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SimonH

BMW 520d tourerF11 rear suspension drop

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Hi, I was driving back from Wales the other day and luckily only 1 mile from home when my 520d suddenly lost its back suspension. Dropped down to the stops.  My local garage couldn't even get it on the ramp as that low and being a tourer the length meant it was going to drag on the ramp feet.   Anyway, long story short.... they advised i take it to BMW (booked in for this thursday to address the EGR recall and to diagnostic this problem) The local garage jacked up one side and could see no visible tear in the bags nor hear any air escaping.    So I went out to it earlier and started it, I can hear the compressor going at the back but no lift,  but as soon as i put it into SPORT mode it lifted up and stayed there for hours. I tested to see if it would hold weight so I lifted the boot and sat in it, and it slowly started to drop.  My understanding of this so I am prepared for when BMW  flash ££££ quotes at me, the compressor works and lifts, the bags maintain the lift over night, it is only when weight (I am 17 stone) is added that it drops.  Would this be more a valve?  I clearly am no mechanic, just trying to understand the system.   Any experts on this subject cast any light as to why it would do this?  Thank you

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Thanks Andrew, yes I did some reading on the subject. I can see people have been replacing suspension and discussions of one side dropping etc....  I just thought strange how it dropped equally both sides but then would only lift to the usual ride height if put into sports mode.  Just wondered if anyone had this happen to them.  Again thanks for the link and i will continue to read up. 

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Thanks GeeJayJoe,  ok thanks for the advice.  Just to add I did get the error message 'Chassis function restricted' possible to continue journey.....    I am paying the £144 and hopefully the fault code will advise the problem. 

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Mine was dropping on both sides, replaced air springs with Dunlops (non-M) off ebay and it's been perfect since. 74k miles and the original bags had perished, not so much that it was really obvious when looking, but enough for it to drop after around a half day of sitting.

 

Could be the valves or plastic air lines but unlikely, I think. Depends on your mileage and if the bags have ever been replaced.

 

9 times out of 10 it will be the air springs, not compressor or solenoid.

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Yeh thanks, its a 15 plate, and done around 38,000 miles.   no idea if anything has ever ben replaced.  Its booked in tomorrow for the EGR cooler recall, and I have asked for a diagnostic to get the fault. Its raised up again now and sat proud....  again, put it into sports mode and it lifts. If you add any weight it drops ( i don't mean drops because I've added 1 tonne) I mean, you sit in the back and get out and you can see it doing down.  the images attached one was at the local garage who couldn't do anything and another I took today. Crazy man. I will follow up with the problem later in the week incase helps anyone else.

bmw2.jpg

bmw1.jpg

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Haha mine looked like that every morning for a couple of weeks before I got my arse in gear and replaced the bags.

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Hi guys, just thought to share BMW feedback. You guys were right!   BMW just called and advised the nearside airbag has a slight leak, and they advise that I get them both done. they have quoted £1,040 to fit 2 air bags. I have no idea if this is a good price, I am calling an independent now to check.

 

First garage has quoted £670 to fit 2 x Arnott air springs

 

just waiting on the next....

Edited by SimonH

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Do it yourself.... Not difficult. No special tools needed. Loads of direction and advice on here where needed.

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Yeah, I would have done  back in the day mate.. unfortunately now have MS and difficult enough getting dressed lol.   Just waiting on Dubshack in longton.

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The springs will be in the region of £350 or so for the pair. Fitting shouldn't take more than a couple of hours. The garage quoting £670 must be charging an arm and a leg for labour.

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As per above if parts are only a third of that figure, and with labour at an indy about £50 and hour its more likely a "go away we don't want the job price as its too difficult/we haven't done that one before".

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6 hours ago, SimonH said:

Hi guys, just thought to share BMW feedback. You guys were right!   BMW just called and advised the nearside airbag has a slight leak, and they advise that I get them both done. they have quoted £1,040 to fit 2 air bags. I have no idea if this is a good price, I am calling an independent now to check.

 

First garage has quoted £670 to fit 2 x Arnott air springs

 

just waiting on the next....

 

Sytner quoted me about £1,200. I bought Arnott springs for about £350 and did the job myself. It's pretty easy and there are plenty of guides on here as well as the instructions that come with the Arnott springs which are fairly good.

