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BarryJB's Avatar
 
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Rear crossmember, tower damage pics (from coliovers)

Duh! How do you fix a typo in the title?!
Anyone know what happens if a tower cap completely lets go with coilovers?... or has a cross-section of the tower construction?

Unless one of our suspension-testing gurus knows otherwise, one assumes it's not safe to drive it even gently like this - no idea of internal structure of tower - and don't fancy the idea (although don't know) of one or both coilover units stabbing up into engine bay goodies and whatever other horrors would occur re brake lines, body, drive shafts, tires, etc., if one or both let go.

Scary or cool thing, depending on how you look at it, is that it's not clear how long it had been this way, except that there was a lot of dust in the openings... but not about to risk driving it to destruction to find out! But I'm guessing they will have grown since first separation, and rate of growth would presumably accelerate towards catastrophic failure...

Also it's interesting that where the caps are separating isn't an area that some of the folks who've done reinforcement (several good images in threads here) seem to have addressed - such as weld around it.

It's opened up over 50% of circ. driver side. Passenger side same issue but less (poor images - iPhone shots of boroscope screen - not worth posting).


Crack in the driver side crossmember to side rail (front left corner of engine bay).
Nothing visible other side...




Broken spot welds under car, driver side, again other side looks good.


Car's going in (trailer!), engine drop for some other work, so this will be fixed then... Repair welds on caps, and patches both sides where the crack is on L side, plus Elephant reinforcement kit... Running 240lb coilovers with Bilstein Sports... (street car). Anyway, lucky it was spotted while car was in for a pre-DMV ref appointment lookover last week.

And just as everything was going so well - door jam now sports the coveted CA DMV engine sticker, and on the 1st try - thanks to Mark K. at Black Forest for the lookover and some minor but helpful remediation (and spotting the cracks!), and Jae at Mirage for doing such a great clean job with the lump main install.
Cheers
Barry
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85 Carrera Coupe, 3.6 conversion w/blah blah blah (a mod or two )ójust topped 400,000 miles! Mad Wasp (Benelli TnT 1130); 98 BMW K1200RS.

Last edited by BarryJB; 03-18-2013 at 03:20 AM..
Old 03-18-2013, 02:54 AM
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I always wondered if to coil over scare was just bs, particularly in a street driven car. Thanks for posting!
Old 03-18-2013, 03:34 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mreid View Post
I always wondered if to coil over scare was just bs, particularly in a street driven car. Thanks for posting!
I'd clearly have agreed with you, but it looks rather unlike bs to me, now!

Still, car's been through a lot in its 340k+ miles, including handling upgrades and then the engine conversion last year, thus it may be atypical in this regard for a street-use coilover car... or not. Couldn't find any threads regarding breakage - and nothing at all about the tower caps coming off - but several re reinforcement strategies.

All I can say is that mine has broken where most racers install reinforcement, so in that respect at least, it's "normal".
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Old 03-18-2013, 04:30 AM
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I would not drive any meter like this!

Cracks with coil-overs are very common, reinforcements are a must. I had similar cracks except the tower top ones. As you have seen, there are several threads about the problem and how to reinforce.

Further check the chassis for some more cracks, maybe remove paint and undercoat if not sure there aren't any more.

BTW, the rubbers here are upside down:



Should be like this (be sure there is a spacer too):

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930 Turbo '81 Too many modifications to list
Old 03-18-2013, 04:57 AM
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Thanks for posting. I have been considering going to coilovers in the rear for ease of height adjustment and changing spring rates. I was planning on the tower re-inforcement anyway but will take your experience into consideration.
Old 03-18-2013, 05:11 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by proffighter View Post
I would not drive any meter like this!

Cracks with coil-overs are very common, reinforcements are a must. I had similar cracks except the tower top ones. As you have seen, there are several threads about the problem and how to reinforce.

Further check the chassis for some more cracks, maybe remove paint and undercoat if not sure there aren't any more.

BTW, the rubbers here are upside down: (&) Should be like this (be sure there is a spacer too):
Roland, thank you for your suggestions. I've dodged a bullet re catching it so far, but will have to drive it onto the trailer a few meters... gently, and add some support just in case. Although I can't feel or see any movement in the caps when I bounce on the rear bumper pad (and I'm not making a case to drive it!)..

