E34 front damper

Anyone replaced a front damper on an E34? (1991 525i M50.) How difficult was it?
Euro Car Parts have a Bilstein for 42 and a Boge/Sachs for 52. Any
preferences? I think Boge was OEM. The part is 105 from BMW and they couldn't tell me who made it.
English damper = US shock absorber
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Its my understanding the BMW "dampers" are made by Boge. Its interesting that Bilsteins cost you *less* than OEM Boge/Sachs shocks, unless you're looking at the lower cost Bilstein "Touring."
As to how difficult it is to replace, its definitely do-able:
http://www.bmwe34.net/e34main/maintenance/suspension/front_shocks.htm
http://www.nmia.com/~dgnrg/page_27.htm
http://home.comcast.net/%7Ewinstonfong/repairpagessite2/strutreplacement.htm
Good Luck!
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Without an oxy torch, it can be a *real* bastard getting the retaining collar off the strut to remove the shock insert.

Indeed!
JB
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JB wrote:

I did not need any heat at all, just a BFW (Big F***ing Wrench), actually I used a pipe wrench on the bugger.
But if you did want to heat the nut (more of a collar nut actually) I'm sure a regular propane torch would do just fine.
--
-Fred W

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Yes, I've heard Bilsteins are more highly regarded than Boge in the USA, but here they seem to be cheaper. Always have been when I've seen them.
I'll get the Bilstein on the basis that I save a tenner, unless someone comes up with a good reason not to.
The Bilstein is described as "B4 GAS" and the Boge has no other description. For some reason they list a "standard" and "sport" for both makes but with the same part numbers and price in each case.

Thanks. It'll probably be a horrible, horrible job like every other suspension job I've done, but such is life. I've had this car 3 1/2 years now and the most major thing I've replaced is the rear exhaust section, so it's not doing badly.
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Dan Buchan wrote:

Been there, done that. It is not an easy job. Requires some special tools. First off you will need some stout sockets and breaker bar to get the strut off the wheel hub carrier. Then you need a set of spring compressors for the struts. I then used a large stilson (pipe) wrench to remove the big nut on the top of the strut housing to get the dampers out of the housings. I got new nuts with the new dampers anyway. You will need a torque wrench for reassembly.
I think I did the fronts and also the backs all in one long Saturday session, but I was taking my time, especially with the spring compressor.

I put Bilstein Tourings in my E34. They were great and I recommend them highly. You are correct, Boge/Sachs was OEM. Get the Bilsteins. You won't regret it...

--
-Fred W

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With all strut suspension it depends on how easily the insert retaining ring comes off. Apart from compressing the spring, obviously. Helped with my brother's '87 E28 a few years ago and one was easy - the other a real pain. It needed lots of heat and a large Stillson. But think it would have been easier if I'd had access to my own tools instead of being 500 miles from them.
Did my much older 'other' car a couple of years ago and they came out easily.
--
*It's this dirty because I washed it with your wife's knickers*

Dave Plowman snipped-for-privacy@davenoise.co.uk London SW
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