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Reuvers 01-30-2013 08:25 AM

Broken rear spring, Removing rear shelf to get to strut
Ok i've finally found whats been making the noise at the rear suspension the last 2 days:

I changed the other side over last year and the time has obviously come to do the offside as well. Such a **** to do though. Gonna be a long day to fix it...

However I am also having pretty severe shuddering throughout the entire car. Passenger seat shakes a lot! Also steering wheel shakes quite a bit. This happens most between 70 and 80 km an hour +/- 45-50MPH.

I've checked all bushings, pulled on every piece and can't really fault anything.
Ballanced all wheels again, changed rear wheels to front, tried a different set of rims. Doing this changes nothing.
I did a full allignment front and rear about 3 weeks back because I placed new track rods. This didn't change anything either.

I really can't imagine a broken spring (bottom coil) is causing this much shaking.

Anyone ideas?


Fudman 01-30-2013 09:43 AM

I cannot see your pictures (blocked at work) but it sounds like you have broken a coil spring. Yes? This is a highly unlikely event but not impossible (I've broken a leaf spring before on my previous Explorer). Anyway, if your spring is indeed broken, it is definitely the cause of your shaking problem. Here is why: The wheel is connected to the car by the suspension links, strut (damper) & spring. The linkage controls the direction(up/down) of wheel motion while maintaining the wheel position relative to the road (slight camber). The springs and the strut control the initial position of the wheel and dampen its subsequent movement while still allowing it to move up & down to accomodate road surface irregularities. The frequency at which something vibrates is directly proportional to stiffness and mass. Change the stiffness and you will change the frequency for vibration. A broken spring greatly changes (reduces) the stiffness of that suspension system. Hence, the frequency of your suspension system is lowered. When the driving conditions match that frequency, significant vibrations occur. That shaking (feedback from wheel vibration) is the direct result of the stiffness reduction caused by the broken spring coil.

Reuvers 01-30-2013 12:31 PM

yes, I indeed broke the rear offside spring, and the driver's side one broke about 6 months ago; so I guess not so unlikely....

but what you're saying sounds like pretty good news. I certainly hope that fitting a new spring, however of a pig job that may be, will stop the extreme vibrations and shaking.

will have to keep you updated on that and see if it changes.


babyboss 01-30-2013 12:32 PM

hectic !!

Fudman 01-30-2013 02:09 PM


Originally Posted by Reuvers (Post 7348770)
yes, I indeed broke the rear offside spring, and the driver's side one broke about 6 months ago; so I guess not so unlikely....

but what you're saying sounds like pretty good news. I certainly hope that fitting a new spring, however of a pig job that may be, will stop the extreme vibrations and shaking.

will have to keep you updated on that and see if it changes.


The job is just like replacing a strut. Just follow the Beisan DIY. In fact, if the spring is broken, disassembly may not require using the spring compressor. However, if you have more than 100K on your current struts, you may as well replace them too, since this adds no additional work (other than having to do the opposite side too).

Reuvers 01-31-2013 04:02 AM

Seems like i've run into a bit of a hickup.

I indeed followed the Beisan diy for strut replacement.
However my car is slightly different from the one described. First of I have folding rear backseats, which made it easier as I did not have to unbolt them.
However I also have a 'privacy sunshield' (sorry no idea what its called but see pic; excuse the mess).

and 1 with sunshield up in position

I have remover the front trim off the shelf panel, and it's loose there. But about halfway, where the sunshield comes out, its still stuck. Furthermore it seems its stuck at the rear sides as well.

I'm not eager to pull too hard on it as i'll never find a replacement let alone in grey.

Anyone with this option have any insight, or someone that has worked on one of these?

Here's a pic from the boot. I guess there is 1 bolt just infront of the one holding the 3rd brake light in place which could loosen the shelf more, but not quite sure


Ed Cheung 01-31-2013 07:05 AM

Those bolts on your last pic need to be taken off in order to get the shelf panel out, I can't recall correctly, I remember there are 3-4 that hold the shelf in place, but seems like you are in the right direction. I think it is from BSW's utube speaker installation instruction that had mentioned about it as well ( they didn't show it as the demo car do not have the shade shelf panel).

AnotherGeezer 01-31-2013 08:06 AM

This video by BSW might be of some help

Reuvers 01-31-2013 09:10 AM

Thanks guys for the info, and the video!