My shop will indeed do a thorough job on that as you suggest, and I'll have them beef up both sides symmetrically after repairing the cracks and caps. Since posting I've found a couple of horror stories - one about a 930 guy who had the crossmember completely rip out, with unpleasant results. The caps though as I look at them again, seem only to be spot welded, which implies they aren't designed to take much load at all, if so it looks a bit delicate even for a t-bar set up, except car won't drop and shove the units up if they fail.

I'll tell my wrench about the inverted rubbers - he's one of SoCal's premiere 911 suspension set up gurus, who often changes out client springs at the track several times a day, so I'll be interested in his response - I'm guessing already

Also, that's a WAY nicer spacer than mine. But shouldn't it be a nylok on top? Perhaps it's a locknut of the distorted thread type, or just a keeper nut.

Thanks again,
Barry
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Old 03-18-2013, 05:35 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Deadeye View Post
Thanks for posting. I have been considering going to coilovers in the rear for ease of height adjustment and changing spring rates. I was planning on the tower re-inforcement anyway but will take your experience into consideration.
And corner balancing too. Some folks with 930's and 911's have fitted full 935 setups (coilovers) with no reinforcement and no issues for years, or "ever" (so far)... but as Roland mentioned, many have not been so lucky.

So my 5Ę now (!) would be do it up front, or wait for an "other stuff" needed engine drop to go to coilovers. One might conceivably choose to risk delaying installation of the reinforcement until an engine drop is needed for other things, as long as one regularly monitors the known trouble areas in that period. If it does start, you just have to bite the bullet earlier is all.
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Old 03-18-2013, 05:52 AM
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Thanks, nice spacer I know, but I meant this one in your case:

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930 Turbo '81 Too many modifications to list
Old 03-18-2013, 05:55 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by proffighter View Post
Thanks, nice spacer I know, but I meant this one in your case:
Oh, OK, understood, not that I'll be doing this work.
Anyway...any pics of your beastie here?
Cheers
Barry
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Old 03-18-2013, 01:03 PM
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Wow, yet another scary result of coilovers without reinforcement.
Sorry to see, just glad you noticed before any accidents.

I know that many are running coilovers with no reinforcement.

Keep us updated on the result
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1979 930: Garret GT35r turbo, EFI, carerra intake, Link EMS, custom GT2 cams, 98mm JE P/C, 964 crank (stroker), custom valves & ported (XtremeCylinderHeads) etc..etc..
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Old 03-18-2013, 02:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by totle View Post
Wow, yet another scary result of coilovers without reinforcement.
Sorry to see, just glad you noticed before any accidents.

I know that many are running coilovers with no reinforcement.

Keep us updated on the result
Trond, will do re updates, and will try to get pics of repair/reinforcement before mill is back in too. Car goes in this week... fingers crossed

Oh and thanks for your concern! It might have been a real horror story... it seems not all cars have this issue with COs... maybe car's history of (ab)use is a factor, or whether Hans or Frans did the welding that day... I know which side to err with this stuff now!
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Last edited by BarryJB; 03-18-2013 at 02:15 PM..
Old 03-18-2013, 02:10 PM
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Exactly why my car was reinforced in all those spots, plus shock tower braces and tied to the roll cage before I converted to coilovers. I've seen this kind of damage before on 911's, though usually with heavy springs. Interestingly two of the cars I'd seen do this were both exclusively street driven. But I suspect pounding potholes may be just as abusive as aggressive track work on those parts of the chassis.

I sympathize with the OP for the structural damage on his car that will now require some significant repairs before it goes back on the street. But this is exactly why the experts all say to reinforce those parts of the chassis before doing coilovers.

Barry- my drivetrain is out of the car so I'll see if I can get a few pics of the multiple reinforcing plates on my car. Plus the shock tower bracing from Rebel Racing welded in.

And nice bike too. Most recent BMW was a 76 R100RS, now holding out for an S1000RR
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Old 03-18-2013, 02:54 PM
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Some pics.....

