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Front Suspension Replacement - [Springs & Shocks]

 

Disclaimer:

E30tech.com cannot be held responsible if these instructions are not correct or do not work for any reason.
You perform these instructions at your own risk.


 

The following parts were used in this replacement:

- (2) Front Ireland Engineering Stage 3 Race Springs - Part # e30rspring

- (2) Front Bilstein Sport Strut Inserts (Gas Shocks) - Part # P36-0335

- (2) Control Arm Self-locking Hex Nuts - BMW Part # 32211095267

- (2) Tie Rod Self-locking Hex Nuts - BMW Part # 07129922436

 

You will need many various items/tools to complete this installation:

- Spring Compressor

- Various Socket Wrenches with many sockets, both deep and shallow

- 17mm open ended wrench

- Vise grips

- Rubber mallot

- Hammer and/or tie rod puller

- Safety Goggles & Mechanix Gloves (highly recommended)

- Stillson Wrench

- 5mm Allen Wrench

- Torque Wrench(s) - 16ft.lb. - 90ft. lb.

- Bungie Cord or Heavy Duty String

 

I suggest you start by placing your e30 securely onto jackstands. Be sure to remove your front wheels, and make sure your engine is off.

 


 

IE Stage 3 Race Springs

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Once your front wheels have been removed, you should see something similar to Picture 1.

In this article, we will be looking at the driver side. This is where you will have the ABS and Brake Pad Sensors. On the passenger side, you will only have an ABS sensor.

Picture 1

 

Step 1: 

First, unhook the Brake Pad Sensor from it's mounting point on the Splah Guard (protective plate), then disconnect it.

Picture 2

 

Step 2: 

Disconnect the ABS and the Brake Pad Sensor wires from the strut housing. You will notice them connected in (2) places.

 

Picture 3

 

Step 3:

Grab your 5mm allen wrench and unscrew the mounting bolt for the ABS sensor, then pull it straight out.

Picture 4

 

Step 4:

Remove the (2) brake caliper mounting bolts.

 

Picture 5

 

Step 5: 

Once you have the brake caliper mounting bolts out get a bungie cord and hang the caliper from the underbody of the car. Be careful not to put tension on the brake line.

Picture 6

 

Step 6: 

With your 17mm socket and 17mm open end wrench, disconnect the sway bar link from the sway bar. The wrench and socket should be on opposite ends of the sway bar.

 

Picture 7

 

Step 7:

Find the appropriate sockets you will need in order to loosen the nuts on top of the control arm and tie rod. Once the nuts are removed loosen the rotor set screw and remove the rotor. You should then unbolt and reposition the Splah Guard (protective plate), so you can get a better angle at the tie rod and control arm.

Now, if you don't plan on replacing your tie rods, then use a tie rod puller or just be careful not to puncture the tie rod end. If you do plan on replacing them, then by all means hit that tie rod with a hammer. You will have a little more room to work with on the control arm. Just be sure not to puncture the end of the control arm.

Once you have removed both from the strut housing, it should look like Picture 8.

 

Picture 8

 

Step 8:

Remove the (3) nuts on top of the strut tower. Keep one hand on the strut housing to make sure it doesn't fall straight to the ground.

 

Picture 9

 

Step 9:

While holding the strut housing, pull down and out to remove it from your e30.

 

Picture 10

 

Step 10:

Place the strut housing on the ground.

 

 

Position your spring compressor on the spring and compress until you relieve all pressure from the upper spring retainer.

 

 

With the spring compressed, grab a pair of vice grips and grip the top of the shock. Position the strut housing under something so that it does not rotate. Take a long ratchet with the appropriate socket and loosen the top nut. You will need to hold onto the vice grips while you do this, in order to prevent the shock insert from rotating along with the top nut.

 

Picture 11

 

Step 11:

With the spring removed, you'll have the shock insert left. Position the Stillsen wrench around the shock's collar and loosen. A slight blow with a rubber mallot should help free up a stubborn collar.

You may want to place some newspaper under the strut housing while removing the insert. There will be some oil in the strut housing. If you are replacing the insert with a gas one, then make sure you empty any remaining oil left inside.

Picture 12

 

Step 12:

Now you're ready to build up the strut assembly.

Slide the new shock insert into the strut housing.

Bilsein recommends that you use a special tool in order to tighten the collar. It is not recommended, but a Stillsen wrench was used to tighten the collar.

Picture 13

 

Step 13:

Seat your bottom rubber ring properly in the strut housing.

Picture 14

 

Step 14:

Line up your spring with the curve of the rubber ring.

Place the protecive boot onto the top of the shock insert.

Do not place that protective boot retainer (white circular piece) where it is in the bottom of picture 15. Instead, place it on the strut body and use it to hold down the protective boot in place.

 

Picture 15

 

Step 15:

Properly seat the upper rubber ring on top of the spring. While holding the rubber ring in place, place the spring retainer on top. Be sure to line it up correctly.

Place the washer on top of the spring retainer.

Picture 16

 

Step 16:

Place the strut bearing on top of the assembly and hand tighten the self-locking nut to keep the assembly in place.

With a pair of vice grips, clamp onto the top of the insert. Holding that in place, use your racket to tighten the self-locking nut according to specs. In this application, the self-locking nut was torqued to 50 lb. ft.

Picture 17

 

This is what your strut assembly should look like when finished.

Picture 18

 

Step 17:

Installation is the opposite of removal.

Note: Before you lower your e30 back to the ground, be sure that the springs line up properly to their spring retainers.

 

Be sure to torque your items to the following:

-Tie rod locknut - 26.5+/-2.5 ft. lb. (36.5+/-3.5 Nm)

-Control arm locknut - 47 ft. lb. (65 Nm)

-Sway bar to link - 30 ft. lb. (42 Nm)

-Strut tower mounting nuts - 16 ft. lb. (22 Nm)

-Brake Caliper Mounting Bolts - 80 - 90 ft. lb. (110-123 Nm)

 

Picture 19

 

Here's a spring comparison for you.

Picture 20

   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   

I hope most of you find these instructions helpful. If you have any questions, or you feel that you could add to this list, then by all means post away.

 
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