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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 Thu, Nov-23-2017, 03:20:06 PM   #1
ThrowinShapes
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Default Throwinshapes's Review of Vince's RACP Weld in Kit

Below is a review of Vinceís (M3F VinceSE2) weld style RACP reinforcement kit, as well as the installer I hired, Arcs and Wrenches (Stefan Foord) out of Newmarket, NH (about an hour north of Boston).

I followed Vinceís work since he first posted his own as a DIY project. Myself and Jordan (M3F Stage3Rides) hadnít had our RACP reinforced yet, and we looked to this as the best complete solution for a daily driver that retains trunk space. Jordan was one of the few recently to have cracks form after welding TPMS plates on. Itís clear to us that plates alone arenít enough, as it is to too many of us on this forum.

Jordan's Install:
Jordan was the first of us to install, back in early 2016. The install went well until the end, when one issue compounded into a lot of extra work. His installer had one of the extended bolts stick in the RACP receiver. This bolt broke trying to extract it, which in the end required the receiver to be cut out of the car and drilled out. Quite a disaster. He borrowed a bolt from mine, and finished the install. Blame focused on bolt quality. I worked with Vince to check the remaining hardware. Bolt diameter and material hardness were checked. A varying thread pitch was suspected in the end, and Vince improved the machining process of the bolts, and promptly shipped a new set to me. I believe the change was from cutting threads on the lathe with a single tipped tool, to cutting with a die. Vince also started to recommend clearing out of the receiver threads of grinding and welding byproducts with the included tap.

My Install:
Over a year later, (Sept. 2017) I had finally arranged my install with a different installer - Stefan Foord and his new shop, Arcs and Wrenches. With Vinceís new bolts in hand, I was confident my install would go smoothly. By this time Vince had started laser cutting components, and his welds had improved (Jordanís shop felt it necessary to burn the old ones in deeper in a few spots) - so I picked up his new version, fully welded.

In addition, I had picked up Reddish plates, OEM subframe bushings, Diff input seal, and a full set of OEM Diff bushings.

Stefan commented on the high quality of this kit during the install, and was impressed products like this are still being developed for this chassis. He worked to develop the TMS plates kit when he worked there, and has reinforced 200+ e46ís personally. (Interesting side story he had of an all-nighter creating the first plates for a race car that had to be on the trailer the next day.) Heís seen it all, and knows where to look for cracks and popped spot welds throughout the RACP.

However, he had a single bolt stick as well. Being aware of the potential issue, he cleared the threads beforehand and slowly threaded them by hand. It did not get stuck permanently. Stefan explained to me the supplied tap was not long enough to go from one end, so you have a chance of mismatched threads from the top. He was able to find a longer tap, fix that thread, slowly work that bolt in, and the rest of the install went smoothly. I later checked in with Vince who showed me pictures of his tap going through the whole receiver, so I really donít know where we went wrong.

So thatís where I stand with two installs documented. I think thereís no reason to shy away from Vinceís kit because of the issues described above. Make sure to explain to your installer to ensure the tap passes through completely, use the tap to clean the threads after the grinding/welding, and to be delicate threading the bolts in.

The only thing that hasnít been described well in detail by Vinceís extensive write ups is the extra labor required to get the top section of the floor over the rear mounts to fit back over the new bar. Only cutting and bending was required in the end (no added material), but this is extra labor that should be accounted for if you are looking for quotes. In the end though, this is really a open your wallet to whatever it takes sort of project, especially if your installer hasnít done this before.

Vince has been outstanding in working with Jordan and I throughout this whole process. As this is a new product, from a grassroots developer, itís going to have some kinks to workout along with way. But whatís important is he makes sure his customers are taken care off. Thanks Vince, I wish you best going forward with your products.

My car came in at 39 hours labor, but that includes the diff seal, diff bushings, and subframe bushings.


Pictures of my install:
https://photos.app.goo.gl/XbcmEumNsjzPUCox1

Pictures of Jordanís install:
https://photos.app.goo.gl/laQ9LUK8nwQVHctF2

Stefanís shop:
Stefan stayed in constant communication with me, including taking many pictures along the way. He was great to work with, highly recommend him if youíre in the area. Please tell him I sent you!
https://www.arcsandwrenches.com

Printable version for your installer of Vinceís ďA few pics from a major overhaul. Reddish plates and lots moreĒ:
https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B1...TRDSWlIQnpRMmc
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Old Thu, Nov-23-2017, 05:40:43 PM   #2
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Default Re: Throwinshapes's Review of Vince's RACP Weld in Kit

Thank you very much for this write-up, it's very valuable. I am planning an install of the VinceBar kit and it will be a first time operation for the installer that I go with. So any tricky areas to watch out for are very helpful.

