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Garagistic: How to swap an E30 Front Subframe

Garagistic:
How to swap an E30 Front Subframe


The time has come, you have finally decided to reinforce your E30 front subframe; it’s not as hard as you might think!
Our friends at Salt City Euro’s show you how to get it done with the Garagistic reinforced E30 subframe!
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This is one of the most important modifications you should make if you’re driving your car hard or adding more power. The Garagistic reinforced subframe arrives freshly powder coated and includes welded tabs that make the sway bar and engine mounts much stronger. This is necessary to prevent breaking the subframe. This is a stock subframe that was used with a S50 motor. You can purchase  a reinforced subframe over at the Garagistic website.

There are multiple ways to complete this job, which will also depend on the configuration of your car. For example, we have no power steering, but we do have a 24 valve oil pan which prevents us from removing the steering rack on the car, as you could on an E30 with an M20 or M42. We won’t mention the power steering system again. You are on your own with that. Use this as a general guide.

We’re using an engine support bar to suspend the engine properly since we’ll be removing everything that is holding the engine in place. To complete this job you will need the following tools: the jack and jack stands, an engine support bar, a wrench with 13, 16, 17, and 19 mm sockets, and a ball joint removal tool. We also needed a small pry bar. Start by loosening your lug bolts and securing the car on jack stands. We then removed the wheels and loosened the control arm and tie rod end bolts. You’ll need a 19mm socket for the control arm and a 17mm socket for the steering rack tie rod ends. We’re using a basic ball joint tool to remove the ball joints. Before attempting to remove the ball joints, make sure you leave the nut flush with the threads of the ball joint. This will give you a larger surface to work with and protect your threads. Don’t be afraid to apply a lot of pressure, it takes quite a bit to pop those ball joints out.

Next, remove the two 17mm bolts holding the control arm bushings in place. You may have to carefully pry them off the car’s chassis. Remove the lower nuts holding the motor mounts in place. Disconnect your steering shaft from the steering rack. We are showing this on another car so you can clearly see it. Normally the engine would block the view. At this point you can carefully raise your engine to take all the weight off the motor mounts. We also used the jack with a 2×4 for extra safety. Once you’ve loosened and removed the four 17mm bolts holding the subframe in place, carefully lower the subframe. At this point it is time to disassemble your subframe assembly. Remove the steering rack, sway bar, and control arms, then transfer the steering rack to your new subframe.

It’s time to reinstall the e30 subframe on your car. This is much easier with the help of a friend. Align and reinstall your control arms. A small tip: if the ball joint is spinning and does not want to tighten, you can use a jack to press the joint into the knuckle. Reinstall your sway bar and tighten to spec. Finally, remember to tighten and torque your motor mounts to spec.
Congratulations.

You’ve successfully swapped the subframe on your E30. This job is time consuming and may require two people at times. We estimate that it takes 2 to 4 hours to complete depending on skill.

On a scale of 1 to 10, we’d give this job a 5, with 1 being a wheel change and 10 being a full top to bottom engine rebuild.

All Garagistic E30 Front Subframe reinforcements are made in house here in the USA.


Our friends at Salt City Euro’s show you how to get your Garagistic E30 Subframe done!

 

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