BMW Coupes and Sedans 1970-1988 Repair Guide

MacPherson Strut Assembly

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REMOVAL & INSTALLATION



Not too much in the way of special tools and equipment is required to remove the struts from the front of your BMW, although care should be taken in ensuring proper torquing of the fasteners during reassembly. However, once the strut is off the car, special equipment is required to disassemble it safely. You will either have to purchase a special spring compressor or take the strut to a qualified repair shop. Rebuilding the shock absorbers contained within the body of the strut requires a good deal of specialized equipment and knowledge. By removing the strut and, if you're equipped to handle it, removing the spring, you could, however, substantially reduce the cost of doing the work.

1600, 2000 and 2002 Models

See Figure 1

  1. Raise the vehicle and support it safely on jackstands. Remove the wheel.
  2.  
  3. Disconnect the angle bracket from the strut assembly.
  4.  
  5. Disconnect the caliper, leaving the brake line attached. Tie the caliper to the vehicle body with a piece of wire so that the weight is not supported by the brake hose.
  6.  



Click image to see an enlarged view

Fig. Fig. 1: Front strut upper mount on a 1600, 2000 and 2002-as seen from the engine compartment

  1. Disconnect the lower arm from the axle beam.
  2.  
  3. Remove the lockwire and disconnect the track rod arm from the strut assembly.
  4.  
  5. Remove the 3 retaining nuts and detach the strut assembly at the wheelhouse.
  6.  

To install:
  1. Install the strut assembly at the wheelhouse.
  2.  
  3. When reattaching the wishbone at the front axle beam, use a new self-locking nut and make sure the spacer touches the axle beam.
  4.  
  5. Tighten the components as follows:

    Strut thrust bearing at wheelhouse: 16-17 ft. lbs. (21-22 Nm)
     
    Lower arm-to-axle: 123-137 ft. lbs. (160-178 Nm). This should be finalized after the vehicle has been lowered to the ground.
     
    Track rod arm from strut: 18-24 ft. lbs. (23-31 Nm)
     
    Caliper-to-strut: 58-69 ft. lbs. (75-90 Nm)
     

  6.  

2500, 2800, Bavaria, 3000 and 3.0 Models
  1. Raise the vehicle and support it safely. Remove the wheel.
  2.  
  3. Disconnect the brake caliper and suspend it from the vehicle body with a wire. Do not remove the brake hose.
  4.  
  5. Disconnect the angle bracket from the strut assembly.
  6.  
  7. Remove the lock wire and disconnect the track rod arm from the strut assembly.
  8.  
  9. Remove the 3 retaining nuts and detach the strut assembly at the wheel house.
  10.  

To install:
  1. Install the strut assembly at the wheel house and connect the track rod.
  2.  
  3. Complete the installation and use the following torque figures:

    Brake caliper-to-strut: 59-70 ft. lbs. (77-91 Nm)
     
    Track rod-to-strut: 33-44 ft. lbs. (43-57 Nm)
     
    Bearing-to-wheelhouse: 16-18 ft. lbs. (21-23 Nm)
     

  4.  

3 Series Models
320i MODELS
  1. Raise the vehicle and support safely. Remove the wheel.
  2.  
  3. Detach the bracket at the strut assembly.
  4.  
  5. Disconnect and suspend the bake caliper with a wire from the vehicle body. Do not disconnect the brake line.
  6.  
  7. Remove the cotter pin and castle nut. Press the tie rod off the steering knuckle.
  8.  
  9. Remove the 3 retaining nuts and detach the strut assembly at the wheel house.
  10.  
  11. Install the strut assembly into the vehicle and attach it at the wheel house.
  12.  
  13. Install the cotter pin and castle nut and install the tie rod.
  14.  
  15. Connect the brake caliper and install the wheel.
  16.  

