Replacing the struts in your E36 3-Series BMW is a handy procedure to know if your suspension components are worn and you want to save some money. Performing the replacement yourself can be more economical than bringing it to a mechanic's shop. The replacement procedure itself will require a couple hours. The struts serve as the front "shocks" of your BMW, helping to reduce the impact of potholes and bumps in the road. Over time, they can lose their efficiency and requirement replacement.
- Skill level:
- Moderately Easy
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Things you need
- 4 Jack stands
- 18mm open wrench
- 16mm open wrench
- Socket wrench
- 13mm deep socket
- 16mm socket
- 18mm socket
- Floor jack
Loosen the lug nuts on the front wheels of your E36, but do not remove them.
Raise the front of your E36 by positioning the floor jack underneath the jack points directly behind the front tires, and raising each front corner. Insert a jack stand underneath the jack point as the car is raised and lower the corner of the car so that it is supported on the jack stand.
Remove the lug nuts on the front wheels and then remove the front wheels.
Remove the strut assembly from the lower sway bar links by using your 16mm open wrench and 16mm open socket.
Unplug the brake pad wear sensor that is plugged directly into the inside edge of the brake caliper.
Remove the nut from the upper bolt which secures the strut to the wheel hub, leaving the bolt in place.
Remove the two lower bolts that connect the strut to the wheel hub using your 18mm socket wrench and open wrench.
Position a jack stand underneath the strut you are removing and then remove the upper bolt whose nut you removed in Step 6. The wheel hub will drop down from the strut and remain supported by the jack stand.
Open your car's bonnet to reveal the strut towers on both sides of the engine bay.
Hold the strut with your hand while you loosen and remove the nuts that sit on top of the strut tower using your 13mm socket wrench.
Pull the strut directly down to remove it from the strut tower.
Insert the new strut into the tower and secure it at the top using your 13mm socket wrench.
Align the wheel hub with the strut's bottom and insert the three 18mm bolts that secure it to the hub assembly.
Tighten the nuts on the three 18mm bolts to secure the new strut to the wheel hub.
Plug the brake pad wear sensor into the brake caliper, and then secure the strut assembly to the sway bar links using your 16mm socket wrench and open wrench.
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