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Go Back   Bimmerfest - BMW Forums > BMW Model Discussions > 5 Series > E39 (1997 - 2003)

E39 (1997 - 2003)
The BMW 5-Series (E39 chassis) was introduced in the United States as a 1997 model year car and lasted until the 2004 when the E60 chassis was released. The United States saw several variations including the 525i, 528i, 530i and 540i. -- View the E39 Wiki

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  #1  
Old 07-18-2009, 12:47 PM
cn90 cn90 is offline
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Suspension work: Reusing Nuts and Bolts, Nuts only, Nuts + Bolts

Whenever I do a whole front suspension on any car, I always use new nuts and bolts (pinch bolts/nuts, bolts/nuts for control arms).

However, I was at the bmw dealer today and was told by the parts salesman that when doing suspension work, their bmw mechanics keep the bolts and only replace the self-locking nuts.

So I am just curious for you guys out there who have done the front suspension (could be any car, BMW, MB, Volvo etc. etc.), what do you do?

- Reusing both Nuts and Bolts (I don't think this is good idea).

- Replacing only the Nuts (This seems to make sense because when you look at wheel studs, very often the nuts go bad but the studs are still good for the life of the car).

- Replacing both the Nuts + Bolts.
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  #2  
Old 07-18-2009, 01:22 PM
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use new one for a good piece of mind.
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  #3  
Old 07-18-2009, 04:43 PM
TheStig TheStig is offline
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I would say at minimum to replace the self locking nuts. But, IMO, replacing the bolts and the nuts is the best solution.
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  #4  
Old 07-18-2009, 05:01 PM
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these cars are 10+ yrs old now, barely worth $5k nowadays. I do reuse existing hardware that's not included with the new parts. W/ self locking nuts, I apply some lock tite, and they're just as good as new, and won't come off. Been doing this since I was 18 yrs old.
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  #5  
Old 07-18-2009, 07:33 PM
cn90 cn90 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DHoang View Post
these cars are 10+ yrs old now, barely worth $5k nowadays. I do reuse existing hardware that's not included with the new parts. W/ self locking nuts, I apply some lock tite, and they're just as good as new, and won't come off. Been doing this since I was 18 yrs old.
I am just concerned about the safety issue (??? bolt fatigue and fracture etc.) and not about cost because these bolts are very cheap ($2 each or so) anyway.
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  #6  
Old 07-18-2009, 08:08 PM
TheStig TheStig is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DHoang View Post
these cars are 10+ yrs old now, barely worth $5k nowadays.
So....I guess if I bought a $200,000 Ferrari and 10 years later it's only worth $50,000 that I should skimp out on parts and go to autozone?? I mean....It's a ten year old car....Why bother???


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  #7  
Old 07-19-2009, 12:04 AM
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BlackBMWs BlackBMWs is offline
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I replace all self locking nuts, Usually add a bit of blue locktite as well. Usually reuse the bolts, unless there's I think they're damaged, and in that case, I usually suspect the components they fastened too...
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  #8  
Old 07-19-2009, 05:28 AM
cn90 cn90 is offline
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Originally Posted by BlackBMWs View Post
I replace all self locking nuts, Usually add a bit of blue locktite as well. Usually reuse the bolts, unless there's I think they're damaged, and in that case, I usually suspect the components they fastened too...
Thanks!

That is what I thought, but every single repair manual, from Volvo, MB to BMW specifies that both the bolts and nuts should be replaced when working on suspension components. I guess this is because these bolts are tightened with much higher torque values than other nuts/bolts.

However, I am happy with replacing the nuts only.
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  #9  
Old 07-19-2009, 06:17 AM
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I replaced all bolt, and nuts. IF your gonna do it best to do it right I quess? Didn't add much to the total cost either.
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  #10  
Old 07-19-2009, 07:20 AM
franka franka is offline
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Replace all the fasteners. Its simply good practice. You do not know the fastener's history.

