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      05-01-2012, 02:18 PM   #1
dangeris
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DIY for strut/shock replacement for XI

I did a search but all of the results were for "i" mondels. I'll be doing changing out my stock ZSP suspension with Koni Yellows and H&R S2 Springs this weekend and I wanted to see what toolds I will need to do this job and how long it will take.

So if anyone knows a post, soecifically for the XIs, I will greatly appreciate it! Thanks in adnvace guys!
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      05-01-2012, 04:06 PM   #2
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The rears are identical, so the DIY guide should work fine. I followed the DIY guide for the fronts and the steps were pretty much identical (springs only).

Two tips:

I think the top hats are a bit taller, so after the spring is compressed inside the wheel well, you can remove the strut tower brace to access the top of the strut, and then remove the top hat while still under the car, making it easier to clear the fender wall.

Use painters tape to protect your fender.. like, 4 layers. Its really easy to catch the spring end or part of the assembly on the paint and cause huge scratches.
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      05-01-2012, 04:15 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by drfrink24 View Post
The rears are identical, so the DIY guide should work fine. I followed the DIY guide for the fronts and the steps were pretty much identical (springs only).

Two tips:

I think the top hats are a bit taller, so after the spring is compressed inside the wheel well, you can remove the strut tower brace to access the top of the strut, and then remove the top hat while still under the car, making it easier to clear the fender wall.

Use painters tape to protect your fender.. like, 4 layers. Its really easy to catch the spring end or part of the assembly on the paint and cause huge scratches.
Thanks for the Tips. What DIY did you follow. There was a DIY I found that had links to 2 other DIYs. Do you think you can post the link? BTW, I know you put coils on your car but any special tools that could have made the install easier? etc...
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      05-01-2012, 05:31 PM   #4
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http://www.e90post.com/forums/showthread.php?t=15397
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      05-02-2012, 06:32 AM   #5
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Awesome... Aside from your tips that you mentioned...any "gotcha's" you encountered when doing your install?
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      05-02-2012, 08:41 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dangeris View Post
Awesome... Aside from your tips that you mentioned...any "gotcha's" you encountered when doing your install?
Here are a few more:

I ended up buying a low profile jack and jacked the front up from the front center jack point, I just wasn't comfortable getting the front of the car up from the rear jacking points like the DIY suggested. Also, you will need inserts in the jack points to rest the jack stands, I made mine from cutting up pieces of a hockey stick.

When I say you can remove the strut tower brace, I thought I needed to remove the cowl assembly.. you do not. Just unscrew it (you'll need star sockets) and you can simply move it out of the way, instead of actually unbolting the entire thing.

Also, step 11, don't bother with undoing one of the line brackets on the shock assembly (I didn't even have that bolt like the picture) just unclip the lines, there is plenty of slack to lower the hub assembly.
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      05-02-2012, 08:18 PM   #7
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I didn't have to remove the strut brace nor the strut hat when I took my struts out. I just loosened the nuts 3 nuts on top and the pinch bolt and slid the strut out.

Removing the strut braces adds an unnecessary amount of extra work.
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      05-03-2012, 10:47 AM   #8
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Smile Strut replacement

Here's a tip that might help, which I had to learn the hard way. I've replaced my struts/shocks 3 times now, looking for the right combination with my springs. You do not need to compress the springs prior to removing the struts from the wheel well. Doing it this way is a huge time suck, and risks nicking the paint. I did it this way the first time, and it is incorrect, and not recommended by any shop manual.

Loosen the three strut tower nuts up so that the strut is more or less dangling, this gives you some range of motion, so the strut can move within the wheel well, but still be supported. Get all of the other fasteners loose/or removed as per the DIY mentioned above. Brake lines, etc, out of the way. Once the pinch bolt that holds the strut to the steering knuckle is removed, you will probably need to use something to pry the fitting apart. BMW makes a special tool, but a short, stubby flat blade screw driver also works. Get a jack under the rotor to control the steering knuckle when it comes loose, and so it doesn't just dangle there straining the various bushings. Now, work the pinch fitting/steering knuckle until it falls down, and free from the strut. With that out of the way, simply finish removing the strut tower nuts, and remove the strut from the wheel well. Now you can compress the springs, and remove them from the strut if you need to. Otherwise, just install your new struts and springs, and reverse the process to install. It's much easier, and quicker than the other way, and less of a chance to damage something.
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      05-03-2012, 11:47 AM   #9
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Um, yeah, the fronts are McPherson Struts so just remove them completely from the car to work on them. The guy that wrote up that DIY was just replacing springs apparently, so he thought it would be easier to leave the bottom attached, I guess. That's just asking for trouble.
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      05-04-2012, 07:23 AM   #10
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Sweet guys! Thanks

Question on the rear shock... Do I need to take out or move out the way the liner in the trunk to remove the OEM shocks? or are they fastened via flange of some kind with bolts and accessed from underneath the rear wheelwells?

