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Replacing Your BMW Rear Shocks
 
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Pelican Technical Article:

Replacing Your BMW Rear Shocks

Nick Czerula

Time:

3 hours3 hrs

Tab:

$300

Talent:

****

Tools:

Flathead & Phillips screwdrivers, 16mm, 17mm, 8mm sockets. 16mm, 17mm wrenches.

Applicable Models:

BMW 325i Sedan (2006)
BMW 325xi Sedan/Wagon (2006)
BMW 328i xDrive Coupe (2009-13)
BMW 328i xDrive Sedan (2009-11)
BMW 328i xDrive Wagon (2009-12)
BMW 328i/xi Coupe (2007-13)
BMW 328i/xi Sedan (2007-11)
BMW 328i/xi Wagon (2007-12)
BMW 330i/xi Sedan (2006)
BMW 335d/i/xi Sedan (2007-11)
BMW 335i xDrive Coupe (2009-13)
BMW 335i xDrive Sedan (2009-11)
BMW 335i/is/xi Coupe (2007-13)

Parts Required:

Rear shock, rear shock thrust bearing and mounts

Hot Tip:

Replace one side at a time

Performance Gain:

Repair faulty rear shock and mounts

Complementary Modification:

Inspect coil springs

When replacing your rear shocks, always replace them in a pair. I suggest replacing the lower shock mounts also. The shock mounts tend to wear and fall apart over time. It's better to replace them while you are servicing the shocks than to have to go back to them later. Always replace your shocks in pairs and any associated parts that look worn. You'll want to raise your vehicle high enough to fit a jack under the rear swing arm. This helps when installing new shock into trunk shock tower.

In this tech article, I will go over how to replace the rear shocks on BMW E90 vehicles.

Raise rear of vehicle and support safely on jack stands. See our tech article on jacking up your vehicle. When jacking, get vehicle as high as possible. You will have to be able to fit a hydraulic jack under the rear trailing arm.

Place a jack stand under the lower control arm.
Figure 1

Place a jack stand under the lower control arm. This will support the rear wheel bearing carrier when you remove the rear shock.

You are going to have to remove a few pieces of the trunk interior trim.
Figure 2

You are going to have to remove a few pieces of the trunk interior trim. Start by pulling out the center solid carpet.

Next, you will have to remove the trim piece that runs along the latch area of trunk.
Figure 3

Next, you will have to remove the trim piece that runs along the latch area of trunk. Start by removing the four plastic rivets. (green arrows)

To remove the rivets, lever center tab out using a trim panels tool.
Figure 4

To remove the rivets, lever center tab out using a trim panels tool.

Working in trunk, remove two plastic caps using a small flathead screwdriver.
Figure 5

Working in trunk, remove two plastic caps using a small flathead screwdriver. (green arrows)

With the plastic caps removed, remove the two Phillips head screws.
Figure 6

With the plastic caps removed, remove the two Phillips head screws. (green arrow) The photo shows left side, right side is the same.

Lift up trunk trim piece and detach it from luggage hooks.
Figure 7

Lift up trunk trim piece and detach it from luggage hooks. Once detached, remove from trunk.

Working in trunk, remove three plastic rivets.
Figure 8

Working in trunk, remove three plastic rivets. (green arrows) These rivets secure the carpet to the side of the trunk. Left side shown in photo, removing the right side is similar.

To remove the rivets, lever center tab out using a trim panel tool.
Figure 9

To remove the rivets, lever center tab out using a trim panel tool.

Once all trim clips have been removed, pull carpet away from body, start where carpet at trunk side meets carpet at seatback.
Figure 10

Once all trim clips have been removed, pull carpet away from body, start where carpet at trunk side meets carpet at seatback. Pull away until you see shock tower rubber cap. (green arrow)

Once you have access to shock tower rubber cap, you have to open it to gain access to shock mount nuts.
Figure 11

Once you have access to shock tower rubber cap, you have to open it to gain access to shock mount nuts. Just pull it up to remove from body.

