How can I tell if my front strut is blown? - BMW Forum - BimmerWerkz.com
3-Series (E36) Chat relating to the BMW 3-Series from 1992-1999. Autodoodad Specific models include: BMW 316i, BMW 318i, BMW 318iS/ti, BMW 320, BMW 323, BMW 320, BMW 324, BMW 325, BMW 328.

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#1 (permalink) Old 04-22-2004, 01:45 PM
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It's a Bilstein Sport Gas strut. There seems to be no evidence of leaking oil.

Whenever I hit a small bump or even sometimes when I brake, I can hear a clunk. I don't notice anything different when cornering hard.

I've heard the "bounce" test doesn't work for the front struts. I can't feel that the front is any bouncer than before. What I do notice is when I push the passenger side front down hard I hear a "knock". There's no knock on the driver side when I do this.

Are there any other tests I can do? It only knocks when I hit bumps at low speed. At high speed no matter how hard the bumps I hear nothing at all.

It's not the CA bushings or balljoints, I've checked these things and recently they have all been replaced.

Thanks,

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#2 (permalink) Old 04-22-2004, 02:03 PM
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When pushing on the front of your car, the car should spring back and becomes standing within 3 times. This obtains for standard struts. You're (more racy struts) might be stop undulate within 1 or 2 times. When it's more than twice, they have to be replaced.

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#3 (permalink) Old 04-22-2004, 02:06 PM
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Originally posted by dutchbmw@Apr 22 2004, 02:43 PM
When pushing on the front of your car, the car should spring back and becomes standing within 3 times. This obtains for standard struts. You're (more racy struts) might be stop undulate within 1 or 2 times. When it's more than twice, they have to be replaced.
I just said that the "bounce" test doesn't actually work for the front struts, only the rear.

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#4 (permalink) Old 04-22-2004, 03:00 PM
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check for it leaking.

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#5 (permalink) Old 04-22-2004, 03:07 PM
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Originally posted by Furious@Apr 22 2004, 03:40 PM
check for it leaking.
It's not leaking. I checked.

Anyways, I noticed this after I installed my brakes. Do you think my caliper or brake pads could be seized, does this make noise?

thanks,

Bry

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#6 (permalink) Old 04-22-2004, 03:14 PM
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Maybe your aftermarket springs are too low,Not allowing enough tube slack/travel etc. hence bottoming out? I dunno

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#7 (permalink) Old 04-22-2004, 03:18 PM
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Originally posted by Eggrolled211@Apr 22 2004, 03:54 PM
Maybe your aftermarket springs are too low,Not allowing enough tube slack/travel etc. hence bottoming out? I dunno
They're only Eibach pro kits. Bilstein Sports work fine with those. It wouldn't be bottoming out.

I just need to know how else I can test for a blown strut.

Obviously I could remove it and press it down to test it that way. But I don't have the right tools to remove the springs.

Bry

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#8 (permalink) Old 04-22-2004, 03:18 PM
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caliper sieze will give more of a feeling than a sound.

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#9 (permalink) Old 04-22-2004, 03:22 PM
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Dammit, I'm heading to Charlie's tonight. I'll get him to help me.

Mark, I'm returning the spring compressor, you don't need it anymore right?

Bry

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#10 (permalink) Old 04-22-2004, 03:45 PM
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A weared out brake pad....... or suspension rubber?? Sure it is a strut?

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#11 (permalink) Old 04-22-2004, 04:35 PM
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Check the screw on top of the shock that attaches it to the mount, it might have worked its way lose. Should be right at the top of the shock towers.

I get that same clunk in my jeep and it's cause the shock is loose, but the area is too tight for me to get a wrench in and the jeep is a POS anyways, so I figured what the hell, I can deal with it.

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#12 (permalink) Old 04-22-2004, 07:05 PM
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Ok get this its not your strut. Its one of two things.

This is what it most Likely is, Id put $20 on this.

Your upper strut bearing is SHOT. This are plastic POSes and they need to be replaced every so often. Its like 200$ for a mechanic to do this, dont waste your time yourself becaue yo have to compress your springs and all that shit and unless you have the tools that pretty dangerous.

And this is an alternate choice: Your actual caliper mounting is loose from the bracket. This has happened to me 3 times in the last 4 months. It makes a clink sound as you brake at low speeds.

And thats the facts Jack.

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#13 (permalink) Old 04-22-2004, 08:00 PM
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Maybe its the balljoints. Sorry, everyone else was suggesting things you have already mentioned you have checked, I just wanted to play too!!

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#14 (permalink) Old 04-22-2004, 08:32 PM
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Sorry, you guys are all wrong! LOL Seriously, thanks for all the replies though.

I went to my mechanic's house today and it turned out that the M3 sway bar endlink bushing was worn, so it was making a clunking noise. The endlink had metal to metal contact. I had a feeling it wasn't my strut as it still felt quite firm. When I cornered hard the right side would hop so I suspected it was sway bar related. I installed the M3 sway last weekend and installed used endlinks along with it. I should have bought new ones. DOH!

Anyways, I'm happy.

Just a note.. normal E36 front sway bar endlinks almost never break and more or less last forever. However, the M3 front sway bar which is mounted to the struts use a really long endlink which is a common failure.

Bry

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#15 (permalink) Old 04-22-2004, 08:39 PM
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