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      01-22-2013, 11:05 PM   #1
fe1rx
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135i OE front strut question

I have removed my front struts to install camber plates. When I remove the OE upper strut mount from the strut the shaft lowers itself into the strut to approximately mid height, maybe a bit lower. It takes a very strong pull to extend the strut fully - in fact I can't pull that hard by hand. Both struts behave the same way. Both have fluid in them and don't appear to be leaking. When they are fully compressed by hand, they extend slowly to the mid-extension position, so they have fluid and gas in them.

Two things:

1) I don't think I can compress the spring enough to get the struts assembled again, because the strut is not fully extended.

2) I can't figure out how a strut can behave this way. I expect a pressurized strut to extend fully when unconstrained, not to only extend half way.

Do BMW struts have some mysterious internal construction that make them behave that way, or is this abnormal?
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      01-23-2013, 07:39 AM   #2
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This is normal. The gas is pressurized on both sides of the piston. The strut will rest where where pressure on both sides if the piston is equal. The strut is designed to "pre-load" the spring. There are a couple threads in the DIY section which show how others have successfully reinstalled the springs.
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      01-23-2013, 09:07 AM   #3
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it's not easy to do that's for sure...but it definitely can be done.
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      01-23-2013, 12:48 PM   #4
Southjersey128
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I have had to do this a lot. Usually I will cut a radiator hose and put it around the piston of the strut when it is fully extended, then just vise grip it so it stays extended. DO NOT vise grip the piston without something rubber against the piston. Scratching it will ruin the seal. Just be careful and take your time.
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