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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, Jun-04-2017, 04:34:32 AM   #11
AussieE46M3
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Default Re: Crack repair methods

As schoonerm3 said,

Stop drill cracks, weld cracks, weld plates, stitch weld wheel arches (both), check top welds on front mounts, check for small crack inbound of RHS wheel arch and mount and it also doesn't hurt to weld along the boot floor where the chassis leg meets it.

One crack not often repaired is this one. It's the top side of the carrier panel beneath a covering panel.



I manufacture a top side reinforcement kit and I discovered this when I was removing some sheet metal. Fortunately, one of the plates covers this area. If you're interested here's the link.

http://www.m3forum.net/m3forum/showthread.php?t=565038

While you're having your cracks repaired and plates welded in, perhaps have them lay a few small stitch welds around the RTA cup.

A forum member had it rip out of his race car. I'm sure yours wont see that sort of stress however, if it's a possible point of failure, you may as well address is then and there. It was a series accident from an issue that shouldn't exist.
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Old Wed, Jun-14-2017, 03:16:49 AM   #12
GotThrottle
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Default Re: Crack repair methods

Just to close this thread out:

1. I completed my track day with no issues and I had a blast! I can't deny though that the subframe crack was on my mind the entire time. My Porsche brakes with G-LOC pads stopped the car AMAZINGLY better than the factory brakes. It was very solid and planted, it even made my neck hurt. I also got to take a new Mini Cooper S w/manual out on the track for a full session and hoon that thing and get it to dance. Really really fun car! I was left impressed.

2. I will be having a dedicated race and fabrication shop weld in plates per their standard E46 reinforcement strategy. It's basically 10 hours of labor, plus materials, and a liter of brake fluid of your preference. If front upper mount locations or rear arches are also found with issues, they will reinforce those too. Do NOT use the structural foam, the fab shop does not want a fire/smoke hazard to deal with also. If you want to add foam later, that's fine, but they don't think it will do much on a car that is this old and has survived this far (04 M3). The drain hole of the cavity allows moisture and dust to settle inside, so the foam won't bond to anything, but if the compressive strength helps to transfer the load path, there may still be value in doing so. I was lucky enough to RMA back my $300 worth of foam to my supplier.
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Old Fri, Jun-16-2017, 07:07:07 AM   #13
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Default Re: Crack repair methods

Are you gonna have the shop add a Vince bar in addition to the plates? Im having a shop do the plates, is the Vince bar installed in the same area? Would the bars location save on labor by having them both done at same time?

Edit: Spent hours last night reading the Vince bar thread and now see how/where its installed, that looks like a ton of work $$$. My bad guys. Still curious to know if are happy just doing the plates for now. And which plates did you go with? Custom from the shop?

Last edited by binary; Fri, Jun-16-2017 at 05:34:52 PM.
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Old Fri, Jun-16-2017, 02:11:44 PM   #14
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Default Re: Crack repair methods

Quote:
Originally Posted by binary View Post
Are you gonna have the shop add a Vince bar in addition to the plates? Im having a shop do the plates, is the Vince bar installed in the same area? Would the bars location save on labor by having them both done at same time?
Not really. The Vince bar is installed from the top in the trunk/rear seat area.
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Old Sat, Jun-17-2017, 04:24:27 AM   #15
GotThrottle
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Default Re: Crack repair methods

I'm not doing the Vince bar at this time, but if the frame continues to be a problem in the future then I will consider either the Vince bar or the Mason engineering 3pc strut bar, or both! That's some serious money though, basically doubling the cost of the already expensive welded plate repair cost.

My fab/race shop said their E46 race cars have been just fine for many years with only the plates welded in, but 1 or 2 of their cars does have extra reinforcements because they beat on them so hard, smashing into curbing, drifting, running slicks, and hard launches with solid mounted transmissions. The fact that my 90K mile 13 year old M3 just showed it's first crack says I don't drive it hard enough to warrant anything more than welded plates at this time. The cars they saw with the worst failures were those with less than 10k miles in the first couple years of it's release. 2001 was a loooong time ago.

