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From digest.v7.n1265 Sun Mar 8 20:54:23 1998
From: Ron Katona <>
Date: Sun, 08 Mar 1998 17:05:12 -0500
Subject: I'm going to go Nutserts! (E-36 x-brace install)

<The following post has been rated TV-14 - adult language>

Having picked up a set of slightly used R1s for the autocross season, I thought I'd add the x-brace to the old Compact to aid in handling those rabid g-forces. As luck would have it, I attended the PTG tour where they were selling take-offs for $120. Great! I ordered the hardware from Turner and went out today for the install.

After reading several theories on Nutsert installation I decided on the following plan of action: I would use the two washer theory with a slight twist (level of difficulty 2.5). I removed the existing brace and used it as a tool to insert the nutserts. First, I had to drill the holes out slightly as everyone has mentioned. Then, I ran a bolt through a washer, then through the old brace, then through another washer, then through a lock washer (one of those star looking ones), then into the nutsert. My thinking was that the washers would allow the bolt to turn, the old brace would act as a nice handle, and the lock washer would keep the nutsert from turning.

Well, it worked like a charm... mostly. The first two nutserts went in without a hitch. I was thinking about how neat it was going to be to post to the digest that I installed my x-brace in 30 minutes! The third nutsert was going in fine when I noticed that I had been turning the wrench quite a long time. Hmmm... is this thing just spinning in the hole? Yup. Damn! OK, no problem, just take it out and see if the bolt is bent or something. Uh... yeah, just take it... OUT and then DAMNIT! The nutsert collapsed enough to no longer fit through the hole, but not enough to grab the crossmember solidly. I couldn't tighten, loosen, or remove the bolt.

About now I'm thinking how silly I'm going to look driving home with my old brace dragging underneath the car. Sparks are cool!

All right, if my manly strength is not enough to fix this problem, surly a power tool will! I grabbed the air line and the impact wrench. A few quick blasts should shock this thing into tightening up in the hole. Brap... brrrrrrap...brap brap. Nothing. Goddamnit, I'll fix you, you commie bastard!!! (Picture me in jungle fatigues with the air line wrapped over my shoulder like a belt of 7.62 and my body shaking in slow motion to the rattle of an impact wrench on full auto) BRRRRRRRRRAAAAAAAAAPPPPPPPPPPPPPP!!!!!!!

When the smoke cleared, nothing. I did stare down a couple of guys who looked at me funny.

Somehow, I managed to wiggle that nutsert out of the hole after about 30 minutes. The thing was mangled and the bolt broke when I used a vice to hold the nutsert while removing the bolt. I wondered if my technique was bad, of if I just got a bad bolt or something. I tried the forth nutsert. Went in no problem, just like the first two. Damn!

Well, I'll just slap on the x-brace, order one (no, better make it two) new nutserts and remove the x-brace later in the week to complete installation of the final nutsert. Fine, in with the rear bolts, in with the first two nutsert bolts, and in with the... GOD DAMN IT! The bastard slipped and started to spin in the hole! I tightened it as much as I could before. How do you know if these things are set properly? So now, I've got a partially installed x-brace hanging from my car!

Well, I managed to remove everything and get the original brace back on after about another hour. Now, however, I've got two (seemingly) good nutserts on the car, one dead, and one spinning in its hole (I swear I can hear that son-of-a-bitch rattling in there). I've got to find that nutsert tool and do this right! That seems my only way out at this point. I can (hopefully) tighten up the installed nutserts with the tool, and install a new 4th nutsert to finish the job. I think I have a line on the tool, I'll let you guys know. I was really hoping to have this simple job done for the first NCC autocross. Thought I might be able to pick off a geezer mobile with the R1s and a tightened chassis.

Anyway, thanks for listening to me bitch. My conclusion is that in order to properly install these things you need the proper installation tool. Maybe it's just me, but I installed the whole damn suspension on this car without this kind of hassle. I hate nutserts!

  • -- Ron Katona '97 318ti Active/Sport (whose cargo area is x-braced for the time being) Laurel, MD BMWCCA #139211 (NCC)
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