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Old 11-19-2012, 08:17 PM
poweredbybmw poweredbybmw is offline
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Location: Milwaukee, WI
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 13
Mein Auto: BMW, BMW, & BMW
My friend and I completed the spring and shock swap on my wife's '06 X3 with 70K miles. We used the details of this thread to start. Some changes for us:

Not all parts are still available from the same vendors. I had to mix and match a little and have ended up with some duplicates on the small parts.

Used a GearWrench passthrough socket set instead of the ground down oxogen sensor to tighten the shock nut. The extension for the GearWrench set is long - requires a long allen wrench. Got a long allen set attached to sockets from Sears last minute to hold the shock shaft in place. My Bilsteins were 7mm not 8mm for the recessed allen bolt in the shock shaft. I could not verify 55 in-lb on the nut this way. Even with a torque wrench on the allen socket, the socket would begin to strip before the torque wrench clicked out.

Front axels would not pop out. Needed an extra inch to get the fronts out. Had to use a spring compressor to give us the additional inch installing and removing the shocks. The compressors on the new shocks only fit in one way in the cavity - one with three spring turns and another at two. The spring compressor shafts touched the baseplate for the springs preventing fancy GearWrench set from being used We used a wedge to help pry apart the shock cup for removal and reinstallation.

The shock caps did not fit my new bearing plates. I ended up using teflon pipe tape to make the caps bigger to fit the slightly larger holes of the new bearing plates. Using OEM bearing plates my have eliminated this.

We tried grinding down an adjustable wrench for the sway bar end removal but it didn't work so well. We found a flat tool in the shop that worked. My buddy forgot to set the air gun to "not break" and tore the end of one link off when he accidentally tightened the nut that was already tight and sheared the bolt. For reinstallation of the new part, I ordered the Park Tools Cone Wrench Set - flat and in the correct size. There are thin wrench sets out there but I could not get them in time to be convenient for me.

Both rear springs were broken and were the reason for the swap. We were prepared for the PITA spring removal. We found that by moving the jack out of the way from the suspension we were able to extend the suspension enough to work out the spring by hand and install the new one in the same way. One person on the spring the other pressing on the brake disk with your foot. We used a lubricant safe for rubber on the bottom plate to assist reinstallation.

The X3 sits lower and is scheduled for an alignment. Major improvement felt so far. Thought the job was not easy but not impossible. Saving $1k and new tools was worth the time for me.
'11 White 328 Wagon w/ X-Drive
'06 Flamenco Red X3 3.0i
'06 Red R1200RT
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