BMW 1 Series Coupe Forum / 1 Series Convertible Forum (1M / tii / 135i / 128i / Coupe / Cabrio / Hatchback) (BMW E82 E88 128i 130i 135i)
 





 

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      02-22-2009, 12:04 PM   #1
akak1997
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Mason Engineering Strut Bar

I saw a post on BimmerForums last week and Vorshlag (Terry Fair) was looking for someone to lend their car for development on a strut bar. So I signed up and went to meet John at Mason Engineering.

I think only Cross is currently making a strut bar specifically made for the 135, I do like the look of that bar, the CF is sexy as hell. But IMHO, it has more look than function. The platform on the Cross is not a complete ring, so there will be some movements when the car is really under stress, another thing I don't like is that the bar is hinged and not welded tight to the platform.

Another thing is the stock bars, it's right on top of where the strut is. Vorshlag was trying to fit some crazy coilovers with reservoirs and the stock bar is blocking it. That is why they wanted a new strut bar. There's no way in hell I'd be able to afford those, but I've seen people her having problems with camber plates as well just because of the stock bars. Besides, the stock bars are usless anyways. However, since BMW already has an anchor point in the middle of the car, we should make use of it and replace the stock bar with some thick aluminium oval tubes that gives better support.

this is a bar for the E46:


Here're some early prototype pics, still a lot more work needs to be done...
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Last edited by akak1997; 02-22-2009 at 10:02 PM..
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      02-22-2009, 01:00 PM   #2
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very cool subscribed
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      02-23-2009, 02:25 PM   #3
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Glad everything worked out. Mason said you were a great tester, knowing how to disassemble the acres of factory plastic covering the rear strut bar mounts. We've already talked and worked out what we both think will be the best layout for ease of use, the best strut access, and the best strength. Mason is The Man - if he is going to make a 1 series brace, it will be the best.


Basic layout will look like previous Mason strut tower braces for BMWs plus additional bars going to the center of the firewall for a triangulated design

This BF post sums up my thoughts on the factory installed 1 series strut bars: http://forums.bimmerforums.com/forum....php?t=1175993


AST 5300 coilovers for 135i race car

We do need a new 1 series brace that has an uncluttered strut tower opening, mostly to clear our new 5200/5300 series struts and their associated hoses/reservoirs, but also just to work with regular struts with a top mounted adjustment knob (including AST4000 series as well as the cheaper stuff out there). The stock routing of the non-M E90 and 1 series bars goes right over the top of the strut tower and blocks access to any top mounted adjustment knobs.


E92 M3 factory brace isn't half bad, as it unblocks the top of the strut, but it can be better

The E90/2 M3 strut brace is open at the top, and it fits the E90 non-Ms, but not the 1 series. The Mason brace will have this "complete coverage" strut top mounting plate - to spread the suspension loads through the top of hte tower and into the brace, strengthening the entire area. It will also be a straight tower-to-tower 1-piece brace, with additional mounts for bars that route to the factory firewall mount, so it can be fully triangulated. And as with all things Mason, its made in the USA with only top quality aluminum or steel alloys - not made overseas with blingy, cheap stuff. "Just say no" to hinged, cheap import strut braces.

More soon,

Terry Fair - Vorshlag Motorsports

Last edited by Fair; 02-25-2009 at 09:40 AM..
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      02-24-2009, 08:14 AM   #4
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I'd definitely be interested in this!
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      02-24-2009, 08:32 AM   #5
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Now those are strut braces!

...Aaaand subscribed!
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      02-24-2009, 10:01 AM   #6
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Awwsum....looks good. The new m3 strut bar looks similar and will fit our 1er but I heard one has to drill a few holes in the plastic
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      02-24-2009, 06:17 PM   #7
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Looks great! Definitely interested! Subscribed.
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      02-26-2009, 03:40 PM   #8
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Looks great! Definitely interested!
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      03-21-2009, 12:07 PM   #9
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sorry for the belated update, been too lazy to upload these pics last week :P

I's at John's place last week and we kinda got the first bar in position. I didn't quite like the angle of the bend, so John is going to smooth out the bend a little. Also, we kinda take the short cut on the platform and just cut it where the stock bar mount is. John said it is possible to get a complete ring, but since we're want to get the first bar in last week, we just cut it to save some time.











I'm going there today to get the 2nd bar in. The stupid windshield wiper fluid cap and jump start terminal is in the way, so we'll have to figure something out. Hopefully we can get the 2nd bar in today. Then next time we'll tackle the toughest ones, those diagonal bars that go to the firewall mount point.

Last week John taken out my stock bar for R&D, so I've been driving w/o the stock bars for a week. The car definitely feels sloppy when turning and I notice more noise when going thru bumps. So I guess the stock bar really isn't worth less. I think after we are all done with this strut bar, the car is going to feel amazing!
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      03-21-2009, 02:48 PM   #10
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      03-21-2009, 07:55 PM   #11
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Before I got lazy again, here's what we got done Today! We're Almost there! In 1 to 2 weeks, John should have the bar ready (w/o the diagonal ones).

Here's what it looks like so far:






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      03-22-2009, 09:50 AM   #12
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Ahh, that looks more like it. Looks like Mason is going to make a diagonally braced ladder style brace, like he does for the E46. This will be the strongest strut brace for a 1 series to date, by a huuuuuge margin.

