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E46 Xi Forum
The E46 XI was produced from 01-05 in sedan and touring body styles. Powered by either a 2.5L inline 6 in the 325xi or a 3.0L inline 6 330xi. Discuss all thing about BMW AWD E46 'Xi' here.

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Old 03-15-2011, 08:34 PM   #1
SharkmanBMW
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Bilstein Sport -rear shocks continually FAIL - Replace with E36 M3 shock??!

I have read a few posts about high failure rates on the e46 REAR Bilstein Sport shocks, anyone else have this problem?
I have been having too many to be a coincidence!

ATM, Bilstein is sending me their "solution" - a set of "be5-2453-h1"
Application: E36 - M3 - 1995-1999 46mm Monotube Shock Absorber

The 330Xi part is "36mm", these M3 shocks are 46mm, will that even fit?! Same length?! (I can't find specs)

History:
Within one year of installation the first one failed (leaked). I replaced it under warranty but within one month the replacement failed again.
While I installed the 2nd replacement, I added the Rogue Engineering Rear Shock Mounts.
Within a month, the 2nd replacement and the other from my original kit were leaking.

Now they want to send me E36 M3 shocks backed up with a "trust me"...

Any input is appreciated.
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Old 03-15-2011, 09:24 PM   #2
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If they say it will fit, then test it out. I'm hoping I don't run into these problems down the line. Although it shouldn't worry me too much since I'll be getting rid of this car and getting myself back into a WRX hopefully in the next year.
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Old 03-21-2011, 08:19 AM   #3
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hey that sounds good, I would consider that. If you have a lowered car it's not a bad idea to use shorter shocks so the travel is in it's efficiency range.
Not that this is a direct comparison but I used suburban shocks on my volvo 240 wagon because they were stiffer and shorter, worked like a champ.
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Old 03-21-2011, 01:53 PM   #4
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I just dropped the car off at the best shop in town, this guy is a Porsche / race car setup pro, doesn't rush and does the best alignment around
The M3 shocks are much beefier, 46mm, hopefully they last longer than the regular E46 rear Bilstein Sports! I am SO fed up with the clunking there are times I want to drive it off a cliff lol
I asked the shop to install the M3 shocks, verify the blown shock didn't damage the Rogue Engineering RSMs and to do an alignment. He has installed many Turner sub-frame kits, so he will have a look around for any sign of that as well, even though there are apparently no Xi sub-frame failures.
My fingers are crossed that I will drive away and never hear another clunk from the ass-end
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Old 03-21-2011, 05:09 PM   #5
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Just got a call, need a CV Boot and a tie rod, so, since the car will be there overnight anyways, I have decided to let them do my next project as well... fluid changes.
Front diff
Rear diff
Transfer case
Manual Transmission
Brakes
Power Steering

My plan for fluids is:
- Differentials (front and Rear)--Original fill was SAF-XO. This translates closely to a 75w-90 GL-5 Gear Oil.
- Transfer case--Original fill was MTF-LT1 P/N 83-22-9-408-942. Original was found to be very close in properties to a "MTL" GL-4 spec 75W-80 Gear oil **Note: The Bentley manual states, "recheck oil level again after driving car approximately 200 meters."
- Manual Transmission--Original fill was MTF-LT1 P/N 83-22-9-408-942. Most common replacement is D4 ATF, BUT, the "best/smoothest" result is said to be 2/3 D4 ATF and 1/3 MTL - that would be my 1st choice, if possible.

All that should make it a smoother ride than ever
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Old 03-21-2011, 05:12 PM   #6
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try some konis?
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Old 03-21-2011, 05:22 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mvrk10256 View Post
try some konis?
I considered that, but from what I gather it is the H&R coils that are the "problem" in this combination

The same shock with an Eibach coil has much better reviews on "smoothness". So even Koni's with the H&R are probably not a big improvement on the roads I have to drive on. On good roads this setup is absolutely amazing - but hit a few bumps and H&R "buyers remorse" kicks in hard

If I was starting over, I would go with Eibach/Koni without a 2nd thought.
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Old 03-21-2011, 07:13 PM   #8
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Might be tough to find redline fluids on short notice.

