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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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  #26  
Old 05-11-2012, 04:17 PM
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I have Bilstein sport on one car and HD on another. No issue here. But more and more issues started to surface lately I might as well buy Monroe next time.
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  #27  
Old 05-11-2012, 06:14 PM
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I helped NeverSayNever diagnose his clunking issues with HDs. They would go away when he lubed the top nut. Why? Who knows? It would come back eventually. He then tried washers to no avail. He replaced one set of HDs only to have it come back on the second set. No physical evidence of anything wrong. Very strange. I have never heard of this occuring with Bilsteins on any other car model.
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  #28  
Old 05-11-2012, 06:35 PM
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Fudman, sometime clunk can come from thrust arm. I could of swear my thrust arms were good until I took a 3 LBS dead blow hammer to it from under the car, one side was dead silent the other side was not, the feedback I got from the dead blow was a very miniscule metalic. I then replaced both thrust arms and clunk were gone.
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  #29  
Old 05-12-2012, 05:58 PM
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In Chris' case, the clunking was definitely from the struts. When we pushed down on the strut tower, you could hear the clunking. When we added a bit of Marvel oil to the strut nut, it would stop. Very strange cause and effect
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  #30  
Old 05-12-2012, 06:42 PM
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16valex 16valex is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fudman View Post
In Chris' case, the clunking was definitely from the struts. When we pushed down on the strut tower, you could hear the clunking. When we added a bit of Marvel oil to the strut nut, it would stop. Very strange cause and effect
That is strange. Are the strut towers new and what brand?
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  #31  
Old 05-12-2012, 10:51 PM
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540 M-Sport 540 M-Sport is offline
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What size wheels you running? Anything insanely low profile?
Stock, staggered Style 66 17x8 front with 235/45/17 and 17x9 rear with 255/40/17.

Again, the car is not bottoming, the springs are very firm, and I only lowered about 1/2" lower than the oem sport height...not slammed.

The Bilstein B14 PSS is very similar to the PSS9, just with no damping adjustments. The struts have a large nut, where the adjustment knob would be, as they are "pre set", from the factory.
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  #32  
Old 05-13-2012, 03:27 AM
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Originally Posted by 16valex View Post
That is strange. Are the strut towers new and what brand?
Strut mounts were OEM. Very strange indeed.
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  #33  
Old 05-14-2012, 01:32 PM
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Bilstein customer service called me back today. They reviewed my service history and now tell me my previously returned struts were fine (which is not what they told me last go around). They now think it may simply be a issue of "re-greasing the struts". How, or what is involved with that, I have no idea. They said they have the dyno graphs of my returned struts and they are abolutely fine, according to them.

Will need to find out more on what is involved with this greasing process. Apparently it requires disassembly of the strut to perform the proceedure. Not something most shops are capable of doing, I would guess. Bilstien is more than happy to have me ship mine to them for inspection and either rebuilding or regreasing...but says they have no new PSS struts in stock...and unsure when more will be available.
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Last edited by 540 M-Sport; 05-14-2012 at 01:39 PM.
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  #34  
Old 05-14-2012, 02:33 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 540 M-Sport View Post
Bilstein customer service called me back today.
They reviewed my service history and now tell me my previously returned struts were fine (which is not what they told me last go around).
They now think it may simply be a issue of "re-greasing the struts".
How, or what is involved with that, I have no idea.
They said they have the dyno graphs of my returned struts and they are absolutely fine, according to them.

Will need to find out more on what is involved with this greasing process.
Apparently it requires disassemble of the strut to perform the procedure.
Not something most shops are capable of doing, I would guess.
Bilstien is more than happy to have me ship mine to them for inspection and either rebuilding or re-greasing...but says they have no new PSS struts in stock...and unsure when more will be available.
Sounds like a bunch of BS to me...

Is Bilstein expecting every customer to "re-grease" every shock or strut bought from them...?
LOL!
Ridiculous...!
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  #35  
Old 05-14-2012, 02:52 PM
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Regrease what? Where is there grease in anything but the strut bearing?
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  #36  
Old 05-14-2012, 03:55 PM
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Originally Posted by Topaz540i View Post
Regrease what? Where is there grease in anything but the strut bearing?
Not sure, but I assume there might be something inside the strut, such as a "wiper"or something...but why would this be required when no other manufacturer does?

I found my previous email from last year with Bilstein where the customer service rep confirms they found the struts making the noise I described. Not sure why their notes now say something different....
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  #37  
Old 05-14-2012, 04:23 PM
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Send them a copy of the email and say " wussup u thought i forgots?"
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  #38  
Old 05-14-2012, 05:30 PM
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Send them a copy of the email and say " wussup u thought i forgots?"
Already did. But I am NOT holding that against them, they are being extremely helpful and understanding. I just spoke with my installer and they have agreed to allow my car to tie up one of their lifts for a few days so we can send the struts back for inspection and repair. If I overnight them, and Bilstein does likewise, and assuming they can turn them around in 24 hours, this can be accomplished in 4 business days.
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  #39  
Old 05-14-2012, 05:45 PM
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IF Bilstein outsourced its production to China, India, or Vietnam, then that would be a reason why quality has gone down the gutter.
That does NOT appear to be the case, and I would be careful we don't start a rumor as such. I just viewed several boxes of Bilstein struts and shocks at the local shop that does my work (they must have recently received an order) and all of them were labeled "made in Germany" or "made in USA".
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  #40  
Old 05-15-2012, 09:51 PM
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We've sold a ton of these and haven't seen any problems like this. I even had them on my car for a while until I moved to our coilovers. I still have a couple buddies running the PSS kits with a lot more miles than you're getting out of them.
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  #41  
Old 05-15-2012, 09:59 PM
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Originally Posted by Jared@EACTuning View Post
We've sold a ton of these and haven't seen any problems like this. I even had them on my car for a while until I moved to our coilovers. I still have a couple buddies running the PSS kits with a lot more miles than you're getting out of them.
Thanks for the feedback Jared...Bilstein says likewise, that this is unusual. Weird that the problem came back, exactly the same after 22k miles...
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  #42  
Old 05-15-2012, 10:05 PM
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Originally Posted by 540 M-Sport View Post
Thanks for the feedback Jared...Bilstein says likewise, that this is unusual. Weird that the problem came back, exactly the same after 22k miles...
Yeah, it just doesn't make sense Dave. We have far less problems with Bilsteins than any other manufacturer. We're lucky to hear about one failure a year. Konis are about a 2-3 fold over Bilstein, and then it goes down from there. We sell more Bilsteins than any other manuf and still have tremendously fewer problems with them.

