1991 BMW 850i

page 7

  1. Strong Strut
  2. New seats
  3. Rear drive train/suspension rebuild
  4. New steering wheel

I picked up this Strong Strut new in the box from a local E31 owner. Installation turned out to be a lot more painful than I was expecting ...

The problem is the drivers side mounting bracket leaves insufficient room for the wiring harness that runs along side it. I ended up unwrapping my wiring harness so I could re-shape it to fit down the narrow clearance that remains. I also had to trim back the plastic cover so it would fit and deform the metal cage around the fuse box to make a little more room. In my opinion the design should have been thought through a little more carefully especially for the $450 or so these sell for. Aside from this issue the unit fits beautifully and is nicely finished.




I finally got around to installing the new front seats today....

Removing the seats from the car was easier than I expected. I removed the trim panel with the seat controls and the switch assemblies as they stick out and would be easily broken. To remove, tilt the seats fully forward and lift out (2 persons).

The new seats are in great condition and everything works (the seat rails on my original seats were both messed up). These seats came out of a car with only 65K mi and show very little wear!

I dismantled the seat rail of my old drivers side seat...

The lead screws below move the seat forwards and backwards. To remove them you pull the seat cables out (they are a simple push fit) undo the 3 x torx screws in the side of the seat rail (good idea to heat these up before trying to remove them), a Phillips  screw on the end) and a couple of torx screws on the other end.  Then the assy shown below can be slipped out the seat rail.


You can see the lower nylon gear is cracked in a couple of places and was simply spinning on the end of the lead screw.






I purchased a complete rear subframe from a car with ~ 65K mi. It was already off the car when I got it.

I'm replacing all the bearings/bushings and then plan to transplant it into my car.

I popped the wheel carrier into an old 325i wheel I had and then was easily able to remove the axle nut with my impact wrench (it would have been easier to do this before removing the carrier from the car).

Separating the half shafts can be a real pain as the splines often rust in place. This tool made the job easy. It is also attachments to pull the shaft back into the hub.

Next step is to pull the wheel hub off. I'm using an OTC slide hammer for this job.

A few good pulls on the hammer and the wheel hub is starting to come out. I could keep hammering away and eventually it will pop out but at this stage it is much easier to...

install a large bearing separator (Harbor Freight) and run a few wheel lugs down to pull it off.

As expected, part of the wheel bearing remains on the wheel hub.

Then remove the dust shield and the large snap ring that holds the wheel bearing in place.

Next job is to press out the wheel bearing. I'm using my shop press for this which made the job very easy.

I use some foam below the shop press to catch the bearing when it pops out. I purchased an inexpensive bearing removal/install kit on Ebay. You can see which part I used to press the wheel bearing out.

Here is the wheel carrier with bearing removed.

Not sure what the 06.05 means. There was no writing inside the other wheel carrier.


To remove the bearing inner race from the wheel hub use a dremel to make 2 cuts opposite each other.


Cut as deep as you can without cutting through into the wheel hub. Then use a chisel to split the bearing (metal is brittle and breaks easily)


With the chisel wedged in the bearing, slide it off. If you did it right there will be no marks on the wheel hub!


To press the larger ball joint (43mm dia) from the wheel carrier I used the inner race from one of the removed wheel bearings as the receiver and a 1=1/4" x 2" pipe nipple (from Home Depot).

I wrapped the pipe nipple in a couple layers of masking tape to prevent it scratching the sides of the wheel carrier when pressing the ball joint.


Inner wheel bearing race as the receiver, pipe nipple as the press.  I used one of my bearing tools on top of the pipe nipple and it pressed out easily.


For the smaller ball joint I used a 30mm STANLEY 12pt socket as the press and my old wheel bearing inner race as the receiver.

Here is the rear hub with both ball-joints and the wheel bearing removed ready to begin rebuilding.


I used my E39 ball joint tool to press in the new ball joints. The cup on the left has the inner race from a 6207 bearing (about $6 on Ebay) inside it. The center bore on this bearing race fits nicely around the ball joint. Total investment so far to press and install the ball joints about $20 (6207 bearing, 29mm 12pt socket, 1-1/4'x2" pipe nipple, inner race from old wheel bearing).


Replacing the stock steering wheel on these cars with a 3-spoke sport wheel is a popular upgrade...

I got this one from a seller in Germany for about $150 incl shipping. It's in pretty nice original condition.

After removing the original steering wheel you must remove the slip ring contact for the horn (bottom) and the pogo (top right).

They simply snap in place

Here's the back of the original steering wheel. Blue and brown wires are for the airbag.

And here's the back of my new steering wheel that must be modified.

Red and white wires are for the airbag; needed to solder the original airbag connector on to the wires.

Blue and brown are for the horn. Blue is connected the steering wheel metal core (ground) and brown is the horn. Orignal connector is cut off, blue wire goes no where since the core is grounded to the steering column. Original horn connector connect to brown wire.

Here it is ready to install...

For this wheel, the pogo pin that locks the slip ring in place is in a different position so I could not use it. Instead I simply tie wrapped the wiring harness to the plastic loop that secured the original horn slip ring contact (sorry no pic).

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