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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi Again Folks,

So, what can you do to a 1995 540i E34 Touring within 14 hours of hard, knuckle busting labour... WELL QUITE A LOT !!!!

Over the weekend, I was finally able to do some more major work to my 540 Touring fondly known by many as "Heidi". She was in dire need of front end work like control arms, stabilizers, steering idle arm, etc. She could also use new struts / shocks and the like.

"Heidi" has been volunteered as a candidate for the FCP Rudimentary test we are doing on front end kits. I installed a number of components on the car yesterday, many of which were FCP parts - I shop where I work. As I have also said before, it gives me a consumer side experience of what we do as a company.

The job was not only on the front end. The car has an SLS rear end and I had chosen to keep it, which meant it needed to be fixed as it was pretty much a dead system and rigid as steel in the rear. The rear literally bounced around on the springs all day long.

So, I received a bunch of boxes from the team in Saybrook, CT... thanks to Mike Rivera and Max Rossi for their patience and help with this project and to the whole team in CT helping with this.

The list of things to do included:

Front Wheel Bearings
Front Springs
Control Arms - Upper and Lower
Steering Idle arm
Stabilizers
Steering Box (It was looser than....)
Strut Mounts - Front and Rear
Spring Pads - M5 Pads all four corners.
Rear SLS Accumulators
New Hydraulic hoses for SLS rear.

This covers just about everything that had to be done. I was very fortunate to have a good friend - Kento - as the lead on this project. Much credit is due him. He is a BMW expert, and I mean expert.

So, off we went with tools in hand and optimism in our hearts and forgetting to eat enough. We thought it was just going to be a few hours - there is nothing like starving and realizing you still have two rear SLS struts to install. It is like a mirage in the desert, you start smelling pizza from no where.:dunno:

Most of the parts that had to be installed



Bombs Ahoy!







Meyle Strut Mounts











New Front Wheel Bearings



Old parts we had to deal with... there was a lot of pain and suffering involved in this and words used that children's ears cannot hear.













Here is the car before all this work was done.



 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Some of the old parts were so badly rusted that their bolts had to be torched to get them out. We actually took a break when removing the Upper Control arms, we had to go have a "Sailor Language" conversation about this and bust out the torch on the bolts. Rust is a killer! We noticed that some of the parts had been on the car since new - good heavens!

Much, much kudos to all the DIY'ers on the East Coast who have to deal with the weather and the rust issue. Also, kudos to anyone who has ever done this to their car - Cory, you get a major high five!

More Old Parts on the car... notice the rust and condition.










We eventually got around to getting some of the old parts off and started the process of replacing them. We got the front struts out and went on to replace the Springs, Pads, protectors, hubs and struts itself. Kento and I were a bit shocked to find Monroe struts in there - one was so badly blown it had emptied its oil into the strut mounting tube.... not pleasant!

Here is one complete strut removed from the car
(New Bearing Installed Already)



What does a dead Monroe strut look like ?!?!



We had already replaced the wheel hub above.

Another dead Monroe Strut Below, plus dead spring and strut mount!



Old Bearing / Hub and New Unit - Shiny and New is nice!





Here is the old Strut Mount



Old Strut Mount vs. New Strut Mount (Meyle)



We dismantled each Strut Assembly and replaced items like:
Upper and Lower Pads, Dust cover, and Strut









Old Strut vs. New Strut





Old Dead Springs vs. New Used Dinan Spring. See a difference? :eeps:



Here is one Completed Strut Assembly. The Proud Human holding it up is Mikey - another friend who helped.

New Pads, Dust Cover, Strut Mount (Meyle from FCP), Strut (Biltstein from FCP), Springs (Used Dinan)



Here are some side by side pictures of Old vs. New Parts





Notice how loose and messed up the bushing is here...



I am amazed the car did not rattle itself apart!

Out with the old below



 

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Lucky to drive a BMW
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Nice selection of parts.Great pics too. looks like a full day of labor or more for two guys. did you have to use tie rod forks on the upper thrust arms?. Suspension overhaul is always challenging.:)
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
We were about 8 hours into the project by the time we got to the front suspension completed. Remember, this included doing the bearings, rebuilding the struts and getting dire rusted bolts off the car.

Here are some of the new parts installed












We eventually moved on to the rear to do similar work, including rebuilding the SLS replacement shocks, and a bunch of new replacements parts here too.

Of course first thing that has to be done on the touring is you need to disassemble your rear cargo area which sadly had a lot of brittle plastic stuff and can be a royal pain to do.


Here is the rear cargo area. Look ma, I did this!






Old Rusty Rear SLS Strut Assembly removed from the car



Replacement strut getting cleaned and the rebuilt





Getting the new parts on



Completed Assembly before installation



New SLS Accumulator (Bomb)



The next day, the car went to get Aligned. I was able to capture some more pics of new parts.

http://i717.photobucket.com/albums/ww171/ElaineBeemer
/IMG_6105.jpg

New Hydraulic Hose and SLS Bomb (Left Side)



Same for Right Side



Looks like I need new Rear Rotors and Calipers

This drove by..... I almost slobbered on it


AND FINALLY !!!!

Here is the car with all the part installed







Part of what gives the car that wicked racked look is the fact that the SLS is actually now working properly with the right amount of hydraulic pressure. It has lifted the rear a little bit from before.

As of the time of completing this installation, the car had 119,240 miles on the odometer, so the odometer is now ticking and I will update regularly to track the miles and performance of the parts.

