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In Part-1 of this two part series, we will replace the front shock/strut/spring assembly. See Part-2 for the rear shock and spring replacement.
The Bentley repair manuals will cover standard shock and spring replacement for the various BMW and MINI models. This DIY will assume that the DIYer has the applicable Bentley manual for additional reference as well as fastener torque values. Note that we will be installing the Bilstein PSS-10 coil-over kit. However, the procedures would be the same for any common shock/strut replacement (including installing sport springs, if desired).
• New shocks/struts (Bilstein, Koni, Sachs, etc.)
• New sport or stock replacement springs, if desired (BMW, BavAuto, Eibach, etc.)
• New Shock install kits (compression bumpers, dust shields, spring pads, etc.)
• New upper strut and shock mounts
• New strut & shock mount gaskets (as required)
• Rear shock mount reinforcing plates
• Bentley Repair Manual
• BavAuto Non-Marring pry bar set
* BavAuto spring compressor tool
• 13mm through 18mm ½”drive socket & ratchet set with various extensions
• 4mm through 8mm Allen keys or bits (for ratchet use)
• 13mm through 18mm combination wrench set
• Assorted flat and Phillips screwdrivers
FRONT (applies directly to the E46 3-series, but others are similar):
1) Safely raise the front of car, with suspension hanging.
2) Remove the wheels.
3) Disconnect the upper end of the swaybar link from the shock/strut bracket. Note that the through-stud for the link’s upper joint (as well as the lower) must be secured using a 16mm to 18mm thin open end wrench. This particular link is 16mm.
4) Remove the strut mounting pinch-bolt. The bolt goes through the strut mounting clamp on the wheel hub/spindle assembly and has a nut on the opposite side (some models do not use nuts, the bolt threads into the clamp).
5) Set the mounting bracket for the ABS sensor wire, brake pad wear sensor wire (left side only) and brake fluid hose aside. Note that other models may have these hoses mounted in a bracket that is affixed to the shock/strut housing. In these cases, remove the wires and hose from the bracket.
6) If the vehicle has adaptive headlights (self-aiming), disconnect the sensor link from the control arm or the sensor bell-crank arm. The sensors may only be present on one side of the vehicle.
7) Place a support or jack under the lower control arm to support the suspension as the upper strut mount nuts are removed.
8) Remove the three 13mm nuts that secure the upper mount to the body (strut tower), under the hood.
9) Gently lower the jack or support, from step-6, and lower the strut assembly. Pull the strut assembly up and out of the hub/spindle. A helper may need to push down on the hub/spindle as you pull the strut upward. If the clamp is too tight for the strut to pull out, use a cold-chisel or large flat-blade screwdriver as a wedge to open the clamp a bit. Tap the wedge into the split in the clamp, widening the clamp, allowing the strut to be removed.
10) Once removed from the hub/spindle clamp, remove the strut assembly from the wheel well area.
11) Install a spring compressor to the spring on the strut assembly. Compress the spring until you can tell that the spring pressure is relieved from the upper and lower spring seats.
10) Remove the upper shock/strut nut that is at the top of the assembly, in the center of the upper mount. To remove the nut, you can use the method shown in the Spring 2007 issue of our Fast Times newsletter, page-7, or you can use an impact gun. DO NOT use an impact gun for re-assembly!
11) Once the nut is removed, disassemble the upper mount, upper spring perch and washers from the shock’s piston rod. Keep track of the various washers and their locations.
12) Pull the spring (and compressor) off of the shock/strut.
13) Assemble the new shock/strut and/or spring.
14) We’re sorry, but the description can not be any longer (youtube requirement). Watch the video and see our tech blog for the full DIY steps at http://blog.bavauto.com/
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