Results 1 to 10 of 10

Thread: Strut replacement Raised the suspension - uh oh

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
    Location
    Oakland CA area
    Posts
    9

    Default Strut replacement Raised the suspension - uh oh

    OK so I purchased used front strut/hub complete assemblies from an auto recycler. $75 each with Bilsteins (not sure of which model inserts) so potentially a good deal and upgrade from the totally shot originals (160K miles!). Much stiffer, of course - but the suspension is now raised so that the wheel well lip is almost 4 1/2 inches above the top of the tire! The camber is of course all tucked-in - yikes! Not exactly what I was after... So does anyone have an idea what might have happened or what to do about it? Should I change to lowering springs, or just bail out and buy some new strut inserts and install them in the former strut/hub assemblies (which I still have) and replace these used units? I wasn't looking to lower the suspension, just normal height would be fine - but certainly didn't expect these to lift the car. Thanks in advance for your ideas. 1995 525i, 160K miles, manual trans, black with gray interior.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Location
    Eastern Tennessee USi
    Posts
    14,554

    Default

    Are the struts stuck at full extension? Is there any travel up and down? I have had a lot of experience with bulsteins and they just suck for me. Other than that it sounds like the springs in your new replacements are for a heavier vehicle... unless those bulsteins are stuck.

    If it's not the struts you can swap the springs from your original to the new ones and get your ride height back to normal.
    95 E34 530I V2.17
    ===========
    Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable.

    John F. Kennedy

  3. #3

    Default

    I agree on getting new springs for your 525i. Check out eibach and m-tech springs. I have h&r springs plus bilstein on my car, and I must say that this setup is a tad stiff. Went to this route so that the suspension can handle road imperfections much better.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
    Location
    Oakland CA area
    Posts
    9

    Default

    It seems like the struts are stuck at full or near-full extension - or maybe they are just really stiff. Pretty weird. There is little or no movement when pushing down on the car, that's for sure. I think I will just bite the bullet and order new strut inserts and rear shocks. Took me a while to respond, busy out of town, etc. but thanks for the responses!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Location
    Eastern Tennessee USi
    Posts
    14,554

    Default

    Bilsteins... I had one stick like you describe. I got some cheap chinese ones from Ebay and actually am very happy with them.

    No affiliation but these are what I grabbed: http://www.ebay.com/itm/331071417703...%3AMEBIDX%3AIT

    Cant beat 2 of them for 60 bux.

    Quote Originally Posted by keve34 View Post
    It seems like the struts are stuck at full or near-full extension - or maybe they are just really stiff. Pretty weird. There is little or no movement when pushing down on the car, that's for sure. I think I will just bite the bullet and order new strut inserts and rear shocks. Took me a while to respond, busy out of town, etc. but thanks for the responses!
    95 E34 530I V2.17
    ===========
    Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable.

    John F. Kennedy

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
    Location
    Oakland CA area
    Posts
    9

    Default

    Thanks for the advice, Regal - I followed it, sort of... perhaps I should have followed more closely! I did replace the original shot inserts (but with Bilstein B4 touring inserts - the price and lifetime warranty were good) - using the struts and springs that were original to the car - and the dang thing is still raised! Not at much as with those used units I tried before, but still about 1.5 inches higher than the normal (previous) height! The camber is positive and weird - but the suspension works as it should over bumps, etc. Replaced F and R with Bilstein B4 touring - kept the stock springs, etc. as I just wanted to restore original ride etc. I was careful to assemble everything just as it had been before. I had already replaced thrust arms, control arms and stabilizer bar links. Thrust arm and control arm bushings torqued with weight of car on the suspension (at least pretty close to the spec in Bentley). Note that rear is raised less than 1/2 inch - I can see that happening with new shocks at first - but it's hard for me to believe that the lift of the front, making the camber positive, is normal.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Location
    Eastern Tennessee USi
    Posts
    14,554

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by keve34 View Post
    but it's hard for me to believe that the lift of the front, making the camber positive, is normal.
    Loosen the thrust and control arm through bolts with weight on it. I'm betting that tightening it up with the messed up struts it is the through bolts and bushings holding the car up!
    95 E34 530I V2.17
    ===========
    Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable.

