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X3 E83 (2004 - 2010)
Talk about the E83 BMW X3 in this forum!

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  #51  
Old 03-21-2012, 07:58 PM
EricS4 EricS4 is offline
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Pictures please. I'd like to see the drop/new stance.
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  #52  
Old 03-22-2012, 11:04 AM
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mlukas161 mlukas161 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by x3brian View Post
Ops...we all will need to replace our shocks and struts eventually and this is an awesome write up can we make this a sticky??

Also can these bilstien shocks be used with stock springs? I don't care about ride height and am happy with the ride I have now but like the longer service life and warranty of the bilstien's.
I second making this a Sticky.

Also, yes you can use the stock springs with Bilstein shocks. Most ( including myself) use Eibach or H&R aftermarket springs because of the lower cost.
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  #53  
Old 03-22-2012, 01:21 PM
x3brian x3brian is online now
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Mlukas that is what I thought. I put so many miles on my cars I usually reuse my springs (unless they break). I have a strut spring compressor for this.
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  #54  
Old 03-22-2012, 08:51 PM
X3mech X3mech is offline
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I have upgraded both the front and rear sway bar links. The existing ones were pretty loose.
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  #55  
Old 03-26-2012, 04:01 PM
Pooch528i Pooch528i is offline
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Did you need to compress the new front springs when installing them on the shock? Thanks for the write up, my wifes front shock exploded last night.
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  #56  
Old 03-26-2012, 04:19 PM
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mlukas161 mlukas161 is offline
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Yes, the front springs need to be compressed to take off the old ones and also to put on the new ones. An impact wrench is usually a must have. It's somewhat dangerous so some choose to take the front assembly to a shop to swap out the springs.
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  #57  
Old 03-26-2012, 07:49 PM
X3mech X3mech is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pooch528i View Post
Did you need to compress the new front springs when installing them on the shock? Thanks for the write up, my wifes front shock exploded last night.
I did not have to compress the new eibach springs whe installing on the bilsteins. I just tossed the old strut and spring away. I consider the orignal strut/spring as low quality if it cant even last 50k miles.

Last edited by X3mech; 03-26-2012 at 07:50 PM.
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  #58  
Old 03-26-2012, 07:53 PM
X3mech X3mech is offline
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Smile

So i got my wheel alignment done. It cost me $59.99 with 6 months warranty. I got it done at http://www.networkautomotive.com/. They did a splendid job. The sepcs used were 2004-2010 BMW X3. The toe needed to be adjusted on rear and front. The camber/caster was within spec.
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  #59  
Old 03-27-2012, 07:34 PM
1stbmwx3 1stbmwx3 is offline
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Awesome topic. I have been thinking about doing this exact thing to my '07. Thanks.
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  #60  
Old 04-07-2012, 06:14 PM
Pooch528i Pooch528i is offline
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x3mech,

where did you purchase the open socket so you could tighten the nut on the bilstein? I have an oxygen sensor socket but it's to wide to fit down the opening.
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  #61  
Old 04-13-2012, 06:50 AM
Pooch528i Pooch528i is offline
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Here is my before and after photos of the Eibach Pro-Kit and Bilstein shocks. Dropped the suspension 1".
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  #62  
Old 04-23-2012, 04:47 PM
X3mech X3mech is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pooch528i View Post
x3mech,

where did you purchase the open socket so you could tighten the nut on the bilstein? I have an oxygen sensor socket but it's to wide to fit down the opening.
Please reference the grinder pics. I just ground the oxygen sensor. If you still face issues let me know.
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  #63  
Old 06-01-2012, 09:30 AM
1stbmwx3 1stbmwx3 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pooch528i View Post
Here is my before and after photos of the Eibach Pro-Kit and Bilstein shocks. Dropped the suspension 1".
Looks nice! It is good to see the actually finished look, especially because my X3 is the same color.

X3mech. thanks for the in-depth thread.

