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Suspension & Braking Forum by BimmerWorld
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Old 10-06-2016, 10:53 AM   #1
RyanS
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Swap E46 M3 control arms/spindle to E46 Non M?

Is there any reason to do this? From what I gather, the E46 M3 have a slightly wider track width, any other benefits? This isnt a track car, but I intend to track it... I am also doing a complete M3 rear sub frame swap... so why not the front?
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Old 10-06-2016, 11:10 AM   #2
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Shouldn't be a problem. Can do the front brakes obviously as well as the reinforcement plate and control arm bushings that go along with it. I'd probably refresh the front bearings as well. I think you can reuse the tie rods and control arms. but your non-M may have the busted old nylon jointed one so may as well get M3.
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Old 10-06-2016, 11:23 AM   #3
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Shouldn't be a problem. Can do the front brakes obviously as well as the reinforcement plate and control arm bushings that go along with it. I'd probably refresh the front bearings as well. I think you can reuse the tie rods and control arms. but your non-M may have the busted old nylon jointed one so may as well get M3.
If you use m3 control arms you have to use m3 tie rods because of the wider track.
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Old 10-06-2016, 12:02 PM   #4
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Swap E46 M3 control arms/spindle to E46 Non M?

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Originally Posted by TerraPhantm View Post
If you use m3 control arms you have to use m3 tie rods because of the wider track.

You can't just extend the tie rods further? If I had known this, I might have used m3 parts when rebuilding the front end. Instead I have 15mm spacers on the front.
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Old 10-06-2016, 12:15 PM   #5
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It's a pretty big difference - about 18.5mm per side. I'm not sure what the adjustment range on the tie rods is.
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Old 10-06-2016, 12:17 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by TerraPhantm View Post
If you use m3 control arms you have to use m3 tie rods because of the wider track.
I think I recall someone saying they reused their non-M tie rods w/ M3 spindles.They did a full conversion. I forget who/where.
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Old 10-06-2016, 12:22 PM   #7
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Brake caliper mounting tab offset is different on M vs non-M as well so you'll want the brakes too. Tried to put M brakes on a Non-M and the caliper wouldn't bolt up to the knuckle due to the offset difference so I'd imagine it wont work the other way around either (putting non-m brakes onto the M spindles that is).
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Old 10-06-2016, 10:14 PM   #8
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All great info here guys thanks. I bought a complete M3 front sub frame, so it should come with everything I need. My concern though is the wider track, I hope doesnt create the need to run M3 fenders.
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Old 10-06-2016, 11:15 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by TerraPhantm View Post
If you use m3 control arms you have to use m3 tie rods because of the wider track.
Do you still need the front subframe from the m3? Or they just bolt on, on a non-m front subframe?

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Old 10-07-2016, 12:02 AM   #10
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All great info here guys thanks. I bought a complete M3 front sub frame, so it should come with everything I need. My concern though is the wider track, I hope doesnt create the need to run M3 fenders.

Or different wheels depending on offset
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Old 10-07-2016, 10:10 PM   #11
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Do you still need the front subframe from the m3? Or they just bolt on, on a non-m front subframe?

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Subframe is the same as the non-M subframe.
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Old 10-11-2016, 10:10 PM   #12
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Interested in doing a similar setup on my E46 ZHP. E46 M3 control arms and FCABS as well as E46 M3 ties rods, not sure if I need inner and outers? If someone could help out on that I'd appreciate it. Would it all bolt right up to stock 330 zhp knuckles? Trying to achieve wider track and possibly more steering angle.
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Old 10-12-2016, 10:11 PM   #13
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The only drawback I see to this is always running staggered wheels, or rear spacers.
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