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  #1  
Old 02-06-2004, 11:33 AM
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Magna Magna is offline
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fold down seats versus no fold down . . . because of ridigity

hi everybody, was going to order the cold weather package with heated seats, fold-downs and headlight washer, but i someone told me that with cars with fold-down backseats the car loses 33% of its ridigitness (strength, stiffness). anybody have any experiences with this? perhaps driving them the cars back to back. i did that, but didn't really notice any difference. i went over bumps and i slalom the car a bit didn't feel any significant difference.

also, by not getting the CWP, i would just get the heated seats but can't order the headlight washers separately. are the headlight washers particularly useful?

thanks for all your opinions.
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  #2  
Old 02-06-2004, 11:42 AM
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swindonhost swindonhost is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Magna
hi everybody, was going to order the cold weather package with heated seats, fold-downs and headlight washer, but i someone told me that with cars with fold-down backseats the car loses 33% of its ridigitness (strength, stiffness). anybody have any experiences with this? perhaps driving them the cars back to back. i did that, but didn't really notice any difference. i went over bumps and i slalom the car a bit didn't feel any significant difference.

also, by not getting the CWP, i would just get the heated seats but can't order the headlight washers separately. are the headlight washers particularly useful?

thanks for all your opinions.
I'd say go for the foldown, I never noticed a significant difference in my 330, and lets face it on the occasions you have a big load and the seats down your not going to be driving on the performance edge. The strength is in the shell
  #3  
Old 02-06-2004, 11:55 AM
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FrenchBoy FrenchBoy is offline
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I agree. I have fold-down seats on my coupe and I autocross. The car is plenty stiff. Additionally, the convenience of the fold-down seats is too good to pass. It has come in handy on endless occasions.

FrenchBoy
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  #4  
Old 02-06-2004, 12:04 PM
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tim330i tim330i is offline
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As you said the fold down seats do reduce the strength but having the ability to fold them down so useful. Most people that don't have the option wish they got it.

I don't think headlight washers are all that useful.

Tim
  #5  
Old 02-06-2004, 12:18 PM
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Mark_325i Mark_325i is offline
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Quote:
33% of its ridigitness (strength, stiffness
absurd
  #6  
Old 02-06-2004, 12:35 PM
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I wish I had passed on the CWP, and just got the heated seats a-la-carte.

The fold down seats rattle, and I've only ever folded the seats down once in the two years I've had the car. Now that my wife has a touring, instead of having little use for them, I have no use for them.

The headlight washers are more annoying than useful. Unless I want to spray crap all over my hood, I always have to turn off my headlights when using the windshield washer at night.
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  #7  
Old 02-06-2004, 12:45 PM
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I don't have fold down rear seats and have never had an occasion where I wished for them. I suppose it depends on whether you have another car to transport oddly shaped or bulky items. We use my wife's car (4Runner) for hauling stuff that doesn't fit in my car.
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  #8  
Old 02-06-2004, 12:48 PM
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Mark_325i Mark_325i is offline
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Quote:
The fold down seats rattle,
Mine don't. And, they make a small car very practical.


Quote:
The headlight washers are more annoying than useful
I'm finding them plenty useful here in the Northeast this winter. In SoCal, prolly not, also the heated seats.
  #9  
Old 02-06-2004, 12:55 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Magna
someone told me that with cars with fold-down backseats the car loses 33% of its ridigitness (strength, stiffness).
Almost 33% of the rigidity is lost. Whether you can feel it is a different story...

For the E46:
Sedan (w/o folding seats): 18000Nm/deg of torsion
Sedan (w/folding seats): 13000Nm
Sport wagon (w/folding seats): 14000Nm
Coupe (w/folding seats): 12500Nm
Convertible: 10500Nm
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  #10  
Old 02-06-2004, 01:18 PM
e46shift e46shift is offline
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fold down seats also make some noises in the really cold weather. ironic since its part of the cwp
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  #11  
Old 02-06-2004, 01:27 PM
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BlackChrome BlackChrome is offline
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I have fold down seats (standard on the Coupe) and I have yet to use it once. Then agan, I can borrow my brother's Integra hatchback anytime I want.

