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Old 01-30-2013, 07:01 PM   #1
God_speed
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OE E46 M3 strut brace installation question

Hey guys,

This will probably sound like a ridiculous question, but I just installed an OE E46 M3 strut brace on my 2006 330Ci yesterday, and I while everything appears to have gone on properly and seems properly aligned, I was confused by the BMW's own instructions as well as seeing pics of M3 engine bays with the brace fitted.

Basically, the instructions state that for the E46, the brace should be installed with the bend facing toward the rear of the car (and later in the instructions it states that if installing on a Z4, the bend should face the front of the car. Pics I have seen on the net also seem to show the bend facing the rear on E46 bays.

However, I could not for the life of me see how I could get the centre (bridging) piece to connect to the two end plates if I was to point the bend toward the rear.

Here's the brace on my car:



All six bolts (3 a side) securing the end plates went in fine and were torqued to spec:



I cannot see how I could have mucked up the placement of the plates. One clearly has less bulk to it on the RHS of the car to allow space for the (+) batt terminal, they must be this way up, and the 'tongue' onto which the centre bridge goes should be toward the front of the car.

Obviously I cannot alter the angle at which the 'tongues' of each end plate protrude toward the centre of the car, therefore there was only one way in which I could install the centre piece; that is with the bend facing forwards, not toward the rear.

Here's a side view.



The brace doesn't appear to interfere with either the under-bonnet insulation, nor does it impede anything on the motor itself (can open oil cap / remove dipstick just fine), but doesn't something seem amiss here?

Here's an E46 M3 bay for reference:



The bend seems to be at the rear.


For reference, my car is completely stock and the strut towers are unmodified; do not have any signs of mushrooming, modified holes or additional drilled holes, or any other damage.

Appreciate any advice on this.

Cheers
Matt
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Old 01-30-2013, 07:12 PM   #2
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Old 01-30-2013, 07:16 PM   #3
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What have I done wrong?

The listing I bought this from actually has the bend at the front, I just noticed.

http://www.ebay.com.au/itm/400339439831

Did they change the location of the strut bolts mid lifecycle or something?
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Old 01-30-2013, 07:48 PM   #4
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Why bother? you got the bar on, right?

Enjoy it while your hood is open, because once you close it there is no difference.
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Old 01-30-2013, 07:55 PM   #5
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Are the bolts not even close to lining up? Try keeping all the bolts loose as you line up the holes.
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Old 01-30-2013, 08:03 PM   #6
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Thanks Tinman for the first actually useful response.


Nope they weren't close to lining up. No slack for adjustment for the 3 bolts for each end plate; and if you whack the bar on the two bolts on one of the plates (i.e. on one side first) with the bend facing backwards, the bar won't even come close to meeting the two bolts on the opposite side. The bar will end up several inches in front of the mounting bolts on the other side.
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Old 01-30-2013, 08:10 PM   #7
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I dont quite understand your obsession with directions.

Be different, let it face forward. Tell others its a super custom bar, they'll be jealous
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Old 01-30-2013, 08:19 PM   #8
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Haha no, as I said it works fine, it's a piece of metal, not a complicated part, I know this, but when something doesn't seem right I like to know the answer, that's all
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Old 01-30-2013, 08:41 PM   #9
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I say don't bother, my friend gave me his old oem m3 strut bar still need to install it, oh and might I ask about your skyline
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Old 01-30-2013, 10:02 PM   #10
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The M3 strut tower mounting holes are offset differently to a non M
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Old 01-30-2013, 10:25 PM   #11
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The bend definitely doesn't face the rear in an M3... Your bend seems more exaggerated though (might just be the angle)

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Old 01-31-2013, 12:01 AM   #12
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looks right - but I havent installed an m3 bar
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Old 01-31-2013, 04:28 AM   #13
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Thanks fellas.

Here's the strut brace that's currently on the GTR...



Have a Nismo titanium one coming
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Old 01-31-2013, 02:55 PM   #14
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the point of the "V" in the center brace faces forwards. yours is on right, I don't see how it could fit any other way.
don't get caught up in the Z4 directions, they use a different triangle brace bar.
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Old 01-31-2013, 03:03 PM   #15
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Here are some photos of my M3 bar painted silver back in the day I had it on my 323Ci.
http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showpos...8&postcount=31
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Old 01-31-2013, 03:30 PM   #16
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OP damn that skyline engine is a beast! And did you notice any slight or significant difference in handling.
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Old 01-31-2013, 06:29 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alex323Ci View Post
Here are some photos of my M3 bar painted silver back in the day I had it on my 323Ci.
http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showpos...8&postcount=31
Looks fantastic in silver - really gives the engine bay a visual lift. I don't mind the standard black finish on mine as the whole car is pretty much stock but with an M package so the look is subtle. But yours looks more "race" while still having that OEM appearance.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Alex323Ci View Post
the point of the "V" in the center brace faces forwards. yours is on right, I don't see how it could fit any other way.
don't get caught up in the Z4 directions, they use a different triangle brace bar.
Thanks Alex. Nah, what I meant was the instructions I was using (can't find em right now) were BMW instructions but they included directions for both E46 and Z4. For E46 they said the bend should face backwards. For Z4 they said the bend should face forwards. Anyway... the thing seems to be working fine. Just rubbing a bit on the under-hood insulation so I think it'll develop fine scratches over time, but I'm not heaps fussed.

Quote:
Originally Posted by BBBoy323i View Post
OP damn that skyline engine is a beast! And did you notice any slight or significant difference in handling.
Cheers mate. Took it through some tight chicanes straight after fitting and it seemed a bit more direct (very slightly less slack in direction changes), but it is incredibly subtle and hard to measure. I was prepared for this, but as my car's towers have no mushrooming and the car has an M pack, I just wanted to cap it off nicely with the OEM brace, and let it act as a bit of a preventative measure too for the towers.

Does anyone know what the parts are actually made of? The end plates definitely felt like steel but the centre piece felt either like lightweight steel or possibly aluminium.

Cheers
Matt
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