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E34 (1989 - 1995)

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  #1  
Old 11-25-2012, 08:31 PM
xperfectxdarkx xperfectxdarkx is offline
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Suspension (Shocks Replacement)

Okay, first post so apologies if this question is obvious/has already been answered.

I just want to get an idea if I'm being ripped off here.

I have a 1989 525i Sedan, the suspension needs work and so far I've got two different opinions on it, first mechanic said it needs the rear shocks and all the rear bushes replaced, he quoted JUST the rear shocks at $1200 installed, and he couldn't even source the bushes.

The second mechanic didn't think the bushes needed replacing, but wants to replace the shocks. He said he could only shave off about $100-200 off the first quote.

I've looked up the shocks online, along with the top shock mount and I've found OEM shocks for under $300 each, so why do I keep getting quotes of upwards of $1000 for what I can tell should be more like a $500-1000 job? Are they just trying to gouge me because I'm a 20 something female or is really that hard work that they feel it's justified to charge that much?

I live in Australia if that's relevant, everything seems to be more expensive here then it is in the US.

Thanks for any help anyone can give me.
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  #2  
Old 11-25-2012, 09:08 PM
robertobaggio20 robertobaggio20 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by xperfectxdarkx View Post
Are they just trying to gouge me because I'm a 20 something female or is really that hard work that they feel it's justified to charge that much?
This is more than likely the case.

However, changing shocks is time consuming. Close to 90 minutes per wheel and up to 4 hours for the entire car. Ask these workshops what their hourly charges are. That would be a good way to decide if they are trying to rip you off. Speak to those who have already quoted you and ask them to separate out the quotes into parts and labour. You need to do some more research and get more opinions and quotes from other workshops too to help decide.

Another suggestion I can give you is to combine several long term wear and tear elements along with the main shock absorber change. This will drive your parts bill up and sometimes significantly, but not your labour bill by much. Removing the shocks exposes many things to easy access and your wallet can reap the benefits of that.

1. Springpads top and bottom. $10 each. Busted springpads cause your car to tilt to one side.
2. Bump stops. $10 each.
3. Shock absorber mountings. Now these can be expensive if you purchase the best, which is currently Meyle HD. Around $100 for a pair or so. The additional labour involved is not much...around 10 minutes per mounting. However, you can only get to this if you remove the shock absorbers, which is a big job. Good bushings give your car a firmness on the road...its alot about ride quality.
4. You might want to consider installing lowering springs at this time, if you don't already have them and like the look. Around $200-$400 for a set of 4. Zero additional cost of labour as they need to remove the old springs anyway.
5. Check your brake discs and replace them ($50 each) if they are getting worn. No additional labour charges.
6. Good time to swop out brake pads as well if they are getting there. A ten minute or less job for each calliper. They shouldn't increase your charges by much.

Any and all of this is not strictly necessary but if you intend to keep your car for the long term, are not on a tight budget, and put alot of stock in the car's drivability, you might want to consider doing one or more of the above for pure cost efficiencies.

You can purchase parts first yourself and ask them to quote you for labour alone.

You probably need a third opinion on whether your rear bushings need to be changed. Which bushings are they referring too? Trailing arms ? You can take pictures or refer to www.realoem.com (put in your chassis number and your car and its diagrams will appear) and you will be able to strip out the right part and its number.

Even worn shocks are not show stoppers and do not need to be changed if you're not a stickler. Why are you considering changing yours ? Do they have any leaks ? Or are they very bad, ie the car behaves as if there are practically no shock absorbers at all ?

It would be a good idea for you to look through the maintenance sticky thread at the top of these forums, and download and scan through the E34 bentley manual, for a better idea on priorities for the car, especially if you're working on a budget (who isn't ?). You can take some time to study the matter and decide where the priorities lie.

