BMW E30 Bilstein front shock installation

Hi all, I bought new HD Bilstein shock inserts for my `91 318is. I've replaced the struts on my former `84 318i without any notable problems, but these look like different beasts. With respect to instructions, a
picture speaks 1000 words, and these shocks came with neither the picture, nor the words. I assume that I bolt the top nut to the upper mount without any additional or different parts. Any opinions on reusing the old upper mounts? How would I attach the blue bellows-style dust boots to the strut tube? There's an add looking polyethylene collar with lugs pointed toward the inside diameter - is that somehow related? I had to make a spanner for the collar since none was provided nor available anywhere and I can't measure torque with a compass-style adjustable spanner.
Any help would be appreciated. I spend about an hour looking on the `net for install blogs, but found nothing that addressed these questions. If you can point me to an online procedure, that would be great.
Thanks,
Scott
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I was in the same boat myself last weekend and found help from my local Bilstein dealer. The white poly collar goes over the upper end of the body of the strut before you install the shock. Then install the shock with the spanner nut. Then install the blue boot. The lower end of the boot goes over the white poly collar. It's a tight fit - you may have to grunt a little. At the top nut there shoud be a grease retaining cup and a large washer under the mount bearing and a smaller washer on top of the mount bearing. None of these items is supplied with the shock so you need to salvage them from the old installation. I took my struts to my local auto supply to have the upper nuts torqued with an impact driver and torque stick. Otherwise you will need a special wrench to torque the nut down inside the counterbore of the mount while holding onto the small hex on the end of the shock shaft. I guess you could try using a 1/2" drive socket with a 1/4" drive socket through the drive hole in the larger socket and then torque the large socket with a pipe wrench. My '91 is only had 62k miles on it so I did not feel the need to replace the upper mount bearing. If the bearing feels smooth I wouldn't bother. My '84 went 340k with no problems. Let me know if you'd like any clarification of this. It probably only makes sense to someone with the parts right in front of him.

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How far down the strut tube should the notched collar be pushed? Should I measure the free length of the blue bellows before I install the strut, then seek to extend it to that length when I install it?
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Initially install the poly collar just below the top of the strut tube. This makes it easier to install the bellows. After you have the bellows installed push it down as far as it will go ( a couple of inches as I recall). With the weight on wheels the strut will be a lot shorter and the bellows will be closer to it's natural length.

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