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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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  #51  
Old 06-09-2012, 09:58 PM
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Originally Posted by 540 M-Sport View Post
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.
Or, just buy some new locking nuts, and some lock washers.
Blue locktite should be plenty IMO.
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  #52  
Old 06-10-2012, 05:52 AM
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i mean they dig in on purpose to keep them locked in position but lock tite is a good idea too.
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  #53  
Old 06-13-2012, 06:41 PM
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Originally Posted by Jason5driver View Post
Or, just buy some new locking nuts, and some lock washers.
Blue locktite should be plenty IMO.
Back from the Montreal F1 race...Ferrari sucked!

While I was gone the shop went ahead and replaced the 3 nuts on top of each strut tower, and also applied some medium strength thread locker....I forget the brand and type, but they said it is slightly stronger than the typical Loctite 242 blue stuff. Been driving around for the past couple days, and no knocking or issues so far....I'm a little annoyed the solution was so simple...I am thinking this may have been the problem the first go around too.

I am wondering if this rather stiff suspension transmits more shock to those 3 upper nuts and causes them to work loose? The Bentley says the torque is only 22 NM or 18lb/ft. The shop says their book says the spec is 30 NM, which is what they torqued them to. I will be checking these with one of my certified and calibrated torque wrenches every time I perform an oil change from now on (7500 miles or about every 5 months. I'll probably stick with the 30 NM torque setting.
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  #54  
Old 06-13-2012, 09:30 PM
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When recheck them you might break the thread locker loose after it dries.
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  #55  
Old 06-14-2012, 09:37 AM
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Originally Posted by Topaz540i View Post
When recheck them you might break the thread locker loose after it dries.
I don't think that is a huge issue. Remember many parts come with thread locker already applied to the threads from the factory, dry, and you thread the nut down and over it. So the bonding is 'dry' rather than wet initially. But I do NOT claim to be an expert on fasteners or Loctite...
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  #56  
Old 06-14-2012, 11:47 AM
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Originally Posted by 540 M-Sport View Post
I don't think that is a huge issue. Remember many parts come with thread locker already applied to the threads from the factory, dry, and you thread the nut down and over it. So the bonding is 'dry' rather than wet initially. But I do NOT claim to be an expert on fasteners or Loctite...
So, do you think the original struts were fine as well?
And it was the loose strut mount nuts that caused the whole problem...?

How do you like the ride of the Bilstein Pss coil-overs?
Still pretty stiff?
Do the tires lose contact when going through heavy turns over a series of bumps?
Or, when braking hard over a series of bumps...?

Thanks!
Jason
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  #57  
Old 06-14-2012, 11:25 PM
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The original PSS struts I returned, may very well have been fine. The mount nuts may have simply been working loose...but why?
Knock came back today, very light and intermittent, nowhere near as bad as before, but just starting to appear, much like it did a few months ago (it would get progressively worse). I put a torque wrench to the nuts, and I could get a almost a full turn or to acheive 30 NM(what the shop said they set the torque to). Something is not right. I took the nuts off and there was no Loctite that I could see. The nuts are oem, but do not have any sort of teeth on them, or mating marks on the strut towers to "grab" them. I ended up removing the nuts, cleaning the threads on each part with electrical contact cleaner, dried with canned air and applied blue Loctite 242 (medium strength) to each and torqued to 30 NM (Bentley says to torque them to 22 NM...dry, no Loctite or lock washers). Short test drive found no more noise. I have about a 130 mile loop to do tomorrow, that will be a better test.

I still like the PSS kit, it rides very firmly. Have not noticed much in the way of ABS or traction control taking over (lights flashing) in bumpy turns or under hard braking. Like any stiffer, lower car, there is some loss in compliance.

I had new Cooper Zeon RS3A's installed today, these are UHP all seasons. Nice ride with fresh tires.
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Last edited by 540 M-Sport; 06-14-2012 at 11:33 PM.
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  #58  
Old 06-15-2012, 08:21 AM
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My next rear tires are going to be all seasons too. With this much torque and hp im really disappointed with how hard it is to break my v12's loose
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  #59  
Old 06-15-2012, 09:18 PM
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More info/details on problem

So the knock is STILL there. I went back to the shop this evening, and they checked the torque on the nuts, and they were fine (from my tightening and Loctite) from the night before. Shop is still confident the struts are fine, and there is something going on with the strut mount or how it is attached to the car.

So, they removed the nuts on the drivers side, where the noise seems to be coming from. When he examined the holes the strut mount bolts come through...a couple look a bit elongated...by 1mm perhaps 1.5mm or so. He noticed this previously, but was not sure this was the issue or not. The holes should be exactly the size of the bolts. Even when properly torqued, he believes there could be enough stress to cause that upper mount to move laterally, and that is causing the knocking noise. Note that the struts are not perfectly straight up and down, but at a slight angle....so this makes sense. That also sort of explains how the noise goes away right after retorquing, but then returns as things "settle" or perhaps loosen. So, the solution is to figure out a way to keep the upper strut mount from moving laterally. So to test this hypothesis, he got some thick, flat fender washers, then ground and trimmed them to fit over each of the three bolts, but also fit tightly against the central cutout in the strut mount in the fender. When tightened down, the washers are pressed up against the lip of the center of the fender/mount and the bolts...thus preventing lateral movement. It certainly looked plausible. So he reapplied loctite and torqued to spec and I went for a drive...no noise. I will need to drive this for a while to ensure this is fixed. He would like to make up something that looks prettier, and preferably one single peice of metal, as he believes that would further restrict movement better, than using three seperate washers.

