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E30 front sway bar reinforcement – improvement over OEM

September 21, 2017
By

There are two problems with the front sway bar link mounts on the E30.

First, instead of the bushing shackle mounting by means of two bolts, BMW instead decided to use a slotted end, and one bolted end.

 

The problem with the slotted design is that the slot first needs to be inserted (at an angle) before the bolt end can be brought up to level. Sounds easy, but its a big pain. The rubber bushing is stubborn and doesn’t allow the shackle to move easily. Once you do start to get it level, if anything is off-angle, or the bushing is particularly stiff, the metal tab from the front subframe will start bending.

The second problem is how weak BMW made the protruding tab for the shackle bolt. Over time, this tab gets stressed and ends up breaking off; exacerbated by the forces it faces as aforementioned during installation.

Conveniently, there is a front subframe bolt just ahead of the slot and lines up perfectly with where the shackle goes.
There are a few companies that have begun making pre-made kits that utilize this front subframe bolt to provide for a reinforcement plate for the front bolt. The subframe bolt is substantially bigger (17mm) versus the lone 13mm used on the other end, so it provides a perfect mounting point for a reinforcement plate.

Install also gets simple, literally two bolts, without having to mess with a slot and have to angle or wedge anything.

 

Beware however, that some kits are missing 4 necessary spacers to take up the gap between the reinforcement plate and the front mounting point. Not a big deal, since spacers are cheap and can be bought at almost any hardware store, but keep it in mind.

Notice the gap:

Use two spacers to fill the gap. If the tab has already broken off before you install the reinforcement kit, you can either weld the tab back on, or use a washer as seen below to create a wedge:

If you have access to a welder and want to take it a step further (although really not necessary):

 

 

 

 

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