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Suspension & Braking
Have some questions about suspension or brake setups for your E46 BMW? Get all your answers here!

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Old 12-07-2011, 08:38 PM   #1
beberle
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How to remove struts w/o removing hub?

Okay,
I've read plenty of posts about people swapping out struts by simply lowering the front control arm and yanking the struts out. I couldn't do it. Maybe because I have Meyle HD lower control arms and they don't move as much? No room to get a spring compressor in the strut tower to compress the spring enough to get out either.
Anyways, the Bentley manual says to remove the entire wheel hub to get the strut off. That's what I did... and totally bent the lower ball joint stud Now I've got to order another lower control arm.

BEFORE I dork up the other side, any other trick to yank the strut w/o disconnecting the lower control arm??
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Old 12-07-2011, 09:13 PM   #2
e46JAB
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It should come out without disconnecting the hub. Are you sure that you unhooked everything you are supposed to? Spray down the base of the strut with WD40, then take a rubber mallet and hit the top of the brake disc until it drops out.
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Old 12-07-2011, 11:45 PM   #3
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Make sure you loosened pinch bolt that holds the bottom of the strut in the hub/knuckle. Also be sure you disconnected the swaybar link and brake line from the strut. If the strut slides partway out but not all the way out, sometimes turning the steering wheel towards the side you're working on will give you more room to get it out.
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Old 12-08-2011, 06:22 AM   #4
beberle
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I'll give it another shot on the driver's side. I removed everything including the brake caliper, but no luck. The strut was loose, but I still had 2" of strut in the hub with no more give. There definitely isn't any play in the Meyle HD ball joints! I couldn't get a spring compressor in to give me those 2" either. I definitely don't want to risk damaging my other Lower control arm removing it.
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Old 12-08-2011, 06:52 AM   #5
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Take out the calipers as well
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Old 12-08-2011, 06:54 AM   #6
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Definitely don't compress the springs while the strut is still on the car! As livesnearcostco said as long as the sway bar endlink and pinch bolt are disconnected (and brake line out of way) use pressure and it should drop. Then remove the three top nuts on the strut, pull the assembly out and then compress the springs.
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Old 12-08-2011, 07:41 AM   #7
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I had already yanked the calipers, speed sensor, tie rod and everything else to no avail. Here's a pic... just no play in the inner or outter HD lower control arm bushings. I turned and yanked the hub in every direction. I made sure that the ball joint press was straighter this time and yanked the hub in another 3 minutes. Still playing w/ seating the stupid spring on the new Koni FSDs correctly, but almost there!
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Old 12-08-2011, 09:04 AM   #8
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Koni sure looks pretty installed... Car Candy! New spring perch pads, new dust shield, new sway bar end links, new strut mounts, Powerflex LCA bushings. Now I just have to wait for the new control arm to show up before finishing

Note: The original front struts were in very good shape at 203,000 miles! Good compression and rebound. Pretty amazing. The back shocks had good compression, but no pressure left on rebound.
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Old 12-08-2011, 10:57 AM   #9
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I would put a jack and 2x4 up under the lower spring perch, jack it up and push down on the brake disc with my foot. The spring should easily compress far enough to get the strut out. Mine with sport package did not require this method as it's shorter and came right out.
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Old 12-08-2011, 04:01 PM   #10
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I hope you're ready, it's gonna be a whole different car once you're finished.
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Old 12-10-2011, 08:27 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by beberle View Post
Note: The original front struts were in very good shape at 203,000 miles! Good compression and rebound. Pretty amazing. The back shocks had good compression, but no pressure left on rebound.
My 323it has the original struts and shocks w/198k miles and still feels great. I'll replace them fairly soon, but they are not the priority I thought they would be when I recently purchased the car.
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Old 12-11-2011, 12:13 AM   #12
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Never had to remove hub to remove struts.
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Old 12-12-2011, 02:03 PM   #13
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Did anyone have the Meyle HD lower control arms when removing the struts? I agree, there's a whole lot of play in the stock bushings, but the Meyle have zero give or play even after 100k miles on them.
Putting a 2x4 under the spring perch would probably have done the job. I only needed another inch, a little risky putting any spring under pressure, but it would have saved me from ruining the ball joint :-/

Finally got the new control arm in today. Forgot what a pain tightening the inner ball joint was. While I'm under here, I keep looking at my leaky oil pan gasket... man, not ANOTHER DIY
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Old 12-15-2011, 01:20 PM   #14
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You're right e46JAB! I've been driving my car for a couple days and it's a totally different beast now. I can't tell how much of it is the Powerflex LCABs or the FSBs, but the car is definitely firmer than the stock sport suspension. However, it handles potholes and expansion joints w/o a problem. I'm really loving these Konis! And I was worried they would be too soft ;-) I put the Powerflex on before the Konis, and there was definitely a slight increase in road feel, but the combination of the two really gives transmits road conditions straight to the steering wheel. It was almost too much at 1st, but either the struts have loosened up a little or my brain is just getting used to the new feel. Now, the car is on rails and really dominating the Atlanta roads. Even Piedmont doesn't upset the suspension now.
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Old 12-16-2011, 09:42 PM   #15
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Did you install Koni FSDs on your touring? If so, where did you get them? I did not know there was an FSD shock/strut made for the tourings, but that is what I'd be after when I change my shocks/struts.
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Old 12-17-2011, 12:24 AM   #16
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one question -
you know how the strut has a base and usually a stopper for the spring to sit in - is the spring sitting against that stopper or is it a little further?
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Old 12-17-2011, 12:51 PM   #17
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It sits further back. It's not flush with the stopper for some reason. Needs to have like a 1 inch gap from the stopper on the strut. I tried having it flush and the spring was off that I couldn't get the strut mount seated properly up top. That was the first thing I noticed before breaking it apart.
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Old 12-18-2011, 10:15 PM   #18
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I noticed this in my car as well. Not sure if it's designed like that from factory or what but supposedly it should sit against the stopper. anyway when I replaced my struts (last weekend) I just put the spring where it was sitting on the old strut (a little bit away from the stopped like you mentioned)

I did not remove the wheel hub but I did disconnect my control arm from the wheel hub.

What I did was have the strut still attached to the car
remove sway bar links
remove bolt holding control arm to wheel hub and separate
undo the bolt holding the strut on the wheel hub
undo the 3 bolts at the top of the strut

and obviously compress and remove spring...
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