First one is before the coilovers went in, did this even when running the 34mm rear torsions knowing I'd eventually go to coilovers. You can see all the pieces welded in not only on the area where the crossmember hits the longitudinals but also up over the top and up the inner fenders. And you can see the Rebel shock tower pieces too. Coilovers fitted to roll the car to the cage builder:



Here's the cage tied in, not painted yet of course:


One more:


And the way it comes through the firewall and is tied to the cage:
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Old 03-18-2013, 03:12 PM
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Wow Ed,

That is some serious cage work !!!
Looks nice

Cheers !
Phil
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Old 03-18-2013, 03:48 PM
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Quote:
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...shouldn't it be a nylok on top? Perhaps it's a locknut of the distorted thread type, or just a keeper nut.
There is a Schnorr washer, hard to see
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Old 03-18-2013, 03:49 PM
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Quote:
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Oh, OK, understood, not that I'll be doing this work.
Anyway...any pics of your beastie here?
Cheers
Barry
Latest are here (warning, open heart surgery )

Another rust combat
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Old 03-18-2013, 03:51 PM
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Quote:
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Exactly why my car was reinforced in all those spots, plus shock tower braces and tied to the roll cage before I converted to coilovers. I've seen this kind of damage before on 911's, though usually with heavy springs. Interestingly two of the cars I'd seen do this were both exclusively street driven. But I suspect pounding potholes may be just as abusive as aggressive track work on those parts of the chassis.

I sympathize with the OP for the structural damage on his car that will now require some significant repairs before it goes back on the street. But this is exactly why the experts all say to reinforce those parts of the chassis before doing coilovers.

Barry- my drivetrain is out of the car so I'll see if I can get a few pics of the multiple reinforcing plates on my car. Plus the shock tower bracing from Rebel Racing welded in.

And nice bike too. Most recent BMW was a 76 R100RS, now holding out for an S1000RR
Ed, my wrench is one of the best known 911 suspension guys in SoCal. We haven't had the conversation yet, but I'm pretty sure his experience led him to let me do this unreinforced (COs & 935 plates), given the then (theory) and now (experiential) perspectives that the crossmember was not designed with such forces in mind... fact is some folks report no issues at all, even with heavier 930 cars, although maybe one should add "yet". But IME he's always pretty conservative about stuff...

Late 2011 we had tried F 21mm TBs & R 400lb COs i.e., (according to Will Ferch's 2000 post on Rennlist) equivalent to a F/R of 173/400lb or 21/32(-and-a-bit)mm, custom revalved shocks, but it knocked a corner of windshield out, plus shortened my spine, three times in all on a freeway joint (up in L.A.) & RR Xings. It also lost much of that prescient supple feel of flowing over the road while glued to it... so we went back to Bilstein Sports and a 21mm/250lb which for the moment (still the 3.2) felt perfect for my uses. Stock ARBs all along. It may have been some damage started then, and grew even though we dialed back the shocks and R spring rate, although the 3.6 conversion has certainly added to the loads. But pretty sure there was nothing like this going on - visible at least - when we did the engine swap last spring. I'd also switched to Kuhmo XS 265's on the back... all these things add to the loads

I think you are right re potholes and the like, transient effects probably rather different to those on a track where hopefully transitions are smoother if not more extreme... also the car gets driven quite hard (and harder now with the extra oomph). The streets are hardly glass smooth these days. Still, live and learn. All my prior research on this and I managed to miss the whole reinforcement issue, so I never brought it up. Luckily with the 3.6 conversion, it worked out better - car got its CA door jam sticker on the first go. So I am hardly despondent!

I look forward to seeing your pics. I browsed a few hours last night seeing what other folks had done (NOW I find all this stuff about coilover reinforcement!). So in addition to basic repairs to cracks and tower caps, will be adding reinforcement plates in corners, maybe underneath too, welding fully around caps and installing the Elephant 6-piece kit, which also does at least a part of what your huge side plates do, and ties those sides to the tower, plus whatever else looks good "WWAIT"... hummed and hah'd about Rebel v. Elephant, ER won although I like the box section idea, we figured a bit trickier to weld in. Plus don't plan on those 600-2000+lb springs racers like to use back there

(Ah, motorcycles... Been neglecting Beemer lately, except for groceries/parts; Benelli a blast, easy to ride, feels much smaller than it is... still love the K though. Last grocery run bumped into guy w/6 mos on an S1000RR who'd renounced decades of H-Ds, was his 3rd sport bike in two years, tried a Duke last year & preferred RR... was struck by his description of RR's part-of-you feel was much the same as us p-car guys enjoy on four wheels...

