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Replaced Rear Springs... One side higher than the other.

BMW forum 3 series car: E21, E30, E36, E46, E90, E91, E92, E93, F30, F31, F34, F35

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Replaced Rear Springs... One side higher than the other.

Postby paulmillz » Tue, 31 Mar 2009 13:18:40 UTC

Good Afternoon,

I had my rear springs replaced in a recent MOT, due to one being cracked. After a couple of days, the offside is about 2cm lower than the near. I took it back, and the garage have switched the springs in an effort to see if there is a fault with a spring as they both appear to be fine. Again the car has dropped on the offside just as before.

I have a few thoughts. Did the garage swap the springs? Could they have made an adjustment to the offside which causes this drop? Could something else have broken which they did'nt spot when swapping the springs? What are the tolerances, and is a 2cm ride height difference from left to right within those tolerances?

Any suggestion would be much appreciated.
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Postby pirhoney » Tue, 31 Mar 2009 14:32:39 UTC

I think this is a common issue on the 3 series. I've certainly seen other threads about it. My e36 was uneven at the back and i never got to the bottom of it.

One possible theory is that the garage has used spring compressors to install the springs and has overdone it. The proper way to fit these is to disconnect the shock and driveshaft and drop the suspension arm down. This way theres no compression required. Takes longer though so some garages may cut corners.
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Postby pablo_ni » Tue, 31 Mar 2009 16:13:17 UTC

you dont need spring compressors on the back of a bmw, nor do you need to disconnect the driveshaft. The rears are so easy its a joke.

on my old e36 m3 I had to disconnect the brake line clamp on the trailing arm to stop it pulling the flexi pipe too hard but that was it. Not had to do that on the E46.

My M3 sat about 20mm higher on the pass side rear only way to get around it is coilovers really.
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Postby MikeS » Tue, 31 Mar 2009 16:30:10 UTC

......or you can check the spring pads haven't worn through, just in case, and these pads are also available in different thickness's.

I would also add that a spring compressor cannot do the spring any harm at all. It will not even compress the spring as far as it will in use under the weight of the car :wink:
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Postby pablo_ni » Tue, 31 Mar 2009 16:31:08 UTC

how do you even get compressors in there?
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Postby tonyd61 » Wed, 01 Apr 2009 08:59:52 UTC

my old tourer e36 did exactly the same. the only way i got round it in the end was to use genuine parts and got another garage to fit them.
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Postby SSDD Motorsport UK » Wed, 01 Apr 2009 12:11:37 UTC

rhd bmw never sits evenly, this is partially due to the way the petrol tank is located i was once told by a bmw dealer. if you check out lhd cars they all sit more more even.
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Postby paulmillz » Wed, 01 Apr 2009 12:42:58 UTC

I understand that it may not sit perfectly even, but it was fine before... so id kind of expect it to be fine after. The garage is a BMW spec, and has used BMW parts. The difference between the two sides is at least 2cm... is this really acceptable.

I went round a large carpark yesterday, and not one of those 3-Series were un-even, maybe a few mill here and there but not 2cm. Yes, I probably did look a bit suspicious! and there we alot of 3-Series! :)
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Postby paulmillz » Wed, 01 Apr 2009 14:52:53 UTC

Had it up on the ramps again today at the garage, and we are both a bit stumped for the 2cm difference from nearside to the offside. Prior to the change, hights were the same or very close to even. Replaced the springs and we get a sink on the offside and a conciquent rise on the nearside to make a 2cm difference in hieght. Swapped both springs, let them settle, and no change. Measured the hieght from the top of the spring mount to the suspension arm that the bottom of the spring sits in, and although the offside is shorter we are only a few mil out; so i dont see the springs being the problem. Inspecting the underside, nothing else is obvious to cause the problem, the spring pads are very thin both sides and look to be in good condition.

Both the garage and I are stumped. We are talking about a significant difference in hieght between the two, and although a difference can be expected, this beyond the norm. At the moment im driving around in the car, while the dealer asks around... Any Ideas?

Thx
Paul
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Postby Guest » Wed, 01 Apr 2009 15:35:42 UTC

a dodgy/iffy shock can cause the rear not to settle to the correct height on either side..
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Postby pirhoney » Wed, 01 Apr 2009 15:58:02 UTC

might be way off the mark here but.....can the petrol tank affect this (mentioned earlier in the thread)?

Is there not a pump that evens out the level of fuel on either side of the drive shaft hump? I'm thinking weight over on one side of the car.

I also suspect I could be talking B*llocks! Happened before!
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Postby Guest » Wed, 01 Apr 2009 16:23:03 UTC

pirhoney wrote:might be way off the mark here but.....can the petrol tank affect this (mentioned earlier in the thread)?

Is there not a pump that evens out the level of fuel on either side of the drive shaft hump? I'm thinking weight over on one side of the car.

