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Old 5th March 2014, 01:44   #1
fathead431
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Rover 75 Tourer 2.5, Slammed 1.4 Rover 45 Hatchback

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Lightbulb Fitting Coilovers: How-To

I fitted coilovers to my tourer the other day and I'm going to share how I did it. It's a long read, but this is an exact guide of what I did and what worked for me.

Sticky in the How-To's section might be worthwhile.

Difficulty Level: 2-4 cups of tea.

You will need:

Parts:
Coilover suspension of your choice for a 6 cylinder petrol BMW E46 saloon.
A spare set of front top mounts, new bearings are a good idea.
M14 44-46mm diameter washers, 3mm or thicker, of good quality
Strong cable ties or other securing devices
E46 adjustable drop links


Tools and things:
A very good quality socket set
Breaker bar
Spanners
Phillips head screwdriver
Torx screwdriver bits for removing boot trim
WD40
A Dremel/Junior hacksaw/stanley knife for cutting rubber
Wedging device/crowbar for stubborn parts
Wedging device for removing trim panels
Trolley jack and a block of wood
Axle stands
A Haynes Manual if you aren't too confident
Oompa Loompas

How I modified the coilovers to fit:

This is a bit of a bodge job really so do this at your own risk, but what did you expect. Coilovers for our cars do not exist., and if you want to get low, theres no real alternative.

Disclaimer:
You are responsible for any work or modifications carried out on your car and you undertake any such work at your own risk. Neither The 75 and ZT Owners Club nor the original author of these How-To's can be held liable for anything that may happen as a result of you following these How-To's.
Any modifications should be reported to your insurance company.


The Front:

Using the methods of your choice, disassemble the spare standard rover/mg top mounts: remove the bearing and remove the UPPER half of the rubber bush AND the corresponding metal outer shield.
This is press fitted and will be difficult to remove.
I suggest replacing the bearings before refitting.
The springs sit at an angle at the front over the shock absorbers. The coilovers I used, TA Technix coilovers, came with standard flat ended springs. For this reason, I chopped up one of the spring seats at the top that came with the coilovers to sit at a slight angle to reduce pressure on the top mount bearing.
The top mount needs no modification minus the removal of the upper half of the rubber bushing/shielding. This is done because the threaded part of the coilover shaft is much shorter than that of the standard shock absorber.
The 44-46mm diameter washer will sit on top of the lower half of the rubber bushing shield and prevent the rubber bushing from being pulled through the top mount, just like the OEM washer that sits on top of the shock shaft under the lower half of the bushing. The lower part of the bushing casing, the metal bit that goes around it, needs to be welded to the top mount or it will also be pulled through and result in brown pants.
I found out the hard way that you really really need this washer and the welding! Scary.
This should allow the top mount to be fitted to the coilover securely.

The other alternative is to use pillowball E46 top mounts, however this requires drilling 3 new holes in the strut top. Although I don't believe the extra holes will compromise structural integrity because the bolt holes are not supporting weight, the strut top edges where the face of the top mount sits are, I didn't fancy drilling into a nice tourer that I had only owned for barely two weeks.





The washer on the top:




Where the small tack welds need to be under the top mount. If you are unable to get this done locally, post it to me and I will do it for the cost of the return postage!





The rear:
Drill out the 12mm hole in the lower bushing/mount to 14mm. The rear springs will fit with some fettling (explained later)




The drilled out mounting hole:




----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


Fitting




Lets begin with the front of the car

Step 1:
Crack your wheel nuts.
Jack up the car using a trolley jack and a block of wood just to the rear of the rubber jacking point. The wood will prevent damage to the sills, they are strong enough to be used as jacking points with little or no damage.
Place the axle stands under the jacking points and lower the car onto the stands. Remove the wheels.
WD40 everything. Really. The bolts will be rusty and/or seized. Use lots of it, or any other similar product of your choice.

Step 2:

Have a cuppa. Let the WD40 soak in and do its business.

