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E36/7 Z3 (1996-2002)
E36/7 Z3 Roadster, Z3 coupe, Z3 M Roadster and Z3 M Coupe talk with our gurus here.

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  #26  
Old 03-22-2004, 11:48 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pinecone
I was thnking more of the E36 cars, requiring front and rear subframe reinformcents and rear sway bar mount reinforcements.

And as far as anyone can tell, the problem is NOT the stiffness of the car, but the fact that the subframe is very loose on the bushings.
the point was not with the Z3 lack of stiffness but it's overall structural integrity as compared to a Z4 as an example. Had the Z3 been strong enough structurally there's a sound chance the diff & subframe bushings would carry all the flexure load and the chassis mount area for that one differential mount area wouldn't be tearing apart. In the case of the Z3 it's highly likely that not only is the subframe moving around but the chassis is also twisting in god knows what direction(s), further exacerbating the mount loading issue.

on the Z4 the diff is mounted entirely on the subframe, and there is flexure between the subframe and the chassis via the subframe bushings, but the diff and subframe move as an entire unit independent of the chassis except at the four subframe threaded pin bushing mounts. You can say this irrelevant for the debate, unless of course you're looking for how maybe the issue was resolved by BMW as one possible alternative to explore. Yeah, you can beef up the floorpan area, maybe that will resolve the problem or maybe it will just shift the problem somewhere else. Maybe you cut off the chassis ear and build structure off the subframe to locate the rear diff mount, but due to the poor structural characteristics of the Z3 chassis you don't really know if the entire subframe will break loose instead.

The design of an airplane meets an entirely different set of criteria than a car, it's not a valid comparison/example. You could build a wing strong enough to take a 9G load and not crack, except for the fact that it would be too heavy to get off the ground.

Terry, if you want to debate this further I suggest we take it to a PM - I never intended for my one playful jab to be a thread hijack or a pointless exercise in engineering prowess.
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  #27  
Old 03-23-2004, 10:53 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TeamZ4
time for a Z4 3.0 baby ...
\
What is the condition of this area in your old coupe. That must have had quite a bit of tough track miles on it?

I think the people having this problem are getting it from jackrabbit starts. That would sound like the most possible stress of all driving styles. What do you think.
?
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  #28  
Old 03-23-2004, 11:03 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by phrider
Would any of the existing Rogue Engineering "two eared" covers work on our diffs? See http://www.rogueengineering.com/Merc...tegory_Code=DC

AndyM, afterall, already carries Rogue products.
It would seem that spreading the support for the diff would help. The rogue plate and a new steel bracket on the car sounds good. What does everyone think of a two mount setup?
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  #29  
Old 03-23-2004, 11:45 AM
yetiboy yetiboy is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bob lindquist
It would seem that spreading the support for the diff would help. The rogue plate and a new steel bracket on the car sounds good. What does everyone think of a two mount setup?
Bob, I really liked this idea myself. I threw up a post on Roadfly yesterday, because I stopped by Tony Colicchio's shop -TC Designs- here in the SF Bay Area to ask him about the "Dual Ear" design. Tony does a lot of fabrication (roll cages, chassis repair and bodywork, race prep, etc for BMW's, Porsche's and Miata's among others) Anyways, here's my post which pretty much explains what he had to say, as well as, what my final fix will look like...

Post from Roadfly.....

I stopped by TC Designs today and spoke with Tony (TC - Tony Colicchio) regarding the whole diff mount/subframe cracking issue. For those of you that have not seen some of the posts on Tony he is a very highly regarded fabricator here in the San Francisco Bay Area... http://www.tcdesignfab.com

I wanted to get his thoughts on fabricating some sort of "dual-ear" diff cover and all the costs associated with this type of project. The answer in short..."No" Not that it can't be done, but the costs will just be too prohibitive. I asked him his thoughts on a roll bar or roll cage helping to minimize some of the stress on the whole subframe, but his take that was that it would not do a whole heck of a lot. I finally asked about polyurethane subframe bushings and his thoughts were that the more robust bushings would be very helpful in this particular case.

So after conferring with him my solution (at least in my case) will be as follows--

1) BMW warranty fix---already complete--repaired for the most part back to factory specs with some additional spot welds

2) Additional reinforcement to Diff Mount Bracket - to be done by TC Designs (appt scheduled for April 26th) See red arrow for the reinforcement to be done... http://www.tcdesignfab.com/Mroad-3.jpg

3) Install Polyurethane Subframe Bushings - thanks to the "heads-up" from "Neil-DC" I will order up the polyurethane subframe bushings once available from Ireland Engineering - http://www.bmw2002.com/ - Will install myself....not looking forward to it but I think I'm up to the challenge (Edit---Bushings have been ordered as of 3/23)

I'll see how it goes!!!

