Feels like de ja vu doing all of this again albeit on a different E46!
A couple of weeks back I sourced new Sachs M Sport shocks all round, Lemforder top mounts, Lemforder tie rod ends and a replacement upper steering union joint from a low mileage compact. And as with the 320d I also bought some Eibach Pro Kit springs.
Finally got round to working on the Touring this weekend and started with the rear setup as its easier. Annoyingly the Touring requires half the interior boot trim to be removed before you can get to the sound proofing that protects the suspension turrets. As with the saloon, I decided to cut an access flap in the sound proofing to save the hassle of trying to remove it all completely. Once I was past the interior panels, the shocks, top mounts and springs were swapped out with ease.
After some lunch I decided to start on the fronts, it didnt take long for me to remember why I don't like doing this particular job! In my haste I snapped the headlight level sensor arm and also managed to lose the ARB stabiliser nut in the shingle next to my driveway...joy!
The biggest issue I had was getting the new EIbach springs compressed enough to be able to screw the new top mounts onto the struts....what an absolute pig that was! I remember it being difficult on the 320d but this time it was twice as bad given the fact that the M Sport struts are shorter than standard meaning the springs need to be compressed even more than normal.
I managed to finish one side that afternoon and stripped the passenger side out ready to go again with the spring compressors on Sunday morning. As is always the way, when I did the other side it was done and dusted in about 30 minutes...I think I got the knack with the spring compressors and more importantly worked out the best places to locate them on the spring without hampering the spring fitment.
In all of this there was a ray of hope in that the old front top mounts were clearly knackered with loads of play present. Sure enough, when I took the car for a drive there was an instant handling improvement and a lot of the play and vibration disappeared.
I'd say it now drives and handles on par with my 320d which has an identical suspension setup minus the shorter M Tech shocks. And given that the Touring has big old heavy 18 inch MV1's I'd say thats probably as good as it is going to get.
Regardless, I probably will fit the spare upper steering union joint I have, and I'll also get the Lemforder tie rod ends fitted, followed up finally with another visit to the Wheel Alignment Specialists in Southampton.
Beyond that, I might get some yellow stuff pads in readiness for a trip to the Ring in 4 weeks time.
Now I just need to find some time to prep the 320d in order to put it up for sale....