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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Short version:
Are the sport struts about 1.25 inches shorter than the non-sport struts?

Long version:
As far as I could tell (online VIN report and calling a BMW dealer), my 2002 330i did not have the sport suspension, so I ordered some non-sport KYB shocks and struts. When I tried to replace one of the struts, I noticed the replacement was longer and therefore didn't fit. Once I rubbed the gunk off the label on the stock strut, it read "Sport" with a part number of 31316757043 (Sachs). So, does anyone know if KYB struts 334614 and 334615 are shorter than 334945 334946?
 

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E46 F10 W204 W212
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It's supposed to be longer when it's out of the car. Compress it (after you install it above at the RSM) if you have the leverage or use a jack, then slip the bolt on.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
It's not about compressed vs uncompressed. With the spring removed, I discovered the strut I bought was longer by a non-trivial amount (both at full extension). Long enough that assembled together with the spring, I couldn't get it back on the car. Does anyone know about these part lengths?
 

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I misunderstood as you said shocks. Shocks go to the rear.

That said my OEM Sachs struts were also longer than the OE BMW that came off the car, but they still fit with no issue.

Tip, tilt the knuckle slightly forward and the strut will slip in.
 

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Short version:
Are the sport shocks about 1.25 inches shorter than the non-sport shocks?

Long version:
As far as I could tell (online VIN report and calling a BMW dealer), my 2002 330i did not have the sport suspension,
So the deal is that every 2002 330i had the sports suspension. Even if it did not have the sport package. It's a confusing distinction, but the sports package on the 330i had different seats and steering wheel, but all the suspension bits were already in the base package.
 

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You should still be able to install the said shocks. Even if they are longer than stock. I do not have direct experience with installation of non-sport shocks/struts, but I did read that non-sports were more difficult to be installed due to increased length....If I recall right, you will need to insert the strut into the shock tower first and then push it up a little to compress the assembly and then to slide it in to the front knuckle. Should not be too hard. Good luck.

All said and done, you will be fine with KYBs.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
insert the strut into the shock tower first and then push it up a little to compress the assembly and then to slide it in to the front knuckle. Should not be too hard. Good luck.
Unfortunately, there's no compressing the assembly by hand once the spring is on. I'd need hydraulic biceps.
In any case, I got an answer from the manufacturer and the lengths are:
334615: 16.79"
334945: 17.42"
So even the sport version is not as short as the one currently on there as the 334945 part was definitely more than 1 inch longer and that extra length made it impossible to get back in. Hard to believe in retrospect, but I fought with it for a couple hours. :banghead:
 

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Post the pics, as something is definitely not right here.
How would people be installing the non-sport shocks for so many years?
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Bah, the numbers the manufacturer gave me are clearly not the full part length as the non-sport one I bought is 21.5" long.

I didn't take any pics when it didn't fit: I was too annoyed.
If one is willing to disconnect the control arm so that the knuckle angle will line up to receive the strut, that would work. Maybe that's what other people did.
At this point, I'm sorely tempted to order the same Sachs part as what's on the car now. They cost more, but I'm sick of it and hey, money is for making problems go away...
 

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I have stock suspension and yes, you must separate the outer ball joint to get the strut into the pinch bolt.
Sport suspension you don't have to do that.
 
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