E46Fanatics - View Single Post - Control Arm Replacement Experience
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Old 05-22-2006, 12:13 PM   #55
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Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: VA
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My Ride: MINI Cooper Hatch
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Well - i installed new control arms with powerflex bushings as well as new tie rods this weekend using pictures/instructions on page 2 of this thread as a reference. Took me about 4 hours by myself. I would have been done in 2 hours without the tie rods. Some observations:

- Instead of using the allen key on the control arm bolts, i just used a jack to press on the balljoint from below like someone suggested. It's easier than the allen key i think.

- Gear wrenches mentioned in the diy did not work for me - not enough clearance. I ended up using regular wrenches and sockets. Yes, sockets worked on some bolts using the jack trick.

- Make sure to get the bushings as far as they can go on the arms - i used a mallet to hammer them on. If you look the instructions for bushing install on TIS, they actually tell you the distance in millimeters. I drew a line on the control arm as a guide and it so happened that i was not able to get the bushing past that line anyway. So just hammer it on with a mallet as far as it will go.

- I rented a tie rod separator and ball joint separator from Autozone. Balljoint separator is the only one that worked - it's the longer one out of the two. But in any case - get a couple of pickle forks and one of them will work.

- When using the pickle fork, just hammer it on first using a mallet then use the big sledge but make sure to hit it in a very controlled manner. Use two hands to hold the sledge - you do not have to hold the fork. Make sure that the sledge does not slip and run away!

- I separated the outer joint first, then the inner, then took off the two bolts that hold the bushing at which point the whole control arm can be removed. Using this method, inner balljoint might separate but not come out until you remove the bushing bolts, so don't continue hammering once you see that the balljoint is lose. Just remove the bushing bolts and take the control arm down with your hands.

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