Front shocks


Cost: $200 to $400.


Time: 1.5hours/side

Shock absorber life varies but some typical signs that your shocks are due for replacement include:
excessive oil or fluid is leaking from the shock,
the front end of your vehicle "dives" excessively under braking,
your Bmw E34 continues to "bob" up and down after you hit a bump or dip in the road,
your Bmw E34 leans too much in the corners,
because we are enthusiasts who want our BMWs to perform to its full potential, and because we are rarely satisfied with the factory ride and handling.
The commonly used technique "Boncing the tires each corner" doesn't work on the E34!

The difference in performance must be experienced to be believed! (I love my bilsteins...)


  • WD 40.
  • Set of open wrenches.
  • 19 & 13mm socket + ratchet + extensions.
  • Spring compressor (can be borrowed from Pep Boys).
  • Power tools (if you have any).
1. Place the front of the car on jacks and remove the wheel.
2. Remove all the lines (brake, ABS sensor and wear sensor) out of the strut housing.
3. Remove the brake caliper and support it to the frame with strong wire. You can remove the rotor also if you are afraid of damaging it.
4. Remove the ABS sensor (5mm hex).
5. Remove the top nut of the sway bar link.
6. Remove the 3x19mm bolts attaching the strut assembly to the steering ( you might want to use a long bar to provide more torque).
7. Remove the strut bearing protective cap. Support the strut assembly from below and remove the 3x13mm nuts holding the strut bearing (under the hood).
8. Slide a flat screwdrive or prybar between the bottom of the strut assembly and the steering plate. Pry on the tool holding the strut assembly and the strut will come out.
9. Remove the strut assembly and install the spring compressor.

10. Remove the 19mm or 22mm nut holding the strut bearing. Easy with power tools.
Trick for the 22mm nut: use a 1/2" drive 7/8"spark plug socket (craftsman, 22mm & 7/8" are close enough) with hex on top on the nut. Pur a 3/8" drive 6" extention with allen thru the socket. Hold the socket with a 7/8" box end wrench and use a 3/8" breaker bar to hold the shock while turning the nut with the socket-whrench.
The nut holding the shock inside the housing is usually hard to remove. Get someone to help you and one or two pipe wrenches. One pipe wrench or a pipe (like in the pic) hold the strut housing, the other pipe wrench removes the housing nut. You can use a hammer to help you (Gordon prefers the control arm).
11. Change the shock absorber and installation is the reverse of removal.

If you are using a lower spring, remove part of the bump stop.
If you are using gas shocks, remove all the oil out of the housing.

Added by sal_park - alternative method to remove the shock nut

In step 11 if you're have having trouble removing the nut holding the shock in place here is an alternative method that can be easily done by one.

Note that:
the brake disc is on the upright
2 wheel bolts have been nipped up to hold the upright/disc/wheel in place
I didn't care too much about the wheel getting scratched, but a bit of carpet will sort that out
The white extension on the end of the pipe wrench is part the metal support from some shelf's (used because it was all I had to hand)
The easiest way to operate the pipe wrench is while standing on the tyre.
I really doubt this will hurt the bearing (didn't on mine anyway)

Thanks to Gordon, Dmitry and Bill Sours
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