Replacing Your BMW Rear Shocks

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    Project Time: 3 hours Tab: $300 TalentTools:Flathead & Phillips screwdrivers, 16mm, 17mm, 8mm sockets. 16mm, 17mm wrenches.

When replacing your rear shocks, always replace them in a pair.

I suggest replacing the lower shock mounts also. The shock mounts tend to wear and fall apart over time. It’s better to replace them while you are servicing the shocks than to have to go back to them later. Always replace your shocks in pairs and any associated parts that look worn. You’ll want to raise your vehicle high enough to fit a jack under the rear swing arm. This helps when installing new shock into trunk shock tower.

In this tech article, I will go over how to replace the rear shocks on BMW E90 vehicles.

Raise rear of vehicle and support safely on jack stands. See our tech article on jacking up your vehicle. When jacking, get vehicle as high as possible. You will have to be able to fit a hydraulic jack under the rear trailing arm.

Check out our complete Technical Article Directory for guides to many other procedures.

Check out our Basic Maintenance section, which has all the parts you’ll need to get your vehicle running its best, including filters, fluids, brakes, spark plugs, lighting, and more for your E90!

Replace one side at a time

Wayne R. Dempsey, Co-Founder & DIY Expert

Nick Czerula, DIY Expert

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Parts for this project

Parts for this project

Comments and Suggestions

September 17, 2021

Thanks for confirming the torque of the bolts and nut on the bottom.

You mention that the top has a different torque value, is it 20 ft-lbs?

Followup from the Pelican Staff:

Shock absorber to thrust bearing E81 / E82 / E84 / E87 / E88 / E90 / E91 / E92 / E93 M10 Replace support bearing upper part. 27 Nm — Nick at Pelican Parts

September 11, 2021

For figure 15’s bolts, the Haynes manual says the m12 bolts yellow are 74 ft lbs. and the lower mounting nut green are 27 ft lbs.

Comment to dsc on November 29, 2013 said 44 and 28 ft lbs.

27 vs 28 is immaterial, but 74 vs 44 is significant.

I tried to torque it to 74, but stripped the bolt I thought the mount came with new bolts so I had to reuse the old ones did the bolt strip because it was used? Or did it strip because 74 ft lbs is way too much?

Where did your recommendation of 44 ft lbs come from?

Followup from the Pelican Staff:

They came from the repair manual. The top and bottom bolts have different torque values. — Nick at Pelican Parts

Follow up on my last post. The trim piece for the tie downs also need to be removed in order to pull the liner aside. Will require a Torx bit.

Followup from the Pelican Staff:

Thanks again, for the Info. We appreciate it. — Nick at Pelican Parts

There is no need to remove the plastic trim piece. After removing the plastic rivets that hold the liners. Lower the seat backs and pull the liners off to one side gives lot of access to the upper mount. Definitely recommend replacing the lower shock mount at the same time. A 16mm wrench isn’t exactly common, a 5/8″ wrench work just as well.

Followup from the Pelican Staff:

Thanks for the Info. We appreciate it. — Nick at Pelican Parts

Just completed this job on a 2006 E90, using Bilstein shocks and Lemforder lower mount. I found it wasn’t necessary to remove the trunk floor liner — see Ricks comments — the top mounts were reasonably accessible from inside the rear passenger doors by pulling the sides away slightly. Its a bit fiddly to work in the small exposed area but much easier than taking all the liner out, IMO.

Unlike Thaniel’s suggestion, I found I could neither remove nor install the shock with the lower mount attached. The lower shock mount needs to be tilted quite a bit to get it in and out of its cradle. With the shock installed there was not enough room to tilt. It may be possible but I gave up after banging my knuckles a few times.

After inserting the lower shock mount I inserted the lower pin of the shock — I had to compress it slightly to get it under the wheel well — and loosely bolted the mount and shock.

I also found no need to use a jack on the lower control arm. Perhaps the Bilstein is different? Taller? Once the lower half is installed, I needed to compress the shock and then quickly point it to the top mount and let it rise into it. Took me a 2-3 times to get it seated right. Happy I’ve been doing those lat pulldowns at the gym.

