Struts or Shocks?

My 525i Touring Wagon seems to bounce around a good deal, especially on rough roads. I pushed down on the quarter panels to see if it would bounce
a few times and it only bounces once. I am guessing its the struts. Is there anyway to determine if the problem is my struts or shocks?
Thanks in advance.
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For the purpose of this conversation, shocks and struts are the same thing.
More correctly, they do pretty much the same thing, but shocks are a separate part, and struts are the shock and the spring in the same assembly. Working from memory - which is fuzzy at times - the front of your car will use struts while the back will get shocks. Frequently, the shock cartridge can be removed from the strut assembly and be replaced, letting you put the same spring back into the car.
The general purpose of the shock is to control bounce, absorb the shocks that come into the suspension system. The spring is primarily responsible for ride height, and when the springs get old they begin to sag, and the ride gets soft and the suspension might bottom out easily. Replacing the shocks will bring new stiffness back to the suspension, but if the springs are worn, the new shocks won't last long.
You didn't say what year your car was, but my guess is that your springs are fine, and you need new shocks. The shocks will let the car continue to bounce after it has gone over a bump of some sort, typically you will notice bad shocks when going over railroad tracks, but you could feel the affects of worn shocks in many different situations, but railroad tracks jump to mind first.
Shocks can also show up in strange wear patterns on the tires. Usually the shocks will show up on the tires as cupping or feathering, where the edges of the tread are cupped or feathered. Normally the cupping will show up on both shoulders of a tire, the shoulder is where the tread wraps around to become the sidewall. If you are having alignment problems too, then you may see cupping or feathering only on one shoulder of a tire.

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provide for just replacing the shock absorber cartridge. Your description fits a worn out shock absorber...
If left alone long enough, you will also wear out all of the rubber bushings in the front suspension.
Jim
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What shocks would most people recommend for a '92 E34 Touring Wagon? I am cautious to take the advice from some guy at an Auto Parts store. Performance is not an issue, more comfort and easy driving. Thanks.
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Scott wrote:

Just get some boge/sachs OEM replacements.
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OEM. BMW take a deal of trouble to get a good handling/comfort compromise.
--
*I don't suffer from insanity -- I'm a carrier

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

I don't know about "most people" but I can highly recommend Bilstein Touring shocks. I put these on my '94 540iA and they are excellent. These are different than either the Heavy Duty or Sports. Very similar to the OE feel, but with an even higher quality, longer lasting shock than the OE Sachs/Boges.
Oh, and I also got them for cheaper than I could find the OEs at. If you are in the US, I bought mine at Bavarian Autosport, they had the lowest price I could find, but I think they were running a sale at the time, so shop around.
http://bavauto.com/shop.asp
-Fred W
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