I always recommend that new owners change the fuel pump, the fuel pump's relay and the crankshaft position sensor to all oem ones, unless they have evidence that they were changed in the past couple of years. These three culprits tend to fail suddenly at this age and they lead to 90% of our no-start issues, and they occur without forewarning, which can be a pain to diagnose, and drive costs of repair up if you factor in towing and cab charges etc. Furthermore, most of the E34's sudden overheat issues are centred around failed water pumps and thermostats, so unless they were changed recently, I would go for those too as a precaution. The time involved for doing everything I just mentioned here should not exceed 3 hours, so budget for labour accordingly. Parts cost up to $400 typically for oem stuff for these before shipping. Only buy oem for these mission critical components, penny wise is definitely pound foolish here.

Good luck.


rgds,
Roberto
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  #3  
Old 11-25-2012, 09:10 PM
robertobaggio20 robertobaggio20 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by xperfectxdarkx View Post
Okay, first post so apologies if this question is obvious/has already been answered.

I just want to get an idea if I'm being ripped off here.

I have a 1989 525i Sedan, the suspension needs work and so far I've got two different opinions on it, first mechanic said it needs the rear shocks and all the rear bushes replaced, he quoted JUST the rear shocks at $1200 installed, and he couldn't even source the bushes.
.
Why does he say that you need to change the bushings? Are you experiencing uneven wear with your rear tires ?
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  #4  
Old 11-25-2012, 09:35 PM
xperfectxdarkx xperfectxdarkx is offline
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Thanks for the replies, I'm going to pick up the car in the afternoon, I'll ask him for a solid quote of how much the shocks will actually cost and how much the labour will be. It's only the rear shocks that need replacing so that cuts out some of the time.

He mentioned the shock mounts when I talked to him on the phone earlier, said he couldn't see whether they were perished and would have to find out when he pulled it apart and that might be another 'couple of hundred' if they needed replacing also. He also said he was surprised the first mechanic didn't mention the rear brakes, he said they were very worn and recommended changing them at the same time. I do intend to keep the car for as long as possible but I am on a fairly tight budget, uni student so I only work part time, which makes the big price tags quite a blow to the savings. I'll ask him about trying to source the parts myself and see if he'll install because I'm really not convinced the shocks are as expensive as I'm being led to believe.

As for the bushes, this mechanic didn't even think they needed replacing, but I've got a few inspection reports from the first mechanic, one report from about 7 months ago says rear control arm bushes worn, and rear sway bar bushes worn. The next report I have from 3 months ago just says all rear bushes worn/perished. But as I said the current mechanic just said yes there was some wear, but it was a big job to replace them all and just replacing the shocks would probably do the job. No mention of uneven wear on my tires, they just stated that the bushes were worn/perished and recommended replacing them.

I probably should have mentioned it initially, but the reason I'm looking at getting the shocks replaced is because of creaking/clunking from the back end, mostly the rear left that's gotten steadily worse probably over the last year. It used to just be a little squeaky around corners and over bumps but now it's pretty much constant with the creaking and clunking, and the ride is no where near as nice as it was 3 years ago when I bought the car.

I'll have a look through the manual like you suggested and get to know my car a bit better.
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  #5  
Old 11-25-2012, 10:19 PM
My525iT My525iT is offline
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I tell my girlfriend if she is not happy, "get more estimates". Always in writing and always ask for a better deal. But never agree until you speak to your (brother, dad, boyfriend etc...). That is the usual easy excuse to leave.

As far as mechanics, most mechanics will assume an older model vehicle will require much repair. Most may not be able to tell the difference. So always ask for an explanation and expect to be shown what needs replacement. I once had a tire rotation and a dealer gave me a laundry list of items to replace (75% of which I already did).

Mechanics always use a labor rate table. Always ask for the time and hourly rate. If unsure ask them to show you the Mitchell Labor Book or other. Then expect a 15% upcharge for parts and ask for all fees. (A complete out the door estimate).

You can check www.repairpal.com for a U.S. estimate. $1200AUS would be a top end estimate.

