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Rear Traction Strut Replacement
 
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Pelican Technical Article:

Rear Traction Strut Replacement

Nick Czerula

Time:

2 hours2 hrs

Tab:

$150

Talent:

****

Tools:

Phillips & flathead screwdriver, 16mm wrench, 16mm socket, 7mm wrench, floor jack, two jack stands, two wheel chocks, safety glasses, lug wrench, torque wrench

Applicable Models:

BMW X5 (2000-06)

Parts Required:

Rear traction strut

Hot Tip:

Replace bolts

Performance Gain:

Repair faulty traction strut and prepare vehicle for alignment

Complementary Modification:

Replace in pairs

As you drive your car you suspension systems absorb the shock from bumps in the road. The strut absorbs the up and down motion of the suspension system. The rear suspension has a traction strut and upper and lower control arms, each helping to maintain a straight track down the road as the suspension moves up and down due to road surface changes.

The rear traction strut on BMW E53 models connects the lower rear subframe to the rear wheel-bearing carrier. Both contact points on the traction strut are made using rubber bushings. These rubber bushings wear out over time creating free-play in the rear suspension and at times a vibration and uneven tire wear. To inspect it, jack up the rear of your vehicle and push the top of your tire toward the inner traction strut contact point. You may need help from a friend to watch the suspension components while you wiggle the wheel. The suspension should have zero free-play. If free-play is found in the traction strut, replace it. The traction strut is also a point of adjustment for the rear wheel alignment. Be sure to mark the eccentric washers before removing them to help to get the suspension in a similar position to before your repair. When working with suspension components, fastener sizes may have changed due to aftermarket or replacement components being installed.

I am located in a salt belt area. This leads to the bolts becoming frozen in the bushings. When replacing any rear suspension component, I always order the nuts and bolts as well. If the bolts are frozen, I cut them out using a hacksaw at the bushing and then remove the control arm and the remaining bolt pieces.

The procedure to replace the rear traction strut is the same for both the left and right side. Keep in mind all the steps apply to both sides. It is recommended that you replace both sides at the same time to keep your handling neutral.

Remember that 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 traction strut on BMW E53 vehicles.

Raise and support the rear of the vehicle on jack stands. See our tech article on jacking up your vehicle. You're going to want both wheels off the ground.

The traction strut is the forward most upper rear control arm (red arrow).
Figure 1

The traction strut is the forward most upper rear control arm (red arrow).

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.

Start by marking (yellow arrow) the eccentric washer before removing.
Figure 11

Start by marking (yellow arrow) the eccentric washer before removing. This helps to get the suspension in a similar position to before your repair. Next remove the rear fastener. Counterhold the 18mm bolt (red arrow) while loosening the 18mm nut (green arrow).

Remove the nut, then the keyed washer (red arrow).
Figure 12

Remove the nut, then the keyed washer (red arrow). Then lever the bolt out of the subframe using a pry bar.

Working at the traction strut on the brake rotor side, remove the 16mm nut.
Figure 13

Working at the traction strut on the brake rotor side, remove the 16mm nut. Loosen the nut (red arrow) while counter-holding the 7mm hex boss (green arrow) on the ball joint.

Remove the traction strut from the wheel-bearing carrier.
Figure 14

Remove the traction strut from the wheel-bearing carrier. It will pull straight out as it is not an interference fit. Install the traction strut into the vehicle and install the subframe fasteners finger tight. Then install the fastener at the connection to the wheel-bearing carrier and tighten. Load the suspension to normal ride height using a floor jack and tighten the subframe connection fastener. Have the vehicle alignment checked if you had a tire wear problem. The traction strut to subframe fasteners has a torque spec of 100 Nm. The traction strut to wheel bearing carrier requires you torque the fastener to 56 Nm.

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Page last updated: Wed 12/7/2016 02:44:47 AM