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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 Sat, Jan-31-2015, 04:36:21 AM   #1
ftc3
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Default Structural Foam Complete - Plus my thoughts

I finally had the chance to inject the BMW Structural Foam that had been sitting in my cabinet for six months. During my subframe inspection, I did not find any cracks but I wanted to do it as a preventative measure. It couldn’t hurt, right!?

Admranger and myself decided to tackle both cars at the same time. You cannot drive the car for 24 hours after injecting the foam, which created a little logistical shuffling between locations but no big deal.

We did deviate from the official TIS and previous DIY based research **Use at your discretion**.

If you look at this image (borrowed from the web) which shows a cut away of the rear subframe mount location in cavity "2", you get an idea of where the structural foam needs to go. We are trying to encapsulate the mounting point, reduce flex and bond the lower and middle layers of sheet metal together. All good stuff.



The TIS shows to inject “seam sealer” in order to keep the structural foam in the right place. It is injected into the circled location "3" which is the same as location “X” on the below image





However, when I uncovered the hole “X” and tried to run a fish wire to location “Y”, I was unsuccessful. There was some type of physical barrier in place. The cut away image above also supports my basic test and therefore the structural foam cannot reach the area marked “X” on the image. So the seam sealer is not needed…at least from my research.

Admranger and I decided to do both the left and right rear mounts so we needed a total of four kits (83190007361) equaling two per side. It’s a pretty straight forward process but it was a massive help to have an extra set of arms to trade off pumping the applicator gun. It’s like non-stop grip exercises!

By the time we got to the fourth kit, it had not soaked long due to how quickly we injected the first three kits. It was much harder to inject whereas the first two which had hot bath soaked at least 30 minutes, went in super easy due to the lower viscosity. To alleviate this, if you don’t have a crock pot large enough to fit all four kits, you can get a large pot of water and heat to 140 F. I’ve seen recommendations for warmer but at 140 F, it was painless.

Fast forward two days...

Time to inspect my work. Notice caps labeled “Z” in the image. I had previously removed these and they connect to location “Y” as tested via a fish wire. After the injection, the structural foam did not flow all the way to the corners. Which lead me to assume the following: The structural foam only encapsulated the side to which it was injected. This makes sense if you think about what others have reported on the passenger side mount. On the image below, many are familiar with this hole that needs to be covered.

Driver rear mount



Because the circled hole is below the fill point, the structual foam will ooze out if not covered.

Passenger rear mount




Most have reported that no structural foam reached this hole during their procedure. If the right side mirrors the left side, then the structural foam has a hard time passing the internal subframe mount.

Since the circled hole is on the opposite side of the mount from the fill hole (unlike the driver's side), most who perform the injection on the passenger mount report seeing no structural foam when they remove the tape from the lower hole. The internal bolt mount is keeping it from flowing to this side.

I removed the outer caps; it allowed access to the outer edges from the mount.

I purchased two additional kits to finish off the left and right sides to completely enclose the mounting locations. It required using a smaller diameter tube and a heat gun to make it fit the nozzle - but it worked without any issues.



Was it needed? I don’t know but they are definitely enclosed now.
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Old Sat, Jan-31-2015, 05:43:05 AM   #2
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Default Re: Structural Foam Complete - Plus my thoughts

So you used 6 kits?

Maybe injecting 1 kit in each hole, Y and Z, would be good enough. Since Z is inside the trunk I'd just drill it out, it is unlikely to rust.

I think Redish has confirmed that seam sealer doesn't need to be injected in 2 or 3 if you're foaming both sides.
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Old Sat, Jan-31-2015, 07:40:43 AM   #3
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Default Re: Structural Foam Complete - Plus my thoughts

Good job.
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Old Sun, Feb-01-2015, 01:06:30 AM   #4
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Default Re: Structural Foam Complete - Plus my thoughts

Yes, I ended up with 6 kits total.

After injecting the original 2 kits per side, they didn't even meet in the middle. I would guess another 2 would be needed in the center hole to completely connect both mounts.

I give up. Six is enough for me!

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Originally Posted by amanonfire View Post
So you used 6 kits?

Maybe injecting 1 kit in each hole, Y and Z, would be good enough. Since Z is inside the trunk I'd just drill it out, it is unlikely to rust.

I think Redish has confirmed that seam sealer doesn't need to be injected in 2 or 3 if you're foaming both sides.
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Old Mon, Feb-02-2015, 10:43:06 PM   #5
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Default Re: Structural Foam Complete - Plus my thoughts

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Originally Posted by ftc3 View Post
Yes, I ended up with 6 kits total.

After injecting the original 2 kits per side, they didn't even meet in the middle. I would guess another 2 would be needed in the center hole to completely connect both mounts.

I give up. Six is enough for me!
The goal shouldn't be to fill the subframe voids.

The epoxy is to help tie the subframe layers together, in particular 2, 3 and 4 the first photo. The spot welds should do this, yet they eventually fail.

Thus why it might be better to inject 1 in Y and 1 in Z. This allows the epoxy to spread out further, which ties more surface area of the subframe layers together.
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Old Tue, Feb-03-2015, 04:31:24 PM   #6
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Default Re: Structural Foam Complete - Plus my thoughts

Im going to be doing this in about a month . Already installed the reinforce plates . I think I'm going to drill a hole big enough to shove a video probe down there and look around. . I'm thinking drill a hole on each side of mount and pump in one tube each . I already bought 4 tubes and not crazy in adding 2 more .
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Old Sun, Nov-08-2015, 09:55:37 AM   #7
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Default Re: Structural Foam Complete - Plus my thoughts

ftc3: Much thanks for your thoughts and write up. It now seems that the best way would be to inject one kit into Z-hole and one kit in the Y-hole right?
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Old Sun, Nov-08-2015, 10:11:12 AM   #8
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Default Re: Structural Foam Complete - Plus my thoughts

On the otherhand, isn't nearly all cracks occurring in the area underneath the Y-hole? Maybe that is why BMW decided not to inject any foam in the Z-hole. The sheet metal structure is simply strong enough there...?
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Old Sun, Nov-08-2015, 03:30:03 PM   #9
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Default Re: Structural Foam Complete - Plus my thoughts

BMW only officially recommended injecting into the driver's (left) side. Was their recommendation based on engineering data or cost? I decided to do both sides as an extra precaution.

Was it needed? Not sure but the only downside would be cost.
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Old Sun, Nov-08-2015, 05:10:45 PM   #10
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Default Re: Structural Foam Complete - Plus my thoughts

Quote:
Originally Posted by ftc3 View Post
BMW only officially recommended injecting into the driver's (left) side. Was their recommendation based on engineering data or cost? I decided to do both sides as an extra precaution.

Was it needed? Not sure but the only downside would be cost.
I said this elsewhere, but I think BMW was making this up as they went, judging from the changes in the procedure over time. Also, there is no doubt that cost is a factor. They would do the bare minimum that they thought they could get away with, hence they did not fill all of the mounts, only the left rear. If cost was not a factor, I would be surprised if they did not suggest using more foam in more locations.
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Discussing 100 Degree Day - Car overheards 3/4 mark with AC on. 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)