Sorry to bore you guys with this long thread on my troubles, but hoping it helps someone else that experiences a similar problem
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Last edited by 540 M-Sport; 06-15-2012 at 09:29 PM.
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  #60  
Old 06-16-2012, 04:12 AM
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Very intrigued situation you have. As an E39 enthusiast I will be routing for you but for some reason I just don't think a little lateral movement in the strut mount would cause a knock in your front end system. I can see this happens only if the lateral movement is constant, but if it's nice and tight then it should not be.

I have re-read your original post, you didn't say any thing about the lower control arms. Secondly your thrust arms, you said you replaced them with Meyle HD, this could be your culprit also.

I'm almost certain that the knock will be back.
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  #61  
Old 06-16-2012, 06:28 AM
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The strut towers or bearings usually use pressed in studs to mount them to the inner fender well. Could the studs not be pressed completely into the mounting plate? This might cause them loosening up over time as the tension put on them by the nuts pulls them tighter into the plate.

When I was younger slinging tires and mufflers we used to make our own strut mounting plates out of 12 or 14 gauge steel to repair caster/camber issues in cars with no caster/camber adjustments. We would drill out the strut mounting holes in the fender to 1/2". The plate would bolt on top of the strut over the fender. We would get the car aligned correctly then permanently weld in the plate. I can see this can also solve an issue where the original bolt holes in the fender have elongated.

A note about torque specifications for bolts. There's such a thing as operational torque values and maximum torque values. Most factory service manuals specify operational torque. This is the correct spec for most fasteners as it holds the fastener tight enough to do the job while not being so tight as damaging components. Maximum torque is determined by the grade of the fastener (ie, grade 8, grade 5, metric 10.8, etc). This is always higher than the operational torque and is the maximum "safe" torque for a particular type of bolt. I have had aftermarket manuals specify a torque spec only to find out after the fastener broke that the torque value was the maximum torque for that bolt. Also keep in mind that a bolt can only be torqued so many times before it stretches to the point of breakage.
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  #62  
Old 06-16-2012, 01:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 16valex View Post
Very intrigued situation you have. As an E39 enthusiast I will be routing for you but for some reason I just don't think a little lateral movement in the strut mount would cause a knock in your front end system. I can see this happens only if the lateral movement is constant, but if it's nice and tight then it should not be.

I have re-read your original post, you didn't say any thing about the lower control arms. Secondly your thrust arms, you said you replaced them with Meyle HD, this could be your culprit also.

I'm almost certain that the knock will be back.
All front suspension parts were replaced about 25k ago (control arms, thrust arms, end links, center, left and right tie rods, anti roll bar bushings, etc). All with oem TRW or Lemforder parts. The only exception, was the Lembforder thrust arms had Meyle HD thrust arm bushings installed by EAC Europarts prior to shipment. Knock was previously present before and after front suspension rebuild.

The shop working on my car specializes in suspension and brake work, and does race car prep and builds.
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Last edited by 540 M-Sport; 06-16-2012 at 01:08 PM.
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  #63  
Old 06-16-2012, 01:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Deathdeelr View Post
The strut towers or bearings usually use pressed in studs to mount them to the inner fender well. Could the studs not be pressed completely into the mounting plate? This might cause them loosening up over time as the tension put on them by the nuts pulls them tighter into the plate.

When I was younger slinging tires and mufflers we used to make our own strut mounting plates out of 12 or 14 gauge steel to repair caster/camber issues in cars with no caster/camber adjustments. We would drill out the strut mounting holes in the fender to 1/2". The plate would bolt on top of the strut over the fender. We would get the car aligned correctly then permanently weld in the plate. I can see this can also solve an issue where the original bolt holes in the fender have elongated.

