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Bilstein PSS9 Kit Installation
 
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Pelican Technical Article:

Bilstein PSS9 Kit Installation

Jared Fenton

Time:

5 hours5 hrs

Tab:

$1500

Talent:

***

Tools:

Bilstein height adjustment tool

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)

Parts Required:

PSS9 Performance Suspension Kit

Hot Tip:

The PSS9 kit is a good value if you want a sporty suspension and a lower ride height

Performance Gain:

Stiffer suspension, firmer ride

Complementary Modification:

Replace suspension bushings
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 PSS9 performance suspension kit from Bilstein is the one of the top performing kits available for the MINI Cooper and Cooper S. The system includes two front coilover spring/shock setups, two high performance rear coilover shocks, all with adjustable spring perches. Both the front and rear springs are easily adjustable for tweaking the exact ride height and dampening for whatever type of driving you want (See Figure 1).

Installation of the kit is no more difficult than installing stock shock absorbers and new springs (see our articles on replacing both the front and rear shocks and springs for more detailed info). In this article we will focus on installing the suspension kit.

Begin by placing the blue dust boot over the front strut rod and fit it over the flange on the strut housing if not already installed from the factory. Now place one of the blue spacer rings over the front strut and slide it down to the adjustable perches (See Figure 2 and Figure 3).

Now slide the coil spring over the strut down to the spring perch (See Figure 4 and Figure 5). Install the spring compressors over the coil spring to compress the spring. In our case, the spring only needed to be compressed a slight amount to allow the top mount to be secured. Once the spring is in place, fit the upper spring pad to the top of the spring, making sure that the coil end fits into the step on the pad. Then fit the upper spring retainer plate over the spring pad. Make sure that the step in the plate fits over the spring pad in the correct position and the spring pad stays on the coil end (See Figure 6 and Figure 7).

Next, fit the strut mount over the upper retainer plate and thread the new self-locking nut in place. In our case, we used an impact gun to quickly tighten the nut down. If you use this approach, be sure to hold the spring retainer plate as the end of the coil spring can easily pop out of the step in the rubber retainer. If you are using a wrench to tighten down this nut, you'll have to counterhold the shock rod with a hex key while you torque the nut down to 64Nm (47 ft/lbs.) (See Figure 8).

Next, fit the new strut assembly up through the wheel arch. Keep in mind that the strut mount is indexed to fit into the arch in only one way. It's a good idea to have a helper thread the three 13mm nuts on at the top once you have the strut assembly in place. Torque the upper nuts to 34Nm (25ft/lbs.) (See Figure 9).

On the back of the new strut is a bracket that fits into the slot on the back of the wheel housing. put a little lubricant over the bottom of the strut and jack the wheel housing up and over the strut. This may take a little effort to get everything lined up correctly, but once it does, the housing should just slide up into place. Refit the 18mm pinch bolt and torque it to 81Nm (60 ft/lbs.) (See Figure 10).

Press the grommets for both the brake line and the ABS sensor into the holders on the new strut. Make sure that they can move freely and are not binding on any other connections (See Figure 11).

Now, on the very bottom of the front strut is the adjustment for the dampening force of the strut going from 1 to 9. Remove the blue rubber dust cover and turn the knob to set the strut at the position you want for the car. 1 would be the softest, while 9 would be the hardest. It may take some time to set the suspension exactly where you want it. The PSS9 kit also includes two specialized wrenches that allow you to set the ride height of the car. The lower black perch acts as the locking wheel. Loosen this first, and then turn the upper perch to set the height. The higher the perch is set on the strut, the higher the ride height. (See Figure 12 and Figure 13).

It's a good idea to double check all connections prior to taking the car out for a spin. Keep in mind that it will take a bit of time for the new shocks to settle, so don't be surprised if the car sits a little bit higher than you expected at first. Also, don't forget to secure the protective boot to the strut housing with a zip tie. Do this for both the front and rear struts and shocks (See Figure 14 and Figure 15).

In the case of the rear shocks, they typically come partially assembled. However, this may not always be the case. The factory directions for the shocks are a bit lacking in detail. This is how you would want to assemble them. Fit the blue spacer ring down to the spring perches. Next, fit the smaller spring over the blue spacer plate. Fit the aluminum spacer ring on top of the smaller spring. Lastly, fit the larger spring over the spacer ring and fit the spring retainer plate to the top of the larger spring (See Figure 16).

Put the new shock in the vise and secure it. It's a good idea to put a rag in the vise to protect the new shock. Then take the large washer and place it over the upper spring retainer plate. Next, take the spacer sleeve and slide it over the shock rod down to the washer (See Figure 17).

