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Old 09-11-2012, 07:57 PM   #1
Bullet Ride
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Broken front subframe... what doesn't kill you... costs you money lol

Gather around it's E30 story time, grab a beer because I really drag this one out...

So at some point during the day at Bimmercruise while doing Autoslalom or lapping (most likely during lapping) my front subframe broke. The passenger side ear where the motor mount bolts tore off. Clearly, 20 years of Canadian winters done the car any favours, the front subframe has been well salted....

In retrospect I noticed something off about the feel of the car while I was lapping, but it was my first time running r-comps and the car seemed to be running well so I shrugged it off. It wasn't until I left to go home that I noticed the car was pulling to the left a bit. Luckily I needed gas, so just before getting on the 401 while I was getting gas I popped the hood to take a peak at things. Right away I noticed that the boot on the steering rack on the passenger side had popped off. I bent down and looked under the car and to my surprise I saw that my front subframe broke and was resting on my tie rod . Fortunately I had my tools with me, and fortunately a couple guys (Bruno and Ryan) were waiting for me at the gas station.

I pulled the car over and got my jack out so I could assess the damage, and hopefully come up with a ghetto rig so that my motor doesn't have to rest on my tie rod for the 140km drive home. Using one of the other guy's jacks we jacked up the motor and stuck a socket over top of the nut that holds the steering rack bolt on. Then we lowered the motor and the motor mount was resting on the socket and not the tie rod. Ok cool, time to limp it home.

The 401 was slow, stop and go traffic. Things were going ok, then all of a sudden I hear a grinding sound and I can feel it in the gear shift. I put the car into neutral then I hear a *POP* and look in my rear view mirror to see Bruno dodging some part that just flew off my car. So I coast over to the shoulder and shut the car off. I pop the hood and we're looking... everything seems ok, no leaking fluids, nothing out of place, socket is still there. Then I start the car back up and put it in gear to see if it will move, and it moves. After scratching our heads for a minute we decide to keep going and get off at the next exit and pull in so I can jack the car up again just to take a look at the back end of the transmission.

So in the parking lot of another gas station I break out my tools again. A quick look at the transmission showed some fresh looking metal right by the output flange... something had been rubbing. Then I reach up to feel if all of the bolts were in the guibo. One was missing! Well that solved the mystery of the grinding and *POP* that I heard. The reason the bolt came out is due to my vibration dampener delete on the drive shaft. The bolts that I got to replace the studs in the dampener were to long so I had to cut them shorter, and I recall one being close to the transmission, but not touching. However, when the subframe broke the motor was skewed slightly to the one side which caused the transmission to skew relative to the guibo causing the one bolt to rub ever so slightly on the transmission. Over time the rubbing and vibration backed out the nut that was holding it on (an it was a nylok too!) and when the nut reached the transmission, that was the grinding sound that I heard and felt, the *POP* was the bolt shooting out the back.

Well I didn't have a spare M10x50mm bolt and accompanying nut in my tool box (surprised right ) so my only choice was to keep going with only 2 bolts connecting my transmission to my drive shaft. In order to avoid the stop and go strain of the 401 Bruno was kind enough to escort me to the 407 and accompany me all the way until his exit. Once I was on the highway I set the car on cruise at 110km and things went well. Once I was back on the 401 near Milton things were moving well and Ryan managed to catch up to me a few km before my exit.

I made it home. Now to get it fixed in time for the next auto slalom event...

Last edited by Bullet Ride; 09-11-2012 at 08:02 PM.
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Old 09-11-2012, 07:58 PM   #2
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After contacting Eurostyle he informed me that he had 1 E30 front subframe left and it was off of a real clean car. I went the same day to pick it up and I'm happy to say that not only was it clean with virtually no rust, but Fil let me have it for a good price too

However I wasn't going to stop at just replacing the subframe with the exact same thing. I needed some reinforcement. Cue the music...

I blasted the frame where it was to be welded, and where there was some surface rust...

Then after cutting and grinding up some 12 gauge steel plate I had some pieces to box in the motor mount ears. With some tacking and hammering I had this...
I made sure to put nut, bolt, and socket in there to position the plate...

After some welding and grinding...

Rattle canned where I had blasted and I was ready to install...

The car is back on the road.
I'll see you chaps on Sunday at the Powerade Centre

Yeah.... all of that just to tell you I broke my subframe and replaced with a reinforced one

Last edited by Bullet Ride; 09-11-2012 at 08:03 PM.
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Old 09-11-2012, 09:02 PM   #3
all by chance...
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I needed 2 beers for that lol

Glag you got her up n running and stronger... See you sunday!

Gone but not forgotten
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Old 09-11-2012, 09:55 PM   #4
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Nice job fixing it up! Welds look buttery.

I had a similar issue with my e36 a while ago, The tabs themselves didn't rip off but the mounts actually ripped out!


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Old 09-11-2012, 10:18 PM   #5
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Nice job! This should outlast the car now!
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Old 09-11-2012, 10:44 PM   #6
E30 ..?
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You faaking Batman!
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Old 09-12-2012, 08:16 AM   #7
Bullet Ride
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In my haste to post last night (had to run out for a meeting) I also forgot to mention that after the drive home the nuts on the two bolts I had left on the output flange were only finger tight! I went to put in a new nut and bolt for the one that flew out and was like shhiiiittttt.......
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Old 09-12-2012, 10:58 AM   #8
if I lived . I would be ~
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Good post.
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Old 09-12-2012, 04:45 PM   #9
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I enjoyed reading this haha, nice way of wording things. Sucks to hear that it happened but glad you got it fixed!
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