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E36 M3 (1995-1999)

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  #1  
Old 09-22-2012, 07:04 PM
albinomidget albinomidget is offline
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Mein Auto: '98 E36 M3 Sedan
Front Strut Tower Plate Questions

I've got a '98 M3 and have been running the TC Kline springs with Koni sport shocks since I bought the car with about 65K and 8 years ago. I installed everything myself and took it to an alignment shop and they were never able to get the camber correct. I've always ran it the way they left it with about -3 to -3.5 degrees of camber up front and slightly negative in the back.

The car now has 105,000 and I took it back to stock suspension using Monroe shocks and struts and purchased a set of used stock springs from Bimmerworld. Again, I did the work myself and took it to a different alignment guy who I respect and believe to be good.

The alignment guy is kind of a back yard shop but I think he really knows his stuff and works on a lot of weird stuff and many race cars. He was able to dial in the rear just fine. But he couldn't get the front camber within spec and tried several things. It is still too negative. At first he tried a shim but it was rubbing on something when I turned the corner so he had to take it out. Then he thought maybe the shock tower arrows were pointed in the wrong direction. He rotated them one position from pointing in to pointing forward yet still the same result. He stated that he thinks the front shock tower mounts are installed on the wrong side.

Question 1: Are the front shock tower mounts identical or do they have a designated right and left?

Question 2: What direction should the front shock tower plate arrows point when installed correctly?
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  #2  
Old 09-23-2012, 04:12 AM
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Pinecone Pinecone is offline
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96 and later they are NOT the same side to side. A common way to increase negative camber is to swap the hats from left to right and vice versa.

YOU can check the part numbers on RealOEM.com

If the hats fit with the arrows pointing forward but inwards / \ they are probably swapped.
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  #3  
Old 10-14-2012, 08:42 PM
albinomidget albinomidget is offline
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Help my feeble mind!

Thanks Pine!

But I took the assemblies out today and I can't seem to tell the difference? Both strut tower mounts look identical to me.

Are they indeed different? See pics... or do I have something else wrong here?

At first I thought maybe the whole strut was swapped from side to side but I believe if that was the case the sway link would not mount up correctly... am I right?

Thanks for your expertise...
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Last edited by albinomidget; 10-14-2012 at 08:45 PM. Reason: Forgot to add pics
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  #4  
Old 10-15-2012, 10:59 AM
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petriej petriej is offline
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Looks like you have two Right Side struts...

Does your sway bar link up properly? Maybe I'm completely wrong. It's been a while since I had those parts in my hands.
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  #5  
Old 10-15-2012, 06:51 PM
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Check the part numbers, they should be different.
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  #6  
Old 10-16-2012, 07:01 PM
albinomidget albinomidget is offline
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I don't think I have 2 right or left side strut mounts. The pics may be deceiving because I have them both turned to one side so they only appear to be identical and to only fit one side. I bought them new and each has a tab on one side that is opposite one another. That tab fits to the sway link which attaches to the sway bar. I believe the M3 sway bar attaches to the strut housing. Don't other 3 series have a shorter sway link that attaches to the control arm (wish bone)? Perhaps at least the 318?

So I looked to see if there were any part numbers on the strut tower mounts. The only numbers that appear are the following and they are identical on both towers.

131 933
2227 346

I have an old pirated BMW dealership software (ETK) and it shows a good assembly drawing for my VIN... see pics. But it didn't call out the part number for that tower mount (#1 in the picture).

I have a hunch that I have a different 3 series mount and didn't realize it. The only reason I say that is because when I bought the car it had the wrong suspension installed... perhaps a lower end 3 series or 318? I know this because the sway links were tied to the control arms and not the strut housing. The front end would literally bounce like it had gangster hydros when I would hit a bump. I don't think that suspension could support the weight of the heavier M3 motor?? When I bought the correct M3 suspension I had a shop put together the front struts. I bet they used the old strut towers which I assumed would work but not if the M3's are different. This sort of makes sense now that I'm piecing it all together.

Not sure where to go from here?
Does anyone have the correct BMW part number(s) for the M3 tower mounts?
Any suggestions on where to get them cheap?

Thanks.
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Last edited by albinomidget; 10-16-2012 at 07:04 PM.
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  #7  
Old 10-16-2012, 10:31 PM
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petriej petriej is offline
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I think you're right. Not sure how to get the part numbers other than on realoem.

Good luck! Certainly an odd situation. The M3 sway bar links to the struts for sure.
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Quote:
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Jared, why don't you just put "It's Giubo" in your sig? Save a lot of typing.
Quote:
Originally Posted by e36 miguel View Post
this jared guy sounds intimidating lol.
2005 X5 4.8is Le Mans/Black/6spd Steptragic
1999 M3 Cabrio TiAg Metallic/Dove Grey/Black 5 Speed Manual
-------------------------------------------------------------------
1997 328iC Schwarz II/K/K 5MT SOLD 5/2012
2004 645Ci Mineral Silver Metallic/Black 6MT RIP 04/2011
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  #8  
Old 10-17-2012, 04:08 AM
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You could have a left and right STRUT (where the sway bar mounts) and two left or two right HATS (part number 1 on the diagram).

If both hats have the same part number, you have two of the same part. On 93 and later M3s, the left and right hats are different.
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  #9  
Old 06-29-2014, 10:47 AM
jmr302 jmr302 is offline
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My apologies for digging this thread up from the dead. Pretty good for a first post, no?

Anyway, I also have these upper strut mounts. I got them with some used Koni struts that came off someone else's E36 M3, but who knows where they really came from.

But looking at them, the part number is the same and the strut mount is centered between the mounts. There is no L or R indicated because there doesn't need to be.

Curiously, my setup came with some aftermarket plates that relocate the mounts. These plates are unique left to right and appear to relocate the struts to the same position that swapping the original M3 mounts L to R would do. I wish I had taken some pictures of all of this now.

When I find out what the original app for these mounts was, I'll post a reply.
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