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E46 Xi Forum
The E46 XI was produced from 01-05 in sedan and touring body styles. Powered by either a 2.5L inline 6 in the 325xi or a 3.0L inline 6 330xi. Discuss all thing about BMW AWD E46 'Xi' here.

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Old 05-11-2013, 01:52 PM   #1
White_Knuckles
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Got - Strut mount reinforcement rings?

In a recent post, a discussion took place where I suggested aftermarket strut reinforcement rings and rear shock mount plates when using stiff struts/shocks or coil-overs.

Kubica adds, "XI's come with them from the factory". He's referring to front strut rings. I thought this is good information to add to the "XI Facts, fiction..." thread.

Seems now in the XI Facts thread, there are varying responses where some owners claim having the rings and some do not. Made sense the 4WD flavor might beef up the towers due to weight or something but my car ('03) doesn't have 'em.

So, let's explore if there are factory rings some spotted by year or what?? The rings help prevent tower mushrooming which is a known issue that has been reported and documented as a sad movie to see.
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Old 05-11-2013, 03:46 PM   #2
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Got - Strut mount reinforcement rings?

2001 325xi Produced in 11/2000. Has the strut reinforcement plates.

Ive detached my struts several times and didn't realize I had these until recently. They are disks that are sandwiched between the bottom of the strut tower housing and the top of the strut mounting hat. They typically stay stuck to the strut tower housing which is why I didn't notice them until recently. After probably the 6th time I removed/adjusted My coilovers they came loose. They fit nicely into a specific area though, so it's not a big deal if they loosen.


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Old 05-11-2013, 03:53 PM   #3
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^^ Good information. Once verified XI's have these where the I's do not, I'll edit the XI Facts thread with more detail about the strut tower "secret" reinforcement rings.
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Old 05-11-2013, 05:32 PM   #4
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2002 325Xi with manufacture date of 10/01... No reinforcement plates... Just dirt!

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Old 05-11-2013, 05:38 PM   #5
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Got - Strut mount reinforcement rings?

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2002 325Xi with manufacture date of 10/01... No reinforcement plates... Just dirt!

Are you positive? The plate is IN-BETWEEN the strut tower and the strut mounting hat, NOT on top of the tower


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Old 05-11-2013, 09:07 PM   #6
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Okay, this is what Kubica was talking about when he said "they get stuck to the metal". I, like most others, am looking on the top for shiny-cool rings. So, the begging question is, can you spot them from the top side? I wonder why and if all XI's got these yet they skipped installing 'em in the I's? Can't be very costly.

Big Rick's are not shroomed but do have enough dirt to grow some!
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Old 05-11-2013, 10:33 PM   #7
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Quote:
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2002 325Xi with manufacture date of 10/01... No reinforcement plates... Just dirt!

look like it has them to me. see the two black rivets on the strut tower top(orientation 2 and 8 o'clock in the photo), those are there to hold them in place. people without them from factory have two little pin holes there on opposite sides of the top tower.

like has been said, the reinforcement plates fit under the strut tower's metal top.
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Old 05-11-2013, 11:00 PM   #8
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Well now we're getting somewhere! Thanks Alex323Ci, you've made a break-through. I just peeked and there indeed be rivets on an '03. So, would it be true that our rear wheel drive friends do not have this bonus and that's perhaps why they get all shroomy?

A question others have posed is, would there be any benefit from adding additional top mounted support rings? I'd say unless you're tracking the thing, probably not. But as they will fit, maybe cheap insurance?
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Old 05-11-2013, 11:25 PM   #9
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nope, only those with the option "Poor Road Package" and Xi as far as i know.

i think any E46 would benefit from it helping to prevent any mushrooming of the top strut towers.
a strut brace that covers the tower cap also helps this.
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Old 05-11-2013, 11:38 PM   #10
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Excellent, you may step down.

Your honor, I move to dismiss this case as our subject matter expert witness has solved it!
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Old 05-11-2013, 11:39 PM   #11
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I have a 2004 XI made in 12/03 that I can confirm has them.
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Old 05-11-2013, 11:46 PM   #12
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All xi's are supposed to have them, interestingly some do not. My 03 had them when i did suspension work.

Judging by the threads sticking on top, i don't think it's possible to run reinforcing plates and a strut bar at the same time. Perhaps if the threads were longer you could.
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Old 05-12-2013, 12:00 AM   #13
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well the Xi also has that spacer/adapter in suspension that raises the front. so your treads showing through the top are shorter from what I recall. so you may be right some (or most) might not bolt on.

but for other E46s, (exception may be the Meyle brand strut mounts) there enough to add the re-inforcement plates and a strut brace. I installed both on my E46 323Ci back in the day.
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Old 05-12-2013, 09:11 AM   #14
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Interesting.... I'm excited... I have dirt AND reinforcement! I'm set then...
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Old 05-12-2013, 01:43 PM   #15
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Here's a diagram of the devil. Part #13 in the call-out. This option carries over to the E9X series as well.

http://www.realoem.com/bmw/showparts...08&hg=31&fg=10
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Old 05-13-2013, 10:09 AM   #16
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I don't remember seeing these things when I changed out my suspension but they are probably there. I was thinking of the rings that sit on TOP of the strut tower and not underneath them. My car does have the rivets though.
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Old 05-13-2013, 03:44 PM   #17
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Based on what I've read in this thread, I'm assuming that I probably have these plates.

Assuming I do, and knowing that I have mushroomed strut towers anyways, is there any benefit to getting a third party reinforcement kit? What I'm basically asking is whether or not third party kits are stronger than what comes stock with the xi? Or are they basically what I have now?
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Old 05-13-2013, 10:48 PM   #18
White_Knuckles
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Search and checkout a thread in the General Forum discussing this. The mount bolts can take on crazy angles when mushroomed where you can't install the top ring. They talk about forming the tower hat into place hammering in back down. I wouldn't recommend this method with my body shop skills but some had luck with it. I wouldn't attempt such madness until the ring under the tower is removed and inspected. That thing could be tweaked. Also, threads available? The bolts may be too short from the lower ring thickness?

If you're tweakin' towers with plates now, I'd be looking into cross-tie bars that have reinforcement plates and structural body strength advantage.
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Old 05-14-2013, 09:21 AM   #19
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I think I've read that thread but I'll look for it again.

I actually do already have a strut tower brace on the car - problem is it doesn't do much good from the top of the tower - it just kind of floats on top of the mushroom now. Which makes me think that the top ring and many other bits are now pretty distorted.

I've got no problems trying to bend things back into place and replacing what need be replaced - its just that I want to go through the process once only and have it fixed right going forward.

I looked online for a new top ring assembly, pelican & bma both seem to not know the part number (#15 here right? http://www.realoem.com/bmw/showparts...08&hg=31&fg=10)

Correct me if I should be looking for something else.

I'm still wondering if the third party reinforcement plates are any stronger than what comes stock. Otherwise this whole excercise is going to need repeated in another 60k miles.

Thanks!
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Old 05-14-2013, 06:07 PM   #20
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hard to say, #15 is that whole top assembly and assorted parts. you may only need the plates (2x pn 51717036781) and i would have to see your top tower to say it's even damaged out of spec. i'm not sure about the Xi but most of the E46 have two types of towers. the completely flat ones and then there are the ones with 3 raised beveled areas. if you have the raised beveled areas it might make you think a strut tower brace is "floating" on top. let me see if i can find the comparision of the two.



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