Also found that no problem in achieving the required 28 lb-ft torque on the shock end bolts simply by holding onto the shock body with a grippy glove.

All in all not particularly difficult job. Thanks to Pelican for hosting such a great site.

Followup from the Pelican Staff:

Thanks for sharing your repair process and experience. These types of comments add so much to the Pelican tech community. — Nick at Pelican Parts

Hi, ln13, what is torque value for torx screws?

Followup from the Pelican Staff:

Here’s what I found: Rear Axle Suspension AZD-AZD-AZDMUC3333-E87_E9X 33 33 Rear Axle Suspension Type Thread Tightening specifications Dimension 1AZ Rear axle support with rubber mounts to body E81 / E82 / E84 / E87 / E88 / E90 / E91 / E92 / E93 M12 Follow repair instruction. 108 Nm 2AZ Compression strut on body E81 / E82 / E84 / E87 / E88 / E90 / E91 / E92 / E93 M10 Replace screws. Jointing torque 47 Nm Angle of rotation 90В° 3AZ Vibration absorber to rear axle support E93 M10 56 Nm E93 M8 27 Nm — Nick at Pelican Parts

Found them : Lower shock mount Torx screw with Collar — 33526764406

Followup from the Pelican Staff:

Thanks for the follow up. We appreciate it. — Nick at Pelican Parts

Both Bentley and BMW Shop manual say to replace the rubber shock mount bolts under torque specifications, but I can not find the part number for the bolts anywhere. Anybody have a part number for them?

Followup from the Pelican Staff:

33-52-6-764-406 — Nick at Pelican Parts

January 27, 2020

Hi,
Do you also have instructions and pictures how to remove the trim at the E91 Touring to reach the top of the shock mountings ?

Followup from the Pelican Staff:

We don’t currently have that tech article. If we get a chance to perform the procedure, we will be sure to document it. Give our parts specialists a call at 1-888-280-7799. — Nick at Pelican Parts

September 4, 2019

Bought Lower Rear Shock Absorber Bush Figure 18
and i’m going to replace it soon ,Can i use old 2 mounting screws?

Followup from the Pelican Staff:

I believe so. To be sure, Give our parts specialists a call at 1-888-280-7799 — Nick at Pelican Parts

Figure 1 shows the jack stand supporting the control arm. But in this location it appears it would prevent access of the 17mm wrench to the lower nut in figure 16. Is there another location on control arm for the jack?

Followup from the Pelican Staff:

You can move it inward for access. Closer to the coil spring. — Nick at Pelican Parts

When removing the bottom shock nut green arrow, figure 15, I found it easier to hold the shock with an open end wrench on the body of the shock instead of an 8mm socket, and remove the bottom nut with the 17mm socket.
Thanks for all of these tutorials they’re great.

Followup from the Pelican Staff:

Thanks for the additional info. We appreciate it. — Nick at Pelican Parts

Can the E12 bolts lower shock mount in figure 15 be reused? They are aluminum

Followup from the Pelican Staff:

Yes, BMW does not mention replacing them. — Nick at Pelican Parts

I broke the 6mm piece on top of strut before I could take it out do you have any suggestions to take it out

Followup from the Pelican Staff:

Can you share a photo of the broken piece? — Nick at Pelican Parts

I followed all the procedure but after installing everything I hear the top mount squeaking after going to a bump on both sides. everything brand new and lower shock mount. everything torqued to specs. I was thinking to put a lube in between the top strut mount and the rubber insulatorchassis part would that help?

Followup from the Pelican Staff:

I have not had one squeak after install. Should not need a lubricant. If something is squeaking, it is either moving too much or not installed correctly. Push up and down on rear suspension to pinpoint area of squeak. — Nick at Pelican Parts

February 21, 2018

Nick at Pelican Parts — Please stop saying to grab a repair manual for instructions on removal of trim, repair and replacement of needed parts. We have an E91, there are no pictures, no description only specs for basics. I understand that some repair manual, such as my VW one have pictures etc. but the Bentley BMW 3Series Service Manual is pretty useless for this procedure.