BTW..UPS says the shocks/struts are out for delivery! Woot!!! I can't wait
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      05-04-2012, 10:13 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dangeris View Post
Sweet guys! Thanks

Question on the rear shock... Do I need to take out or move out the way the liner in the trunk to remove the OEM shocks? or are they fastened via flange of some kind with bolts and accessed from underneath the rear wheelwells?

BTW..UPS says the shocks/struts are out for delivery! Woot!!! I can't wait
Yup--liner comes out. Once it's out, you'll see a round rubber cover on top of each wheel well. Remove that, and the top shock nuts and mount are under that.
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      05-04-2012, 11:20 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by black 335xi View Post
Yup--liner comes out. Once it's out, you'll see a round rubber cover on top of each wheel well. Remove that, and the top shock nuts and mount are under that.
Awesome! Thanks Guys for all your help. I'll be sure to post before and after pics with measurments!
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      05-04-2012, 12:51 PM   #13
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Great timing. My new koni/swifts are supposed to be here in a couple of weeks. I'll be doing the work myself too. Hopefully only once!

Danergis... please take pics and jot down notes of things you found difficult please.
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      05-04-2012, 01:03 PM   #14
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Will do wdlfbio! I'll be sure to take lots of pics and do a propper write up for us XIs swapping out stock suspensions for aftermarket struts/shocks and springs

News Flash!!! The shocks are in!!!!
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      05-04-2012, 01:28 PM   #15
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I followed the "i" guide when doing the springs on my xi. its basically the same.
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      05-05-2012, 01:24 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alpineweiss e90
I didn't have to remove the strut brace nor the strut hat when I took my struts out. I just loosened the nuts 3 nuts on top and the pinch bolt and slid the strut out.

Removing the strut braces adds an unnecessary amount of extra work.
Do you have an xi? The front drive shaft only allows so much downward angle, and the tophat assembly I believe is taller on the xi. Also, moving the strut brace out of the way takes all of 20 seconds.
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      05-06-2012, 09:38 AM   #17
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I just did mine last week and I basically followed the DIY from the 335i. Some items where i ran into issues was the exhaust for the rears, had to remove the hangers and push the exhaust out of the way. There was about 3 points per side to give me enough flexibility.

As for the fronts, I intended to just put the eibach springs in at first. I left the strut brace in place and used an open ended wrench on the one top strut bolt. I held the nut in place with masking tape so It wouldn't drop into the engine compartment since there isn't enough clearance with the strut brace to remove it. I removed the entire strut assembly while in the wheel well, removing thr strut from the lower purch. I read around here about issues with reassembly due to the driveshaft/suspension binding up. Removing the entire assembly, i assume, doesn't require you drop the wheel assembly low enough to bind things up. It turned out to be easier to compress the springs and remove the top hat with the whole assembly out. I rented the spring compressors from Autozone and had no issues.

I ended up getting the new koni's for thr XI on all four corners in the middle of this project. I was reassembling the original struts and used a impact to tighten uo the top strut bolt and shear the threaded portion of the strut rod, i see it as a blessing in disguise.

This is the first time i had done suspension work and recommend a few things:
1) On Koni's, remove the part number sticker, it makes it impossible to insert the strut in the lower purch.
2) there are two little welded nubs on the strut, they align with the split in the lower purch
3) My car only had 25k miles and the strut boots were already hard and splitting. I ordered 4 universal shock boots, i cut them down for the proper height. Once you cut the bumsptops, the original boots do not work. Front and Rear.
4) Something has to be done to the front bumpstops, be it cutting or a different one. When I was finally done, the height from the ground to the wheel well lip was 26.25". Stock is about 26.5". I found that i was riding on the bump stop and had the thing compressed as much as it would go. I ended up cutting the bump stop in situ. The black rubber ring has a steel core and has to be cut off, i used a dremmel. It would be alot quicker when replacing the spring, 2 minutes vs an hour for me. Once i cut the bumpstop it dropped to the ride height that everyone else got, about two finger or 25.25"

reassembling the strut assembly into the car, I inserted the strut into the purch and then lined up the top bolts, i did this by myself and used a small jack on the rotor to help hold the wheel assembly/strut to the needed height.

my two cents and first write-up here. Lots of useful info here.

