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Raymond

E39 Touring air suspension (again)

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Dan, pictures are back up but annotations are lost.

 

Pretty straight forward though.

 

- 2x 10mm bolts and 2x 10mm nuts to get the compressor housing up.

 

- 3 x 10mm bolts that hold the compressor assy into the housing. (I think you can get the solenoids out without removing the compressor assy. I was taking the whole thing apart back then)

 

- The solenoids are under the gold coloured plates held in by two screws each.

 

When you get the solenoids out there's a cylindrical bit inside that sometimes get stuck. Just clean it up in there.

Edited by Raymond

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Sorry to dig up an old thread, but I've been waiting for my bag(s) to finally give up for ages. The car has been periodically sitting on the deck when parked, for a few years now. Compressor has been firing up as soon as I unlock the car and it's pumped up fine... Until today. Had to limp the car home, stopping occasionally so the bag could partially inflate... Not a fun drive. Compressor still fires up and I can hear the air hissing out.

I'm skint and really can't afford the bags from ecp or BMW. Does anyone have any experience with the ones from eBay? Are there different size bags for a sport?

(530i Sport Touring Auto, '02).

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9 hours ago, albash82 said:

Sorry to dig up an old thread, but I've been waiting for my bag(s) to finally give up for ages. The car has been periodically sitting on the deck when parked, for a few years now. Compressor has been firing up as soon as I unlock the car and it's pumped up fine... Until today. Had to limp the car home, stopping occasionally so the bag could partially inflate... Not a fun drive. Compressor still fires up and I can hear the air hissing out.

I'm skint and really can't afford the bags from ecp or BMW. Does anyone have any experience with the ones from eBay? Are there different size bags for a sport?

(530i Sport Touring Auto, '02).

 

To 'get you by' I'd say they'd be ok; the Arnott ones I fitted to my previous touring a couple of months ago were c£140 each, so I'd highly recommend you save for those and get them fitted ASAP

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9 hours ago, albash82 said:

Sorry to dig up an old thread, but I've been waiting for my bag(s) to finally give up for ages. The car has been periodically sitting on the deck when parked, for a few years now. Compressor has been firing up as soon as I unlock the car and it's pumped up fine... Until today. Had to limp the car home, stopping occasionally so the bag could partially inflate... Not a fun drive. Compressor still fires up and I can hear the air hissing out.

I'm skint and really can't afford the bags from ecp or BMW. Does anyone have any experience with the ones from eBay? Are there different size bags for a sport?

(530i Sport Touring Auto, '02).

I fitted maxpeedingrods bag of eBay just after Christmas last year. 9 months later it's running faultless(probably around 15k miles done on it), not leaking air at all, even if left for over a week, car is still perfectly in level. Price was around £25 per side. There been some serious load in car as well, when I was sorting out backyard and needed some pavers to get home, so I can't tell anything bad about them.

On that time I replaced just one side, not a pleasure to work in winter on driveway, other side was left for later, but now it started to drop in the mornings two days ago, so waiting for other side bag to be delivered hopefully today.

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1 minute ago, know-dice said:

Yes, but some manufacturers are making one size bags for both - SE and sport models. In the end height and vehicle will stay the same, because it's controlled by senator, not bag size. Stiffness might change slightly due to little different bag size.

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Brilliant, thanks for the quick replies. I did wonder about the fact some I'd seen had both part no's. I'll get it ordered and fitted this week.

Need to replace the boot lid and glass struts next. I'm sure there'll be a handy thread on here about that! ;-)

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5 minutes ago, albash82 said:

Brilliant, thanks for the quick replies. I did wonder about the fact some I'd seen had both part no's. I'll get it ordered and fitted this week.

Need to replace the boot lid and glass struts next. I'm sure there'll be a handy thread on here about that! ;-)

 

Aerosus make Sport and SE; Arnott do one for all and they're the ones to go for IMO

 

They're made by Continental, so the best rubbers used and there was a decent write up on Bimmerforums re them, Aerosus, OEM BMW and eBay bags and the Arnott ones came out on top; the guy even cut into them to see their design and you could see why they did so well.