    John F. Kennedy

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    Tampa Bay, Florida, USA
    Posts
    895

    Default

    How are the ebay struts holding up, Jeff?
    Ramon
    1994 540iA Nikasil EAT Chip
    Tampa Bay, Florida USA

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Location
    Eastern Tennessee USi
    Posts
    14,554

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by MBXB View Post
    How are the ebay struts holding up, Jeff?
    Surprisingly well. I would buy these again in a heartbeat. I am thinking that over the years they have had the chance to get things right. Read a lot about these Sensen struts and it seems years ago they wouldn't last very long while one person was promoting them until one failed... at 85K miles. They are the narrower strut so it fits both housing sizes. I made sure to fill the housing with too much oil so it spews out the top during assembly. That is the only cooling they get and heat will kill a strut quickly. $65.00 a pair is a no brainer.
    95 E34 530I V2.17
    ===========
    Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable.

    John F. Kennedy

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Location
    Sydney, Australia
    Posts
    4,279

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by 632 Regal View Post
    Loosen the thrust and control arm through bolts with weight on it. I'm betting that tightening it up with the messed up struts it is the through bolts and bushings holding the car up!
    AFAIK they just break when not set near the middle of travel. But if the car is yet to be driven, maybe they are hanging in there...

    Seriously, there are several things that you could consider:

    Springs are specific to model. If your springs came from an e34 with a heavier front, like a 540 auto (the trans alone is terribly heavy), they will sit higher. It doesn't take much to throw the weight backwards and create a massive lean on the average e34 as at this age many are suffering from aged components. This is what happens:

    - rear springs sag and drop naturally
    - rear springs may be older than you think (many owners opt to replace fronts only, even though they all wear at the same rate)
    - hell, some owners just do the front springs, as a result of the same, or some additional madness (hell sagged springs ride at the same height as a lowered set, right?)
    - shocks make a difference to the ride-height. A dead stock ZF (Sachs/BOGE) can lower the height by 1" to 2". Replacement always raises ride height massively.
    - rear shocks may be older than you think too... !

    Also, to see if an e34's heights are correctly balanced between under and oversteer, stand back and look at the sill, not the gap between the tyres and the fender's arch. The sill should be parallel to the ground, or slightly angled down lower at the front. A large rake angle either way will make it handle badly. e34s do not handle well when lowered beyond M5 ride-height. Best bet for the best road-going performance is always M5-spec springs and shocks in a 6 cylinder car, or an appropriate H&R spring kit for your exact model. With Koni shocks, it'll be tip-top and have M5 handling- assuming you align it to M5 specs, and fit M5 bushes/arms to address the overly negative camber that will be present at the rear once the ride-height reduces.
    Last edited by genphreak; 06-03-2017 at 06:29 PM.

    Join the Aussie
    540i LE yahoo forum

    08/88 535i e34 M30+miller MAF, 'stiens, tints & teeth!

Similar Threads

  1. E36 suspension, front strut choices
    By Rusty Bavaria in forum 3 Series BMW
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: 07-02-2007, 04:56 AM
  2. 525iTA Glass strut replacement.
    By dave_in_va in forum 5 Series BMW
    Replies: 4
    Last Post: 11-07-2005, 07:51 PM
  3. Glove Box Strut Replacement
    By Don in forum 5 Series BMW
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: 04-19-2005, 05:55 PM
  4. Hood Strut Replacement
    By Don in forum 5 Series BMW
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: 02-23-2005, 09:27 PM
  5. OEM strut replacement advice
    By Gooch in forum 5 Series BMW
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: 01-08-2005, 09:21 AM

Tags for this Thread

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •