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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
VanCooper and I cruised over to Jericho Beach to install the Strong-Strut strut tower brace today, and to check out the local scenery of the two-legged variety, always a worthwhile endeavor, by the beach on a sunny summer Vancouver day. I took along metric and standard sockets, several ratchets, a 3/4" open-end wrench and a 3/8" allen key.

Installation instructions were straightforward and quite simple: assemble the brace, remove the six OE nuts, and adjust and install the brace using six acorn nuts included in the accessory kit. Right away I could see a minor problem - I could only get a socket on three of the OE nuts - the other three were partially obstructed by the microfilter housings. The moral of the story is to bring 13mm (or use the one in the toolkit) and 1/2" open-end wrenches (the 13mm fits also) also. I got lucky when I looked in the toolkit and found the 13mm wrench so no return trip home was necessary. I'll look at it again to see if a u-joint and socket might work better but the wrench was fine and possibly better, given the angle. All OE nuts broke loose easily with either tool, a definite relief. A little jiggling later and the brace was on, centered end-to-end, and aligned for optimum clearance.

Five of six acorn nuts and washers fit perfectly. On the sixth, the threaded post was angled such that the supplied washer would not slip over it and into the indented part of the mount, no matter how much tugging we did on the strut brace itself. A quick file just to take off (flatten) 1mm of the edge would have done the trick, but I had no file. Later, I went to my washer kit and found another, slightly smaller washer that slipped perfectly over the post. Problem solved. Remember, a torque wrench only can be used on three, or possibly four of the nuts. I'm pretty sure that the open-end wrench gets the torque very close on the other two, as I used a torque wrench and the open-end wrench several times to get a feel the necessary force.

While I was snugging up the allen bolts that connect the bar to the mounts VanCooper called my attention to a problem. The bar was contacting the plenum cover and we could not pass a sheet of paper underneath. No problem, just backing each bolt off about 1/4 turn produced the perfect clearance. That would be my suggested installation procedure as it optimizes the overall tightness of the mount and brace assembly easily and exactly.

I'll have to drive it more to post impressions but I think there's a difference...and I absolutely love how it looks. It's awesome! Definitely a two thumbs up mod! Thanks VanCooper (he's the photogenic gentleman in the green)...
 

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Nice pics, nice bar, nice mod! :thumbsup:
 

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Good stuff!

Gorgeous day, eh?

Too bad I was stuck in the office all day. Otherwise, I would've loved to come hang out and watch the install.

Thanks for posting and let us know if you notice any non-cosmetic improvements. I doubt it. The E39 isn't exactly loose structurally.

But it does look bad-***!
 

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BKH said:
.
While I was snugging up the allen bolts that connect the bar to the mounts VanCooper called my attention to a problem. The bar was contacting the plenum cover and we could not pass a sheet of paper underneath. No problem, just backing each bolt off about 1/4 turn produced the perfect clearance. That would be my suggested installation procedure as it optimizes the overall tightness of the mount and brace assembly easily and exactly.
If the clearance is that tight, would you be better of adding a washer underneath the bar so the nuts can be tightened all the way?
Regards,
Jerry
 

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Discussion Starter #5
gsfent said:
If the clearance is that tight, would you be better of adding a washer underneath the bar so the nuts can be tightened all the way?
Nope - I think I did it the right way. Overtightening the side allen bolts flattens the brace bar, so backing until it just assumes its intended shape is the way to go.
 

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BKH said:
Nope - I think I did it the right way. Overtightening the side allen bolts flattens the brace bar, so backing until it just assumes its intended shape is the way to go.

Be sure to provide plenty of clearance. The Dinan bar gives about 10mm. The motor mounts are liquid-filled and designed to move a bit to isolate vibrations and noise, so the motor WILL wiggle about some. You don't want to wreck your expensive plenum cover.
 

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It was fun helping you BKH, this install proved to me how satisfying it is to install mods yourself provided you have the right instructions like we had today.

The fit and finish on the strut is top notch and the color closely matched the non-clearcoated silverstone color present under the hood of the M5.

Now that I have helped on this install, I'll have to install a strut on my Mini Cooper S convertible which definitly needs one. I wonder if strong strut makes one for the MCS?
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Thanks ELEVENS. I was planning to monitor it tomorrow for any contact but I don't expect to find any. The fourth photo shows "at rest" clearance.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Opposite_Lock said:
Gorgeous day, eh? Too bad I was stuck in the office all day. Otherwise, I would've loved to come hang out and watch the install.
No doubt. Someday we'll have to hoist one together!
:cheers:
 

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Be sure to provide plenty of clearance. The Dinan bar gives about 10mm. The motor mounts are liquid-filled and designed to move a bit to isolate vibrations and noise, so the motor WILL wiggle about some. You don't want to wreck your expensive plenum cover.
That's always been my worry about installing one of these in this particular car. Other cars seem to have more clearance but the fit between plenum and hood is already very tight. I just can't see how that brace would fit in there and not hit the motor when it's straining against the mounts, but I suppose the proof is that you did it and there aren't any problems. :M5launch:
 

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Need4Spd said:
That's always been my worry about installing one of these in this particular car. Other cars seem to have more clearance but the fit between plenum and hood is already very tight. I just can't see how that brace would fit in there and not hit the motor when it's straining against the mounts, but I suppose the proof is that you did it and there aren't any problems. :M5launch:
You're right - it's a tight fit. My car recently got a new hood and hood insulation, and you can clearly see the imprint that the Dinan bar has pressed into the soft insulation. On the other hand, even with a broken right motor mount, there was no evidence of the brace hitting the motor. Which surprised me, given how much that motor squirms around in there just by blipping the throttle.

BKH: I'm still waiting for the pics of the "local scenery of the two-legged variety". :D
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Need4Spd said:
I just can't see how that brace would fit in there and not hit the motor when it's straining against the mounts, but I suppose the proof is that you did it and there aren't any problems. :M5launch:
OK, I've given it some time and a number of WOT applications - there's no contact with the plenum cover whatsoever and the Strong-Strut. It has left a very slight imprint on the under-hood insulation. I looked at atomic80's Dinan strut brace-equipped car on Friday and it appears as if the Dinan version has a tiny bit more clearance over the plenum cover, but leaves a deeper imprint in the insulation. In either case, clearance over the plenum cover under any foreseeable driving condition appears to be no problem.
 
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