A note about torque specifications for bolts. There's such a thing as operational torque values and maximum torque values. Most factory service manuals specify operational torque. This is the correct spec for most fasteners as it holds the fastener tight enough to do the job while not being so tight as damaging components. Maximum torque is determined by the grade of the fastener (ie, grade 8, grade 5, metric 10.8, etc). This is always higher than the operational torque and is the maximum "safe" torque for a particular type of bolt. I have had aftermarket manuals specify a torque spec only to find out after the fastener broke that the torque value was the maximum torque for that bolt. Also keep in mind that a bolt can only be torqued so many times before it stretches to the point of breakage.
I appreciate the info. The shop already commented that if we mess with these upper strut mounts much more, they are going to want to replace them with fresh. They too were concered with bolt stretch and wear. One side has about 25k of use, the other closer to 50k, they are oem Sachs/Boge. They were inspected last week when everything was taken out.
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Last edited by 540 M-Sport; 06-16-2012 at 01:13 PM.
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  #64  
Old 06-16-2012, 06:11 PM
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would a strut brace bar do anything for ya?
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  #65  
Old 06-17-2012, 04:21 PM
4dreuropean540i 4dreuropean540i is offline
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I have to subscribe because i also have the pss kit in my 99 540 and i have slowly started to notice a knock noise. My kit has about 1.5 years on it. The ride is so rigid I figured my thrust arm bushings might be the culprit but this thread has made me think twice.
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  #66  
Old 06-17-2012, 07:28 PM
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Thanks for the diligent updating, OP. I've had the PSS kit for close to a year and have been trying to figure out the same issue. Your symptoms are exactly like mine.
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Old 06-17-2012, 10:37 PM
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Well, I am heartened to hear I am not the only one with the problem, but also sorry you guys are in the same boat. Standby, as I am not certain this is the solution or not. Time will tell. I am still suspicious if the struts are ultimately the problem, after all, replacement of them with two new ones solved it last time, and lasted for about 22k miles. Bilstein in more than willing to test and rebuild them if required.
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  #68  
Old 06-18-2012, 07:20 AM
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Thanks for the diligent updating, OP. I've had the PSS kit for close to a year and have been trying to figure out the same issue. Your symptoms are exactly like mine.
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Old 06-18-2012, 07:26 AM
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inorite?
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Old 06-19-2012, 08:00 AM
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I read a blurb here and there that says elongated bolt holes is indicative of your strut tower being mushroomed out of shape.

http://www.bmpdesign.com/technical/e...wer_damage.php

Mushroomed strut towers is from excessive pounding on the bump stopper....that last line of defense before bottoming out.
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  #71  
Old 06-19-2012, 08:32 AM
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I read a blurb here and there that says elongated bolt holes is indicative of your strut tower being mushroomed out of shape.

http://www.bmpdesign.com/technical/e...wer_damage.php

Mushroomed strut towers is from excessive pounding on the bump stopper....that last line of defense before bottoming out.
Not to add fuel to a debate on the merits or uselessness of strut tower braces but given the BMP design plate, one could just buy a strut tower brace that connects both shock towers and serve two purposes: 1) Help with handling (for those who believe it does) 2) Keeps the tower from mushrooming. Clearly strut tower braces are thicker than the BMP plates for just a few bucks more.

My 2 cents.
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Old 06-19-2012, 08:38 AM
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Not to add fuel to a debate on the merits or uselessness of strut tower braces but given the BMP design plate, one could just buy a strut tower brace that connects both shock towers and serve two purposes: 1) Help with handling (for those who believe it does) 2) Keeps the tower from mushrooming. Clearly strut tower braces are thicker than the BMP plates for just a few bucks more.

My 2 cents.

I believe the benefit of those plates is derived from their "sandwiching" in between the strut mounts and the shock towers and that would do the job well but I've mentioned before that using the plates as well as a well designed STB would be the ultimate setup.
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Old 06-19-2012, 12:00 PM
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Originally Posted by DHoang View Post
I read a blurb here and there that says elongated bolt holes is indicative of your strut tower being mushroomed out of shape.

http://www.bmpdesign.com/technical/e...wer_damage.php

Mushroomed strut towers is from excessive pounding on the bump stopper....that last line of defense before bottoming out.
Thanks for the post! I noticed their design includes not only a reinforcing plate from below, but also the washers on top will also prevent lateral movement...just as my tech was suspecting could be my problem. Hmmm. I discussed with my tech and am going to order the kit (and new Sachs upper strut mounts) and get it installed in the next couple weeks.

BTW, I have not noticed any more knocking since he installed the fitted flat washers that restrict lateral movement.
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Last edited by 540 M-Sport; 06-19-2012 at 08:05 PM.
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  #74  
Old 06-19-2012, 08:41 PM
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Originally Posted by dvsgene View Post
Not to add fuel to a debate on the merits or uselessness of strut tower braces but given the BMP design plate, one could just buy a strut tower brace that connects both shock towers and serve two purposes: 1) Help with handling (for those who believe it does) 2) Keeps the tower from mushrooming. Clearly strut tower braces are thicker than the BMP plates for just a few bucks more.

My 2 cents.
I spoke with my tech about this, and he disagrees. The support needs to be from below, as well as from above, to provide the proper reinforcement. Typical strut braces will definitely help, but the BMP plate should provide better support, even if only using 3/8" thick plate from below and above. He feels the upper reinforcement should be a single piece of steel, like it is from below. Perhaps the ideal set up would be the lower reinforcement ring, AND an upper strut brace that encircles the top of the strut tower as well?
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Old 06-21-2012, 01:37 PM
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We have ordered the BMP strut tower reinforcement kit, as well as two new Sachs/Boge upper strut mounts. Will report back in a couple weeks, after everything gets in, and installed. So far, still no noticeable knocking noises since the last change with the washers.
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