I suggest $75USD is fair rate and find a mechanic that allows you to bring your own parts or at least find a cheaper supplier. BMW parts are pricey...
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  #6  
Old 11-25-2012, 10:44 PM
robertobaggio20 robertobaggio20 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by My525iT View Post
K.I.S.
I tell my girlfriend if she is not happy, "get more estimates". Always in writing and always ask for a better deal. But never agree until you speak to your (brother, dad, boyfriend etc...). That is the usual easy excuse to leave.

As far as mechanics, most mechanics will assume an older model vehicle will require much repair. Most may not be able to tell the difference. So always ask for an explanation and expect to be shown what needs replacement. I once had a tire rotation and a dealer gave me a laundry list of items to replace (75% of which I already did).

Mechanics always use a labor rate table. Always ask for the time and hourly rate. If unsure ask them to show you the Mitchell Labor Book or other. Then expect a 15% upcharge for parts and ask for all fees. (A complete out the door estimate).

You can check www.repairpal.com for a U.S. estimate. $1200AUS would be a top end estimate.

I suggest $75USD is fair rate and find a mechanic that allows you to bring your own parts or at least find a cheaper supplier. BMW parts are pricey...
Would 3 hours of labour cover the rear shocks and mounts ?

OP (original poster), don't purchase anything stamped with bmw. That will be marked up from the oem manufacturer by anything from 20-100% as pure profits. For shocks, go for bilstein or sachs if you have more cash. The springpads are not brand relevant, as are the bump stops. The rear shock mounts may require a bit more than 10 minutes each as they may need to be accessed from the rear speakerboard area, a little more time consuming....so factor in around 15 minutes max per shock mount, but you should absolutely change those as well. Meyle HD for the rear cost around $120 before shipping.

And, as they are HD, they will last and last and last. All that clunking that you're talking about could be your rear mounts gone to heaven as well so i would advise that you do this and as i mentioned, you can only change the mounts by removing the rear shock assembly which is very expensive labourwise...

Put it on your card and pay it off progressively. The additional interest that you bear is miniscule compared to the charges that you save.
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  #7  
Old 11-25-2012, 10:33 PM
My525iT My525iT is offline
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I still do a bounce test with my shocks/struts. If the car doesn't bounce back from your weight - definitely bad.
If there is a leak - also bad. Uneven tire tread wear - also bad.

Anything else is a personal opinion on a preferred ride - and that would be my opinion.

http://www.ehow.com/how_5923877_check-bushings-car.html
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  #8  
Old 11-26-2012, 02:05 AM
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BMWFatherFigure BMWFatherFigure is offline
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I'm in Perth - PM me if I can help / advise.
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  #9  
Old 11-26-2012, 02:18 AM
xperfectxdarkx xperfectxdarkx is offline
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Yeah I'm gonna get one more estimate, I'll try take my dad or boyfriend with me, have a male figure there who has more of an idea about cars and see if that makes any difference .

Thanks for the good advice everyone, I'll get some more estimates until I find one I'm happy with and have a look at buying the parts myself, looks to be far cheaper online and I guess the mechanics aren't really worried about shopping round for the parts. And they probably just talked to the BMW dealership anyways so that would be part of the price problem I think.

FatherFigure, I'm in Canberra so you probably can't help me too much unless you've got any solid connections round here

Thanks again for the advice guys I just needed some confirmation that I probably wasn't getting the best deal.
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  #10  
Old 11-26-2012, 07:13 AM
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BMWFatherFigure BMWFatherFigure is offline
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Closest I would trust has a tuning shop in Sydney. Sorry. Will pass details if it will help.
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  #11  
Old 11-26-2012, 04:37 PM
xperfectxdarkx xperfectxdarkx is offline
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Yeah probably a bit out of the way, thanks anyways!
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  #12  
Old 11-26-2012, 05:39 PM
robertobaggio20 robertobaggio20 is offline
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Originally Posted by xperfectxdarkx View Post
Yeah probably a bit out of the way, thanks anyways!
If you jist work in terms of their hourly rate table vs the time they need for your rrar shocks and mounts, you cant go wrong. There is nothing too sensitive about this particular job.

