E31 Front Shock Replacement

Front right knocking noise continues over any kind of bump, quite loud inside the car!  The destroyed bushing on the lower control arm may have contributed to the noise, but clearly not the primary cause as with that replaced the noise is still there.  If anything it’s got worse over the past weeks.  Upper arm is new, steering rods are new, lower arm is new, roll bar link is new, roll bar bushings are new.  Bolts on the x-bar attached to the frame are also tight.  This doesn’t leave much – the top mount and the shock absorber.  The top mount certainly seems good as when the lower arm was out the strut was held on only by the top mount and there was no play in it.  Sadly that leaves the shocker and pushing down on the car a definite knock could be felt in the strut tower.  The shocker absorber itself definitely ‘feels’ fine as it’s extremely hard to push down (sports suspension!) and equal to the other side of the car.  Absolutely zero pitching under braking.

So the plan is:

1:  Leave some penetrating oil on the top nuts and collar nut overnight to help get them off
2:  Jack up car somewhat and loosen collar nut with some weight still on the strut.
3:  Remove wheel, disconnect ARB link, remove 3 top bolts and push strut down and pull out from car
4:  Apply spring compressors (heavy duty ones loaned from auto-zone!) then remove top nut once pressure is off the top mount.
5:  Unscrew shocker fully from strut, then replace in reverse order!

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However, the plan changed at step 2 – I was relieved to find the collar nut turned very easily with my £2 pipe wrench!  I expected getting this off to be the hardest step.  It turned a little too easily though..  as it also tightened very easily…  And tightened further..  Yep, this was not tight at all and my sound was the strut insert literally bouncing up and down inside the strut :(  Shocker absolutely fine.  Tighten it up and a test drive later and all is confirmed well!  I never even thought to test this before, I just assumed it would be super tight.

New plan:

1:  Return spring compressors to shop in rattle free car
2:  Return unused Bilstein shock for credit!