Follow the process.

Follow the process.

"In this new Special Series, I document my experiences with Bilstein's B16 Damptronic coilovers as part of the E60 M5's Chassis Program.

In this entry, I document the installation process to the B16 coilovers.

- Matt 

The original suspension removal process.

It's a painstaking to work on a complete aluminum suspension over time, as every other component seizes and opportunities to stripe and shear bolts are plenty. 

It seems BMW knew something about working with aluminum suspension components. They designed ways to service the suspension in a smart, efficient way. 

It's initially counter-intuitive car to work on, but it works. 

Front Struts. 

The steps. 

  1. Remove the end links & headlight level sensor (passenger side only). 
  2. Remove the wishbone component connecting the knuckle and end links. 
  3. Remove the caliper and let it hang. 
  4. Support the knuckle with a jack and remove the 3x top mount bolts (and all unclip EDC wires)  
  5. Get the top of the strut to clear the fenders.
  6. Loosen the strut collar and get a wedge in there to create separation. 
  7. Start smacking with a soft hammer on the lower spring perch aiming upwards. 
    1. Knowing we would throw these out, we smacked with impunity. 

Bonus: you may need to remove the cabin filters and its underlying plastic panels to access one of the top mount bolts. It depends if you like bending plastic or not. 

Rear Struts. 

The E60's rear suspension is glorious, and easy to work on (somewhat). This one was pretty straight forward. You'll need a helping hand. 

The steps. 

  1. Remove wheel liner. 
  2. Remove the trunk liners and foam covers off the top mounts. 
  3. Unbolt the end links on the lower suspension arm and headlight level sensor (passenger side only). 
  4. Unbolt the lower end of the strut from the knuckle. 
  5. Unbolt the top mounts and EDC plug. 
  6. Pry bar the suspension to lower it. 
  7. Work the strut out of the wheel well completely. 

The B16 Damptronic Installation Sequence.

Build your struts.

You need to transfer over a few pieces from the OEM struts to the B16s. Follow their instructions to a tee. Please stay safe when removing the OEM top mounts from the OEM struts. Mine didn't launch to the skies - but we never know. Safety first.  

Notes on the front. 

The front requires transferring the entire OEM top mount assembly to be transferred.  You do not reuse the OEM strut bolt as Bilstein uses a different diameter nor the bump stops as they are integrated. 

Notes on the rear. 

As with the fronts, the whole top mount assembly is transferred. You also need to transfer the bumper stops as they are not integrated by Bilstein at the rear. Bolting down the rear top mounts can be a PITA as the EDC wiring comes out of the top rod. 

Bilstein has designed the rod with 2x flat edges to hold in a vice grip. Bolt them down with a ratcheted wrench. You'll finish the torque sequence when on the car. 

Install your struts.

This process is rather simple, it's like reinstalling the OEM struts. You may face issues sliding the front struts into the knuckle. 

Don't despair. If that happens, you can slide the top mounts into position of the chassis pretty easily and use a jack and the vehicle's weight to get them to sit correctly. 

Wire & Plug your EDC.

Bilstein provides the proper connectors and front connector adapters to fit with your OEM EDC connectors.

The front requires the wheel liners to be loosened as the wiring needs to be wired by the ABS line. Bilstein recommends you do the driver side by sending the wire down, and the passenger side by sending the wires up from the wheel well. 

Next up: my driving impressions, and continued chassis improvements. 

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