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Go Back   E46Fanatics > E46 BMW > E46 Convertible

E46 Convertible
The E46 vert forum. Talk about dropping your E46 top here.

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Old 12-28-2012, 01:33 PM   #1
socks210
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Rear Shock Tower Reinforcement Plates, Installing, (from the top) E46 Convertible

You can installed the complete rear shock tower reinforcement plates PN. 51-71-8-413-359 by doing the following.
1. Removed the torx screws to remove the "Folding Top Compartment". All screws are in the top storage compartment area, none in the trunk- 17 screws, T30 torx. Pull up on the front part of compartment, kinda snaps up, there is a connector on the passenger side that must be disconnected after you raise the compartment up a few inches. Slide the compartment into the trunk.

2. Pull the trunk liner back from around shock tower area (see photo's) and slide the Reinforcement Plates in as shown. On both sides (once they are over shock tower) you will need to raise the outboard side of the plate slightly to get the inboard side of the plate to slip under the convertible top bracket - then the plate will drop right into place on top of the tower. Passenger side plate slides in from the front.... the drivers side plate slides in from the rear. It's also recommended the chambered edge of the hole in the plate face down.

3. Unlike the coupes, sedans, etc. where you would raise the shock assembly into the tower and then drop the plate over the 2 shock mount studs I'm just about positive you won't be able to install these plates in the vert that way.... because of the convertible top mounting hardware, brackets, etc. around the shock towers these plates have to be slid in from the side and then dropped down over the shock tower as described above and then the shock assembly raised into place. The top of the shock and RSM studs would be in the way if in the installed position. The plates aren't going anywhere once the are dropped onto the top of the tower.

Bavarian Auto just posted this DIY ... they gave mention to E46 Fanatics ...my cat got resourced out though!
http://blog.bavauto.com/13192/bmw-e4...le-etc-how-to/
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Last edited by socks210; 01-02-2013 at 03:21 PM.
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Old 12-30-2012, 06:47 AM   #2
Offshore24
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Nice, thanks.
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Old 12-30-2012, 03:04 PM   #3
Nickvjr
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This is awesome!!!! Thank you!!!! :0)
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Old 12-30-2012, 11:28 PM   #4
dan_1337
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Cool! I have the half reinforcement plates that were provided when I overhauled my suspension. This may be worth doing to spread the force over a larger area.
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Old 12-31-2012, 10:53 AM   #5
socks210
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Thanks ... a few more tips: be sure to have a good flashlight on hand...you will probably need it to see the "opening" between the shock tower lip and the convertible top bracket. and.................

after you set that convertible folding top compartment "thing" back into place and before you install all the torx screws you may want to go into the trunk to be sure the trunk liner is correctly in place around it.

Last edited by socks210; 01-12-2013 at 08:51 AM.
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Old 01-01-2013, 05:05 PM   #6
wildirish317
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Nice post. The cat obviously thought you were out of your freakin' mind!
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Old 01-02-2013, 01:04 PM   #7
petemo94
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What kind of shocks were you installing? Did you hear any clunking-noises prior to install? And did it fix it after the install? Thx for the DIY. Mine is coming soon.
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Old 01-02-2013, 01:45 PM   #8
cdodds2004
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is there a problem with the rear shocks needing this to be fitted? im thinking of doing as a preventative measure! thanks
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Old 01-02-2013, 02:20 PM   #9
socks210
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The shocks are "Original Equipment" Sachs shocks. The red label may be throwing you off , most have the blue label , the shocks for factory sport suspension have the red label. ( pretty sure that's true) Anyway, I replaced the shocks because they were pushing 50K and I wanted to install the rear shock tower reinforcement plates anyway. These weren't clunking....but, have replaced shock tower mounts on some of my past bemmers for clunking. A friend and myself just replace his rear shock mounts a few months ago on his 2001 330ci coupe, one had pushed through and was clunking... we also added the rear shock tower plates.... big improvement... nice and quite, nice and tight. BTW, we replaced the RSM on his coupe with the E46 convertible mounts... heavier duty. I'm pretty sure, could be wrong, but I think you'll get more of a creaking sound when the differential sub-frame mounts start to wear flexing the frame like going in and out of driveway. You have a metal to metal (?) sound .. the convertibles, unlike the coupes,etc. have metal just over the top on the rear shock strut.. I'm not sure if the top of the shock strut could move up far enough to hit that metal.. but it's worth checking out. Takes 5 min. Have you taken the spare tire and the jack etc. out of the truck to see if the noise goes away... could be something there banging around. good luck...
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Old 01-02-2013, 02:44 PM   #10
socks210
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hi cdodds2004... not really a problem with the shocks but more the rear shock tower being a weak area ( they say) especially if your running sport suspension, low profile tires or I would think even taking on some potholes. Google something like "E46 failed rear shock tower" ...click on Web, click on Images, you will drop that warm beer and be taken the "wife's" car down to the dealer to pick up a set of these reinforcement plates wicked fast!
good luck - have fun

Bavarian Auto just posted my DIY... see my original post above.