For our application, we decided to use a set of poly-urethane shock bushings. These are a bit beefier than the stock foam rubber like material and should cope with the added stresses of performance shocks better than the stock pieces. The installation of these however is exactly the same as the stock bushings, should you choose to re-use them.

Slide the lower bushing over the spacer mounted on the shock rod, followed by the shock. Place the shock mounting plate over the lower shock bushing. Now place the upper foam rubber-like bushing over the mounting plate. Take note of the step molded into the upper bushing. This step fits over the lower bushing. 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 the shock assembly is ready to go back in the car (See Figures 18, 19 and 20).

As you maneuver the shock into place, 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. Torque the 2 upper 13mm nuts (green arrows) to 56Nm (41 ft/lbs.) Also take car that the shock does not get hung up on the brake lines and ABS connections (See Figure 21).

Next, line up the large lower shock bolt with the hole in the wheel carrier, thread it in and torque it to 140Nm (103 ft/lbs.). Directly above the lower shock bolt is the dampening adjuster for the rear shock. Just like the front struts, turn the knob to set the strut at the position you want for the car. Also like the front springs, use the two supplied wrenches to set the ride height. Press the grommets for the brake lines and ABS sensors into the brackets on the new shocks. Do a double check of all connections and bolts before you bolt the wheels back on and lower the car. (See Figures 22, 23 and 24).

After you have installed the PSS9 kit, you need to have the car realigned. Due to the design of the front suspension, the alignment specs will change when you lower the car from the stock height. In addition, the PSS9 kits are lower at their highest spring perch setting than the stock struts. This can cause issues with clearance of wider wheels and tires. Before you test the suspension to the max, make sure your tire and wheel clearances are okay.

The PSS9 performance suspension kit from Bilstein is the one of the top performing kits available for the MINI Cooper and Cooper S.
Figure 1

The PSS9 performance suspension kit from Bilstein is the one of the top performing kits available for the MINI Cooper and Cooper S. The system includes two front coilover spring/shock setups, two high performance rear coilover shocks, all with adjustable spring perches. Both the front and rear springs are easily adjustable for tweaking the exact ride height and dampening for whatever type of driving you want.

Begin by placing the blue dust boot over the front strut rod and fit it over the flange on the strut housing if not already installed from the factory.
Figure 2

Begin by placing the blue dust boot over the front strut rod and fit it over the flange on the strut housing if not already installed from the factory.

Now place one of the blue spacer rings over the front strut and slide it down to the adjustable perches.
Figure 3

Now place one of the blue spacer rings over the front strut and slide it down to the adjustable perches.

Slide the coil spring over the strut down to the perches.
Figure 4

Slide the coil spring over the strut down to the perches.

As you can see here, the end of the coil spring sits flush on the blue spacer ring on the top edge of the spring perches.
Figure 5

As you can see here, the end of the coil spring sits flush on the blue spacer ring on the top edge of the spring perches.

Use your spring compressors to compress the spring.
Figure 6

Use your spring compressors to compress the spring. In our case, the spring only needed to be compressed a slight amount to allow the top mount to be secured.

Once the spring is in place, fit the upper spring pad to the top of the spring, making sure that the coil end fits into the step on the pad.
Figure 7

Once the spring is in place, fit the upper spring pad to the top of the spring, making sure that the coil end fits into the step on the pad. Then fit the upper spring retainer plate over the spring pad. Make sure that the step in the plate fits over the spring pad in the correct position (green arrow) and the spring pad stays on the coil end (yellow arrow).

Now fit the strut mount over the upper retainer plate and thread the new self-locking nut in place.
Figure 8

Now fit the strut mount over the upper retainer plate and thread the new self-locking nut in place. In our case, we used an impact gun to quickly tighten the nut down. If you use this approach, be sure to hold the spring retainer plate as the end of the coil spring can easily pop out of the step in the rubber retainer. If you are using a wrench to tighten down this nut, you'll have to counterhold the shock rod with a hex key while you torque the nut down to 64Nm (47 ft/lbs.).

Next, fit the new strut assembly up through the wheel arch.
Figure 9

Next, fit the new strut assembly up through the wheel arch. Keep in mind that the strut mount is indexed to fit into the arch in only one way. It's a good idea to have a helper thread the three 13mm nuts on at the top once you have the strut assembly in place. Torque the upper nuts to 34Nm (25ft/lbs.).

