DIY: E36 Old Rear Shocks to Bilstein Sports

Do It Yourself guides for weekend mechanics!

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DIY: E36 Old Rear Shocks to Bilstein Sports

Post by kyleabaker » Fri Nov 05, 2010 7:47 pm

Please do this at your own risk. I am not responsible if you break anything. End legal mumbo jumbo.

Okay, to begin, this was performed on a 1993 318is, two doors, E36 with a Motorsport suspension from the factory, M42, automatic tranny, black on black, build date 01/1993. Your car may differ from mine. If it does, figure it out.

This DIY was also only performed with Bilstein Sport Shocks, using the springs that are in place. Other Bilstein models may be different, and if you want to change the springs, don't ask me, I didn't do it.

Okay, on with the DIY!!!

Note: Some of the pictures have the new Bilsteins in place when I am talking about taking out the old ones. I got excited and went through half of the install and then relized that I wanted to take pics.

First off, jack the rear of the car up. I put jack stands under the jack holes and went to it.

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Take off the wheels...
Place a jack under the rear control arm and jack up a bit. This is so that the control arm isn't under a lot of pressure.

To get to the Upper Shock Mount (USM), the rear speakers need to come out. Climb inside the car and take off the speaker cover/grill.

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Take out the two screws (Phillips) and Undo the silver clip with a screwdriver. Slide the speaker box out (it would be best to do this with the rear seats folded down) and unplug the wiring harness.
In the picture, the screws are circled and the clips have arrows. The silver one is on the right.

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In the trunk, you need to pull back the carpet to see the USM. Here is a very painstakingly drawn representation of where the speaker is in relation to the USM.

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Once you pull back the carpet, this is what you will see (this is on the oppostie side of the car). The dust cap should be pulled off to see the top bolt. Do not unbolt this now. Only unbolt the side nuts. (13mm, btw).

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This is what it looks like with no dust cap:

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Once you unbolt the two nuts in the trunk, the USM will separate from the car and drop a bit, like this:

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Now the next step is to lower the jack you have on the control arm and unbolt the lower mounting bolt. Which, in this picture, would be to the left and up a bit from the jack. I believe it is an 18mm.

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Here's another, showing the location of everything.

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This next part is what seems really easy, but sucked when I did it.

You are supposed to just disassemble the USM from the shock and reassemble. Right. The nut on the top of the shock turns within the shock tube. What I did was use an open-ended wrench on the bolt, held the top of the shock shaft with a ViseGrip and held the USM down with a screwdriver. Luckily, I had a friend there to help.
Here's a pic of how it all panned out:

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As a side note, a comparison from my old shocks to the Bilstein Sports. I could literally compress the old shock by my weak self.


Anyway, assembly of the new shock/USM/dust boot.
Real OEM:

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My version:



Now, make sure that thouse two concave plates are facing the way they are in the picture, not the other way around. Hand tighten the top bolt, since it is alomst impossible to do it out of the car.

Install the new assembly in reverse order, putting LocTite 270 or better on the lower mounting bolt.
Fit the USM in the holes, fit the lower mount together, put that bolt in (18mm) and hand tighten. Jack up the control arm again and hand tighten the USM nuts in (13mm).

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Go to the USM and tighten down the 13mm nuts and move on to the 17mm bolt. You are going to need to ViseGrip the top of the shock shaft and use an open-ended wrench on the bolt. Like so:

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Make sure everything is tight, do both sides, lower the car, tighten everything again and you are done! Enjoy the new rear shocks!

For my next DIY, here's a sneak peak:

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Source: http://www.unitedbimmer.com/forums/bmw- ... ports.html
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