 

You will need a heavy duty jack and axle stands so if you don't have that it will bump your costs up a litte but better than being taken to the cleaners by BMW.

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The car is back, they said that when in sports mode the compressor is working extra -  to make the ride more sporty i guess. They cannot believe I had a quote of £550. I said to BMW actually even that is a bit steep as only a 2 hour job lol. and the springs are around £350 for a pair.  BMW quoted £550 a side.  Anyway, many thanks to all that gave advice. The fault is a leaking airbag and then apparently self leveling makes the other side go down to level it out with the bad side.  I will get them both done. thanks again.

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1 hour ago, SimonH said:

The car is back, they said that when in sports mode the compressor is working extra -  to make the ride more sporty i guess. They cannot believe I had a quote of £550. I said to BMW actually even that is a bit steep as only a 2 hour job lol. and the springs are around £350 for a pair.  BMW quoted £550 a side.  Anyway, many thanks to all that gave advice. The fault is a leaking airbag and then apparently self leveling makes the other side go down to level it out with the bad side.  I will get them both done. thanks again.

I was wondering if that was why sport mode seemed to temporarily solve things. Presumably sport mode only stiffens the rear (as well as the front) on cars with active suspension? I don’t have active and for me the sport button not changes the throttle response and steering weight.

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3 hours ago, SimonH said:

The car is back, they said that when in sports mode the compressor is working extra -  to make the ride more sporty i guess. They cannot believe I had a quote of £550. I said to BMW actually even that is a bit steep as only a 2 hour job lol. and the springs are around £350 for a pair.  BMW quoted £550 a side.  Anyway, many thanks to all that gave advice. The fault is a leaking airbag and then apparently self leveling makes the other side go down to level it out with the bad side.  I will get them both done. thanks again.

 

I bought Dunlop bags on ebay, £170 for both and it took me an hour to do both. It's much, much easier than it sounds, so even an indi shouldn't charge more than 1 hour labour.

Edited by Toughguyhuh

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On 21/05/2021 at 19:44, F1-11 said:

I was wondering if that was why sport mode seemed to temporarily solve things. Presumably sport mode only stiffens the rear (as well as the front) on cars with active suspension? I don’t have active and for me the sport button not changes the throttle response and steering weight.

 

@SimonH

 

Just to close this one off, the compressor is there for one thing only and that is to manage the ride height of the rear of the car. The compressor does nothing additional when in sport mode other than to manage ride height - the mechanic is misinformed (not unusual).

 

Variable Damper Control would be the only option on the car that could adjust the "stiffness" of the ride not the airbags.

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Thanks Matthew, Car has been sat on my drive since Friday when i picked it up from BMW. Booked into an indi on Wednesday.  still get 2 fingers between the tyre and arch.... baffles me as they said bag is leaking but both sides still up since friday. Using Mrs car for now.   Also, was hoping they would have replaced the EGR Cooler as this was the second recall, they said it is fine.  Ive noticed the car has a slight stutter in acceleration, not constant just every hour or so, usually when cruise control is on, and looking at the letter for the recall it said a symptom was acceleration hesitance.  I have checked here and few people mention EGR Valve! I have ordered 2 x bottles of FORTE turbo diesel treatment and will give it a shot.

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9 minutes ago, SimonH said:

Thanks Matthew, Car has been sat on my drive since Friday when i picked it up from BMW. Booked into an indi on Wednesday.  still get 2 fingers between the tyre and arch.... baffles me as they said bag is leaking but both sides still up since friday. Using Mrs car for now.   Also, was hoping they would have replaced the EGR Cooler as this was the second recall, they said it is fine.  Ive noticed the car has a slight stutter in acceleration, not constant just every hour or so, usually when cruise control is on, and looking at the letter for the recall it said a symptom was acceleration hesitance.  I have checked here and few people mention EGR Valve! I have ordered 2 x bottles of FORTE turbo diesel treatment and will give it a shot.

 

Re your rear airbags, It could be that as the bags fold in over themselves they actually seal any hole or leak which would be most evident as the car is standing idle and not undulating over bumps - maybe.

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