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E30, E36, E46 BMW Rear Shock Mount (RSM) Replacement

E30, E36, AND E46 3 series BMWs are notoriously hard on their rear shock mounts, or RSMs. How do you know when your BMW's rear shock mounts are worn out? The easiest way is to listen for any clunking sounds emanating from the rear suspension while driving. What actually happens to the oem BMW rear shock mount? Simple - the metal insert part of the shock mount tears out of the piece, allowing too much movement, which yields the clunking sound when going over small bumps. Worn rear shock mounts prevent your BMW's rear shocks from effective damping! However, unlike some other 3 series rear suspension issues (rear subframe and control arm bushings come to mind), this is an easy repair for most people.

Back in the day E30 318ic and 325ic convertible rear shock mounts were common upgrades for all E30 and E36 models because since they were beefier to handle the additional weight of the drop top models. Nowadays, BMW E46 convertibles have upgraded rear shock mounts which are the same as the 2001 E46 M3's. If it's good enough for the 3400 lb, 333 hp E46's good enough for a more 'pedestrian' BMW like an E36 325i ;). This is a money saving tip for all you budget backyard DIY types...or you can go to UUC or BavAuto or Turner or TCKline and buy one of their aftermarket upgrade pieces for the same money as the E46 oem M3 mounts (if buying at the online and find these RSMs for much, much less).

Note: A benefit to retaining OEM BMW shock mounts is that factory ride quality is not sacrificed, unlike with spherical bearings, monoball, or hard polyurethane ones.
Many E36 and E46 (non M3 in the case of the E46, obviously) owners are also utilizing the Z3 reinforcement plates to securely mount the rear shock mounts to the shock tower itself. The Z3 plates are only $14 each, so at under $30 for the 2 it's a worthwhile piece-of-mind upgrade. The E46 M3 rear shock mounts for use with the E36 and E46 cars are only about $35 total. You will also need 4 collar nuts, 2 washer gaskets, and 2 hex nuts.

Make sure the car is secure on a lift or jackstands before starting this project. Never stick your head under the car without triple-checking all safety precautions first!

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