BMW: 1998 E39 528i Touring. Air Spring Replacement. Help Please : BMW 5 series Forum • BMWLand

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1998 E39 528i Touring. Air Spring Replacement. Help Please

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1998 E39 528i Touring. Air Spring Replacement. Help Please

Postby DaveWebb » Sat, 23 Aug 2008 12:52:11 UTC

My car is a 1998 E39 528i Tourer.

The passenger side rear self levelling pneumatic spring (air spring) has a leak (casing cracked) and loses pressure after a few mins.

My son purchased a new one from BMW in London (Part 37121094613) and has sent it to me.

Is this part something that I could replace myself (normal DIY tools and mechanical experience) or is it a specialist repair requiring special tools and perhaps a ramp? The top of the new air spring has three locating lugs, two of which are secured by circlips, also the 'air in pipe' thread. The bottom of the spring is secured by a single hex bolt.

I am out in the countryside, in Wales, with no garages around. BMW dealer is 70 miles away, car is not really drivable for that distance as rear-nearside is on its stops.

Thanks in anticipation of your help.

Dave
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Postby BlackStuff » Mon, 25 Aug 2008 20:32:55 UTC

Very easy job, as follows:

1. Disconnect battery.
2. Inside boot, take the panels off to uncover the strut tops (sounds like you already have).
3. Squeeze together the lugs on the plastic clip retaining the air pipe and pop the pipe off the top of the air spring.
4. Remove the two circlips from the two retaining spigots.
5. Get back out of boot, jack car up and remove roadwheel. Make sure body is supported in case of jack failure.
6. Where the air spring locates onto the swinging arm remove the retaining nut and washer from underneath (think it's 17mm but could be wrong)
7. Should be able to remove the old air spring now.

Reverse these steps to fit the new one, ie insert new spring from under the car, tighten the nut to fasten it down; pop the retaining clips on the top spigots and push the air connector pip on until it snaps into place.

When you reconnect the battery and start the car it should spring into life (pun intended) and jack the car back up to it's correct ride height. Job done!
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Postby DaveWebb » Tue, 26 Aug 2008 15:04:29 UTC

BlackStuff wrote:Very easy job, as follows:

1. Disconnect battery.
2. Inside boot, take the panels off to uncover the strut tops (sounds like you already have).
3. Squeeze together the lugs on the plastic clip retaining the air pipe and pop the pipe off the top of the air spring.
4. Remove the two circlips from the two retaining spigots.
5. Get back out of boot, jack car up and remove roadwheel. Make sure body is supported in case of jack failure.
6. Where the air spring locates onto the swinging arm remove the retaining nut and washer from underneath (think it's 17mm but could be wrong)
7. Should be able to remove the old air spring now.

Reverse these steps to fit the new one, ie insert new spring from under the car, tighten the nut to fasten it down; pop the retaining clips on the top spigots and push the air connector pip on until it snaps into place.

When you reconnect the battery and start the car it should spring into life (pun intended) and jack the car back up to it's correct ride height. Job done!
Thanks so much for your clear and concise reply. It has given me the confidence to have a try. Just one thing - after disconnecting from the top (as you described) and then jacking the body up/taking wheel off - will the spring drop down from the mounting, it still being attached to the swinging arm and will I be able to relocate it easily again?
Thanks again
Dave
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Postby BlackStuff » Tue, 26 Aug 2008 15:10:42 UTC

Yes and yes!

As you jack the car up the swinging arm will hang down. Once the retaining nut is removed you can easily squeeze the spring together to shorten it enough to get it out of the gap. It's pretty obvious when you do it - easier to do than to describe!
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Postby DaveWebb » Tue, 26 Aug 2008 15:16:11 UTC

Brilliant!

Really helpful

I'll let you know how I get on

Cheers

Dave
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Postby BlackStuff » Tue, 26 Aug 2008 16:25:57 UTC

One word of warning...

Be very, very careful releasing the plastic retaining clip that holds the pipe union onto the top of the air spring.

If you are at all rough with it then the lugs that retain it will snap off, with two results:

1. It will be a bugger to get the rest of the clip out, needing about an hour's patience and two bits of stiff wire to get the remnants to release and allow the union to pop off the spring.

2. When you go to your friendly local neighbourhood dealer you will discover that you cannot buy the retaining clip separately. Nor can you buy it as part of the pipe union. Nor can you buy the pipe/union/clip as an item. You have to buy the reservoir as well, which comes complete with the pipe, union and plastic clip, at a cost of £47 + VAT thank you very much!

Don't ask me how I know all this...
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