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E46 Xi Forum
The E46 XI was produced from 01-05 in sedan and touring body styles. Powered by either a 2.5L inline 6 in the 325xi or a 3.0L inline 6 330xi. Discuss all thing about BMW AWD E46 'Xi' here.

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Old 12-07-2012, 01:24 PM   #1
kevin.john1
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sway bar links

I noticed one of my boots have separated, is there a reason to replace both sway bar links at the same time? I have 120,000 miles on this car.

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Old 12-07-2012, 01:38 PM   #2
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I replace both of them, at the same time, because they are relatively cheap.

I don't see why you couldn't just replace one side, assuming the other side is still firm.

I would pull the other one off, and check the ball joint for slackish play.
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Old 12-07-2012, 01:48 PM   #3
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If one is gone, the other is too. For the cost of less than $30 each and less than 30mins wheels up to wheels down, why wouldn't you do both?
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Old 12-07-2012, 02:12 PM   #4
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If one is gone, the other is too. For the cost of less than $30 each and less than 30mins wheels up to wheels down, why wouldn't you do both?
Exactly, to inspect the other side is half the job of replacing it.
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Old 12-07-2012, 02:44 PM   #5
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The only front suspension component that isn't always replaced in pairs are the control arms.

You do both links at once. No debate.

And there's room to grab the links to check for play without removing a wheel or jacking up the car.
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Old 12-07-2012, 04:23 PM   #6
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The only front suspension component that isn't always replaced in pairs are the control arms.

You do both links at once. No debate.

And there's room to grab the links to check for play without removing a wheel or jacking up the car.
Yeah there is room, but without getting the front up in the air the links will be loaded, and very hard to feel for subtle play, which can still clink and clunk.

I suggest jack the car from the rear pad enough to get a jackstand under the vacant front Jack pad.

Lower Jack gently and repeat process, on the other side.

Once both wheel are up it will be a lot easier to inspect and replace properly.
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Old 12-07-2012, 06:08 PM   #7
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You only need to replace the bad one. They are either good or bad.
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Old 12-07-2012, 08:38 PM   #8
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^Ya if you bought your xi for $5k this year. Cheap bastards.
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Old 12-07-2012, 10:46 PM   #9
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^Ya if you bought your xi for $5k this year. Cheap bastards.
haaahhahahahahahahaa. I at this.
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Old 12-07-2012, 11:10 PM   #10
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You only need to replace the bad one. They are either good or bad.
...not really.
Op it's cheap. Replace the other one so you don't have to do it 2 months from now when it fails.
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Old 12-08-2012, 08:36 AM   #11
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thanks all, will go ahead and do both while I am at it
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Old 12-08-2012, 09:31 AM   #12
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You guys are pretty funny. If a dealer replaced both sides because one was bad you would all be saying they ripped you off. I replace what is needed when it is needed. They are not a part that needs replaced in pairs. The other one may last years before it needs replaced. It may have been replaced already. You can waste money if you like but i would rather spend it on things that actually need done or a beer.

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Old 12-08-2012, 11:03 AM   #13
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^ So do you replace only one brake pad or rotor when the other side is good? How about shocks/springs?

If one side has failed, I would be willing to bet the other side isn't far behind.
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Old 12-08-2012, 11:30 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by SamDoe1 View Post
^ So do you replace only one brake pad or rotor when the other side is good? How about shocks/springs?

If one side has failed, I would be willing to bet the other side isn't far behind.
+1 -It's also important for proper ballance.
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Old 12-08-2012, 01:37 PM   #15
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They don't have any balance. Its a metal rod with a ball and socket. If the ball and socket are worn they make noise. You always do brakes per axle you don't replace front and rear because one axle is worn. Shocks are a little different. If they have more than 30k on them BMW says replace both if not do the one that is leaking. That was warranty criteria. I would always replace both shocks on the axles that were an issue if it was customer pay. I work on BMW's and have for almost 40 years. I know what I am talking about. If you don't want to listen that is your call and money. Don't tell other to spend what they don't have to.
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Old 12-08-2012, 05:18 PM   #16
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Quote:
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They don't have any balance. Its a metal rod with a ball and socket. If the ball and socket are worn they make noise. You always do brakes per axle you don't replace front and rear because one axle is worn. Shocks are a little different. If they have more than 30k on them BMW says replace both if not do the one that is leaking. That was warranty criteria. I would always replace both shocks on the axles that were an issue if it was customer pay. I work on BMW's and have for almost 40 years. I know what I am talking about. If you don't want to listen that is your call and money. Don't tell other to spend what they don't have to.
I'm not talking about the links. Just argeeing with Sam on rotors, etc.
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Old 12-08-2012, 10:42 PM   #17
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They don't have any balance. Its a metal rod with a ball and socket. If the ball and socket are worn they make noise. You always do brakes per axle you don't replace front and rear because one axle is worn. Shocks are a little different. If they have more than 30k on them BMW says replace both if not do the one that is leaking. That was warranty criteria. I would always replace both shocks on the axles that were an issue if it was customer pay. I work on BMW's and have for almost 40 years. I know what I am talking about. If you don't want to listen that is your call and money. Don't tell other to spend what they don't have to.
Well if you want to be really cheap just run without front sway bar links.

Throw in some 87 from the no-name gas station and hit up pepboys for some Chinese tires.

I think you may be confused where you are. This is e46 fanatics. Note how it's not called e46 cheapskates or e46 hacks.

Best advice is to replace in pairs. Or sell and buy a chevy.
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Old 12-09-2012, 12:44 AM   #18
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Well if you want to be really cheap just run without front sway bar links.

Throw in some 87 from the no-name gas station and hit up pepboys for some Chinese tires.

I think you may be confused where you are. This is e46 fanatics. Note how it's not called e46 cheapskates or e46 hacks.

Best advice is to replace in pairs. Or sell and buy a chevy.
though I am running fuzion uhp tires atm
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Old 12-09-2012, 07:52 AM   #19
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Well if you want to be really cheap just run without front sway bar links.

Throw in some 87 from the no-name gas station and hit up pepboys for some Chinese tires.

I think you may be confused where you are. This is e46 fanatics. Note how it's not called e46 cheapskates or e46 hacks.

Best advice is to replace in pairs. Or sell and buy a chevy.
I hate to break it to you but most of you are what the industry consider hacks. This is not your day job. I don't mean hacks in a bad way though. I hack my way through computer problems all the time. The way you snipe me is why very few master techs want to come here and offer help. Keep that in mind when you bite the hands that try to feed you. I thinks a lot of people here are trying to fix their own cars to save some money. I sometimes actually resist helping you all as I know the crap it will bring. Good Day and spending more money than you have to as it will support our economy.

Last edited by bmwbob89; 12-09-2012 at 08:28 AM.
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Old 12-10-2012, 05:33 PM   #20
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I hate to break it to you but most of you are what the industry consider hacks. This is not your day job. I don't mean hacks in a bad way though. I hack my way through computer problems all the time. The way you snipe me is why very few master techs want to come here and offer help. Keep that in mind when you bite the hands that try to feed you. I thinks a lot of people here are trying to fix their own cars to save some money. I sometimes actually resist helping you all as I know the crap it will bring. Good Day and spending more money than you have to as it will support our economy.
Lol. "Master" mechs like you just hack away at jobs as quick as you can to make a buck. We don't need your generic master hack advice around here. Many of us could do your job no problem. We just chose more lucrative professions.
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