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Old 05-13-2011, 10:17 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Replacing rear shock struts WTF???

E34 525i 1989

Bentley and Haynes manuals both say to support trailing arm when removing shock strut implying that it will fall down when removing the shock strut.

When we knocked the bottom of the shock off the RHS trailing arm it jumped up by at least 6 inches, leaping off the support and jamming sons fingers between body and strut (ouch).

This was not supposed to happen and will make replacing the strut difficult.

I will take the LHS strut off tomorrow and see what happens on that side.

All I can think of is that the trailing arm bushings may have seized up or are torqued up in the wrong place.This may explain why the car gets out of shape on bumpy bits??

Any ideas if this is a common problem ??
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Old 05-13-2011, 01:44 PM   #2 (permalink)
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You could TRY slackening the trailing arm front bush first, then no more busted fingers...

1. Lift the rear and support it on jacks.
2. Spray the 22mm bolt with lot's and I say lot's of WD40.
3. Remove the rear seat cushion, headrests, headrest plastic cover (attached to the backrest, you have to turn the 2 plastic screws 1/4 of a turn with a big flat screw driver or a coin) and backrest.
4. Remove the 2 strut upper mounting covers and the 3 x 13mm nuts with a ratchet, extension and u-joint.
5. Beneath the car, remove the 22 mm bolt. Now the fun begins.
6. The bottom of the E34 rear shock has a tube that goes in the trailing arm. You can imagine how rusty this tube is. The trick is to spray a lot of WD40 in the tube (where the screw was) and all around it. Now find a long round and strong tube (I used the end of the E34 wheel wrench) and insert it where the screw was located. Now push forward on the bottom of the shock while at the same time jiggling the shock absorber right and left with the help of the long tube (or wrench).
... To remove the rear shocks you can also buy a set of pry-bars (of different lengths; many auto stores have them) and simply wedge the tip between the bottom of the shock and the trailing arm. Give a good push against the shock and the shock will slide (or pop) right out.
Worse case, if everything is siezed use a big hammer and a chisel, I also used a pickle fork and it worked pretty well.

From - bmwe34.net

Last edited by Jack Dabsy; 05-13-2011 at 01:52 PM. Reason: Not done one !
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Old 05-14-2011, 01:36 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Right up to the end I was thinking this guy knows this process in a lot of detail, oh well
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Old 05-14-2011, 06:29 AM   #4 (permalink)
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TBH I haven't done a E34 But the procedure its exactly the same as a B4 Passat, which I HAVE done !
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Old 05-14-2011, 07:33 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Don't get me wrong, I wasn't talking you down, and I have no doubt about your abilities, in fact I may need to speak with you about some E38 issues sooner or later.
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Old 05-15-2011, 10:12 AM   #6 (permalink)
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It all came apart quite easily and with both shocks out some of the pressure was relieved. There was no rust in particular but i used a hammer and piece of wood to keep fingers out of way. I replaced all of the rubbers and the gasket with new ones. Lucky as the LH strut had leaked and damaged the lower boot.

Fitting them back in was also easy. The difference to the ride and handling is nothing short of amazing.

Actually this car is very easy to work on, especially with the guidance of the Bentley manual.

I guess my real question was "How far do the trailing arms usually fall when you pull out the shocks?" I'm thinking there may be more work to do on the bushings.
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Old 05-15-2011, 10:23 AM   #7 (permalink)
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And to answer my own question

Of course the bushes are torqued up with the car loaded so the trailing arms are obviously pre-loaded with all of the weight off them.
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Old 05-15-2011, 11:01 AM   #8 (permalink)
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The arms will drop as far as the drive shafts allow thats it...!!
Better not to allow this because it could damage the shaft U/J's...
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Old 05-15-2011, 11:03 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by brettski View Post
Don't get me wrong, I wasn't talking you down, and I have no doubt about your abilities, in fact I may need to speak with you about some E38 issues sooner or later.
Go for it, Tiger! LOL
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