It could have been over-torqued, or over stressed from hitting a pot hole or such, it could have any number of micro fractures or other faults. Looking at the fasteners are not enough. They will never tell you their history, good or bad.

A failing fastener in the suspension could cause a crash and cost lives. Its not worth it.

Replace both the bolt and the nut. Its highly improbable that the used bolt is defective and not the nut or just the nut and not the bolt. You can not tell by looking at them.
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  #11  
Old 07-19-2009, 04:58 PM
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Wouldn't it depend on the grade of the bolt as to wether or not to replace it? Grade ten and higher probably are ok in my opinion...just replace the nuts? Then you thread a new nut onto an old bolt which may "rethread" the darn thing then your back to square one...on suspension work, I have actually pulled all the bolts off, gone to the hardware store and replaced with stainless steel hardware...a little overboard, but there is nothing like climbing under your car and seeing new stainless hardware let alone piece of mind.
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  #12  
Old 07-20-2009, 09:06 AM
cn90 cn90 is offline
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I got a call from the BMW dealer, their mechanics re-use these bolts, believe it or not. I kind of agree because as I mentioned the wheel studs on any car last a looooong time.

So for the PN 31106769441 (bolt holding control arms), the dealer said I have to buy a minimum of 10 (yes 10 $2.96 each = $29.60 for 10), b/c bmw does not sell less than 10!!!
Anyone wants to share the rest I can send the other 8 to others in this board.....
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  #13  
Old 07-20-2009, 10:06 AM
TheStig TheStig is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cn90 View Post
So for the PN 31106769441 (bolt holding control arms), the dealer said I have to buy a minimum of 10 (yes 10 $2.96 each = $29.60 for 10), b/c bmw does not sell less than 10!!!
Anyone wants to share the rest I can send the other 8 to others in this board.....


Weird, I bought some nuts and bolts for my E36, for the shocks and struts, and I only ordered two of each. They had to special order it too...


But, the total amount of nuts and bolts came to 10....hmmmm
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  #14  
Old 07-20-2009, 10:18 AM
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I buy new.
If I am replacing the lock nuts, what's a couple more dollars to replace the bolts as well?

Peace of mind.
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  #15  
Old 07-20-2009, 10:28 AM
TheStig TheStig is offline
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Originally Posted by Jason5driver View Post
I buy new.
If I am replacing the lock nuts, what's a couple more dollars to replace the bolts as well?

Peace of mind.


What are you doing on BF!!!!! Get back in the garage and finish your coil-overs!!!!!




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  #16  
Old 07-20-2009, 10:30 AM
z06bigbird z06bigbird is offline
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You have just provided the answer to the question.
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  #17  
Old 07-20-2009, 11:11 AM
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What are you doing on BF!!!!! Get back in the garage and finish your coil-overs!!!!!




+1. He should be flogged.
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  #18  
Old 07-20-2009, 12:08 PM
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What are you doing on BF!!!!! Get back in the garage and finish your coil-overs!!!!!




I have to work too...
I wish I could be at home right now!


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+1. He should be flogged.
Quiet you!
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  #19  
Old 07-21-2009, 05:56 PM
franka franka is offline
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[QUOTE=cn90;4362172]I got a call from the BMW dealer, their mechanics re-use these bolts, believe it or not. I kind of agree because as I mentioned the wheel studs on any car last a looooong time.QUOTE]


The wheel studs are way over sized because the auto company knows that owners will not replace them each time a wheel comes off. Hell, you can drive with only two studs per wheel. Can you say ... way overbuilt?

Not so for the suspension bolts and nuts. Will the old ones fail upon reuse? Not likely but not unlikely.

