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  #1  
Old 10-14-2018, 08:10 AM
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2009 X5 35d Front Strut Rebuild DIY

Yesterday I began rebuilding the front struts on our 2009 X5 35d with standard suspension. I used SeanC’s excellent DIY post for the R&R

https://xoutpost.com/bmw-sav-forums/...ive-drive.html

These are some notes/photos of the strut rebuild.

The upper Guide Support on the right side had been completely pulverized allowing the large “Articulated Disk” (AKA washer) to impact the Support Bearing Flange on rebound.



The lower Guide Support was still there but on its last legs.



Strut rebuild station. Note blue paint on spring and flange that indicates the side which faces outward when installed.



The top coil of the spring is captured by the upper spring pad, which is inside the Support Bearing Flange. So as the spring is compressed the Support Bearing Flange becomes more and more angled to the strut shaft. Gently prying the top coil of the spring out of the upper pad straightens the Support Bearing Flange eliminating the bind and making it much easier to extract the shock absorber.



Extracted shock absorber with the remains of the guides and bump stop.



Rebuilt Strut. With the Support Bearing Flange removed from the spring, the shaft could be inserted through the Support Bearing Flange without it binding. The Bilsiteins, at rest, are several inches longer than the old shock. So the shaft fit through the flange before the lower spring pad touched the spring. The extra length provides clearance for aligning the top of the spring in the upper spring pad and positioning the lower spring pad during assembly.



Rebuilt right front strut installed.



Funf Dreisig
2009 X5 35d std suspension
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Last edited by FunfDreisig; 10-15-2018 at 06:54 PM. Reason: Added details.
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Old 10-15-2018, 07:01 PM
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The Support Bearing Flange has a steel “bearing” attached to the aluminum “flange” via a flexible “support”. The little orange upper and lower orange Guide Supports fit around the steel “bearing” and cushion the flexible “support”.


Support Bearing Flange top/outside


Support Bearing Flange bottom/inside


This is the Support Bearing Flange on the driver’s side strut, with the orange upper Guide Support,…


… before disassembly.


… after the rebuild but before installation.


… after installation with the full weight of the X5, the washer is parallel to the flange.

These little orange donuts don’t just stop the clunking. They protect the Support Bearing Flange. They are visible anytime the hood is open. So I’ve added a visual inspection of them to my regular maintenance.

Funf Dreisig
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Old 10-16-2018, 10:29 AM
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i'm actually rebuilding my strut at the moment too. I'm wondering if you can just replace the upper foam "donut" here by just removing the nut and washer here without taking the entire strut tower apart and compressing the spring. the spring will still be compressed by the three 13mm nut on top of the strut mount right?

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Old 10-16-2018, 11:47 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lordshin808 View Post
i'm actually rebuilding my strut at the moment too. I'm wondering if you can just replace the upper foam "donut" here by just removing the nut and washer here without taking the entire strut tower apart and compressing the spring. the spring will still be compressed by the three 13mm nut on top of the strut mount right?

No. When the wheel is off the ground the only thing holding the strut together is the large 18 or 19mm nut on the shock absorber shaft. But I suspect that when the wheel is on the ground the weight of the X5 would keep it all in place. You could try it by just loosening the nut and see if it comes loose enough to move the washer.


Funf Dreisig
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Old 10-16-2018, 12:37 PM
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Excellent pictures! I would imagine the upper donut could be replaced with the wheel on the ground, but I think the main sources of the clunks are inside the strut: the other two foam bushings.
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Old 10-16-2018, 02:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FunfDreisig View Post
No. When the wheel is off the ground the only thing holding the strut together is the large 18 or 19mm nut on the shock absorber shaft. But I suspect that when the wheel is on the ground the weight of the X5 would keep it all in place. You could try it by just loosening the nut and see if it comes loose enough to move the washer.
Funf Dreisig
I was thinking if we can replace the upper foam guide with the wheels ON and not having to take the strut out completely, it'll be a much easier maintenance item to take care of.
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Old 10-16-2018, 03:21 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lordshin808 View Post
I was thinking if we can replace the upper foam guide with the wheels ON and not having to take the strut out completely, it'll be a much easier maintenance item to take care of.
That might work as a short term “fix” to protect the flexible connector in the Support Bering Flange, while waiting for parts/time to do a complete strut rebuild. But as SeanC posted, if the upper orange donut is shot, it is very likely that lower one needs to be replaced too. Luckily you can see the condition of the lower donut, because it is outside of the dust cover. The larger bump stop is completely hidden by the dust cover until you disassemble the strut.

FWIW here are the orange bits on my left and right strut.


In both cases the lower donut was in very bad shape. And the condition/absence of the upper donut was not a very good indicator for the condition of the lower one.


Funf Dreisig
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Old 10-16-2018, 03:30 PM
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yea, you guys are right. If the upper donut is toast. The other two will need to be replaced too. Might as well replaced all of them at once.
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Old 08-27-2019, 10:51 AM
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This is a great write up! I was able to get the job done with it. Had a lot of trouble with my cheapo spring compressors though. In my frustration after finally getting things back together I started tightening the nut down without having the allen wrench to hold the shaft. Probably went 1 1/2 to 2 turns before I realized what I was doing. Do you think I damaged the strut any?

Thanks for your help
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Old 08-27-2019, 11:50 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jones6826 View Post
This is a great write up! I was able to get the job done with it. Had a lot of trouble with my cheapo spring compressors though. In my frustration after finally getting things back together I started tightening the nut down without having the allen wrench to hold the shaft. Probably went 1 1/2 to 2 turns before I realized what I was doing. Do you think I damaged the strut any?

Thanks for your help
Probably not. The strut body and guts are cylindrical. So they should turn without damage.


Funf Dreisig
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