Jul 24, 2008 update to the BMW M3 project car

New Suspenders

Wire hanger brake assembly holder
The old unit had seen better days
Commercial spring compressor
Draining the old damper
Releasing the strut from the housing
Drilling to free the damper from its assembly
Removing the old damper
Scraping the strut hat
Draining any remaining oil.
Shiny new Konis make Rennie happy!
Dirty strut bearings
We put the entire assembly back together. Here it is, clean and ready for action.
The rear suspenders were as worn as the front units.
Old mounts
Here are our new 26mm Eibach front bar and THK Powergrid adjustable end links.
Our Powergrid link and the old stock piece.
Here's the installed link on the new bar.
Adjusting
Done.

This installation, while straightforward, was a bit more complicated than we had first anticipated. Here is the quick rundown of how we installed a damper, sway bar, and end link on our M3.

Although installing struts and shocks on a car isn’t rocket science, an experienced hand is always welcome. While we were tackling the transformation of our M3, we asked longtime friend and BMW guru Rennie Bryant to lend a helping hand.   

It was a good thing we called Rennie, because this installation, while straightforward, was a bit more complicated than we had first anticipated. Here is the quick rundown of how we installed a damper, sway bar, and end link on our M3.

First step was to unbolt and remove the strut housing. We held the brake assembly in place with a trusty wire hanger. We removed the spring using a commercial spring compressor. While holding the damper in a vice, we drilled a small hole through it to drain the oil and release pressure. Once the oil had been drained, we flipped the strut upside down and used a pipe cutter to release the strut from the housing. We drilled another hole at the bottom of the strut to free the damper from its assembly. Now the old damper could be removed.

The hat of the strut assembly was then scraped with a screwdriver to free the drainage canals. We then drained the remaining strut oil into a proper container for disposal. With the housing scraped and cleaned, the new damper was inserted.

Before installing the new damper, we needed to clean the strut top bearings. We then put the entire assembly back together.

The rear suspenders were as worn as the front units. The old shock mounts were worn out, so we installed new billet upper shock mounts, as well as a new 26mm Eibach front bar and THK Powergrid adjustable end links. The Powergrid end links have less resistance to movement than the stock pieces, aiding steering feel. These can also be adjusted, so with a driver in the car, we adjusted the end links to fine-tune the anti-roll bar.

With the new equipment installed, the M3 was a joy to drive on track at BMW’s performance center in South Carolina. Read all about it in the October 2008 GRM.

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