Quote:
Originally Posted by tim330i
I don't think headlight washers are all that useful.
Agree. I have yet to use them once (other them to make sure they were working when I picked up the car). The ski bag is useless for me. I'd get just heated seats instead of CWP.
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  #12  
Old 02-06-2004, 02:29 PM
andy_thomas andy_thomas is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Magna
hi everybody, was going to order the cold weather package with heated seats, fold-downs and headlight washer, but i someone told me that with cars with fold-down backseats the car loses 33% of its ridigitness (strength, stiffness). anybody have any experiences with this? perhaps driving them the cars back to back. i did that, but didn't really notice any difference. i went over bumps and i slalom the car a bit didn't feel any significant difference.

also, by not getting the CWP, i would just get the heated seats but can't order the headlight washers separately. are the headlight washers particularly useful?

thanks for all your opinions.
I think if you are going to use your car as a testbed for new suspension tunings then go for the maximum chassis rigidity possible. Back in the real world, if you think you are going to make use of the "cold weather package" then buy it and ignore the fold-downs. Better still, see if you can buy the CWP bits you want separately (or buy the car without and retrofit them). I don't know how useful headlight washers are - I've never lived anywhere that required them.
  #13  
Old 02-06-2004, 07:01 PM
toddkageals toddkageals is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alee
Almost 33% of the rigidity is lost. Whether you can feel it is a different story...

For the E46:
Sedan (w/o folding seats): 18000Nm/deg of torsion
Sedan (w/folding seats): 13000Nm
Sport wagon (w/folding seats): 14000Nm
Coupe (w/folding seats): 12500Nm
Convertible: 10500Nm
Wow! Are these numbers right? If they are, why is the sedan so much more rigid than the coupe? Seems like just the opposite would be true. I'm not disputing your numbers, I have no information of my own. I'm just wondering how/why the sedan is so much more rigid than the coupe.

Todd
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  #14  
Old 02-06-2004, 07:12 PM
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alee alee is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by toddkageals
Wow! Are these numbers right? If they are, why is the sedan so much more rigid than the coupe? Seems like just the opposite would be true. I'm not disputing your numbers, I have no information of my own. I'm just wondering how/why the sedan is so much more rigid than the coupe.
The source is from some BMW engineering brochure around the time of the E46 launch. I wish I had more details, as I think that would be an interesting read.

As for the sedan being more rigid than the coupe, the coupe has 2 giant doors and they're frameless. Lots of room for flexing. The sedan has smaller doors (less room for flex) and a B pillar to reinforce frame as well.

Note the sedan is only 500nM/deg of torsion more rigid than the coupe in an apples-to-apples comparison. The majority of the sedan's rigidity gain is only when deleting folding seats.
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  #15  
Old 02-06-2004, 07:28 PM
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Kaz Kaz is offline
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The rigidity info is in the MY01 FastFacts doc from BMWNA. It doesn't give any details other than that, except to say that the sedan has a natural frequency of 29Hz in torsion, 26Hz in bending (same as the E39). Coupe: 28Hz Wagon 26Hz conv 18Hz (all given for torsion only).
  #16  
Old 02-06-2004, 11:13 PM
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Jever Jever is offline
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Thanks for posting about the headlight cleaner, I was wondering how effective it was. Anyone know if the old MB version w/ the little whipers is more effective than just blowing a high pressure stream at the lights? IMO, having always lived in the snow belt, it's seemed kind of a pointless option (other than a new toy) to have as I've never had a problem w/ lights so dirty I couldn't see at night and that was never anything a stop to the gas station or a wet rag couldn't solve and that was practically free.
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  #17  
Old 02-07-2004, 06:37 AM
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rumratt rumratt is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alee
Note the sedan is only 500nM/deg of torsion more rigid than the coupe in an apples-to-apples comparison. The majority of the sedan's rigidity gain is only when deleting folding seats.
Semi-related question: why is the non-folding seat not available in the coupe?
  #18  
Old 02-07-2004, 08:43 AM
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·clyde· ·clyde· is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jever
Thanks for posting about the headlight cleaner, I was wondering how effective it was. Anyone know if the old MB version w/ the little whipers is more effective than just blowing a high pressure stream at the lights? IMO, having always lived in the snow belt, it's seemed kind of a pointless option (other than a new toy) to have as I've never had a problem w/ lights so dirty I couldn't see at night and that was never anything a stop to the gas station or a wet rag couldn't solve and that was practically free.
A few years back, I drove from Hartford, CT to Danbury, CT (~60mi) in a bunch of freezing precipitation (some ice, some snow, some sleet, etc). Before leaving Hartford, I had chipped away the ice coating covering the headlights. By the time we got to Danbury, you could hardly tell that the lights were on. There was 3/4" of a sand/ice combo covering the front end. It was ugly.
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  #19  
Old 02-07-2004, 09:19 AM
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Moderato Moderato is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Magna
hi everybody, was going to order the cold weather package with heated seats, fold-downs and headlight washer, but i someone told me that with cars with fold-down backseats the car loses 33% of its ridigitness (strength, stiffness). anybody have any experiences with this? perhaps driving them the cars back to back. i did that, but didn't really notice any difference. i went over bumps and i slalom the car a bit didn't feel any significant difference.

