the springs carry MOST of the load/weight of the vehicle, but not all. A shock absorber is always under some amount of load, this load is from the springs, the load on the springs from the vehicle, therefore, it is safe to say that the shocks DO carry some of the load of the vehicle. Stock length shocks with lowering springs will have more "load" on them than stock shocks with stock length springs, AND the shocks will travel much further (not talking about even inches here, but fractions of inches) before the shorter springs really begin to work as intended. Correct, the shock is to keep the vehicle from "pogoing" on the springs, because with out the shocks, once you hit a bump, even a small one, the vehicle without shocks, or with worn shocks, will continue to bounce on the springs until they "come to rest" again.

Regardless, you are correct in saying that the springs support the vehicle weight (the shocks a small percentage), a vehicle lifted with the wheels hanging lets the springs go to full extent in length, but they still are under some tension/load (even if you remove the shock/or one end of the shock), try removing a spring with the wheels hanging, it will take off because of the load/tension still on them (actually, DON'T do that, you can get hurt), and yes, when you lower the vehicle back on all four wheels/tires, the springs do compress to their "normal" state of load as designed into the suspension system, and the shcoks also have a certain amount of "pre-load".

You have made good points about moving and re-welding the perches Sam, I read the entire thread before I decided to write and try to explain more about it. In my writing, I forgot to mention the 4th type of welding, that being electric arc (commonly known as stick welding) which uses electric, no inert gas and rod fillers/sticks and can be used on most types of steel and with the correct rods on 6041 aluminum.

Bottom line here in this discussion is, should the perches be removed and welded further down the strut housings to in fact lower the car? I would highly advise against it for reasons I already stated AND because he was only talking about doing it to the front to get rid of tire/fender gap. By doing just the front, the entire suspension geometry as engineered will be thrown off as well as the weight balance of the car since the front will be lower than the rear which would be at stock height. Will this affect handling? At lower speeds, probably not, at higher speeds, for sure since you have upset the balance of the car, putting more of the vehicles weight transferred to the front by dropping it. I would suggest waiting till the wife frees up the money and do it the right way with either lowering springs and sport shocks, or with a coil-over kit. Either way, don't forget to replace all the other related parts since they are as old as the stock springs and shocks and have the same amount wear, no need to do the job over again when a top bearing fails, or an upper rear shock mount fails, or the sway bar links. And the spring rubbers should always be replaced.

(Sam, probably the best discussion that you and I have had since I joined the forum and began posting, and that's not really meant as a dig, just a lot of times we have vastly differing views.)
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Old 06-27-2013, 07:42 AM   #31
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I think the weld would hold up just fine but I'd be worried about the tube wall thickness and the lack of internal structure where you weld. I could see the wall tearing and/or buckling. The perch if I remember right sits on top of the end cap of the shock and the load is spread out over the top cap which is made of heavier material. Think of it a beer can in compression they can take a fair load until you poke the side in slightly then boom flat as a pancake. I think FAIL Maybe if you fabricate a cup then weld the perch to that then???????????
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Old 06-27-2013, 08:57 AM   #32
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a quick suspension question.

She won't let you spend money on your car, but has no problem letting you cut it up and weld it back together? Sounds like a keeper....


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Old 06-27-2013, 11:00 AM   #33
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lol. You guys sure have a nerdy long winded way of discussing something.

The arguments and engineering discussions are fun, but this has been done before successfully on other cars.

You're essentially trying to make a structural weld on a pipe filled with hydraulic fluid and nitrogen. Care and skill is in order, but the task is possible. I wouldn't use TIG or gas because they put more heat into the workpiece. I would MIG it and take breaks.

You could also potentially fabricate an extension to where the spring perch sits on the strut. You could do that off the car. Maybe possible with a piece of 2" schedule 40 pipe.

My point to the OP is you can do anything...emphasize the you...because not everyone has the temperment and risk acceptance for experimentation. when you depart from factory specifications you become a test driver.

