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Do-It-Yourself H.Q.
Share your DIY projects or ask questions about how to fix something on your own. Help fellow Bimmerfest members improve your wrench turning skills! All BMW DIY tips, tales, and projects discussed inside. Learn to work on your car and know the right BMW parts you will need!

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  #1  
Old 06-19-2003, 06:02 PM
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Strut Brace Install - Imp. Steps For Alee and Others!

I spoke with Al today about the install of the M Strut Brace and he asked if there were any tricks to the install. Besides the fact that you need a 13mm wrench, there is a tricky part to the install that I forgot to mention in my initial post.

To help you guys through this, below is a step by step write-up with pics but first some backround on this.

The Left Strut Brace Bracket does not simply fit on top of the strut tower. The battery jumper point (sorry, I don't know the technical name for this) first needs to be removed. After this, the tower can be bolted down and then the jumper point can be replaced.

Ok, below are the steps to remove this jumper point so you can do the rest of the install. Once removed, the install is a piece of cake.

Last edited by Ack; 06-19-2003 at 06:22 PM.
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  #2  
Old 06-19-2003, 06:05 PM
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Step 1:

First press down on the end of electrical connection clip.
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Last edited by Ack; 06-19-2003 at 06:07 PM.
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  #3  
Old 06-19-2003, 06:06 PM
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Step 2:

The clip should now be able to be slid back and removed.
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  #4  
Old 06-19-2003, 06:10 PM
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Step 3:

Lift up on the weather stripping.
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Last edited by Ack; 06-19-2003 at 06:12 PM.
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  #5  
Old 06-19-2003, 06:14 PM
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Step 4:

There is a small plastic clip that the jumper assembly clips into (circled in red). Lift or pull up on the jumper assembly to access this clip.
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  #6  
Old 06-19-2003, 06:16 PM
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Step 5:

Remove the clip. Be careful, this piece is pretty small and can easily be dropped into the engine compartment.
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  #7  
Old 06-19-2003, 06:18 PM
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This is how your jumper assembly should look after you remove the clip.
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  #8  
Old 06-19-2003, 06:22 PM
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Step 6

Lift up on the jumper assembly and move it out of the way.

You should now be able to remove the original bolts and bolt the left strut tower bracket in place.

To put the jumper assembly back, just reverse these directions.

I hope this helps you guys.
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  #9  
Old 06-19-2003, 06:24 PM
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Where's step 7?

Thanks Ack! Appreciate you taking the time to do that... I would have been sitting in my parking garage banging my head trying to figure out how to make the left side fit.
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  #10  
Old 06-19-2003, 06:27 PM
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At least this doesn't require doing the hard part; taking that connector assembly and removing the back to get to the power tap inside of it!
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  #11  
Old 06-19-2003, 06:38 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by alee
Where's step 7?

Thanks Ack! Appreciate you taking the time to do that... I would have been sitting in my parking garage banging my head trying to figure out how to make the left side fit.
I edited the post after I was done and removed this reference. I thought it was seven b/c I had seven pics. Ah well, as long as this works for you guys, I'm happy.
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  #12  
Old 06-19-2003, 06:59 PM
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Important reminder: DO NOT jack up the car! Otherwise, the suspension will drop down when you remove the bolts from the top of the strut tower...

All kidding aside, make sure not to move the car (such as by rocking it, or puttiong your weight on it...) after you have removed the strut tower bolts.
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  #13  
Old 06-19-2003, 07:10 PM
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Other recommendations:

Move one end as far over as possible, then compress the bar until it has reached the other end. Since the bars work through tension, this seems to help.
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  #14  
Old 06-20-2003, 12:14 PM
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Anyone have any problems with slightly misaligned holes on the passenger side mounting bracket? Here's what mine looked like:
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  #15  
Old 06-20-2003, 10:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by doeboy
Anyone have any problems with slightly misaligned holes on the passenger side mounting bracket? Here's what mine looked like:
Install the inboard nut first, otherwise you'll have this problem once the other bolts are slightly tightened down.

A couple of things to also keep in mind. If you want to maximize the car's factory negative camber without expensive re-alignment, put the car up on jack stands so the suspension hangs free, and knock the factory alignment pin out with a chizel and a rubber mallet. Then move the entire strut hat (thrust bearing) inward as far as possible, until it butts up against the slotted strut tower thingy.

Strangely, my strut hat has been set all the way OUT. It looks like if I desire MORE negative camber I can move the strut hat in all the way to get another 1-1.5 degree. I've got massive negative camber as is (1.3 degrees) for factory specs, it looks like I can bump mine up all the way to about 3 degrees without having to get the suspension aligned.
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  #16  
Old 06-20-2003, 10:48 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by The HACK
Install the inboard nut first, otherwise you'll have this problem once the other bolts are slightly tightened down.
Yeah, but we tried to do that, but the holes seem off enough so that the nut won't go down at all... it seemed to have been off by like a whole 1.5-2mm

It was either install the first bolt, then have 2 misaligned bolts that won't go down, or install the two outside bolts and have one misaligned bolt. so we did the later of the two options.

We tried to "make it fit" by attempting to dremel away some of the material enough so the nut would go in there, but the aluminum seems to be pretty dense, and we didn't make very good progress with the dremel.

Is there perhaps a chance someone goofed and I got a weird bracket that wasn't quite within manufacturing specs? Has anyone else had the same problem?

I think I'll leave the camber alone for a while.
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  #17  
Old 06-20-2003, 10:59 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by doeboy
Yeah, but we tried to do that, but the holes seem off enough so that the nut won't go down at all... it seemed to have been off by like a whole 1.5-2mm

It was either install the first bolt, then have 2 misaligned bolts that won't go down, or install the two outside bolts and have one misaligned bolt. so we did the later of the two options.