BTW - I'm having him reinforce the rear swaybar mounts at the same time - http://www.tcdesignfab.com/Mroad-4.jpg

MSH

Last edited by yetiboy; 03-23-2004 at 11:47 AM.
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  #30  
Old 03-23-2004, 03:20 PM
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Mark,

Just to have a "look see", yesterday I ordered an E-36 M3 (dual ear) differential cover. It was only $90 at my dealer where I don't always get the deepest discounts. Best service, yes but the parts I can usually order from Jay Lilley (Nashville BMW) much cheaper.

Anyway, I ordered the cover and some sheetmetal (diff mount brkts and swaybar mounts) just to examine...

From a I'll do it myself standpoint, I don't see it as cost prohibitive. I'm just concerned what it will take to clear the rear swaybar (offset to clear only one mount now).

I see the dual mount as shifting some of the load to the right longitudinal rail. It has to help bear the load even if it isn't enough to totally eliminate the fault on its own (I'll never know as it is only a portion of what my plans are).

Bob,

I'm sure the jackrabbit starts contribute to the problem (as would punching it while doing a "20 roll" in second gear). But the chassis should be able to cope with the power/torque available regardless of application. It should be overengineered, not under.

While the cars were being inspected yesterday, one of the comments I heard was that they paid more attention to the exhaust mounts than to the differential. That wasn't a comment by the regional rep, I might add! But the same (nameless) guy also commented that every bump in the road, railroad tracks etc. would cause an impact on the rearmost differential mount and contribute to the flexing leading to failure.

Once a determination is made and a course is plotted, I'll let y'all know how it turns out.
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  #31  
Old 03-23-2004, 03:30 PM
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I agree keep me posted!
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  #32  
Old 03-23-2004, 04:20 PM
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bob lindquist bob lindquist is offline
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Schumi and the rainmeister

I am going to replay the past race tapes I have with Schumi and Hans Stuck and learn to drive more smoothly, as well as no burnouts at stoplights and easy over the RR Track crossings(as I always do). I don't have a problem yet and I hope to keep it that way.
Meanwhile I am trying to tag the other Coupes in my new neighborhood with my e-mail address and see If I can get us together someday. I've seen 4-5 of them so far!
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  #33  
Old 03-23-2004, 04:25 PM
yetiboy yetiboy is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Randy Forbes
Mark,Just to have a "look see", yesterday I ordered an E-36 M3 (dual ear) differential cover. It was only $90 at my dealer where I don't always get the deepest discounts. Best service, yes but the parts I can usually order from Jay Lilley (Nashville BMW) much cheaper.

Anyway, I ordered the cover and some sheetmetal (diff mount brkts and swaybar mounts) just to examine...

From a I'll do it myself standpoint, I don't see it as cost prohibitive. I'm just concerned what it will take to clear the rear swaybar (offset to clear only one mount now).

I see the dual mount as shifting some of the load to the right longitudinal rail. It has to help bear the load even if it isn't enough to totally eliminate the fault on its own (I'll never know as it is only a portion of what my plans are).
Randy, I know you are one of the pro's here so I imagine if anyone can come up with a solid/relatively inexpensive design it would be you. If it is anywhere under the $500 mark I'm in for sure. I think with the "dual ear" diff cover, the BMW factory fix, the TC Designs reinforcement of the bracket, and these new urethane Subframe mounts I would be in pretty good shape.

Please let us all know how it goes as I'm sure this will generate a ton of interest. If it ends up working I think the Rogue Finned Diff cover would retain more of the MZ3 factory look, but not the most cost effective route at $395..

http://www.rogueengineering.com/Merc...tegory_Code=DC

MSH

Last edited by yetiboy; 03-23-2004 at 04:36 PM.
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  #34  
Old 03-23-2004, 06:45 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by yetiboy
... I think the Rogue Finned Diff cover would retain more of the MZ3 factory look, but not the most cost effective route at $395..

MSH
I'll post a picture of the M3 cover once I get it. Three hundred dollars (price difference) would buy half of a nice MIG welder...
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  #35  
Old 03-23-2004, 07:01 PM
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My question in all this is: Has anyone noticed if this is a problem with E30 owners?

