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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 Fri, Mar-18-2016, 12:35:46 AM   #91
Amadeus
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Default Re: DIY: E46 M3 detailed subframe reinforcement, gear fluid changes, and bushing refr

Here are some various pictures of things along the way (if Iím clogging up your thread, let me know and Iíll remove em )

This is what it was like day after day after day.. Just waiting to be down.

Only crack found. Stop-drilled for now.

More aligned than the picture gives credit for.



Stripped axle bolt, had to cut off.

Also had to cut off.


Alas, back on the ground, as it currently sits. My car was up on stands for so long, that when it I got it back on the ground I kept walking around it wondering if my car always sat so low! Of course it was just around stock ride height..
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Old Sat, Mar-19-2016, 09:02:53 PM   #92
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Default Re: DIY: E46 M3 detailed subframe reinforcement, gear fluid changes, and bushing refr

Amadeus, did you unscrew the subframe bolt to check for cracks underneath it? Keep in mind as you go too, that there is a decent liklihood that the top of the front mount is cracked as well and will need to be addressed at some point if the car lives long enough.
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Old Sat, Mar-19-2016, 09:23:45 PM   #93
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Default Re: DIY: E46 M3 detailed subframe reinforcement, gear fluid changes, and bushing refr

Quote:
Originally Posted by jdev View Post
Amadeus, did you unscrew the subframe bolt to check for cracks underneath it? Keep in mind as you go too, that there is a decent likelihood that the top of the front mount is cracked as well and will need to be addressed at some point if the car lives long enough.
Yeah I did and I suspect there could be some hidden cracks that I wouldn't find until I sanded down all the way to the bare metal. I searched thoroughly and also found one crack along the fender liner.


I too would be surprised if the top front mounts were unscathed. Getting the RACP taken care of is my next goal, I'll be driving it lightly for a while until everything is solid back there. Just a matter of getting the funds first. I was estimating an upper budget of around 3k for welding all cracks, redish plates, and Vince bar. Hopefully no more than that!!
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Old Wed, Nov-08-2017, 09:17:03 PM   #94
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Default Re: DIY: E46 M3 detailed subframe reinforcement, gear fluid changes, & bushing refres

Thanks for this DIY, I have been following it to the T for the last week. I have a question that I need help with though. Not only did the Turner reinforcement kit come with incorrect bolts but the plates fail to cover the one and only crack that I found (Pretty good for 115k miles I thought). The crack is on the driver's side rear in the crease to the side of the mount. Should I stop drill the crack, have it welded, just epoxy the plates on and go? I already had a mobile welder come out and give me a quote to weld the plates on and he wanted $100 an hour for 4-5 hours. That was with me prepping the metal, so after that I ordered epoxy and decided to go that route. Anyone else have this issue? Any help would be appreciated.

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Old Thu, Nov-09-2017, 04:31:22 AM   #95
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Default Re: DIY: E46 M3 detailed subframe reinforcement, gear fluid changes, and bushing refr

Hi S54nuub,

Quote:
Thanks for this DIY, I have been following it to the T for the last week. I have a question that I need help with though. Not only did the Turner reinforcement kit come with incorrect bolts but the plates fail to cover the one and only crack that I found (Pretty good for 115k miles I thought). The crack is on the driver's side rear in the crease to the side of the mount. Should I stop drill the crack, have it welded, just epoxy the plates on and go? I already had a mobile welder come out and give me a quote to weld the plates on and he wanted $100 an hour for 4-5 hours. That was with me prepping the metal, so after that I ordered epoxy and decided to go that route. Anyone else have this issue? Any help would be appreciated.
That's a very common area for cracks to initiate and also a common reason why a lot of members convert to larger scale reinforcement plates with greater coverage than what the TMS plates offer.

Definitely stop drill the crack. I'd recommend ~2mm or less drill bit. Definitely weld it up.

I'm not from the US so I cannot comment on whether that mobile welder rate is reasonable however, where I am in Australia the average going rate is $50/hour (~$38 USD).
Perhaps shop around, you could likely get a better price. Perhaps someone in your local community may have experience?

