Car: 1986 BMW 325 Coupe
Stats: 6 cylinder inline-six "eta" engine, five speed manual transmission,
rear wheel drive, 148,000 miles estimated.
I've had this car for six months. When I bought it, I knew it needed
suspension work. The springs are still fine, but the shocks, after 17
years of Arkansas roads, have finally given up the ghost. They've
gotten worse and worse lately. Driving on the interstate is scary when
the road is anything less than smooth. So, I bought new stuff to replace
the worn shocks and strut cartridges, as well as new mounting
hardware, to replace the poor, abused old stuff. Here's the stuff I
Carquest brand strut cartridges (x2)
Carquest brand rear shocks (x2)
Factory BMW front strut tower bearing (x2)
Factory BMW rear shock mount (x2)
Bavarian Autosport Shock Installation kit
Dad and I started working on this this morning, and then I had to go to
work. While I was gone, Dad ran into some problems, and he had this
to say regarding our installation woes:
Here's my problem... While trying to reinstall the strut with the new
cartridge, I'm lacking about 1-1.5 inches of clearance (upwards
towards the strut upper mounting) to insert the control arm ball joint
stud through the strut hole. I've tried using my floor jack to compress
the tower/strut, but the tower just moves to one side or the other, not
compressing at all. I've tried to stabilize the jack and it doesn't help. All
I need is a couple of inches. I've tried to pry up with a long cheater from
under the strut and can't get the necessary leverage to compress the
strut. Removing the strut proved to be the easy part, I even thought
removing the old cartridge would be too. But this part has me stumped.
I've thought of reinstalling the spring compressor but they won't fit inside
the strut mount. How can I compress the strut enough to get the
clearance I need?
Any advice would be greatly appreciated, thanks.