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Rear Shock Replacement
 
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Pelican Technical Article:

Rear Shock Replacement

Nick Czerula

Time:

3 hours3 hrs

Tab:

$250

Talent:

*****

Tools:

Set of sockets, 16mm 6mm wrenches, flathead screwdriver

Applicable Models:

BMW Z3 (1996-02)

Parts Required:

Rear shock, rear shock mount

Hot Tip:

Replace rear shocks as a pair

Performance Gain:

Car will ride well

Complementary Modification:

Replace shock mounts.

Shock absorbers and springs are the suspension components that maintain the mass of the vehicle suspended above the rolling gear--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 Z3 is equipped with separate shocks absorbers and coil springs in the rear. For the front suspension, BMW utilizes a combined shock absorber and coil spring assembly referred to as a MacPherson strut.

If you have a rough ride or a bouncy rear end in your Z3, it might be time to replace the rear shock absorbers. Replace shock absorbers in pairs. I suggest replacing the upper shock absorber mounts also. These mounts tend to wear and fall apart over time. It's better to replace them while you are servicing the shock absorbers than to have to go back later. When replacing, do one side at a time; it's helpful to have an assembled shock absorber to use as a reference point if needed during reassembly.

To avoid marring the paint and trim, work with a plastic prying tool or wrap a screwdriver tip with masking tape before prying out body or interior items.

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're 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.

Loosen the rear wheel bolts but do not remove them. (Only loosen wheel bolts if you plan to remove the rear wheels when replacing rear shock absorbers.)

Raise the rear of the vehicle and support it safely on jack stands. See our tech article on vehicle jacking. When jacking, get the vehicle as high as possible. If you remove the rear wheels, you have to fit a hydraulic jack under the rear-trailing arm; if you do not remove the rear wheels, leave enough room under the rear tires for a hydraulic jack to fit.

Remove the rear wheels, or leave them on if you prefer to jack on the tire.

I am going to show you how to replace the shocks on roadster models. The procedure is similar for coupe models, the main difference being the shock mount nuts are accessed from the trunk instead of the interior cabin.

Working in passenger cabin behind seats at convertible top compartment, locate the trim panel clips (green arrows).
Figure 1

Working in passenger cabin behind seats at convertible top compartment, locate the trim panel clips (green arrows).

Remove all four trim clips by levering out using a trim panel tool.
Figure 2

Remove all four trim clips by levering out using a trim panel tool.

Next you will have to peel back the carpet to expose the shock mount nuts.
Figure 3

Next you will have to peel back the carpet to expose the shock mount nuts. Remove two 13mm shock mount fasteners (green arrows).

Next place hydraulic jack under training arm or under rear tire (green arrow).
Figure 4

Next place hydraulic jack under training arm or under rear tire (green arrow).

Remove rear shock 18mm mounting fastener (green arrow).
Figure 5

Remove rear shock 18mm mounting fastener (green arrow).

Lower shock and remove from vehicle.
Figure 6

Lower shock and remove from vehicle.

Using a pair of vise grips and a 16mm or 17mm wrench, remove shock mount from shock.
Figure 7

Using a pair of vise grips and a 16mm or 17mm wrench, remove shock mount from shock. If you are replacing shock mount, still do this part. You need the small parts to go with new shock and shock mount. Pay close attention to the order and orientation of washers.

First, install rubber cap (green arrow) onto new shock.
Figure 8

First, install rubber cap (green arrow) onto new shock. Then install remaining parts in order shown in photo with the nut (yellow arrow) being the last item. Torque mount nut to 14 Nm (10 ft-lb). Install shock in vehicle, once you get the upper mount studs aligned, install lower fastener. Install upper shock mount fasteners and tighten to 24 Nm (17 ft-lb). Install rear wheel and lower vehicle to ground. Tighten lower shock fastener with vehicle suspension loaded to 100 Nm (74 ft-lbs). Reinstall interior trim and test drive vehicle. Then recheck lower shock fasteners tightening torque.

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Comments and Suggestions:
Mike Comments: When stepping on the peddle on my 97z3 the rear tires rub on the wheel wells, does this mean I need new shocks or springs.?
July 29, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Most likely something in the suspension is worn. Possibly the trailing arm bushings. - Nick at Pelican Parts  

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Page last updated: Fri 12/9/2016 02:07:39 AM