I've never seen any indication of this being a problem among E30 owners. At first glance one would assume that the power ratings would be the reason, but the average E30 has mileage well into the 100k mark, and there are many enthusiast examples that are flogged hard with no indication of a problem. On top of that, an E30 325iS is in the same general power range as non-///M Z3 Coupes/Roadsters.

So what has changed between the E30 and Z3 wrt to the rear subframe and floorpan? Stiffer chassis? More power? How does the floor pan of the E30 compare to the Z3? Manufacturing techniques?
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  #36  
Old 03-23-2004, 07:33 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Johann
So what has changed between the E30 and Z3 wrt to the rear subframe and floorpan? Stiffer chassis? More power? How does the floor pan of the E30 compare to the Z3? Manufacturing techniques?
Does anybody have an E-30 that could measure the thickness of the trunkfloor? The M Rdstr is .032" or 20 gauge.

Would also be nice to see pictures that highlight details such as stiffening embossments, longitudinal rail attachment and xmbr underneath.

Call to Roadstergal...
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  #37  
Old 03-24-2004, 05:02 AM
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Sorry guys, I still don't think reinforcing is the answer at this stage. If you reinforce certain areas, you move the stresses somewhere else, which might not be obvious for a while.

I stil think that the best method is to FIRST limit the subframe movement, as this will limit the movement of the upper diff mount.

Then you can fix the problems and do some minor reinforcement.

But to double check, Randy did either of your cars spend a substantial amount of time with your bushing add in pieces?
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  #38  
Old 03-24-2004, 02:51 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pinecone
Sorry guys, I still don't think reinforcing is the answer at this stage. If you reinforce certain areas, you move the stresses somewhere else, which might not be obvious for a while.

I stil think that the best method is to FIRST limit the subframe movement, as this will limit the movement of the upper diff mount.

Then you can fix the problems and do some minor reinforcement.

But to double check, Randy did either of your cars spend a substantial amount of time with your bushing add in pieces?
The gray car had the stuffers about one (1) year, three (3) Evolution Schools and how ever many events, Dragon runs, road trips, etc. we did since then. The black car (which has more damage than the gray) has only done about 2/3 of a single autocross season with one (me) driver and somewhere near 58k total road miles. In that regard, the black car leads a more sheltered life although it gets driven in any kind of weather. But it has the greater damage and has gone longer undetected (my fault as I didn't consider it to be at risk).

Either the failure rate is greater based on time/mileage than severe duty, or limiting the subframe makes a difference. Naturally, this is my opinion based on my own experience.

The stuffers have proven (to me) to limit the subframe movement. Adding the second ear cover (if reasonable) will balance the load on the existing xmbr as opposed to letting the left side handle the brunt of the pull. I don't see where that will affect the chassis somewhere else. And I wouldn't be so tempted to go with stiffer mounts (in the cover) when there are two of them.

The other work I am considering (reinforcement of the xmbr from above) would allow more of the xmbr load to bear on the longitudinal rails. I'm waiting to see what BMW's fix is before I commit to anything, but I don't think I'll be altering the chassis to the extent that it will break somewhere else. But only by trying it (and waiting) will we ever know.

Clearly something has to be done and somebody needs to start the process of elimination
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  #39  
Old 03-25-2004, 05:48 AM
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I emailed Ireland about their mounts. Here is the response:

"Our mount is actually about 1/8" taller. The top is about 3" diameter where it rests against the chassis. It is similar to our E30 mount pictured on the website.

Jeff Ireland"

I have asked further about them, between that and somebody trying them, we should know, until Randy can figure out how to make his stuffers at a resonable pace.

I am still wondering whether road conditions may be more of a problems than things like autoX. I was reading about soe of the problems with teh rear of E36 M3s and several articles point out that the problems tend to come more from rough roads, hitting potholes, and things like that, rather then competition events.
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  #40  
Old 03-25-2004, 11:21 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pinecone
I emailed Ireland about their mounts. Here is the response:

"Our mount is actually about 1/8" taller. The top is about 3" diameter where it rests against the chassis. It is similar to our E30 mount pictured on the website.

Jeff Ireland"

I have asked further about them, between that and somebody trying them, we should know, until Randy can figure out how to make his stuffers at a resonable pace.