Your install looks great!
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Old Thu, Nov-23-2017, 05:44:24 PM   #3
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Default Re: Throwinshapes's Review of Vince's RACP Weld in Kit

Awesome Review. I have my VinceBar Kit on order.
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Old Fri, Nov-24-2017, 06:14:21 AM   #4
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Default Re: Throwinshapes's Review of Vince's RACP Weld in Kit

I had the same issue with my bolt for the rear right suubframe bolt. When I tried to remove it after a mock up it got jammed and then the Nut I had loctited on to make it a "bolt" twisted off... I just kinda left it and when I put the subframe back up I put the nut back on and once it tightened on itself it drove the bolt back up... I also noticed during mock up that a small string of swarf came off the nut inside the car which means that bolt thread was not cut correctly as it essentially tapped the nut to a different pitch as I tightened it... it's not optimal but its all locked down... if I ever had to take it off I would extract it and replace it with a length of threaded rod but i don't plan on having to take it off anytime soon so for the moment it is all in place and torqued down... I didn't think too much of it until you brought it up... bit disappointing but...

I also noticed how much extra work is required to get the "lid" back on after you installed the bar... I kinda expected this one but as with fabrication like this something is always a little bit off and requires some more work to fit... so I wasn't too offended by that, but it is definitely worth noting for people that it is a bit of a job to get that back on nicely...
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Old Fri, Aug-03-2018, 04:42:51 PM   #5
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Default Re: Throwinshapes's Review of Vince's RACP Weld in Kit

I'm bringing my car into Stefan's shop next week for an initial inspection and estimate for Vince bar, Redish plates, and Turner aluminum subframe bushing installation. How's yours holding up?

I didn't know your name to tell him who sent me, but I linked this thread :cheers:
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Old Fri, Aug-03-2018, 05:38:36 PM   #6
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Default Re: Throwinshapes's Review of Vince's RACP Weld in Kit

> 39 hours

Ouch.
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Old Wed, Aug-15-2018, 12:31:00 AM   #7
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Default Re: Throwinshapes's Review of Vince's RACP Weld in Kit

Quote:
Originally Posted by repoman89 View Post
I'm bringing my car into Stefan's shop next week for an initial inspection and estimate for Vince bar, Redish plates, and Turner aluminum subframe bushing installation. How's yours holding up?

I didn't know your name to tell him who sent me, but I linked this thread :cheers:
I heard from him recently, he mentioned that, thanks! Ethan, BTW.

I have no doubts about my installation holding up for years to come.

Hope your's goes well. You're in good hands.
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Old Wed, Aug-15-2018, 02:52:45 AM   #8
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Default Re: Throwinshapes's Review of Vince's RACP Weld in Kit

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Originally Posted by ThrowinShapes View Post
I heard from him recently, he mentioned that, thanks! Ethan, BTW.

I have no doubts about my installation holding up for years to come.

Hope your's goes well. You're in good hands.
Thanks man. Scheduled to drop off early September. No cracks that he could see, which he said was a first for him in quite a long time, so I was happy about that. A few popped spot welds though, and a torrentially leaking diff after I replaced the $150 fluid 3k miles ago so he's doing the seals and rear cover when it's out as well.

I didn't realize that Stefan is the guy who designed the Turner and Bimmerworld plates, from what Mike was saying?? He recommended Redish of course ...
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Old Wed, Aug-15-2018, 02:19:41 PM   #9
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Default Re: Throwinshapes's Review of Vince's RACP Weld in Kit

Yep, the fluid got all over those bushings so I had to replace the rear cover as well. The car drove better afterwards with less slack in the driveline. It would lurch a little slowing to a stop light as the driveline unloaded and reloaded.

There's still the interior spot welds on top of the recievers to check, which he is well aware of.

Not sure who Mike is, but yea, it's no surprise Stephan recommended the Reddish plates. The original plates were just a fix for that racecar overnight, quick, get it on the trailer. Basically another engineer took those cardboard cutouts and those became the Turner plates. I don't know the timeline, but I wonder if he was one of the first to see cracks on a e46...


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Old Wed, Aug-15-2018, 06:48:43 PM   #10
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Default Re: Throwinshapes's Review of Vince's RACP Weld in Kit

Damn, so, using conservative estimates it cost you > $4000 to do this?

Back when I decided to buy an E46 it seemed like I could get my RACP permanently locked down for $2000-$2500, but with the discovery that plates aren't enough that figure has doubled I feel like I might have reconsidered getting into this car if I knew this, but I've put way too much time and effort into it now lol
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Discussing Throwinshapes's Review of Vince's RACP Weld in Kit 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)