If everything fails and I have to keep dumping money into the rear subframe, I'm going to just sell it and buy a 911. That's next on my want list.
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Old Sat, Jun-17-2017, 07:20:08 PM   #16
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Default Re: Crack repair methods

Quote:
Originally Posted by GotThrottle View Post
I'm not doing the Vince bar at this time, but if the frame continues to be a problem in the future then I will consider either the Vince bar or the Mason engineering 3pc strut bar, or both! That's some serious money though, basically doubling the cost of the already expensive welded plate repair cost.

My fab/race shop said their E46 race cars have been just fine for many years with only the plates welded in, but 1 or 2 of their cars does have extra reinforcements because they beat on them so hard, smashing into curbing, drifting, running slicks, and hard launches with solid mounted transmissions. The fact that my 90K mile 13 year old M3 just showed it's first crack says I don't drive it hard enough to warrant anything more than welded plates at this time. The cars they saw with the worst failures were those with less than 10k miles in the first couple years of it's release. 2001 was a loooong time ago.

If everything fails and I have to keep dumping money into the rear subframe, I'm going to just sell it and buy a 911. That's next on my want list.
Thanks for the info and response. I am picking up a 2006 ZCP next week, its being PPI'd on Tuesday and now my mind is flooded with RACP/subframe/VANOS issues.

If they find small cracks on the PPI, I'll use that as a bargaining chip to get the price down or walk away depending on the extent.

My new cars first stop is to a fabricator to weld in the Redish plates(can't believe I need to spend money on that). Glad to hear your shop thinks the plates are good enough , I've been trying to gather information like this from shops/members who have seen a large sample of cars with and without the issue. Going by the forums alone, this a widespread problem and seems to affect most cars.
Were less subframe issues found on the late model cars (2005-2006) or is that wishful thinking? Should I walk away if the PPI shows any cracking? I planned to buy this car and keep it forever, now that many of you have experienced cracking would you have chosen a different car if you could hit the reset button?
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Old Sat, Jun-17-2017, 09:39:20 PM   #17
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Default Re: Crack repair methods

Would not hit the reset button at all. Buy the car and repair the poor design propely. Any shop that think plates alone are enough to sort the issue are not understanding the issue in its depths.

My friend just got 3 e46 m3s into his shop and I helped to show him all the prone spot welds failure point's.

All cars had separation along the permiter ( was not visible until the seam sealer and sound deadening was removed) and one was so bad that he could create a 6-7mm gap by engaging the clutch. Out of curiosity he welded a steel plate between the chassis leg and racp and low behold the separation was not more and could no longer be manipulated. This will be even more locked down when the bar is welded from one side to the other to make a "Vincebrace​" . Point is, if this went to a different garage, that car would have received plates and nothing more. Second of all, it really shows how plating cannot and will not prevent the microfractures that will sooner or later cause a failed spot weld and the left rear chassis leg - racp seam will begin to separate .

So you either stick your head in the sand and latch on to false old information or wake up and realise the extent and the new information that has been discovered and proven time and time again.

Before.


After plates on chassis legs nothing else.


Would look something like this. And is unfinished. Was an experiment to see the relief something so simple can offer. Pretty obvious that plates on the underside cannot help or prevent this in the future.

But it was welded, unfortunately no pics of it welded. But this alone offered significant reduction in flex and superior relief.


Last edited by schoonerm3; Sat, Jun-17-2017 at 09:50:17 PM.
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Old Sat, Jun-17-2017, 10:38:12 PM   #18
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Default Re: Crack repair methods

Thank you schoonerm3.

So if I understand correctly. The PPI tech should strip the trunk of carpet, sound deadening and inspect the perimeter of the RACP from inside the trunk during the PPI? Is stripping the sound deadening reversible or held on by adhesive? Can you see issues without removing the seam sealer?

My fear is that the shop will simply look at the mounting points under the car, which is only 1 small part of the larger problem, see no cracks and call it good. Also bushings could be hiding cracks at the mounting points, etc.

