I said you would not be snowed in this column and I’m going to try to refrain from being too technical, no matter how much it hurts. However, for those of you with sixes who have decided to change your own shocks, here are a few suggestions.
Get yourself a 1 3-mm ratchet box end wrench. You will find it greatly shortens the time needed to tighten the 3 nuts at the top of each rear strut. These are located in a very restricted
: At the step where you start to disassemble the front strut, you remove the cap covering the top of the strut and see a problem. There is a 11-mm hex located on the threaded end of the shock absorber operating rod with a 27-mm nut around it. Both of these are recessed into a cup which is part of the front suspension thrust bearing. The threaded shaft with its hex end must be held while the outer nut is loosened. The fact that they are both recessed prevents the use of normal wrenches. A solution is to buy an extra deep, 1/2 inch drive, 1-1/16 socket (close enough to metric, cheaper and easier to find). Grind off the slick external plating and grind a few flats on the outside. Then run a 3/8 inch drive extension bar through the 1/2 inch drive hole of the 1-1/16 socket and put an 11-mm 3/8 inch drive socket on the extension within the 1-1/16 socket. The hex end of the socket was held with the 11-mm socket, extension bar, and ratchet while turning the nut off with the 1-1/16 inch socket powered by a pipe wrench (remember the flats ground on the exterior). Care must be taken when selecting these tools that the 11-mm socket fits within the 1-1/16 extra deep socket and that the 3/8 inch drive extension bar does not have so large a flange so as to prevent feeding through the 1/2 inch square drive hole. Craftsman tools worked for me.
These suggestions apply both to the Bavaria and 530i models.
Note that this applies to one of the final steps in disassembling the front struts and that it is done after the spring are compressed and the struts hanging out of the car. This should not be attempted with the strut in place.
Another way of doing this is to pull at an angle on the shock bearing cup putting a side-wards force on the cartridge and hence