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Rear Shock and Spring Replacement
 
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Pelican Technical Article:

Rear Shock and Spring Replacement

Time:

4 hours4 hrs

Tab:

$150 to $250

Talent:

***

Tools:

Spring compressor, floor jack, jack stands

Applicable Models:

R50 MINI Cooper Hatchback (2002-06)
R52 MINI Cooper Convertible (2005-08)
R52 MINI Cooper S Convertible (2005-08)
R53 MINI Cooper S Hatchback (2002-06)
R55 MINI Cooper Clubman Wagon (2008-14)
R55 MINI Cooper JCW Clubman Wagon (2009-14)
R55 MINI Cooper S Clubman Wagon (2008-14)
R56 MINI Cooper Hatchback (2007-13)
R56 MINI Cooper JCW Hatchback (2009-13)
R56 MINI Cooper S Hatchback (2007-13)
R57 MINI Cooper Convertible (2009-15)
R57 MINI Cooper JCW Convertible (2009-15)
R57 MINI Cooper S Convertible (2009-15)

Parts Required:

Rear shocks, upgraded rear shock mounts

Hot Tip:

Use a long piece of natural gas pipe from your local hardware store

Performance Gain:

Smoother, crisper handling

Complementary Modification:

Replace rear shock mounts
How to Maintain and Modify your new MINI

This article is one in a series that have been released in conjunction with Pelican Parts' new book, How to Maintain and Modify your new MINI The book contains 240 pages of full color projects detailing everything from performance mods to changing your brake pads. With more than 500+ full-color glossy photos accompanying extensive step-by-step procedures, this book is required reading in any MINI owner's collection. The book is due to be released in late 2015. See The Official Book Website for more details.

The replacement of the rear shocks is quite easy when compared to the fronts. They are basically a bolt-in replacement. Before you begin the replacement of the rear shocks, jack up the rear of the car and secure it on jack stands.

To remove the rear shock, place a jack under the rear trailing arm and lift it up slightly. The shocks support the weight of the trailing arm when the car is suspended in air, so you need to remove this tension from the shock prior to removal (See Figure 2). Next, loosen and remove the large 21mm bolt securing the shock to the trailing arm. In our case, we used an impact wrench, but a large piece of pipe slid over a ratchet will suffice as a cheater bar to break it loose (See Figure 3).

With the bottom disconnected, you need to pull the grommets that hold both the brake line and the ABS sensor (passenger side only). They may take a little effort to get out; carefully use a screwdriver to pry them out (See Figure 4). Now, at the top of the shock is a plate with two 13mm bolts securing it to the chassis. Remove these two bolts and remove the shock assembly. Take care in removing it from the car as it can get hung up on the brake line (See Figure 5 and Figure 6). NOTE: With the rear shocks removed, now is a good time to upgrade the rear sway bar.

Now place the whole shock assembly in a vise or secure it in some other way and get out the spring compressors. The procedure for compressing the spring is the same as on the front struts (See Figure 7). With the tension taken off the coil spring, remove the top nut. Underneath, there is a large flat washer that rests above two foam rubber-like bushings which are sandwiched inside the metal plate. This provides the mounting for the top of the shock.

Remove the washer, the mounting plate and the two foam rubber-like bushings (upper and lower) now remove the upper spring retainer and the rubber spring pad underneath. Set these parts aside if you are reusing them. Remove the coil spring and set it aside (See Figure 8).

Put the new Bilstein shock in the vise and secure it. It's a good idea to put a rag in the vise to protect the new shock. Use either a new spring pad or remove the lower spring pad from the old shock and transfer it to the new shock. Also fit the small spacer washer to the shaft of the new shock. Keep in mind that the beveled edge faces down (See Figure 9 and Figure 10).

If you are reusing your old coil spring, place it over the new shock and down flat against the stop at the end (See Figure 11). Place the upper rubber spring pad over the top of the coil spring. Keep in mind that the upper spring pad has a step molded into the underside. The end of the coil fits into this step (See Figure 12). Now fit the plastic cone inside the rubber spring pad. This acts as the guide for the bump stop around the shock shaft (See Figure 13).

Now fit the upper spring retaining plate over the spring retaining pad making sure that the indent on the bottom edge fits over the step molded on the outside of the pad (See Figure 14). Place the spacer sleeve over the shock rod and over the upper spring retainer plate (See Figure 15). Now fit the lower foam rubber-like bushing over the spacer sleeve (See Figure 16). On top of the bushing, place the shock mounting plate (See Figure 17). Next place the upper foam rubber-like bushing over the mounting plate (See Figure 18). Now place the large flat washer over the top of the bushing, install the new shock rod nut, counterhold it with a hex key and torque it to 30Nm (22 ft/lbs.) Now place the shock assembly back in the car (See Figure 19).

