Advice on dismantling front struts

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AndyBaur
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Advice on dismantling front struts

Post by AndyBaur »

I need to replace the front shocks on my 320/6.

I see from the parts diagram there's a collar which holds the shock in the strut. I've been advised to use a large pipe wrench to slacken the collar with the strut still on the car. I haven't been able to find a how-to guide so I would appreciate any advice. Do I have to spit the hub from the balljoint or can the the spring/shock be replaced with the strut in situ?

I'm intending to fit -40mm Spax PSX shocks & springs. Cheapest I've seen these are £392 for all 4 corners. Any cheaper options worth considering?


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nas80
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Re: Advice on dismantling front struts

Post by nas80 »

ive done this and its fairly easy.. take the struts off completely because it will save you hassle / and risk of damage to paint.. change the top mounts too. Usually you find the shock leaks inside the tube so you have to really yank on that shock to get it out. i used a monkey wrench and it seemed to come undone easily because of the leverage.

when you get new shocks (i bought fitted bilstein b6's) and these came with new collars and those bellows. you will need bump stops. defo buy the psx thats not a bad price at all for a complete kit - they lower enough so you get a sporty looking stance but then not too low so you get stuck on stuff and if you dont like the height you can always buy some 60 mm springs later on for fairly cheap and flog the -40.
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AndyBaur
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Re: Advice on dismantling front struts

Post by AndyBaur »

Thanks for the advice - I did wonder about doing the job 'on the car'. I wasn't sure if this was to hold the strut securely or to avoid having to split the balljoint/hub.

If I'm stripping the struts right down I might take the opportunity to get them blasted & powder coated.

Incidently, I found this Pro Sport kit for £219.95 + £12.95 delivery. This seemed suspiciously cheap.

The PSX kit is now £372 from Larkspeed :boogie

Where did you get your B6 shocks from?
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Jeroen
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Re: Advice on dismantling front struts

Post by Jeroen »

If the balljoint doesn't come off, and they can be a pain in the butt, you can always choose to remove the strut together with the control arm.
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AndyBaur
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Re: Advice on dismantling front struts

Post by AndyBaur »

Jeroen wrote:you can always choose to remove the strut together with the control arm.
A very good point! :cheers

I guess I need to get a pickle fork balljoint splitter. . .
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Re: Advice on dismantling front struts

Post by Wondermike »

Usually you find the shock leaks inside the tube so you have to really yank on that shock to get it out
The struts are filled with oil for coolant purposes, so oil doesn't say the shocks are leaking. :wink:
That oil creates a vacuum when you try to pull it out, keep pulling and they will come out.
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Re: Advice on dismantling front struts

Post by AndyBaur »

According to the Haynes manual the strut needs 30cc of engine oil.

I've found quite a few adverts for new spring collars - is it best to replace them?

The manual says "hold the top of the shock pin & unscrew the nut" - is this held with a hex key like on E36's?
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Re: Advice on dismantling front struts

Post by Jeroen »

Spring collars, you mean the rubber bushes at top and bottom of the spring? Usually they're fine to reuse.

How you can hold the top pin depends on the make. In some cases that will be hex key (I believe Koni for example), just the regular spanner (believe 7 or 8mm for Bilstein) or a compressed air power tool just to get the nut going without holding the shock pin.

Before doing so, make sure to have compressed the spring or it will become a deadly weapon. Take good notice of the sequence the o-rings are all fitted otherwise your new top bearings won't be able to run freely causing heavy steering and premature wear. You won't believe how many get this wrong, even dealerships! So after putting the strut back together test if the top bearing still runs freely before decompressing the spring.
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Re: Advice on dismantling front struts

Post by AndyBaur »

Sorry, I meant the shock absorber collar (the one that holds the shock into the strut). It seems they can be internal or external thread.

I've just done the front struts on my E36 & used a hex key through a deep socket held with some pipe grips to tighten the new assembly. Dismantling the old struts would have been much harder but of course the E36 strut is separate from the hub which makes life simpler.

A thought has just occurred. Since my car is a 320/6 it should have the 45mm struts. Is there any easy way to confirm this (just in case a p.o. has upgraded to 51mm 323 struts)?
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Re: Advice on dismantling front struts

Post by Wondermike »

the 323i has internal thread.
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Re: Advice on dismantling front struts

Post by AndyBaur »

Wondermike wrote:the 323i has internal thread.
:thnx
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Re: Advice on dismantling front struts

Post by AndyBaur »

Well, thanks to Jeroen's advice I got the struts out without having to split the control arm ball joint. However, the joints seem a little free so it looks like I'll have to split them anyway for new ones. :roll: Does anyone have the proper BMW splitting tool? Looks like an offset G-clamp. My mate thinks we could make one if we had the dimensions.

According to my Haynes manual the struts need to be filled with 30cc of engine oil before the new shocks go in. Pelican parts say 1/4 of a quart unless they are gas shocks in which case they go in dry.

Anybody have a definitive answer?
AndyS

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Re: Advice on dismantling front struts

Post by Wondermike »

anyone have the proper BMW splitting tool? Looks like an offset G-clamp
I think i do if you don't mean the steering arm joints
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Re: Advice on dismantling front struts

Post by AndyBaur »

Wondermike wrote:I think i do if you don't mean the steering arm joints
It's this one:

Image

Looks like the lower part hooks under the bottom of the strut & the top block offsets the clamping bolt.
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Re: Advice on dismantling front struts

Post by Wondermike »

Yes, that's the one i have right here and this one never let me down so far. :thumbsup
Let me know how i can help you out with a reproduction.
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