Followup from the Pelican Staff:

I have no info to share with you as we don;t have that article, so I have no other advice. The repair manual does exist. You can get it from BMW online. — Nick at Pelican Parts

I have a 2011 335is convertible.
I’m looking for information regarding the top rear shock mounts as they are different than the non convertible.
It appears that I have to remove at least some of the convertible trunk components.

Followup from the Pelican Staff:

We don’t currently have that tech article. If we get a chance to perform the procedure, we will be sure to document it. I would suggest you grab a repair manual, you should own one. It will have the procedure, special tools and torque specs. Give our parts specialists a call at 1-888-280-7799. — Nick at Pelican Parts

December 10, 2017

I replaced my upper and lower shock mount using your tutorial and it seeming worked well. That is until 3 months later when I heard a clunking from the drivers side rear. It’s seems that the lower shock nut has come loose and fallen off. Not sure if on the flat sided flange nut you have to use a centre punch and notch the thread to keep it from backing off. Just a comment that might be useful. My question is do you know the thread size and pitch for the lower rear shock bolt? The 17mm one from the write up My shock is actually a Bilstein B6 # BE5-C039-HO. Going to have to buy a new nut at the parts store tomorrow. Thanks, Matt.

Followup from the Pelican Staff:

I don’t have fastener info. Give The Pelican Parts parts specialists a call at 1-888-280-7799. They can figure out what part or repair kit you need, or the bolt size from the parts diagram. — Nick at Pelican Parts

Hi pictures as promised.

Followup from the Pelican Staff:

Thanks for sharing this info. Appreciate it. — Nick at Pelican Parts

E93 2007 — small cut out in carpet does not give access to top mount. You have to remove the carrier bolted over the top 2x13mm nuts with captive washers of the carpet to be able to remove carpet and gain access to top mounts. It’s much easier with the roof half down and the boot lid vertical. Will post pictures.

Followup from the Pelican Staff:

Thanks for sharing your repair process and experience. These type of comments add so much to the Pelican tech community. — Nick at Pelican Parts

September 25, 2017

I have a 2009 335i convertible that needs rear struts replacement. I see two cut-outs in the trunk carpet, just above the top of each strut, and I wonder if I can get access to the top nuts through there, without removing all the trunk trim like in your example ? Mike.

Followup from the Pelican Staff:

Your vehicle is different than our example. The cutouts should be your access point. Let us know how it goes. — Nick at Pelican Parts

Have a major squeak.08 e92 w /245k. Right rear shock area.I usually disasemble only.after reading this tutorial feel confidence to tackle shock replacement w/ mounts.seems pretty straightforward.what’s the best strut in the$75 each range since I have to buy the mounts as well?

Followup from the Pelican Staff:

I’d get Bilstein. Give The Pelican Parts parts specialists a call at 1-888-280-7799. They can figure out what part or repair kit you need. — Nick at Pelican Parts

Just did this on my 2006 E90. Thanks for the DIY. I replaced the lower shock mounts as well. My additional tips would be.

When installing:
-Mount the shock to the shock mount outside the car easier.
-Bolt the shock mount to the lower control arm BEFORE trying to put the top into the hole. The mount must flex to get the shock to a vertical position and it will skew the lower shock mount bolts making it difficult to impossible to install them.
-Getting new shock mount bolts is a good idea. On one side mine were pretty rusted and I had to clean the threads.
-After the lower shock mount with shock is installed then compress the shock and push the shock inboard and let it expand into the hole. I then refitted the tire and lowered it to the ground. This improves the angle of the shock to the hole and it aligns more easily.
-make sure the top of the shock is centered in the hole properly and pushed up snug.
-Installed the top nut.

What I found made it easier to get the shock out was: -Loosen or remove the lower shock mount bolts while weight is on the wheel keeps the shock most vertical so the bolts aren’t being pulled over. I also undid the top shock mount bolt before raising the car.
-Lift the wheel off the ground and remove the tire. Yah the tire has to come off. Unlike in the E46. I found I didn’t need to support the control arm. It didn’t droop much and no worries of it «popping» as it slowly expands as the car is lifted.

Followup from the Pelican Staff:

Thanks for sharing your installation process and experience. These type of comments add so much to the Pelican tech community. — Nick at Pelican Parts

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