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      04-13-2012, 05:58 PM   #1
syenisch
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DIY Dinan Camber Plate Install

Just installed Dinan Camber Plates to complete my suspension overhaul for my '09 135i. No pictures for this one. It's pretty self-explanatory.

1) Make sure your e-brake is fully engaged and the car is in gear. Get the front of the car up on jack stands, and put some chocks in place behind the rear tires. Remove the front wheels using an 18mm socket, and slide them under the doors so if the jackstands failed the car would fall on the wheels. You can never be too safe!!

2) If working on the passenger side, skip this step. If working on the driver's side, uninstall the Headlight Regulating Rod from the Lower Control Arm. This requires either an 11mm or a 12mm wrench (I forgot which size). You will have to hold the bolt while you remove the nut, otherwise it will just spin.

3) Uninstall the Sway Bar Endlink from the shock. I believe this requires a 16mm socket. You will need to hold the bolt on the endlink in this step also. I just used a set of vice grips.

4) Use a set of spring compressors to compress the springs. You don't need them totally compressed. Only an inch or two.

4) If working on the passenger side, turn the steering wheel all the way to the left. If working on the driver side, turn the steering wheel all the way to the right. Jack up the brake rotor slightly to take the weight off the hub. Pop the hood and remove the three flanged nuts on the top of the strut assembly.

5) With a hand on the strut assembly, slowly lower the jack. If you don't have a hand on the strut assembly, it will fall violently and could damage your fender or fenderliner. Let the jack all the way down until it's no longer supporting the hub.

6) Swing the strut assembly out from under the fender. You will need to push down on the hub some. The three studs on the top of the strut tower that can make getting the strut assembly out from under the fender difficult. Luckily they're on a bearing. I was able to get them out from under the fender by getting one out, then rotating the top hat, getting the second out, and then rotating the top hat again to get the last one out. If you're really having no luck, compress the spring some more. You will likely need to reinstall one of the flanged nuts to hold the strut assembly in place while you compress the springs if you have to come back to do that. The strut assembly will be slightly taller after installing the Dinan Camber Plates, so if it's REALLY difficult, you probably should compress the springs more in anticipation of reassembly.

NOTE: I had Performance Suspension installed already, and I believe I could have gotten them out without using spring compressors at all.

7) Take a hammer and bang out the 3 studs in the top hat. Install the Dinan Camber Plates on top of the OEM top hat as described in the manufacturer-supplied instructions.

8) Swing the strut assembly back into fender well. Once inside, use your jack to lift the hub (and the strut assembly) into position. Be sure to turn the top hat so that the camber plates are oriented properly -- letter facing in, arrow pointing forward. Once aligned and raised into position, reinstall the 3 flanged nuts until they are touching the body, but do not tighten them.

9) Reinstall the Sway Bar Endlink. Tighten until the nut is touching the bracket on the shock, but do not tighten.

10) Raise the jack until the corner of the car you are working on just starts to raise off the jack, lower the car back down until the car sits back on the jack, and then freeze the jack. These essentially preloads the suspension to conditions close to what it will see on the street. Now you can torque the 3 flanged nuts on the top and the Sway Bar End Links. Lower the jack back down fully and place it aside.

10) On the driver's side only, reinstall the Headlight Regulating Rod. Torque this lightly.

11) Put your wheels back on, get the car off the jack stands and back on the ground, and torque your lugs.

12) Go to an alignment shop immediately.

13) Have some fun!
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      03-09-2013, 05:54 PM   #2
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Hi, question on your install. I have an e90 but I'm guessing things are pretty much the same.

On step 7, you hammer out the three studs (bolts?) in the top hat. I'm thinking this means this part can now never be returned to stock? Reason I ask, I'm trying to decide between the dinan plates and gc street plates, and if there are any hidden costs in case of a future part out. From your DIY, I'm wondering if you will need to buy replacement parts should you ever decide to part out?
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      05-24-2014, 06:58 PM   #3
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The strut tower brace blocks any socket head or torque wrench from accessing the 3rd flanged nut on the top of the strut assembly. Did you remove the brace to torque that nut?
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      05-25-2014, 03:11 AM   #4
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I have ST Coils. Would these steps work on that also?
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      09-26-2014, 04:02 PM   #5
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Can anyone specify the type of spring compressor used? My local shop just quoted me over $600 to do this job because their spring compressor is mounted to the wall of their shop, meaning they have to completely remove the struts to do the job. Obviously I'm not paying that if the job can be done in my own garage in less time.
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      09-26-2014, 04:11 PM   #6
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Go to autozone and buy a manual one for like $30. It basically has two claws that grab the top and bottom of the spring with a threaded rod connecting the two. You turn the rod and they squeeze together. Really easy, but I always wrap the entire thing in a towel so so it popped off nothing would go flying (it has popped off on me before)
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      09-26-2014, 05:02 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by syenisch View Post
Go to autozone and buy a manual one for like $30. It basically has two claws that grab the top and bottom of the spring with a threaded rod connecting the two. You turn the rod and they squeeze together. Really easy, but I always wrap the entire thing in a towel so so it popped off nothing would go flying (it has popped off on me before)
Like these?
Harbor Freight Spring Compressors

I know there are heavier duty types. They can be rented from Autozone for like $50 but if the above will do the job, that's a pretty inexpensive add to my arsenal of tools.
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      09-26-2014, 05:09 PM   #8
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yep, similar to those. I took the time to slot the strut holes up top as well, to the maximum the outer nut would move inwards (it hits the center hole where the strut top is eventually). Gained an extra .5 camber on top with that, sitting at 3 degrees even now with the dinan plates. Perfect! and no noises, either.
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      09-26-2014, 08:07 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 02rsxpilot
Quote:
Originally Posted by syenisch View Post
Go to autozone and buy a manual one for like $30. It basically has two claws that grab the top and bottom of the spring with a threaded rod connecting the two. You turn the rod and they squeeze together. Really easy, but I always wrap the entire thing in a towel so so it popped off nothing would go flying (it has popped off on me before)
Like these?
Harbor Freight Spring Compressors

