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Rear Air Suspension Accumulator Replacement
 
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Pelican Technical Article:

Rear Air Suspension Accumulator Replacement

Nick Czerula

Time:

3 hours3 hrs

Tab:

$300

Talent:

****

Tools:

Flathead & Phillips screwdrivers, 10mmm sockets and wrenches

Applicable Models:

BMW X5 (2000-06)

Parts Required:

Rear air suspension accumulator

Hot Tip:

Replace one side at a time

Performance Gain:

Repair leaking air suspension

Complementary Modification:

Replace rear shocks

On BMW X5, E53 models, the large lower control arm carries the weight of the car. The rear air spring is mounted in between the lower control arm and the spring perch on the body. 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. The coil springs part in this is to maintain a ride height when it returns to the normal rest or loaded position. The air springs in BMW X5 models allow the vehicle to maintain that ride height even when vehicle load on weight changes, giving the X5 an adjustable rear suspension. To adjust the suspension, an air pump is used in conjunction with an accumulator. The pump creates air pressure and volume and delivers it to the accumulator where it is stored until it is needed. At times the O-rings or retainers for the accumulator lines fail, causing air leaks in the suspension. If this happens or you accidentally break a clip on an accumulator line, you will have to replace the accumulator. I have heard of some mechanics replacing the sealing O-rings in the lines. See the last step. It illustrates the sealing O-ring, in case you want to give this option a try.

If your suspension seems to sag or lose ride height, maybe the pump runs too frequently. There may be a leak. To test for leaking air springs, spray the air springs with soapy water and look for bubbles. Bubbles indicate an air leak.

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.

Our vehicle may vary slightly from yours as models do change and evolve as they grow older. 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.

The air suspension accumulator is located in the rear corner of the luggage compartment.
Figure 1

The air suspension accumulator is located in the rear corner of the luggage compartment. The left side accumulator is shown here (green arrow). The right side is in a similar location.

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 (red arrow).

Working at the side trim panels, remove the plastic rivets (red arrow).
Figure 3

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 4

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 5

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 6

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 7

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 8

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 9

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 accumulator (yellow arrow).
Figure 10

Once all brackets have been removed, you have access to the accumulator (yellow arrow). Loosen the 10mm air line (red arrow) just enough to bleed the air from the system. Once the air is out, unscrew the line from the accumulator.

Next, remove the rubber cap (red arrow) for the air spring connection.
Figure 11

Next, remove the rubber cap (red arrow) for the air spring connection.

Next, you have to remove the air spring line.
Figure 12

Next, you have to remove the air spring line. Using needle nose pliers, squeeze the plastic retainer (red arrows) together to release the line. Hold the retainer open while you pull the line off the air spring. Be careful not to break the plastic retainer, as they are not available separately. They come with a new accumulator. If needed, see our tech article on rear air spring pump and accumulator replacing.

Pull the air-line straight up to remove it.
Figure 13

Pull the air-line straight up to remove it.

Next, you have to remove the accumulator mounting fasteners (red arrows).
Figure 14

Next, you have to remove the accumulator mounting fasteners (red arrows). Use a 13mm socket on a 6-inch extension to remove the nuts.

Remove the accumulator with the large line and rubber cap from the vehicle.
Figure 15

Remove the accumulator with the large line and rubber cap from the vehicle.

Pull the rubber cap off the old accumulator and transfer it to the new accumulator.
Figure 16

Pull the rubber cap off the old accumulator and transfer it to the new accumulator. As I mentioned earlier, this is the sealing O-ring (red arrow) that can leak. There is no part number for it. However, if you have the O-ring size, you may be able to source one yourself, rather than replacing the entire accumulator. To install a new accumulator, reverse the removal steps. The air suspension should self-bleed once it is installed.



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Comments and Suggestions:
masterman Comments: I'am glad to meet this web site.
May 11, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the feedback. Glad we could help.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
Victor Comments: Hi. Is there a way thay i can repair my cls500 airsuspension?
October 23, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Sure. 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
 

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Page last updated: Wed 12/7/2016 02:44:17 AM