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      03-05-2012, 10:47 PM   #1
Sleeper519
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Drives: 08 E92 M3 DCT
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: Atlanta, GA

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GC camber plates: Review of failed install(s)

Here is my tale of woe trying to get these installed on my E92 before my first track event of the season. First of all, let me state up front that this is not a bash on Ground Control at all. I understand them to be a reputable provider of aftermarket suspension parts and systems, and they have been very responsive to me in trying to resolve these multiple problems despite a great geographical distance.

I ordered my camber plates weeks ahead of time to avoid any last minute delays. I took my car to Forged Performance in Atlanta to install my StopTech BBK as well as the GC plates. They are expert tuners specializing in GTRs but also do Porsche and BMW, and provided me outstanding customer service. I received a call on install day saying it didn’t fit---spring perch on the plates would not fit on my springs. A call and e-mail photo to GC revealed that they had sent me “Non-M3” parts by mistake. Big bummer. Picked up car, great brakes though. GC ships new appropriate sized plates to me and we try it again 3 days later. I get a call from Forged that a bolt snapped off on install with very little force. Major bummer. As I mentioned in the other thread the bolts are supposedly tested to 50 ft-lbs but spec is for 18 ft-lbs. This one broke at 17. Ryan at Forged was kind enough to take and send multiple pics to GC and plead my case for me. Initially, GC balked at replacing the piece (single thin horseshoe bracket w/ the 3 vertical bolts), saying that it has been thoroughly tested and not considered a warranty item (??)—a $15 item on a $500 pair of plates. They did acquiesce and agree to honor the warranty and send a replacement part via next day air ($65 shipping on me). Now I’m in a rental car to get to work, and have paid labor for 2 installs and no finished product to show for it. Parts arrive, 3rd install completed with a *cautious* 17 ft-lbs of torque, I get call car is ready. Go to pick up, get under the hood to check work and notice said bolt is broken off and can be plucked straight out to the amazement of all. Forged had only test-driven car around the block prior to my arrival. Stranded, no car now, a gracious Forged employee gives me a courtesy ride across town to work (night Call at hospital—actually walked 2 miles home at 3:00AM), track event now in jeopardy. Nuclear bummer. Forged un-installs and replaces stock mounts. So now I pick up my car after a week and a half, having paid over $600 labor for 3 installs with zero to show for it, plus shipping costs, plus out of pocket rental car fees, plus incalculable hassle and heartache.

Another forum member here (Kaiv?) reported a similar bolt failure on install. Seeing this pattern, I wonder if its a flawed design. GC disagrees. Perhaps a bad batch or quality controls issue? Maybe, but I think this item in question is the weak link to theis particular camber plate. I’m not a mechanical engineer by any means so take what I say with a grain of salt. By attempting to keep the stack height stock (not raised), they shaved off the head of the one bolt that needed to slide over a lower plate. The headless bolt has only a few threads engaged into a very thin plate, with a small tack weld to support it. It failed twice at a fraction of the tested torque. If they redesigned it to allow the bolt head to stay, this would only raise the stack by 1/8” or so---1/4” at most---but would be so much stronger.
I discussed all this with Ground Control and they were very reasonable and sympathetic to my poor experience with their product. They agreed to refund my original purchase price but could do nothing for me, as expected, on any other of my incurred costs. The last conversation I had with Donovan was that they were looking at this as a bad batch of product and were seeking to improve quality control on this plate, or maybe looking into a possible engineering fault. Hopefully the GC techs can shed some light on this for all of us. He also told me to keep the plates that I have (despite being a worthless box of parts to me as is), and they will send me another bolted bracket when, and if, the kinks can be worked out. At this point I don’t if I would be willing to try it again or not. We’ll see. I just feel snake bit right now.
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2008 M3 Coupe / DCT // StopTech BBK 380/355 / Pagid RS29 / Motul / Apex Arc-8 / BFG R1S / Ground Control / MS filter / Performance spoiler / BPM tune // Road Atlanta 1:39.80 / VIR Full 2:10.87 / Barber 1:42.20