Spend a bit more ,just a few dollars, and be safe. Or save a few dollars and buy more/better insurance.
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Last edited by franka; 07-21-2009 at 06:00 PM.
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  #20  
Old 07-21-2009, 05:58 PM
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wow, nice share!!
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  #21  
Old 07-21-2009, 09:07 PM
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CN90, if you want to get them from BMW and have the bolt and nut P/Ns Jared can get them for you even if he dosen't list them on his website. Just email him the P/N and quanity.

Takes a few days, but way cheaper than the dealer for the same parts...
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  #22  
Old 07-21-2009, 09:16 PM
cn90 cn90 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BlackBMWs View Post
CN90, if you want to get them from BMW and have the bolt and nut P/Ns Jared can get them for you even if he dosen't list them on his website. Just email him the P/N and quanity.

Takes a few days, but way cheaper than the dealer for the same parts...
Thanks!

Actually as it turns out, I checked realoem dot com again and there are 2 PNs listed for the same bolt.
So I use the alternate PN and it is OK. I can order only 2 bolts without problem.

For small orders and inexpensive parts (nuts and bolts), somehow I trust BMW dealer.
Plus BMW dealers typically ship thousands dollars of parts from their HQ everyday to the local dealership for their repair works, so I don't pay shipping charge because my stuff come with the daily shipment.

So for small items, I simply pay the amount that the dealer charges without shipping charge. It works out OK for minor small parts. Plus I develop a nice working relationship with the BMW parts counterman, He knows me pretty well now!
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  #23  
Old 07-21-2009, 09:39 PM
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[QUOTE=cn90;4362172]I got a call from the BMW dealer, their mechanics re-use these bolts, believe it or not. QUOTE]

I hear the same around here. The Bentley does not specifically say to replace the bolts, but it would seem to be good practice. When I replaced my front wheel bearings I used new bolts, and pinch bolt/nut. When I later replaced the front shocks, I reused the pinch bolt/nut since they were only 10k miles old....just applied a dab of red loctite.
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Old 07-22-2009, 08:42 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cn90 View Post
Thanks!

Actually as it turns out, I checked realoem dot com again and there are 2 PNs listed for the same bolt.
So I use the alternate PN and it is OK. I can order only 2 bolts without problem.

For small orders and inexpensive parts (nuts and bolts), somehow I trust BMW dealer.
Plus BMW dealers typically ship thousands dollars of parts from their HQ everyday to the local dealership for their repair works, so I don't pay shipping charge because my stuff come with the daily shipment.

So for small items, I simply pay the amount that the dealer charges without shipping charge. It works out OK for minor small parts. Plus I develop a nice working relationship with the BMW parts counterman, He knows me pretty well now!
I think I know what part numbers you are talking about.
The double part numbers are listed because one number supersedes the other.
Input one the part numbers at www.GetBMWparts.com (Tischer BMW), and it will tell what part number is superseded.

I know it is like this for the (3) top strut mount nuts.

Thanks!
Jason
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Old 07-22-2009, 09:00 AM
cn90 cn90 is offline
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Let's digress a bit, philosophically for any cars out there, not just E39:

1. Wheel studs and Nuts, we keep them for life of the car even after changing the tires so many times. Once in a blue moon we change a bad nut or two. Also wheel torque is about 120Nm or so for most cars.

2. Control Arms Nuts and Bolts. When I did my 98 Volvo V70 control arms, I used all new nuts and bolts. Although the old bolts and nuts looked good, I can see why the repair manual stated to use new bolts/nuts.
The bolts are torqued to about 48 ft-lb, then tighten another 120 degrees.
Basically my arm hurts when doing this 120 degree thingy.
I can see that this high torque value can deform the nut.
So new nut is always a good idea, especially when your life rides on it.

The bolt is a different business, I think bolts can handle alot of stress, but being the only bolt holding the control arm ----> a new bolt is always better when doing suspension work. These bolts have seen 10 yrs of srevice and thousands of potholes and hard cornering....
(In contrast, the 5 studs holding the wheel: even if one stud is broken, 4 other studs hold the wheel).

My 2 cents....
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