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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 07-08-2010, 09:08 AM   #1
mcopenha
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Xi FCAB question

Hi, I'm planning on tackling the front control arm bushings on my 01 325xi this weekend. Most of the prior postings I've read talk about the difficulty of pressing the old bushings out of the carriers, but I'm surprised I haven't read anything about possible difficulties removing the carriers themselves. I took a quick peek under the car, and the 2 bolts holding these carriers on each side seem pretty difficult to get to, and impossible use an an air wrench.

The rear wheel drive ones seem much easier with the bolts on the outside.

Am I missing something? Did people just use a hand wrench? It almost looked like you couldn't get a socket up there. Suggestions, please. Thanks much.
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Old 07-08-2010, 09:45 AM   #2
Nachos23
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I used a wrench locked into another to provide more leverage (see last pic). Definitely NOT an air wrench. Actually not on as tight as you would imagine. Was able to get them off fairly quickly. Easiest way to remove old bearings is hack saw or air impact punch (see pic below; punched it out of holder), or as most members here will suggest, use a bearing removal tool you can rent.... Alot of guys also have mde their own tools.

I'm old school; I use a sledge hammer to loosen balljoints and before anyone criticises, I'm STILL RUNNING THE ORIGINAL FACTORY control arms (FCABs only replaced 2 months ago) and suspension is tight and checked regularly for wear.....

Here are some pics from my FCAB replacement. The smiling mechanic is my buddy/mentor; let's me use his shop for repairs and will assist..... Best indy I know!!!
Also, since I was taking pics, I got off easy this DIY as he removed and installed the FCABs into the carriers so I could take pics.....




















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Old 07-08-2010, 10:15 AM   #3
Schattenjager
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GREAT write-up!
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Old 07-08-2010, 11:59 AM   #4
Kubica
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You are going to have to bend the heat shield on the passenger's side (or take it off). Just bend it back when you are done.

Probably (defineitly) best not to use a sledge hammer to separate ball joints.
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Old 07-08-2010, 01:01 PM   #5
mcopenha
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Nachos, you are the man. Thanks for very useful writeup and pics! This will definitely require some more planning. I have a good press for taking out the bushing, but that's a serious puller you have to remove the carrier from the control arm. Nice work. Thank you again.
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Old 07-08-2010, 08:15 PM   #6
pcdsl
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did you guys have to do an alignment after?
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Old 07-08-2010, 08:24 PM   #7
Captainbiceps
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did you guys have to do an alignment after?
No only if you have coilovers and everytime you change the height of the car you should do alignment.
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Old 07-08-2010, 08:28 PM   #8
pcdsl
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cool Thanks, I have some Powerflex FCABS I want to install, but I just did an alignment so I was gonna hold off until I replace the entire front suspension. I guess I can just go ahead and put the FCABs in. Hopefully it'll get rid of my front end vibrations.
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Old 07-08-2010, 09:33 PM   #9
tony325ci_51
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Great diagrams, particularly the useful pulling tool contraption.

Both my Indy Tech and MOT inspector agree that mine are ok but those bushes do flex a lot by design. My tech gave me a demo of this flexing in action with the car up on the lift, there's more movement there with e46s than many other cars.

You can feel this as a kind of "grabbing" through the steering wheel under sharp braking as the forces of physics try to twist the wishbones one way against the rubber of the bushes, hence many people's preference for Powerflex or similar.

My tech did mention he was getting some upgraded ones in (don't know who makes them, could be Powerflex, he races M3s so they'll be good, whatever). I think I'll be asking for them when mine need changing, should give a tighter steering feel.

Am I right in thinking if considering DIY you could save a lot of hacking / pressing effort by buying new carrier + bush units complete?

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Originally Posted by pcdsl View Post
Hopefully it'll get rid of my front end vibrations.
Just a thought but front end vibrations are more likely to be something else. If at certain speeds I'd look at wheel & tyre balancing, if under braking more likely to be warped brake disks (US:rotors).
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Old 07-08-2010, 09:55 PM   #10
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With a CI you most typically bye the bushing and carrier already installed. Here in NA its around $60- 70 for the complete (non-Xi) assemlby. The Xi bushing costs the same for the bushings as does the regular set. Carriers are another $70 - 80 and if you want them to press, then add another $80 -90. Considerably more expensive, so most folks with Xi's re-use the carriers and try to find a way to avoid paying full price to be pressed. On the other hand, my car has 240,000km (180,000m) and this is the first time they've been done..... Most non-Xi's are done every 100K or less...... your mounting bolts are also not hidden and are readily accessible.... Your FCAB mounting bolts are accessible from bottom of car (not from behind as in my pics) and can be accessed with air tools and proper sockets..... The rest is the same. As far sledge and balljoints, always done it that way; again, mine are perfect with 230,000 km and they've been removed a dozen or so times as I've done upgrades, CV joints, FCABs, etc and they're still perfect. Know how to do it properly I get it loose with maybe 3-4 moderate swings...... Ya, sure a puller works great, but the old ways are sometimes still just as good... My fan removal tool is a flat steel with a cutout for the bolts on our fans and guess what, I use a single swing of a mallet to loosen the fan bolt..... Home made; works great!

Remember; the tools are only as good as the individual using them!!
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Old 07-08-2010, 10:28 PM   #11
pcdsl
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Just a thought but front end vibrations are more likely to be something else. If at certain speeds I'd look at wheel & tyre balancing, if under braking more likely to be warped brake disks (US:rotors).
Thanks, yeah it's usually when I hit 90/100km/h around 60mph. Around 120km/h it goes away. And it seems like only certain times. Not all the time. I know I have one rim that is slightly bent... should I just replace that rim and see? it's a VM CSL Rep, they wanted $260cad here for it. I thought it might be my tie-rods also.... although tie-rods for XI is like triple the price compared to one for the I.
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Old 07-09-2010, 08:57 PM   #12
pcdsl
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tony325ci_51 View Post

Just a thought but front end vibrations are more likely to be something else. If at certain speeds I'd look at wheel & tyre balancing, if under braking more likely to be warped brake disks (US:rotors).
Hey you're right. I put my rear wheels in the front and the vibration was gone! I'm gonna go grab a new wheel to replace that one bent one.
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Old 07-12-2010, 04:15 AM   #13
mujjuman
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sucks about the bent wheel
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Old 07-12-2010, 08:36 AM   #14
Mark M
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Yeah, just did the same job myself.

Those FCAB are a pain in the backside. Removed the old control arms, took em to a local shop, had the old FCAB pressed out of the lollypop and pressed in the new bushings. Went home, was planning to install the new bushing/lollypop on the arm with dish soap as everyone on the web says they do so as to avoid preloading the bushing. Well...F that......with ample dish soap I could not get the bushing to budge, would not fit on the new arm at all. Had to tuck my tail and go back to the shop and have em press it on the arm for me.

Also did the Rear Trailing Arm Bushings.

Car is at the dealer today for an aligment.
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Old 07-18-2010, 04:05 PM   #15
mcopenha
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Posted a new DIY here: http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthread.php?t=778979
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