- Valuable insights and technical information ranging from basic service tips to advanced driving theory.
- Inside secrets on maintaining and preserving your BMW, from properly washing and waxing your car, to how to reset the service indicator lights.
- Driving techniques ranging from basic car control to choosing apexes on the track.
- Discover whether your car oversteers or understeers, and how weight transfer affects traction and vehicle performance.
- Learn the difference between torque and horsepower, and how to select the right tires for your BMW.
- Find out which performance modifications work, which ones don't and why.
Book Excerpt: BMW Enthusiast's Companion: Driving, Performance, Service INSTALLING FRONT SHOCKS
Push down on the front corners of your BMW. Does it keep bouncing, are the shocks damp with oil? If so, you probably need new shocks. Replacing the front shocks on a McPherson strut front end of a BMW is quite easy. This front shock job was done at a local BMW tech session in forty-five minutes (including the time for pictures and instruction). The method we are about to show you involves the bare minimum of disconnecting or moving or parts. Let?s get started!
- Remove both wheels. If you have alloy wheels you may have to kick the tire with the heel of your foot. If this doesn?t work, stick a pry bar or pipe between the strut tube and tire and pry the wheel off.
- On both sides of the car, take off the 6 (8mm x 13mm) nuts that hold the strut mounts to the body.
- On the side you?re going to work on first, stick a tube (a rocker arm shaft was used in the picture) over one of the 8mm mount studs. This will prevent the strut from hitting up against the inner fender well while you change the shock on the other side. Note: On 320i, disconnect front sway bar mounts.
- With the strut still under the fender, grab as much of the spring coil as you can with the spring compressor. Compress the spring fully to the limit of the spring compressor.
- Disconnect the (8mm x 13mm) bolt that secures the brake line mounting bracket to the strut tube.
- Now pry down the strut and remove it from the fender well. You may want to put a rag or towel over the top of the strut mount to keep the studs from scratching the fender well (see picture 14).
- Pull the plastic cover cap off the top of the strut mount. With an air impact wrench remove the shock nut (12mm x 19mm). If you don?t have an air impact wrench you will need to use a monkey wrench or large vise grips to hold the shock rod while you remove the (12mm x 19mm) nut with a socket and 1/2 in. ratchet. Grab the entire top assembly, including spring, and remove it all as a unit. With a monkey wrench or water pump pliers remove the retaining nut that holds the shock in the strut tube.
- Remove the old shock and install the new shock. Install the retaining nut and tighten down tight. Now, grab the shock and try to move it up and down in the tube. If it doesn?t move then go on to the next step. If it moves, take it apart and check to see if the retaining nut is bottoming out against the shock or if it needs a spacer to make it tight.
- Install rubber shock perch seat, dust boot, and bump stop. On Bilsteins the bump stop is built into the shock. If you are installing any other shock, make sure you don?t leave the bump stop out or you will break the valve body of the shock the first time you "bottom-out" on a hard bump.
- You may or may not have a washer to install at this point. Extend shock all the way out.
- Install spring and upper spring perch (with rubber).
- This washer is very important! It keeps the spring perch spaced away from the bearing retainer located in the upper strut mount. Leave this spacer out and the strut will bind if you turn a corner. Next, install the metal ?cup-shaped? bearing seal that protects the strut mount bearing. If the strut mount bearing is dry (it usually is) clean it and repack it with grease (they rarely go bad). (continued)
Subject: BMW driving, performance, service, tech tips, etc. From The Roundel magazine. ISBN-10: 0837603218 | ISBN-13: 9780837603216 | Bentley part no. GBCC
- Lubrication and maintenance
- Care and preservation
- Fuel and exhaust systems
- Electrical system
- Tires and wheels
- Body and interior
- Performance modifications
- Driving your BMW
Above: Brian Hampton's 2002 BMW E39 (5 Series) M5. Very clean, stock, black/carbon fiber, with every available option (except rear park assist). 27K miles. Brian is a member of the Peachtree Chapter of the BMWCCA. Newnan, GA.