Last edited by socks210; 01-04-2013 at 07:58 PM.
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Old 01-02-2013, 04:49 PM   #11
petemo94
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Quote:
Originally Posted by socks210 View Post
The shocks are "Original Equipment" Sachs shocks. The red label may be throwing you off , most have the blue label , the shocks for factory sport suspension have the red label. ( pretty sure that's true) Anyway, I replaced the shocks because they were pushing 50K and I wanted to install the rear shock tower reinforcement plates anyway. These weren't clunking....but, have replaced shock tower mounts on some of my past bemmers for clunking. A friend and myself just replace his rear shock mounts a few months ago on his 2001 330ci coupe, one had pushed through and was clunking... we also added the rear shock tower plates.... big improvement... nice and quite, nice and tight. BTW, we replaced the RSM on his coupe with the E46 convertible mounts... heavier duty. I'm pretty sure, could be wrong, but I think you'll get more of a creaking sound when the differential sub-frame mounts start to wear flexing the frame like going in and out of driveway. You have a metal to metal (?) sound .. the convertibles, unlike the coupes,etc. have metal just over the top on the rear shock strut.. I'm not sure if the top of the shock strut could move up far enough to hit that metal.. but it's worth checking out. Takes 5 min. Have you taken the spare tire and the jack etc. out of the truck to see if the noise goes away... could be something there banging around. good luck...
Great information. Thx! I had the spare tire and jack out of the trunk and the car still occasionally clunked on bigger bumps on the passenger side.

Few more follow-up questions though:

1. Does the new shocks feel like a sport-version damper? Meaning does it ride like a new ZSP (sport package) BMW? What was the total package price?
2. Where did you get the entire package (Shocks, RSM, reinforcement plates)?
3. I saw these plates from $9 to $20. Any difference between them?
4. So I've read there may be modifications required for the convertible. It looks like you proved this wrong. Am I correct?

Thx again.
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Old 01-02-2013, 08:17 PM   #12
petemo94
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Just looked at my RSM's thru the peep-holes. It appears the passenger side shock-top is 3/8th to 1/2 inch closer to the frame. I'm guessing this is causing the clunking noise on that side, while I hit larger bumps. Probably a sign that the RSMs are slowly fading to its imminent death. I haven't looked under the car yet for other signs, but this is the general location of the sound I occasionally here. No signs of frame cracking or anything. This car I picked up 1 month ago is super clean (67K miles, 1 owner, BMW maintained, not even sure it ever saw rain), driven by a 60 year lady.

Any comparison data between the yellow Bilsteins and these ZSP shocks you got? I'm happy with the stock suspension. Impressive ride for sure.
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Old 01-03-2013, 01:04 AM   #13
socks210
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Hi petemo94... yep 3/8" is kinda close to the metal...add a passenger and full tank of gas and that gap will be even closer yet- if the bushing is starting to fail. I really don't know much about other shocks compare to OE shocks .. this E46 factory sport package works well enough for me. With pushing 70k on your car I'd say if you put a new set of shocks, rear shock mounts, and get the BMW OE mounts unless you are going to go with some aftermarket performance mount ( and I'd add the plates too) you'd be more than happy with the improvement. You may also want to replace the 2 washers ( per side) that install on the shaft below the mount. One is a large cupped washer and the other is a smaller washer just under that one. Get a flashlight and look just over the top of your rear tires to view the shock in the tower...you should be able see condition of those washers... If your car is the never seen rain or snow kinda car your probably OK with reusing the washers from the old shocks. If you have any questions about what shocks to use maybe post the question on this form or I've had good service and advice from the guys at Bavarian Auto. Oh and the plates,,, I'm not sure some of the aftermarket "thicker" plates will work on the convertible .. the factory plate just clears the lip on the tower and the convertible top bracket stuff when installing them. Good Luck- Have fun

