Monday, 11 September 2017

F10 530d: Front Shock Strut / Spring / Top-mount Replacement

My front shocks were certainly past their prime up front and over the last few months have really started to bottom out on certain speed bumps. I was also told one of the front top-mounts was starting to go on the last MOT and would probably be an issue next time round, so it was time to give the F10 a mini front-suspension overhaul.

I got hold of a pair of complete front struts taken from a 45k-mile car (I am told, but they are very clean) for just £240. All the parts new and spurious (including my through-work discount) would have been nigh on £400 and lots more from BMW. The used items are of course genuine, so quite a lot of money saved and the struts have turned out to be pretty good so it was a chance worth taking.


The guide I used is by hamanncheese on 5post.com and is pretty spot on, so props to him - I will reference his photos and try to elaborate a little on his instructions. [Original guide here: http://f10.5post.com/forums/showthread.php?t=628336].


REMOVE / REPLACE STRUT:

1. Lift the car and remove the corresponding wheel.

2. Remove the nut holding the top of the anti-roll bar link to the shock-strut using an 18mm wrench. [The nut should come off without twisting the ball-joint, but you may need to insert a T40-Torx socket into the end of the stop it turning with the nut.] [If the stud is difficult to remove from the shock-strut, then using a second jack to lift the hub and prying the anti-roll bar downwards will certainly help.]

Pic courtesy: hamanncheese
3. Remove the lower strut bolt using an 18mm (bolt-head) and 21mm (nut) wrench.

Pic courtesy: hamanncheese
4. Remove the 3 bolts holding the top-mount to the shock-turret using a 13mm wrench.

Pic courtesy: hamanncheese
5. Push the hub down and lift the shock-strut until it clears the bottom-arm and can be removed. [Lift it over the bottom-arm towards the rear of the car. There is plenty of room to manoeuvre it out of the wheel well.] [As hamanncheese says, this step is easier with a helping hand, but can be done solo without much difficulty.]

6. Insert the new strut using the same technique as Step 5.

7. Refit the lower strut bolt first and screw the nut on a few turns. [A screwdriver or other long tool may be necessary to align the strut to the lower-arm.]

8. Refit the 3 top-mount bolts and tighten.

9. Fully tighten the lower strut-bolt.

10. Refit the anti-roll bar link to the strut.


ALIGN TOP MOUNTS:

If the top-mount holes do not line up with the shock-turret, [i.e. if they have been removed / replaced and not fitted in the correct alignment], then they will need rotating to the correct position. Spring-compressors are required.

1. Place the strut on its side with the ring-bracket resting on the floor [as in pic]. This is so it can be lined up against the one it is replacing.


2. Compress the spring on both sides, being careful to mount the spring-compressors so they do not foul the strut resting on the ring-bracket [as in below pic].


3. Loosen off the top mount nut using a deep 18mm socket, leaving it on a few threads.

4. Rotate the lower spring-pan by tapping it round using the notches [in pic]. A hammer and blunt chisel or large flat-head screwdriver will do nicely.


5. Re-tighten the top mount nut and de-compress the spring.


REPLACE SPRING / TOP-MOUNT:

1. Compress the spring on both sides using spring-compressors.

2. Remove the top-mount nut using a deep 18mm socket. [Stand to the side when the nut is fully removed as, even with the springs compressed, the top-mount may still come off with some force.]

*If you are only replacing the top-mount then skip Step 3.*

3. If you are replacing the spring, remove the old one from the strut and remove the spring compressors. Compress the new spring, place it over the strut and seat it in the lower spring-pan.

4. Fit the new top-mount, ensuring the spring is located in the upper spring-pan, replace the 18mm top-nut and fully tighten.

5. Remove the spring-compressors.


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