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Re: Need advice on spring strut installation (archive)

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Posted by Rory on November 24, 2000 at 12:05:19:

In Reply to: Need advice on spring strut installation posted by Jr on November 24, 2000 at 11:48:19:

Hey Jr,

It is actually not too bad. I would definatly make sure that you have a whole day alloted for the first time. If everything goes perfectly, you could easily do the whole job in 3-3.5 hours. It has been a while, but let me comment on a few things that I did:

1. I removed the back seat and trim the night before to save some time. That was kind of a pain because you have to be so delicate with trim pieces and there were quite a few plastic pins holding in the rear shelf.
2. The front was actually really easy to remove, very straightforward. Take off the wheels, make sure you have some stiff wire to hold the caliper while the struts are off. Don't suspend them with the weight of the caliper on the line as it will ruin your lines. Undo the steering arm bolt and break it away from the arm. The 3 mounting bolts were easy and then you just slide the assembly out.
3. Now comes the fun part :o) Make sure that you have a GOOD spring compressor. I took my struts to a local shop where they let me use their fancy spring compressor to get rid of the mouts and springs. Make sure that the compressor's are on tight and do not slip when you undo the top bolt. Next you have to remove the collar that holds the insert in. 11 years of rust and element will have it on their nice and tight. Lots of penetrating oil would help. I had to dremmel a little groove into it and hit it with a chissel to break it loose. Clean out the assembly very thoroughly and reinstall. Not sure if Sach's are like Bilstein's where everything is internal and you don't have to replace the miscelaneous pieces above the strut. The rest is reverse of removal. Make sure that you torque the strut mount bolt and release the tension SLOWLY after you are finished. Reinstall and you are good to go.
4. The rears were quite easy, one bolt on the bottom and 3 on top. I had to Pound the rears for 1+ hours each to bet them out of the trailing arm. A big 5 pound hammer will help and don't worry about ruining it as you are replacing it.

Don't forget the new paper gasket for the rear strut mounts, I would replace all the mounts as PM, do all of the spring pads, new self locking nuts up front, and have some loctite ready for the steering arms. Other than that, pretty easy and straightforward. Just be patient and very careful. Good Luck and if you have any specific questions, please let me know.

Best Regards,
WTB: '92ish 525i/5 or '90ish 535i/5

Many of you have installed your own springs and struts, I have the Bentley's, but was curious to know if there were any tricks or things I should be aware of before I start this venture. How long did it take to do the whole project? Were there any special tools or parts that was needed after you got into the job?
Just trying to eliminate the suprizes. Thanks for your help.

'89 535iA (soon to be lowered by Sachs springs&struts)

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