Did the same shop install each blown Bilstein? They can leak prematurely from incorrect installation. There was a bad batch from Bilstein- I thought they cleared that up though.
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Old 03-21-2011, 07:36 PM   #9
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I'm on my third failing rear Bilstein shocks in two years! (on Eibach springs)
Yes I've read the book, seen the movie and done the install correct! Installing them with load and using the correct torque at the top and bottom screw.

I get new ones every time and it only takes two hour to install them (Touring model) but I'm fed up, never Bilstein again!
Talked to the shop I bought them from and I will be getting a refund, and the refund will go to buying KW coilovers stage 1.

Last edited by Tele; 03-21-2011 at 07:37 PM.
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Old 03-21-2011, 07:46 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kubica View Post
Might be tough to find redline fluids on short notice.

Did the same shop install each blown Bilstein? They can leak prematurely from incorrect installation. There was a bad batch from Bilstein- I thought they cleared that up though.
One shop installed them, another shop did the replacement, both are skilled & very familiar with the E46. Bilstein sent me the first replacement from California, the 2nd was shipped from Vancouver, Canada to save time and now the M3 shocks came from Cali. I also heard there was a bad batch and I appreciate the lifetime warranty, but the constant clunking, money blown on labor and shipping fees are really getting to me lol
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Old 03-27-2011, 05:53 PM   #11
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Replaced the leaky E46 Bilstein Sport rear shocks with E36 M3 rear shocks... Finally it feels like a real BMW again!
Smooth, comfortable, no clunking over bumps, just nice and quiet - as it should be.
Thank you Bilstein for your lifetime warranty, thank you for listening and finding me a real solution, instead of swapping out blown shocks monthly!
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Old 03-27-2011, 07:17 PM   #12
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Keep us updated on if the shocks blow or if there is any degradation in ride quality. I just put in new my suspension and would hate to have to be in the same boat as you, replacing shocks monthly.
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Old 03-30-2011, 06:58 AM   #13
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Well, I can join the club with a blown out rear shock on our xi wagon. The Bilstein's are roughly a year old and when I changed out the snows yesterday, I noticed the passenger side rear shock covered with road grit and oil. I put the Bilstein HD shocks on for that was the only kit available for the xi wagon. I called TMS about the issue and they are sending me out a new replacement shock. I will then send the old one back to them or inspection. If the shock is deemed defective, they will cover the cost. According to the rep I spoke with, BMW's shock geometry causes undo strain on the shock tower area therefore causing the seal in the upper shock portion to leak.
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Old 03-30-2011, 10:25 AM   #14
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interesting. Cant wait to see what i find come end of april when i swap out wheels. I dont seem to have any issues but i got them in July '10. when was there a defective batch?
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Old 03-30-2011, 12:07 PM   #15
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The car didn't show any signs of a problem. I wouldn't have known about the shock going bad if I didn't take off the winters. I also asked about a bad batch but the rep at TMS stated it was more of a design flaw with the BMW suspension than the shock. I hope this isn't a continuous issue with the back shocks.
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Old 04-05-2011, 03:18 PM   #16
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How's the suspension so far? I've had my rear bilstein shocks fail on me as well while running on H&R springs.
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Old 04-05-2011, 05:22 PM   #17
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So far it feels good. In fact, after having M3 shocks for a week, it feels like the E46 ones were blown from day 1. These new ones seem to control the car much better, less harsh, feels like a BMW again.
Fingers crossed they won't start to leak, but at least for now I can drive without being scared $hitless for hitting bumps and breaking my teeth lol
These really should be the part sold for this car, I am very glad Bilstein came up with this solution.
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Old 04-05-2011, 06:59 PM   #18
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^ Sounds like you've been patient through all the replacements. Good to hear that the replacement was something that was capable of dealing with "the design flaw in the BMW suspension" (LOL) ....me, I went with Koni sports and no problems at all.
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Old 04-06-2011, 08:45 AM   #19
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Damn, I was all set to order bilstein sports to match with my eibachs but after reading this thread, I think I may have to cough up the extra cash and go the koni yellow route

for you guys that know koni's..can they be used with stock springs?

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Old 04-06-2011, 10:32 AM   #20
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Damn, I was all set to order bilstein sports to match with my eibachs but after reading this thread, I think I may have to cough up the extra cash and go the koni yellow route

for you guys that know koni's..can they be used with stock springs?
Yes, they can be used with stock springs.
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