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Suspension & Braking
Have some questions about suspension or brake setups for your E46 BMW? Get all your answers here!

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Old 06-03-2010, 06:49 PM   #1
MissionSk8r21
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How to determine if I need just bushings or an entire LCA?

Sup guys,

I have an 01 325i just about to hit 70k miles. Ive started to notice the symptoms thats come with shot lower control arm bushings such as loose steering, shaking in the steering wheel, and a loose feeling on uneven pavement.

My question is....how do I determine if I only need to purchase a new bushing set or an entire control arm assembly? The price difference is HUGE, and the install is kind of a pain. So Id like to make sure I do this right the first time.

Turner sells a bushing set for $100.00, however for OE lower control arms its nearly $400.00!!

Any advice is greatly appreciated.
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Old 06-03-2010, 07:00 PM   #2
alwaysbored786
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try pushing the wheel back and forth, look for any movement in the wheel, there should be none. When your driving, does your steering wheel shake when braking? Or, lift the car up and just look.

I made this mistake, i replaced my fcabs b/c i knew they were bad, but i neglected to check out outer ball joints. Ball joints were bad so now i gotta replace the control arms as well now .
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Old 06-03-2010, 07:32 PM   #3
MissionSk8r21
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Originally Posted by alwaysbored786 View Post
try pushing the wheel back and forth, look for any movement in the wheel, there should be none. When your driving, does your steering wheel shake when braking? Or, lift the car up and just look.

I made this mistake, i replaced my fcabs b/c i knew they were bad, but i neglected to check out outer ball joints. Ball joints were bad so now i gotta replace the control arms as well now .

Ok I just jacked the car up (one side at a time). There was zero movement in and out, and VERY slight movement left to right (front to back). I inspected both control arms visually and their's no obvious signs of wear (Im not a mechanic).

I get a slight shake while cruising, and then a shake during braking, however my front rotors are completly TOAST.

My gut says at 70k miles, its more then likely just the bushings.

Any other thoughts?
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Old 06-03-2010, 11:32 PM   #4
alwaysbored786
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yea sounds like the bushings are gone, even if they arn't...70k is a good time to replace them. The movement from front to back is the ball joint, if you can live with it, then i say wait.
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Old 06-04-2010, 05:10 PM   #5
MissionSk8r21
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Awesome, ordered a set of powerflex urethane bushings with housing from bimmer world today =D



Thx for the help!
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Old 07-04-2010, 01:07 AM   #6
IntegGeezer2Bimmer
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these are what you're going to need. NEW control arms with ball joints, control arm bushings, and new sway bar endlinks. your car will be happy.
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you have to understand the people that jump from car to car often have NO MONEY

they are usually making poor financial decisions and rolling over debt.

No offense to some members on the group but there are dudes making less than $35K driving in fairly new cars - lol like leasing a $40k car - wtf - the car is worth more than what you make in a year!

OP just be sensible - good luck!
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Old 07-04-2010, 10:20 AM   #7
packrat555
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at 70K it maybe is only your bushings but at 80-90K it will be the LCA. Most replace them as a set then you know for the next 50K everything is good.

www.oembimmerparts.com has both meyle HD LCA and FCBA for $345

http://www.oembimmerparts.com/catalo...03/5275170.htm
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Old 07-14-2010, 01:52 AM   #8
electric130
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my car was doing like that one. all it was was the rear control arm bushing. i replaced the OEM with the Meley HD set for $90 from Autohaus AZ:
https://www.autohausaz.com/search/pr...=31126757623MY
there's a DIY here
http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthread.php?t=421918
they replaced the whole arm, but i only did the bushing. i've got 95k on my car and the ball joints on the arms are fine. i followed that DIY until basically the end of the first post. i just took the bushing off. i didn't take the whole arm off. HUGE difference afterwards. make sure you get a 3-jaw puller to get the bushing off the arm, or your life will be hell like mine was!
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Old 07-14-2010, 05:05 PM   #9
MissionSk8r21
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I ordered the powerflex lca's pressed in the housing and did the install in like 30minutes, seems to have fixed all my issues. Tested the balljoints, they seem perfect. Im at 70k miles, but this thing is babied.
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Old 07-16-2010, 11:58 PM   #10
kuksul08
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Replace the bushings either way.

Then determine if the ball joints have gone bad. I did this by first removing the wheel, then using a large crescent wrench and squeezing the ball joint. Place one jaw on the top of the threaded portion of the ball joint, and the other jaw underneath the arm. Squeeze hard - if there is any movement, even a few millimeters, they need to be replaced. Simple!

At 70k miles, it's probably best to replace everything anyway. I'd suggest OEM Lemforder or Meyle.
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Old 02-05-2011, 05:22 PM   #11
Christopher S
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I would much rather raise a dead thread then start a new one for a similar issue.

I notice while driving that I have a sound that I have yet to find a proper word to describe it. However, it is coming from the front left driver side area. I noticed in the video above that the sound w/ the control arm issue is very distinct in loud, as well as being able to raise the smptoms while braking. I only notice my issues when driving on the highway. the sound is kinds muffled and almost simliar to the buffering sound a dryer may make in the spin cycle, yet the temp of it increased with the speed of the vehicle. It is NOT altered whatsoever by me braking, etc. It stays the same regardless. It's almost completely gone when I am doing city driving. I can SLIGHTLY feel it in the steering wheel, but nothing major.

I mentioned it to the dealership when I went to get my oil changed and they said it would be my lower control arms. But, everything I have read in ref. to control arms does not seem to apply to my symptoms. They also stated they felt it in the steering wheel while test driving it and I believe that is false because I feel nothing different or out of the ordinary when braking.

-Christopher
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