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E46 M3 (2001-2006) Engine: S54 - Max Hp: 333 hp at 7,900 rpm / 262 lb/ft at 4,900 rpm
Total Produced: 45,000+ - Years Produced: 2001 to 2006.


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Old Sun, Jul-16-2017, 12:55:29 PM   #1
90mtx
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Default VinceBar and VinceSkin Review

Like many of you I have been looking for a RACP solution for a while, I don't want to debate the difference options available but I went I went with the VinceBar with Front Gusset and Extended Subframe Bolts and then got a "pre production" set of VinceSkins to install. The quick review is very easy to install, I did it on jack stands in my two car garage with 90% of the work done by just me. I only had someone help reinstall the subframe with diff. Vince is just like you and me except he has cooler tools, a family that seems to fully allow for his M life and smarter than me at least. Since he is just like you and me, he also has other commitments that take up his time (family, work, etc.) Somethings were delayed, but I had to remind myself of the second part that he is just like you and me. I am grateful that someone has taken the time to keep our cars on the road for longer. The pictures I used are from Vince's epoxy install of a VinceBar. I didn't take any pictures during my install, sorry. I do have some of my RACP crack though if you are interested!
My plan was to drop the rear subframe, replace every bushing I could, rebuild my brakes, install SS brake lines, replace the E-brake cable, installing a short shift kit and get a subframe reinforcement kit that I could epoxy on. Communicating with Vince, he was going to make something for the reinforcement and I liked his design so I went with his VinceSkins. I used this http://www.m3forum.net/m3forum/showthread.php?t=546116
as a guide for my work. Dropping the subframe and replacing diff bushings, subframe bushings, RTABs, rear ball joints, inner upper and lower rear control arm bushings and all the other stuff I did isn't necessary to do it, I have 148K miles and thought it was as good as time as any to do some other maintenance. It is a rabbit hole that you can easily go down and increase the cost dramatically. I stopped with things I thought could be done with out dropping the rear subframe again. Ebrake cables don't require dropping of the subframe, but they were inexpensive. Same with SS brake lines and rebuilding of the brakes.
So here are my thoughts: First picture, very true. I wish I could blame the previous owner on the broken tabs....But Vince has included the PN!

If you are going to completely drop the whole subframe/diff/axles as a unit have at least two jacks (if not more) to slowly lower and adjust


When cutting inside the trunk, if you don't measure and use what Vince has recommended err on the side of not cutting too much. I wasn't paying complete attention and ended up cutting too much, still haven't figured out how I will rectify that.


I agree with Vince to find a safer method to cut the top panel inside the trunk, but not having the guard on the grinder makes it much easier... And grinding sparks and metal will go everywhere, put up a barrier to prevent all of that going into the rest of the passenger compartment! Also grinding will make some heat and possibly burn off some undercoating, if your significant other asks the car is not on fire.


Once the VinceBar is all installed and you have cleaned up everything, then start to "prepare the lid". What you think the angles will be just looking at it can be different that what the final product will be. This seems simple, but I had to rebend the lid and it doens't look as good as it would have if I would have started once I was finished with the installation.


I was very concerned with vibration, once this was installed there was really no way to fix any metal to metal contact. Vince includes some seam sealer, but I added some spray undercoating on all surfaces that weren't epoxied together. I got two cans of 3M rubberized undercoating and did two coats on both surfaces of the VinceBar. After a month on the road, zero noises I can tell from the bar!


If you borrow a rivet gun, it will look somewhere close to this when finished. Plan accordingly for giving it back.


Above when I talked about not cutting to much in the trunk, this picture is why. The sheet metal strip doesn't have enough metal to rivet to. I think I am going to epoxy/silicone/seam seal the lid and and end pieces to the inside of the trunk.



I also used the rubberized undercoating on the front gusset area under the rear seat as the rubber sound deadening was flaking off.


Vince did a really good job and took his time, I wasn't rushed but my results aren't as "factory" looking as mine.



For the VinceSkins, it really is just epoxying them in, just like the VinceBar and Front Gussets. But dropping the fuel tank makes it so much easier. And it also make cleaning the RACP easier, you really need to be down to bare metal to see if you have any cracks. If you have any questions ask Vince and he will politely let you know you need to clean more! The VinceSkins to cover quite a bit of surface area and appear to address all of my cracks. My front passenger had the "usual" cracks which was expected but both of my rears had about a 2 inch hairline crack on the inside as well.

The total time for the work just for the VinceBar and Front Gusset Kit was just a Saturday and Sunday. Once I made the first cut, and got over that fear it went smoothly. Getting to that point, removing everything like I did takes more time than that. Reading the install thread made the procedure seem daunting with all the cutting, because there is no going back once you cut but it is doable with some I would say upper level DIY ability. If you need help changing a tire or your oil, stay away from doing this yourself. But if you are comfortable replacing your drive shaft or the whole cooling system on your M, I would say go for it. And if you are doing the VinceBar, the VinceSkin are a no brainer.

