BMW 1 Series Coupe Forum / 1 Series Convertible Forum (1M / tii / 135i / 128i / Coupe / Cabrio / Hatchback) (BMW E82 E88 128i 130i 135i)


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      01-23-2013, 12:05 AM   #1

Drives: 2008 135i, 2011 328i xDrive
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Canada

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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, 08:39 AM   #2
Pig Farmer

Drives: E92M
Join Date: May 2010
Location: Florida

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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, 10:07 AM   #3

Drives: 2011 135i M-Sport :D
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: NoVA

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      01-23-2013, 01:48 PM   #4
Second Lieutenant
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Drives: 2008 128i
Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: South Jersey

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2008 BMW 128i  [5.00]
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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