I just had my alignment done, one week later and they were able to get everything in line except for the camber on the back wheels. I noticed the camber before the install so i assume its fine. Was about a degree. Remember that they recommend 150lbs in the drivers and passenger side while doing the alignment.

Last edited by critical05; 05-06-2012 at 09:51 AM.
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      05-06-2012, 10:19 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by critical05 View Post
I just did mine last week and I basically followed the DIY from the 335i. Some items where i ran into issues was the exhaust for the rears, had to remove the hangers and push the exhaust out of the way. There was about 3 points per side to give me enough flexibility.

As for the fronts, I intended to just put the eibach springs in at first. I left the strut brace in place and used an open ended wrench on the one top strut bolt. I held the nut in place with masking tape so It wouldn't drop into the engine compartment since there isn't enough clearance with the strut brace to remove it. I removed the entire strut assembly while in the wheel well, removing thr strut from the lower purch. I read around here about issues with reassembly due to the driveshaft/suspension binding up. Removing the entire assembly, i assume, doesn't require you drop the wheel assembly low enough to bind things up. It turned out to be easier to compress the springs and remove the top hat with the whole assembly out. I rented the spring compressors from Autozone and had no issues.

I ended up getting the new koni's for thr XI on all four corners in the middle of this project. I was reassembling the original struts and used a impact to tighten uo the top strut bolt and shear the threaded portion of the strut rod, i see it as a blessing in disguise.

This is the first time i had done suspension work and recommend a few things:
1) On Koni's, remove the part number sticker, it makes it impossible to insert the strut in the lower purch.
2) there are two little welded nubs on the strut, they align with the split in the lower purch
3) My car only had 25k miles and the strut boots were already hard and splitting. I ordered 4 universal shock boots, i cut them down for the proper height. Once you cut the bumsptops, the original boots do not work. Front and Rear.
4) Something has to be done to the front bumpstops, be it cutting or a different one. When I was finally done, the height from the ground to the wheel well lip was 26.25". Stock is about 26.5". I found that i was riding on the bump stop and had the thing compressed as much as it would go. I ended up cutting the bump stop in situ. The black rubber ring has a steel core and has to be cut off, i used a dremmel. It would be alot quicker when replacing the spring, 2 minutes vs an hour for me. Once i cut the bumpstop it dropped to the ride height that everyone else got, about two finger or 25.25"

reassembling the strut assembly into the car, I inserted the strut into the purch and then lined up the top bolts, i did this by myself and used a small jack on the rotor to help hold the wheel assembly/strut to the needed height.

my two cents and first write-up here. Lots of useful info here.

I just had my alignment done, one week later and they were able to get everything in line except for the camber on the back wheels. I noticed the camber before the install so i assume its fine. Was about a degree. Remember that they recommend 150lbs in the drivers and passenger side while doing the alignment.
Nice write up. Is there any recommended OEM replacement bump stop (like M3) here for this application? Also as you found out you NEVER want to use an impact wrench to tighten nuts on top of strut rods. That is a special type of steel that is very strong in compression and extension but does not like any shear forces.
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      05-07-2012, 07:14 AM   #19
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Ok..So I installed the Koni's and B&G S2 Sport springs this weekend! It took about 3 hrs but ithe install wasn't bad at all. A lot easier than what I expected. Not sure if that is because this isn't my first time installing suspension or what but all in all it wasn't that bad.

I will be creating a new thread with a write up to follow to help my fellow XI'ers out
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      05-08-2012, 11:11 PM   #20
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Loving all the details.. I have a set of Eibach springs for my touring that will go on the weekend after next. Reading all I can at the moment.

I installed the TIS and read something I thought I'd bring up here.. If you accidentally pull the half shaft from the drive assembly, I heard people say just pop it back in, others say it was difficult. The TIS says that a bearing will fall out and lodge in the boot, causing rapid wear and destruction of the joint. It requires the replacement of the half shaft.

I can copy and paste from the TIS if anyone's interested. I likely have some of the details wrong, but you get the gist.

Be careful!
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      05-09-2012, 06:57 AM   #21
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I didn't have any issues of accedentally pulling the shaft out ( that's what she said ). All I did was removed the endlink bolt, then the 3 strut nuts, and lossend the pinch bolt. A few taps of the hammer, a little twisting and pulling and the strut came right out.
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      05-09-2012, 09:25 AM   #22
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Just so I'm 100%, you do this and the strut assembly, spring, top hat, etc, all come out in one piece, correct? Then you can use a compressor and remove the spring?
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