Next you have to remove the top shock fastener.
Figure 12

Next you have to remove the top shock fastener. (green arrow)

Working at top of shock, break shock nut free using a 16mm socket.
Figure 13

Working at top of shock, break shock nut free using a 16mm socket. Then, using an 8mm socket and 16mm wrench, remove shock fastener.

Then remove shock nut with attached washer.
Figure 14

Then remove shock nut with attached washer.

Next, you have to remove the lower shock fasteners, they attach to the lower swing arm.
Figure 15

Next, you have to remove the lower shock fasteners, they attach to the lower swing arm. If you are replacing just the shock, remove the shock nut (green arrow). If you are replacing the shock and the shock mount, remove the two E12 fasteners (yellow arrow).

To remove the nut, use a 17mm socket to break nut loose.
Figure 16

To remove the nut, use a 17mm socket to break nut loose. Then remove shock fastener using an 8mm socket and a 17mm wrench. Once the nut is free, you will have to slide wrench in slot in lower swing arm in order to grab the nut.

Grab top of shock and slowly compress it until you can remove it from the vehicle.
Figure 17

Grab top of shock and slowly compress it until you can remove it from the vehicle.

Inspect lower shock mount and replace if needed.
Figure 18

Inspect lower shock mount and replace if needed. (green arrow)

Inspect rear shock thrust bearing and replace if needed.
Figure 19

Inspect rear shock thrust bearing and replace if needed. (green arrow)

Assemble new or old shock bump stops and protective cover onto new shock in order shown.
Figure 20

Assemble new or old shock bump stops and protective cover onto new shock in order shown. Install shock in vehicle, install lower portion of shock first with fasteners finger tight. Then jack on swing arm to raise shock back into trunk. Then install washer with nut and tighten. Then tighten lower shock fastener. Reinstall trunk trim carpet and test drive vehicle.

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Comments and Suggestions:
loctong Comments: I think the top shock fastener bolt for the rear shock mount is loose, i can hear loose metal clunking on one side only going over speed bumps. In the tutorial it says to jack up the arm to raise the shock back into the trunk, can i tighten the bolt while the car is currently planted on the ground, or will the shock spin while i tighten if i do it that way?
August 24, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Yes, you can, if it is in fact loose. My guess is the shock mount if faulty. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Yangorang Comments: What is the torque for the upper shock mount fastener? Is a special strut socket required to torque it?
April 27, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: You shouldn't need a special socket. I don’t have the torque info.


I would grab a repair manual. It will have the procedure, special tools and torque specs.

Give our parts specialists a call at 1-888-280-7799. - Nick at Pelican Parts
 
Sean Y Comments: For future reference...
For the wagon / touring / E91 I did not completely remove the access panel. It's just enough room to get the 16mm top nut tightened. Taking the front cargo panel out seemed like more work than the limited wrench angle.

The picture shows the pieces that need to be removed and the hidden screws/pieces that need to come out. I wish I'd written down which sizes each Torx bit was.

Thanks for all the help on my other projects!
April 11, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the additional info and feedback. We appreciate it.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
Tyler Comments: I replaced all parts following this tutorial shocks, lower shock mount, bushings, bump stop, rubber, etc. All bolts were fully tightened with the swing arm jacked up to ride height. While driving and watching the top shock mount bolt/stem/bushing in the trunk, it seems to have some minor bounce up and down. Is this bounce expected?
April 3, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: That is normal movement. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Chung Daddy Comments: Just did this on a 2007 328xi. A couple things to note:

- Be careful getting the gray rivets off of the trunk lip figure 4. I accidentally broke one and almost lost another when it flew off with the force of a thousand suns.

- I also managed to break off the shock stem where he's putting the 8mm socket in figure 13 [which was a 6mm for me], so be careful there too...

