Saturday, February 26, 2011

Hood/Bonnet Gas Strut Replacement


The E30 hood is one of the many things I love about the car. It just looks SO COOL opening with the hinge at the front.

When open it doesn't have a beam that hooks into it to hold it up, instead it has a gas strut. As with all gas struts, they get worn over time and repeated use. The one on my car was no different, when I have the hood open on a windy day, it will once in a while just get blown back just enough to slam shut. One time, I was changing the filter when it came down on my head... yes, it did hurt.

It's a very simple job - all you need is a new strut (very inexpensive) and a flat head screw driver.


Tools Required:
  • Flat-head screw driver
  • Grinder*
*Note: The strut that I got was a cheaper, aftermarket one and its ends were very thick compared to the OEM strut. So, I had to grind one of the ends of mine to get it to fit. So, if you want things to be simple and straight forward, GET THE OEM STRUT!


1. Locate the strut.
Open the hood, and you'll find the strut working on a hinged arm at the front right side of the engine bay. The strut itself will be positioned along the inside of the top of the fender, near the windshield washer reservoir.

2. Remove the old strut.
There will be 2 circlips, one at each end of the strut. Use the flat-head screw driver to lift the tab on the clips and slide them out. Careful not to drop them or lose them as you will have to re-use these! CAUTION: Use your back, or the help of a friend to hold the hood open before you remove the circlips! While holding the hood up, remove the old strut by sliding off each end from its supporting studs.






3. Grind the piston end of the strut. (Skip this step if not necessary)
It was fine on the barrel end but with the piston end (which joins to the arm) it was too thick to allow any room to put the circlip on. I could have left it with just the one circlip but I just didn't feel comfortable with that idea. So, I used my rotary tool with the stone grinding bit (as pictured) to grind the end of the strut down to half the thickness. If you don't have a grinder, you should take it to a workshop or mechanic and ask them to do it for you.

NOTE: To avoid this problem, make sure you buy the genuine BMW strut! The one I used was a cheaper, aftermarket one.








4. Fit the new strut.
Simply slide the new strut on where the old one was and just slide the circlips back into place with your hands. JOB DONE!






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