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Old 07-14-2004, 01:25 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Hi. I have a 97 528i and when I hit a small bump in the road, the front wheels vibrate a good deal. When I went to a mechanic, he said that the suspension in the front was leaking and that it would need replacing. I don't really know much about cars, much less bmw's. I don't even know if my car would need replacing of the front struts or front shocks? I don't know the difference...sad but true. If anyone can give me a brief explanation at what would need replacing when the front suspension goes bad and what does replacing the front suspension entail? And possibly how much I can expect to pay for the parts, the full assembly for the front suspension, left and right. Thanks in advance for your help.
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Old 07-14-2004, 11:55 AM   #2 (permalink)
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A suspension 'strut' almost always means it has a shock absorber incorporated or contained within it. In a BMW, this is always the case. The original strut has shock parts that make it function as a shock absorber while the replacement entails removing these parts (they fall right out) and putting in a 'shock insert' that is a self-contained shock absorber. These inserts vary in price, ranging from about $100 each and up. For a good mechanic, it takes about an hour to an hour-and-a-half to remove a strut/spring assembly, disassemble it, replace the insert, and reassemble it. Double that for both sides.

At the same time, other suspension components should be inspected and, if necessary, replaced, so parts of the job (removing the brakes, disconnecting suspension arms, etc.) don't need to be done twice. Part of your vibration might be coming from worn suspension bushings in arms that cost ~$75-150 each. If so, your mechanic should be able to show you their excessive movement and maybe deteriorated rubber parts. If the front brakes need service, do them, now, too, since they'll be disassembled anyway. In all, it could cost you upwards of $1000 to do everything, but you'll be set for at least 40-50,000 miles (or twice that - how many miles does your car have on it *now*?) before any similar front end service should be needed.

<span style='font-size:8pt;line-height:100%'><span style='color:red'><span style='font-family:Optima'>C.R. Krieger
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Old 07-14-2004, 02:27 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Ok, so in terms of what parts I need, im not replacing the front struts?? I'm just replacing the front shocks??
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Old 07-14-2004, 02:35 PM   #4 (permalink)
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You're looking almost at the same thing in terms of complexity and cost...

Also, do you noticed it only during bumps?? What about while driving in general?

Shocks when worn, usually don't make tires vibrate during bumps...

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