Shown here is the wheel housing mounted up over the new strut.
Figure 10

Shown here is the wheel housing mounted up over the new strut. On the back of the strut is a bracket that fits into the slot on the back of the wheel housing. put a little lubricant over the bottom of the strut and jack the wheel housing up and over the strut. This may take a little effort to get everything lined up correctly, but once it does, the housing should just slide up into place. Refit the 18mm pinch bolt and torque it to 81Nm (60 ft/lbs.).

Press the grommets for both the brake line (green arrow) and the ABS sensor (yellow arrow) into the holders on the new strut.
Figure 11

Press the grommets for both the brake line (green arrow) and the ABS sensor (yellow arrow) into the holders on the new strut. Make sure that they can move freely and are not binding on any other connections.

On the very bottom of the front strut is the adjustment for the dampening force of the strut going from 1 to 9.
Figure 12

On the very bottom of the front strut is the adjustment for the dampening force of the strut going from 1 to 9. Remove the blue rubber dust cover and turn the knob to set the strut at the position you want for the car. 1 would be the softest, while 9 would be the hardest.

The PSS9 kit includes two specialized wrenches that allow you to set the ride height of the car.
Figure 13

The PSS9 kit includes two specialized wrenches that allow you to set the ride height of the car. The lower black perch acts as the locking wheel. Loosen this first, then turn the upper perch to set the height. The higher the perch, the higher the ride height.

ThisPicture shows the front PSS9 installed in the MINI.
Figure 14

This picture shows the front PSS9 installed in the MINI. It's a good idea to double check all connections prior to taking the car out for a spin. Keep in mind that it will take a bit of time for the new shocks to settle, so don't be surprised if the car sits a little bit higher than you expected at first.

Don't forget to secure the protective boot to the strut housing with a zip tie.
Figure 15

Don't forget to secure the protective boot to the strut housing with a zip tie. Do this for both the front and rear struts and shocks (green arrow).

In the case of the rear shocks, they typically come partially assembled.
Figure 16

In the case of the rear shocks, they typically come partially assembled. However, this may not always be the case. The factory directions for the shocks are a bit lacking in detail. This is how you would want to assemble them. Fit the blue spacer ring down to the spring perches (red arrow). Next, fit the smaller spring over the blue spacer plate (purple arrow). Fit the aluminum spacer ring on top of the smaller spring (yellow arrow). Lastly, fit the larger spring over the spacer ring (green arrow) and fit the spring retainer plate to the top of the larger spring (blue arrow).

Put the new shock in the vise and secure it.
Figure 17

Put the new shock in the vise and secure it. It's a good idea to put a rag in the vise to protect the new shock. Then take the large washer and place it over the upper spring retainer plate (green arrow). Now take the spacer sleeve and slide it over the shock rod down to the washer (purple arrow).

For our application, we decided to use a set of poly-urethane shock bushings.
Figure 18

For our application, we decided to use a set of poly-urethane shock bushings. These are a bit beefier than the stock foam rubber like material and should cope with the added stresses of performance shocks better than the stock pieces. The installation of these however are exactly the same as the stock bushings, should you choose to re-use them. Slide the lower bushing over the spacer mounted on the shock rod as shown here.

Place the shock mounting plate over the lower shock bushing.
Figure 19

Place the shock mounting plate over the lower shock bushing. Now place the upper foam rubber-like bushing over the mounting plate. Take note of the step molded into the upper bushing. This step fits over the lower bushing.

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 20

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.

Take note of which way the upper mounting plate fits into the car.
Figure 21

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. Torque the 2 upper 13mm nuts (green arrows) to 56Nm (41 ft/lbs.)

Next, line up the large lower shock bolt with the hole in the wheel carrier, thread it in and torque it to 140nM (103 ft/lbs.
Figure 22

Next, line up the large lower shock bolt with the hole in the wheel carrier, thread it in and torque it to 140Nm (103 ft/lbs.) (green arrow). Directly above the lower shock bolt is the dampening adjuster for the rear shock. Just like the front struts, turn the knob to set the strut at the position you want for the car. Also like the front springs, use the two supplied wrenches to set the ride height.

Once the shocks are bolted in, press the grommets for the brake lines and ABS sensors into the brackets on the new shocks.
Figure 23

Once the shocks are bolted in, press the grommets for the brake lines and ABS sensors into the brackets on the new shocks.

Shown here is the new shock assembly installed in the car.
Figure 24

Shown here is the new shock assembly installed in the car. Do a double check of all connections and bolts before you bolt the wheels back on and lower the car.

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Comments and Suggestions:
MINIKOREA Comments: I want to buy, pss9 rear spring.

Mini Cooper is my car. R53 S

Personal selling?
September 2, 2016
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