Front Stut Removal/Upper Strut Guide Support Replacement

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Shipkiller
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Front Stut Removal/Upper Strut Guide Support Replacement

Post by Shipkiller » Thu Jan 17, 2008 2:48 am

Today I fixed the cracking problems with my front Upper Guide Supports. viewtopic.php?f=3&t=2682

Heres how I did it. This is a down and dirty procedure.
I apologize in advance for the poor pics. I left the house without my camera so I had to use my Cell phone for the pictures...

This can be done in the garage or driveway, but I put the car on a frame lift because I had other work to do underneath, and I will talk about that in another separate post.

First loosen your lug nuts on the front tires. Then jack the car up.

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Once the car is up, take your tires off. Look a flying car,

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Now loosen the three upper strut tower bolts in the engine compartment. Don't take them off just yet. They are torqued to 25ft/lbs.

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Now pop out your break lines, ABS and other associated cables from there mounts.
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Close up:
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Now we have to disconnect the Upper End of the Sway Bar Link from the strut. Put a 16mm open end wrench on the back of the link and a 16mm socket on the nut. The torque value of this is 48ft/lbs.
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Remove the Sway Bar Link from the strut and swing out of the way...
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The strut sits inside the Kingpin (Steering knuckle) assembly. Heres a diagram for reference: http://www.realoem.com/bmw/showparts.do ... g=31&fg=10
Now remove the 19mm bolt on the bottom of the strut clamp. Sorry, no pic. I put a floor jack under the wheel too keep the weight of the wheel off of the suspension components. The manual says you CAN use a large screwdriver to pri apart the strut clamp. This is a CAST aluminum clamp/housing, so don't go crazy. If you crack it, you are in the hurt locker.... I did not do this method.

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I then took a rubber mallet and tapped/beat the wheel off of the strut, letting it fall (about an inch) to the floor jack. You can just tap/beat on the rotor, but I don't like beating on a bearing surface. I used a 1/2" extension and put it on the KingPin/Steering Knuckle and beat on that. It only took about three blows with the hammer.

Then holding the strut in one hand, I removed the three upper strut bolts that you loosened, and removed the strut from the car. I also put a wheel bolt back in the wheel and tied a wire from the wheel bolt to the car to keep the wheel assembly from flopping around.

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I then put the strut assembly in the strut spring compressor and compressed the spring. If you notice, inserted into the Strut Guide (silver piece) is a 21mm socket and a 6mm (I think) allen key. You turn the 21mm socket to remove the nut holding the Strut Guide on. The allen key is to keep the strut from turning. I did not have this problem. Yea, this type Strut Compressor, you may not have access too. The smaller single versions that you can rent from AutoZone or AdvancedAuto do work, it just takes more time.

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Strut Guide removed.

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New Strut Guide installed. Torque the nut to 32ft/lbs.

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SLOWLY release the spring and remove the strut assembly.

Finished and on the floor..

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Installation is just the reverse. I will not go into that. If you can get this far you know what to do.
One thing that made installation easier, is I put the strut back in the car, and bolted it to the upper mounts. Then I used the floor jack to jack the KingPin/Steering Knuckle on to the strut. This seemed to work well. Also, The strut is Keyed to the KingPin/Steering Knuckle.

The first strut was removed, repaired and back in the car in 90mins. The second strut took 32min from start to finish. Now that you have done one, it's real easy...

Then I took the car to a independent BMW mechanic. Mike Robinson, Owner of Sports&Imports. He has a small three or four bay garage and specializes in BMW's, especially M's. He builds and races his own cars and has won several SCCA races.. He eats and breathes cars.... He even let me in the garage to watch the alignment being done. That Hunter alignment machine is incredible.

He then put a bag of weights in the drivers seat, set to my weight.

He did a four wheel alignment. He says that BMW puts an AGGRESSIVE rear Camber on their performance cars from the factory, which causes the edges of your rear wheels to wear faster than the fronts. The spec from BMW is 2.0 to 2.5. He will ask you if you want to loosen the spec. to 1.8. It helps with the wear problem and most drivers will not notice it except maybe on the track...and then you may not...

He also puts a 1/16" toe-in on all four wheels. It makes the car track truer and handle better.

Even after the screwing with the struts, my car was still in spec. barely, and after his adjustments, my car rides and handles better than ever before..... I mean really smooth........and most of the Tramlining is now GONE...
Drives 2008 Z4MC (His) & 2003 Z4 Roadster (Her's)

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timscuba
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Re: Front Stut Removal/Upper Strut Guide Support Replacement

Post by timscuba » Thu Jan 17, 2008 3:41 am

Nice write up and pictures. Thanks shipkiller.

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ovrkll
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Re: Front Stut Removal/Upper Strut Guide Support Replacement

Post by ovrkll » Thu Jan 17, 2008 10:40 am

Great write up, Ship! :thumbsup:
Hopefully there are not many people that will need it, but it is now available :)
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'06 Interlagos Blue Z4M

fire-n-ice
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Re: Front Stut Removal/Upper Strut Guide Support Replacement

Post by fire-n-ice » Thu Jan 17, 2008 12:57 pm

Ship, you write-up some of the best DIY's! Glad you got things squared away, lots of very useful info. here :thumbsup:
In loving memory of TJ. "618 - Out of service and at home"

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Wondermike
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Re: Front Stut Removal/Upper Strut Guide Support Replacement

Post by Wondermike » Thu Jan 17, 2008 8:05 pm

Nice job - you make it look easy, don't think I'd be attempting this one myself :thumbsup:

Shipkiller
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Re: Front Stut Removal/Upper Strut Guide Support Replacement

Post by Shipkiller » Fri Jan 18, 2008 12:34 am

Wondermike wrote:Nice job - you make it look easy, don't think I'd be attempting this one myself :thumbsup:

It was easy. Like I said, the second strut only took 32min from start to finish...
Drives 2008 Z4MC (His) & 2003 Z4 Roadster (Her's)

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20ducks
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Re: Front Stut Removal/Upper Strut Guide Support Replacement

Post by 20ducks » Tue Jan 22, 2008 12:31 am

Outstanding write-up, thanks! btw, those wheel wells could use some attention. :roll:

Shipkiller
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Re: Front Stut Removal/Upper Strut Guide Support Replacement

Post by Shipkiller » Tue Jan 22, 2008 12:50 am

20ducks wrote:Outstanding write-up, thanks! btw, those wheel wells could use some attention. :roll:
You know Ducks, you are Soooo right.

If fact, I bought new wheels on Sunday and Tires (from TireRack) yesterday. Both should be here by the end of the week. :thumbsup:
Drives 2008 Z4MC (His) & 2003 Z4 Roadster (Her's)

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Front Stut Removal/Upper Strut Guide Support Replacement

Post by igeak691 » Sun May 29, 2016 1:24 am

Hey this is an old thread I know, but I have the same problem, looking to fix it myself. Was the alignment the reason for you saying your car rides and handles better than before or was it from the upper strut guide support replacement?

I just posted this thread: viewtopic.php?f=2&t=87707

Looks like both sides will need to be replaced.. wondering if it will solve my z4's jarring ride cause it doesn't seem to be the result of the control arms or struts.
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