I'm glad you're working with John - thanks for the testing help! Its kinda fun watching the design come together over a couple of iterations - which is how new fabricated designs like this work.


Mason Engineering 1-piece strut brace for BMW E46 (with Vorshlag gloss black powder coating)
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      03-22-2009, 10:27 AM   #13
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I like it...just because Mason is my last name!
No seriously I like the design...seems a bit more 'functional' than the JIC bar....that being said for someone like me I chose the JIC cause it was the only thing available at the time (more a cosmetic choice than anything). Now after seeing this I wish I had waited a bit longer....ah well...maybe in the future.
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      03-22-2009, 11:15 AM   #14
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I want it and I want it NOWWWWWWWW!!!!!! LOL
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      03-25-2009, 12:48 PM   #15
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Any updates? I'm ready to buy!!
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      03-25-2009, 01:29 PM   #16
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I should be going to Mason this weekend for the final fitment, I need to confirm that with John tomorrow. I'll post updates when I get them. I can't wait too.

I just got my Sway bar yesterday, I'm gonna postpone installing the sway bar until I got the strut bar in so I can review them for a stock car (suspension wise) perspective.
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      03-29-2009, 11:50 AM   #17
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Almost there. We've finally figured out how to deal with the diagonal bars. The first production bar should be ready in 2 weeks since John has to update the tooling on all the changes we made yesterday, figure out the curve/raise on the platform over the stock strut bar mount bracket, (i.e. no horseshoe platform, it's a ring or nothing ) and the first bar will be made out of Aluminum (tougher to weld).



With the cross bar, the stock diagonals still fits (barely):


To clear the strut top for camber plates we've to put a tab for the diagonal bars. They'll be similar to the M3 bar where it is held on by two screws.


Install is a bit more involving than the JIC bar since you've to remove the plastic cowl first, remove the stock diagonal bars, put the new diagonal bars in, put the cross bar in, tighten the screws, then put the cowl back on...


the final bar will look something like this but with aluminum oval diagonal tubes to the firewall instead of a solid steel bar in the picture. This is gonna be one Ultra strong strut bar!


It's gonna be a very long 2 weeks to wait...
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      03-29-2009, 12:31 PM   #18
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Very nice. I cannot wait to see the finished product.
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      04-12-2009, 12:49 AM   #19
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Finally! It Is Done!

This has taken much longer than anticipated but I'm happy to report that the strut bar is completed!!


It turns out much better looking in aluminum! the picture doesn't do it justice. The Aluminum looks so much better against the black/gray engine bay, it really pops! Also, this is way stiffer than what's on the market for the 1er. Check out the platform on this strut bar:


It's a Complete ring, not a horseshoe. Complete ring is way more rigid than a horseshoe. It is tough to make coz John has to figure out how to bump the platform over the stock bar mount point.


A tab is extend out from the platform for attaching the diagonal bars to the firewall mount. Those bars are made out of steel, and they're way stiffer than stock. Installing the diagonal bars is a bit more difficult because there are less room to work with. Remember to put a piece of cloth under where you work, since it's Very easy to drop a nut/washer/bolt. There's a extra washer in my engine bay now


Oh, and this will clear the oil cap:



You can pick from two material, Steel (~6lb) or Aluminum (~3lb).

And, there is two versions.
1. Strut bar that goes across the engine. (Steel: $325, Al: $375)
2. #1 + stock replacement, that goes diagonally to the firewall. This is for those who has Camber plates or gonna do camber plate. By replacing the stock bars, you free up the strut tower opening. (+$100)
Shipping/packaging is $32 via UPS

John hasn't update his website with the new product yet... but you can email/call him if you're interested. Mason Engineering



Installation:
If you're only getting the strut bar going across the engine, install is simple. Remove the stock strut bar bolt on both side and the strut bolt nuts. slide the new strut bar in, then just tighten everything up, Done!

The diagonal ones require some extra work. It'll be easier to do if you remove that cowl and air filter. Remove the trox bolt on the firewall, remove the stock bars, put the strut bar in. Then slide the new diagonal bars in. each of those bars are held down by 2 bolts and the stock bolt on the firewall. there aren't much room to work, take your time, or you're gonna drop something

Quick review:
I've got to drive on a short canyon road near John's place and with the new bar you can really feel the road through your steering wheel now Turn in is so much crisp and the car response faster to steering input. It's just a joy to drive it. With the new sway bar, I think the front is so solid now, the rear end is a bit easier to come loose. I felt one rear wheel lost traction for a split second when I's on that canyon road.

I's a bit worry when we're installing the bar since the bar fit so snug and something might knock/rub, but I don't hear any weird noise at all. I went past a very bumpy road on my way to dinner and no weird noise also.
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      04-12-2009, 07:51 AM   #20
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wow that looks great!
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      04-12-2009, 11:28 AM   #21
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Nice! ...now where the heck did I leave my checkbook...
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      04-12-2009, 04:42 PM   #22
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It was cool seeing the R&D process. Just a note on installing strut braces...make sure you use a torque wrench when tightening the nuts on top of the struts. I think it's 18 ft/lbs (at least on the E46). If you make it too tight, the screws WILL break and then you're SOL.
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