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      07-02-2010, 12:43 AM   #1
MrBimmer
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Anyone else manage to damage the front strut towers?

After my 3rd alignment ( paid $80 for 1 at pep boys and did the second one within the 3 month window they give you to return to do it again without charge. Third one was today at bmw [ which wanted $250 for alignment by the way but cut me a deal and only paid $135 ] ) i was told that i have strut tower damage and that there was mushrooming. My alignment is still off marginally. the print out says that the tech was unable to adjust camber on the front right wheel. ( i wish they could have told me all of this before taking my money )

i have no idea when this happened but i do remember that after hitting a few potholes the car never felt the same again. Am i the only one that has experienced this? i have a date to assess and quote the repair cost on saturday.
needless to say, im very unhappy.
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      07-02-2010, 08:05 AM   #2
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Have you lowered your car? If so, how. Lowering reduced the travel the damper can move to absorb bumps, and can bottom out more easily, potentially causing damage.

Unfortunately, you live in an area of the worst streets known to man, as well.
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      07-02-2010, 01:12 PM   #3
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For the E36 and E46 you could get strut tower reinforcement plates from BMW. They fit underneath the strut tower. They worked fairly well in distributing the load caused by camber plates or more aggressive springs. I have not seen any version for the E9x or E82/E88 cars yet.

You might want to look into a strut brace. That will help reinforce the tower from the top and help prevent the tower from deforming more than it already is.
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      07-02-2010, 01:42 PM   #4
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My car is stock all the way around except for the lights. nothing lowered, im on stock wheels and tires. will the brace do keep the tower safe? how can that be since the damage is coming from down below it.
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      07-02-2010, 01:59 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MrBimmer View Post
will the brace do keep the tower safe? how can that be since the damage is coming from down below it.
usually the strut tower brace has a pad that is wider than the strut hat. So when the strut hat pushes against the top of the tower (i.e. mushroom) it will encounter the strut brace on top. Since the strut brace is held in place by the same bolts it should provide additional support. Not as much as a reinforcement plate underneath but more than not having one.
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      07-02-2010, 02:52 PM   #6
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where can i find and price those plates?
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      07-10-2010, 12:07 PM   #7
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You're not the only one. Just got back from installing the performance suspension, and the front right tower was mushroomed and the strut plate that mounts to it was all mangled. I managed to hit a pothole hard enough to monkey-bubble the stock runflats, so it was definitely not a light impact. This was all on the stock suspension. Not happy about that, moreso the town that neglects the road than the fact the tower mushroomed - it seems well enough made. Haven't had it aligned yet, but we'll see what happens when I do.
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      07-10-2010, 05:56 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MrBimmer View Post
After my 3rd alignment ( paid $80 for 1 at pep boys and did the second one within the 3 month window they give you to return to do it again without charge. Third one was today at bmw [ which wanted $250 for alignment by the way but cut me a deal and only paid $135 ] ) i was told that i have strut tower damage and that there was mushrooming. My alignment is still off marginally. the print out says that the tech was unable to adjust camber on the front right wheel. ( i wish they could have told me all of this before taking my money )

i have no idea when this happened but i do remember that after hitting a few potholes the car never felt the same again. Am i the only one that has experienced this? i have a date to assess and quote the repair cost on saturday.
needless to say, im very unhappy.
Just curious your car being stock and all is this not covered by warenty or are you past the 40000 mi
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      07-16-2010, 11:11 AM   #9
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More info, I had the same problem and they refuse to cover it...

Right front as well.
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      07-16-2010, 11:43 AM   #10
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This scars me. I hit a pothole last night on one of the express ways in the Buffalo, NY area in my two week old 128i. I have 18 inch OEM wheels with stock run flats. I was going about 60, fortunately not faster. When I hit the pothole it sounded like someone hit my car with a sledge hammer, Bam! It just pisses me off that there can be an unaddressed hole that big and deep in an expressway. It's really a safety issue in addition to the fact that it destroys suspensions and wheels. There shoud really be some recourse back to the town when something like this happens. I pay taxes, there should never be a hole that big in a road, especially in the middle of the summer. I'm really worried that I bent a rim or worse strut tower damage like you have all had. Dosn't sound like it takes much.
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      07-16-2010, 01:04 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BMWfan69 View Post
This scars me. I hit a pothole last night on one of the express ways in the Buffalo, NY area in my two week old 128i. I have 18 inch OEM wheels with stock run flats. I was going about 60, fortunately not faster. When I hit the pothole it sounded like someone hit my car with a sledge hammer, Bam! It just pisses me off that there can be an unaddressed hole that big and deep in an expressway. It's really a safety issue in addition to the fact that it destroys suspensions and wheels. There shoud really be some recourse back to the town when something like this happens. I pay taxes, there should never be a hole that big in a road, especially in the middle of the summer. I'm really worried that I bent a rim or worse strut tower damage like you have all had. Dosn't sound like it takes much.
Here in California the local municipalities or CalTrans (if it is a state road) are responsible for the damage and will pay for it. It happens so often here that there are even online forms to submit claims.
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      07-16-2010, 01:15 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nordique14 View Post
Here in California the local municipalities or CalTrans (if it is a state road) are responsible for the damage and will pay for it. It happens so often here that there are even online forms to submit claims.
Wow! That's great! I'll have to check if the Buffalo area has anything like this. Anyone from Western, NY know?
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      07-16-2010, 02:17 PM   #13
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Anyone know anything about missouri/Illinois?
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      01-18-2011, 05:41 PM   #14
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Add me to the list of bent strut towers!