Sorry for all the questions, as a person about the pull the trigger on his budget dream car. I had no idea the issue is this vast with the RACP and all the places cracks can appear/hide. Just want to get advice from you expert forum members on what you would do while getting a car inspected.

Another question. Should I skip the plates and go straight to the Vince bar type solution? If this is the ultimate fix, perhaps going straight to it would be the best use of resources.

Last edited by binary; Sat, Jun-17-2017 at 11:59:17 PM.
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Old Sun, Jun-18-2017, 05:01:05 AM   #19
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Default Re: Crack repair methods

The PPI doesn't need to strip any sound deadening. But removal of the rear carpet and trunk floor should be done . But sure if they don't know where to look then they might aswell not bother. You can even do it yourself. You would probably be better at it than a tech if you spent a weekend studying the exact places to look in the trunk. These techs won't be as scrtutinus unless they are avid e46 m3 fans and know exactly what is going on.

If I were you , I would be hoping to find cracks, seam sealer / sound deadening splitting etc. It's not a big deal, and should not put you off so long as they are not horrific. It's great bargaining power and you can try knock money off to go towards a proper lock down which should consist of something that can connect the chassis legs to the racp. I personally don't think it has to be the v brace but the v brace is the nicest one to have in terms of finish. As long as there is a solid connection between the two points , your are immediately better off than you were.

Buy your car and lock down the problematic areas. Then he done with the worrying and enjoy the car .
With the amount of knowledge and information available nowadays about the cars racp. I think that any tech that still refuses to accept the facts , should not be advising on how to fix the cars.
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Old Sun, Jun-18-2017, 08:49:10 PM   #20
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Default Re: Crack repair methods

Quote:
Originally Posted by binary View Post
Thank you schoonerm3.

So if I understand correctly. The PPI tech should strip the trunk of carpet, sound deadening and inspect the perimeter of the RACP from inside the trunk during the PPI? Is stripping the sound deadening reversible or held on by adhesive? Can you see issues without removing the seam sealer?

My fear is that the shop will simply look at the mounting points under the car, which is only 1 small part of the larger problem, see no cracks and call it good. Also bushings could be hiding cracks at the mounting points, etc.

Sorry for all the questions, as a person about the pull the trigger on his budget dream car. I had no idea the issue is this vast with the RACP and all the places cracks can appear/hide. Just want to get advice from you expert forum members on what you would do while getting a car inspected.

Another question. Should I skip the plates and go straight to the Vince bar type solution? If this is the ultimate fix, perhaps going straight to it would be the best use of resources.


Quote:
Originally Posted by schoonerm3 View Post
The PPI doesn't need to strip any sound deadening. But removal of the rear carpet and trunk floor should be done . But sure if they don't know where to look then they might aswell not bother. You can even do it yourself. You would probably be better at it than a tech if you spent a weekend studying the exact places to look in the trunk. These techs won't be as scrtutinus unless they are avid e46 m3 fans and know exactly what is going on.

If I were you , I would be hoping to find cracks, seam sealer / sound deadening splitting etc. It's not a big deal, and should not put you off so long as they are not horrific. It's great bargaining power and you can try knock money off to go towards a proper lock down which should consist of something that can connect the chassis legs to the racp. I personally don't think it has to be the v brace but the v brace is the nicest one to have in terms of finish. As long as there is a solid connection between the two points , your are immediately better off than you were.

Buy your car and lock down the problematic areas. Then he done with the worrying and enjoy the car .
With the amount of knowledge and information available nowadays about the cars racp. I think that any tech that still refuses to accept the facts , should not be advising on how to fix the cars.


Binary,

SchoonerM3 is right on the money, take his advice.

I've also put together this thread that quite thoroughly explains the underlying design issue, and why plates are not enough (there are several examples of plated cars that have later failed, just not where the plates are)

http://www.m3forum.net/m3forum/showthread.php?t=555302


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Discussing Crack repair methods 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)