Oh but apoarently you need to preload shocks before tightening down. QED. Please insist on that.
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Old 11-27-2012, 11:38 AM
robertobaggio20 robertobaggio20 is offline
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OP, definitely no more than 3 hours for both rear shocks, shock mounts, and brake rotors and pads, and springpads all together. I just did one of mine and tracked the time. Still takes max 90 minutes even though the rear seat might have to be accessed.

You should definitely do the rear shock mounts if you also do the shocks, and you should definitely get Meyle HD. Leave the brake rotors and pads to some other time if you have at least 1 year left on them. The workshopwill be able to estimate this just by looking at it. So bid for 3 hours flat of labour when you go down to negotiate, and bring your own parts, or quote them prices of the parts you see online (together with shipping) and insist on them matching it.

Be aggressive in your negotiations if you need to, since you now know how much time is required. Refer to a vague "the other workshop" that wanted to charge your both arms and 1 leg and you are having none of it, etc etc.

It would be a good idea for you to purchase and change the water pump and thermostat at the same session if you have not already done that, to minimise your downtime. I know that adds to your costs significantly but see you're protecting your engine and preventing further exorbitant costs. Remember, your engine is fragile and will blow up if the temp only hits 3/4 lolol. Just kidding. Consider doing other things to maximise the value of this downtime.
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Old 12-05-2012, 02:49 AM
robertobaggio20 robertobaggio20 is offline
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Hey, it only take 15 minutes to change shocks and associated components !





Last edited by robertobaggio20; 12-05-2012 at 02:51 AM.
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  #15  
Old 12-05-2012, 04:14 PM
xperfectxdarkx xperfectxdarkx is offline
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Sorry I haven't replied before now been studying for exams, so I haven't done anything else with my car yet, and I'm going away next week for a few days but after I'm back then I'm going to take it to someone else I've been recommended as a BMW specialist and be really insistent this time now I know how long it will take and how much it should ideally cost. Thanks for the valuable advice on how long it will actually take, I'll print out parts website pricing for Sachs shocks and the Meyle mounts with postage and insist they match that price or let me get them myself.

The rotors were replaced maybe two years ago so I doubt they'll need it again yet? But the pads I don't recall replacing for a few years so that sounds about right for them.

I'll talk about the water pump as well as we're in for a really hot summer and I'd hate to have her die after all this time just because of overheating issues. The airconditioning is also atrocious so I might see if it just needs regassing or whether the problems more serious.
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Old 12-05-2012, 04:15 PM
xperfectxdarkx xperfectxdarkx is offline
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also re the video, do people just not use this technique or what?
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  #17  
Old 12-05-2012, 10:46 PM
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luckydog luckydog is offline
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Suspension work on BMW's is alway high.Its very labor intensive, it takes special expensive tools and is dangerous work. You may find a little lower maybe a few hundred. I like your second Mechs opinion better, because its the shocks that wear out and rarely the bushings that are associated with the shocks i found.

Last edited by luckydog; 12-09-2012 at 11:57 AM.
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  #18  
Old 12-06-2012, 12:24 AM
robertobaggio20 robertobaggio20 is offline
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1. The labour charges for shock changes can include changes to the springs, springpads (upper and lower) as well as shock mounts, at no extra charge. All of this extra stuff needs to be done anyway to access the shock mount. They will probably be able to do the brake pads for free or a nominal increase ($10 per wheel) as well, its only a 10 minute job once everything has been accessed).

2. She has probably damaged her shock mounts nice and good by now while driving with busted shocks. Very bad move to spend all that money and time on new shocks and labour, only to find that the mounts ought to have been swopped too.

3. Even if her shocks weren't busted that badly, old mounts are old mounts. Even if they don't look much different from new ones, put in new ones and you'll notice a significant difference in the firmness of the car.

4. My suggestion is that you don't put in oem shock mounts, but put in Meyle HD mounts....these mounts are better than oem. So you get a an additional benefit there, and they last longer as well.




rgds,
Roberto
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