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Thread: 1981 320i. Confused! on front strut install. I need patient Help!

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2021
    Location
    Skagit county
    Posts
    29
    My Cars
    1981 bmw 320i,1974 2002

    Lightbulb 1981 320i. Confused! on front strut install. I need patient Help!

    Simply put, I have a garage for short time. I have new b6 struts for front. The posts have me all stressed. My deal. But I have car jacked up,calipers removed, I'm going to go get the compressor clamps. What is the simplest way to do this without removing more than necessary. I have new top hats as well. Guys I'm trying not to freak but I can't replace all bushings and etc at control arms. It's just myself and I was hoping to get some clear precise steps, even if I have to text back and forth. I have to do this. Thanks. I think it's the weather and that it's not my garage etc. Was hoping not to remove sway bar and drop the unit out no prob.? Can it happen.never done this

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2019
    Location
    Pasadena
    Posts
    55
    My Cars
    1981 BMW 320I
    Hi Letmein,
    You can probably remove the strut assembly without removing the sway bar but you will need to remove the control arm and the tie rod from the strut to do so. I'm not sure you can do this without damaging the ball joints especially if they have been attached for a significant period of time. I would replace the control arms, tie rod ends, steering rack bushings, and the say bar bushings all at the same time. It can be done by one person and is not too difficult. I'm not sure you will be very happy with the results if you are just replacing struts. If you damage the ball joints or their covers in the process without having replacement parts you may end up stuck in the garage waiting on replacement parts.
    Best of luck
    Bruce

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2021
    Location
    Seattle, WA
    Posts
    12
    My Cars
    1980 BMW 320i
    I'm doing a suspension overhaul right now as well, I'm doing new KYB shocks all around and got H&R sport springs, also replacing tie rods. I am going to be replacing the dust boots on the control arms and putting new grease on the ball joints but otherwise I think my control arms will still be functional enough to give a good ride quality. I can see any way around removing the tie rods and control arms from the steering knuckle, the control arms will also have to be removed from the subframe. disassembling the struts are not terrible, but it is hard to get the strut mount bolt off on the front shocks, it look me an hour of fussing with it with the torque gun to break it loose since the strut piston was spinning, the other hard thing with the front shocks is removing the strut collar, its torqued to 87~101 ft lbs and took me and my friend some sweat to break loose. If your unprepared like me and not know what little parts your going to need going into it then your going to be waiting for parts with the car on jacks. removing the sway bar is not hard, its 4 bolts in the extreme front that where not hard to break loose from there it just drops down when you remove control arms. hopefully this was useful!
    Cole

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Sacramento, California
    Posts
    4,262
    My Cars
    1980 BMW 320i E21 M10B18

    Cool

    When removing the nut on the front shock or dampener, you hold the shaft and then remove the nut. I use vice grips with cloth on the shaft, this stops the spinning and off it comes. The Strut collar is easy to remove and screw back in--use a pipe wrench that opens wide enough. Fill the tube with 30 ml of motor oil when installing the new strut.

    Randy

    Quotable Quotes: As Easy says if its not easy its not me. Yes Easy is a Person its his 1st name met him in Pool Hustling some time ago, other names of persons, Tall Paul, The Professor, Billy the Kid, Frank the Barber and so on.
    Last edited by 320iAman; 12-02-2021 at 07:06 PM.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    San Jose, California
    Posts
    1,586
    My Cars
    E21 320i, E30 325i
    I found it easiest to just remove both struts and sway bar as 1 assembly. Easier to not mess with the control arm ball joint and sway bar mount. Just disconnect the tie rod ends (use a ball joint removal tool to help you break loose the tie rods for the steering rack so you don't damage them), control arm from the subframe, the front sway bar mounts and lastly the 3 nuts at the top of each strut tower then everything drops down. But it is more of a awkward size to move around. For re-assembly you just gotta muscle it in or get some help and a ratchet strap to pull the sway bar in.

    PXL_20201002_024141641.jpg

    To get the strut top mount off its easier to use a pass through socket set like this. 19mm for the nut and then the appropriate sized hex/allen key to keep the strut from spinning:
    https://www.harborfreight.com/sae-me...-pc-62305.html
    '81 E21 320i / '90 E30 325i / '̶9̶2̶ ̶E̶3̶4̶ ̶5̶2̶5̶i̶t (sold) / '15 Toyota XW30 / '̶̶8̶0̶ ̶E̶2̶1̶ ̶3̶2̶0̶i̶A̶ (sold)

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2021
    Location
    Skagit county
    Posts
    29
    My Cars
    1981 bmw 320i,1974 2002
    hi bruce , i have so many questions. first i have the b6 bilstein 34-001219 2 fronts. my boge strut housing has a different gland nut. i have not removed boot on my new bilsteins but can see female gland nut while my boge has a male. do the bilsteins come with 2 diff ones behind the boot??(im away from the strut inserts). I also ordered 2 full control arms and 2 tie rods both complete. I have play ( i think on inner tie rods, so i thought i should just replace it all) but now youre mentioning sway bar bushings?? and steering rack bushings. ?? man, im not getting this job even started cuz i dont know what to order. i hear different things from evryone. Id appreciate a clear precise answer with steps as im a bit frustrated. getting cold out this way. thanks fro the response

    also i dont need oil for the bilsteins,,,right??? and these are gonna fit,,, right?

    the boot was gonna rip if i pryed any more to see the gland nut on bilstein ,it was so cold.

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