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Replacing Your Rear Spring Coils
 
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Pelican Technical Article:

Replacing Your Rear Spring Coils

Nick Czerula

Time:

3 hours3 hrs

Tab:

$400

Talent:

**

Tools:

Set of sockets, wrenches, screwdrivers, pry bar

Applicable Models:

BMW 323Ci Coupe/Conv (1999-00)
BMW 323i Sedan/Wagon (1999-00)
BMW 325Ci Coupe/Conv (2001-06)
BMW 325i/xi Sedan/Wagon (2001-06)
BMW 328Ci Coupe (1999-00)
BMW 328i Sedan (1999-00)
BMW 330Ci Coupe/Conv (2001-06)
BMW 330i/xi Sedan (2001-06)

Parts Required:

Rear coil spring

Hot Tip:

Replace coil springs as a pair

Performance Gain:

Car will ride well

Complementary Modification:

Replace rear shocks and shock mounts. Have vehicle aligned.

Shock absorbers and springs are the suspension components that maintain the mass of the vehicle suspended above the rolling gear at the wheels. Springs hold the weight up and shock absorbers dampen suspension movements so that passengers inside the vehicle experience a smooth ride. 

The BMW E46 is equipped with separate shocks absorbers and coil spring in the rear. For the front suspension, BMW utilizes a combined shock absorber and coil spring assembly referred to as a MacPherson strut.

The rear coil springs on most E46 models have a tendency to break at the last two lower turns of the spring. This is due to dirt and debris infiltrating the spring perch, retaining moisture, and causing the spring to rust then fracture. It is important to replace your coil springs in a pair to avoid an uneven suspension. Inspect spring pads for wear and replace them if necessary and always clean the spring perch area thoroughly. There are a few ways to tackle this project. I am going to try and illustrate the easiest way to replace your E46 coil springs. Have a friend around when you do this repair. You may need someone to help lever a pry bar or install the new coil spring while you lever the trailing arm down.

Keep in mind that when your car was serviced before, parts may have been replaced with different size fasteners used in the replacement. The sizes of the nuts and bolts we give may be different from what you have, so be prepared with different size sockets and wrenches. 

Protect your eyes, hands and body from fluids, dust and debris while working on your vehicle. If you are working with the electrical system, disconnect the battery before beginning. Always catch fluids in appropriate containers and properly dispose of any fluid waste. Recycle parts, packaging and fluids when possible. Do not work on your vehicle if you feel the task is beyond your ability. 

Vehicle models change and evolve, as they grow older, so the vehicle shown in our illustrations may vary slightly from yours. If something seems different, let us know and share your info to help other users. Do you have questions or want to add to the article? Leave a comment below. When leaving a comment, please leave your vehicle information.

Begin by loosening the rear wheel studs (don't remove them though). Raise the rear of the vehicle and support it safely on jack stands. See our Pelican Parts technical article on Jacking Up Your BMW. After your vehicle is safely secured, remove the rear wheels.

Working at the back of the trailing arm, remove the brake line mounting bracket 10mm fastener (purple arrow).
Figure 1

Working at the back of the trailing arm, remove the brake line mounting bracket 10mm fastener (purple arrow).

Next, place the hydraulic jack under the trailing arm.
Figure 2

Next, place the hydraulic jack under the trailing arm. Remove the rear shock 18mm mounting fastener (green arrow). Slowly lower the hydraulic jack until spring tension on trailing arm is fully unloaded.

Lift the coil spring up and pull out of the trailing arm, bottom first.
Figure 3

Lift the coil spring up and pull out of the trailing arm, bottom first. If there is not enough clearance for coil spring to be removed, use a pry bar to lever trailing arm down. You may need help from a friend for this.

Inspect upper (purple arrow) and lower (green arrow) spring pads for wear or damage.
Figure 4

Inspect upper (purple arrow) and lower (green arrow) spring pads for wear or damage. Replace if necessary. Remove both spring pads from the vehicle. You may have to lever pads out with a small pry bar. Clean the spring perch area thoroughly.

If bottom turn of the coil spring is stuck on the lower spring pad, remove it by prying off with a screwdriver or a pry bar.
Figure 5

If bottom turn of the coil spring is stuck on the lower spring pad, remove it by prying off with a screwdriver or a pry bar.

Install the upper (purple arrow) and the lower (green arrow) spring pads onto the new coil spring.
Figure 6

Install the upper (purple arrow) and the lower (green arrow) spring pads onto the new coil spring.

With both spring pads installed on new spring, install the spring into the vehicle, top of the spring first.
Figure 7

With both spring pads installed on new spring, install the spring into the vehicle, top of the spring first. You may need help from a friend to pry the trailing arm down in order to fit new coil spring into vehicle. Once the spring is properly installed in the trailing arm, slowly raise the suspension back into position. Install the shock mounting fastener and remove the hydraulic jack from under the trailing arm. Re-install the brake line to trailing arm and install rear wheel.

After replacing your rear coil springs, it is a good idea to have your vehicle professionally aligned. This will prevent premature tire wear and ensure good handling.

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Comments and Suggestions:
nick Comments: the spring suggested after i typed in my make and model staed that it wasnt for vehicles with sport suspension, however my 330ci bmw had the m-sport package with give it stock sport suspension, is this what your site referring to when it says not for vehicles with sport suspension
November 12, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: I think M-package vehicle have a sport spring.

To be sure, Give The Pelican Parts parts specialists a call at 1-888-280-7799. They can figure out what part or repair kit you need.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
Domas Comments: Hi. I have a question. Can touring spring coils fit sedan and vice versa ? Thank you.
April 4, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: I don't believe so. Assuming you mean Wagon / Touring. The spring rate will be higher for the extra weight of the vehicle.

Give our parts specialists a call at 1-888-280-7799. They can figure out what part or repair kit you need.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
Milton Comments: i have a 325ci 2004 coupe and i need to get higher rear coil spring what size that i need, i have the stock coil springs now
February 27, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: You may need to do a coil-over set up. I’m not the best with part numbers.

Give our parts specialists a call at 1-888-280-7799. They can figure out what part or repair kit you need. - Nick at Pelican Parts
 
Infantasy Comments: My E46 was originally lower with sport package during purchase. I intend to change all the front and rear struts but keep the original springs. Does the tire to fender distance is determined by the spring not the strut?
Thank you.
November 3, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Yes, ride height is mostly from spring. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Kent Comments: Thanks for all of your DIY repair articles. They have been immeasurably helpful! This was a snap. I was surprised to find both springs had broken. The only thing my son and I did differently was to unbolt the stabilizer bar where it mounts to the sub-frame and lift it out of the supporting brackets. With that free we could spread the trailing arm open without leveraging against the stabilizer bar.

Thanks again and please keep these coming.

P.S. My Son is now driving a low mileage 2005 Audi A4 1.8Ti, so I'm certain we'll be taking advantage of that portion of your site in the near future.
April 22, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the feedback and additional info. Glad we could help.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 

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Page last updated: Wed 12/7/2016 02:20:28 AM