also, by not getting the CWP, i would just get the heated seats but can't order the headlight washers separately. are the headlight washers particularly useful?

thanks for all your opinions.
I have a 330i on order and I was aware that the fold-down seats causes the car to lose some of it's ridigitness, but I had no idea it was as much as 33%. Initially I almost felt like calling my CA and in a panic hoping that I could delete that option and just get the heated seats, even though I would regret losing the headlight washers. But, I thought about it for awhile and thinking about it I'm going to keep the CWP option. My feeling is like this: I'm not planning on autoX or tracking this car this year and if I do in the future I'm sure it's not going to be that often. If I get into the AutoX thing later on, I most likely would get a different car to enjoy those events with anyway (M3 ). For me the appeal of the 330i is that it's a perfect combo of a sports car and an everyday driving sedan. So for that reason, giving up what amounts to an almost imperceptible difference in chassis strength (during everyday driving) is worth it for the convenience and resale value (plus easier to sell) of fold down seats and the headlight washer option.
  #20  
Old 02-07-2004, 09:40 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rumratt
Semi-related question: why is the non-folding seat not available in the coupe?
Yeah strange isn't it? They are standard on the coupe. I suspect maybe the lack of accessibility in the rear is why BMW makes it standard. Then again...
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  #21  
Old 02-08-2004, 12:41 AM
andy_thomas andy_thomas is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alee
Yeah strange isn't it? They are standard on the coupe. I suspect maybe the lack of accessibility in the rear is why BMW makes it standard. Then again...
That is why. At least, according to the one BMW engineer I spoke to years back when I was having the latch on mine repaired. The front door aperture on the coupe is longer but it is still difficult squeezing anything of meaningful size into the rear of the car. Also the luggage compartment opening is fractionally smaller than the sedan's. While folding rear seats may not appear to address those problems directly, the (coupe) variant does at least provide some other practical measures to compensate.
  #22  
Old 02-08-2004, 12:15 PM
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EdCT EdCT is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ·clyde·
A few years back, I drove from Hartford, CT to Danbury, CT (~60mi) in a bunch of freezing precipitation (some ice, some snow, some sleet, etc). Before leaving Hartford, I had chipped away the ice coating covering the headlights. By the time we got to Danbury, you could hardly tell that the lights were on. There was 3/4" of a sand/ice combo covering the front end. It was ugly.
A drive like that on I84(I presume) is no picnic.

Ed
  #23  
Old 02-08-2004, 03:22 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EdCT
A drive like that on I84(I presume) is no picnic.

Ed
Yes, I84...and in a poorly maintained Taurus aligned by multiple curb strikes at that.

At least the wipers were working reasonably well.
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  #24  
Old 02-08-2004, 08:11 PM
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rumratt rumratt is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by andy_thomas
While folding rear seats may not appear to address those problems directly, the (coupe) variant does at least provide some other practical measures to compensate.
This makes sense to some degree, but often people who buy coupes are those who are willing to sacrifice practicality for styling and performance. I don't see why it shouldn't be optional.
 

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