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      06-14-2015, 11:03 AM   #1
wwmiller3
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KW V1 install on 2014 335i xDrive notes

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Hi,

I just finished up installing KW V1 coil overs on my 2014 335i xDrive (still need to adjust ride height to final and get an alignment) and I thought I would pass along a few high points I discovered. All of the installation info online (thanks ECS!) applies to earlier year models and there have been some significant changes made since that make a material difference, as does having xDrive:
  1. Rear shocks do not require access through the trunk, so no trunk liner removal is required. That said, the top shock mount has very little clearance between itself and the top nut. I had to reuse the OEM nuts because the KW supplied nuts were larger and would not allow the socket to fit in the mount for tightening.
  2. Removing the OEM receivers that the rear springs fit into at top (per KW's instructions) may require some force. I had one pull out by hand easily; the other I had to go after with a rubber mallet and ultimately a pry bar.
  3. KW welds a bracket for various brake/sensor lines on their struts for this model. It turns out I did not use it as my car has a separate bracket held in place by the pinch bolt that is not part of the strut assembly.
  4. There are four top hat bolts to remove to drop the strut, not three. The "additional" one is etorx.
  5. Be careful removing the top hat from the OEM strut after compressing the spring. I left a little bit of tension in the spring as a shortcut and the top hat popped off in one case causing it to fall apart and spill bearings all over the place. I would recommend fully compressing the spring and pulling it off the strut carefully so as to avoid disturbing the assembly.
  6. When dropping the front spindles to get the OEM struts out and the KW's in, most likely you will need to push far enough down that the front axles disengage from the differential. This is not noticeable until you try to rotate the assembly with the new strut back in the wheel well: if the axle still is out and the splines are not aligned, it prevents the spindle from rotating back upright. This is all obscured, of course, by the dust boots that cover the axle ends. I had to use some trial and error jiggering of the spindle ahead of time to make sure the axle splines would line up before slipping the new strut in and attempting to rotate upward to prevent being stuck with an awkward and heavy assembly that won't budge.
  7. Per ECS's video install guide, I also highly recommend removing the front brake caliper/rotor to reduce the weight of the assembly you have to manipulate up front in all of this (especially given the xDrive added challenge and if you have a big brake kit installed like I do).

Overall the install went OK and I like the new look. As others have commented, there isn't much height adjustment available in the rear (only 1 finger gap at their highest adjustment), but my short rides to settle the suspension and listen for problems felt really good.
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      06-14-2015, 01:57 PM   #2
norb335i
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Thanks, these are definitely helpful hints to the online instructions. I just received my KWs earlier this week too, just need to find the time to install them.

By the way, does your version come with 2 springs for the rear (one short, soft helper and one "normal" one). I just realized that KW has this newer version for the 335i and thus hoping it will give a bit more clearance. Otherwise might need to use a 15mm spacer, but don't necessarily want to buy it until I see what the ride height is with the highest setting.
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      06-15-2015, 07:35 AM   #3
wwmiller3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by norb335i View Post

By the way, does your version come with 2 springs for the rear (one short, soft helper and one "normal" one). I just realized that KW has this newer version for the 335i and thus hoping it will give a bit more clearance. Otherwise might need to use a 15mm spacer, but don't necessarily want to buy it until I see what the ride height is with the highest setting.
Yes, mine came with the two-part rear spring.
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      06-15-2015, 01:42 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wwmiller3 View Post
Hi,

I just finished up installing KW V1 coil overs on my 2014 335i xDrive (still need to adjust ride height to final and get an alignment) and I thought I would pass along a few high points I discovered. All of the installation info online (thanks ECS!) applies to earlier year models and there have been some significant changes made since that make a material difference, as does having xDrive:
  1. Rear shocks do not require access through the trunk, so no trunk liner removal is required. That said, the top shock mount has very little clearance between itself and the top nut. I had to reuse the OEM nuts because the KW supplied nuts were larger and would not allow the socket to fit in the mount for tightening.
  2. Removing the OEM receivers that the rear springs fit into at top (per KW's instructions) may require some force. I had one pull out by hand easily; the other I had to go after with a rubber mallet and ultimately a pry bar.
  3. KW welds a bracket for various brake/sensor lines on their struts for this model. It turns out I did not use it as my car has a separate bracket held in place by the pinch bolt that is not part of the strut assembly.
  4. There are four top hat bolts to remove to drop the strut, not three. The "additional" one is etorx.
  5. Be careful removing the top hat from the OEM strut after compressing the spring. I left a little bit of tension in the spring as a shortcut and the top hat popped off in one case causing it to fall apart and spill bearings all over the place. I would recommend fully compressing the spring and pulling it off the strut carefully so as to avoid disturbing the assembly.
  6. When dropping the front spindles to get the OEM struts out and the KW's in, most likely you will need to push far enough down that the front axles disengage from the differential. This is not noticeable until you try to rotate the assembly with the new strut back in the wheel well: if the axle still is out and the splines are not aligned, it prevents the spindle from rotating back upright. This is all obscured, of course, by the dust boots that cover the axle ends. I had to use some trial and error jiggering of the spindle ahead of time to make sure the axle splines would line up before slipping the new strut in and attempting to rotate upward to prevent being stuck with an awkward and heavy assembly that won't budge.
  7. Per ECS's video install guide, I also highly recommend removing the front brake caliper/rotor to reduce the weight of the assembly you have to manipulate up front in all of this (especially given the xDrive added challenge and if you have a big brake kit installed like I do).

