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-   -   Bilstein PSS strut problem (http://www.bimmerfest.com/forums/showthread.php?t=533292)

540 M-Sport 04-08-2011 07:53 PM

Bilstein PSS strut problem
 
Hey guys, just an FYI. About two years ago, I had a Bilstein B14 PSS kit installed in my 540. New shock/strut mounts at the same time. Love the kit, handles and rides great, but after a bit over a year, I started getting a faint, intermittent knock from my front suspension. Figured it was time (over 140k miles) to start replacing much of the front end, so went ahead and installed new everything...center, left and right steering tie rods, new thrust arms with the Meyle HD bushing upgrade, new control arms, new end links, new sway bar bushings...everything but sub frame bushings. But the knock persisted. Had one strut mount replaced and the knock went away for about a month, then returned...and has only gotten worse over the winter.

I finally took it to a really good shop called Group 2 Motorsports here in Seattle, and they did a very detailed inspection, test drive and diagnosis and traced it to both front struts! Right side was worse than left, but both were doing it. I contacted Bilstein for warranty help, and they said "no problem, send them in". This is my daily driver, so no go, and asked them to sell me replacements, and credit me when I return the old ones....problem is they do not normally stock the B14 PSS kit for older cars like the E39 540/M5 much anymore....I had to wait two months for them to get back into stock. Well they finally came in and were sent to me this week and installed today. FIXED! No more annoying knock (it was mostly as low speeds).

I will be contacting Bilstein USA for an RMA authorization to return the old ones and get my credit. Labor and alignment is still expensive, as is shipping, but at least it is fixed.

Just an FYI, and wondering if anyone else has experienced this with Bilstein, either their regular sport/HD, as well as the PSS kits?

I have always heard Bilstein are top notch quality, but this has kind of shaken my confidence. I am not a super agressive driver, and the car is not slammed really low either.

I am happy with the Bilstein customer service, just wish they had these in stock and I didn't have to wait so long...otherwise, it all turned out fine. Just hope the new ones don't have a repeat of this issue.

Orxan4ik 04-08-2011 11:15 PM

my car sits pretty low and I have about 15K on my set, no knocking sounds yet (knock on wood)

Jason5driver 04-08-2011 11:32 PM

540 m-sport-
How many miles were on the front struts after 2 years?
30k miles?

doru 04-09-2011 10:55 AM

Hey, Jason, could it not be the lack of 9/16 grade 8 lock washer issue Bimmerfiver was experiencing also? Does this not sound familiar to you? http://forums.bimmerforums.com/forum...6&postcount=16

DHoang 04-09-2011 11:08 AM

IF Bilstein outsourced its production to China, India, or Vietnam, then that would be a reason why quality has gone down the gutter.

Orxan4ik 04-09-2011 12:50 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by DHoang (Post 5983907)
IF Bilstein outsourced its production to China, India, or Vietnam, then that would be a reason why quality has gone down the gutter.

FYI German made parts fail too

540 M-Sport 04-09-2011 02:58 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Jason5driver (Post 5983239)
540 m-sport-
How many miles were on the front struts after 2 years?
30k miles?

I presently have about 35k miles.

540 M-Sport 04-09-2011 03:00 PM

.

540 M-Sport 04-09-2011 03:03 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by doru (Post 5983882)
Hey, Jason, could it not be the lack of 9/16 grade 8 lock washer issue Bimmerfiver was experiencing also? Does this not sound familiar to you? http://forums.bimmerforums.com/forum...6&postcount=16

PSS coilovers are designed/assembled differently that the stock set up.

Jason5driver 04-09-2011 05:55 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by doru (Post 5983882)
Hey, Jason, could it not be the lack of 9/16 grade 8 lock washer issue Bimmerfiver was experiencing also? Does this not sound familiar to you? http://forums.bimmerforums.com/forum...6&postcount=16

Maybe...
Not sure...
However, like 540-M-Sport wrote, the Bilstein Pss coil-overs are an assembly.

Although, I did install the washers on my H&R's...

My thread:
http://forums.bimmerforums.com/forum....php?t=1379498

Quote:

Originally Posted by Jason5driver
Placing the new 9/16" grade 8 lock washer on:

http://i263.photobucket.com/albums/i...Y/DSC00242.jpg

Quote:

Originally Posted by DHoang (Post 5983907)
IF Bilstein outsourced its production to China, India, or Vietnam, then that would be a reason why quality has gone down the gutter.

+1.
It's not just Bilstein either...
Brembo, and many others are doing the same.
However, Taiwanese products seem to be of a higher quality IMO...
Shame....

Quote:

Originally Posted by Orxan4ik (Post 5984126)
FYI German made parts fail too

Yes, but not near as often IMO.

Quote:

Originally Posted by 540 M-Sport (Post 5984334)
I presently have about 35k miles.

Interesting...
Perhaps there is a height range the Bilstein Pss coil-overs need to be set at...?
My H&R's need to be at least 1"-1.75" below OEM stock sport height.
That means, that if I have the car's height at only 0.75" lower than OEM stock sport height, I run the risk of blowing out the valving in the struts/shocks.

540 M-Sport 04-12-2011 01:25 AM

Are you installing the lock washer under the big nut on top of the strut mount?

Jason5driver 04-12-2011 10:57 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by 540 M-Sport (Post 5989873)
Are you installing the lock washer under the big nut on top of the strut mount?

Yes.

Nline6 01-27-2012 08:31 AM

so the kit doesnt come with a lock washer, is there a specific type of washer I need to install? Sorry to bring up a older thread, but I am installing the PSS kit on my 540i this weekend.