Take note of which way the upper mounting plate fits into the car. It can only go in one way. When it is installed correctly, the shock will point relatively downward and towards the rear. Keep in mind that the brackets for the brake line and ABS grommets point towards the inside of the car. You may need to turn the upper mounting plate in order to line everything up.

Once in place, thread the two 13mm bolts back into place and torque them to 56Nm (41 ft/lbs.)  Next, line up the large lower shock bolt, thread it in and torque it to 140Nm (103 ft/lbs.) (See Figure 20). Lastly, push the brake line and ABS sensor grommets into the brackets on the new strut. Now you're ready to take your car out with a new, firmer, more responsive suspension.

Shown here are set of Bilstein Sport struts.
Figure 1

Shown here are set of Bilstein Sport struts. These are the struts of choice for Pelican and we also use them in our personal cars. They are the perfect choice for a good compromise of spirited driving and ride quality.

Support the rear trailing arm with the edge of a floor jack so that you take some of the compression force off of the shock.
Figure 2

Support the rear trailing arm with the edge of a floor jack so that you take some of the compression force off of the shock. Use an impact wrench to remove the lower shock bolt. It's torqued down pretty tight, so if you don't have a torque wrench, slip a piece of pipe over your ratchet to act as a cheater bar, giving you more leverage.

Next, pry out the grommets holding the brake line (green arrow) and the ABS sensor (yellow arrow).
Figure 3

Next, pry out the grommets holding the brake line (green arrow) and the ABS sensor (yellow arrow).

The shock is held in at the top by two 13mm bolts as shown here (green arrows) It's a bit of a tight fit to get a ratchet in there but much easier than using a wrench.
Figure 4

The shock is held in at the top by two 13mm bolts as shown here (green arrows) It's a bit of a tight fit to get a ratchet in there but much easier than using a wrench.

You will want to hold the shock as you remove the bolts to prevent it from dropping.
Figure 5

You will want to hold the shock as you remove the bolts to prevent it from dropping. Once the bolts are removed, carefully lower it out of the car, making sure not to get the shock hung up on the brake lines or sensor wires.

Secure the strut assembly in a vise or by other means and install your compressors over the coil spring.
Figure 6

Secure the strut assembly in a vise or by other means and install your compressors over the coil spring. You want to have them exactly opposite of each other to apply equal pressure to either side of the spring. This takes the load off the spring and allows you to remove the top nut. NOTE: With the rear shocks removed, now is a good time to upgrade the rear sway bar (See Project 41 on Replacing the rear sway bar for more info)

Remove the top nut from the strut, then remove the upper bushing, the mounting plate, the lower bushing and the spring retainer plate.
Figure 7

Remove the top nut from the strut, then remove the upper bushing, the mounting plate, the lower bushing and the spring retainer plate. Next, remove the coil spring and set it aside.

Take the new shock and place it in the vise.
Figure 8

Take the new shock and place it in the vise. Use either a new spring pad or remove the lower spring pad from the old shock and transfer it to the new shock.

Place the spacer washer on the shock absorber shaft.
Figure 9

Place the spacer washer on the shock absorber shaft. Keep in mind that the beveled edge of the washer faces downward.

If you are reusing your old spring, slide it over the new shock down to the lower perch.
Figure 10

If you are reusing your old spring, slide it over the new shock down to the lower perch.

Now fit the upper spring pad to the coil spring.
Figure 11

Now fit the upper spring pad to the coil spring. Keep in mind that the spring pad has a step molded into it (yellow arrow) that fits onto the end of the coil spring (green arrow).

Now fit the plastic cone from the old shock inside the upper spring pad.
Figure 12

Now fit the plastic cone from the old shock inside the upper spring pad.

Place the upper spring retaining plate over the spring retaining pad making sure that the indent on the bottom edge (green arrow) fits over the step molded on the outside of the pad (yellow arrow).
Figure 13

Place the upper spring retaining plate over the spring retaining pad making sure that the indent on the bottom edge (green arrow) fits over the step molded on the outside of the pad (yellow arrow).

Now fit the spacer sleeve to the top of the shock shaft (green arrow).
Figure 14

Now fit the spacer sleeve to the top of the shock shaft (green arrow).

Fit the shock mounting plate over the lower bushing.
Figure 15

Fit the shock mounting plate over the lower bushing.

Now fit the shock mounting plate over the lower bushing.
Figure 16

Now fit the shock mounting plate over the lower bushing.