Overall the install went OK and I like the new look. As others have commented, there isn't much height adjustment available in the rear (only 1 finger gap at their highest adjustment), but my short rides to settle the suspension and listen for problems felt really good.
Thanks for the info. Will be useful as I'm looking to install COs soon. Is there enough articulation clearance to pull the strut out if we use something to support the front assembly? Meaning, does the knuckle / arms / ball joints have enough articulation that you can get the entire top part of the assembly out of the wheel well, with the rest of the hub and brakes supported? This would help with the issue of the axle coming out (I hope).
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      06-15-2015, 04:29 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chowbow View Post
Thanks for the info. Will be useful as I'm looking to install COs soon. Is there enough articulation clearance to pull the strut out if we use something to support the front assembly? Meaning, does the knuckle / arms / ball joints have enough articulation that you can get the entire top part of the assembly out of the wheel well, with the rest of the hub and brakes supported? This would help with the issue of the axle coming out (I hope).
No, I had to push down and swivel the spindle to get the strut to clear the top of the wheel well. Even then it was a bit of a maneuvering job to get it out as there is just enough play in the assembly (but a little too much play to keep the axle from coming out of the differential).
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      06-15-2015, 05:11 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wwmiller3 View Post
No, I had to push down and swivel the spindle to get the strut to clear the top of the wheel well. Even then it was a bit of a maneuvering job to get it out as there is just enough play in the assembly (but a little too much play to keep the axle from coming out of the differential).
Got it. Understand what you mean. Thanks for the info!
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      06-16-2015, 12:44 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wwmiller3
Quote:
Originally Posted by norb335i View Post

By the way, does your version come with 2 springs for the rear (one short, soft helper and one "normal" one). I just realized that KW has this newer version for the 335i and thus hoping it will give a bit more clearance. Otherwise might need to use a 15mm spacer, but don't necessarily want to buy it until I see what the ride height is with the highest setting.
Yes, mine came with the two-part rear spring.
Thanks, in that case I might need to invest into those 15mm spring spacers.
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      06-17-2015, 12:18 PM   #8
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Thank you for the notes
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      06-20-2015, 01:39 AM   #9
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Can you post photos of your new ride? :-) I assume the springs must have settled by now too.
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      06-20-2015, 07:57 PM   #10
wwmiller3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by norb335i View Post
Can you post photos of your new ride? :-) I assume the springs must have settled by now too.
I will get around to that soon. I have my 4-wheel alignment set up for this Wednesday, and I was waiting for some new wheels to come in this week too (unfortunately, they have been delayed another two weeks).

I'll clean up the car after the alignment and post some pics
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      06-20-2015, 08:34 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wwmiller3
Quote:
Originally Posted by norb335i View Post
Can you post photos of your new ride? :-) I assume the springs must have settled by now too.
I will get around to that soon. I have my 4-wheel alignment set up for this Wednesday, and I was waiting for some new wheels to come in this week too (unfortunately, they have been delayed another two weeks).

I'll clean up the car after the alignment and post some pics
Sounds like you are having some fun. :-) Looking forward to see what the car will turn out like.
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      06-21-2015, 06:24 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wwmiller3
Quote:
Originally Posted by norb335i View Post
Can you post photos of your new ride? :-) I assume the springs must have settled by now too.
I will get around to that soon. I have my 4-wheel alignment set up for this Wednesday, and I was waiting for some new wheels to come in this week too (unfortunately, they have been delayed another two weeks).

I'll clean up the car after the alignment and post some pics
I ordered the coilovers and expect them in 2 weeks. Question... Would you suggest just getting new strut mounts to avoid blowing them apart when taking them apart? Also makes swapping back and reselling easier in the future. Would you do that now on hindsight? Since there aren't many parts to buy for the F3x cars, I'm thinking of just getting them and cutting my install time another 45 mins or so.
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      06-21-2015, 06:35 PM   #13
wwmiller3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chowbow View Post
I ordered the coilovers and expect them in 2 weeks. Question... Would you suggest just getting new strut mounts to avoid blowing them apart when taking them apart? Also makes swapping back and reselling easier in the future. Would you do that now on hindsight? Since there aren't many parts to buy for the F3x cars, I'm thinking of just getting them and cutting my install time another 45 mins or so.
In retrospect, I still would not bother unless they were ridiculous cheap (something tells me this is not the case ). I would be a bit more careful removing the old ones for sure instead of primarily worrying about not killing myself from the spring tension. It really was sloppiness on my part that lead to it happening.

Good luck with your install. I would do it all over again for the handling benefits as well as the experience!
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      06-22-2015, 01:23 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wwmiller3 View Post
In retrospect, I still would not bother unless they were ridiculous cheap (something tells me this is not the case ). I would be a bit more careful removing the old ones for sure instead of primarily worrying about not killing myself from the spring tension. It really was sloppiness on my part that lead to it happening.

Good luck with your install. I would do it all over again for the handling benefits as well as the experience!
Thanks. They're about $200 total. Not cheap, not expensive either. They were more expensive on the E36s and E90s because it was a strut mount, and then the spring cup, and all the little one way washers etc. If I did the same thing on those cars it would be $400ish for the strut mounts, so it is relatively cheaper on the F3x. I've done my fair share of installs now that I'm seeing where I can cut the most time and reduce PITA steps.
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      06-23-2015, 01:59 PM   #15
wwmiller3
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As promised, here are some photos of the drop (along with 12mm/15mm spacers front/rear, respectively).
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