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The BMW E46 ///M3 is the M version E46 and puts out an amazing 333 HP and 262 lb-ft of torque at stock specs! There are an amazing amount of modifications for both the coupe and convertible models so read up and get started modifying your cars today!

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Old 01-22-2013, 03:25 PM   #1
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Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: Virginia
Posts: 129
My Ride: 2001 M3 Coupe
Replaced Rear Shock Mounts (RSM)s

Replaced Rear Shock Mounts (RSM)s on my 2001 M3 (~70K miles) yesterday with some Rogue Engineering RSMs and thought I'd pass on a few tips and observances. Perhaps a bit long for such a relatively simple task, but oh well...

Basically a pretty simple job, ostensibly four bolts per side, but with a few things to watch for:


Getting those trunk liners out was a little tricky. Actually didn't/couldn't take them out as they seemed anchored around some trim/framing behind the rear seats, so I just pushed them aside and accessed the RSMs from the trunk.

The RSMs were behind these broad, somewhat flimsy sound deadening panels rather than some smaller covers I recalled seeing in some posts. These pull away though will probably tear a touch, but I don't see that as being particularly detrimental.

Note: There's a fuel door release string with a green plastic tab on the end that threads through the driver's side trim panel. Be very careful threading that through its hole as that tab can shoot off into infinity rather easily, never to be seen by mortal eyes again. No big deal if that happens, but you'll just have the thin bare cord.

Removing shock/RSMs from car:

Again, pretty basic, once access was gained. The bottom shock bolts came off pretty easily, unlike in wife's Volvo S70 that were frozen on. Top bolts came off easily too. I removed the top bolts first, then, while holding shock, the bottom bolt.

Removing old RSMs from shock:

Got a little trickier here. Sure, just one stupid bolts, but that bolt was tricky to get off. You have to hold the shock's rod to keep it from spinning. There's a flat/rectangular bit at the end to, hopefully, grip with a crescent wrench. Well, that area's small and the nut was on tight, so I ended up rounding it off a bit. Went to a pliers and ended up damaging some of the threads (geez, how can such a simple task metastasize to such a PITA?). Finally, used pliers to grip large metal retaining cup on the of RSM to at least loosen the bolt, which worked, then get it the rest of the way off. Did that on second one right off the bat and went like a breeze (far less cuss'n needed).

Old RSMs didn't look bad at all, certainly no visually obvious cracking or deterioration, despite reading everywhere that they all go to heck by 70K. My rear end, well, my car's rear end was sounding a bit clunky lately over bumps, so just automatically figured bad RSMs.

Installing new RE RSMs:
Basically just reverse the removal process. The RE RSMs are a bit different than the OEMs, so make sure you install the bits in the right order with the heaviest component underneath the shock tower. Here I ran into more headache though. Because the threads on the first shock were a bit damaged during removal, the shock bolt got a bit cross threaded when putting the RSM on, despite trying to finesse it the right way. Ended up just force threading it down until just slightly squeezing the rubber bushing(s) out slightly, maybe 1/8" max. Oh well, seems tight but perhaps an excuse to get new shocks in the end.

The rest went easily, first installed shock via bottom bolt, then but in RE's top bracket through the bolt holes and then carefully raised the RSM (don't forget weather sealing gasket (supplied) on top) and guided top mount bolts through bottom mount holes. Install bolts and tighten up well and done with mounting RSMs themselves.

Note: the OEMs have some slightly cone-shaped metal cups into which the bump stops bump into should you Duke-of-Hazard you car. I didn't install them figuring they would interfere with installing the nuts (which are not on the wheel well side of the RSM instead of the trunk side as in the OEMs. Actually, there is pretty good access there and I surmise they could be readily retained without causing fitment issues. When I get new shocks, I'll probably put them back in to give the bump stops a wider target should I decide to jump some small crick while outrunning the revenuers.

The Rest:
Putting the interior back together is just reverse engineering. Install the plastic trays first, then lineup the trunk lining in the various appropriate slots, then install all the various push fasteners and whatnot. Oh, don't forget to gently push that sound insulation back first.

The proverbial "seems a bit better." As my OEMs didn't look shot, perhaps they were functioning pretty well to begin with. Things to feel/sounded a bit tighter, but certainly no night and day thing. At least the RE RSMs are serviceable (replace just the rubber bushing-I bought a spare set to have on hand). Of course, the question then is, what was/is causing that clunkiness? Imagination? Rear trailing arm bushings (my first suspect)? Aging shocks (my second suspect and given the job I did on the threads perhaps now a necessary thing)?

Anyways, basically an simple job, with a few caveats to note above. I was a bit surprised that the OEMs, which are original to the best of my knowledge (bought car in 2006 with about 30K), were not in worse shape given all the dire things I've read about them. Probably a good time to replace the shocks as you have them out anyways. I'd probably also retain those bumpstop seats too.
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