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Old 09-07-2019, 10:47 PM
Join Date: Sep 2016
Location: TX
Posts: 32
mihai is on a distinguished road
Rear Ball Joint Trouble - E53 - spring set-up

I wanted to replace my rear ball joints over the weekend and I am running in to BIG trouble trying to put everything back together. My 2006 X5 has the regular spring set-up. I am unable to put the bolt going through the ball joint and integral link due to the pressure of the spring on the lower arm. I cannot fit a spring compressor on the spring due to limited space. What are my options?

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Old 09-07-2019, 10:50 PM
andrewwynn's Avatar
Join Date: Jun 2015
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I would pre-compress the spring with the tool then hold It compressed with a bunch of winding of steel wire. Once you have the bolts in place you can cut the wire with a diagonal cutters.

Else: if you can get one side in and just need to swing the bottom up you use a floor jack to gently lift the bottom of the arm until you can get the bolt in.

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E53 / M54 2001 3.0i gas LHD (pair of them: his & her)
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Old 09-07-2019, 11:07 PM
Join Date: Sep 2016
Location: TX
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The tool doesn't fit due to limited space around the spring...so that option will not work

I already tried lifting the bottom with a floor jack...the problem however is that i can only get one side in IF the integral link is not installed; As soon as i install it, i can't get the ball joint to match with the arm.

Any ideas how can i remove that spring? I was thinking maybe i can put a scissor-jack between the arm and the frame and somehow push it down. Can this work? should I disconnect the shock absorber?
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Old 09-07-2019, 11:24 PM
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: Ohio
Posts: 1,043
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I am not recommending this and I am sure it is not safe. But to what AW said, I had a buddy of mine... who would use the spring compressor to compress the spring, then avoiding the top and bottom most coils of course, so as not to get shit stuck under the spring, he would wrap the spring with metal zip ties, take off the compression tool, set the spring in place, jack up the control arm to put pressure on the spring and cut the zip ties - worked every time - NOT something I would do...

But food for thought.
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Old 09-08-2019, 08:16 AM
Join Date: Apr 2019
Location: Boston, MA
Posts: 385
Effduration is on a distinguished road
Battling a rear coil spring on my X5 at the moment. I have a bad upper control arm and discovered that either the spring is installed wrong or I have a bad lower spring perch.

I have not yet removed spring, but here is what i have read re: Removal

1, You can use a scissors jack to push down on carrier to give some wiggle room
2. Some old, smaller spring compressors do fit - but people use a lift to compress spring and then fit compressors to hold it.
3. Look into loosening subframe (don't remove) to give a little extra room
4. One fellow compressed spring with jack and weight of car then fitted two chains with shackles to hold spring in compressed state for removal (scary)

I was able to get enough room to remove bottom rubber spring perch using methods 1&2 above...I have ordered a replacement and will try early next week. I may not have to remove spring.
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Old 09-08-2019, 11:08 AM
Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: PA
Posts: 492
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The trick is to compress the spring perch from the bottom. It's nearly impossible to align the bolts without doing so. I welded a steel "finger" to a bottle jack and it fits between the half-shaft and the perch. Theres a picture here somewhere.


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Last edited by Scott ZHP; 09-08-2019 at 11:13 AM.
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Old 09-08-2019, 01:53 PM
Join Date: Nov 2014
Location: SF Bay Area
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When I did the job on my 2001 3.0i with springs, I used some old strut compressors I had.

Yes old, from back when cars weighed less than 3,000 pounds, and the strut compressors were smaller. Even with that it was a tight fit, but they fit. Since that, I've paid attention to strut compressors and their size, hoping to pick up a new set that is similarly thin. No luck so far, but I have not been searching much, not having an immediate need.

So anyway, the message is that it is possible for some strut compressors to fit in there. You might get lucky and find one, or maybe you can modify an existing one to thin it down enough to fit.

And ^^^ no effin way would I do that zip tie thing. Chain maybe? There's a big difference between compressing the spring vs. more simply holding it in a compressed state after using a jack to compress it - in case that helps you MacGuyver something that works.

Also, for me when I did that job, spring removal was about one of the first things I did, and then of course replacement was one of the last.
2001 X5 3.0i, 190k miles, AT, owned since 2014
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Old 09-09-2019, 06:04 PM
Join Date: Jun 2017
Location: New zealand
Posts: 90
Ohsoslow is on a distinguished road
Yeah, I got some cheap spring compressors, and cut them down to size, and was able to get them in and compress spring. Was slow and tedious, but doable.
2004 X5 3.0d
2010 X5 40d

New Zealand
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Old 09-10-2019, 08:45 AM
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The spring doesn't need to be all that compressed it will be at maximum so maybe 500-800# of force. That amount can easily be held by a dozen wraps of steel wire.

Of course safety being paramount you must be a step ahead of danger. Safety squints and maybe some ear plugs in case something gives way because it will be hella loud if the spring snaps open even when you cut the wire to release it, it will snap expand though if you cut every few strands it may actually just stretch the wire or better, hold the wire and slowly let it retreat.

I wouldn't have a prob using the pre-compress and wire-tie method. If you can use a floor jack under the swing arm right under the lower spring perch then you know just how much you need to compress. Do an extra inch, hog tie the thing, lower the jack just enough to bind the spring and have play for the bolts and leave the jack just under the swing arm in case the wires give way.

Then when done push up on the spring and you can remove the wires while under no tension.
E53 / M54 2001 3.0i gas LHD (pair of them: his & her)
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Old 09-10-2019, 11:49 AM
LVR LVR is offline
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I had my car up on jack stands and by disconnecting the shock absorber was able to simply use my jack to compress everything to the right height without too much drama...

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