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BMW 3-Series (E90 E92) Forum > E90 / E92 / E93 3-series Technical Forums > Suspension | Brakes | Chassis > Anyone Lowered the Front Via Strut Clevis?



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      05-08-2015, 11:09 AM   #1
matthewo
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Anyone Lowered the Front Via Strut Clevis?

I notice that the factory strut has a locator piece welded to the bottom of the strut that limits you how far you insert the strut into the Clevis when reinstalling. After searching there is very little information on modifying this item for a very slight drop, but I did see that someone said it would work.

Basically, things I know, any drop via this method would cause your tire to be closer to the wheel well and more prone to bottoming out against inner fender tire well as you are not increasing spring rate. looking at the SP perches, keeping the stock springs I wouldn't see how if using the strut clevis method how that would be really any different other then with the SP perches you might be more likely to hit bump stops that may keep you from bottoming out inner liner.

The thing is, if you were to just remove 1/2" of this strut locator/stop to allow the strut to drop an additional 1/2" into the clevis, I really doubt with similar to stock size tires if you would even come close to rubbing the tire well. I do think if you were to get aggressive and remove 1 inch or more it wouldn't work very well.

anyways I think this method would be great, as it would keep stock spring travel and dampening with no likelihood of the sp perch rubbing noises and bump stop issues with aftermarket springs on factory struts.

my goal is to have the front be 1/2" lower only to give it a more even look overall with the stance of the car.
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      05-15-2015, 10:39 AM   #2
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anyone? this seems like a viable solution to a mild front drop...

or should I be the beta tester?
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      05-15-2015, 10:43 AM   #3
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You can do it and is better than sp perches because it will not shorten the strut shaft travel. Hitting the inner liner will depend on wheel/tire combo more than suspension. It will be impossible to hit the inner liner with stock wheel/tire combo. If you use wheel with up to 9" width, offset +30 and up, and tires not wider than 245 interference with inner liner will not occur. This mod is more common in different parts of the world.
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      05-15-2015, 11:55 AM   #4
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thanks for the reply, I may give it a shot this weekend, get out the hacksaw and mallet. LOL.

Best part about it is if you don't like it new stock shocks that probably need to be replaced anyways are cheap...
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      05-15-2015, 12:39 PM   #5
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Can you explain a bit more, what part are you planning to hack on the strut?

I have xi, it could be different, but on mine how much the strut goes into the clevis (spindle) is determined by the increased diameter at one point on the strut. The hole in the spindle that receives the strut has a curved decreased radius at its bottom section. This limits how much strut gets down, when it meets the increased radius section of the strut. I don't know how you can lower it more and at the same time secure the pinch bolt tight and not damage the strut. There are also two small extruding dots that go into the channel and sit between the pinch bolt, the one on top will also limit the drop of the strut by being above the pinch bolt, but it is not the main mechanism that does it. They are there mostly to align the strut correctly.
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      05-15-2015, 01:24 PM   #6
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from the looks of it the XI strut is quite a bit different, I only looked at stock photos online, but I do see the 2 dots your referring to. the 335i RWD models do not have the 2 dots, but they do however have a small tab that stops the strut from going further into the clevis and also probably use for alightment as well as there is a mark on the clevis to match it to. cutting approx. 1/2" off the strut alightment tab shouldn't be a problem, and will still leave enough that is welded on to not be an issue, look at photo below for more detail.

It also looks like the XI strut taper is much more extreme and made to do exactly like you said, keep it from going any lower and hit the front drive shaft. the RWD model has a much less extreme taper, and from photo I have seen the taper actually already goes through the strut clevis on the bottom so there is nothing stopping it from dropping further into the clevis other then the tab on the top.

Regardless, I will still make sure I take a good look at it prior to cutting the tab, I will likely only cut the tab to flat, or IE remove the bottom section where it floats not welded onto the strut, maybe a little less than 1/2" but still something is better than nothing.

335i RWD


f30 suspension, but should be similar...



XI front strut
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      05-16-2015, 10:37 AM   #7
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Looks like RWD versions are not using the tapered section as a stop as the XI version from what you show.

But the two dot thingies are same in RWD and XI tubes from the pictures I saw. You may have to break the one on top if it seats just above the pinch bolt as it does in XI. They do break easily, even by accident.
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      05-16-2015, 04:13 PM   #8
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You can do this,but I wouldn't go more than a half inch
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      05-17-2015, 05:15 PM   #9
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I did it today. Seems to work about as I want it to. Very easy way to lower the front a little bit, and best of all free. There are a few things to look out for basically you are making the lower spring perch sit closer to the tire so measure and make sure you have clearance. I had about an 1/8" after mod and probably wouldnt feel safe with any less. I am however running a 245 series tire up front. Also my front tire is about 50% worn so I'm going to have to re-evaluate my wheel/tire situation when I replace the front. I had planed to go 18s anyways and I will make sure I have a bit more clearance with offset.

I will post pictures and more details. But all and all great free mod to get rid of almost all of the reverse rake as long as you make sure you have the clearance
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      05-17-2015, 05:58 PM   #10
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Here are the after pictures, please excuse my very dirty car and mid-day sun. wheels are BMW 230 19x8 and 19x9 with 245/35/19 and 265/35/19, yes the rear has a larger diameter than the front, wouldn't have been my first choice, but I bought the car like that.

next setup will be 18x.8.5 and 18x9.5 with 245/40/18 and 275/35/18 rear.