Never too old to learn, gives me hope I'll get this car sorted soon and well... Slightly upped ARBs next, the 3.6 made me do it... definitely be reinforcing for those
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Old 03-18-2013, 05:31 PM
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Quote:
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There is a Schnorr washer, hard to see
Visually stealthy, but I didn't hear anything either
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Old 03-18-2013, 05:40 PM
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Ed, that cage is an elegant, proverbial brick outhouse of a construct...

The plating is a sterling job, very much what I'd like to see in mine now the issue is clear! I expect to go something between yours and the older TRE rail/crossmember plating re extent - do you recall if it was 1/8-in, or a lighter gauge of plate? Might go deeper around the side rails, based on where mine has cracked.

I've nabbed one of the images and will take it down to the shop when my car goes in, thank you.

One thing though, like other reinforcement strategies, it doesn't look like your tower upper caps have been welded around, you can still see the original edges and (6?) spot welds... those are what have partially popped on mine... and I'm not running anything like the - since you pre-coilovered with 34mm rears (some 500lb?) - well I'm guessing you are up there with the other track guys now, yet this lifting cap issue doesn't seem to be mentioned. Only some of the reinforcers seem to have addressed this.

So I'm a bit puzzled by that. Any ideas?
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Old 03-18-2013, 06:17 PM
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Quote:
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.........

I look forward to seeing your pics. I browsed a few hours last night seeing what other folks had done (NOW I find all this stuff about coilover reinforcement!). So in addition to basic repairs to cracks and tower caps, will be adding reinforcement plates in corners, maybe underneath too, welding fully around caps and installing the Elephant 6-piece kit, which also does at least a part of what your huge side plates do, and ties those sides to the tower, plus whatever else looks good "WWAIT"... hummed and hah'd about Rebel v. Elephant, ER won although I like the box section idea, we figured a bit trickier to weld in. Plus don't plan on those 600-2000+lb springs racers like to use back there

(Ah, motorcycles... Been neglecting Beemer lately, except for groceries/parts; Benelli a blast, easy to ride, feels much smaller than it is... still love the K though. Last grocery run bumped into guy w/6 mos on an S1000RR who'd renounced decades of H-Ds, was his 3rd sport bike in two years, tried a Duke last year & preferred RR... was struck by his description of RR's part-of-you feel was much the same as us p-car guys enjoy on four wheels...

Never too old to learn, gives me hope I'll get this car sorted soon and well... Slightly upped ARBs next, the 3.6 made me do it... definitely be reinforcing for those
Yea, I searched Pelican and Rennlist as well as talked to several trusted 911 experts who all told me to reinforce. I took advantage of having had my old 3.2 and trans out to regear the 915 a number of years ago to have the reinforcing plates welded in even though I was going to still run the 23/34 TB's. Hated to trash the nicely painted engine compartment to weld in the cage bars but had to do it. I think my reinforcing plates are probably overkill for the 475/650 springs I'll be running but it wasn't much more work at the time.

I too went back and forth on the reinforcing pieces but went with the Rebel pieces because of the boxed nature of the piece. Made it a bit harder for the welder to properly weld the side facing the firewall but he did. But the functionality of either piece should certainly work just fine for your spring selection.

Your TnT is a far cry from the old Benelli dirt bike (65cc I think) I had back in the early 70's. Amaxing the transformation of that company, and the other old Italian names like MV Agusta and even Ducati. And the Brits like Triumph. Makes me almost miss some of the old Ducatis and Guzzis I had a few decades ago. And yes, the S1000RR is one heck of a bike. Leave it to BMW to build a Superbike that makes the traditional Hondas and gixxers look old. Or even the 1200 Adventure is fun to ride. I need to find a money tree somewhere.
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'86 911 Coupe (endless 3.6 transplant finally done!)
'14 Jeep Grand Cherokee 3.0 Turbodiesel (yes they make one)
'97 BMW 528i (the sensible car, bought new)
'12 Vintage/Millenium 23' v-nose enclosed trailer
Old 03-18-2013, 06:35 PM
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