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E36/7 Z3 (1996-2002)
E36/7 Z3 Roadster, Z3 coupe, Z3 M Roadster and Z3 M Coupe talk with our gurus here.

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  #26  
Old 01-06-2013, 01:38 PM
Dheilman Dheilman is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vintage42 View Post
I see, turn the bolt until the camber is right again, then hold it there and tighten the nut.
So it should be possible to mark the location of the bolt before removal.
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  #27  
Old 01-06-2013, 03:23 PM
nfunk nfunk is offline
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Yes, that is what I did on the Toyota Highlander without getting a front end alignment. And with 60,000 miles on the tires and even tire wear I can tell you the alignment is dead on.
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  #28  
Old 01-06-2013, 05:35 PM
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I was about to replace my struts last week. Glad I waited to learn about the camber bolt and marking its position.
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  #29  
Old 01-06-2013, 07:29 PM
Dheilman Dheilman is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vintage42 View Post
I was about to replace my struts last week. Glad I waited to learn about the camber bolt and marking its position.
Let us know how it goes.
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  #30  
Old 01-12-2013, 01:52 PM
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I started not thinking that replacing struts affected alignment. Then when I saw the "camber bolt" and the slightly oval top holes in the strut mount, it seemed the struts could affect alignment.

But now that I am into replacing my struts, and have removed them, I can see that mine at least cannot affect alignment. The oval top hole is just to allow for variations in the holes in the strut and the steering arm, otherwise it could be impossible to get the new strut on.

The strut is bolted without possibility of movement to the steering arm by 3 bolts. The bottom two bolts alone would prevent any movement between strut and steering arm. If there is a "camber kit", it would probably consist of a new steering arm with slotted holes.

To quote from the Bentley Manual on alignment:
Page 310-4:
Quote:
(After replacing struts) Have car professionally aligned when job is complete.
And what that means is explained on Page 320-5:
Quote:
The front axle is aligned in relation to the rear axle, then the front wheels are aligned in relation on another. This is known as a four-wheel or thrust-axis alignment.... Front and rear caster and camber are both fixed by the design of the car. Any deviations are usually the result of worn or damaged suspension or body parts.
The only adjustment possible explained on Page 320-6:
Quote:
Front Toe-In... is adjusted by altering the length of the outer tie rods.
So replacing struts cannot affect alignment, and the recommendation is to have the "car" aligned after strut replacement, which means a four-wheel back to front alignment. This should not be necessary unless damage is suspected. If you take your Z3 for an alignment after replacing the struts, the shop can only check and adjust toe-in, which has nothing to do with the struts. I would only do that if the tires were wearing, cupping.

Edit: It was amazing how tight the two lower strut bolts were. It took all my strength on the end of a big torque wrench to back them out, and they resisted equally their entire length until the last few threads. It felt just like cross-threading. I know what 75 f-p feels like going in, so I estimate they took over 100 f-p to remove. The threads were OK but coated with pink cement, the remains of red LockTite. Most could be wire-brushed out, but I understand why new bolts are recommended: the old bolts were probably overstressed by removal and clean threads are needed to make room for new LockTite.

Last edited by vintage42; 01-13-2013 at 08:33 AM.
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  #31  
Old 01-12-2013, 02:19 PM
nfunk nfunk is offline
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Great, that is good to know. With only 20,000 miles on my '98 Z3 2.8L hopefully I won't have to change them for a while.

