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Rear Shock Replacement
 
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Pelican Technical Article:

Rear Shock Replacement

Nick Czerula

Time:

3 hours3 hrs

Tab:

$300

Talent:

****

Tools:

Flathead & Phillips screwdrivers, 16mm, 17mm, 8mm sockets. 16mm, 17mm wrenches, floor jack, two jack stands, two wheel chocks, safety glasses, torque wrench

Applicable Models:

BMW X5 (2000-06)

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:

Replace coil or air springs

On BMW X5, E53 models, the large lower control arm carries the weight of the car. The rear coil or air spring is mounted in between the lower control arm and the spring perch on the body. Now as the spring goes over bumps it compresses as it absorbs the shock. A spring that is under tension wants to return to its original position as soon as it can. When the rear coil spring expands it can slam the wheel back into the ground. This alternating between the rear coil spring absorbing the shock and expanding can lead to the car bouncing up and down and a poor ride. The main job of the rear shock absorber is to slow down the rate of return of the rear coil spring so it does not slam back into the road. This is known as rebound dampening. The rear shock absorber does contribute a small amount to compression dampening but it is not the main job. As a shock absorber wears out it loses the ability to control the rate of the spring return and the wheel will slam into the ground causing the bouncing in the rear end. If as you're driving your car you feel the rear end continue to bounce up and down after a few bumps you probably have worn rear shock absorbers.

When replacing your rear shocks, always replace them as a pair. I suggest replacing the 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 the new shocks into the trunk shock tower.

Remember your car may have been serviced before and parts 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 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. Never work on your vehicle if you feel the task is beyond your ability.

In this tech article, I will go over how to replace the rear shocks on BMW E53 vehicles.

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. You will have to be able to fit a hydraulic jack under the rear-trailing arm.

The rear shock is shown here (red arrow).
Figure 1

The rear shock is shown here (red arrow). When replacing it, replace any worn parts -- such as the mount, bump stop or dust cover. Place a jack stand under the lower control arm. This will support the rear wheel-bearing carrier when you remove the rear shock.

Working at the lower shock mount, counterhold the 21mm bolt (red arrow) while you loosen the 21mm nut (yellow arrow).
Figure 2

Working at the lower shock mount, counterhold the 21mm bolt (red arrow) while you loosen the 21mm nut (yellow arrow).

Next, you can remove the nut from the lower shock mount.
Figure 3

Next, you can remove the nut from the lower shock mount. Do not remove the bolt yet.

You are going to have to remove a few pieces of the trunk interior trim.
Figure 4

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

Working at the side trim panels, remove the plastic rivets (red arrow).
Figure 5

Working at the side trim panels, remove the plastic rivets (red arrow). Lever the center tab out using a trim panel tool.

Next, you will have to remove the plastic nuts that secure the plastic bracket to the trunk floor.
Figure 6

Next, you will have to remove the plastic nuts that secure the plastic bracket to the trunk floor. Start by removing the 10mm nut at the panel junction.

Then move toward the front of the trunk area, at the seat back and remove the plastic rivets (red arrows).
Figure 7

Then move toward the front of the trunk area, at the seat back and remove the plastic rivets (red arrows). Lever the center tab out using a trim panel tool.

Next, you will have to remove the plastic nuts that secure the plastic bracket to the trunk floor.
Figure 8

Next, you will have to remove the plastic nuts that secure the plastic bracket to the trunk floor. Start by removing the 10mm nuts (red arrows) at the rear corner of the trunk.

Then, open the storage compartment door and remove it (red arrow) from the vehicle.
Figure 9

Then, open the storage compartment door and remove it (red arrow) from the vehicle.

With the storage compartment door out of the way, lift and remove the rear most plastic bracket (red arrow).
Figure 10

With the storage compartment door out of the way, lift and remove the rear most plastic bracket (red arrow). Then remove the spare tire (yellow arrow) from the vehicle.

With the spare tire out of the way, lift and remove the front most plastic bracket (red arrow).
Figure 11

With the spare tire out of the way, lift and remove the front most plastic bracket (red arrow).

Once all brackets have been removed, you have access to the shock tower rubber cap (red arrow).
Figure 12

Once all brackets have been removed, you have access to the shock tower rubber cap (red arrow). You have to open it to gain access to the shock mount nuts. Just pull it up to remove it from the body.

Next you have to remove the top shock fasteners (red arrows).
Figure 13

Next you have to remove the top shock fasteners (red arrows). Use a 16mm socket to remove all three nuts.

Then move back under the vehicle.
Figure 14

Then move back under the vehicle. Remove the shock mount bolt (red arrow).

Next, you have to remove the shock.
Figure 15

Next, you have to remove the shock. Pull the mount out of the control arm in the direction of the red arrow. Then pull the shock down away from the vehicle to remove it.

With the shock removed, inspect and replace the insulator (red arrow) if needed.
Figure 16

With the shock removed, inspect and replace the insulator (red arrow) if needed.

To disassemble the shock, remove the 18mm nut (red arrow) from the shock mount.
Figure 17

To disassemble the shock, remove the 18mm nut (red arrow) from the shock mount. Then pull the shock components apart. Inspect the shock mount and replace it if needed.

Assemble the new or old shock bump stops and protective cover onto the new shock in the order shown.
Figure 18

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


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Comments and Suggestions:
Jeff Comments: Hi again. I need help with a different issue. I replaced the lower balljoint and upper guide/control arms on both sides of the rear wheel. I replaced the sway bar links. BUT I can't get the H arm and upper axle cradle to align so I can slide the bolt through the ball joint and integral link on the other end of the ball joint. DO I have to release the air from the suspension? The bottom of the axle cradle pulls out when I try to jack it into place and align the two different carriers.
September 13, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Yes, release the air. I usually hold the suspension in place with a jack as well. See this article: http://www.pelicanparts.com/techarticles/BMW-X5/75-SUSPEN-Rear_Upper_Control_Arm_Replacement/75-SUSPEN-Rear_Upper_Control_Arm_Replacement.htm - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Jeff Comments: Does the top shock mount fit through the whole in the body to pull the shock down and out? Don't you have to remove the center shock bolt top before pulling the shock down and out of the shock mount? OR do you pull the shock up through the shock mount whole? Not making sense to me.
June 6, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: The mount does not go through the body, it sits below it. Pull it down to remove.

Step 15 Next, you have to remove the shock. Pull the mount out of the control arm in the direction of the red arrow. Then pull the shock down away from the vehicle to remove it. - Nick at Pelican Parts
 

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Page last updated: Sat 12/3/2016 02:44:13 AM