I am Teh Edumacator.
Join Date: May 2005
Location: ATL, London, and Barcelona
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To replace two shocks, the parts will be a few hundred bucks.
The way to test is simply to push down on each front corner of the car, hard, and see how much bouncing it does. If it bounces, rather than just returns to the normal position, you need new shocks.
Front shocks are called "struts."
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1999 E39 540i/6-VF Stage 1 S/C, Dinan exhaust, Dinan strut+shock braces, Dinan ltwt flywheel + clutch, Dinan Brembo BBK, Dinan monoball, H&R Springs, Koni Yellows, M5 sways, Dinan forged 18" wheels, &c.
1995 E38 740i. Highly modded. Faster than you.
Sold 2-28-07: 1997 E36 M3/4, 8-30-05 RIP 1997 528i
Lindsay fan club member.