Last edited by socks210; 01-03-2013 at 07:19 AM.
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Old 04-13-2013, 05:38 PM   #14
Phyberlink
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Hi Socks210, Please I need help, I am planning to replace my original rear shocks for the first time. I have now 117K miles, it is a 2003 Convertible 330 Ci with sport package, I am the only owner. I opened the trunk, and I have no clue where to start on removing the upper shock rear mounts, I do see the lower part, I have to go under the car, but where do I start in the trunk? I have a fully automatic convertible retraction system. Is there a link, or any pictures as to where and how to start? Thanks.
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Old 04-13-2013, 05:59 PM   #15
taylor192
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Phyberlink View Post
Hi Socks210, Please I need help, I am planning to replace my original rear shocks for the first time. I have now 117K miles, it is a 2003 Convertible 330 Ci with sport package, I am the only owner. I opened the trunk, and I have no clue where to start on removing the upper shock rear mounts, I do see the lower part, I have to go under the car, but where do I start in the trunk? I have a fully automatic convertible retraction system. Is there a link, or any pictures as to where and how to start? Thanks.
It would help if you read the thread. The upper shock mounts are accessed via the storage compartment for the convertible top, as shown in the pictures in this thread.

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Old 04-14-2013, 03:36 AM   #16
socks210
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Hi Phyberlink.... You never have to open the "trunk" at all to replace the rear shocks ( on a convertible) The upper shock nuts are located in the convertible top storage area.. push the top down button on the dash ( or use your door key) to start the top down .... the back window area of the top will lift up and then the "cover " will lift up...at this point stop, release the button. after a few seconds the "cover" may start to come back down on it's own so have something ready to keep the cover prop up, i used the box the shock came in to keep the top from coming down... you can see the box in one of my photos above. now look down in the area where the top would have gone... you should see the plastic covers that cover the upper shock nuts. Really a good idea to install the reinforcement plates while your in there too. If your not going to install the back up plates all you have to do is remove the 2 plastic covers to expose the nuts...remove the 2 nuts and the shock will probably fall right out of the car.

Last edited by socks210; 04-14-2013 at 03:52 AM.
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Old 04-14-2013, 09:32 AM   #17
Phyberlink
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I went and opened half way the top & found the 2 round covers

Thank you all for your help, now I know what to do. I am waiting for the 2 shocks to arrive from Bavarian. I am now looking to also buy the 2 gold re-inforcement plates, why not! I will be doing this job, so why not do it completely and improve it. Thanks a million. This is the best Forum Group.
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Old 04-15-2013, 02:31 PM   #18
raichean
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Quote:
Originally Posted by socks210 View Post
You can installed the complete rear shock tower reinforcement plates PN. 51-71-8-413-359 by doing the following.
1. Removed the torx screws to remove the "Folding Top Compartment". All screws are in the top storage compartment area, none in the trunk- 17 screws, T30 torx. Pull up on the front part of compartment, kinda snaps up, there is a connector on the passenger side that must be disconnected after you raise the compartment up a few inches. Slide the compartment into the trunk.

2. Pull the trunk liner back from around shock tower area (see photo's) and slide the Reinforcement Plates in as shown. On both sides (once they are over shock tower) you will need to raise the outboard side of the plate slightly to get the inboard side of the plate to slip under the convertible top bracket - then the plate will drop right into place on top of the tower. Passenger side plate slides in from the front.... the drivers side plate slides in from the rear. It's also recommended the chambered edge of the hole in the plate face down.

3. Unlike the coupes, sedans, etc. where you would raise the shock assembly into the tower and then drop the plate over the 2 shock mount studs I'm just about positive you won't be able to install these plates in the vert that way.... because of the convertible top mounting hardware, brackets, etc. around the shock towers these plates have to be slid in from the side and then dropped down over the shock tower as described above and then the shock assembly raised into place. The top of the shock and RSM studs would be in the way if in the installed position. The plates aren't going anywhere once the are dropped onto the top of the tower.

Bavarian Auto just posted this DIY ... they gave mention to E46 Fanatics ...my cat got resourced out though!
http://blog.bavauto.com/13192/bmw-e4...le-etc-how-to/

I found the parts on ECS thank you so much! They say however that for a convertible the plates have to be modified? Doesn't look like you needed to do so which is great.

Sounds like this is something I should check ASAP and likely reinforce in my 04 M3 vert?
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