Step 3:
Disconnect the Anti roll bar at the lower ball joints. this should allow it to swing freely and be out of the way.

Step 4:
Loosen the 15mm bolt at the base of the shock absorber. This bolt clamps the bottom of the shock absorber. It's torqued RFT.
Remove this bolt. Pro tip: clean with a wire brush and WD40 before refitting.

Step 5:
Lift the brake lines and ABS sensor gubbins out of their holder on the shock absorber.

Step 6:

Here you have two options:

1) Undo the lower ball joint clamp bolt and slide it out. Lower the arm down and pop the hub out, taking care not to stress the brake lines.
2) Compress the springs by approximately 3-4 inches.

I chose option 2, because the bolt for the lower ball joint clamp was seized absolutely solid into the hub and could not be removed even with the use of a lump hammer and three men, two armed with beards.

Step 7:
Loosen all three top mount nuts. Wiggle the bottom of the shock absorber out of the hub, you might need to apply some force to the hub to pull it down to release it. Upon release the shock absorber should be dangling loosely.

Step 8:
Summon an Oompa Loompa to hold the shock absorber whilst you free it from the top by removing the three top mount nuts, remove along with the dangling drop links, and set aside.

Step 9:
Set the standard shock assemblies on fire, cook some manly food over them, and dance around as if it were a sacrifice to the gods. They're probably shot, mine were shot beyond belief, leaking and corroded and snapped springs.

Step 10:
Have a cuppa. You can't make your car awesome on an empty stomach, and that meat tasted pretty shocking (get it?).

Step 11:
Work backwards. Start by securing the coilovers from the top mounts.

Step 12:
Wiggle the shock absorber into the hub.
If you chose option 1 above, make sure to re-fit before continuing.
The coilovers are shorter, and will fit without compressing the springs
On my coilovers, there is a metal threaded tube that adjusts ride height with a securing adjuster above it. This adjuster should sit on the hub.
Adjust the height before fitting, start higher than you think you want to go.
The CV joints do not like being lowered and will wobble if you go too low.
I also found after a few weeks that the threaded tube, if set too low, allows the bottom of the shock to foul the CV boot (IT SPLIT...GREASE. EVERYWHERE.)
Step 13:
Secure the lower clamp with your cleaned up bolt. Torque to Arnold Schwarzenegger lbs ft.

Step 14:
Adjust and attach your drop links. They will bolt to the side of the coilover, so for this reason the standard drop links cannot be used. They may foul other parts of the suspension if the length of the drop links are not correct, giving the illusion of very stiff suspension. This should be sorted immediately as it may result in damage.

Step 15:
Secure the brake lines and ABS sensor lines to the shock absorber. They should preferably be behind the shock absorber. Do this using lots of heavy duty cable ties, or other method you deem fit.

Step 16:
Double check everything. Twice.
Suspension is not something you want to get wrong.

Step 17:
Re fit the wheels And remove the axle stands.
If required, lower the car extremely slowly and manually seat the top of the springs into the rubber part of the top mount bearings. They may sit slightly wonky, but this hasn't caused me any issues apart from my very well worn bearings popping apart when I was adjusting. This is why you need new bearings.
Slowly lower it to the floor and admire your handy work.

Step 18:
Before continuing with the rears, take it for a short drive around the block and make some U turns, swing it about a bit. Check for knocking or crunching or any other expensive sounding noises. I found that in my case, the washers in the top mounts clicked at full lock due to the bushing flexing.
if you feel wobbling under accelleration past 15mph then you might be sat too low, causing stress to the CV joints. If this is the case, raise it up until it no longer wobbles. If you wish to go lower, you may need to raise the engine as I plan to in the near future.

Step 19:
Adjust the height and length of the drop links if you need to. Double check visually for loose bolts or components.

Step 20:
Have another cuppa.





The rear:

Step 1:
Crack the wheel nuts.
Chock the front wheels.
Apply the handbrake for jacking.
Jack up the car using the same method as the front.
Remove the wheels.
Apply WD40 to the lower shock absorber mounting bolt.

