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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
It took me less than a week to do my first mod to my M5. Decided to go with Eibach springs rather than H&Rs because I've been impressed with how they balance a conservative drop while retaining near stock ride quality.

Did what others have done changing out the front springs with the shocks still in the hub. Almost missed the ride height sensor for the lights on the passenger side! Definitely something that's easy to forget. Aside from that, it was pretty straight forward. I used blue masking tape to cover the fender lips to make sure that they didn't get nicked as I move the shock in and out.

I however don't understand how people have been able to do the rears without removing the wheel well liners - I found it impossible to get enough clearance to get the shock out without removing them. The passenger side you just have to remove the two bolts holding in the evap unit.

All in all, very happy with the results. Completely closed the wheel gap front and rear. Ride quality is barely noticeably stiffer - honestly where I think it should have been stock. I get my 15mm spacers for all four corners in this week, so once those are installed I'll post up pics.<!-- google_ad_section_end -->
 

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Looking forward to pics. I have a set of Eibachs in the box and I can't decide whether I want to put them on. Please post pic or two before fitting spacers. I was thinking 10 or 12mm spacers as I don't like the tires bulging out effect that 15+mm spacers give.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Yeah will do a before and after with the spacers later this week. I think you'll be happy with the eibachs. If you want it more "slammed" looking though, go with the H&Rs
 

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I have my Eibach Prokit sitting in my garage and still wondering if I should attempt this myself. How long did it take you and which DIY did you use?? I will probably be doing the install this weekend.
 

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Discussion Starter #5 (Edited)
I have my Eibach Prokit sitting in my garage and still wondering if I should attempt this myself. How long did it take you and which DIY did you use?? I will probably be doing the install this weekend.
It took me about 5-6 hours using hand tools from start to finish (including figuring out where the front jack point is and re-installing all the trim and such). I used all the DIYs as a guide - all of them show the major steps. I've done about a few dozen suspension swaps though - many of them on E39s, and the E60 is considerably easier. Here's more detail on what I found during my install:

Fronts:

1) before jacking up the car, break free lug nuts with a 17mm socket but do not remove. Also while the car is down, remove the 3 nuts holding the tops of the struts to the towers with a 13mm socket. I didn't have to remove the cabin filters - just used a skinny socket, but your mileage may vary :) You'll also need to remove the electrical connector on the top of the strut rod by pull straight up - do not twist it.

2) Jack up the car using the front center jack plate - it's a plastic/rubber rectangle just aft of the front splash shield. You should be able to squeeze a normal jack underneath with the stock suspension though it's tight. Place jack stands under front side jack mounts and lower car down, but leave the jack under the center front jack point with a bit of tension as an additional safety point (I like to have at least two, ideally three failure points when I'm working on a car). Remove wheels.

3) Next step is removing the sway bar link and brake line mounts from the strut assembly. Use 18mm sockets (have to hold nut stationary while you remove the bolt) on the pinch bolt and a 16mm socket on the other bolt. The sway bar assembly swing out of the way. Important note: remove the headlight position sensor on the passenger side control arm with a 10mm socket.

4) At this point you should be able to shove down the strut assembly down far enough to fit your spring compressors. You'll need to get 3 coils on each side grabbed by the spring compressors - 2 on one side and 3 on the other won't work. You'll have to compress it a decent amount, about an inch, to get enough clearance to swing the strut assembly out. Once you swing it out, you'll need to remove the the strut nut. This will take a little ingenuity and care to remove - because the nut is a little recessed, it' helps to have a combination wrench with a little bend. One thing to note is be careful not to rotate the strut rod relative to the strut body too much - it can damage it if you're spinning it a lot.