Lastly if you cheap out and use Monroe shocks like I did they do make installation as difficult as possible by 1 not having a hex shaped area on the lower black part as shown in Rick's picture and 2 not having a hex stem on the top to hold with your 6mm socket while tightening the nut

Luckily the 28 ft-lb's necessary for the bottom is achievable by just holding the shock with one hand and ratcheting the nut on with the other. For the top I held the stem with a vice grip and used a ratcheting box end wrench to tighten the nut.
January 16, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the additional info and feedback. We appreciate it.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
Lost Sopul Comments: Is there a clear way to remove the trim and side panels on a 325xi 2006 to get at the yop of the shock bolts to replace worn shocks
January 15, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: This tech article shows you how. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Josh Comments: Torque spec for lower nut to attach shock to shock mount? Green arrow figure 15
December 18, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: I don’t have that info.

I would grab a repair manual. It will have the procedure, special tools and torque specs.

Give our parts specialists a call at 1-888-280-7799. They can help you find the right part.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
Chris Comments: Is it possible not to take out the shocks, just use floor jack to control the height of control arm for removing ball joint?
April 19, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: I have never tried it that way. I can't offer any insight. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
wilson Comments: Sorry I don't quite follow the answer to my first comment. I should raise up the left side, put a stand under left side, then go raise and repair right side? What should I use to support the control arm from slamming down, just place a jack stand under it too? Thanks
March 25, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: No, jack and support one side, replace the part, then reassemble and lower that side, repeat for opposite side of vehicle. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Rick Comments: Two more points for this particular model...

- To remove the carpeted side panels it is necessary to remove the two tie down anchor assemblies located right behind the seat backs on both sides. Removal requires a T40 Torx bit. This is addition to the plastic fasteners described above.

- After the anchor assemblies are removed, the rear seat backs must be folded forward / down. This will allow you to pull the side panels out, allowing access to the top of the shocks. The release handles are located at the top of the trunk, slightly forward of the trunk lip, on the right and left side. It's in such an obvious place that it's easy to miss.

March 25, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for sharing your installation process and experience. These type of comments add so much to the Pelican tech community.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
Rick Comments: I just finished doing a 2007 328 xi. A friend came to me with Bilstein "touring" shocks 19-135021 and asked for help installing. A few notes to those interested...

- The socket size for the hex end of the stem is 6mm
- The new nut size at the bottom of the shock is 15mm
- Unless you disassemble the knuckle assembly from the control arm it's impossible to get an open end wrench in to tighten the bottom nut as shown above. Instead the bottom stem is hex shaped right under the shock tube. Just use a 13mm open end wrench to secure when tightening the bottom nut.

Hope this helps.
March 25, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for sharing your installation process and experience. These type of comments add so much to the Pelican tech community.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
Wilson Comments: If I use a hydraulic jack to lift up one rear side at a time at the lifting pad location, would using a another "screw jack" like the typical ones found in vehicle trunks with their spare tires be enough to hold the lower control arm from slamming down ? I only have a hydraulic jack, two jack stands, and can grab a jack from another vehicle, but I'm not sure if this will be enough to complete the repair ? Thanks in advance !
March 24, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: No, the jacks for changing a tire are only for emergency use. Not for repair work.

Do one side at a time. Jack and support the left side, lower it, then repair the right side.- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
Eric Comments: The wagon trim is completely different. Any tips?
February 15, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: You have to remove the rear cargo trim panels.

We don't currently have that tech article. If we get a chance to perform the procedure, we will be sure to document it.

I would grab a repair manual. It will have the procedure, special tools and torque specs.

Give our parts specialists a call at 1-888-280-7799. - Nick at Pelican Parts
 
Kevin Comments: what size are the little nuts on the bottom on the lower shock mount? They have a strange shape.
December 28, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: E12, external Torx. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
fp Comments: applicable for a 2007 328xi?
November 19, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: It should be the same for your vehicle. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
stan Comments: Is it really necessary to put the jack stand under the control arm per Fig. 1? Later figures don't show the jack stand there.
October 29, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Yes, if you do not have it supported the control arm will slam down. In the photos, the vehicle was on a hoist, so a screw jack was used. The jack stand was shown for the article.- Nick at Pelican Parts  
dsc Comments: Torque values? on figure 15's bolts?
November 29, 2013
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: The shock mount bolts: 60 Nm (44 ft-lb)
The shock to mount: 38 Nm 28 (ft-lb) - Nick at Pelican Parts
 

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