These instructions cover installation of closed end shocks on a sport seat in an E30. Installation should be similar with E30 comfort seats or seats with open end shocks. Check out this E30 Tuner article about going farther with repairing the sport seat.

Installation is made much easier by using a trigger clamp like the Dewalt 12" extra large trigger clamp (model DWHT83185.) I got mine at Home Depot. It's rated for 600lbs, holds the shocks compressed without any force from you, and the rubber pads hold onto the shocks securely. The 300lb model can barely compress the shock, so I'd go for the stronger 600lb version. This clamp worked perfectly with a closed end shock, but an open end shock would probably have to be compressed with the open end already in position on the seat. Alternatively, the guy over at used a large channel lock to compress the shocks. Or, some people compress the shocks in a vice and keep them compressed with metal wire until installation.


Slide the seat all the way back. Remove the plastic caps and pull seat adjustment handle off and remove the two 17mm nuts.

Slide the seat all the way forward, fold the seat forward and remove the two 17mm bolts.

While the seat is tilted forward remove the two Phillips head screws at the bottom of the backrest cover.

Carefully pry or pull off the plastic handle for the seat release. Then pry off the lever cover from the bottom. You'll see in the picture the plastic clip that holds it in. Passenger side seats will have these handles on both sides of the seat.

You can now remove the seat from the car. Make sure you unplug the seat belt detector cable. If your seats are heated, watch those cables too.

Push the backrest cover up on the seat to release the two clips that hold the top of the backrest cover, then work the cover around the release lever(s).

Use a flat head screwdriver to remove the plastic screw holding on the cover.

The shock will be secured with two push nuts, or one push nut and a metal peg.

Use one flat head screwdriver to get under the clip, and then work another screwdriver around the push nut to pull up on the other side.

After the push nuts are removed the old shock should be easy to push off it's peg with a screwdriver. Be careful though as they may still be under some pressure. After 28 years half of the original shocks in this seat still had some pressure.

Turn the seat on its side to install the shock. Make sure you put a towel down to protect the leather or cloth. Its important to install the shock with the gas cylinder on top so gravity will keep the seal oiled and prolong the shock's life. Once the shock is on both pegs, release the trigger clamp and use a socket and hammer to gently install new push nut. Repeat on other side of seat.

To install the backrest shock slip the top of the new shock onto its peg on the backrest. Brace the top of the trigger clamp on the inner portion of the seat release handle. Carefully compress the shock until it can be slipped over the bottom peg and release the trigger clamp. Use a socket and hammer to gently install new push nuts.

Note it is possible to remove the seat backrest, install the shock, and then reinstall the backrest. This may be necessary if you have open end shocks or are using a different tool. There are two screws the hold the back rest to the hinges, and you'll have to remove the cables from the seat-fold-forward mechanism in the hinges.

Now sit in your seat and make sure all the functions work properly before you reattach the covers. Silicone spray around all the adjustment mechanisms makes a huge difference in smoothness and responsiveness. White lithium grease in the seat sliders makes adjustment much easier too.

Enjoy your now properly functioning seats!