May 27, 2020 update to the BMW M3 project car

Project BMW M3: Does Your E46 Need Front Strut Reinforcement Plates?

    
Search for E46-chassis BMW front strut reinforcement plates online, and you’ll find all sorts of images of deformed sheet metal–upper strut mounts displaying damage ranging from simple mushrooming to full-on shredding. Yikes!

Scene: Picture an often-worrying GRM editor talking to James Clay, owner of BimmerWorld and our personal guide for this 2004 BMW M3 project series. 

GRM: Hey, James, do we need these front strut reinforcement plates that we see in your catalog? They sound like some real protection at a fair price.

James: If you had solid camber plates so nothing is cushioning the blow of bumps, you would.

 

Even though our car has coil-overs, our Bilstein B16 setup features rather soft springs that fit in the stock upper perches. So while we could install a pair of these plates, the need wasn't dire. 

A little more about these strut reinforcement plates from the BimmerWorld catalog:

A must-have for any performance-driven E46 3-Series - reduce the chances for strut housing and mount ‘mushrooming’ and increase the car's strength when using performance oriented spring and/or struts. We highly recommend these plates with use of aftermarket performance suspension kits.”

The plate, a factory BMW part that’s part of a poor road package, simply fits between the upper strut mount and the unibody. It’s designed to spreads the suspension load upon the upper strut mount. No welding required as it just fits in place. Simple.

Follow-up: Did we order a pair? Turns out that, upon some actual inspection, we noticed that our car already has these plates installed—we just missed them while installing the coil-overs. Thank you, previous owner. (We’ll call him Kevin.)

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Comments
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zordak
zordak Reader
5/27/20 12:08 p.m.

Goes to show sometimes the POs are not always completely stupid.

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
5/27/20 12:17 p.m.
zordak said:

Goes to show sometimes the POs are not always completely stupid.

Ours gets all of the gold stars--and, in full disclosure, we go back years. When I first inquired about the car, he sent over a spreadsheet detailing all of the work. And maybe someone missed reading something on that spreadsheet....

Tyler H (Forum Supporter)
Tyler H (Forum Supporter) UberDork
5/27/20 3:01 p.m.

Score!  Cheap insurance.

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
5/27/20 6:22 p.m.

In reply to Tyler H (Forum Supporter) :

Totally score. And such a late-night e-mail exchange actually did happen. 

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
5/27/20 6:28 p.m.

Also, pulling back the curtain here, even if we don't need to do something with the car, yes, we can still discuss it. The goal is simply to share info about the E46 M3. smiley

Ashyukun (Robert)
Ashyukun (Robert) UberDork
5/27/20 6:53 p.m.

In reply to David S. Wallens :

Given I'm hoping to bring my E46 convertible to the Challenge this year, I definitely appreciate all the E46 tips (even if my 330Ci doesn't come close to stacking up to the M3...).

Slippery (Forum Supporter)
Slippery (Forum Supporter) UltraDork
5/27/20 8:01 p.m.

After reading these threads on the e46 M3, and given all the rain we have been getting in south Florida, I decided to start driving mine this week. What a understated car it is, I doubt I'll ever sell mine. 

I just finished washing it:

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
5/27/20 8:02 p.m.

In reply to Ashyukun (Robert) :

Look for some future updates that should help you. 

Ashyukun (Robert)
Ashyukun (Robert) UberDork
5/28/20 8:24 a.m.
David S. Wallens said:

In reply to Ashyukun (Robert) :

Look for some future updates that should help you. 

I'll definitely look forward to them! 

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
5/28/20 8:26 a.m.

In reply to Slippery (Forum Supporter) :

Looks great!

noddaz
noddaz UltraDork
5/28/20 8:30 a.m.

What is the diameter of these?  I bet they would be useful on other cars as well.

 

Scott

ZOO (Forum Supporter)
ZOO (Forum Supporter) UltraDork
5/28/20 12:52 p.m.

In reply to Slippery (Forum Supporter) :

Such a gorgeous car.  What is the exterio/inerior colour combo?  Mine was Titanium Silver with Black -- but yours doesn't look like Titanium . . .

Slippery (Forum Supporter)
Slippery (Forum Supporter) UltraDork
5/28/20 6:49 p.m.

In reply to ZOO (Forum Supporter) :

Thank you. 

Its Silbergrau with M-Alcantara interior. Its darker than Titanium, more like a dark gray. 



rs5088
rs5088
5/29/20 6:17 p.m.

That interior is awesome. 

ZOO (Forum Supporter)
ZOO (Forum Supporter) UltraDork
5/30/20 6:40 a.m.
Irs5088 said:

That interior is awesome. 

It sure is!  I have never seen an E46 M3 in real life with anything other than leather.  

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
6/8/20 10:01 p.m.

You can find color and interior codes here.

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