Step 2:
Loosen the bolt at the bottom of the rear shock absorber after letting some WD40 soak in.

Step 3:
In the boot, remove any trim necessary to access the two rear top mount nuts.

Step 4:
Loosen the two nuts and remove the rubber cap that covers the top mount.
Remove the two nuts and have your Oompa Loompa hold the shock absorbers so they don't fall to the floor.

Step 5:
Remove the springs. There are two methods.
1) Release the inside securing bolt for the rear arm to provide extra room to remove the spring.
2) Employ several Oompa Loompas (Or one average person) to stand on the rear hub. Use a crow bar or tire iron to wiggle the spring out of its holder.

Step 6:
Remove the rubber spring seats by lubricating with WD40, rotating them 90 degrees, and pulling them out. Cut them to fit your new springs if required. I needed to cut the stubby bits off of them to fit the lower spring adjuster.

Step 7:
Insert the adjuster into the bottom of the spring and fit the spring in place. Check it seats fine and lines up correctly.

Step 8:
Remove the top mounts from the old shock absorbers and re-use them, including the big washer that sits underneath the bushing. They should fit the new shock absorbers, mine did without issue.

Step 9:
Re-fit the shock absorbers from the top first.
Using the trolley jack, jack up the hub from the ball joint (not the brake disc) until the lower shock absorber mount lines up with the appropriate hole in the rear hub. Tighten it up.

Step 10:
Re-fit the wheel.
Double check the front wheels are securely chocked and will not move.
Release the handbrake: it can sit the car higher than it actually is due to the tension in the brakes and arm bushings.
Remove the axle stands and lower the car, checking the spring is seating correctly at the top and bottom.
Apply the handbrake once on the floor.


Step 11:
Take the car for a short drive and check for expensive sounding noises. I found no major issues or noises apart from the springs settling within the first few hundred yards, and the internal bump stop on the shock absorbers taking a beating with a full boot.

Step 12:
Adjust the rideheight accordingly.

Step 13:
Dismiss your Oompa Loompas.

Step 14: IMPORTANT
Drive through a busy area and enjoy the looks of amazement, bemusement and utter disgust from teenagers, their parents, and the elderly respectively.

Step 15:
Have a frosty refreshing pint. Unless you need to drive somewhere. In which case have another cuppa.



Congratulations, you've made your car awesome.



Swag.




Last edited by fathead431; 8th August 2014 at 04:14.. Reason: Removal of unnecessary pic
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Old 5th March 2014, 02:35   #2
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Very well done

However as you have indicated that more pics & details will be forthcoming, it will probably best to await the completed article before putting it in the How To's for posterity

Please let me know when completed and I will do the biz
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Old 5th March 2014, 02:38   #3
fathead431
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Will do, I have some height adjustments to make tomorrow so it should be done late afternoon
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Old 13th June 2014, 02:50   #4
fathead431
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updated with a few more pictures including updates from the last few months of use, worth pinning now if you want it pinned
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Old 16th June 2014, 22:23   #5
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And inserted into the How To's here
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Old 16th June 2014, 23:41   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fathead431 View Post
Swag.



You can't say things like that here!
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Old 17th June 2014, 02:54   #7
fathead431
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Quote:
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You can't say things like that here!
With what I've got planned for it I'm due to be hung drawn and quartered in the near future
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Old 17th June 2014, 09:55   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fathead431 View Post
With what I've got planned for it I'm due to be hung drawn and quartered in the near future
cut and shut a low roof, now that would look cool, proper mafia motor then
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Old 19th June 2014, 11:22   #9
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Originally Posted by GeraintUK View Post
cut and shut a low roof, now that would look cool, proper mafia motor then
Oh. My. God.

Do it.
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Old 19th June 2014, 13:36   #10
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please can somebody tell me what coilovers are?

they look like shock adsorbers and if so what is the diffrence please?
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