Last edited by 1stbmwx3; 06-01-2012 at 09:32 AM.
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  #64  
Old 06-01-2012, 10:04 AM
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gzep23 gzep23 is offline
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Is the ride smoother? Harder? In the middle?
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  #65  
Old 06-12-2012, 11:04 AM
derSpeed derSpeed is offline
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Thanks X3Mech and Mlukas161. Both of your threads were helpful. I had two busted rear springs. I just installed 4 Eibach springs on Sunday. I am swapping the struts and shocks at a later date. My ride height is at 17" from fender lip to wheel center at all four corners. Totally level. gzep23, the ride is more controlled than with the OEM springs. It takes way less effort to toss the car through sweepers and twists. The ride is less jarring. The car also seems to be more planted through whoops. I also installed cryo rotors and cermaic pads at all four corners. My style 192 wheels are on the way. I can't wait to feel the difference with the entire setup installed.
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  #66  
Old 11-19-2012, 08:17 PM
poweredbybmw poweredbybmw is offline
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My friend and I completed the spring and shock swap on my wife's '06 X3 with 70K miles. We used the details of this thread to start. Some changes for us:

Not all parts are still available from the same vendors. I had to mix and match a little and have ended up with some duplicates on the small parts.

Used a GearWrench passthrough socket set instead of the ground down oxogen sensor to tighten the shock nut. The extension for the GearWrench set is long - requires a long allen wrench. Got a long allen set attached to sockets from Sears last minute to hold the shock shaft in place. My Bilsteins were 7mm not 8mm for the recessed allen bolt in the shock shaft. I could not verify 55 in-lb on the nut this way. Even with a torque wrench on the allen socket, the socket would begin to strip before the torque wrench clicked out.

Front axels would not pop out. Needed an extra inch to get the fronts out. Had to use a spring compressor to give us the additional inch installing and removing the shocks. The compressors on the new shocks only fit in one way in the cavity - one with three spring turns and another at two. The spring compressor shafts touched the baseplate for the springs preventing fancy GearWrench set from being used We used a wedge to help pry apart the shock cup for removal and reinstallation.

The shock caps did not fit my new bearing plates. I ended up using teflon pipe tape to make the caps bigger to fit the slightly larger holes of the new bearing plates. Using OEM bearing plates my have eliminated this.

We tried grinding down an adjustable wrench for the sway bar end removal but it didn't work so well. We found a flat tool in the shop that worked. My buddy forgot to set the air gun to "not break" and tore the end of one link off when he accidentally tightened the nut that was already tight and sheared the bolt. For reinstallation of the new part, I ordered the Park Tools Cone Wrench Set - flat and in the correct size. There are thin wrench sets out there but I could not get them in time to be convenient for me.

Both rear springs were broken and were the reason for the swap. We were prepared for the PITA spring removal. We found that by moving the jack out of the way from the suspension we were able to extend the suspension enough to work out the spring by hand and install the new one in the same way. One person on the spring the other pressing on the brake disk with your foot. We used a lubricant safe for rubber on the bottom plate to assist reinstallation.