5) Once you get the nut off, you'll have to compress the eibachs as well to get the assembly to fit back into the wheel well. This is important to note - I tried without compressing first, but even with the decent amount of drop it's still not short enough to fit. I also a few layers of tape on the lip of my fenders to make sure that I didn't damage the paint - was a good idea because it saved me from a few nicks in the paint. Once you get it back in, installation is the reverse of the above steps. The fronts are honestly the harder part of it - mainly because you have to use the spring compressors. Note: because you've decreased road clearance, you won't be able to get the jack out once you lower the car down. What I do is wedge a bit of a rhino ramp under one of the wheels before I lower the car. That way when I lower the jack, there's enough clearance to get it past the splash shields and you can just back it down the ramp after.

Rears:

1) The E60 design improved on the E39 with this design by actually giving you access to the top of the shock mounts through the trunk. The E39 required removing the entire rear shelf assembly and seats, which was a pain with fragile and brittle sun hardened plastic clips. You'll need to fold down the rear seats (assuming you have the 40/60 folding seats like me). Remove the two clips holding in the two side trim panels. You'll then need to remove the trunk carpet and then remove the rear storage cubbys by turning the clips a quarter turn. Note - only need to remove the rear most panels. The ones covering the strut mounts only need to be folding sideways to get out of the way. Once you remove the trim panels you'll see why people ***** about the top of the strut mounts. Remove the two black foam rubber covers - they're not clipped in or anything, just need to grab it and pull out.

2) Electrical connectors to the shocks are removed at the wire, not at the top of the shock like the fronts. Remove the 3 13mm nuts on the top of the shock mounts. Loosen lug bolts in the rear and then jack up the car by the differential - some people frown on this, but I've yet to have this fail as a jacking method. Probably smart to use a piece of scrap wood though to protect the diff from scratches from your jack. Just as with the fronts, support at the three points and remove wheels.

3) Remove wheel well liners using an 8mm socket for all the little screws. I know that other DIYs say that you don't need to do it, but honestly just do it, you'll thank me because you'll waste an hour scratching your head and trying to do some weird tetris with the shock assembly to get it out - it won't work without removing the liner, trust me (at least on my car). There are also a couple 10mm nuts holding them in. On the passenger side, you'll need to unbolt the evap unit by remove a couple bolts and swing it out of the way - that's all you have to do on that side for clearance. The only thing left holding the shock in is an 18mm bolt at the bottom. I used a socket wrench with a 2-3 foot long "helper" pipe at the end of it for leverage (I just too the handle off my jack and used that). It's on there tight - over 100 ft lbs, so you'll need the leverage unless you're Lou Ferrigno. Once you have the bolt off, I just kick it to get it off the hub assembly.

4) So truthfully, you really should use spring compressors to get the old springs off the rears, but they're not on there as tight as the fronts are so I just looked away while carefully and loosely holding my wrench as I removed the nut. You don't need compressors to get the eibachs on though - just a decent push on top of the shock will expose enough of the thread to get the nut started. Now you'll realize sooner or later that the strut hat needs to be positioned a specific way in order for the lower mount to line up properly with the hole in the hub. Thankfully the spring tension is loose enough that you can rotate the two halves once you get the top of the strut mounted up. Re-installation is the reverse of the steps above.

And that's pretty much it! All in all the fronts took me about 3-3.5 hours and the rears took 2. I could probably do it in 3-4 hours doing it again - not bad.
 

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Good summary, thanks. Will add to DIY thread.
 

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It took me about 5-6 hours using hand tools from start to finish
A compressor and air tools will make DIY projects much more enjoyable :lightbulb:

3) Remove wheel well liners using an 8mm socket for all the little screws. I know that other DIYs say that you don't need to do it, but honestly just do it, you'll thank me because you'll waste an hour scratching your head and trying to do some weird tetris with the shock assembly to get it out - it won't work without removing the liner, trust me (at least on my car). There are also a couple 10mm nuts holding them in. On the passenger side, you'll need to unbolt the evap unit by remove a couple bolts and swing it out of the way - that's all you have to do on that side for clearance. The only thing left holding the shock in is an 18mm bolt at the bottom. I used a socket wrench with a 2-3 foot long "helper" pipe at the end of it for leverage (I just too the handle off my jack and used that). It's on there tight - over 100 ft lbs, so you'll need the leverage unless you're Lou Ferrigno. Once you have the bolt off, I just kick it to get it off the hub assembly.
Removing the shock is a puzzle :confused:
One "trick" is to disconnect the swaybar link and drop the base of the shock into that space. This gives just enough clearance -- this works on the M6, but the M5 could be different.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
A compressor and air tools will make DIY projects much more enjoyable :lightbulb:


