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Where to get an inexpensive front shock tower brace for an E30?

Discussion in 'E30 (1984-1993)' started by Brian A, Jan 5, 2009.

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    Brian A

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    Does anyone know where to buy a cheap sturdy front shock tower brace for an E30 such as the one shown in this photo?

    http://bmwcca.org/gallery/showphoto.php?photo=975&ppuser=32845

    I've tried the usual on-line sources (Turner, BavAuto, BMP, Pelican, TireRack, etc) and all they are currently selling are the fancy (but thinner) aluminium or carbon types.
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    MGarrison

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    What.. you don't want to just weld a piece of tubing between your shocktowers? :p

    If I come across any source you didn't try already, I'll let ya know - did you email whoever's car that is to ask about it?
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    Brian A

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    He doesn't accept PMs.

    94is guest

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    Looks like a sparco bar to me. It's about the most common bar you'll see on an e30. I think they're $100-120.
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    Brian A

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    Perfect! Thanks. Do you know who sells them?
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    mooseheadm5

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    Brian A

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    Okay. Okay. Sorry about the dumb question. It looks like Bimmerworld sells them.

    94is guest

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    z31maniac guest

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    Odiekokee

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    *possible hijack* What's with the double oil filters on that car??

    SFaikel guest

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    It's so that you don't have to change the oil for 30,000 miles.. ;-)

    Actually he explains the situation here...
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    Brian A

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    Got the Sparco brace; bumps against engine

    Thanks to the folks on this form, I located and acquired the famous Sparco front strut tower brace.

    I mounted it in my 1991 318i (M42 engine) with little drama (took all of 15 minutes actually).

    However, it turns out that the clearance between the brace and the valve cover is insufficient and the brace and engine rattle together.

    What is the standard fix for this?

    I see alternatives as:
    1.) putting washers under the brace bolts. Easy, but this would raise the brace above the raised circular ring in the strut tower surrounding the shock mount thereby substantially reduce the effectiveness of the brace since all forces are transfered directly to the bolts rather than the metal of the shock tower.

    2.) (somehow) Dent the underside of the brace to give more clearance for the valve cover. I like this idea, but don't know how to dent the strut brace.

    3.) Cut the corner off of the valve cover with my Sawzall. I like using my Sawzall, but this alternative may have other undesirable consequences.
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    mooseheadm5

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    Glad I could help :p

    1- not a good idea
    2- use a BFH (hammer)
    3- NO!
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    Brian A

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    Modifying a Sparco Strut Bar to fit an M42 Engine

    Just to close out this thread, I thought I'd document the steps needed to modify a standard Sparco strut bar to fit an M42 engine.

    Per MooseheadM5's suggestion, I used a BFH (he also taught me this poetic new acronym) to crease the bar slightly where it needs clearance over the intake manifold.

    To do this, I first installed the bar without modification to mark where the manifold touched the bar. I then removed the bar and brought it to my bench. I used a small ballpeen hammer as a punch (see photo) and just wailed away with the BFH. Eye, hand and hearing protection recommended.

    The Sparco bar bent quite easily and predictably. The paint chipped a little and, since I didn't have a spray can of "Sparco Red", just sprayed over the chips with flat black.

    The bar reinstalled as easily as initially. I expect the short crease decreases its structural integrity negligibly.

    Modifying the bar by pounding in a short crease is a lot better than shimming the bar with washers as some vendors recommend.

    drumbeater guest

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    I'm obviously too late, but for others I believe the strut bar sold by Ireland Engineering has a higher lift and allows more clearance over the valve cover. Mine didn't require any modifications at all, but is is a 325is, so maybe the M20 is a little different.

    EDIT: Just checked Irelands website, they say their bar does not fit 318's.

    John
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    granthr

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    LMAO!!!! I have never seen this before! I would ask where you found it, but I know what you would send me! :D

    Brian

    How do you like your strut tower brace? Can you tell a difference? Do you have one on your cabrio?
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    Brian A

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    I cannot tell the difference, but I'm not sure I should expect to feel the strut brace anyway. I think they are just extra protection against permanent strut tower deformation caused by repeated floggings of the car. Strut braces are cheap insurance: <$120 and they are remarkably light weight. The reality is that I have very little 10/10s seat time in the car. Autocross season starts in April / The floggings begin in April.

    I tried the strut bar on the cabrio just for laughs; lots of clearance over the M20 motor. Since the cabrio has been retired from the autocross scene, I don't see any need to put one on.
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    granthr

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    That makes sense. I have seen E30 M3s that get a lot of track time with folds forming in the sheet metal in the corner of the engine bay by the fuse box. Sounds like good insurance to me!
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    mooseheadm5

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    Nah. I'd just send you here.
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    granthr

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    That is just too funny! Makes me laugh every time! I think I need to get out more! :D

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