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///M3 Forum
The BMW E46 ///M3 is the M version E46 and puts out an amazing 333 HP and 262 lb-ft of torque at stock specs! There are an amazing amount of modifications for both the coupe and convertible models so read up and get started modifying your cars today!

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Old 11-01-2012, 01:44 PM   #1
justanotherone
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Rear Trailing Arm Bushings DIY tips & suggestions?!

So I'm going to be attempting to change my RTAB probably next weekend. I've read a few DIYs. I understand the process, but just wanted to know if anyone who's done it had any tips, advice or suggestions!? Plus, I have a few suggestions.

I'm going to be using oem rtabs. Also, I'm planning on buying the mis rtab tool because it seems it makes things much easier.

Question time. I've never had the car on 4 jack stands before. Never had to. This leads to my first question, how high should the rear be raised? I'm planing on driving the front onto ramps and then raising the rear w/ a hydraulic and then setting it on jack stands.

Question #2: The DIYs I have read have used non-oem bushings and used a copper lubricant when inserting the bushing back into the arm console. Do I need a WD40 and a copper lubricant to apply to the new bushing as well, or should I just apply WD40 to the trailing arm console?

Question #3: Anything else I should know before attempting this? I read to disconnect the cable (sensors?). Any input is appreciated, thanks!!
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Old 11-01-2012, 02:06 PM   #2
scca_ziptie
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#1) The rear of the car needs to be high enough to slide under the car on a creeper or just laying on the ground if you are going that route - although this job is much easier if done on a lift (have any friends who work at a shop?). The RTAB tool will certainly make this DIY less frustrating for sure.

#2) You do not need to apply the copper anti seize to OEM RTAB bushings - only when installing poly or delrin bushings(you should actually use the silver graphite anti seize).

#3) 'Score or mark' the rear trailing arm so you can try to get it close when reinstalling the bushings - you will need to do an alignment regardless but it will at least help you get close to where they were before. You will want to disconnect the brake pad sensor wire (there is a disconnect located inside a black plastic box/shroud) on the underside of the car (drivers right underside of car if I remember correctly).
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Old 11-01-2012, 02:47 PM   #3
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Why all 4 tires up? With the fronts on ramps it going to be hard to get a jack under the rear, impossible if lowered.

If you're going to lift by the centre support in the rear and your jack doesn't go > 14" high, I suggest getting a block of wood to put between the jack and the centre support otherwise you won't get the rear end high enough to put on jack stands.
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Old 11-01-2012, 04:02 PM   #4
scca_ziptie
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Originally Posted by taylor192 View Post
Why all 4 tires up? With the fronts on ramps it going to be hard to get a jack under the rear, impossible if lowered.

If you're going to lift by the centre support in the rear and your jack doesn't go > 14" high, I suggest getting a block of wood to put between the jack and the centre support otherwise you won't get the rear end high enough to put on jack stands.
This is a good point about lifting the rear of the car. I put mine on 4 jack stands just to make sure the car was completely stable and to give myself enough room to comfortably work - the second time around I had started working at the shop so I was able to use a lift (the way to go if you can gain access to one - so much easier!).
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Old 11-01-2012, 05:55 PM   #5
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If the stock RTAB is being used, be sure to use limiters to help prolong the life of the rubber RTAB. I used this: http://www.vorshlag.com/product_info...products_id=59. There are plenty of limiters out there; just google the topic and you'll have many to choose from.
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Old 11-01-2012, 06:54 PM   #6
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Oh man I hate doing RTAB's. good luck OP.
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Old 11-01-2012, 10:57 PM   #7
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man I have to do this too crapppp
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Old 11-02-2012, 07:17 PM   #8
BWOODM3
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Don't let anyone on here intimidate you. Honestly most of the people on here like to complain about how hard everything is. I guarantee you that when you finish, your going to come back on here and laugh about how easy it was. There isn't that many steps. I got mine out without a Rtab tool. I used a torch . It's cake man. If you have trouble just MSG me, I'll help you out.
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Old 11-03-2012, 02:17 PM   #9
aznniche
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dont' forget to preload them or the bushing will be stressed when sitting at normal height, causing premature wear. perform a search on this for more info.
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Old 11-03-2012, 06:25 PM   #10
Beamer Creamer
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Question? Is it advised to lift on the diff fins? I never jack on there. Ive jacked all 4 wheels off and i did front then rear a couple times each so didnt get too much angle on jack or could wreck something if slipped. Up to you. Where do you guys place jack stands after lifting from lift points?
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Old 11-03-2012, 10:51 PM   #11
justanotherone
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Welp, I just purchased the OEM rtab and the MIS tool. Hopefully they'll both be here by the this coming weekend and I can tackle the job.