Removing the shock is a puzzle :confused:
One "trick" is to disconnect the swaybar link and drop the base of the shock into that space. This gives just enough clearance -- this works on the M6, but the M5 could be different.
Actually that should work as well - I removed the sway bar link on the passenger side to get enough clearance for my breaker bar for the lower shock bolt, but removing it completely from the hub would likely give you enough clearance to wiggle the shock out too. It'd be close to a wash in terms of time versus removing the wheel well liners I think - that and it gives you an excuse to dump out all the dirt and rocks that accumulate around the liner.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
One other thing - I know that there is that thread about fears of catastrophic failure of the top strut mount nuts if they're not replaced. Now, I don't begrudge anyone that's being cautious, but I don't think it's a big deal on the strut mounts. When you think mechanically what the nuts are asked to do, and the relatively low amount of torque put on them, they should be able to survive at least a few cycles of reuse. I've done a few dozen suspension swaps all told on various bimmers, and they all use the same type of nut on the strut mounts and none of them have failed after six digits of mileage. Comparing them to single use head bolts is taking it a bit far, as those bolts are absolutely single use. But unless you're taking your M5 offroading, I think you're safe :)

The threads I've seen on here of catastrophic shock/spring failure have been clear cases of either extreme impact like potholes big enough to crack wheels, or people who have used springs that are so low that it's bottom out the shock.
 

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dude, thanks for the write up!!! I will be doing the drop this weekend and I will use your DIY...Thanks again much appreciated!!
 

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One other thing - I know that there is that thread about fears of catastrophic failure of the top strut mount nuts if they're not replaced. Now, I don't begrudge anyone that's being cautious, but I don't think it's a big deal on the strut mounts. When you think mechanically what the nuts are asked to do, and the relatively low amount of torque put on them, they should be able to survive at least a few cycles of reuse. I've done a few dozen suspension swaps all told on various bimmers, and they all use the same type of nut on the strut mounts and none of them have failed after six digits of mileage. Comparing them to single use head bolts is taking it a bit far, as those bolts are absolutely single use. But unless you're taking your M5 offroading, I think you're safe :)

The threads I've seen on here of catastrophic shock/spring failure have been clear cases of either extreme impact like potholes big enough to crack wheels, or people who have used springs that are so low that it's bottom out the shock.
so did you reuse the nuts or got new ones?
 

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Everyone reuses them. I know that stickied post is a PSA but I think that was a freak/extreme situation. That or they just didn't even tighten them down. Thats what I suspect. Someone was in a hurry and forgot.
 

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It's the rear lower strut mounting bolt that someone had fail. The top nuts aren't any big deal as mentioned, but the lower bolt that is in shear + bending is the one to worry about.
 

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BTW, I would have to say that the Eibach Pro Kit setup ride quality is dead near stock. I really can't tell a difference. The car does look a whole lot better without the front wheel gap.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
It's the rear lower strut mounting bolt that someone had fail. The top nuts aren't any big deal as mentioned, but the lower bolt that is in shear + bending is the one to worry about.
Ah - hmm in that case that's probably not a bad idea. It's a very high torque bolt so probably only allows limited tightening cycles. I'll probably just replace those in the next week.
 

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Great write up, this should be a sticky.
 

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Nice detailed write up, I reused my bolts too and have not seen any issues thus far.
 

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Nice detailed write up, I reused my bolts too and have not seen any issues thus far.
Just replace that lower rear bolt on the rear strut since it is taking shear + bending loads and supports the entire vertical suspension load on each side. This is the bolt that will ruin your day, and if it fails at high speed especially on track, can result in a catastrophic outcome.
 
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