BMW E30 1984-1991 3-series 318, 325, 325e, 325i Hood Strut

The hood strut on the 1984 to 1991 3-series BMW (a.k.a. the E30) is an affordable item that’s easy to install even if you know very little about cars.

And yet, this part can make a big difference. If this part is defective, then the hood doesn’t stay open.

Scenario: You open the hood to check the oil, and the hood falls on your head. This can’t be a good thing.

On the passenger side of the engine compartment is a small black part that looks like a miniature bicycle pump. It is a foot in length or so. Internal pressure in this part keeps the hood in position, when it’s open.

As the years go by, some of these units start to leak and the internal pressure decreases. A good informal test that I use is to hold one of these in my hand and press the other end on a table, sort of like I’m ceremonially about to fall down on my sword. If my upper body weight is enough to compress the part then it doesn’t have enough internal pressure. If I have to use my ab muscles to push forward and down onto the part so as to have it collapse, then it has enough internal pressure.

I’d guess that (on average) three out of four parts that I personally come across in E30 cars are iffy or worse.

To remove the part, open the hood and prop it open with a stick or have someone hold it open for you. Use a flat-head screwdriver to slide the retaining clip off each of the two ends, and then at each end, pull the strut off its mounting rod.

The main things I can think of that might go wrong are:

  • You stab yourself with the screwdriver
  • You stab the car with the screwdriver
  • The clip flies into your eye
  • The clip flies away so that it’s hard to find
  • You bend the clip and make it unusable

Installation is simply the reverse of the removal process, but before you remove your part, remember which side of the strut points forward.

We sell these parts (with original BMW quality) at $15 each. I like to individually test each one with my ab-muscle test. Regardless, when you get the part, it’s guaranteed to be good enough. If by your standards, it’s not good enough, then you get a full refund and I’ll pay for shipping in both directions.

When I have the clips in stock, I also like to include two used OK-condition clips for free. That way, if you break or lose yours, you’re still OK. As far as I can tell, both clips are identical.

At $15, this might be an example where the used parts is not price-competitive, or might be but it doesn’t look like it. New prices for this part average about $20.  $19 one place, $28 at another, $17 at another.  At the time of this writing, Gutenparts has them for $12, Pelican Parts for $11.  The buying decision becomes whether a used  original BMW quality part is a better deal than a new not-made-by-BMW part.  I can see merit to either approach.



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