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General E46 Forum
This is the place to get answers, opinions and everything you need related to your E46 (sedan, coupe, convertible and wagon) BMW!

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Old 03-15-2013, 01:47 AM   #21
Stinger9
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Found the part all over www.furiousmethod.com

for $145 and $160 depending upon where you want to buy from.
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Old 03-15-2013, 01:48 AM   #22
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Found the part all over www.furiousmethod.com

for $145 and $160 depending upon where you want to buy from.
yeah ecs is $148 or something. shipping will kill you. i'd try and source it used.
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Old 03-15-2013, 01:52 AM   #23
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there you go. nice analysis, btw.

only thing i can see preventing the fit would be the control arms. they seem to be of roughly the same shape as the non-M arm, so i don't think it'd be a problem.
The control arms are slightly longer on the E46 m3 iirc (never held them side by side). I think this is the bigger issue:



Our reinforcement plate bolts right into those. No such provision on the Non-M as far as I know.
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Old 03-15-2013, 01:56 AM   #24
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Originally Posted by TerraPhantm View Post
The control arms are slightly longer on the E46 m3 iirc (never held them side by side). I think this is the bigger issue:



Our reinforcement plate bolts right into those. No such provision on the Non-M as far as I know.
Wow. didn't see those in other pics. interesting. the reinforcement plates reinforced in one more area and gives the control arm mount extra stiffening as well. wonder if you could use those brackets with non-M bushings?

edit: wait a minute. which hole in the reinforcement plate corresponds to those M3 cab brackets?? i can't seem to visually identify it
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Old 03-15-2013, 01:57 AM   #25
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@Mango - right, it fits on the 2001+, which have a similar plate.

The 1999-2000 models have a strut-bar type of brace, similar to E36 convertibles.
(And they do have an accessible center jack point and open cooling, unlike the 2001+ chassis).

ETK : Front Axle => Front axle suspension

323iT 3/2000
http://www.realoem.com/bmw/showparts...38&hg=31&fg=05
(says the 2001+ does not apply, but of course that is not necessarily definitive).

M3 3/2001
http://www.realoem.com/bmw/showparts...76&hg=31&fg=05
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Old 03-15-2013, 02:06 AM   #26
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M3:



Non M:



M3 and Non M have different drain plug locations so this would require removal of the reinforcement plate for an oil change.
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Old 03-15-2013, 02:09 AM   #27
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So according to that the M3 plate would use two more bolts than the non-M. The two outer bolts to the M3 cab. I wonder if those extra points matter? The non-M would still re-use all of its original bolt locations.

Re: oil change. Extractor
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Old 03-15-2013, 02:11 AM   #28
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Looking at the undersides of both, it does look like it will fit. The E46 M3 uses 4 extra bolts compared to the non-Ms (two of them being for the control arm bushings). Those points would go unused. I suspect the increased stiffness comes from the extra bracing points... so IMO this would be a wasteful venture on a non-M.

The drain plug location is also a significant issue
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Old 03-15-2013, 02:13 AM   #29
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Originally Posted by TerraPhantm View Post
Looking at the undersides of both, it does look like it will fit. The E46 M3 uses 4 extra bolts compared to the non-Ms (two of them being for the control arm bushings). Those points would go unused. I suspect the increased stiffness comes from the extra bracing points... so IMO this would be a wasteful venture on a non-M.

The drain plug location is also a significant issue
How about the other two bolts? you mention four
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Old 03-15-2013, 02:15 AM   #30
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There is extra holes near the edge for the control arm bushings, that im not using, but all of the other holes line up perfectly and the M piece is better quality and stiffer all around. I will post Pictures with the plate Mounted.
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Old 03-15-2013, 02:21 AM   #31
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How about the other two bolts? you mention four
I don't remember if there's a different structure or what with the other pair of extra bolts. It's near the front points.

RealOEM will confirm that the E46 M3 uses 12 bolts while the non-Ms use 8



The shiny spots on that dirty plate will show all 12 bolt locations.

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Old 03-15-2013, 02:25 AM   #32
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I'm guessing the circled holes are the ones not being used?

Edit: Nvm Terra beat me to it
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Old 03-15-2013, 02:32 AM   #33
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According to RealOEM, the front crossmember is the same... so assuming that's where the extra 2 front bolts mount on the M3, you might gain those points on the non-M as well.

Sure looks like that's where they mount


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Old 03-15-2013, 02:38 AM   #34
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The Non M plate doesn't bolt to the control arm underneath the ball joint. You would need M3 control arms to make use of it which won't work.

So far, the only benefit to this plate is the center jacking point and, IMO, that benefit is outweighed by the need to purchase and use an oil extractor.
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Old 03-15-2013, 02:39 AM   #35
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So I did a quick Mock up, and it looks like with the plate it is possible to use the CAB's and Control arms from the M3, with the Current set up. The parts being the same price I think there are more advantages to disadvantages with the M3 unit.
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Old 03-15-2013, 02:42 AM   #36
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The Non M plate doesn't bolt to the control arm underneath the ball joint. You would need M3 control arms to make use of it which won't work.
Ah, I didn't realize the non-Ms use the inner two points.

Well, if you want the rigidity advantages, I think the main question is whether or not the M3 control arms and bushings would work mount to the non-M and maintain the proper suspension geometry
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Old 03-15-2013, 02:43 AM   #37
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According to RealOEM, the front crossmember is the same... so assuming that's where the extra 2 front bolts mount on the M3, you might gain those points on the non-M as well.

Sure looks like that's where they mount

What are the 3 smaller holes in the back used for in the M. the front M and non M are for the plastic skid plate but the Non M doesent use anything there.
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Old 03-15-2013, 02:48 AM   #38
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What are the 3 smaller holes in the back used for in the M. the front M and non M are for the plastic skid plate but the Non M doesent use anything there.
M3 has a few plastic shields in the back -- covers the transmission and fuel filter.

On another note... the Z4M brace looks almost identical to the M3 one. But the part number is different. And the Z4M uses ZHP control arms



i wonder what the other mounting points are. Can't find any good underbody pics

Edit: Looks like BMW just did what you guys are doing here. They use only 8 bolts even though there are 12 holes on the Z4M. If it's good enough for that car, it's probably good enough for your cars.

Makes me wonder if the suspension geometry is close enough that the Z4M front suspension can be used on E46s... the steering feel is so much better on them

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Old 03-15-2013, 03:16 AM   #39
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Originally Posted by TerraPhantm View Post
M3 has a few plastic shields in the back -- covers the transmission and fuel filter.

On another note... the Z4M brace looks almost identical to the M3 one. But the part number is different. And the Z4M uses ZHP control arms



i wonder what the other mounting points are. Can't find any good underbody pics

Edit: Looks like BMW just did what you guys are doing here. They use only 8 bolts even though there are 12 holes on the Z4M. If it's good enough for that car, it's probably good enough for your cars.

Makes me wonder if the suspension geometry is close enough that the Z4M front suspension can be used on E46s... the steering feel is so much better on them
Very interesting Find, im assuming the ZHP arms do not bolt to the plate how the M3 arms do.
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Old 03-15-2013, 03:29 AM   #40
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On another note... the Z4M brace looks almost identical to the M3 one. But the part number is different. And the Z4M uses ZHP control arms

Edit: Looks like BMW just did what you guys are doing here. They use only 8 bolts even though there are 12 holes on the Z4M. If it's good enough for that car, it's probably good enough for your cars.
I'm assuming they used the M3's brace on the Z4M because of the location of the S54's drain plug.
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