I'm not going to use limiters. Thanks for the advice though!! Also, this "preload" can anyone expand on that?? To do this I have to mark the positioning of the carrier while on the trailing arm?...I plan on using WD40 to clean off and I'll probably end up buying the silver graphite anti seize suggested.

Last edited by justanotherone; 11-04-2012 at 10:17 AM.
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Old 11-04-2012, 09:21 AM   #12
Beamer Creamer
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Originally Posted by justanotherone View Post
Welp, I just purchased the OEM rtab and the MIS tool. Hopefully they'll both be hear by the this coming weekend and I can tackle the job.

I'm not going to use limiters. Thanks for the advice though!! Also, this "preload" can anyone expand on that?? To do this I have to mark the positioning of the carrier while on the trailing arm?...I plan on using WD40 to clean off and I'll probably end up buying the silver graphite anti seize suggested.
I believe when your car is sitting on ground normally you dont want any twist in the bushing.(preload). Only time there should be twist is when lifted up or pushing downward
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Old 11-04-2012, 09:37 PM   #13
fun05M3
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Dang, I need to do this too! Thought about going with OEM as well, but still doing my research.
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Old 11-04-2012, 10:13 PM   #14
illestminimike
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Powerflex is nice because you don't have to preload them so install is a bit easier and they last forever. I didn't notice a difference in ride. It did feel a bit more planted after or maybe it's just in my head. My RTAB's weren't even shot so this is coming from somebody who went from good OEM ones to Powerflex.
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Old 11-05-2012, 05:09 PM   #15
justanotherone
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@BeamerCreamer thanks, I'll try not to twist anything haha.

I'll just go with raising the rear, taking the wheels off and from there on just go real nice and slow and hopefully all goes well.
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Old 11-05-2012, 05:13 PM   #16
justanotherone
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Mechanic shop quoted me $380 for the job. Spent about $60 on bushings and about another $90 on rtab mis tool. If I don't mess up anything I'll be saving at least $200! (Assuming I'll spend $30 on miscellaneous, WD40 & anti seize and anything else I might need). Buying all these tools (jacks, wrench, torque wrench, sockets, etc.) is going to start paying off!
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Old 11-05-2012, 06:08 PM   #17
Beamer Creamer
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Originally Posted by justanotherone View Post
Mechanic shop quoted me $380 for the job. Spent about $60 on bushings and about another $90 on rtab mis tool. If I don't mess up anything I'll be saving at least $200! (Assuming I'll spend $30 on miscellaneous, WD40 & anti seize and anything else I might need). Buying all these tools (jacks, wrench, torque wrench, sockets, etc.) is going to start paying off!
Use white lithium or whatever i guess to start them. I usually emory cloth metal first so fits nice. I havent really looked into the preload and dont really understand but i think it means when main bolt going through middle of bushing is tightened to spec that you will not be able to move bracket on end without putin load on the rubber part. Hopefully someone tells you before you do it. I only get internet now and then and cant search too much
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Old 11-06-2012, 11:26 AM   #18
taylor192
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Originally Posted by Beamer Creamer View Post
I havent really looked into the preload and dont really understand but i think it means when main bolt going through middle of bushing is tightened to spec that you will not be able to move bracket on end without putin load on the rubber part.
Kinda. It means the angle the bracket is tightened corresponds to the normal position of the RTA, thus not putting any load on the RTAB.

