Bilstein 7100 tear-down photos / tips LARGE PHOTOS - JKowners.com : Jeep Wrangler JK Forum
 
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post #1 of 3 Old 03-15-2012, 07:49 PM Thread Starter
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Bilstein 7100 tear-down photos / tips LARGE PHOTOS

Bilstein has a guide which is pretty informative. You can view that HERE So, I'm adding some photos and comments to go along with that guide. I think having the photos is a little more confidence inspiring for this. The following is reference the SCHRADER valve shocks. Remote Reservoir shocks will require added steps, but the process is pretty similar.

Tools I used:
-2 large flat head screwdrivers
-small flat head screwdriver
-pick
-channel locks
-ballpeen hammer
-dead blow hammer

other "tools"
-scrap 1/2" square stock to measure separating piston depth
-large washer
-Bunch of rags
-Sharpie




so, I discharged the shock and removed the core from the valve stem. You may get some oil too.





Then. Instructions say to use a chisel and hammer to separate the cap. You can see the "crack" just below the cap. I used a chisel that had a curved tip that sort-of matched the radius of the shock body. I worked my way around the shock. Don't beat the hell out of it, because it won't penetrate very far. Once the cap is separated a little, use a large flat head screwdriver and work around the shock to get it out.


There are two internal snap rings inside the shock body. One holds the rod guide/seal assembly in. I used a flat-punch and hammer (lightly) to move the rod guide down enough to get the snap ring out. The second snap ring is not far below the rod guide, so, again, try not to beat the hell out of it and I took care not to hit the rod with either the hammer or the chisel.


Theres a "ring" around the top of the rod guide. Use two large flat head screwdrivers to "pry" the rod guide out. Bilstein says you need a special tool for this. I THINK I saw it online for $35. I didn't buy it. Once I got the cap up a ways, I grabbed my channel locks and turned the cap while pushing up. This brought the cap out. Now. Something to be aware of. There is always the possibility that air has gotten PAST the separating piston. If it has, then its now in the main body of the shock. BE AWARE that the trapped air can now blow out. Mine did. If you've ever popped a Pringles can, it sounds like that, but much louder. You won't loose anything, but mine blew out a light film of oil. Nothin critical... but you should always be careful... and have eye protection handy for this step if you're unsure.




Slide the rod guide up the rod. Now you can see and remove the second snap ring. Once its out of the way, slip the rod up and out of the shock body.





Now, just use a suitable container and drain off the oil. The amount will vary obviously on the size of the shock. In my case, i wanted to refer to see how short on oil my shocks were, as that was the problem. My shocks were supposed to have 565ml of oil.... the "bad" one had 425ml of oil in it. Enough to cause it to limit travel, which is the reason I had to break these cherry shocks down. The "good" one had somewhere around 500ml in it.. and it did cycle ok.

Now, with the oil drained, you should remove the separating piston. In my case, I put a rag over the top of the shock body and used a little compressed air to push it up and out. Oil WILL come with it.


Now, this is what you have laying on your bench or floor:


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Last edited by b1pig; 03-15-2012 at 07:50 PM. Reason: large pics
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post #2 of 3 Old 03-15-2012, 07:49 PM Thread Starter
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Inspect everything.
piston. (convex side goes down. concave side faces damping piston)


damping piston (compression side)

damping piston (rebound side)

rod guide


The instructions will provide the depth of the piston. So. Here's what I did. I used a piece of scrap tubing to push the piston back down into the shock body. I used a large washer at the top of the body so that I could keep the tube in a reasonably vertical angle and get a reliable measurement. I pushed the piston down ALL the way first, marking that depth on the rod. I removed the rod and then measured 5mm below that, and marked it. A little bump of air will get the piston moved back up. I used the dead blow hammer here because mine has a rubber shell and softens the blow a little, making the piston movement a little more predictable. Light taps.




Now. With the piston set, you can add oil. Here's where I was concerned about this. I did ask around about this.... and I tested some other Jeepers' suggestions about the oil level. Apparently Bilsteins are pretty specific in their setup. The oil level should be at least semi-accurate. Putting in 565ml of oil left a HUGE air gap in the main body. I thought I'd add some more. Adding another 100ml still left a very large air gap, but I reassembled the shock, and found that.. it would fully compress, but even with a full charge of nitrogen, the rod would not automatically extend out of the shock body. So, I disassembled the shock, drained out all the oil and added the (semi)correct amount. (it worked perfectly, so use the measured amount) Also... don't worry about the separating piston moving during assembly. Even cycling the shock and all, mine never moved. ADD OIL.

Approximately 565ml of RaceRunner shock oil ( like the red... and it wasnt prohibitively expensive )




At this point, everything is reverse of disassembly.
Rod and damping piston go in.
Snap ring
Dividing piston
Snap ring
Cap.

When I put the rod guide back in, I used the tip of my finger to help push the o-ring into the body so that I didn't pinch or cut it. Once the o-ring is inside the body, I used my dead blow hammer to tap the rod guide down inside the shock body, then the drift and hammer to tap it down that last little bit. Once the snap ring is in, I used the screwdrivers to pull the rod guide back up against the snap ring. The cap... just go easy and work your way around it with the dead blow hammer so it doesn't get cocked sideways. Remember this shock is "supposed" to be a precision instrument.


Once you have it back together, fully charge the shock with nitrogen. If you don't have the stuff to do it, search around until you can find a local shop to do it for you. A local shop (S&S Automotive, Valdosta, GA) charged me $5 to charge them once.... I later went down and bought a tank and purge regulator to do it myself. Both were set at 210psi. They both cycled perfectly with no leaks..... and no parts left over.


I got my oil from Poly Performance. 7wt Race Runner shock oil. It wasn't all that expensive and it was comparable to others. Shipping from California to S.Ga is a BITCH, though.
One more thing. The guide includes the shim-pack specs for all of the valving options. If you want to revalve, this is a good time, and the shim count/description will help.



Hope this helps or informs the curious.



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Last edited by b1pig; 03-15-2012 at 07:58 PM.
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post #3 of 3 Old 03-15-2012, 08:11 PM
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Very nice write-up. The pictures really help with understanding the steps. Well done. Now I want those shocks.
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