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From digest.v7.n230 Wed Oct 1 20:02:32 1997
From: Duane Collie <>
Date: Sat, 06 Sep 1997 19:11:12 -0400
Subject: E36 Spring Install

> From: Geoffery Kao <>
> Date: Sat, 6 Sep 1997 13:25:13 -0500 (EST)
> Subject: spring installation instructions?
> Hey guys, I posted a while ago about the spring installation for e36 M3,
> no one have since replied back, I'm just wondering if anyone out there
> have previous experience on the installtion, I'm getting my new H&R
> Sports pretty soon, and would like to save some $$$ and do the install
> myself, TIA.


First off, I'd recommend you install aftermaket shocks that are valved for the H&R springs. From the performance gru's I've talked with, you may not be very happy with the ride on stock shocks and will probably require bump stop trimming on the front struts if you stay with the stock ones. Call your favorite performance shop (Turner, Korman, TC Kline, Roland _at_ H&R etc.) to learn more. I've heard rumors to the effect that the stock shocks will deteriorate with lowered springs.

If this is to be a D.Y.I. project, you MUST have 16mm and 18mm sockets in your bin. I'd very highly recommend an air impact hammer gun as your life will be MUCH, MUCH easier. If you have no air gun, then you'll need a good 1/2" breaker bar. Note that these instructions assume you DO have an air gun and access to spring compressors. There are ways to shortcut using the proper tools but I'm not real big on that personally.


Remove Front Wheels and your entire brake system, including the caliper, caliper bracket and rotor. You will have to also take the anti-lock sensor off the back side of the hub. Hang the caliper off a wire to de-stress the brake line. Remove the sway bar upper link (you may have to tap the link with a hammer to get it to release). If you have no air gun, then the stud will have to be held from spinning on the stud side with a very thinwall wrench.

Remove the lower strut bolts (3). Your strut will now swing free. Go to the top. Undo the strut mounting (3)nuts and your strut will fall free (having someone to catch this for you is a good thing).

Take the strut to your vice (yes, you do have a vice, right?) and secure it. Mount the spring compressors and gun them down to compress the spring. Remove the top strut nut with your air gun (note that you cannot get the nut off with hand tools unless you have (or make) a special tool to keep the strut rod from spinning and grabbing it with vice grips will not work). Remove all the retaining plates and bearing. Pull off the stock spring. Trim the bump stops if you are staying with the stock shocks - instructions are in your H&R spring kit. Reassemble in reverse order, noting that the rubber spring gaskets tend to shift upon reassembly. Estimated time to complete: 3 hours / 1 six pack.

(tips: Use Locktite on the Strut Mounting Bolts - change your brake pads if they are close to being shot - Realignment of your car is a must as your camber will change with lowered springs - remove and tie off your brake wear sensor if you keep an eye on your pads regularly).


Easy as pie. Jack up the car and leave the rear wheels ON. Release the Emergency Brake <<Important>>. Remove the lower shock bolt. Support the tire/wheel with a small floor jack. Release the pressure on the jack to settle down the wheel after the shcok bolt is out. Reach in and pull the stock springs out with the rubber caddies. Install the new ones. Rebolt the lower shock Estimated Time : 15 minutes / 1 beer & bag of Doritos.

ALTERNATE METHODS: If you lack spring compressors (which you can usually borrow) and an air gun, you "can" remove the struts with the car weighted on the ground. The strut nut will come off as the weight of the car will prevent it from spinning if the car is not jacked up. Then release the three nuts at the strut tower and THEN jack the car up. I've not tried this method and know its workable, but less than ideal. Be aware that compressed strut springs are VERY dangerous and treat them accordingly.

If you change shocks the fronts are easy to do in conjunction with the springs... The rear shocks are still a bitch, though due to BMW's lack of design foresight in this area.

If you have offsets greater then 38mm on your rear wheels (41 mm is stock) you may get some rubbing.

BEST TIP: Get a fellow BMWCCA car club buddy who's done it once to assist. You bring the beer!

Duane Collie
National Capital Chapter