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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
2000 323I

I just replaced the front control arms and bushings on my car. They where long over due and I'm very happy with my new found handling. My problem is when I went to remove the engine/chassis brace the bolts by the fcabs (happened on both sides) loosened a little and then they seized up. By seized I mean they both would not continue even with sufficient force by a breaker bar. So I stopped trying to force them. Luckily they came just loose enough before seizing that the bracket dropped a little and I was able to get the bushing bolts out. When I completed the control arm job I tried to tighten them and they would not tighten either. The bolts are seized where they are. I am not comfortable leaving the bracket loose like this nor am I pleased with the clunk the bracket makes under pressure now that it has room to move.

Any suggestions on how to go about remedying this? Should I just force them and if they break just thread them out? Is there something I'm missing here?
 

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First of all, I changed out my CAB's without taking the reinforcement plate off at all. Don't know whether the sedan is different from my coupe.

Soaking is the first and best approach I know.
Get some PB Blaster and squirt up the threads as good as you can. Go in a little, go out a little, squirt again. Let sit for a while. Repeat process.

Bentley cautions against driving at all with reinforcing plate not installed properly. Can do damage.
 

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These bolts are meant to be replaced any time that the chassis bracing is removed from the vehicle. I spoke with a service tech at the BMW dealership about this and he said that, even so, they don't replace them.
 

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I spoke with a service tech at the BMW dealership about this and he said that, even so, they don't replace them.
When we're not looking, you'd be surprised what all the garages of every ilk don't do. Why do you think we're all scared as H to take our cars in for service, so instead come here to DIY?
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
With an open ended wrench I was a few turns away from freeing the second bushing bolt. I had no choice but to lower bracket. I have no problem using new bolts, I'll go get them tomorrow. I'm more concerned about snapping the old ones and having to get them out after. PB blaster is out. They've already soaked in it for awhile and nothing changed. Has anyone else come across this situation where these bolts seized up after a few turns?
 

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These bolts are meant to be replaced any time that the chassis bracing is removed from the vehicle. I spoke with a service tech at the BMW dealership about this and he said that, even so, they don't replace them.
I read more into this as well. There is no chassis danger in reusing them from my research. I do not know why they are torque-to-yield, but my readings have shown that it is not because they are designed to pop out in a collision.
 

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With an open ended wrench I was a few turns away from freeing the second bushing bolt. I had no choice but to lower bracket. I have no problem using new bolts, I'll go get them tomorrow. I'm more concerned about snapping the old ones and having to get them out after. PB blaster is out. They've already soaked in it for awhile and nothing changed. Has anyone else come across this situation where these bolts seized up after a few turns?
They are high grade bolts. That's why they cost a couple of bucks apiece. Strong.
You've got no choice but to work them in and out with patience. This will minimize thread damage.
 

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Saturate them with PB blaster. Turn them in and out over and over again until they've loosened up enough to get them out. Let the PB work itself in there if they get stubborn. When you can remove them, clean out the threading and put new ones in there with anti-seize. Heat will help if you have a propane torch. But be careful what you heat up under there.
 

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Not so sure about the anti-seize idea. These bolts are supposed to be torqued tight.







The real payout here is going to be finding out how these bolts actually came out when you get this done!
I'm not a fan of freon, nor heat in this instance. I think you've just got a decade worth of corrosion in those threads and need to work the bolts in and out with the benefit of penetrating oil.
My bet is that the bolts can be forced out without breaking.
There are eight bolts in total. Have you tried them all and all are frozen at some point?
 

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Get a can of freon with the brass valve that you screw down to puncture the can. Cut the valve off the hose, so you can just open the valve, and spray freon out.
Spray the freon on the bolt itself, trying not to spray the surrounding area. Get it as cold as possible. This should shrink the bolt enough to get it moving. As it warms up, hit it with freon again.
If it won't move, then your threads a screwed up, and there are metal chips preventing the bolt from moving.
But the freon method works well, much better than heat, as it actually shrinks the bolt. Continue to lubricate it as well. Spray some lube on, and run the bolt back in some, to get it inside, sort of a back and forth thing. This should get it out.
It is never a good idea to keep going until it snaps. If you are unable to get it, then find a shop that can help. But, if you break it off, they have less to work with. Give them as much as you can to work with.

Plant a tree if you feel bad about venting freon to the atmosphere.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Freon? I've never tried this but it sounds like a good idea. I'll try it. I don't think I'll be planting a tree. My electric bill is far smaller than Al Gore's.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Ok so after being patient and trying a few different methods the bolt on the drivers side broke off this morning. I will have to get the broken piece out and will probably have to break the bolt of the other side too. Hopefully I will not have to retap the holes.

My question is can I drive my car for a few days with the chassis brace not secure? It will be a few days until I have a work free afternoon to dedicate to it. Am I risking damaging anything by putting too much force on it because the brace isn't connected?
 

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Ok so after being patient and trying a few different methods the bolt on the drivers side broke off this morning. I will have to get the broken piece out and will probably have to break the bolt of the other side too. Hopefully I will not have to retap the holes.

My question is can I drive my car for a few days with the chassis brace not secure? It will be a few days until I have a work free afternoon to dedicate to it. Am I risking damaging anything by putting too much force on it because the brace isn't connected?
The chassis brace ties the front subframe to the unibody. Its integral to the structure of the car as a whole. You should not lift the car unevenly without the brace, nor should you be driving it. Permanent damage may occur. Your call.

This is per TIS
 

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BMW TIS - 51 71 374

Caution!
Vehicles must not be driven without reinforcement plates.
Driving without the reinforcement plate may damage the front axle.
 

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I hope you have not driven your car. Do not drive it with the brace loose it at all.


Go buy a nice Air impact wrench and those bolts that are stuck will come flying off. Also replace all 8 bolts with new ones. They are not meant to be reused EVER. When you put the new ones back on torque the bolts down to 43FT of torque and then rurn another 90 degree's.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
The 8 bolt comment also makes me wonder if we're all on the same page. The brace I'm referring to is a triangle and only has 3 bolts.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
On a side note nice evil Heisenberg/ Walter White pic mango. Big fan of Breaking Bad?
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
So the e36 had a straight bar going side near the fcab's w/ 2 bolts and then my earlier e46 has a triagle (side to side and then toward the front) w/3 bolts. This brace is that integral?
 
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