2-WHEEL DRIVE MODELS (EXCEPT 320i)

See Figures 2,3,4,5,6,7,8 and 9

  1. Disconnect the negative battery cable.
  2.  
  3. Raise and safely support the vehicle on jackstands. Remove the tire and wheel assembly.
  4.  
  5. Disconnect the brake pad wear indicator plug and ground wire. Pull the wires out of the holder on the strut. Remove the ABS pulse sender, if equipped.
  6.  
  7. Unbolt the caliper and pull it away from the strut, suspending it with a piece of wire from the body. Do not disconnect the brake line.
  8.  
  9. Remove the attaching nut and then detach the push rod on the stabilizer bar at the strut.
  10.  
  11. Unscrew the attaching nut and press off the ball joint stud with the proper tool.
  12.  
  13. Unscrew the nut and press off the tie rod joint.
  14.  



Click image to see an enlarged view

Fig. Fig. 2: If equipped with ABS or brake wear sensors, the harnesses should be unplugged



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Fig. Fig. 3: Remove the outer stabilizer mount attached to the control arm



Click image to see an enlarged view

Fig. Fig. 4: Remove the ball joint nut ...



Click image to see an enlarged view

Fig. Fig. 5: ... and remove the ball joint from the strut assembly



Click image to see an enlarged view

Fig. Fig. 6: Remove the tie rod nut ...



Click image to see an enlarged view

Fig. Fig. 7: ... and remove the tie rod from the strut /steering knuckle assembly



Click image to see an enlarged view

Fig. Fig. 8: Remove the upper mounting nuts (in the engine compartment), but be sure the strut is supported from underneath



Click image to see an enlarged view

Fig. Fig. 9: Once free, carefully remove the strut assembly (note the strap used to support the brake caliper)

Do not turn the steering rack to full lock or damage to the seals can occur.

  1. Press the bottom of the strut outward and push it over the ball joint stud. Support the bottom of the strut.
  2.  
  3. Unscrew the nuts at the top of the strut, from inside the engine compartment, then remove the strut.
  4.  

To install:
  1. Install the strut into the wheel housing and install the nuts. Press down on the control arm and install the ball joint stud into the strut bore. Using new nuts, tighten the ball joint to 61 ft. lbs. (85 Nm) and the top strut mounting nuts to 16-17 ft. lbs. (21-23 Nm).
  2.  
  3. Install the tie rod into the steering arm and tighten the new nut to 26 ft. lbs. (37 Nm).
  4.  
  5. Install the stabilizer bar link and tighten to 43 ft. lbs. (59 Nm).
  6.  
  7. Install the brake caliper and tighten to 80 ft. lbs. (110 Nm).
  8.  
  9. Install the ABS sensor, the brake pad wear sensor and the brake hose. Connect the negative battery terminal.
  10.  
  11. Lower the vehicle. Have the alignment checked.
  12.  

4-WHEEL DRIVE MODELS
  1. Disconnect the negative battery cable.
  2.  
  3. Raise and safely support the vehicle. Remove the front tire and wheel assembly. Unplug the ABS pulse transmitter.
  4.  
  5. Lift out the lock plate at the center of the brake disc with a small prybar. Unscrew the collar nut.
  6.  
  7. Disconnect the brake pad wear indicator plug and the ground wire. Pull the wires and brake hose out of the clip on the spring strut. Then, disconnect the small rod at the strut.
  8.  
  9. Remove the brake caliper mounting bolts and support the assembly with a piece of wire, keeping stress off the brake hose.
  10.  
  11. Remove the attaching nut from the tie rod end. Then press the stud off the knuckle with the proper tool.
  12.  

Do not turn the steering rack to full lock or damage to the seals can occur.

  1. Remove the attaching nut for ball joint and then press the stud off the knuckle with an appropriate tool.
  2.  
  3. Press the output shaft out of the center of the knuckle.
  4.  
  5. Support the spring strut from underneath. Remove the 3 bolts from the upper mount at the wheel housing. Remove the strut.
  6.  

