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This article gives detailed instructions on replacing the front strut assembly in 2007-2013 3 series vehicles (E9x). Even though we used a 2011 335i to perform this repair, this article can be applied to any 2007-2013 3 series with minor modifications to the repair steps.
See all vehicles this article applies to
E90 3 Series M3
E90 3 Series 318d
E90 3 Series 335i
E90 3 Series 335xi
E90 3 Series 335d
E90 3 Series 330xd
E90 3 Series 330xi
E90 3 Series 330i
E90 3 Series 330d
E90 3 Series 328xi
E90 3 Series 328i
E90 3 Series 325xi
E90 3 Series 325i
E90 3 Series 323i
E90 3 Series 325d
E90 3 Series 320i
E90 3 Series 320si
E90 3 Series 320d
E90 3 Series 318i
E90 3 Series 316i
E90N 3 Series M3 CRT
E90N 3 Series 318i
E90N 3 Series M3
E90N 3 Series 335xi
E90N 3 Series 335i
E90N 3 Series 335d
E90N 3 Series 330xd
E90N 3 Series 330xi
E90N 3 Series 330i
E90N 3 Series 328xi
E90N 3 Series 330d
E90N 3 Series 328i
E90N 3 Series 325d
E90N 3 Series 325i
E90N 3 Series 325xi
E90N 3 Series 323i
E90N 3 Series 320xd
E90N 3 Series 320i
E90N 3 Series 320d ed
E90N 3 Series 320d
E90N 3 Series 318d
E90N 3 Series 316i
E90N 3 Series 316d
Performing your own BMW E90 front strut replacement will save you a very expensive trip to the repair shop.
The BMW E90's front struts, also known as its front shocks or strut assemblies, are an important part of your vehicle's suspension system. Not only do they provide a cushion between the frame of your vehicle and the harsh conditions of the road surface, they are also a critical part of stabilizing the front end of your 2007-2013 3 series. One of the most frequent causes of front-end issues in BMW's is worn-out front strut assemblies.
The front struts on your BMW E90 create a "triangle" of strength connecting the body of the vehicle to the steering knuckle and frame. This integral connection helps eliminate body roll and keeps the BMW's superb front-end handling characteristics. The first sign that your strut assemblies are worn out is excessive body roll...often accompanied by excessive vibrations or clunking sounds from the front end of the vehicle.
Depending on driving conditions, a BMW E90 front strut replacement should be performed at 100,000 miles. It requires raising the front end of the vehicle and is a very "doable" repair for the home mechanic with average abilities. Due to the high pressure of many BMW E90 springs, the BMW Repair Guide strongly recommends using a commercial quality spring compressor when disassembling the struts. If you do not have access to a commercial spring compressor, take the struts by your local car repair shop...most will gladly compress your springs for a nominal fee. If you are interested in increasing the handling characteristics on your 2007-2013, now is a great time to replace the stock struts springs with high-performance versions. Please see our article and video on installing high-performance springs in your BMW E90 by clicking here. We give a detailed video for this repair, along with step-by-step instructions and a parts list below.
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View the video version of this repair.
View the detailed parts diagram for this repair.
Includes detailed part diagrams, part numbers and links to purchase all of the required components needed to complete this repair.
Section 1 - Removing the BMW E90 front strutsRemoving the struts from the front of your 2007-2013 3 series requires raising the front end of the vehicle and removing the wheels. Due to the tight confines inside the fender well, the tie rod ball joint must be removed in order to lower the strut out of the body of the vehicle. Now is an excellent time to replace the ball joints on your E90. Click here to purchase new ball joints for your BMW E90.
- Raise the front end of the vehicle and remove the front wheels.
- Using a socket wrench and torx bit, remove the sway bar link and brake line bracket from the front strut.
- Support the wheel hub with a floor jack. This will prevent the steering knuckle from dropping abruptly in the next step.
- Move to the top of the strut towers inside the engine compartment. If the strut brace is in the way of the strut mount nuts, loosen it with a torx socket and pivot it out of the work area.
- Using a 13mm socket wrench, remove the three nuts anchoring the strut mount to the body of the vehicle.
- Moving back into the wheel well, disconnect the self-leveling headlight sensor from the lower control arm using an open-end wrench.
- Using a socket wrench and torx bit, remove the mounting nut that anchors the tie rod to the steering knuckle.
- The ball joint should easily pull loose from the steering knuckle. If it doesn't, give it a couple of strikes with a rubber mallet.
- Using a socket wrench and open-end wrench, loosen the lower control arm bolt where it connects to the frame of the vehicle. DO NOT remove the bolt...just simply loosen the nut on the end of it.
- In order to lower the strut out of the vehicle, the ball joint must be removed from the tie rod. Use a Sharpie to mark the location of the tie rod ball joint on the threaded rod (this will make sure it is set in the correct position during reassembly). Use a torx bit to loosen the pinch bolt and spin the ball joint end off of the tie rod.
- The front strut can now be lowered and rotated out of the fender well.
- Remove the strut pinch bolt using an 18mm socket wrench. Completely remove the bolt from the strut.
- Hammer a steel punch into the steering knuckle as shown below. This will spread the knuckle apart so the strut can be removed.
- Grasp the front strut and remove it from the vehicle.
BMW E90 Front Strut Replacement Finished