Nick
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  #32  
Old 01-12-2013, 02:41 PM
smayo964 smayo964 is offline
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Vintage. I know the book states that you really don't have any adjustment except for toe, but when I got my Z I found there were shims in my right front on the (2) lower bolts for camber (3 each). When I finished installing my new struts and setting my ride height, the shims were required but only one on each bolt. I eventually slotted the top mount hole in my left front strut due to I had to much camber and had to take about 2degs out of it. Friend-of-the-working-man Randy Forbes also let me know that they make a crash bolt, which is slightly small in diameter to allow for more adjustment. I didn't have to go that far and used the stock bolt. Worked perfectly with no shims in the bottom. I know I have to replace the ball joints and bushings, but that will take place later this spring. I figure I'll be doing this all again, but until then I'm now not worrying about tire wear and the car handles great. Anyway, just my couple pennies worth.
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  #33  
Old 01-12-2013, 03:06 PM
Dheilman Dheilman is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vintage42 View Post
So replacing struts cannot affect alignment, and the recommendation is to have the "car" aligned after strut replacement, which means a four-wheel back to front alignment. This should not be necessary unless damage is suspected. If you take your Z3 for an alignment after replacing the struts, the shop can only check and adjust toe-in, which has nothing to do with the struts. I would only do that if the tires were wearing, cupping.
Which pretty much brings us full circle. I just started taking mine apart today but no sense going too far until the new struts arrive. I'm anxious to see what the upper strut mount of the Bilsteins look like compared to the photo posted by Vintage42. By the way, one of the reasons that I'm replacing my struts is because the tires are cupping...an indication of worn struts.
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  #34  
Old 01-13-2013, 06:31 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by smayo964 View Post
... when I got my Z I found there were shims in my right front on the (2) lower bolts for camber (3 each)...
Sounds like a previous owner had some structural damage to the suspension, and extra washers were used under the two lower strut mount bolts to correct the camber.
Those bolts already have a thick washer under them, and are short with not many threads, and require LockTite. Adding two more washers on each of those bolts to correct a misalignment sounds like a workaround that cantilevers the short bolts out of their holes and reduces their holding power. There must be a reason those bolts were shimmed out of the steering arm.
I doubt that it is an approved method of correcting camber misalignment in a Z3 which has no camber adjustment. If the factory camber must be modified for track use etc, kits like these are used:
http://store.uucmotorwerks.com/cambe...ment-c797.aspx
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  #35  
Old 01-13-2013, 08:42 AM
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Duplicate, deleted.

Last edited by vintage42; 01-13-2013 at 08:52 AM. Reason: Duplicate
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  #36  
Old 01-13-2013, 08:48 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dheilman View Post
... I'm anxious to see what the upper strut mount of the Bilsteins look like compared to the photo posted by Vintage42...
It will look the same. The upper hole in the strut is the same slight oval on the Sachs that I removed, and the Sensens that I am putting on... and the Bilsteins you are awaiting. It is required in the design of the Z3 struts.
http://i49.photobucket.com/albums/f2...erbolthole.jpg

The two bottom bolts go in first, then the top bolt goes through the oval hole. If the top hole were not oval, it would require perfect strut manufacturing to make all three holes line up.

As an experiment with your Bilsteins, try installing one bottom bolt and the top bolt, and see if the second bottom bolt will go in its hole. If it did, it would be a lucky position of the top bolt in the oval. The slop in the top hole provides the tolerance to allow the critical bottom bolts to go home first.

Last edited by vintage42; 01-13-2013 at 08:52 AM.
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  #37  
Old 01-13-2013, 09:30 AM
Dheilman Dheilman is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vintage42 View Post
The two bottom bolts go in first, then the top bolt goes through the oval hole. If the top hole were not oval, it would require perfect strut manufacturing to make all three holes line up.

That makes sense.
Thanks!
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  #38  
Old 01-13-2013, 05:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dheilman View Post
... I just started taking mine apart today but no sense going too far until the new struts arrive...
Considerations while awaiting new shocks:

With car on jack stands and wheels off…..
Remove spare tire for cleaning and better access to bottom of car.
Put a few inches of hot soapy water in a bucket, and scrub the bottom of the car, transferring dirt via a thick rag, from the wheel wells and suspension into the bucket. Dump black water and refill, takes several buckets.
Clean the rear axle and steering rack bellows by spraying with silicone and rubbing with a rag until the rubber is shiny black.
Clean the brake hoses with silicone until they are shiny black.
Remove transmission and differential fill plugs and verify level and condition of fluids. Consider replacing.
Check guibo coupling for cracking.
Check differential mount and rear subframe for metal tears and popped spot welds.

Rear shocks…..
Order rear shock mount reinforcement kit.
Have a boat cushion to protect seats while kneeling on them.
Have a trim tool for removing blind plugs holding carpet each side of boot.
Order two blind plugs for reattaching carpet on each side boot.
Have a torque wrench and 18mm socket for bottom shock mount bolts.

Front struts…..
Support hubs so they don't suddenly drop and hang on brake lines.
Have torque wrench, 18mm socket, and 18mm box end to remove lower strut bolts.
Have a very good spring compressor. Coils seem more compact and stiffer than most.
Grease the threads to reduce friction and binding.
Have an electric impact wrench and 22mm socket for removing top nut.
Check bearing plates, decide whether to order new or re-pack old.
Except for Bilstein, order new rubber bumpers.
Consider new upper and lower spring pads.
Order new lower shock mount bolts.
Consider using a shop to rebuild struts. I got struts apart, but my compressor was inadequate to compress enough to reassemble. The compressor is key.

