Suspension Springs, struts, coilovers, sway-bars, camber plates, and all other modifications to suspension components for Clubman (R55), Cooper and Cooper S (R56), and Cabrio (R57) MINIs.

Suspension Shock replacement advice

  #1  
Old 03-15-2019, 05:04 PM
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Shock replacement advice

I'm going to be replacing my shocks in a few weeks. I'm going with the Koni "special active" (the old FSD) since Im not lowering. That is not what this thread is about.

This is the first MAJOR job I'll be doing myself. I've been doing oil changes and routine maintenance for years and Youtube has given me the confidence to tackle something bigger.

From those who have done this at home, what advice or recommendations do you have? Any specialty tools I should acquire in advance? Resources or threads I should read. Tips & tricks?
 
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Old 03-17-2019, 12:21 PM
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Wasn't too bad, only problem I had was the top nut on one shock wasn't tight enough which made a knocking sound going over speed bumps so we had to tighten it up a little more. Otherwise straightforward install.
 
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Old 03-17-2019, 01:10 PM
colinmini
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Great fun fast street strut/shock choice! Straight forward install. Plan an alignment after.
 
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Old 03-17-2019, 02:18 PM
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As mentioned, pretty straight forward if you are mechanically inclined.

Tool? Make sure you have a spring compressor. One of these can be helpful, too:
https://www.ecstuning.com/b-schwaben...-tool/scw3435/

Make sure when replacing the lower mount bolt into the control arm that it threads smoothly, and the lower shock mount is seated correctly before torqueing. Havein that bolt snap or strip makes the job much more cumbersome.
 
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  #5  
Old 03-17-2019, 05:38 PM
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thanks for the replies everyone! any other part "while I'm in there?" bushings that are likely toast?
 
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Old 03-17-2019, 06:23 PM
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The only special tool you need is a spring compressor. But you can actually rent it for free from Autozone or Advance so you don't have to buy it.
 
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Old 03-18-2019, 03:58 AM
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Snapped the retaining bolt in the steering knuckle on both front wheels on my son’s ‘02 when we changed his out. Had to replace both steering knuckles then. We’re in the rust belt so I’m sure that’s why.
 
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Old 03-18-2019, 04:09 AM
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Originally Posted by RudeJoe View Post
Snapped the retaining bolt in the steering knuckle on both front wheels on my son’s ‘02 when we changed his out. Had to replace both steering knuckles then. We’re in the rust belt so I’m sure that’s why.
The gen 2 is a little bit better there, with a bolt and a nut. Still a chance it could be rusted and break. But if it is and does, won’t have to replace the whole knuckle.
 
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Old 03-18-2019, 04:25 AM
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Originally Posted by njaremka View Post


The gen 2 is a little bit better there, with a bolt and a nut. Still a chance it could be rusted and break. But if it is and does, won’t have to replace the whole knuckle.
Sorry, I missed that this was 2nd Gen thread. Hard to see on my phone.
 
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Old 03-24-2019, 11:02 AM
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As stated, a spring compressor is required. Have plenty of respect for the amount of energy stored in the spring, take your time and get the compressors setup so that the spring compresses evenly and straight. Get some PB blaster and soak down the spindle where the shock mounts. It is likely locked up and will need to be knocked free with a hammer (hit the spindle vertically down, with the strut still tight to the body at the upper mount).

When removing the pinch bolt, loosen the bolt head, not the nut. The nut is serrated and bites into the spindle (the Bentley Manual gave me this tip, and indicates to tighten the bolt head when reassembling). Depending on the amount of corrosion between the bolt and spindle, this not be possible, you may still need to remove the nut. Either way, this bolt will be tight (like a wheel bolt).

While everything is apart, do a good inspection of the old parts. Strut mounts and sway bar end links loosen up over time.

Make sure that you stay organized on how the washers go between the spring mount and strut mount. If they go together wrong, the steering will not return properly (ask me how I know).