I am still wondering whether road conditions may be more of a problems than things like autoX. I was reading about soe of the problems with teh rear of E36 M3s and several articles point out that the problems tend to come more from rough roads, hitting potholes, and things like that, rather then competition events.
I'm leaning toward road conditions not being the big issue, else we'd probably see some evidence of things going awry on both sides of the diff mount, instead of just the left side. I'd also be a strong candidate for issues with rough roads, since I live on a dirt road that's pretty rough much of the time (potholes that would hide a basketball). As of yet I have no strong signs of damage (all welds intact, diff mount still intact, trunk pan very slightly non-flat). Michigan roads in general are poor due to the dramatic temperature changes (and the lack of funding for road maintenance). On my car, it just looks like the diff is just starting to pull the trunk pan down on the left. This points to the subframe movement, thin trunk pan, and lack of distribution of force during acceleration. Rough roads might be a small contributor, I just don't think it's significant here.

I ordered the Ireland subframe bushings last night, and Randy will see them the week they arrive (I'll drive down to his place).
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  #41  
Old 03-25-2004, 12:57 PM
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Well, the left side only could be due to the way all the forces come together.

I am looking into getting bushings made that will reduce the movement of the subframe.
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  #42  
Old 03-25-2004, 09:33 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bob lindquist
\
What is the condition of this area in your old coupe. That must have had quite a bit of tough track miles on it?

I think the people having this problem are getting it from jackrabbit starts. That would sound like the most possible stress of all driving styles. What do you think.
?

I sold it to Mark @ Team Spartanburg Racing after two years of use, it had around 30k miles as I recall, this was back in late 2000, don't think anybody had ever heard the problem then so nobody was looking for the signs

it alwas did launch well at Pro Solo events
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  #43  
Old 03-25-2004, 10:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TeamZ4
I sold it to Mark @ Team Spartanburg Racing after two years of use, it had around 30k miles as I recall, this was back in late 2000, don't think anybody had ever heard the problem then so nobody was looking for the signs

it alwas did launch well at Pro Solo events
It would be interesting to know how his cars are now.
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  #44  
Old 03-26-2004, 04:11 AM
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No

I am sure this is not the fix we are looking for.
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  #45  
Old 03-26-2004, 04:13 AM
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bob lindquist bob lindquist is offline
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Tie Downs

I haven't looked at the area where the tie down points are in the trunk yet.
But if the harness bar is attached there, is it a strong point where we could consider some form of support member for the differential mount?


another thought: This weak area might be part of some crash deforming area which is planned to absorb a rear crash. (at the detriment of the diff mount strength)
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Last edited by bob lindquist; 03-26-2004 at 04:16 AM.
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  #46  
Old 03-26-2004, 05:06 AM
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Randy Forbes Randy Forbes is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TeamZ4
I sold it to Mark @ Team Spartanburg Racing after two years of use, it had around 30k miles as I recall, this was back in late 2000, don't think anybody had ever heard the problem then so nobody was looking for the signs

it alwas did launch well at Pro Solo events
Mark was the first person to warn me about the potential for failure at the differential mount. That would predate even Nathan Fong's 2.8 failure.

So Mark has been aware of it 3+ years (I was still running the black car at the time).
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  #47  
Old 03-26-2004, 12:33 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bob lindquist
I am sure this is not the fix we are looking for.

IMO that is just a stopgap measure, not a long term solution
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  #48  
Old 03-26-2004, 04:27 PM
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No

Quote:
Originally Posted by TeamZ4
IMO that is just a stopgap measure, not a long term solution
Yes that was my point. I wouldn't want that as a fix or prevention. We need to come up with something better.
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  #49  
Old 03-26-2004, 09:32 PM
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Wondering if the CDV valve would still be a good idea to remove now on my car, without it there would be more shock to the drivetrain from what I have read
TeamZ4 what are your thoughts since you know how the cdv works and you have seen the pics of the cracking/tearing, in your opnion would it be no big deal eitehr way?
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  #50  
Old 03-27-2004, 09:45 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 01silber
Wondering if the CDV valve would still be a good idea to remove now on my car, without it there would be more shock to the drivetrain from what I have read
TeamZ4 what are your thoughts since you know how the cdv works and you have seen the pics of the cracking/tearing, in your opnion would it be no big deal eitehr way?
If most of this is due to what many of us think to be the main cause, removing your CDV would aggravate it, but only if you actually use your clutch in a manner that the CDV prevents.

I'm thinking this problem will crop up in the 6-cylinder cars w/o significant impact forces from rapid deceleration of the subframe (hammering the differential mount). My rear subframe seems to move too far too easily, which leads me to think there's too much load on the differential mount whenever I dip deep in the throttle. So I think the rear subframe movement is top of the list of things to address.
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