Hello there and welcome to the BMW Car Club of America.

If you are a BMW CCA member, please log in and introduce yourself in our Member Introductions section.

1999 E46 Fuel Tank Strap problem

Discussion in 'E46 (1999-2006)' started by 2nd3series, Dec 23, 2013.

    • Member

    2nd3series

    Post Count: 5
    Likes Received:0
    Check your E46 Fuel Tank strap....
    Today we were driving along and heard a thumb followed by a metal scraping noise.
    We went one block and pulled over in a safe area to see our E46 fuel tank strap hanging down on the ground. Yes, this is a strap holding the fuel tank in place.
    From the pictures attached it looks like bad factory spot welds to me.

    Has anyone else had this happen?

    Attached Files:

    • Member

    MGarrison

    Post Count: 2,819
    Likes Received:144
    I don't recall anyone mentioning it here on the forums (perhaps a search is in order) - search bimmerforums.com & google & see what comes up. Given the E46 penchant for rear-subframe-mounting-chassing-tearing issues, maybe a look-see at that just to ensure the the fuel strap is not an ancillary issue or byproduct of a bigger problem is warranted.
    • Member

    2nd3series

    Post Count: 5
    Likes Received:0
    Thanks for the idea.. I will check the body.
    I have opened a case with BMW NA and just filled out the https://www-odi.nhtsa.dot.gov/ivoq/ complaint form.
    To be honest, I have never seen a tank strap fail on any care and this is definitely `spooky.`
    • Member

    2nd3series

    Post Count: 5
    Likes Received:0
    I have circled the E46 Fuel Tank strap in the attached picture.. Thanks..

    Attached Files:

    • Member

    MGarrison

    Post Count: 2,819
    Likes Received:144
    The parts diagram shows one end curved (the end you have pictured), a "damper rubber" (looks like that's in place in your picture), and the end opposite of your picture secured by a bolt, spacer, and rubber grommet. It would appear the securing bracket that was apparently welded to the car (looks like in 4 spots) came free, and then dropped with that end of the strap. Odd. It's not uncommon for fuel-tank straps to suffer enough rust to require replacement, have had to replace them on my E34. I don't know if that end has proximity to the failure-prone area on the chassis or not, can't tell from the parts pictures. I can only speculate the strap somehow pulled on the welded-on securing bracket (too much curvature on the end meaning it was forced and pried to get it on?), took an impact somehow (while driving? getting jacked on or something like that?), or, your suggestion, the welds just failed.

    You are not alone - consensus seems to be weak welds, perhaps more so on early E46's -

    http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthread.php?p=9836860

    http://forums.bimmerforums.com/forum/showthread.php?1455742-Fuel-Tank-Strap-Mount-Failure

    http://boardreader.com/thread/Broken_welds_on_fuel_tank_strap_bracket_a09nXec9j.html
    • Member
    • Technical Service Advisor

    charlson89

    Post Count: 1,064
    Likes Received:54
    Wow thats a first for me I thought only ford was doing this problem. First I have seen on a BMW but like mentioned above check to make sure the subframe didn't get torn from the mounts.
    • Member

    2nd3series

    Post Count: 5
    Likes Received:0
    My local BMW dealer just estimated $1200 to weld the strap bracket back on the car. And BMW NA is nice, but said no help this is a 1999 car. You called that one..

    My E30 had over 300k miles and never had any issues with a fuel tank strap bracket weld or major body spot welds that failed? Ok, so the rear window would explode into pieces when you turn on the rear window defroster on a cold day [IMG] but a major spot weld failure ?

    Note, I did more homework and just as mentioned above I hear the strap will rust through, particularly, in the northeastern states. But my guess is that the fuel strap bracket failure will happen next. Well guys BMW what's the repair ? Drill out the spot welds and bolt the tank strap in place ? Pull the fuel tank and weld the strap bracket back on the E46 body ? Or part the car out :)

    PS - My wife is now really `spooked` by the thought of loosing the E46 fuel tank.... This failure is going to cost me.. dollars and a `sales job on the wife`.. What is that Visa says.. `priceless ? `.. Or is it time to get her a Honda ?
    • Member

    MGarrison

    Post Count: 2,819
    Likes Received:144
    https://www.bmwcca.org/forum/index.php?threads/30-great-things-about-e30s.2385/

    Looks like another item to add to the E30 list is reliable fuel-tank straps...

    That sounds like the least expensive fix - potential downside, might rust out before you're done with the car.

    Most long-lived fix (also most time consuming & expensive), it would be best to add reinforcing welds to the other strap. If you have a decent indie shop that you trust & knows BMW's, maybe you'd find a somewhat better price.
    Smiling? Sounds like you want a winter project! ;) If you can do that much work yourself, you ought to be able to effect the repair, although that requires welding skills & equipment. I probably would remove the fuel tank before welding - flame... gas.... shrapnel.... burning down the garage... although, perhaps there is some small upside to being the source of a Jalopnik headline: "Amateur welder explodes gas tank, kills himself, and burns down the house!"

    Blasphemy! ;) But, hey, you & the missus will have to figure that one out.

Share This Page