If you want a larger scale reinforcement plate I do manufacture a set. They cover an exponentially larger area than the TMS plates and more than any other currently on the market. I'll share a link below if you'd like to check them out.

http://www.m3forum.net/m3forum/showthread.php?t=593280

Btw, it is incredible that the damage is that minimal for a car of that mileage. My car was in poor form at ~96k km (~60k miles) by comparison. You're definitely addressing the issue at the right time. Once it starts it grows exponentially.

Also, check our your rear trailing arm pockets and rear wheel arch behind the dampener. Spot welds are prone to pop and seam sealer split. It would be worth applying stitch welds while you're there.
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Old Thu, Nov-09-2017, 07:25:06 PM   #96
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Default Re: DIY: E46 M3 detailed subframe reinforcement, gear fluid changes, & bushing refres

Thanks for the reply Aussie46m3, I feel somewhat lucky to only have the one crack. Can I add a piece of metal to the area with the crack and epoxy it in order to avoid paying a welder? Should I stop drill the crack if I'm going for epoxy over it?

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Old Fri, Nov-10-2017, 01:32:35 AM   #97
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Default Re: DIY: E46 M3 detailed subframe reinforcement, gear fluid changes, and bushing refr

Quote:
Thanks for the reply Aussie46m3, I feel somewhat lucky to only have the one crack. Can I add a piece of metal to the area with the crack and epoxy it in order to avoid paying a welder? Should I stop drill the crack if I'm going for epoxy over it?
I certainly would have been relieved if mine looked like that. The car must have been treated well.

Definitely stop drill the crack. A stop drilled hole stops it from propagating further. If you do not it is likely it will continue to grow after reinforcement under the plate.

I would also weld that crack regardless of what method you use to install the plates. The crack essentially creates a complete loss of cross section in the structural member the RACP forms. This increases the stress on the remainder of the material and creates stress risers at either end of the crack (hence why they grow). The cracks don't necessarily need to be covered entirely. I personally would suggest adding a top side support in addition to underside plates.

I personally do not believe in the epoxy methods for installing underside plates. Given most people need a welder regardless to weld up the cracks I suggest also having the plates welded on.

I have seen epoxied turner motorsport plate separate. I cannot recall the exact thread however, I did save the images onto my mobile.
Even modern cars that are epoxied together are still only epoxied in key areas of low stress. Main components of the structure are welded together as it provides more uniform material properties for consistent elastic deflection. Epoxy has a very low strain failure limit (meaning will crack under small amounts of flex) and a high elastic modulus, while steel is malleable.

My theory is that the epoxy fractures between the two steel components due to the strain (flex) that occurs at the subframe mounts due to the drive-line forces. Welding does add a thermal embrittlement to the parent material however, provides more uniform material properties Epoxy also requires very controlled and precise layer thickness otherwise such fractures do occur. Given the subframe mounts are curved on the front and the plates are flat it can be an issue.
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Old Fri, Nov-10-2017, 04:49:59 AM   #98
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Default Re: DIY: E46 M3 detailed subframe reinforcement, gear fluid changes, & bushing refres

Thanks for taking the time to spell this all out for me. It's definitely a lot to think about. If I had a good welder it wouldn't be a question.

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Old Mon, Jan-08-2018, 03:00:23 AM   #99
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Default Re: DIY: E46 M3 detailed subframe reinforcement, gear fluid changes, and bushing refr

Thank you for this write up!

I followed your steps as I tackled this project on my M3.

I'm glad it's over lol.
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Old Fri, Jan-04-2019, 04:16:19 AM   #100
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Default Re: DIY: E46 M3 detailed subframe reinforcement, gear fluid changes, and bushing refr

Just finished this job and a few tips ~

-If you’re planning on doing a full axle refresh on bushings, get the special tools... The amount of trail and error with incorrect adapters/sockets/washers/ rods that kept failing etc etc. You’re already saving a bunch, i personally would get the tool for the RTAB + ball joints since you can at least use them again in the near future when the axle is NOT taken apart. The ball joints are a huge pita since the heat shield is in the way and would be nice to have the right tool for that to service the car the car next time without doing much work.