To install:
  1. Install the strut into the wheel housing and install the nuts. Press down on the control arm and install the ball joint stud into the strut bore. Using new nuts, tighten the ball joint to 61 ft. lbs. (85 Nm) and the top strut mounting nuts to 16-17 ft. lbs. (21-23 Nm).
  2.  
  3. Pull the axle through the bearing. Install a new nut and tighten to 180 ft. lbs. (250 Nm). Install a new lockplate.
  4.  
  5. Install the tie rod into the steering arm and tighten the new nut to 26 ft. lbs. (37 Nm).
  6.  
  7. Install the stabilizer bar link and tighten to 43 ft. lbs. (59 Nm).
  8.  
  9. Install the brake caliper and tighten to 80 ft. lbs. (110 Nm).
  10.  
  11. Install the ABS sensor, the brake pad wear sensor and the brake hose. Connect the negative battery terminal. Have the alignment checked.
  12.  

533i, 630CSi and 633CSi Models
  1. Raise the vehicle and support safely on jackstands. Remove the wheel.
  2.  
  3. Disconnect the bracket at the strut assembly.
  4.  
  5. Disconnect the brake caliper and suspend from the vehicle body with wire. Do not remove the brake hose.
  6.  
  7. Remove the lock wire and disconnect the tie rod arm at the strut assembly.
  8.  
  9. Remove the 3 retaining nuts and detach the strut assembly at the wheelhouse.
  10.  

To install:
  1. Install the strut assembly into the vehicle and attach it at the wheel house.
  2.  
  3. Install the cotter pin and castle nut and install the tie rod.
  4.  
  5. Connect the brake caliper and install the wheel.
  6.  

524td, 528e, 530i, 535i, 635CSi, M5, M6 and 735i Models

See Figure 10

  1. Raise the vehicle and support it securely on jackstands. Remove the front wheel.
  2.  
  3. Disconnect the brake caliper and suspend it with a piece of wire so there is no tension on the brake hose (do not disconnect the hose).
  4.  
  5. If removing the left side strut, lift the electrical plug out of the clip on the strut, disconnect the ground wire, and disconnect the plug.
  6.  



Click image to see an enlarged view

Fig. Fig. 10: Upper strut mount assembly accessed from the engine compartment-5 and 7 Series models

  1. On cars with ABS, disconnect the ABS pulse transmitter at the strut.
  2.  
  3. Disconnect the stabilizer push rod at the bracket on the side of the strut; To do this, use a wrench to hold the rod end on the flats just outside the bracket and unscrew the nut from the inside of the bracket.
  4.  
  5. Remove the bolts from the underside of the tie rod arm that attach the bottom of the strut to the arm. Then, move the strut outward.
  6.  
  7. On the 735i, remove the cap. Support the bottom of the strut and then remove the 3 nuts attaching the strut to the top of the fender well.
  8.  

To install:
  1. Install the strut in position on the vehicle.
  2.  
  3. Use new self-locking nuts on the studs that pass through the fender well. Align the bottom of the strut with the tie rod arm so the tab on the arm fits into the notch on the bottom of the strut.
  4.  

733i Models
  1. Raise the vehicle and support safely on jackstands. Remove the wheel.
  2.  
  3. Disconnect the vibration strut from the control arm.
  4.  
  5. Disconnect the bracket and clamps from the strut assembly.
  6.  
  7. Disconnect the wire connection and press out the wire from the clamp on the spring strut tube.
  8.  
  9. Remove the brake caliper and suspend it from the vehicle body with a wire. Do not remove the brake hose.
  10.  
  11. Disconnect the tie rod from the shock absorber.
  12.  
  13. Remove the 3 retaining nuts and disconnect the strut assembly from the wheelhouse.
  14.  

To install:
  1. Install the strut assembly into the vehicle and attach it at the wheel house.
  2.  
  3. Install the cotter pin and castle nut and install the tie rod.
  4.  
  5. Connect the brake caliper and install the wheel.
  6.  

 
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