I also suspect I could be talking B*llocks! Happened before!



tis true but when this pump fails (jet pump) you run out of petrol with petrol still showing on the gauge in the car..


the weight issue is more to do with a big heavy battery on that side not the fuel tank.. i theories it becomes weaker on that side overtime due to the driver and the battery. had my car over 6 years was fine but have noticed a slight sag on drivers side this last 12 months or so..

OP's problem is perplexing tho i would check the shox myself..
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Postby pablo_ni » Wed, 01 Apr 2009 16:39:43 UTC

disconnect both shocks and try it. will rule them out.

When I fitted my coilvers the NS rear spring is wound right up tight as low as it will go. The OS still has about 1-2cm adjustment yet.

so its not just you.

one thing I noticed was you can rotate the spring a bit so the end of the spring is on the inside. very small difference tho.
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Postby paulmillz » Wed, 01 Apr 2009 19:47:12 UTC

Pretty sure its not a weight distrubution issue, as the issue has only occured since the replacement springs.

Would the shocks really cause a ride hight issue, i thought they dampened rather than adding resistance to the car weight?
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Postby pirhoney » Wed, 01 Apr 2009 20:50:53 UTC

Pretty sure its not a weight distrubution issue, as the issue has only occured since the replacement springs.

Would the shocks really cause a ride hight issue, i thought they dampened rather than adding resistance to the car weight?


I think you're right, but, perhaps the one on the high side is knackered and sticking?? The problem has only showed it's self after you've had weight off the back wheels.

Just another thought :?
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Postby old grey steve » Wed, 01 Apr 2009 22:45:38 UTC

Just a suggestion but I had the same issue where the offside was 6mm lower than the nearside :shock: but I've heard many a story re this before on E46's the thing is I'd just replaced by standard Sport Spec set up with some Eibach ProSport springs and a new set of shocks and still I had this annoying issue.

So a bit of science was called for . I filed the tank up as you'd need to do so I'm told on a KDS test then did a bit of this...

Image
Image

yes the spirit level was employed to back up my claim that all was not well but I ha level ground as I hope you can just about see in the spirit level bubble and with my new set up I still had this ride height indifference

The one below is the nearside

Image

this one's the offside

Image

you can just about make out the difference in height from the pics but a check with a tape measure very amateurish I know but it told the story.

Image

so I thought if its not the springs & its not the dampers what can it be :?:

Well I had a thought we had a car at work where one of the spring platforms had basically been demolished when it was puled apart by one of our techs (customer said it felt odd) so I decided to get mine looked at as you never know, these platform are made of hard rubber they've go to be strong to handle the abuse so from underneath the arches looking up with the springs removed as its the only way to inspect them both sides appeared to be very dirty but on first appearance both looked OK but once pulled out the story was very different the offside one was knackered very flat and looked ready for its maker but the nearside one looked OK and that would be the one you'd expect to take the brunt of the abuse with roundabouts etc.

So the offside was replaced and guess what 4mm of ride height was regained :shock:

Just in case you don't quite understand what the hell I'm going on about its number 18 in the diagram below

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hope this little snippet helps
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Postby 3wheeler7 » Wed, 01 Apr 2009 23:27:31 UTC

Hi

My 2003 320d Tourer had 2 broken rear springs and sat uneven.

I had new rears springs and spring pads fitted with a 5mm thicker spring pad on the off side and the car still sits 10mm lower on the driver side.

I reckon the body shells are built like that to compensate for driver on the left and battery on the right.

The figures for ride height and the tolerances are on TIS, can't remember what they are but it's not as much as 20mm difference.

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Postby gtmatt » Thu, 02 Apr 2009 02:57:29 UTC

Hi,

As 3wheeler7 has said. Most cars dont sit evenly until the driver is in. Try it then.
Because it was broken before it might mean it looked more even, now its fixed its probably ment to be the height its at.
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Postby old grey steve » Thu, 02 Apr 2009 22:44:17 UTC

When I was on the case re this last summer I was told that there was a tolerance I think from memory it was around 12mm, I'v got it written down somewhere I'll try to find out what I was told.

I found that the cars we sell have of course varying tolerances levels but its interesting to find out why this is the case and to a large extent as 3whelers mentioned it for the driver amongst other things.... bloody annoying though
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Postby Garth » Wed, 08 Apr 2009 13:05:11 UTC

My 330cd convertible sits 7mm lower on the drivers side on a level surface (as measured by th eBMW dealer). The tolerance is 10mm according to the dealer, so they will not do anything for me.

I took mine to an indy and they took the springs off. The offside spring appeared quite a bit more compressed (must be due to wear) so was shorter. The garage swapped the springs over thinking it would lessen the problem, but it actually made it WORSE!

I quizzed the indy and 2 BMW dealers on the different thickness spring pads others have talked about but none of the garages had ever heard of them. BMW claim only 1 thickness has ever been made (despite someone on here posting the different part numbers).

I had to return from 19" to 18" wheels because of this issue as even with the arches rolled, the offside wheel still hit the arch. I wanted to replace the springs but since others (like th OP) have reported this makes no difference, I just have to live with the wonky rear :(
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