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Old 06-28-2013, 06:52 PM   #34
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bikesandcars, if you think that MIG doesn't put heat into the "workpiece" you are greatly mistaken. MIG uses a roll of wire/fillet material which is automatically fed when the trigger is pulled even before an arc is make. To keep impurities from the weld site, an inert gas such as argon is used and also comes out the tip of the welding nozzle when the trigger is pulled. MIG can be used for small "tack" welds, but to do a complete weld, you must run the bead continuous until complete. All vehicular sub-frames and frames are welded together using MIG and most all robotic welders are either spot welds OR MIG welds. Again, welding of any type, to be done correctly, doesn't solely rely on the fillet material (wire or rod), the purpose is to super heat the area being welded so that the 2 parts start to "melt" and bond to each other, the fillet material is to add strength and more holding power and helps keep the welded area from failing. The strut tubes are not nearly as thick as schedule 40 pipe, the strut tubes are just thick enough so that they can be internally threaded to the shock in, probably the wall thickness of the strut is not much more than 40 to 100 thousands (1 to 2.5 mm) thick where as schedule 40 pipe is thick wall material that nowadays is usually manufactured from a flat sheet, rolled and seam welded and then a scarfing blade is run inside and outside, though there is still some seamless schedule 40 pipe made at a much higher cost.
I have not said that it hasn't been done with and to other cars, I'm pointing out all the potential failures (and believe me, those that have done it before to other cars have had failures, you just don't here them telling you about what happened down the road, i.e. the people that cut stock length coil springs so that they can lower their vehicle and then have the springs shatter.
If the OP wants to do it, its his car, at least he has some vehicular structure experience suggesting why not to do it at his fingertips via this thread. And this next statement isn't meant to offend the OP, but in my 33 years of automotive experience in repairing and also prototyping and production runs, MOST, but not all welders think that they can repair ANYTHING with weld and will spend more time and money to try and do it. A front shock strut isn't a hi-pressure vessel.

Last edited by tomoyer; 06-28-2013 at 06:54 PM.
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Old 07-01-2013, 08:48 AM   #35
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bikesandcars, if you think that MIG doesn't put heat into the "workpiece" you are greatly mistaken. MIG uses a roll of wire/fillet material which is automatically fed when the trigger is pulled even before an arc is make. To keep impurities from the weld site, an inert gas such as argon is used and also comes out the tip of the welding nozzle when the trigger is pulled. MIG can be used for small "tack" welds, but to do a complete weld, you must run the bead continuous until complete. All vehicular sub-frames and frames are welded together using MIG and most all robotic welders are either spot welds OR MIG welds. Again, welding of any type, to be done correctly, doesn't solely rely on the fillet material (wire or rod), the purpose is to super heat the area being welded so that the 2 parts start to "melt" and bond to each other, the fillet material is to add strength and more holding power and helps keep the welded area from failing. The strut tubes are not nearly as thick as schedule 40 pipe, the strut tubes are just thick enough so that they can be internally threaded to the shock in, probably the wall thickness of the strut is not much more than 40 to 100 thousands (1 to 2.5 mm) thick where as schedule 40 pipe is thick wall material that nowadays is usually manufactured from a flat sheet, rolled and seam welded and then a scarfing blade is run inside and outside, though there is still some seamless schedule 40 pipe made at a much higher cost.
I have not said that it hasn't been done with and to other cars, I'm pointing out all the potential failures (and believe me, those that have done it before to other cars have had failures, you just don't here them telling you about what happened down the road, i.e. the people that cut stock length coil springs so that they can lower their vehicle and then have the springs shatter.
If the OP wants to do it, its his car, at least he has some vehicular structure experience suggesting why not to do it at his fingertips via this thread. And this next statement isn't meant to offend the OP, but in my 33 years of automotive experience in repairing and also prototyping and production runs, MOST, but not all welders think that they can repair ANYTHING with weld and will spend more time and money to try and do it. A front shock strut isn't a hi-pressure vessel.
You type exceptionally well sir
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Old 07-01-2013, 11:23 AM   #36
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Great thread! I was actually wondering about ideas like this because for my Miata, apparently Eibachs and H&Rs suck and coilovers are kinda pricy. There's actually a thread here:

http://forum.miata.net/vb/showthread.php?t=289656

called "The Quintessential Ebay Coilover Thread" that has been going since 2008 and is a WEALTH of information with a lot of really great ideas and discussion. The Ebay coil overs are available for Beemers too.... Just sayin'....
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Old 07-03-2013, 03:32 PM   #37
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I have not had a chance to check this thread for a few days, thank you bikesandcars. chilone, did you go with a set of coil-overs from eBay and if so, what was your impression of them once installed for the money you spent? There are some good "deals" on eBay as well as sources on Amazon besides the other "normal" sources. In these tight, uncertain times, price of parts has become a bigger consideration when modifying a car than say like 10 years ago, and there are sources out there that offer a good part for a reasonable price compared to some of the usual sources.
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Old 07-04-2013, 11:27 AM   #38
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Yes, I did get a set of "eBay coil overs" for a whopping $59.00 including shipping. The general gist of the thread is that they are really kind of foundational in that what kind of shocks you are using will predicate the level of modification and/or fabrication needed. They're really for us guys that like the challenge of coming up with "our own" setups so to speak. That said, I installed them with the stock shocks (not recommended) temporarily as sort of a mock up. I was able to lower the car quite substantially and the ride as expected is pretty bad. I have received a set of Tokico Illuminas which are pretty popular in the Miata world and will be installing them this weekend. Some modifications to the strut tops and height adjustment should improve the ride dramatically. I'm enjoying the challenge
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