Have fun,
Mike
 
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  #11  
Old 03-24-2019, 02:33 PM
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A few of things...
- Rear shock replacement - the bottom bolt is self tapping. And there are no “real” threads in the aluminum lower control arm. That is, the threads are what were made when the bolt was put in a drilled (not tapped) hole at the factory. Disassembly should not be an issue. Soak the bolt end opening in the control arm with rust buster of some sort. When installing the new shocks be very careful to align the tapered section of the shock mount in the receiver location in the control arm and then hand thread the bolt in. You may have to use your other hand to hold the shock in place so the bolt threads in straight and smoothly. Only thread it in by hand most of the way. If it starts to get cross threaded, stop, back it out and start over. If you try to force it, it will cross thread easily, you will have weak threads and it may pull out over time, while you are driving and drop the car on the road. I found that a little never-seize on the bolt threads helped with the hand threading. Note, the factory torque for these is very high, but is intended to include the initial cutting of the threads. There is no reassembly torogue that I am aware of. The bolt is 14mm, same as the wheel bolts and the wheel bolts are torqued to 102 ft-lbs. I used that as my guide. There are ways to fix lower control arm if the threads are stripped, but we won’t get into that because I know you will be careful (but, if needed, I have done that repair)

- The front shock tube is too long to pull out of the steering knuckle easily. I took a 2”x2” piec of wood that was long enough to reach from the underside of the spring perch to just below the lower control arm. I held it in place with duct tap and used a floor jack to compress the spring a little and allow the steering knuckle to slide off. Do that again to do the reassembly.

- you will need a way to loosen and tighten the nut on the top of the strut. While still on the car, I loosened the nut with an impact wrench. Don’t tighten it with an impact wrench as you can snap off the stem. For tightening I used an old school 13/16th sparkplug socket that has the hex on top. I put a wrench on that and the Allen wrench down through the 1/2” drive hole. However, I seem to remember the FSDs had a smaller nut than the MINI shocks, which was a PIA. Sorry.

- I bought 2 sets of spring compressors from Harbor Freight and used 3 of 4 compressor turnbuckles to compress the spring. I found this made it easier to compress the spring easily and evenly. Never have the spring or the far end of the shock pointed at your face or other part of your body when the spring is compressed with those tools.

- You will need both wheels off the ground when doing the fronts and then again when doing the rears.

Hope this helps...
 
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  #12  
Old 03-27-2019, 06:55 PM
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Looking for a good shock for my R56. Will probably be an every day driver as well as weekend car. I ran the VIN and I don't have any sport suspension.
Been searching Rock Auto, Way and ECS. Still want sport but also comfort.
 
  #13  
Old 03-27-2019, 10:01 PM
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Excellent advice above. One other tip - put Loctite Blue on the threads for the pinch bolt and sway bar end links when you reassemble. The nuts on the swaybar endlinks have a self locking feature that only works once (at factory install) and when you remove and replace them they will loosen up, causing horrible rattling. And I had both pinch bolts loosen up even though I had torqued them to spec, which caused low speed clunking over bumps.
 
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Old 03-28-2019, 05:45 AM
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Originally Posted by jjcsnlynn View Post
Looking for a good shock for my R56. Will probably be an every day driver as well as weekend car. I ran the VIN and I don't have any sport suspension.
Been searching Rock Auto, Way and ECS. Still want sport but also comfort.
This is a good thread to help you decide. It was started as a Gen I thread, but applies to the R56:
https://www.northamericanmotoring.co...ml#post4153735
 
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Old 03-28-2019, 06:51 AM
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Originally Posted by jjcsnlynn View Post
Looking for a good shock for my R56. Will probably be an every day driver as well as weekend car. I ran the VIN and I don't have any sport suspension.
Been searching Rock Auto, Way and ECS. Still want sport but also comfort.
For that I would recommend the KON FSDs for sure as they will ride so much better, but still give you performance when you throw it around.
https://www.waymotorworks.com/koni-s...7-r58-r59.html
 
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Old 04-01-2019, 05:56 PM
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OK, just ordered my shocks. Install coming in a few weeks. Ive got a set of torque wrenches on order as well.

Best resource for torque specs during reassembly?
 