The biggest thing to remember when dealing with Vince is he is just like you and me, only smarter (than me) and has cooler tools and toys (than me). He has a family (like me) a job (like me) and likes the E46 M3 (like me). He will get back to you, but it sometimes takes longer than you would like. That is the biggest issue, but this isn't his business or primary means of income. He is supporting our community with a well made product that has some a very good engineering thought process behind it. I say it is good, because he has explained it so I can understand it. Like I said at the beginning, there are other methods around that can accomplish something similar, but I like this product and would defiantly do it again knowing what I know.

Jonathan
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Old Sun, Jul-16-2017, 02:56:16 PM   #2
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Default Re: VinceBar and VinceSkin Review

Nice review and pictures. I have the same kit on order, looking forward to getting it installed.
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Old Sun, Jul-16-2017, 03:29:42 PM   #3
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Default Re: VinceBar and VinceSkin Review

Thanks for the review. I'm always curious if anyone notices a difference in the car's handling/stiffness post install of the VinceBar. Any comments on that front? Understanding it may be difficult to differentiate if you also installed fresh bushings.
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Old Sun, Jul-16-2017, 07:18:25 PM   #4
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Default Re: VinceBar and VinceSkin Review

Excellent review of some great VINCE products.
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Old Sun, Jul-16-2017, 11:33:44 PM   #5
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Default Re: VinceBar and VinceSkin Review

Thanks for taking the time to share this Jonathan!

You make a very fair point about the delay in delivery. I'd like to thank you and others for your patience!

I'll do my best to not offer products that are still under development (like I did with the VinceSkinz). Or at least add more margin to any time estimates.
I just tend to get excited about offering new products...

That said, I'll shortly be stocking a bunch of VinceBar kits, and Stage 1 VinceSkin sets, in order to be able to deliver them much quicker.


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Old Mon, Jul-17-2017, 11:50:11 PM   #6
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Default Re: VinceBar and VinceSkin Review

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kalahari View Post
Thanks for the review. I'm always curious if anyone notices a difference in the car's handling/stiffness post install of the VinceBar. Any comments on that front? Understanding it may be difficult to differentiate if you also installed fresh bushings.
Sorry I couldn't notice any difference, like you said fresh bushings makes a huge difference. But the VinceSkins and Front Gussets don't offer any stiffening that we can feel and I don't think that the VinceBar is designed to have much torsional rigidity like a strut bar. But there has been zero added NVH that I can tell. Went from factory everything (except RE Street RTABS) to new factory rear upper and lower outer ball joints, Super Pro inner upper and lower control arm bushings, AKG 75D (red) subframe bushings, Revshift 80A (blue) diff bushings. Sway bar bushings are factory new about....20K miles ago.
I do "feel" better that the RACP is locked down, and I don't have to have that in the back of my mind. Granted something else could always happen, but as far as the RACP, that is one less thing to worry about.

Jonathan
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Old Mon, Jul-17-2017, 11:57:26 PM   #7
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Default Re: VinceBar and VinceSkin Review

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Originally Posted by WOLFN8TR View Post
Nice review and pictures. I have the same kit on order, looking forward to getting it installed.

Thanks, and if you have any questions, PM me and I will try to help. I used the Araldite 2014 50ML two part epoxy and used four tubes. One tube for the Front Gussets, then a few days later one tube for the Vince Bar. I was just going slow and was cautions, I could have used one tube for both I think. I used two tubes for all of the VinceSkins, not sure why though? But the Araldite 2014 is relatively cheap so not a big deal on buying six.

Jonathan
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Old Tue, Jul-18-2017, 02:04:28 AM   #8
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Default Re: VinceBar and VinceSkin Review

Thanks for the review. How long did this take you?
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Old Tue, Jul-18-2017, 02:43:42 AM   #9
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Default Re: VinceBar and VinceSkin Review

Interesting to hear this compared to replacing a cooling system :p Replacing the cooling system on my old e46 330i was one of the very first jobs I did, and since it was my first car, one of the very first jobs I did on any car. It took about a day and seemed like big legos at the time. This seems a lot more daunting. I have the epoxy version of the bar sitting here, still deciding if I should take it to a shop or attempt it myself.

For that matter I am still deciding if I should go in on the skins as well or go with Redish plates ... have not kept up with the development of them so I'm not familiar with the pros and cons.
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Old Thu, Jul-20-2017, 01:27:29 AM   #10
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Default Re: VinceBar and VinceSkin Review

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Originally Posted by aznbo187 View Post
Thanks for the review. How long did this take you?

Actual time for the VinceBar, Front Gussets and VinceSkins was two weekends. I had more than a few other things going on and my M was on jackstands for a few months. If you aren't replacing every bushing and have a helper, I would budget two Saturday and Sundays. Your results may vary of course....

Jonathan
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Discussing VinceBar and VinceSkin Review in the E46 M3 (2001-2006) Forum - Engine: S54 - Max Hp: 333 hp at 7,900 rpm / 262 lb/ft at 4,900 rpm
Total Produced: 45,000+ - Years Produced: 2001 to 2006. at BMW M3 Forum.com (E30 M3 | E36 M3 | E46 M3 | E92 M3 | F80/X)