He indeed mentions 3 bolts on the bottom of the boot to free the sun shader thingy.

However on the last pic I posted I already freed 3 bolts to actually get the panel down revealing the black Nokia thing.

Will have to look tomorrow. I'll keep you updated

thanks again

Ed Cheung 01-31-2013 05:16 PM

No the bolts for the Nokia sub and the shelf shade are 2 things.

mjalloul11 01-31-2013 10:44 PM

The bolts for the shade are under the Nokia speakers box, so you have to unbolt the subwofer box in order the see the other bolts.

Reuvers 02-01-2013 02:21 AM

Thanks very much for your help.

I got to the nuts to get the boot cover out

For future reference for others experiencing this, below are a couple of pictures

The above picture shows the grey cover sagging down below the Nokia Sub. To do this unbolt the 3 nuts; 1 on the left 2 on the right (towards the rear of boot). On the pic you can see the left one. Unbolting this will make the cover sag in the boot. Do not pull on this as it''s still hooked in place by the sub.

When the cover is sagging there will be one more nut on the right holding the sub in place. Before undoing this, unclip the connector on the left side of the sub.
Then remove last nut. Sub is slightly heavy whilst you're in an uncomfortable position so keep this in mind.
When all 4 nuts are removed simply pull the sub backwards which will remove it. The cover will also come out completely now.

When you have both out, you'll be able to see 3 nuts; 1 on the left, 1 in the middle and 1 on the right as seen below

Then, as the above video says, you'll have to tug and pull till the cover comes out.

Don't forget! There is still a connector on the passenger side to power the electric sun shield

leaving you with this

Now you can continue to follow the beisan guide

Hope this might help some of you, and thanks again to the above posters

Reuvers 02-01-2013 03:29 AM

I'm affraid my next question has arisen :tsk:

My e39 has S-EDC and i'm looking how to disconnect the wiring to the rear shock. (beisan doesn't talk about this)
I searched online, but the threads I have found have either been removed, or pictures are no longer online.

The wiring goes into the shock and seems to be held by a nut. But when I try losening the nut, the shock wants to turn with it.

If I folow the wire further beyond the boot I can unclip it there and I guess I could remove the shock with the connector and boot still in place. But is this the way it should be done??

cheers again

Ed Cheung 02-01-2013 04:53 AM

Trace the wire back there is a connector, just like the front. But I cut mine, as I am not using EDC shocks anymore.

Reuvers 02-01-2013 05:12 AM

Disconnecting at the other connection is indeed an option to get the entire strut off the car.
However when I have to remove the spring i'll have to remove the strut mount nut to dissasemble the strut. This means the electrical connection will have to come off. So how is this acheived?

On further inspection, it seems you are right Ed Chueng.

The connector seems to be small enough to allow the strut nut to slide over (see below)

540nj 02-01-2013 06:48 AM

Thanks for the detailed info! I have to do my rear shocks, sunshade adds complexity that you have solved.

03 540i6

Ed Cheung 02-01-2013 07:37 AM

Reuvers, mine was the same years as yours and those those shocks on mine were long gone, so you might need to check your shocks as well.

Reuvers 02-02-2013 01:40 AM

Glad this was helpful to already 1 person ;)

And Ed Chueng I'll be inspecting the strut when I receive the spring. I'm hoping for it to be in good nick

bluebee 12-19-2013 11:55 PM

16 Attachment(s)
I'm gonna declare this the canonical thread for the removal of the rear shelf, and hence, it's the #1 position now in the bestlinks for this keyword-rich sentence:

- How to remove the rear shelf, also known as the rear package shelf or rear parcel shelf in order to replace broken coil springs (1) (2) (3) (4) (5)
EDIT: For the record, I am appending the 16 pictures in the original posts above, in the order they were included, so that they're not lost, over time.

bluebee 03-02-2015 04:05 PM

This post today shows great videos for removing the parcel shelf ...

> E39 (1997 - 2003) > E39 Electrical Problems Traced to Trunk Lid Harness Wire Chafing (DIY Diagnostic)

Originally Posted by HTK12 (Post 8940476)
I was suprised that we didn't have any videos of removing the rear shelf. The best I've found are made by BAV sound. They show you howto upgrade your rear speakers. In order do that you need to remove the rear shelf. So the first video guide:

Second video guide:

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