Billstein sport shocks stuck in front towers

E28 technical advice asked and given! Troubleshooting, modifications and more.
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Bonsaibacker
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Billstein sport shocks stuck in front towers

Post by Bonsaibacker »

I have been trying to figure out how to remove these shocks for a while- they still have life. It appears that the installer put oil in the tower tube before adding the shock and now there is a vacuum holding the shock in! The collar nut has been removed and I need some guidance/suggestions to get the shock out without damaging.

Thanks in advance-
Eric.
Mike W.
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Re: Billstein sport shocks stuck in front towers

Post by Mike W. »

Oil is supposed to be there for other shock brands but not Bilsteins. Not that it should do any harm. But it's also possible that the installer didn't add any oil, but didn't drain all the old oil.

Regardless, if it's just the oil and suction holding things in place I'd start twisting and in a sense try to unscrew it. However I've also seen water in the shock housing too causing things to rust, never so much I couldn't remove things, but every case is different too.
SlickDizzy
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Re: Billstein sport shocks stuck in front towers

Post by SlickDizzy »

If you can get the whole housing assembly in a vise, I’d thread a sacrificial nut or two on the end of the shock absorber, then use a short prybar or chisel and tap outward on the nut to try to work the shock out little by little. Go relatively easy, or you could damage the threads.

Another possible option: put a strut mount back on the shock absorber and re-attach the assembly to the strut tower on the car, let it hang free, and then use a hammer to tap downward on the housing.
Philo
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Re: Billstein sport shocks stuck in front towers

Post by Philo »

Why not drill a small hole at the base of the strut housing to drain the oil and relieve the pressure. Then the next time your shocks start leaking you'll see the oil on the ground. Just like with water pumps.
Mike W.
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Re: Billstein sport shocks stuck in front towers

Post by Mike W. »

Reassembling it with the shock in place, but not the nut that holds it into the housing should move it out some by the pressure of the spring.
Bonsaibacker
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Re: Billstein sport shocks stuck in front towers

Post by Bonsaibacker »

Thanks fellas- All sound suggestions. As an experiment, I am going to try the spring method first and if that works The drill method (although I am concerned about drilling too far) next. Obviously if neither of those work it is time to implement force with slickdizzy's suggestion and break out ye ole hammer...
Will report the results once the votes are counted.
Mike W.
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Re: Billstein sport shocks stuck in front towers

Post by Mike W. »

Cancel my last suggestion. I think that would only work with really short sport springs.
athayer187
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Re: Billstein sport shocks stuck in front towers

Post by athayer187 »

Another option that I've used successfully in the past - use a torch to get it slightly warm on the bottom. Not hot my any means, just warm. The oil will be thinner, and things will expand just a bit which should help if all you're fighting is a vacuum.
four2zerohero
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Re: Billstein sport shocks stuck in front towers

Post by four2zerohero »

when i attempted to replace my bilstein sport inserts i encountered the same problem and tried every single method suggested above to no avail, I Was only able to move the insert about 1.5 inches.
The only method I didnt try which i with i had was to tap a grease tiffing at the bottom of the housing and pump grease into it. Or an air fitting and use compressed air but Id be more comfortable with grease.

I was lucky a member here had a set of strut housings for a e23 with ABS for sale. hopefully the KYBs dont get stuck like the billies did.
dsmith
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Re: Billstein sport shocks stuck in front towers

Post by dsmith »

I had one that wouldn’t come out. It had a rusted section inside the bottom. I reassembled the strut spring and mount and slowly released the spring compressor, without the strut collar nut secured. Did not immediately come out, so I left it overnight and it was released in the morning.
Mike W.
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Re: Billstein sport shocks stuck in front towers

Post by Mike W. »

dsmith wrote: Nov 14, 2020 10:39 PM I reassembled the strut spring and mount and slowly released the spring compressor, without the strut collar nut secured. Did not immediately come out, so I left it overnight and it was released in the morning.
OK, that's what I was thinking of but not correctly describing. :oops:
Bonsaibacker
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Re: Billstein sport shocks stuck in front towers

Post by Bonsaibacker »

dsmith wrote: Nov 14, 2020 10:39 PM I had one that wouldn’t come out. It had a rusted section inside the bottom. I reassembled the strut spring and mount and slowly released the spring compressor, without the strut collar nut secured. Did not immediately come out, so I left it overnight and it was released in the morning.
Thank you David. Today is the day- and possibly overnight- that I am going to attempt. This method makes sense and seems the gentlest. Expecting positive results.
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