This article is one in a series that have been released in conjunction with Wayne's new book, 101 Performance Projects for Your BMW 3 Series. The book contains 272 pages of full color projects detailing everything from performance mods to timing the camshafts. With more than 650+ full-color glossy photos accompanying extensive step-by-step procedures, this book is required reading in any 3 Series owner's collection. The book was released in August 2006, and is available for ordering now. See The Official Book Website for more details.
Are you getting tired of having your front or rear trunk lids drop on your head? Then it's probably time to replace your hood shocks. These are among the most disposable of parts on the BMW. They will fail, it's just a matter of when. Replacing them is an easy task, one made even easier for those with small hands who can manipulate tiny pieces. With a little bit of patience, you can replace your hood and trunk lid shocks in about 30 minutes.
The front hood uses two gas-pressurized shocks to hold up its weight. Start by lifting up the front hood and propping it open using a long stick or a baseball bat. Make sure this support is securely affixed, as the hood will hurt or maim you if it falls upon your head. Starting with the right side, remove the small clip on the pin that connects the hood shock to the hood itself. Remove the same pin from the mount that connects the shock to the lower mount in the engine compartment.
Install the new shock in the same place and orientation as the old one. Refasten the clips to the pins and make sure they are secure. Repeat the procedure for the left side. It is very easy to drop both the pin and the clip down into the recesses of the engine compartment, so work carefully and don't rush.
The rear trunk shocks are very similar in their replacement process. There's a small clip that holds in a plastic retainer on the E36 models--simply use a small screwdriver to pry up the clip, and then pull off the plastic retainer clip.
While you're in this area, you will probably want to check out your trunk's wire harness. See Photo 2 of Project 82 for more details.
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Each shock is held in place by a small pin and clip to keep it in position. Be sure not to lose the clip or the pin into the recesses of your engine compartment or trunk. The new shocks should last several years before they begin to wear out again.