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xpcgamer 03-22-2009 06:13 PM

Touring liftgate shocks DIY
Ok. After getting nailed by my rear hatch the other day I decided to change the struts. I will try to explaing this with out pics as it has been raining and I had to do this under a tarp!

There are four struts. 2 smaller ones for the glass. 2 larger ones for the rear hatch.
1. Remove the rear back covers by pushing the black buttons on top. 1 for the subwoofer cover the other for the CD changer and Nav.
2. Remove the rear pillars(they are 2 screws and 3 snaps. I did not take them out completely so the bottoms where left in).
3. Pull back weather stripping on the hatch.
4. Remove the plastic that covers the back upper panel of the hatch(be careful as this has 4 snap connectors holding it in place).
5. Remove the cover of the hinges. 8 torx screw total.
6. Lower back part of headliner.
7. You will see 2 hex large hex screws by the rear speakers. Remove the 2 screws(one per shock) until you hear and feal the screw "pop" out of the shock end.
8. Now repeat on the other side.
9. Remove the circlips and shafts holding the shocks in place(by now you should have a large stick to hold up the hatch).
10. Pull out the old shocks and toss them into a Volcano while doing a dance!
11. Here comes the fun part! Reinstall the 4 large hex screws.
12. You will need a large flat head screwdriver. Starting with the small shock stick your hand in the small opening and fiddle with the shock until you set the open end one the ball end of the hex screw. It may take some finess but the small shock is small enough that you can lift it with your fingers. Once you feel the end fit on the ball(You will feel it by the shock not moving when you tug lightly. Do it lightly or you will pull it out of the ball and will have to start over).
13. Once you have it seated take the large flat head screw driver and pry it down. You will feel it snap in.
14. Repeat on the other side.
15. On the large shocks you will do the same but will need to lift the heavy shock with the flat head. You will need to push the cables to a side and place the flathead under neath it. Lifting it with the flathead do the same by placing in on the ball end and tugging lightly. When on push down with the flathead till it snaps in.
16. Repeat on the other side.
17. Put everything back in reverse.

Use a small powerfuls flashlight to light up the inside of the space. Another person would be great!
Also when you get one of the larger shocks in DO NOT attach it to the hatch as you still need to "over open" the hatch to pry the other shock into place to attach the clips.

With a lot of light and a little finess you can get it done. Hope this helps. Just PM me if you gave any questions.:thumbup:

BlackBMWs 11-17-2009 11:08 PM

Nice write up! You're a better man than me as I had the dealer do it for what I thought was a cheap price...

cn90 11-18-2009 06:37 AM

People with tight budget may use a 2 x 4 lumber or broom stick to prop it up...LOL.

Good job xpcgamer!

cn90 01-26-2010 08:39 AM

7 Attachment(s)
Although I don't have a Touring (I have a sedan), I just pulled some pics from the BMW TIS files for the pictures show:

Jase007 01-26-2010 09:22 AM

Very helpful. Thx.

repandpresent 01-27-2010 07:03 AM

OMG! I do feel some man love coming on! Thanks! I LOVE PICTURES!

jbrovage 03-09-2010 06:14 AM

So i'm making a parts list to do this for my touring. Firstly, how can i tell if they are going bad? mine stay up, but i have to lift them to full position before they do so. Im also unclear about how many struts there are total.

I think there's 2 small ones (for the window) - PN 51248190688 - ~41$/each
and also , and 2 large (for the gate itself) - PN 51248220072 ~ 67$/each

Grand total of 220$ for full replacement. (ee, gawd!)

xpcgamer 03-09-2010 07:07 AM


Originally Posted by jbrovage (Post 5001566)
So i'm making a parts list to do this for my touring. Firstly, how can i tell if they are going bad? mine stay up, but i have to lift them to full position before they do so. Im also unclear about how many struts there are total.