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      05-19-2015, 11:21 AM   #11
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Very smart. Did you cut the tab while it was on the car or did you pull the assembly? I would think it's do-able with the car jacked up and the wheel off, so long as there is no load on the strut. I think this would give me just enough to even out the height between the front and rear.
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      05-19-2015, 12:17 PM   #12
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OP thanks for being the guinea pig on this. Nice idea.

Would also be interested in "did you pull the strut or do it on the car?" per post above.
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      05-19-2015, 12:46 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tke344 View Post
Very smart. Did you cut the tab while it was on the car or did you pull the assembly? I would think it's do-able with the car jacked up and the wheel off, so long as there is no load on the strut. I think this would give me just enough to even out the height between the front and rear.
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Originally Posted by mlifxs View Post
OP thanks for being the guinea pig on this. Nice idea.

Would also be interested in "did you pull the strut or do it on the car?" per post above.
you don't have to pull the strut. wheels off, just get the strut loose and shift it up a little and make the cut. I have seen this done ever since the e46 came out, so 15 years at least.
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      05-19-2015, 01:21 PM   #14
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I cut the tab on the car, there really isn't any height higher than what I did, I guess you could go lower, but I wouldn't recommend that due to the strut perch sitting much closer to the wheel, like I said I have 1/8" gap on a 50% worn tire, and that is a 245/35/19 on a 8" wheel and 37mm offset, I plan to do a 245/40/18 on a 8.5 35mm offset so the actual wheel will sit closer to the strut, but the tire when stretched slightly more on an 8.5 will give me slightly more clearance, but even if not I will just run a 5mm spacer.

but here is the quick how to do the mod.

remove wheel, loosen bottom clevis bolt, remove sensor clip(just so you have it out of the way when cutting), cut tab with drimmel or hacksaw, place jack under hub part of brake rotor and jack up slightly while using a pry bar to gently spread clevis clamp, strut will easly slide down more into clevis. then retighten clevis bolt.

easy as pie..

just make sure you measure like I said, don't want your tire to hit the lower strut perch.
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      05-19-2015, 03:24 PM   #15
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OP correct me if I'm wrong but...

...I think this also has the benefit of "no change" to the sway bar / end links loading since the strut (end link bracket) is moving lower with roughly the same distance as the bar is moving lower.
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      05-19-2015, 03:31 PM   #16
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....and maybe even a small "increase" of negative camber as well?
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      05-19-2015, 06:25 PM   #17
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All that I couldn't tell you I am not sure. I think you are correct tho cause you should be lowering the body at the same rate as the sway bar mounting tabs on the strut, or at least very close
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      05-19-2015, 09:50 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mlifxs View Post
OP correct me if I'm wrong but...

...I think this also has the benefit of "no change" to the sway bar / end links loading since the strut (end link bracket) is moving lower with roughly the same distance as the bar is moving lower.
Correct, "pre load" although a lot would argue it doesn't occurr will happen when the strut moves up relative to the car body, here goes down together with the cars body since the spring height isn't changed so it elevate chances of "pre load"
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Originally Posted by mlifxs View Post
....and maybe even a small "increase" of negative camber as well?
Correct, but very negligible and alignment won't be required, reccomended yes, but not a must.
Quote:
Originally Posted by matthewo View Post
All that I couldn't tell you I am not sure. I think you are correct tho cause you should be lowering the body at the same rate as the sway bar mounting tabs on the strut, or at least very close
Correct, to my understanding of e9x suspension geometry this will help with "pre load" because the strut moves down together with the cars body something that doesn't happen when the car is lower by use of shorter springs
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      05-22-2015, 08:49 AM   #19
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Excited to do this.. I've got new headlight bulbs ready to go in and I was going to have the wheels off anyway. Good timing
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      05-22-2015, 12:48 PM   #20
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I considered doing this as well, but doesn't it impact the end link? The upper end link is attached to the shock body. How does the upper link move 1/2" down if the lower end link remains the same? Very interested in hearing any response.
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      05-22-2015, 01:17 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by craesq View Post
I considered doing this as well, but doesn't it impact the end link? The upper end link is attached to the shock body. How does the upper link move 1/2" down if the lower end link remains the same? Very interested in hearing any response.
the swaybar rotates, is constantly doing that while you drive.
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      05-22-2015, 03:21 PM   #22
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The ONLY reason I wouldn't do this, is because when you hit a big enough pothole there's a potential for the entire strut assembly to SINK down and do far more damage than it should.

The non-M E46 has a similar clamp design to hold the strut in, but without the additional tab that stops the strut from moving down further. On a rare down-pour in Los Angeles, I miss-judged how deep a pothole was (it was filled with rain water, but several inches deep) and hit it at speed, and the entire strut assembly collapsed down (the kingpin moved UP on the assembly), bottomed out, nearly punched through the strut tower, and did enough damage that I had to basically "total" the car.

The real question to ask here is, if you can't afford $300 worth of springs to lower the car, where the labor involved to "lower" the car using the dropped strut assembly will likely cost about the same as the springs...Why not just do it the right way?
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