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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have a 2010 328xi and I need a guide to follow to install them. I have searched Youtube but could not find anything on the Xdrive where they replace the stock with stock units, its all coil-over crap. The Xdrive is a unique animal, I got them off and had a shop install the springs on the shocks. I got them out without pulling off the axles but I'm not having any luck getting them back in. Any write-ups anywhere on how to properly do this install? The Bentley manual is completely useless for the Xdrive strut R&R.

Mike
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I just ordered a 36mm 12 point socket to remove the axle nut and a pair of replacement nuts. Luckily we had the oil pan gasket replaced a few years ago so the axles should pop out without too much of a fight. I have figured out this much:
  • Yes you can remove the struts out without removing the front suspension components, but you cannot reinstall them.
  • The spring compressor for a 3 series BMW will not work on the stock Xdrive springs
  • You will have to take your struts to a shop to install the spings onto your new struts.
  • Its a lot easier to remove all the suspension arms from the hub before removing the strut.
Nothing will prepare you for the battle you will face trying to replace the ball joints on a E91 Xdrive, it is not at all like a regular 3-series.
 

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  • The spring compressor for a 3 series BMW will not work on the stock Xdrive springs
  • You will have to take your struts to a shop to install the spings onto your new struts
You need a saddle style spring compressor for the job.
I am attaching a link to a video of the Shwaben BMW coil spring service tool. I used this style spring compressor tool on my 2011 E90x. Took me a few tries to line it all up correctly. It turns out the video shows the exact location the strut set up has to be in when aligning the tool for proper compression, at least in my application.

youtu.be/NGyCE9Gqm4o
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
That's the one I tried, its like wrestling a mongoose snake, the Xdrive stock springs are really long and are not straight, kinda curved at the bottom. Once I saw on Youtube how a real shop changes strut springs I became enlightened and will never try to do it myself again. I have replaced my E46 M3 struts and those were shi#$-simple, these are completely different. I have everything removed on the driver's side except the drive axle, I need that big socket to remove the nut. I tied the whole steering knuckle up so its not hanging in the floor, the drive axle will pop out of the CV joint when it hangs too low, I managed to pop it back in once I got the rotor to sit level. One good thing, once its popped off the axle I can take the knuckle to work and use a press to remove the ball joint and install the new one I have had on the shelf for a few years.
I would completely advise anyone thinking about doing this on a Xdrive to bite the bullet and pay the man, its a real bitc#$$. Lucky for me this is a backup car so if it takes me 6 months it doesn't matter.
 

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As they say....YMMV. On my 328xi, the strut is identical to the one the instructor is servicing. Yes, it is a weird compound curve...I have no idea if that is unique to the AWD e90x, I take your word that it is! Aside from that, the 2cd strut teardown & build up took all the more of 10-15 minutes with the saddle tool. What did the shop charge you to rebuild the struts?
As far as the axle goes, it is an area of caution as you point out. Extracted to far, the shaft will slide out of the joint casing. I removed the knuckle end of the axle only. That was the hardest part of the job in my case. The axle was frozen into the hub splines. After removing the axle nut, I soaked the axle to hub area well....despite a few days of soaking, and even with a 3 leg puller, it was a bear!
speaking of pullers, the 3 leg type comes in 2 sizes, one a bit larger than the other. If I recall, the smaller one was too small, had to get the larger size. Hopefully, as you mentioned, you might get lucky and not have to deal with a seized axle to hub if the axles were removed once before already. I Never-Seized the axle to hub splines upon re-assembly.
Keep us posted on your progress!
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I have an air hammer to knock the axle loose, hopefully that works but I'll soak it tonight. I don't see why BMW didn't add anti-sieze to the splines from the factory, added cost and time I guess.
Nice wall-mounted spring compressor:
Me with the schwaben tool was like a monkey F-ing a football, that curl at the end of the spring would not allow me to slide the strut in straight.

Mike
 

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I used a regular old spring compressor on mine without issue. My chassis is E83 so there are some slight differences in the details, but the general process is the same considering mine is also X drive. Neither difficult nor time consuming if you don’t waste time watching paint dry like I did:



Via the interwebs
 

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Awesome looking tool. Might be worth it as I have two cars to do......
I’m sure it works great, though I’ve never had a problem with an air chisel.


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As was pointed out in the FCP video, sure an air hammer can work, assuming that you have one plus the correct attachment to beat on the ball joint in the awkward location on an x-drive.
 

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As was pointed out in the FCP video, sure an air hammer can work, assuming that you have one plus the correct attachment to beat on the ball joint in the awkward location on an x-drive.
Yes, the position of the axle directly above the ball joint does make it annoying, but sometimes ya gotta use what ya got. The hot wrench definitely helps too.


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