I think there's 2 small ones (for the window) - PN 51248190688 - ~41$/each
and also , and 2 large (for the gate itself) - PN 51248220072 ~ 67$/each

Grand total of 220$ for full replacement. (ee, gawd!)

Yes there is 4 of them. When you pop the back the gate will not just go up. You have to lift them. Also the same for the glass. You may be fine thou.

jbrovage 03-09-2010 07:34 AM

Good news, thanks XPC!

Now i just need to get my passengers to stop SLAMMING my gate! ITS NOT A FORD PEOPLE!

jdt10768 03-09-2010 09:42 AM

Yeah, I love it when some hamfist bodyslams my tailgate/hatch like it's a damn Suburban. :mad:

525man 03-09-2010 12:57 PM

First off, Thanks to XPCGAMER for the flawless instructions which made this job a breeze AND CN90 for the diagrams he posted which put everything into perspective.

I bought my trunk supports off ebay. the seller is called "mrlousstuff". They were made by sachs which I think is oem. The fit was perfect and i think they cost me about $150.

A quick tip when doing the install, at point 12 above, position the shocks in place and insert your little finger into the hole where the hex ball goes. in this way you can feel when the shock is in place. as the shock lines up on your finger, gently remove your finger, making sure the shock comes to rest directly above where the hex screws in. Now start threading the ball end of the hex into position. the shock should be perfectly positioned on the ball in his way. Then use your large flat head or as I did, a hollow broomstick handle to press the shock down to lock onto the ball.
This will only work if your little finger is small enough to get in there.

Also, while you are doing this, check the integrity of your wires that pass through to the trunk. You may find some to be brittle or even broken, especially if you had a water leak like I did.

I hope this helps and enjoy the end result.

87bimmerguy 04-28-2010 03:05 PM

I just did this today, and what a difference! My old struts were totally blown.
Thanks for the write-up, it was exactly as described. And thankfully, it wasn't nearly as hard as I expected.

bagodonuts68 12-07-2012 05:24 PM


how long did it take you?

scott740il 12-07-2012 06:01 PM

how much did the dealer charge?

87bimmerguy 12-07-2012 06:48 PM


Originally Posted by bagodonuts68 (Post 7236927)

how long did it take you?

Hmm, it was a couple years ago now. I'm thinking 30-45 minutes.

bluebee 12-07-2012 10:46 PM

Just for the record, there was nothing about the touring liftgate shocks in the bestlinks so I'll add this thread so others can find it more easily in the future.

The only somewhat similar thread I could find was this cn90 DIY:
- How to replace your trunk shock absorber struts (1)

See also:
> E39 (1997 - 2003) > DIY E39 touring tailgate damper replacement?
> E39 (1997 - 2003) > E39 touring liftgate shocks

bagodonuts68 12-09-2012 08:08 AM

Thanks bimmerguy. i think i will tackle the job (though using bluebee's provided thread will not be useful to me).

bagodonuts68 12-09-2012 08:20 AM

I was able to purchase the liftgate struts for $119 and the smaller glass struts for $59. from mrlousstuff on ebay (with FREE shipping).

QUESTION though. In the past i did a bit of a solder job on the wiring that feeds the tailgate (button to release the glass stopped working). While i have the headliner down for this strut job is there a wiring harness (or section thereof) that i can easily install??

bagodonuts68 12-13-2012 06:52 PM

JBROVAGE... i just cant get by your posts without staring. is that a leather or vinyl outfit?

anyone know about the wiring harness? Given the likelihood of fraid wiring at the hinge of the door, i was hoping there might be an easy way to replace the wires that run through there.

bagodonuts68 12-23-2012 06:00 PM

problem with instructions

i just returned from the garage where i replaced my glass and door struts and i have several comments. Most fresh in my mind is the difficulty installing the hinge/wire covers. Either i am doing it the hard way (clearly) or the extra thickness in electrical tape over my numerous wire repairs have kept it all from simply snapping together.

