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E36General discussion and technical help for (E36) 1992-1999 3 series cars. 318, 323, 325, 328.
What a waste of a day. The build date of my 325i was May 17, 1992. Which means it has the old style struts (until 6/92), and that's what I ordered from BavAuto. They were on sale too, what a hoot, I thought. Everything was going well until I tried to reinstall the hardware onto the new Bilsteins . . the damn piston shaft was a bigger diameter than the old Boge's- GAAAH!!!
Called BavAuto, they even ran my VIN, and confirmed that what I ordered was correct. Turns out the previous owner must have converted the setup to a '92-'95 system! Bastard! No way I could tell until the struts came out of the car, and now they won't go back in because they won't extend to accept the coils again. So the car is sitting on jackstands till next week 'coz I ain't paying for overnite shipping, plus the correct struts are costing me 50 more bucks already. Now I'm stuck through the long 4th of July weekend with a Honda Insight
Okay, it's now the next morning, and I'm over it. It's just that every repair job lately has had a hitch for me. When it rains it pours I guess. I'll get this whip back into shape just yet, and maybe salvage a DIY writeup out of it. Meanwhile for the next few days, it's Honda hybrid power
Actually there is a really easy way to tell what setup is in your car.. Just by looking under the hood. The 1/92-6/92 setup has a huge plastic piece that covers the entire strut on top. It looks like a big dust shield. The 6/92+ has a very small hard plastic circle that sits on top of the strut. I wish I had pics to show..
Thanks for the clarification, zeit . . please stick around UB, we definitely need your excellent input & expertise here!! One question . . since I didn't remove the tie rods and ball joints, do I still need an alignment after the strut install? It seems to be tracking normal, no pulling to either side.
Anyhow, I sucked it up and decided to go for overnite shipping on the correct struts. Received and installed them Saturday morning. Man, what a difference . . now I'm looking for potholes instead of avoiding them Only problem is that the new struts raised the front end by about 1-1/2", that tells you how badly shot the old ones were! Looks weird to me, makes my wheels look so small, but it's too late for lowering springs now
I'll try and get a writeup going in the next couple of days . .