<HTML><FONT FACE=arial,helvetica><FONT SIZE=2>Well, it never fails. You always get the advice AFTER you've made your
<BR>Well, actually I Really needed to replace things urgently and ended up
<BR>ordering a set of Bilstein Sports from http://www.euro-car-service.com. They
<BR>had them in stock and I received them the next day (I'm in Michigan and
<BR>they're in Ohio). Tom (the owner) was very helpful and I have Chris Miller
<BR>to thank for steering me in his direction (albeit for the beefed-up Samco
<BR>Lower Intercooler hose). I would have bought that, too, but had already
<BR>ordered a lightly used one from DADS in CA. Oh, well.
<BR>Originally, I was under the impression that both my left front and right rear
<BR>Bilstein Sports were shot (as the right rear sat about an inch lower than the
<BR>left rear). After I removed the left front, however, physics made me
<BR>understand that it was just the left front that was giving me such a
<BR>headache. Since I was just replacing the inserts and already had Bilsteins
<BR>installed and alignment was fine, I marked the camber plates and was only
<BR>able to remove the %^$# Bilstein retaining nut with a chain wrench
<BR>(definitely a good tool to have) and much force (aided with a chisel).
<BR>Anyhow, usually it's a good idea to jack up the car a little before removing
<BR>the camber plate nuts and strut insert, but this time it was really
<BR>something. As I was removing the last nut...BOOM! the plate and insert shot
<BR>right up, bouncing the plate off the hood with the insert hitting it as well
<BR>(but luckily, no dent). The damn insert had seized in the full-upright
<BR>position! Actually had to disconnect the hood shocks and have someone hold
<BR>the hood as the insert was removed, almost to the point of having to remove
<BR>the hood entirely. Needless to say, the car settled immediately and the back
<BR>end was even again. I'm theorizing that dirt made its way into the piston
<BR>through the loose protective boot, causing the failure. I used numerous rags
<BR>to soak up all the spent hydraulic fluid from the bottom of the strut
<BR>cylinder. Installation was a breeze in comparison and I immediately felt a
<BR>huge difference in handling and responsiveness. This was late Friday night
<BR>and I finished up the right insert Saturday after a good nights rest.
<BR>My advice: Regardless what you have for struts, check to make sure the
<BR>protective boots are not letting anything into the strut cylinder. If you
<BR>can see the insert, then dirt, grime, etc., can and will get in there.
<BR>Replace/reseat the boot and check it periodically.
<BR>'91 200q20v with a few mods...