Of primary concern regarding XPCGamer's instructions. When loosening the large hex nuts, particularly for the larger tailgate struts, pressure from the strut causes the nut/ball aparatus to get crooked prior to the popping off of the strut. This causes some stripping of the threads in the roof of the car. I had some difficulty getting the hex bolts to rethread back into the roof. HAving the hex nuts out makes it easy to get the strut onto the ball, feeling with your little finger for the female part of the ball joint on the far end of the strut. However, rather than popping them off while removing the hex nuts, I recommend popping off the strut with a long screwdriver (I used the long shaft from a drill operated cement mixer...what a barn job). Again, rethreading the hex nuts back into the roof was a real problem and as it stands i have one in correctly (after tapping it with a 5/8ths narrow threaded tool--i know it's likely a metric thread but it does not appear to be a standard sized thread. Its narrower than the standard metric thread for that size (16 i think, which does not normally have both narrow and wide threads according to my observations at the hardware store)

Long story short... avoid stripping the threads holding the hex nut described in step 7 (provided by XPCGAMER), primarly for the larger struts as mine (2000 wagon with 175k miles) still had enough pressure to mangle the threads. Do not pop off struts by removing the hex nut. Instead pop off using some sort of long tool, then remove hex nuts and proceed to step 9.

the job took me about 5 hours, but included a trip to the hardware store for tap and die tools and a good bit of wiring re-repair.

now for a sam adams and a football game on the DVR.

irija 02-06-2013 06:03 AM

Anyone in San Diego
... Feel like helping me out? I'm thinking of tackling this but to be honest, I've never replaced my tools since moving back to San Diego so I'm almost working with a bare garage. Sad I know. I'm pretty close to maybe taking it to a All German or back to La Jolla for this job.

I didn't see anyone post in this thread how much the dealer cost was. Anyone? I'm Aldo thinking that maybe only the door struts at this time and noticed that the eBay seller is in San Marcos.

You have a nice bottle of single malt in it :)

bagodonuts68 02-25-2013 09:24 AM

while you're in there do both window and door struts. Its not really all that difficult a job. pulling down the headliner is a bit of a pain but nothing to keep you from the job. only the most basic tools are required and i think a larger size allen wrench for the hex bolts. Get a set at sears for $20 and quit procrastinating. Have a few long rigid rods of different sizes to assist in the popping off and on of the cylinders and something to prop up the tailgate. The worst part for me was getting the plastic hinge/wiring covers back on and soldering the broken wires feeding the tailgate (used a needle-nose vice grip to hold the wires out). you'll enjoy how the tailgate and window just sort of pop open, though it will take a bit to get used to it.

i bet the dealer charges a bunch.

bagodonuts68 02-25-2013 09:59 AM


your 750 is H O T

Aussie528iT 02-25-2013 07:34 PM

You don't need to remove the ball studs the struts pop onto, you just have to lever them off and on the ball stud. Thats how the TIS procedure works. The simplest way is to use a piece of tubing about 900mm/3 ft long that fits over the strut. For the large shocks you need 40mm OD x 1.5mm wall thickness steel tube. Can't remember size for the small strut. Lift the tailgate weather seal off the opening lip and protect with a piece of plastic. Body filler spreader works fine. Use a telescopic paint roller handle to support the tailgate in the open position, one end in the hand hold and the other end on the bottom of the opening. The hardest part of the job is replacing the plastic covers over the wiring loom were it passes around the hinges.
The new struts come with a small spot of grease in the ball socket. Don't use any more as the strut can pop off the ball stud. How do I know?

Hope this helps
99 528iT M52TU

bagodonuts68 02-28-2013 03:02 PM

i liked having the ball studs off to line up the hole on the strut with where the ball will be once it is screwed in. I could put my little finger in the hole, feeling for the cup on the strut. then, holding everything else still, threat the ball stud back up into place and seeing the strut raise a bit under the stud. then pop it on with some long tool.

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