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Old 04-01-2019, 06:46 PM
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Old 04-01-2019, 06:48 PM
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front:
road wheel to hub 103 ft-lb (+-7)
strut assembly pinch bolt (tighten bolt only) 74 ft-lb
strut upper bearing to strut tower (replace collar nut) 25 ft-lb
tie rod end to steering knuckle 48 ft-lb
stabilizer link to strut housing 41 ft-lb
strut shaft to strut top bearing 47 ft-lb

rear:
rear strut lower mount to trailing arm 122 ft-lb
rear strut upper mount to body 41 ft-lb
upper strut mount to strut shaft 22 ft-lb
 

Last edited by yesti; 04-01-2019 at 07:00 PM.
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Old 04-02-2019, 06:07 AM
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Originally Posted by yesti View Post
front:

strut shaft to strut top bearing 47 ft-lb

rear:
rear strut lower mount to trailing arm 122 ft-lb
Two things...
Do you know if the 122 ft-lb torque to the trailing arm is for the initial installation at the factory, where the bolt is cuttting threads, or is it for reinstallation of the bolt?

The reason I ask is, if the 122 ft-lb is for the initial installation at the factory, then part of that torque is going towards cutting the threads in the aluminum trailing arm and is not going into the actual load to retain the shock in place. That torque is also not going into creating stress in those new thread. If that torque is then used as part of a reinstallation, then that torque is not being used to cut new threads which results in it now creating a higher level of stress in the threads than there would be from the initial factory installation. This issue has come up before in other thread discussions on this topic of installing replacement shocks, but my recollection is that no one could come up with a BMW/MINI “reinstallation” torque. The option was to use standard guidelines for that size bolt, which would be more in line with the wheel bolt torque (~100 ft-lbs). The concern is the potential for stripping out the threads in the control arm with the higher torque value.

As for the strut shaft to bearing torque, this has to be held by an 8mm Allen wrench. But, I found that the Craftsman Allen wrench I was using wasn’t strong (large) enough to withstand that torque. Not sure how to get to that torque with a 8mm Allen wrench; maybe the special tool you can buy will get there.
 
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Old 04-02-2019, 07:31 AM
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Just to get everything in one place for the future.

https://www.northamericanmotoring.co...ll-how-to.html
 
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Old 04-02-2019, 07:38 AM
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Yesti-So this is a new bolt that I need to buy. Im trying to get all of those sort of things before I begin. Can you link that part? THANKS!

Originally Posted by yesti View Post
front:

strut upper bearing to strut tower (replace collar nut) 25 ft-lb
 
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Old 04-02-2019, 07:49 AM
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Also, do I need to buy one of these?

https://www.ecstuning.com/b-schwaben...3046sch01a-03/
 
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Old 04-02-2019, 08:47 AM
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Originally Posted by my_wifes_mini View Post
Also, do I need to buy one of these?

https://www.ecstuning.com/b-schwaben...3046sch01a-03/
If I remember correctly, KONI provides the nut for the top of the strut post. I also seem to remember that nut (or was it the nut for the Bilstien shocks?) was a different size than the MINI nut. My point - check the size of the nut that KONI provides to make sure that tool will fit it. You may need an additional tool.

The option that I used was a 13/16" old school spark plug socket for the MINI nut:
Amazon Amazon

You can get these any where. I used an open end wrench on the hex (crow's foot for the torque wrench) and the Allen wrench went down through the socket drive hole in the top.
 
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Old 04-02-2019, 06:58 PM
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Originally Posted by Eddie07S View Post
Two things...
Do you know if the 122 ft-lb torque to the trailing arm is for the initial installation at the factory, where the bolt is cuttting threads, or is it for reinstallation of the bolt?

As for the strut shaft to bearing torque, this has to be held by an 8mm Allen wrench. But, I found that the Craftsman Allen wrench I was using wasn’t strong (large) enough to withstand that torque. Not sure how to get to that torque with a 8mm Allen wrench; maybe the special tool you can buy will get there.
That is what is specified in the bentley manual under "tightening torques" so that is what I used when reinstalling the struts. so far so good
The strut shaft bearing torque would require the special tool, we managed to get it to seat without it.
 

Last edited by yesti; 04-02-2019 at 07:06 PM.
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Old 04-02-2019, 07:01 PM
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Originally Posted by my_wifes_mini View Post
Yesti-So this is a new bolt that I need to buy. Im trying to get all of those sort of things before I begin. Can you link that part? THANKS!
It is a M8 x 1.25 collar nut. There are 3 of them per strut in the front. you know, these:
collar nuts
 

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