-This is common sense but i sure didn’t have any. I did my share of research and figured i could “wing” the rest, particularly the putting the car back together part. I forgot exactly all the things i had to backtrack but if you are putting the car back together in a different way than this DIY(or full rear axle),please do yourself a favor and think twice work once (i know it’s measure twice cut once lol)

-Prepare to get all necessary hardware ready, you’d be surprised how many of them are all rounded up/rusted. I was pretty prepared for this but i cannot stress this enough. Remember, a lot of nuts and bolts are “one time use”. I’m not a huge fan of wasting money but at some point, you don’t want to do this again.

-Try to do it within a reasonable time. Like another poster said, I got really sick of seeing my car in pieces. My memory of how the car was taken apart was not as fresh... I totally ****ed myself with rebuilding the shifter... basically there is a slight bend that accounts for the guibo/flex disk and Installed it incorrectly.

-My drive shaft didnt go in the order of this DIY or INPA. For some reason i couldn’t get enough clearance on the differential input shaft side. I had to take the transmission side off first and went it extremely smoothly.

-I would replace the drive shaft to diff gasket PN# 26111229503. At some point of cleaning the old grease and packing the new grease the gasket came off and ripped.

-I used Reddksh motorsport V2 weld plates. At first they didn’t look like they would fit great but after my welder was welding them/molding them in, even he was very impressed with the fitment and how well thought out it was. I love their channel and have been following them for awhile now. The one thing i regret doing was all the cleaning and prepping. It was so time consuming brushing and wire wheeling away.... Incredibly tempting to get an angle grinder in there but the floor is reallllly very thin. I would only suggest to do it on the weld + likely troubled spots (like near the wheel well spot welds/battery box etc etc). The level of detail that reddish goes through is INSANE. Although i’m sortve OCD and rather do the job “right” the first time, they are pros and I am just a joe.

-For those on the fence of OEM vs aftermarket bushings in fear of installation being difficult was not the case with me. I spent 95% of the time pulling the bushings out. OEM rubber bushings go in extremely easily if you clean the area, leave them in the freezer and lightly use some grease.

-I have a reasonable amount of tools and rarely buy anything “top of the line” but one thing i’ve been meaning to buy is a VERY nice male torx set. I did it without it and have been getting away with it working on BMW’s for many years but going to treat myself. Particularly hard to reach exhaust bolts that are rusted... When the tool ever so slightly “slips” you’ll know you’re headed down a dark path...

-This DIY doesn’t cover it but if you’re welding, taking the fuel tank off is a MUST. Remember the passenger side fuel pump wire clip is different from the drive side. It was such a pita figuring that out with fuel in my face while trying to balance the tank while panicking. Also, you’ll likely need new hardware for taking off parts of the fuel filler neck. I would suggest replacing the hoses you can but there are a couple of hoses that are not direct part numbers from BMW (meaning they won’t just sell you that little bit of hose, must buy the whole system). So either BE VERY CAREFUL of these hoses or find the equivalent fuel hose from one of the OE venders.

-This DIY doesn’t cover RTAB but you should do that. It is a key part or your rear suspension. If you do use OEM bushings, make sure you torque them down at ride height through the axle. It’s actually quite easy. Get a long metal ruler, make sure it’s layed flat under the trailing arm bracket and take another ruler crossing that into the center all of the axle. It’s very similar to doing a string alignment measuring into the center of the axle.

-If you’re going to do your own alignment afterwards, get the RTA alignment tool. This i’ve had laying around but for how cheap it is, it is not worth prying the arm to get a precise movement.

-Once the diff is out, don’t lay the diff on its “rear cooling fins”/back with the input shaft upwards. I totally didn’t know there was a breather hole back there and had one more thing to clean up before doing even more wire wheeling lol

-Finally, get yourself some FCP euro shirts while you do the work. You’ll get super dirty being on your back and don’t want to ruin your mechanic one piece outfit. Less **** will go wrong while wearing these shirts and you can return it and get fresh new shirts because their life time warranty is the ****. Thanks to this forum, FCP and reddish, the job is complete!!!

All in all, this DIY is pretty straightforward and it’s only as time consuming as you make it. If this is your first time down there, you’ll learn a lot along the way. Now that it’s behind me it was a pretty fun experience. GL with your project!

Last edited by dongerkim; Fri, Jan-04-2019 at 04:31:54 AM.
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Discussing DIY: E46 M3 detailed subframe reinforcement, gear fluid changes, and bushing refresh 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)