Setting preload is easy, and doesn't need to be an exact science. You're essentially trying to get the flat part of the RTAB bracket lined up with the middle of the hub. The BMW spec is 8mm above the centre of the hub, yet unless you make the tool to hold the bracket you're never going to be that accurate while torquing down the RTAB bolt.

I just used a yard stick to ensure the bracket lined up. I tightened the bracket in stages and checked the angle several times to ensure the bracket didn't move while being tightened.


Last edited by taylor192; 11-06-2012 at 11:46 AM.
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Old 11-06-2012, 11:51 AM   #19
Beamer Creamer
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Kinda. It means the angle the bracket is tightened corresponds to the normal position of the RTA, thus not putting any load on the RTAB.

Setting preload is easy, and doesn't need to be an exact science. You're essentially trying to get the flat part of the RTAB bracket lined up with the middle of the hub.

I just used a yard stick to ensure the bracket lined up. I tightened the bracket in stages and checked the angle several times to ensure the bracket didn't move while being tightened.

The preload is stress on bushing when car is in relaxed state sitting on level ground right? So this straight bar technique is just a coincidence that the rtab to body mount is bolted at that angle.... Or is it? I thot bracket bolted in close to exactly horizontal with car? If so then this straight edge wouldnt be correct.is that yardstick technique roughly the book way to set preload? Theoretically if downforce on car at relaxed state of car could be kept on suspension while while removing bracket bolts the rta bracket should move away from surface looking flush and not twisting one way or the other. Im pretty sure that if you have preload on your bushing you would have to use a bit of force to get the bracket level b4 putin bolts in or use bolts to straighten things out by tightening one at a time till others go in. If bracket naturally sits in final position while weight taken off of sudpension wouldnt that mean bushing are at no load at that point and would then be loaded all the time when car weight is applied to susp? Not tryin to be a dick just wanna figure out a satisfactory answer for myself i guess. I know it doesnt need to be exact science but i do like parts to last as long as possible and maybe it wouldnt matter so much sitting with bit of load as it does when baggin corner sideways hitting cracks in road

Last edited by Beamer Creamer; 11-06-2012 at 11:56 AM.
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Old 11-06-2012, 02:08 PM   #20
taylor192
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Originally Posted by Beamer Creamer View Post
The preload is stress on bushing when car is in relaxed state sitting on level ground right? So this straight bar technique is just a coincidence that the rtab to body mount is bolted at that angle.... Or is it? I thot bracket bolted in close to exactly horizontal with car? If so then this straight edge wouldnt be correct.is that yardstick technique roughly the book way to set preload? Theoretically if downforce on car at relaxed state of car could be kept on suspension while while removing bracket bolts the rta bracket should move away from surface looking flush and not twisting one way or the other. Im pretty sure that if you have preload on your bushing you would have to use a bit of force to get the bracket level b4 putin bolts in or use bolts to straighten things out by tightening one at a time till others go in. If bracket naturally sits in final position while weight taken off of sudpension wouldnt that mean bushing are at no load at that point and would then be loaded all the time when car weight is applied to susp? Not tryin to be a dick just wanna figure out a satisfactory answer for myself i guess. I know it doesnt need to be exact science but i do like parts to last as long as possible and maybe it wouldnt matter so much sitting with bit of load as it does when baggin corner sideways hitting cracks in road
TL;DR

Dude, stop, you're over thinking.

In order to reinstall the RTAB bracket you will have to jack up the RTA to approximately its final ride height for the bracket sits flush - the bracket will not sit flush with the suspension fully extended (aka no weight) if you have set preload correctly.

The RTAB DIYs miss this step cause the DIYs are for poly bushings with no preload, so you can attach the RTAB bracket with the suspension fully extended.

You'll realize all this once you get into it.
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