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Old 03-29-2019, 08:33 AM
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2005 X5 E53 4.4i suspension life

Hi all, my 2005 X5 4.4i sport is starting to bounce around a bit. It seems to react to every bump in the road. I am thinking the self leveling struts and or shocks might need replacing. There are no air leaks but I suspect this will occur not far in the future (sports suspension).

Just wondering if anyone has any idea on the life of the shocks. The car is up to about 133K miles (215km).
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Old 03-29-2019, 08:40 AM
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Bouncing is usually shocks. Im starting to feel mine let go at 105k. Rears are original. Fronts are arnot replacements, so front feels correct.
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Old 03-29-2019, 09:07 AM
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Alignment as big a part of back end being loose as shocks. Often when a ball joint on back wears out, or will change the geometry and throw off the alignment and make the back end all squirrely. (Worse if the joint actually twists during turns).

Since you have air suspension it's easy to test for loose parts: put on jackstands, release the air pressure then use a floor jack to lift the weight of the unsprung parts so you can tug on the parts and look for loose joints.

For the shocks: remove the bottom bolt and push and pull the shock.

First, it should instantly try to expand when the bottom is removed and then it should take significant force to push as well as pull the shock. If the shock moves quickly even if you push forcibly, or if it doesn't expand on its own it's shot.
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Old 03-29-2019, 09:28 AM
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A quick test of alignment: wrap a string tight around all four wheels at the same height. On the front wheels, put a 1/16" (1.6mm) shim on the widest part of the front sidewall (where the string is tight coming around from the front).

Proper alignment is with the front of the tire (at about the middle of the sidewall) 1/16" closer to the center of the car.

If you have a staggered wheel setup depending on the offsets, you might have to add spacers to the string.

If the back alignment gets to toe out it will be horrible loose feeling. It wants to be about 0.15 toe in. (1/16" over 24"). the bulge of the sidewall should be about 12" from center. You can use some shims (like dowels or drill bits) to use as spacers and add a bump at exactly 12" from center of the tire.

(Eg: tape a 1/16" drill bit vertically at 12" behind the center and 1/8" at 12" forward of center to get a precise 1/16" offset )

I want to make a kit from steel cable and springs with some spacers on the cable of different diameter to use for quick alignment checks.
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Old 03-29-2019, 09:43 AM
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Great bunch of instructions Andrew. Unfortunately, Im not in a position to undertake that at the moment. Just wanted to get a feel out there of what others have experienced regarding bouncing, etc with shocks and how many ks before they had to change. Especially with the 4.4/4.8 versions. How many ks before you changed yours? Were they front or rear?
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Old 03-29-2019, 10:37 AM
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I completely replaced all of my suspension components at 115k. ALL OF IT. Springs where shot back then. On my wife's X3 we change all of it at 201k. Also the shocks where shot.
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Old 03-29-2019, 12:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by andrewwynn View Post
A quick test of alignment: wrap a string tight around all four wheels at the same height. On the front wheels, put a 1/16" (1.6mm) shim on the widest part of the front sidewall (where the string is tight coming around from the front).

Proper alignment is with the front of the tire (at about the middle of the sidewall) 1/16" closer to the center of the car.

If you have a staggered wheel setup depending on the offsets, you might have to add spacers to the string.

If the back alignment gets to toe out it will be horrible loose feeling. It wants to be about 0.15 toe in. (1/16" over 24"). the bulge of the sidewall should be about 12" from center. You can use some shims (like dowels or drill bits) to use as spacers and add a bump at exactly 12" from center of the tire.

(Eg: tape a 1/16" drill bit vertically at 12" behind the center and 1/8" at 12" forward of center to get a precise 1/16" offset )

I want to make a kit from steel cable and springs with some spacers on the cable of different diameter to use for quick alignment checks.
Great info, thanks. I've always used a laser pointer to do this sort of thing, but I can see that the string + shims is at least different, and maybe better. I'll give it a try next time.
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Old 03-29-2019, 06:08 PM
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The beauty is in the simplicity. Let requires more complicated set up and reading.
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Old 03-30-2019, 08:51 AM
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Thanks Emory. Looks like I have a weekend job. Now to choose which shocks. I will start with the rear. Bilstein B6 perhaps. BMW genuine seem a bit expensive.
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Old 11-25-2021, 07:26 AM
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Question shocks

Heh all out there, I am up to 231Km and have not changed the shocks. Is there anyone out there up to this amount and still using original?

Also, does anyone know when the rear air suspension starts to fail for sport suspension on a 2006 4.4i X5 E53?

thanks
James
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