How to Change the Rear Shocks on an E36

1. Pull back the trunk liner to access the upper shock mounting nuts. Use a socket and ratchet to remove the two nuts that hold the top of the shock to the body of the car.
2. Using the floor jack, raise the rear of the car to gain access to the lower shock mounting bolt. Leave the tire in slight contact with the ground. From under the car, remove the large bolt that holds the lower part of the shock to the trailing arm.
3. Remove the shock from the car and place it a work bench or on a flat stable surface. Remove the nut that holds the upper strut mount onto the shock. Use a pair of Vise-Grips on the end of the shock to keep it from turning while the nut is removed. Remove the upper strut mount.
4. Install the old strut mount onto the new shock in the reverse of removal, ensuring that the washers and bushings are oriented correctly. It is recommended to install new mounts when changing the shocks.
5. Install the new shock by first loosely bolting it to the trailing arm with the bolt. Do not tighten the bolt. Maneuver the upper part of the shock into place so that the two studs slide through the holes in the bodywork.
6. Install and tighten the two nuts that hold the upper end of the shock in place. Tighten the lower bolt to 57 ft.-lbs. with a torque wrench. Repeat for the other side.