Fixing the E46 “Subframe” issues for good
I’ve taken deep dive into BMW's rear chassis shortcomings on the E46: the often misunderstood cracking issues in collaboration with Vince @ PracticalPerformance as well as the conceptual development of Vince's permanent solution.
You can read more about it on The Phoenix’s Build Journal here.
Simplified VinceBar: Out of sight and out of mind
The Simplified VinceBar kit is all about function over form, and it’s designed to be as hidden as possible in true OEM+ fashion.
A fundamental to the design of Vince @ Practical Performance’s products is to maintain as much practical function as possible even if that requires a more complicated design.
An OEM+ design
To permanently fix the E46’s issues, the top of the Simplified design VinceBar will be visible once the trunk floor lining is removed.
For this reason, Vince has strived to make it look as factory as possible even as far as keeping the 2x open holes’ appearances of the OEM trunk that fit with the OEM plastic caps. These holes allow allows access for rust protection with cavity wax and further foam injection if you decide to supplement your installation.
The end plates that connect the VinceBar to the frame rails sit at a very specific angle to provide the best possible fit and aesthetics. Because of this specific angle, Vince takes great measures to protect the end plates from damages during shipment. The shipping boxes are snuggly fit with foam to avoid damages.
Weld-Free DIY Installation: Epoxy & Rivets
A critical component of Vince's design is the elimination of any welding requirements to install the VinceBar. The installation is instead of done using rivets and epoxy for a factory finish, durability and an approach DIY.
The weld-in kit is still offered by Vince as some professional installers prefer welding.
Specific Material Selection
The rectangular tube in the VinceBar is selected to maximize the strength within the physical space available. Its height is 25mm, which is exactly what fits without pushing the interior floor of the trunk upwards.
The height of the tube is what affects rigidity the most compared to the width. Vince sourced a square tube with an unusually thick wall thickness of 3mm for this outer dimension. Typically you find rectangular tubes in this size are limited to 2mm wall thickness.
Front Gusset Cups
The front gusset cups are designed to snuggle fit behind the rear seat bench and seat back. They will never be visible once the interior is reinstalled.
Their design also closely follows the contour of the floor/RACP and quite cleverly spread the load to the upper layer of the floor.
The extended studs are factory looking and of grade 10.9 like BMW used at the factory. The machined thread on the bottom side of the studs is CNC cut.
The collar nuts are carefully chosen high quality German units just like other factory nuts in the rear axle unit. The kit also includes the required washers & rivets to install.
Optional Tool Kit
Vince also offers an optional tool kit that includes the specific tools such as drill bits to complete the installation. You will need to source the epoxy locally to finalize the installation.
The tool kit includes:
- 1x extra long M12x1,5 threading tap (this reaches through the entire subframe mount)
- 1x stainless steel hole saw guide rod
- 1x Hole saw bore fitting the guide rod
- 1x 51mm hole saw
- 1x 10,5mm drill bit
- 2x 4,8mm pop rivet drill bits
- 2x 3,25mm pop rivet drill bits
- Made in Sweden
- Made from mild steel
- Fits E46 Coupe, Sedan, Touring and Convertible
- The Convertible application is in development.