Quote:
Originally Posted by MrBimmer View Post
After my 3rd alignment ( paid $80 for 1 at pep boys and did the second one within the 3 month window they give you to return to do it again without charge. Third one was today at bmw [ which wanted $250 for alignment by the way but cut me a deal and only paid $135 ] ) i was told that i have strut tower damage and that there was mushrooming. My alignment is still off marginally. the print out says that the tech was unable to adjust camber on the front right wheel. ( i wish they could have told me all of this before taking my money )

i have no idea when this happened but i do remember that after hitting a few potholes the car never felt the same again. Am i the only one that has experienced this? i have a date to assess and quote the repair cost on saturday.
needless to say, im very unhappy.
I am getting curved custom reinforcement plates being made and are being intalled now.

I will post pics when it is finished.

Needless to say. I can not believe BMW engineers missed this one since my wife's Audi Q5 has a really thick strut tower top plate and brace as standard equipment.

Clearly this blooming of mushrooming strut towers is a cost reduction exercise by BMW accountants, risk management statisticians, and leasing consultants.

Grrr! But nothing drives like a BMW.
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      01-18-2011, 07:17 PM   #15
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Are you familiar with the saying: "Set the Toe and let her Go..."

On a lot of modern cars you can NOT adjust much - on the suspension. I don't know how it is on the 1er's... but on the e36's and e46's all you can really adjust is toe. Camber and Caster is a - what you got is what you have deal. No adjustments. Only on the M cars can you adjust the camber. Some people remove the guide pin in the strutbearing - for slightly more caster on our cars.

So... when you hit a pothole... and a shock or strut bearing gets hammered somewhat... the alignment tech can not adjust anything. All he can do is do is a four wheel alignment and make sure all the wheels are pointing and tracking straight.

Some car makers or independant shops use thinner suspension bolts that allow more movement for adjusting the suspension. I know VW does this bandaid approach on some of their cars. Some shops can special order these thinner shank bolts too. You just have to ask around.

You might just want to upgrade to the M-suspension bits for better handling.

You might want to tell us your alignment specs before and after your alignment. And also how far out of wack they are.

Good Luck,
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      01-18-2011, 07:30 PM   #16
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Wheels are tracking straight

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dackelone View Post
Are you familiar with the saying: "Set the Toe and let her Go..."

On a lot of modern cars you can NOT adjust much - on the suspension. I don't know how it is on the 1er's... but on the e36's and e46's all you can really adjust is toe. Camber and Caster is a - what you got is what you have deal. No adjustments. Only on the M cars can you adjust the camber. Some people remove the guide pin in the strutbearing - for slightly more caster on our cars.

So... when you hit a pothole... and a shock or strut bearing gets hammered somewhat... the alignment tech can not adjust anything. All he can do is do is a four wheel alignment and make sure all the wheels are pointing and tracking straight.

Some car makers or independant shops use thinner suspension bolts that allow more movement for adjusting the suspension. I know VW does this bandaid approach on some of their cars. Some shops can special order these thinner shank bolts too. You just have to ask around.

You might just want to upgrade to the M-suspension bits for better handling.

You might want to tell us your alignment specs before and after your alignment. And also how far out of wack they are.

Good Luck,
Dackel
But because of the bent strut tower on the driver's side, it will no longer drive straight when you let go of the steering wheel. It will slowly pull to the right when there is no crown on the road.

The reverse will be true with the passenger side strut tower being bent.

You are right, this is fixed without any adjustment. That's why I have a custom shop hammer down the strut mount with a 2x4 wood block to flatten the strut tower and splayed strut mount bolts.

Not to mention that the tower sheet metal is now weakened, therefore requiring reinforcement for the next time the car hits a pothole.

Truth be told, the 1er strut tower, combined with soft alloy wheels, and extremely nasty run flat tires, all help to make pothole damage a lot worse that it should be.
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      01-18-2011, 07:38 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fancyfl1ght View Post
But because of the bent strut tower on the driver's side, it will no longer drive straight when you let go of the steering wheel. It will slowly pull to the right when there is no crown on the road.

It all depends on what is out of specs. Sounds like your caster is different from side to side. On most cars the right side of the car takes most of the wear/damage from pot holes, ect. Its usually the RF tie rods that first wear out too.

You could remove that pin(on top of the strutt) to gain more caster. Or go with an aftermarket fix.

Btw... a damage tire (belts within a tire carcus) CAN also cause a pull like this. You might also try swapping your tires left to right - just to make sure it is not a bad tire.

Dackel
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      03-13-2016, 01:47 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fancyfl1ght View Post
But because of the bent strut tower on the driver's side, it will no longer drive straight when you let go of the steering wheel. It will slowly pull to the right when there is no crown on the road.

The reverse will be true with the passenger side strut tower being bent.

You are right, this is fixed without any adjustment. That's why I have a custom shop hammer down the strut mount with a 2x4 wood block to flatten the strut tower and splayed strut mount bolts.

Not to mention that the tower sheet metal is now weakened, therefore requiring reinforcement for the next time the car hits a pothole.

Truth be told, the 1er strut tower, combined with soft alloy wheels, and extremely nasty run flat tires, all help to make pothole damage a lot worse that it should be.
I hit a large pothole up on hwy 280 last night and i think this might be my issue now. It sounded like i was hit with a sledgehammer...never saw the damn pothole.

Car pulls to the right slightly now. I was sure something was damaged. I imagined bent control arms, rim...something. It was a HARD bang.

I hope its not a strut tower issue but it seems like it may be just that. I know from having a Mini Cooper this is a common issue for those cars but i didnt think about it affecting the BMW.
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