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Old 11-07-2012, 05:07 PM   #1
whyzee125
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Cracking between drug bin and strut tower. Anyone else have this?

My ZHP sedan is cracking on the seam between the drug bin and the passenger side strut tower. When I bought the car the owner told me that it had previously had this problem but it had been professionally repaired. Everything looked great. A few months later, I was driving on the interstate and they had just paved a new section of the road so it was about 2 inches higher than the rest. When I hit that, I definitely bottomed out and I thought of the strut tower since the previous owner had mentioned it. I pulled over and it looked like this.

My question is, is this seam structural? The car drives fine and sits even on both sides so I'm thinking maybe the hard hit just tore apart the closest weak point. Either way I'm gonna have it fixed. Also I looked underneath and I don't see any welds so the last owner probably just had it filled with seam filler. Anyways, anybody else seen this? Seems like the strut towers usually mushroom if they have a problem which mine aren't doing.
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Old 11-07-2012, 05:14 PM   #2
whyzee125
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Anyone seen this? How serious is it?
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Old 11-07-2012, 05:16 PM   #3
floydlloyd85
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Yeah it does seem to be just sealed. The stress is causing it to crack because there is no welds holding it together. A bodyshop will probably peel back the sealer and weld it up. It seems like a straight forward enough job. But i suppose it depends on how extensive the damage really is. I work in a body shop but i havnt seen this before on a bmw. Fingers crossed its not too bad
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Old 11-07-2012, 05:19 PM   #4
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In addition to your strut towers being mushroomed and cracked, your strut towers were also previously painted. I recommend one of the first things anyone does when they buy an E46 is to install reinforcement plates front and rear.
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Old 11-07-2012, 05:24 PM   #5
whyzee125
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My towers aren't mushrooming, just cracking by the drug bin. Would reinforcement plates help? I thought that was only for the top. I did plan on doing it once I get it welded just go be sure nothing else gets messed up, but I think the reason it was painted is because of this previous repair. It's never been in an accident.
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Old 11-07-2012, 05:31 PM   #6
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I've seen that before. Not critical but it is structural to some degree as it's one of the pieces of sheet metal that brace your strut tower.

The stock sheet metal is spot welded together, and it's possible "repairs" were spot welds as well. Also, repairs could have just mean covered up to prevent corrosion as well.
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Old 11-07-2012, 05:43 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by whyzee125 View Post
My towers aren't mushrooming, just cracking by the drug bin. Would reinforcement plates help? I thought that was only for the top. I did plan on doing it once I get it welded just go be sure nothing else gets messed up, but I think the reason it was painted is because of this previous repair. It's never been in an accident.
If your towers are cracking under stress, then I'd imagine that stress would have deformed your strut towers (mushrooming) well before those cracks would begin to appear to that degree. Are you sure they're fine? Post more pics of both strut towers. The plates are there to distribute the load evenly across the strut tower versus just the area the strut bearing contacts.
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