540 M-Sport 05-10-2012 08:14 PM

So under warranty replacement, I had new Bilstein PSS B14 front coilovers installed, and the originals returned. Bilstein confirmed the problem (knocking noise) and returned my $624 core deposit.
Now, 13 months and 22,000 miles later, the knocking noise has returned. Only over small, low speed bumps... Will be calling Bilstein tomorrow to start the warranty process over again. What a hassle. Plus I will be out another $500 or so in labor for the installation, alignment and return postage.

Jason5driver 05-10-2012 08:36 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by 540 M-Sport (Post 6827060)
So under warranty replacement, I had new Bilstein PSS B14 front coilovers installed, and the originals returned. Bilstein confirmed the problem (knocking noise) and returned my $624 core deposit.
Now, 13 months and 22,000 miles later, the knocking noise has returned. Only over small, low speed bumps... Will be calling Bilstein tomorrow to start the warranty process over again. What a hassle. Plus I will be out another $500 or so in labor for the installation, alignment and return postage.


Wow...
I am sorry...
Perhaps it is time to look into another suspension setup?

540 M-Sport 05-10-2012 08:41 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Jason5driver (Post 6827102)
Wow...
I am sorry...
Perhaps it is time to look into another suspension setup?

Considered that, but willing to give Bilstein one last try...but would like them to be a bit more forthcoming on what the problem is, and what they are doing to resolve it. I cannot send my struts back, and have my car sitting on a lift at the shop (shop will not allow it), so I am hoping they have some used, but rebuilt PSS front struts, as I would think that might be better than getting more new ones? :rolleyes:

Jason5driver 05-10-2012 08:45 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by 540 M-Sport (Post 6827111)
Considered that, but willing to give Bilstein one last try...but would like them to be a bit more forthcoming on what the problem is, and what they are doing to resolve it. I cannot send my struts back, and have my car sitting on a lift at the shop (shop will not allow it), so I am hoping they have some used, but rebuilt PSS front struts, as I would think that might be better than getting more new ones? :rolleyes:

I already know Bilstein is probably wanting you to buy the fronts first, before you take your car to the shop.
Then after the install, you have to send back the bad struts...
Could the problem be from bad spring rates - causing the car to bottom out, and blow the valving...?

What was Bilstein's excuse/ reason for the first failure?

Ever consider the BC Racing coil-overs?
I am not sure TC Kline makes anything for the 540i...

Thanks!
Jason

540 M-Sport 05-10-2012 11:58 PM

Actually, the last time around Bilstein wanted me to send the originals back for rebuilding. They only offerred new at my insistence. The problem is they do not stock the PSS, so they had to be ordered, which took a couple months...

Bottoming seems unlikely, as I am not that low. Only about about .5" lower than the stock sport height. Bilstein never disclosed what the problem was, they only confirmed there was a problem, and they would be refunding my "core" deposit on the replacements.

16valex 05-11-2012 02:04 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by DHoang (Post 5983907)
IF Bilstein outsourced its production to China, India, or Vietnam, then that would be a reason why quality has gone down the gutter.

Probably China.

Topaz540i 05-11-2012 05:10 AM

How loud is this knocking? Is it unlivable or actually felt not just heard?

I was really considering going with this brand coilovers because of the reputation the struts have for outlasting the car.

Jason5driver 05-11-2012 11:41 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Topaz540i (Post 6827529)
How loud is this knocking? Is it unlivable or actually felt not just heard?

I was really considering going with this brand coilovers because of the reputation the struts have for outlasting the car.

I would stick to something Koni-based...

540 M-Sport 05-11-2012 02:00 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Topaz540i (Post 6827529)
How loud is this knocking? Is it unlivable or actually felt not just heard?

I was really considering going with this brand coilovers because of the reputation the struts have for outlasting the car.

Faint, but noticeable. It is intermittent, and mostly at low speed. If my last experience is similar, it will become more constant as time goes by...and louder as well...but will increase over many months. I just started noticing this about 5 or 6 weeks ago. Last go around, it took me several months and a couple different shops to finally narrow down where the noise was coming from. It was difficult, partly due to the intermittent nature...it became easier to diagnose 7 or 8 months later, as it was more constant, and a bit louder...but again, only occurs at low speed, under 20mph, and on sharp bumps in the road, most commonly on concrete, not black top. But after many months (last time) it would occur at speeds up to around 40mph.

Fudman 05-11-2012 04:11 PM

This is not a new occurence. The previous posters have characterized the sound as a clunking sound. Some have seen corrosion on the strut shaft but how this translates to noise is unknown. I seen this now on Bilstein HDs, Sports and now the PSS. Sad to see the legendary Bilstein quality has gone the way of the dodo bird. :thumbdwn:

540 M-Sport 05-11-2012 04:33 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Fudman (Post 6828740)
This is not a new occurence. The previous posters have characterized the sound as a clunking sound. Some have seen corrosion on the strut shaft but how this translates to noise is unknown. I seen this now on Bilstein HDs, Sports and now the PSS. Sad to see the legendary Bilstein quality has gone the way of the dodo bird. :thumbdwn:

I'm baffled as well, there is definitely no corrosion on the shafts. I have previously lifted the dust boots while the car is on a lift, and they look fine.

What is also perplexing, is not everyone is experiencing this problem. The reports seen few and far between...I have done a few internet searches and can't find a lot of posts on this issue.

Topaz540i 05-11-2012 04:54 PM

What size wheels you running? Anything insanely low profile?


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