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M3 Track: Racing and DE Best mod for speed is learning to get the most out of what you currently have. Tracks and DE's is the place to start!


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Old Fri, Apr-01-2016, 04:50:15 AM   #1
jager911
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Default Trailering E46 M3, where to tie-down?

Newbie question, going from 23 years of 911 track and trailering and switching to an M3 and feel like a novice asking stupid questions but better safe than sorry. What's the safest way to tie down the E46 M3 to a trailer going to D-rings?
I figure front/rear bumper tow hook is 1 spot, how about through the wheels? Not crazy about messing up my new ARC-8 wheels.
I usually use 4 tie-downs and cross them. A buddy mentioned J-hooks to jack points on his E36 M3, does that apply to E46 as well?

Thanks,
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Old Fri, Apr-01-2016, 05:03:21 AM   #2
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Default Re: Trailering E46 M3, where to tie-down?

I use soft straps through the wheels. Never had an issue damaging the wheels. You'll inflict far more damage on the track via normal wear and tear...flying bits, curbs, offs, etc. I wouldn't use the tow hooks, that's for sure. And crossing the straps seems like a needless inconvenience. I never cross and I've never had my car move on the trailer.
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Old Fri, Apr-01-2016, 05:23:11 AM   #3
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Default Re: Trailering E46 M3, where to tie-down?

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Originally Posted by E46 M3 Driver View Post
I use soft straps through the wheels. Never had an issue damaging the wheels. You'll inflict far more damage on the track via normal wear and tear...flying bits, curbs, offs, etc. I wouldn't use the tow hooks, that's for sure. And crossing the straps seems like a needless inconvenience. I never cross and I've never had my car move on the trailer.
I have the normal canvas straps, figure I'd use a rag/towel for extra protection as they can loosen up and car sway and rub the wheels.
My front bumper is close to the D rings and I have always crossed them so it's like superstition now.
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Old Fri, Apr-01-2016, 05:36:58 AM   #4
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Default Re: Trailering E46 M3, where to tie-down?

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Originally Posted by jager911 View Post
A buddy mentioned J-hooks to jack points on his E36 M3, does that apply to E46 as well?

Thanks,
Yes, that is the best way. Avoids having to use tow hooks or wheels. BW sells some nice ones.

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Old Fri, Apr-01-2016, 09:41:40 AM   #5
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Default Re: Trailering E46 M3, where to tie-down?

I also used the J-hooks on the jack points
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Old Fri, Apr-01-2016, 10:42:47 AM   #6
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Default Re: Trailering E46 M3, where to tie-down?

I had the j hooks fall out on me twice. You have to check them often in the first few miles. I go through the wheels, straight back. I have had no issues with alignment with this set up.
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Old Fri, Apr-01-2016, 11:45:35 AM   #7
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Default Re: Trailering E46 M3, where to tie-down?

For future searches, found these instructions taken from BMW towing manual:

Look under the side of vehicle at each jack point trim panel cover and find the vehicle lifting pad. If the pad is still there (they often fall out over time), remove it by prying it off with a screwdriver*. Above these pads are slots (holes) in the chassis--the "T-hook" fittings. Place the pads in the trunk and reinstall after you're finished towing, if you like. (*On some cars, such as Z3 Coupes, the pads are held in place by two Phillips screws.)

>> If you are securing the car to the trailer by tiedowns or ratchet straps at all four corners, follow steps A1, A2, and A3. (This is the preferred method.)

A1 - Insert a T-hook into one of the front fittings.

A2 - Attach one end of a suitable tiedown or ratchet strap to the T-hook and the other end to the tiedown point on the opposite side of the front of the trailer.

A3 - Repeat for the other three T-hook locations so that the front and rear of the car are secured cross-wise at each end for added stability.

>>If you are securing the car to the trailer by a center attachment point (such as a winch cable) in the front or rear, follow B1, B2, and B3. (This method should only be used on one end of the car. The other end should be secured by method "A" above.)

B1 - Prepare a chain exactly six (6) feet long with a T-hook secured to each end. (A shorter or longer chain may cause vehicle damage.)

B2 - Insert the T-hooks on either end of the chain into the front fittings.

B3 - Attach the winch cable to the center point of the chain and secure the car to the trailer.

Regardless of the method you use, these two things are critical:

1) Check the T-hooks at the fittings continually as the car is being secured. Make sure the T-hooks are being pulled inward sufficiently to prevent them from falling out of their fittings.

2) Never--ever--leave slack in your tiedown straps or chains. Any slack left in a tiedown may allow the T-hook to rotate slightly and fall out of its fitting.
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Old Fri, Apr-01-2016, 05:44:41 PM   #8
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Default Re: Trailering E46 M3, where to tie-down?

Everyone I know goes through the wheels, they have enough strength. The issue with what you recommend is that you're attaching to a suspended point, not the wheels. It's far safer to clamp down the wheels themselves to prevent any movement. Not to mention, it's 10x faster to do. If the j hooks can fall out it means one thing, it's poorly designed. You never want to attach to a point which has such a high chance of failure.
I do straight back for the rear wheels, and cross for the front. It's only for length reason, there's no way it's safer one way or the other. If you can do straight on four corners, go ahead.
Assume a strap fails, if all the straps pull straight to a d ring, the car will remain more or less straight on the trailer. If you're crossing straps, the car will be pulled sideways.
From a mechanical stress perspective, you cannot possibly believe that crossing straps provides any benefit.

As for straps, the short ones (1.5m or so) will go through spokes only, you need longer ones if you want to go around the wheel.
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Old Fri, Apr-01-2016, 06:20:37 PM   #9
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Default Re: Trailering E46 M3, where to tie-down?

I appreciate your input but I just re-stated what BMW uses to transport cars. It came from their towing manual so it's not my recommendation but I will give it a try.
Only thing I don't like with wheels since I cross straps, puts a load on alignment and wheel bearings. I don't have the ability to tie down straight on as D-Rings are welded to 4 corners and there is about 2 foot distance from each wheel. If both straps are crossed, the car doesn't move sideways.
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Old Sat, Apr-02-2016, 01:21:41 AM   #10
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Default Re: Trailering E46 M3, where to tie-down?

I agree wholeheartedly about not strapping to a suspended part of the car for nearly all circumstances. This comes from two decades of towing 4x4s all over the country. Gotta go to the axle to tie it down. The one exception is a car with very stiff suspension and limited travel, like on a track-prepped M3.

Suspension movement can dislodge a strap or hook, and it shock loads the straps when the suspension allows for slack, then re-tightens. On a race car, it will move so little that the straps aren't shock loaded and there's never enough slack to allow anything to dislodge.

I use the factory T-hook locations. takes me less time than friends who go through the wheels and no failures.
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