Last edited by vintage42; 01-13-2013 at 05:05 PM.
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  #39  
Old 01-14-2013, 05:49 AM
Dheilman Dheilman is offline
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Thanks for the tips.
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  #40  
Old 01-14-2013, 03:16 PM
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Another tip:
When your new struts arrive, before installing springs in them, trial-fit each one onto its steering arm. In case one or both do not fit.
It is so easy to install the lower end of a springless strut to the point of seeing that all the bolts go in, and it can save a lot of trouble.
I bought new struts, had the springs transferred by a shop, and one strut did not fit. I only hope its replacement does.
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  #41  
Old 01-14-2013, 04:11 PM
Dheilman Dheilman is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vintage42 View Post
Another tip:
When your new struts arrive, before installing springs in them, trial-fit each one onto its steering arm. In case one or both do not fit.

Good idea....thanks again!
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  #42  
Old 01-15-2013, 10:59 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dheilman View Post
Let us know how it goes.
The upper bolt is not a camber bolt so no point in marking anything. The upper bolt and nut must both be held when tightening, because the nut is self-locking and will turn the bolt. The slight ovalness of the bolt holes in the upper mount ears is for easing the fit.

One of my struts would not mount to the steering arm. After the upper bolt was in, the bottom mount was not parallel to the steering arm, would not receive the prong, and the bolt holes did not line up with the holes in the steering arm.

The upper mount ears were not located precisely above the lower mount, so when the top bolt went in, the bottom mount was rotated. The strut is being replaced by the vendor, but I wish I had trial-fitted it before paying to have the spring installed.
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  #43  
Old 01-15-2013, 11:36 AM
Dheilman Dheilman is offline
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What brand of struts are these?
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  #44  
Old 01-15-2013, 01:39 PM
Dheilman Dheilman is offline
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I just took the old struts out of my car. In checking the upper mounting hole, I realized that even though it is oval (oblong), it is oblong vertically and therefore would offer no adjustment for camber. You are absolutely correct that the oval hole is simply there for ease of installation and to allow for less than perfect manufacturing...... Myth Busted.
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  #45  
Old 01-15-2013, 04:24 PM
MINI+BMWtek MINI+BMWtek is offline
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just front toe adjustments for z3 but is recommended to do alignment to double check angles and if camber change with new struts may need to readjust toe

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  #46  
Old 01-15-2013, 04:28 PM
MINI+BMWtek MINI+BMWtek is offline
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just to add, all e36 you can installed camber bolts to correct little camber but is not a bmw approved adjustment
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  #47  
Old 01-15-2013, 05:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MINI+BMWtek View Post
... all e36 you can installed camber bolts to correct little camber but is not a bmw approved adjustment...
I really don't see how a so-called camber bolt would work. The ovalness in the ears of the upper mount is in the wrong direction to allow pushing out against the steering arm. And if the upper steering arm could be pushed outward, it is fighting against the two bolts going into the lower steering arm.
Someone planning strut replacement should order a "camber bolt" and report on it use.
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  #48  
Old 01-16-2013, 09:23 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dheilman View Post
What brand of struts are these?
They are Sensen bought here as a set of four.
http://apxautoparts.com/apx/sensenr-...eces.html#desc

APX sent a replacement left strut, and I immediately looked at it on the bench and then hung it by the top mount on the steering arm without even releasing the rod. The replacement left strut had the same misfit. The upper and lower mounts on the strut are slightly rotated with respect to each other.

APX is taking back the two bad left struts plus the good right strut, so I can go about putting in two matching front struts. They issued a refund for two struts and a shipping label for three struts.

I think I will have springs put back in my original Sachs struts and mount them, because at 33,000 miles, they feel OK off the car. And they should be OK with the Sensen shocks in the rear.

Edit: Pushed and pulled an old Sachs and a new Sensen, and the Sachs is too easy in comparison. Will look for Monroe struts locally.

Edit: No Monroes locally, found KYBs at $160 each. Compare that to the $38 each I paid for the Sensens.

Last edited by vintage42; 01-17-2013 at 10:01 AM.
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  #49  
Old 02-16-2013, 08:00 PM
JackDuggan JackDuggan is offline
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I have exactly the same problem with Sensen struts that I tried to put in my 318ti today. I'm debating whether to go local for a couple of Monroe's or something else. I use the car a lot and can't take it off the road long enough to wait for replacements from APX that might have the same problem.
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  #50  
Old 02-17-2013, 04:53 AM
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I could not find Monroe struts locally. The central NAPA store here said they would have to be ordered from CT and I would pay shipping. Locally available KYBs were only a little more expensive, and I was in a hurry to get the springs off the Sensens and return them, so I bought the KYBs.
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