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Suspension on BMW 528i vs 528i xDrive

Seems like I need to replace the struts and shocks on my 2013 528i xDrive. The shop quoted me a rather large sum for parts and labor, which led me to wonder if I can do this as a DIY project. I have some questions about it that I’m hoping someone on here can answer:

  1. When I search for replacement parts and specify my exact vehicle, I don’t seem to get many or any results, depending on the site. But when I drop the xDrive specification and search for just “2013 528i” struts and shocks I get what appears to be a few decent choices. Do both these cars in fact use the same type of shocks and struts? Or am I missing something?

  2. Is this a job I can really do in my driveway? I found a nice video showing how to do the whole thing for an E46, but not for the newer F10. Am I nuts for even thinking about this?

  3. Should I replace just shocks and struts, or should I also include coils and mounts?

  4. Assuming the answer to #1 is that both 528i and 528i xDrive use the same parts, I am looking at Bilstein B4 parts, which are supposed to be OEM equivalent. Is this a decent choice or should I keep looking?

If you have your BMW dealer look up the parts, do they give you the same number or different numbers?

Out of curiousity, I went to Amazon and searched, found a complete assembly for 528i which said it fit. Then changed it to same car with xDrive and it did not fit.

Haven’t asked the dealer, but, which claims to sell OEM stuff, has slightly different part numbers.

Yup, that’s exactly what I saw too. I got the same result when searching the Bilstein website directly too. Specifying xDrive doesn’t work. Same with a bunch of other online stores. Perhaps I should reach out to Bilstein directly

I think they’re different, based on what’s been said.

But new struts/shocks on a 2013? How many miles?

This might be answered on a BMW forum.

If they are different, well that’s fine. What confuses me is that no aftermarket manufacturer seems to have them for the xDrive model. Like, is there a reason why they don’t make them? Or is it just some kind of mistake of coding the compatibility tables?

The car has 80k miles on it now.

Rockauto also has different part numbers for xDrive vs base model. Looks like they only carry Bilsteins for xDrive w/body code E92. These are cartridges so you’d have to disassemble the strut to replace them vs simpler assembly swap.

Yeah the E92 is an older 3-series, so a different beast. This is just weird that no manufacturer seems to make aftermarket or OEM replacement parts for this car.

I don’t know anything about the xdrive but aftermarket outfits look at the potential volume first before they tool up to produce a particular item. If the volume isn’t there, they aren’t going to bother. So any time you buy a car that has a small production number, parts may need to come from the dealer.

Strange. It was listed under 2013 models although I’m not familiar with the BMW styles.

No experience wBMW strut replacement, but if you decide to diy’er this job, I’d recommend you buy the parts from the BMW dealership, ask for the oem parts. If they ask about our car’s configuration, just give them the vin number. They can figure out everything they need to know from that. If they can’t, go to a different dealership.

You might could get away with aftermarket parts, but then again you might not. Not worth the risk imo. Not sure how your suspension is configured, but on my Corolla both front and rear are a shock absorber gadget positioned inside a coil spring. The difference front to rear – besides the spring and shut physical response constants – is the front one is part of the steering system, has to rotate when you turn the steering wheel, so is a little differently configured the way it interfaces to the rest of the car than the rear one. But everything is still a shock inside a spring basically. A strut in other words. The coil spring component rarely goes bad, especially in a newer car like yours. But it is easier to replace the whole strut as a unit rather than just the shock. So you got the choice of either buying a whole new strut, new coil and new shock. Or just the shock gadget, using the existing spring.

I think it is better to just buy the shock gadget, and keep the existing springs. There’s no problem with the existing springs, so why take a chance of introducing a new problem? At that point you have a challenge of how to install the new shock in the old spring. Suggest you don’t try to do that yourself. It can be a dangerous job without the required experience and shop equipment. Take your old strut to a shop and pay them to do it. The parts place where I buy the shock gadget, they’ll insert it into my old strut for me for a small fee.

Secure the shop procedure and read it carefully before beginning. The strut is a structural element. It holds the entire weight of the body of the car. When you remove it, the body will want to drop on top of the axles, which could damage things you don’t want damaged. So you got to do stuff to present that from happening. What that stuff is exactly is in the shop procedure.

If you’ve done anything moderately complicated before, like replaced a timing belt, or replaced a fwd half-shaft, you should be able to do it yourself. I"d say that is a certainty if you owned a Corolla. A BMW, being a performance car, may offer up some additional challenges. So do the necessary research to know the entirety of what you are letting yourself in for before beginning. Best of luck.

Oh, I’ll add that when the job is done you’ll wonder why you waited so long. It will feel like a new car again.

Are any of the struts and shocks leaking?? 80K is too early to replace dampers on most modern cars. Especially ALL 4. This sounds like the shop has a boat payment to make and YOU are going to make it for him.

If the vehicle isn’t flopping around and feeling unstable on back-country twisty 2 lanes or shaking like a bowl of jello every time you hit a pothole I’d say this is BOGUS. And I spent 25 years developing shocks and struts as an engineer for a major supplier.