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50 minutes ago, albash82 said:

Brilliant, thanks for the quick replies. I did wonder about the fact some I'd seen had both part no's. I'll get it ordered and fitted this week.

Need to replace the boot lid and glass struts next. I'm sure there'll be a handy thread on here about that! ;-)

Indeed there is few threads about boot lid gas struts. I have replaced just the ones for glass and it's holding whole lid up well. So you can try to start with those and see how it goes. Plus they are little easier to replace than main ones. Definitely don't buy unknown make struts, they fail in no time. Stabilus struts are having good reputation. 

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17 minutes ago, Ray112 said:

Indeed there is few threads about boot lid gas struts. I have replaced just the ones for glass and it's holding whole lid up well. So you can try to start with those and see how it goes. Plus they are little easier to replace than main ones. Definitely don't buy unknown make struts, they fail in no time. Stabilus struts are having good reputation. 

 

Stabilus are OEM; so best to stick with them 

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38 minutes ago, d_a_n1979 said:

 

Stabilus are OEM; so best to stick with them 

I even didn't know they are OEM, thought it's top quality aftermarket manufacturer. You live - you learn :rolleyes:

By the way a lot of industrial machinery in my workplace have stabilus gas springs/struts as well, that prove they are good. 

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Yep, I was going to get the stabilus.

Going back to the airbags. Should I buy any more hardware or fittings? Like the clip in the picture above.

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21 minutes ago, albash82 said:

Yep, I was going to get the stabilus.

Going back to the airbags. Should I buy any more hardware or fittings? Like the clip in the picture above.

No, unless you are not planning to break it:D  and you can't get them new any more. Second hand from beakers or sometime you can find 3d printed ones for sale, thought I don't know about quality about them.

Key to success is to remove it correctly. You need to push tabs together, then other side of clip opens and you can lift air piping of the bag.( Clip is still left in metal connector) picture below is of my car taken 5 minutes ago.

 

Main mistake people do is when they try to pull tabs open, there's when you break the clip. Picture on top of this page shows the clip very well. 

IMG_20210918_105301.jpg

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Removing bag took about 15 minutes, now waiting for delivery driver to show up. So while waiting I can give a quick description of replacing process. First you don't want compressor to start while doing this, so I removed fuse 49 and fuse 50 from right corner in boot. Both are for air suspension. For double check I turned ignition on, SLS warning light was staying on, so system is inoperative now. 

If you still have pressure in bag you are replacing, you can release it by partly disconnecting red or blue air line next to battery, but if airbag is leaking, most likely there won't be pressure in it, especially when wheels are jacked up.

 

Next you remove boot floor, I took spare wheel out as well, so it's easier to stand while removing air line connector. 

Remove connector first, then two metal clips holding air bag. Next there's one bolt from underside of bag, 13mm spanner is all you need, not enough place for socket and wrench, so make sure you have 13mm spanner in tool box. 

Once bolt is out, take flat head screwdriver and hammer, give couple taps around airbag plastic base to separate it from suspension arm. With road dirt and aluminium tendency to oxidase, airbag base won't come of just by pushing with hand. 

Once airbag is of, clean of suspension arm from all dirt, to make clean and smooth surface where new airbag can sit on. Installation process is reversed to above description. You will need to life up wheel hub to get top of new airbag in place. 

Once new airbag is installed,  insert back fuses, slowly lower car jack, SLS system should activate. You might need to start engine, can't remember that, or it depends on battery state. Once car is back on wheels, sitting straight, take window cleaner, soapy water or anything else to quickly check for air leaks. Mainly spray on to of connector, just to be sure these no air coming out and then you can put boot floor back together. Overall it's quite simple job, if doing it first time, don't rush, because that's when mistakes happen. 

 

For that plastic clip I found sharp nose pliers quite handy to release clip and flat head screwdriver to push up connector. 