I know there are heavier duty types. They can be rented from Autozone for like $50 but if the above will do the job, that's a pretty inexpensive add to my arsenal of tools.
Yep that's it.
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      09-26-2014, 08:20 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DietTab
yep, similar to those. I took the time to slot the strut holes up top as well, to the maximum the outer nut would move inwards (it hits the center hole where the strut top is eventually). Gained an extra .5 camber on top with that, sitting at 3 degrees even now with the dinan plates. Perfect! and no noises, either.
Dinan camber plates are great! No noises AT ALL. Just wish they offered another version with more negative camber
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      09-26-2014, 11:11 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by syenisch View Post
Dinan camber plates are great! No noises AT ALL. Just wish they offered another version with more negative camber
Slot the tower. Takes 10 minutes for both sides with a good bit and an air tool. Done
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      09-27-2014, 05:48 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DietTab
Quote:
Originally Posted by syenisch View Post
Dinan camber plates are great! No noises AT ALL. Just wish they offered another version with more negative camber
Slot the tower. Takes 10 minutes for both sides with a good bit and an air tool. Done
I would but I just bought an S2000 yesterday and will be putting my 135i up for sale in the next few days!
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      09-27-2014, 09:46 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by syenisch View Post
I would but I just bought an S2000 yesterday and will be putting my 135i up for sale in the next few days!
What trade your 1 for an S2000??????????
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      09-28-2014, 07:46 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rukuss
Quote:
Originally Posted by syenisch View Post
I would but I just bought an S2000 yesterday and will be putting my 135i up for sale in the next few days!
What trade your 1 for an S2000??????????
Don't want to hijack the thread, but I've had the 135i for 5.5 years. Just ready for something new. I have a short window where I can get a 2-seater, and I have always admired the S. Sure I will take a torque hit, but the handling is vastly superior. In a couple years when kids are in the equation I am going to reassess whether I should keep the S and get an economy daily driver or sell it and move up to a 435i GC. Time will tell!
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      09-28-2014, 01:14 PM   #15
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Keep that S2000 until it dies man. You're gonna love that car.
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      10-13-2014, 11:06 AM   #16
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Installed my plates yesterday, mostly using this guide, but wanted to add a few notes for future DIYers.

First, this DIY approaches the install by trying to get the top of the strut out from the fender so you can access the top hat and install the camber plate. The problem? Getting that much clearance was extremely difficult (borderline impossible) on stock M-Sport suspension. If you are determined to go this route, I highly recommend hammering out the studs at the top while they are still poking out through the shock towers. This reduces the amount of clearance you need by 3/8s inch or so. Plan on compressing your spring as much as your tool will allow. After much struggle, we eventually got the strut out beneath the fender liner but still could not get it to clear the fender itself. Forced to consider other options (take strut out completely, etc...), it became clear that none of this was really necessary!

How we did it (NO SPRING COMPRESSOR NEEDED!):
After detaching the headlight rod and sway bar link as per the instructions above, undo the nuts on the strut tower and use a hammer to carefully bang out the studs while they are still sticking through the holes. (Side note: These buggers will fall out but don't always make it to the ground. I recommend making sure you've found all six of them before you bolt everything back up and start driving. They won't fall anywhere where they'll cause a problem, but I only found five and it bugs me that I might have one still rattling around.)

Lower the jack supporting the hub to allow the strut to drop down as far as it will go. It won't clear it's little space in the shock tower, but at this point, we had plenty of room to slip the camber plate into the gap and on top of the strut, and lightly (you will torque them down in a second) installed the bolts that secure it one at a time by rotating the top around.

At that point raise the jack on the hub a few pumps so that you can get an allen wrench down through the strut tower to hold the bolt in place while you torque it down from below with a crescent wrench or socket (top tip: since you need the long side of the allen wrench to reach the bolts, use a pair of pliers or vice grip to add leverage to the short end of the allen wrench so you can torque the bolts down better). Rotate the top around so you can access each bolt until they are all tight.

Now your camber plate is securely mounted to your strut and you just have to bolt it back up to the shock tower. Orient the camber plate correctly, raise the jack to slide them into their slots, re-install the self-locking nuts and make sure you snug it down with the bolts slid as far towards the middle of the car as possible (assuming you are trying to max camber).

Proceed reattaching sway bar end links and headlight rod. Pop wheels back on and drop the car down. Torque lugs and job done!

Because of the multiple angle/access point issues, this was definitely a two man job to do it this way, but we did the driver's side in probably 30-45 minutes, whereas we were an hour at least into the passenger side before we realized there was no way we could get that strut all the way out of the fender.

Having done it once now, I'd budget about 90 minutes from wheels up to wheels down.
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      10-13-2014, 10:55 PM   #17
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suspension

thanks for the diy. just waned to share this video from ecs which is a great resource when working on the the front or rear suspension:


thats what i used to do my suspension install. if you loosen the bolts securing the suspension arms at the subframe, the suspension will drop low enough to get the strut out from underneath the fender. you are fighting the bushings if you don't and i believe it will be hard to get the clearance; you also may damage your bushings. no spring compressor is required.
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      10-14-2014, 06:26 PM   #18
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ECS video helps.

I still like the reach in method though.

The ECS method requires the loosening of the control arms, which means removing fender liners then loosening, then re-tightening, which is a pain in the ass getting tight again with a torque wrench while laying on your back under the car.

The ECS way was the way I did my suspension install, but for camber plates I would try to just reach in.
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