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Bilstein Install Thread

I was able to install all four corners with Bilsteins recently.
A few helpful tips for anyone that I didn't see previously reported. Maybe they were in the DIY thread I was looking for that apparently no longer exists.

-Its alot easier to have all four wheels of the car in the air, to relieve the load transfer and ease removing the shocks.
-Remove the speed sensor line along the control arm AND the two small 10m bolts on the speed sensor shield on the knuckle. This will allow for space so the shock can come out towards the knuckle.
-Remove the top three nuts holding the shock in place under the hood- they form a triangle. Leave the middle nut in place to keep the entire shock assembly (and spring) together as it comes out.
-Remove the damper bolt. It helps to use a second jack to gently lift from below the knuckle to relieve any pressure on the bolt. Then I had to use a circular flat headed-chisel to gently tap the bolt out. I did not have to hit too hard once I raise the knuckle gently from below.
-Make sure the wheels are turned to make the most space for the shock to come out. Then, with all bolts removed, the shock was not difficult to remove with some coaxing from a pry bar.

-Wrapped the boots as suggested with a cloth to prevent any punctures when removing the shock. Afterward, I re-lubricated them with 303 aerospace protectant to keep the rubber supple.
-Used the 2x4 method to lower the control arm. This was much easier when you have a helper to keep the lower control arm bottomed and then you can get in there with a pry bar to gently pry the shock out.
- The rear damper bolt is a part of the sway arm assembly. I ended up removing the sway arm links for both sides to ease removing the shock.
-Same method as the front - remove the three nuts mounting the shock to the car but keep the shock and spring assembly together by leaving the middle nut tight while it is still installed in the car.
-Re-assembly was straightforward, again a lot easier with someone else holding the control arm down with a 2x4. You can rotate the damper cap to align the three holes to push the shock and spring assembly up into.

Shock Replacement-
The Bilsteins I received did not come with all the replacement parts that I was expecting in the assembly picture that was included with them.

I used a spring compressor (rented MacPherson spring compressor from AutoZone) to compress the spring before removing the nut and replaced the shocks. With the spring compressed, I swapped in the Bilsteins and was able to thread a few threads of the new lock-nut by hand before using a impact gun.

I had to reuse the rubber mountings (both upper and lower) that sandwich the damper mounting plate. I also had to reuse the cylindrical spacer that goes through the rubber mountings. You should document the order that the shocks came apart from and make sure that all the parts are reassembled in the same order. The Bilsteins did come with a new top lock nut.
The OEM Repair Manual lists 22lb feet for the damper lock nut and also has a note that says not to "Compress the spring more than necessary to install the self-locking nut". I ended up using an impact gun conservatively to tighten the nut and later had to re-tighten because the disc spacer under the nut was still a little loose and was making noise on my first test drive- even with a few threads showing past the nut. Make sure the nut is tight enough to constrain all the flat disc spacers.

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