 

When installing new bag, don't remove cover cap before bag is installed in place, you don't want any sands to fall inside air suspension system. 

 

That's about it, hopefully courier will show up soon and I can finish my spannering. Hopefully this little write-up will help someone who never did it before.

Edited by Ray112

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16 hours ago, Ray112 said:

When in next morning you see rear end still in the same level as you left it in previous day, you know repair has been successful. 

Which bags did you go for in the end?

Mine sank while I was in Devon a few weeks back. Been fine since but I imagine they are the originals so they are on my very long to do list 

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1 hour ago, Gte86 said:

Which bags did you go for in the end?

Mine sank while I was in Devon a few weeks back. Been fine since but I imagine they are the originals so they are on my very long to do list 

 

Think Ray said he want for eBay generic ones

 

Personally I wouldn't use anything but Arnott (or Aerosus); but Arnott are the best to go for

 

It's the trust factor for me; I know eBay ones are cheaper and you could replace them a few times for the price of the Arnott ones. But for me, do the job right, with the right parts, first time around etc

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6 hours ago, Gte86 said:

Which bags did you go for in the end?

Mine sank while I was in Devon a few weeks back. Been fine since but I imagine they are the originals so they are on my very long to do list 

I went for maxpeedingrods bags. These ones mate.  https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Rear-Left-Suspension-Bellows-Air-Ride-Spring-Bag-For-BMW-E39-Touring-37121094613-/362696617255?mkcid=16&mkevt=1&_trksid=p2349624.m2548.l6249&mkrid=710-127635-2958-0

 

This specific is for SE touring left side. Don't know if they have different part for sport model or not. Quality vise they feel good, handling the same as before with original bags, no air leaks. Other side bag is from the same same seller is on car for good 9 months, around 15k done and it's faultless. It's very easy to replace them, so even if they fail after some time, it's not a big deal. 

 

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Managed to get it done this morning, but unfortunately discovered the jacking point at rear offside is completely rotten. Boooo.

As an amateur, I've always found it pretty daunting getting it on axle stands, so this really threw me. My trolleyjack is also a fairly p1ssy little affair and doesn't lift the car very high. I'd been messing around, using the car's little jack from the boot, to get the sunken side up, then I slid my trolleyjack into place under the diff, with a chock of timber in between, so I could get it high enough to get my axle stands under the jacking points... I hate doing this, especially when the car moves sideways in the jack... I was about to abandon anyway... Then I heard the jacking point go pop. I knew what it was straight away as I'd been chatting to a mate with a body shop a while ago about addressing my sills and arches. He said the jacking points would almost certainly need doing on it too, without even looking.

 

Anyway another mate came the rescue with a proper, big ol' trolleyjack. Slapped it straight under the diff and rested it onto some points where the rear arms meet the chassis.

After all that palava, it was plain sailing.

I'd already removed the boot floor and loosened the wheelnuts.

Although the wheel took a bit of persuasion to detach from the hub, which also highlighted that all the bushes in this area are shot. Ha!

Old bag was pretty easy to get out, as it was definitely holier than swiss cheese. Got the new one (£20 eBay job) in fairly easily too! 

Off the axle stands, back on the deck and locked and unlocked it off the remote key... Compressor fired up and instantly levelled it off. Very satisfying.

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IMG-20210924-WA0014.jpeg

IMG-20210924-WA0020.jpeg

IMG-20210924-WA0022.jpeg

IMG-20210924-WA0024.jpeg

IMG-20210924-WA0029.jpeg

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Good job mate.

About jack stands, for future reference I would locate them under subframe bushings not subframe itself. Big metal washers with bolt in the middle, that's where subframe bushings are. Definitely very strong area of chassis, because that's where subframe is attached to car and no risk to bent subframe, because load when lifting is taken through bushing centre( which is metal) to chassis. You got two bushings each side on the back of car, so with decent trolley jack you can lift car without using jacking points at all. I'm locating trolley jack under one subframe bushing and once that side is lifted, locating jack stand under other bushing. Then repeating process on other side. 

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