The X3 sits lower and is scheduled for an alignment. Major improvement felt so far. Thought the job was not easy but not impossible. Saving $1k and new tools was worth the time for me.
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  #67  
Old 11-25-2012, 05:14 PM
JP-X3 JP-X3 is offline
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X3Mech, Thanks for the great post!
I need to replace all the struts and shocks on my wife's 2004 X3 and I only have max 3 hours per Saturday to work on the car so the more I prepare in advance the better. I noticed that on 3/26 you mentioned not having to compress the new eibach springs when installing on the bilsteins: did you ever had to use a spring compressor at all? like when installing the whole strut + spring assembly? What size is the oxygen sensor socket you used ?
Thanks!
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  #68  
Old 11-25-2012, 05:38 PM
x3brian x3brian is online now
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If you buy new springs and all new strut hardware no spring compressor is required. You can assemble on your workbench and remove the entire old assembly as one piece and install new...
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  #69  
Old 11-28-2012, 02:18 PM
Paul@LP Paul@LP is offline
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2007 BMW X3 Suspension Upgrade: I was going to use this great post to fix my '06 x3 but at got a price adjustment from the local dealer to do the front pair. Seems this was a good call, though I love to get dirty, the Tech has spend 6 hours getting the old struts OFF ! Having spent many cold nights under my old Chevy bang'in and cussing I'm glad I passed.
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  #70  
Old 12-16-2012, 07:30 AM
JP-X3 JP-X3 is offline
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I just finished this upgrade over the last two weekends (Bilsteins & Eibachs) here are my observations:
Rear suspension: took me 4 hours total. Removing the rear interior panels is a tedious task which requires lots of patience. To remove the coils I used the OEM jack located at the exterior side of the upper arm pushing down. Some times the jack slipped so I used the spring rubber pad to provide a better anchoring surface. Gloves is a must. Need to be cautions not to hit the jack once springs are being pulled. Good time to check the RTAB's. The lowered suspension created more negative camber but I did not want to mess with the eccentric bolts, I rather pay for this and get it done good for once.

Front suspension: took me 6 hours total (1.5 hours setting up and cleaning work area, 3 hours first strut, 1.5 hours second strut). PB Blaster and the 4 lb orange dead blow hammer from HF Tools are your best friends. I found that removing the calipers makes inserting the struts easier since you don't have to worry about putting too much tension on the brakes flexible lines. Inserting the strut into the bearing carrier takes time, the key is to make sure the tripod on the axle gets pushed into the tulip housing. Lifting the bearing carrier with the jack and hitting it with the orange hammer where the bolt goes made the insertion faster.

Special tools: you need to get a 7/8" oxygen sensor and grind it so it can fit the ID of the strut bearing plate. 7 MM hex wrench is an odd size, once again HF Tools has a complete set for $4.99 can't beat that!

Coincidentally it was time to replace the turanza EL42's so I switched to Michelin Defenders. The car drives superb now! total Freude am Fahren!. This is my wife's daily driver and she is very please with the new set up.
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  #71  
Old 05-27-2013, 11:08 AM
derSpeed derSpeed is offline
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I installed my Bilstein struts and shocks yesterday. I previously installed the Eibach springs. It was just like doing any other shock and strut install. You don't even need to remove the rear wheels to swap the shocks. I the did the job at my step-father's shop and it took the two of us just under two hours to complete on a lift. We spent another 30 minutes on the alignment. I referred to this thread when removing the interior panels the night before. Many thanks for posting this. You are correct. That is about the most difficult part of this job. Have a long t20 torx bit, a set of phillips screwdrivers (you'll need a large and small), a long 10mm socket, and plenty of patience handy. Keep an inspection mirror and extending magnet near as well. Replacing everything wasn't as difficult as removing everything. Luckily, the interior panels and plastics are very flexible. I considered cutting access panels in the cargo area for next time, but I shouldn't need to do this job again before I sell the car.

Just an FYI: My X3 has 85,000 miles on it. The right strut was completely shot. The left still had some service life. the rear shocks were still good. My upper strut bearings were in surprisingly good shape. Very minimal amount of bearing drag and no play at all. I replaced them anyway. The rear shock mounts were like new with a small amount of surface rust. I replaced them too. I bought front upper spring pads, but the originals were like new, so I left them in place. I did replace the lower front spring pads because the right strut leaked all over its pad and it stretched out of shape a bit.

By the way, I bought my Bils and all of the pads and bearings from bvauto.com. They are having a sale on Bils. About $100.00 less than everywhere else for the set. No tax or shipping charges either. It was nice to deal with people who know what they are doing. Eric is awesome and my parts arrived in two days.

You can see my ride height in post #23 in this thread... http://www.bimmerfest.com/forums/sho...d.php?t=681194
This was with OEM shocks and struts and Eibach springs. Adding the Bilsteins did not change the height.

Last edited by derSpeed; 05-28-2013 at 10:57 AM. Reason: Added more info.
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