I do have to say thank you to ALL the forums' members that have helped in educating me and helping to build my confidence to become a more competent DIY'er and be able to work on my cars. Also, big thanks to the team at FCP - Scott D for reaching out, Max R for his support, Mike Rivera for not only his support and expertise but also how he has helped a bunch of customers, and to the entire team at FCP.


THANK YOU ALL !!!
 

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Nice write-up, excellent photos! :thumbup:

Quite a bent tie-rod you guys had there... And who puts Monroe's on a Bimmer, honestly??:confused:
 

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I hate to say this but the front strut mounting tubes are supposed to be filled oil. It act as a heat transfer and inhibits rust. I have a cousin who is a certified BMW mechanic. I had him put my struts on and asked him about that oil when I saw it. He said any cheap oil will work.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Hello Folks,

Thanks for the comments and feedback

Nice selection of parts.Great pics too. looks like a full day of labor or more for two guys. did you have to use tie rod forks on the upper thrust arms?. Suspension overhaul is always challenging.:)
It was a full day and a half! We were finally done at 2 AM. To say we were exhausted would be an understatement, but seeing the car sitting better and driving 100% better made it worth the effort.

Nice write-up, excellent photos! :thumbup:

Quite a bent tie-rod you guys had there... And who puts Monroe's on a Bimmer, honestly??:confused:
Thanks! Like I said, I am amazed the car did not shake itself apart completely from all the old parts. As for the Monroes :dunno:

I hate to say this but the front strut mounting tubes are supposed to be filled oil. It act as a heat transfer and inhibits rust. I have a cousin who is a certified BMW mechanic. I had him put my struts on and asked him about that oil when I saw it. He said any cheap oil will work.
You are absolutely right about that. We did put oil in the strut mounts for this reason. However, the oil you see on the Monroe struts is from the struts themselves, they were completely blown! They died a premature and horrible death is all I can say.

Cheers,

Michael
 

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I'm replacing my tie rods as I speak. You just finished. So riddle me this...

How did you accomplish fully tightening the nuts onto thier respective ball pins? There's no shoulder to grab onto with a wrench to prevent the pin from spinning (like the sway bar links so kindly have). Mine are spinning under the running torque of the self-locking nuts.

Don't tell me air tools. I'll know you're full of crap. :confused: 'Cuz there's no way any power tools (which I don't have anyways) can fit in between the center link ends and idler arm pivots.

I can't wait to hear this...:yummy:
 

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Figured it out. That's what I get for posting too soon. :rolleyes:

Two ways to spin down the self-locking nuts on the tie rods without spinning the ball pin.

*Power tools won't work because there's not enough space around the inner ball joints, and there's no flats cut out of the ball pin to use another wrench to apply counter force.

1. Take a sizable lever (18" breaker bar in my case), wedge it between the thrust arm ball joint and the top of the tie rod outer ball joint. Pull down firmly while tightening that nut. For the inner tie rod ball joints, using a small square of plywood I levered between the frame cross-member and the top of the ball joint while tightening the nut.

2. I also read you can place an open end wrench over the stud and tighten the nut against that in order to get the ball pin to wedge before the locking portion of the nut threads start to grip. Once the pin is wedged, remove the open end wrench and continue threading down the nut.

I opted for method #1. Worked out pretty slick. If you can't tell..this is my first time doing tie rods. I've also made a new acquaintance. When it comes to ball joints, move over biotch! Spent more time firguring out how to install the tie rods than removing them because of this 8lb gem.
 

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The idler, pitman and center-link remained installed and are all in good condition having only 20,000 miles on them, according to the service records. Tie rods (threads and boot shot), Sway bar bushings (rubber elongating), and sway bar links (one is starting to knock around) got replaced this time around. I'll be tackling the rear sway bar links tomorrow as the rubber on them also looks badly worn. :D
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Hello -

Wow, nice work - your car looks great and no doubt drives like a new Bimmer. Wish mine had that raked look!
Thanks very much. The car rides a tad bit stiffer than brand new, but I expect it to settle in a bit more. I might end up lowering that rear a little as the rake seems a bit extreme and will increase as the front end settles in. Other than that, it is a great car to drive now. :thumbup:

The idler, pitman and center-link remained installed and are all in good condition having only 20,000 miles on them, according to the service records. Tie rods (threads and boot shot), Sway bar bushings (rubber elongating), and sway bar links (one is starting to knock around) got replaced this time around. I'll be tackling the rear sway bar links tomorrow as the rubber on them also looks badly worn. :D
Okay, it was easier to work on with them removed, but I can see why you left them in. The sway bars are something I will tackle in the future - I have other priorities for now. I am thinking of finding RD or DINAN sways if possible, or use M5 sways if I can find them to tighten the car up even more - which is funny in a way since it is a Touring.

Keep us posted on the sway bar links when you do them, hopefully you can offer some tips and pictures as well.

Cheers,

Michael
 

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First off- very nice install documentation. I like the new slightly lowered look of the front of your car. There's nothing more pleasing than putting shiny new parts on your car :thumbup:

Secondly, a question for all you guys that replaced your steering idle arm and middle tie rod... how do you go about getting that out of there? I bought the full suspension kit from FCP (sway bar links, CAs, thrust arms, steering idle arm, complete tie rods), and that was the only part I didn't install because I couldn't figure out how to do it!! Any tips or pictures to help out?
 

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Very nice and very nice looking :) Absolutely love rejuvenating the suspension :)
 
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