17
Figure 17

Fit the upper bushing over the mounting plate

Now place the large flat washer over the top of the bushing, Install the new shock rod nut, counterhold it with a hex key and torque it to 30Nm (22 ft/lbs.
Figure 18

Now place the large flat washer over the top of the bushing, Install the new shock rod nut, counterhold it with a hex key and torque it to 30Nm (22 ft/lbs.) Now place the shock assembly back in the car.

Shown here is the new shock assembly installed in the car.
Figure 19

Shown here is the new shock assembly installed in the car. Torque the 2 upper 13mm nuts (green arrows) to 56Nm (41 ft/lbs.) and the lower shock bolt (yellow arrow) to 140Nm (103 ft/lbs.) Once secured, press the grommets for the brake lines and ABS sensors into the brackets on the new shocks and you're ready to go.

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Comments and Suggestions:
Daredeezy Comments: I just installed Megan coilovers and on figure 2 i did not reuse the triangular washer since it seems the bolt already has a washer head to it. Would this be ok or would i need to reinstall with that triangular washer?
November 7, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: It should be used. it is there to prevent the shock from coming off if the bushing fails. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Rui Comments: I just replace my rear shocks and I realized you mentioned to tied the top nut with a torque 30nm22ft/lbs but I did it without it and I tied the nut comparing with the way the nut was on the old shock about 1/2 inc down the "piston".My question and I'm afraid it's a dum one is if it is correct or not because if is wrong I have to remove the shocks again from the car and I'm trying to avoid it if I can.I'll appreciated your attention...: thanks.
September 24, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: If you didn't measure torque, I can;t be sure if you got the tightening correct. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Capt. Anegada Comments: Nick, with your excellent suspension upgrade kit, these easily followed instructions, oh...and a knowledgable friend with a nice impact wrench, we were able to complete the whole install, front and rear, plus new hangars and brackets for the exhaust system in about 5 hours. Thank you for the excellent kit, fine customer support and these technical articles. Customers for life in the British Virgin Islands.
September 18, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the additional info and feedback. We appreciate it.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
Rui Comments: I'm putting new rear shocks in 2002 mini cooper-s but can't match the lower part of the shock with the the frame where the big screw goes.The shock is lower and I tried to lift it with a jack and it didn't work.Any advise how to achieve it?
September 10, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: You should be able to jack the shock up or lever it up to align the hole. Once close, use a large aligning punch to get the holes together. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Jim Comments: While removing the top bolts on the drivers side I unfortunately had them strip the threads out of the chassis. Any suggestions for a fix?
May 28, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: You can drill and install a Timesert kit. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Seth Comments: What is the size of the bolt shown in figure 2? I believe it to be a 20mm but I'm not 100 on that. I don't have a 20mm socket the biggest I have is 19 right now and need to know if I need to buy a 20mm to do this.
April 14, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: I don't recall. I would say it won't be a 20mm, as MINI doesn't use that size fastener. It could be a 21mm. Measure the fastener hex before you begin the job. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Matt Comments: the 13mm bolts aren't coming out, one has sheared off and the other wont budge, any suggestions on how to get the broken one out?
April 27, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Remove the interior body panels, you may be able to access the top of the bolt. Spray it will penetrating oil. Then unscrew it upward using Vise Grips. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Edison Comments: what if i forget to line up the indentation like in figure 13

i just realized I might of forgot on one side, will there be any ill effects?
August 26, 2013
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: That helps to get the spring in the correct position.

It depends on where it landed. The cap may not be all the way down on the upper spring bushing. Which could make it crooked when you tighten it. I would go back and realign the top cap.- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
John Comments: I have this issue: got Bilstein HD shocks and HR lowering springs, green. Fig 9 the Bilstiens are not angled, just a flat surface, special there washer doesn't make sense. I have lived with rear rattle for a long time and I can't take it. Want to get it right. Ideas? Thanks for responding!
May 13, 2013
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: If the washer in figure 9 isn't secured by the upper spring retainer, you may have a rattle. I would check that it all went back together correctly. If your struts looked different, check with the manufactuer to see if there are installation instructions that vary from ours. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
John Comments: I don't understand fig #13. Can you explain anymore about the indent? I can't see a mark/difference. Great site, how-tos - Thanks.
May 4, 2013
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: The rubber insulator has a tab or protrusion that sticks out of the side, the top metal cap has a notch that it fits into, as shown in the photo. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
angelo11 Comments: i'm in desperate need of some cheaply attainable parts. eg.RR trailing arms both and bonnet,grill,lights,bumper,L & R fenders urgently-can you help...............
June 15, 2012
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Give our parts specialists a call: 1-888-280-7799 - Nick at Pelican Parts  

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