We tried to "make it fit" by attempting to dremel away some of the material enough so the nut would go in there, but the aluminum seems to be pretty dense, and we didn't make very good progress with the dremel.

Is there perhaps a chance someone goofed and I got a weird bracket that wasn't quite within manufacturing specs? Has anyone else had the same problem?

I think I'll leave the camber alone for a while.
No. It's more likely that one of your strut nut was previously over-tightened and it either stretched the threads or bent the nut part of the thrust bearing.

This could be bad. Sounds to me like everyone had a relatively easy fit. Take all the nuts off and check and see where the bolts line up in the little slits. They should ALL line up in relatively the same spot on each of the slits. If not then you definitely have a bent nut and will need to purchase a new thrust bearing.
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"Bench racing" about track times driven by professionals are like a bunch of nerds arguing which Princess Leia is hotter, the slave Leia or the no-bra jail-bait Leia. No matter how compelling your argument is, the plain and simple fact is, none of you will EVER get to hit that.
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  #18  
Old 06-20-2003, 11:08 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by The HACK
No. It's more likely that one of your strut nut was previously over-tightened and it either stretched the threads or bent the nut part of the thrust bearing.

This could be bad. Sounds to me like everyone had a relatively easy fit. Take all the nuts off and check and see where the bolts line up in the little slits. They should ALL line up in relatively the same spot on each of the slits. If not then you definitely have a bent nut and will need to purchase a new thrust bearing.
But they didn't feel over tightened... They all felt about the same when I removed them.... why me?

I was looking at the whole thing after I took the nuts off... I didn't notice anything.... hmm...
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  #19  
Old 06-20-2003, 11:29 PM
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Hmm, I shoulda checked the locations of the 3 bolts relative to their respective slots. But there is no question that the holes and the bolts do NOT line up.

Though it seems unlikely, I think it's possible that the holes in the bracket were drilled incirrectly during manufacture, so that's worth checking.

It can only be that, or a funny strut mount. The amount that it is off is laterally off, so overtightening of the nut could not do this. I also doubt that it's bent, as if it was bent enough to be this far off laterally, it would be pointing up out of the strut tower at a significantly off angle (i.e. not perpendicular to the top surface of the shock tower), and this was not the case.
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  #20  
Old 06-21-2003, 09:12 AM
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Quote:
Originally posted by Kaz
At least this doesn't require doing the hard part; taking that connector assembly and removing the back to get to the power tap inside of it!
Kaz, buddy, I'm starting to think you have completely disassembled and reassembled your car...
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  #21  
Old 06-21-2003, 12:14 PM
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Kaz, buddy, I'm starting to think you have completely disassembled and reassembled your car...
The secret is disassembling everybody else's cars.
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  #22  
Old 06-21-2003, 06:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by The HACK

A couple of things to also keep in mind. If you want to maximize the car's factory negative camber without expensive re-alignment, put the car up on jack stands so the suspension hangs free, and knock the factory alignment pin out with a chizel and a rubber mallet. Then move the entire strut hat (thrust bearing) inward as far as possible, until it butts up against the slotted strut tower thingy.

Strangely, my strut hat has been set all the way OUT. It looks like if I desire MORE negative camber I can move the strut hat in all the way to get another 1-1.5 degree. I've got massive negative camber as is (1.3 degrees) for factory specs, it looks like I can bump mine up all the way to about 3 degrees without having to get the suspension aligned.
I know on most cars that changing the camber will change the toe in and require it to be reset. Wouldn't this also apply to our E46 cars?
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  #23  
Old 06-22-2003, 02:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by GregD
I know on most cars that changing the camber will change the toe in and require it to be reset. Wouldn't this also apply to our E46 cars?
I don't see how changing camber on a mac strut assembly will change toe-in.
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"Bench racing" about track times driven by professionals are like a bunch of nerds arguing which Princess Leia is hotter, the slave Leia or the no-bra jail-bait Leia. No matter how compelling your argument is, the plain and simple fact is, none of you will EVER get to hit that.
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  #24  
Old 06-22-2003, 11:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by The HACK
I don't see how changing camber on a mac strut assembly will change toe-in.
Not just Mac struts, but pretty much all suspensions. This is a little hard to explain with words but I'll try.

On a Macpherson strut suspension there are only 3 points attaching the suspension upright to the car: the ball joint for the lower control arm, the strut itself, and the tie rod end. The ball joint for the control arm connects below the axle center line, the steering arm that the tie rod attaches to is at the axle center line, and the strut is attached somewhere above the control arm (usually at or above the axle center line).

Assuming the steering wheel is locked in place, the ride height remains fixed, and the length of the lower control arm remains constant, moving the top of the strut in will move all parts of the wheel above the lower control arm ball joint in also. This means that the axle centerline will be moved inward and since the steering is locked in place the tire will be turned changing the toe in.

I believe an E46 has its tie rod attached to the steering arm forward of the axle centerline. In this case, additional negative camber will change the toe in an outward direction. I'll check tomorrow when there's some daylight.

If this isn't clear, let me know, and I'll see if I can find some photos or maybe make a few diagrams and scan them in.
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  #25  
Old 06-25-2003, 06:26 PM
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My passanger side braket would not fit at ALL.

I got my brace today and tried to install it. Driver's side, piece of cake. The passanger braket will not fit at all. I tried every possible combination, including what HACK suggests here. No go.

So, my idiot soluiton was to try to bend the braket. It did not bend well, and has cracked.

Great. So, now I'm left with a braket properly installed on one side, and re-used screws on the other. Whoopie

I guess that I'll try again tomorrow, and call Cutter to see if they will exchange it

Last edited by nate328Ci; 06-25-2003 at 06:50 PM.
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