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Old 02-19-2013, 11:34 AM   #188
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Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Boston
Posts: 4,971
My Ride: 2003 325xi
Originally Posted by Kubica View Post
Shocks are installed.

They feel very similar to the HDs before they blew out- only drove about 20 miles so far but my initial impression is positive.

A few notes on the install:

-I believe they are the same piece as the E36 M3 sport shocks
-Top nut is 17mm, instead of 16mm
-The top of the piston accepts a hex bit or allen key, which makes securing the 17mm top nut much easier than the xi HDs
-The 'experimental' shocks are 10mm shorter then the HDs when fully extended (HDs are 12mm shorter than stock shocks).
-I transfered the lower cup, RSM, and top cup from the old assembly- that's it.
-I did not transfer the small washer that sits below the lower cup (I need to confirm this is correct).
-No need to transfer the boot, the M3 shocks come with a blue boot
-Shock body is approximately an inch shorter than the HDs or stock

Photos compare OEM, Bilstein HD for xi, and Bistein Sport for E36 M3 (not sure why they posted upside-down):
Soooo...the e36 M3 rear Bilsteins lasted 28k miles and just under 2 years.

Both have failed, but in different ways. One had an internal oil leak and the other had a gas/oil mix (tested on Bilstein's shock dyno). Neither was visibly leaking, but performance had degraded substantially.

Here's the good part...the replacement shocks that they sent me have a new heavy duty valve stack installed which should improve their reliability. As you know, the rear shocks that Bilstein sells for the xi are now the same as the e36 M3 rear shocks. If the M3 shocks fail, Bilstein will ship the new heavier duty shocks as replacements. Currently, new Bilsteins are still shipped with the older valve stack, but that may change if there are a lot of failures. I did confirm that compression and rebound dampening remains unchanged with the updated valve stack.
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