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Modifications and Resources Pg. 2

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Modifications and Resources Pg. 1
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This page last revised Feb.16, 2013
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2F (-16.6C) outside (1/17/09) and 70F inside - thanks to these insulated and weatherstripped ceder faced carriage doors! Great to have this major improvement, versus the cold, leaky roll-up door.
2005 Modifications (continued)

On the question of finding a front strut brace that will fit the 528e...
Lots of things in the way, as this piece of aluminum stock shows, centered on the strut towers and photographed at various points between the front strut mounts. It is not at all clear which make and model front strut brace will work and simply "repositioning" the radiator expansion tank is not the only potential fitment issue. Not on this 528e, anyway, with its Idle Control Valve and Throttle and Cruise Control Cable bracket in the way.

Bar stock centered on strut towers.

Expansion tank will have to be "lowered", well known fitment issue.

Feb. 16, 2013 Update - A Wiechers-Sport 062013 front strut support brace was ordered (this product is now available from this source) and while waiting for delivery, the radiator expansion tank was lowered by fabricating some new brackets out of 1/8-inch aluminum, as shown below. Keep in mind that the 'water level' mark on the side of the expansion tank will have to be lowered, to compensate for the lowering of the tank. Otherwise, when the engine is up to operating temperature and the coolant has expanded, it will over flow because not enough room is available for normal expansion!

New fabricated brackets lower the expansion tank.

New brackets are made from 1/8-inch aluminum stock.

With the Strut Brace in hand, a test fitting showed that the brace couldn't be tightened down due to the interference of the Idle Control Valve and Throttle bracket, as shown earlier with the bar stock test.

Strut brace can't be tightened down due to clearance problems...

View showing the idle valve position problem and crusie control cable issue.

With the strut brace not even tightened down at either end, the Idle Control Valve and the Cruise Control Cable, which is pinched hard enough such that it can't operate, have to be modified to gain the needed clearance.
First, unmount the large gray cable jacket and the bracket that holds the two connectors for the bell housing sensors... remove the connectors from the bracket. You need to move them to the firewall, as indicated below, to make room for moving the Idle Control Valve. On my firewall, an empty tie-wrap mount was available to attach the cable and connectors to, using a tie-wrap.

Making room so the Idle Control Valve can be moved.

Now, you can reposition the Idle Control Valve, remove it and its hoses. Remove the mounting bracket and turn it 180 degrees, so that the valve will be closer to the firewall. The bracket will have to be adjusted by bending it to allow the valve to attach to a new hose, without an excessive angle.
While you have the Idle Control Valve off the engine, I suggest cleaning it with this type of cleaner, typically available from NAPA. This will help insure a smooth and stable idle at the correct engine RPM. Make sure the hoses are in good shape, too.

Bracket rotated 180 degrees and new hose attached.

With strut brace placed in position (below), you can see that valve clearance is now acceptable. This small additional hose length has no effect on the Idle Control Valve operation.

Idle Control Valve strut brace clearance and speed sensor connectors moved.

UPDATE Aug. 4, 2008


It turns out that the additional hose length used to move the Idle Control Valve closer to the firewall, can't handle the high vacuum level and started colapsing, creating a rough idle situation. The hose was replaced by a suitable length of 5/8-inch OD pipe and small hose ends (shown above) with additional clamps. Proper idle operation has now been restored. I recommend that the single long hose not be used.
Continuing with the initial installation comments...
Next, the Throttle Cable bracket has to be lowered. Remove the bracket and using a suitable grinding tool, grind the existing bolt holes to shape them as slots toward the top of the bracket. Going much beyond 1/8-inch won't work, as the bracket will bottom out on its intake manifold mounting. Remount the bracket with the bolts just snug and tap on the top of the bracket to drive it down as far as it will go, then tighten the bolts. Do not reinstall the rubber bellows cover on the cruise control cable, if it has one. On my installation I have 1/8-inch of clearance between the bottom of the strut brace and the cable.

Modified throttle bracket.

Clearance after the strut brace is fully tightened to torque specs.

Completed installation.

And so, after all this work, what has the strut brace provided, other than being a brite, well made piece of hardware, for under hood viewing? What vehicle handling changes are apparent, if any?
And note the addition of the radiator fan shroud... this vehicle, as delivered, never had one, in fact, there are no slots at the bottom of the original radiator (recently replaced as a preventive maintenance measure) for the tabs on the fan shroud to mate with. The fan shrouds were added later and a new fan shroud has been installed, to mate with the new radiator. To date, the engine has never had an over heating problem, without the shroud, but no doubt there is some cooling improvement with the shroud.
June 21, 2007 - Okay, here's my report on what the strut brace feels like on my BMW, with its stock springs, 22.22mm front anti-sway bar, 16mm rear anti-sway bar, Bilstein HD shocks and Yokohama AVS Sport 205/55ZR16 93W at 31.5 psi, with 29.0 psi in the rear. E32 front brakes which are heavier than the stock E28 284mm brake assy's. I think it's important to understand that I have been driving this BMW for the past 22+ years, so I have extensive experience with this vehicle and how it responds to my local country road conditions, at various speeds.
Cornering at speed is now much crisper, with faster turn-in, but with a small increase in body roll. I have confirmed this by running several road sections at fairly brisk speeds with the brace attached and with one end of the brace disconnected, effectivly removing it from the suspension mix. At first, I thought I was experiencing oversteer in the corners, as I had to unwind a bit before I was through the corner. Further tests showed that I was applying too much input, given the improvement in turn-in response.
I don't yet understand the additional increase in roll with the strut brace, but I was pointed to a comment by somebody who mentions the same thing who said "However, once you are in the corner there is more body roll for a given speed. This is because there is much less body flex and the suspension is having to cope with the additional stress." This person is not driving a BMW, but was reporting on his experience with and without a front strut brace on his vehicle. I've asked Auto-Mark to see what WIECHERS has to say about this perception of additional body roll. I am not questioning product performance! I am simply trying to understand why the body appears to have a bit more roll with the brace. A fact of the additional stress and less flex?
The bottom line is that the strut brace does improve my handling in the twisties and is worth the cost, in my opinion. There is a bit of additional noise evident behind the dash in the engine compartment, from the brace, in the form of road noise evidently being transmitted through it in hard turns. At normal highway cruising there is nothing going on that calls attention to the brace.
I'll revise this report, when I hear from WIECHERS, on the question of increased body roll and any comments about noise. Sorry for the length of this, but there appears to be very little written on this subject, in terms of how your vehicle will feel with a strut brace installed. Lot's of sales hype, but no real end user reports!
August 6, 2007 Update - WIECHERS will not comment on my question, thanks to our (USA) litigious reputation! So, my perception of increased body roll question goes unanswered, nor have other qualified sources commented as yet. I will post additional info here if and when I get any... I appreciate your interest and am surprised by the fact that so many of you are interested in strut brace performance, but, please don't continue to ask me via E-Mail. I consider the subject now closed.

Polishing the rear bumper to remove failed anodize finish.


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