Do you know what version you installed and which ones you were sent last time? I see they're on their third. H0, H1, H2....
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  #43  
Old 05-16-2012, 01:25 PM
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Interesting Jared, as I am unfamiliar with their numbering system.
I have the invoice from Bilstein from March 2011, and the part numbers for the replacement front struts is: F4-VE3-B127-H2

The original part number on the invoice when I bought the set (front and rear) was:
F4-HE5-B126-H0 But seeing as they superceded part numbers, I have no idea what the actual part numbers that went on my car originally, as I no longer have the box, or the original struts, which were returned last year.
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  #44  
Old 06-08-2012, 07:59 PM
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540 M-Sport 540 M-Sport is offline
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Follow up and possible answer to my problem

My local shop, Group 2 Motorsports removed my PSS struts, with the plan of sending them back to Bilstein for inspection and rebuilding. During the removal, they noticed the top nuts for the upper strut mounts were not fully torqued to spec (I am speaking of the three nuts that secure the mount to the fender). They also noticed after removal, some "witness marks" inside the fender, that showed the upper strut mount (factory oem Sachs/Boge) was moving 3 or so millimeters side to side! Once removed, they went ahead and took them apart to ensure the mounts were still in good condition (they were) and there was no play or issues with the struts (there was not). They put everything together, and retorqued everything to specification, and test drove the car....no more knocking or clunking noises!
So, knowing the original install (about 50k miles ago)was performed by a very qualified technician (master factory Lambo tech) and the current replacements were installed (23k ago) by Group 2 Motorsports, the question becomes: Is it possible for both of them to have incorrectly torqued the upper strut mounts? In the first instance they started knocking around 15k miles, and I replaced at around 22k miles. Then they started knocking again 22k miles later. Have people ever had this problem before? Do I need to start checking these with a torque wrench every 10k or so? Seems a very unusual problem.

BTW, I am glad to know there is nothing apparently wrong with the struts!
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Last edited by 540 M-Sport; 06-08-2012 at 08:03 PM.
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  #45  
Old 06-09-2012, 04:40 AM
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Very interesting observation. So it sounds like the strut mount was loose against the shock tower and the cause of the noise and not the strut itself. That might explain why when we lubed the strut mount, the clunking would go away. The next question is: Is this an installation error (not likely, given their bona fides)? Or is this somehow attributed to Bilstein characteristics as it appears this issue is unique to Bilsteins ( haven't seen any Sachs or Koni owners report this problem yet)?
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  #46  
Old 06-09-2012, 07:09 AM
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540 M-Sport 540 M-Sport is offline
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That is my question as well....what is the root cause? Perhaps the stiffness of Bilstein struts/shocks is transmitting more stress/force or shock/vibration to the upper mount, causing it to come loose? All I know is I want red Loctite applied to those upper strut mount nuts to ensure nothing comes loose again. I'll probably put a torque wrench to them every 7500 miles when I perform an oil change as well.
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  #47  
Old 06-09-2012, 01:29 PM
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3mm? Some camber kits have less than that. Was there a way to tell if it thru off the aligment?
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  #48  
Old 06-09-2012, 02:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 540 M-Sport View Post
That is my question as well....what is the root cause? Perhaps the stiffness of Bilstein struts/shocks is transmitting more stress/force or shock/vibration to the upper mount, causing it to come loose? All I know is I want red Loctite applied to those upper strut mount nuts to ensure nothing comes loose again. I'll probably put a torque wrench to them every 7500 miles when I perform an oil change as well.
My cousin and I changed my car's front struts with Billys HD's about 2 months ago. I don't remember if any nut other than the top strut nut was a locking nut. Maybe the tech's reused the old nuts?
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  #49  
Old 06-09-2012, 03:03 PM
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The nuts on the mount usually have spike ridges on the bottom side that actually dig into the metal of the tower. If you remove them the paint will be missing underneath. Maybe his towers have mushroomed and they arent sitting flat anymore?
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  #50  
Old 06-09-2012, 03:47 PM
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540 M-Sport 540 M-Sport is offline
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Originally Posted by Topaz540i View Post
The nuts on the mount usually have spike ridges on the bottom side that actually dig into the metal of the tower. If you remove them the paint will be missing underneath. Maybe his towers have mushroomed and they arent sitting flat anymore?
Nope, my fenders are fine, no distortion or anything of the kind. I have heard rumors, that those three lock nuts are single use, but I am in Montreal at the F1 race, and cannot look that up in the Bentley workshop manual until my return. In the mean time, I have advised the shop to apply red Loctite to the nuts.
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Last edited by 540 M-Sport; 06-09-2012 at 04:17 PM.
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