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DIY: Do It Yourself
Post here to share or improve your wrench turning skills! All BMW E46 DIY tips, tales, and projects discussed inside. Learn to work on your car and know the right BMW parts you will need!

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Old 12-28-2010, 01:17 AM   #1
Chronic2112
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Rear Subframe and Bushing DIY questions

I'm trying to decide if I can handle replacing my rusted-out Subframe (carrier), and am looking for the steps and any suggestions.

I have done a number of searches, and although I found a good thread on replacing the subframe bushings - I want to understand what is involved...someone had posted that the diff. has to come out....is that it?

Should I use the torch meathod to remove the old bushings?

...I might have to defer this to the pros.

Tim
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Old 12-31-2010, 12:15 AM   #2
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Under a high load - the rear drivetrain doesn't feel right, like something is 'giving'. The RED area in the photo is where I think the carrier is failing and the whole thing looks like it's in really bad shape.

I'm probably going to go ahead with this, Bentley service manual says:
  • Remove exhaust
  • detach driveshaft
  • detach rear drive axles
  • detach control arms
  • remove subframe mounting fasteners (this has me worried as it mentions
    using Helicoil thread inserts if there are issues with the threads)

Any input would be greatly appreciated!







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Old 01-01-2011, 10:19 AM   #3
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It looks like your subframe is rusting away. That corrosion looks really bad. Might want to clean up the rust first and then see what it looks like.

At least your rear subframe floor has been reinforced already.
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Old 01-01-2011, 09:30 PM   #4
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Yes, I had the issue a few years back - they kept mine for weeks trying to figure it out. A couple years later I had the TMS guys fix it.

Yea the subframe has to go, I'm going to fix a vacuum leak first then tackle this.

Tim
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Old 01-01-2011, 10:18 PM   #5
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From the pics, your subframe looks as strong as a saltine cracker. Its just flaking off.

I would try to clean it up first and then undercoat it. How does the front of your undercarriage look?

Either way, I would put some effort into rust removal/prevention...assuming that you will continue to drive this in the snow.
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Old 01-02-2011, 09:41 AM   #6
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Rusted is an understatement. Frankly this looks outright dangerous to drive! I'd hesitate to clean it as it may simply fall apart completely.

I had mine replaced during the sub-frame fix (thankfully on BMW's dime) as the dealer diagnosed mine as rusted while they had it all apart, though I recall what it looked like and it was no where near as bad as this one! The part itself is about $500 I think and if you search for a DIY on replacing the bushings, you'll get a good idea of the difficulty of doing a replacement. I was contemplating this before the subframe fix and found a DIY by a member who seemed pretty competent and characterized the job as a major PITA. My guess is this is one of those jobs you probably don't want to tackle unless you have access to a lift and impact tools. Good luck whatever you decide to do, one way or another you should get that thing replaced.

Just found the link: here you go: http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthr...frame+bushings
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Old 01-02-2011, 01:59 PM   #7
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By the looks of that subframe, I'd pick up a non-rusted version from a junkyard, I've seen them on ebay for peanuts, clean it, rust-proof it and install it with fresh OEM bushes. It's a PITA to remove, specially if it's all rusted like yours.
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Old 01-02-2011, 04:00 PM   #8
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You need to replace it. good luck!!
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Old 01-03-2011, 08:11 PM   #9
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Ok great all, thanks for the input. I'm going to replace it myself - have my mechanic press some new bushings into a subframe I'm going to buy and prep.

I don't think I'll need any special bushing tools for the subframe bushings...but I need to figure out if I have to replace any of the other bushings down there? The control arms look new.

I have a brand new garage I have to break in anyway.

Tim
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Old 01-03-2011, 08:29 PM   #10
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Dude, try to find a used subframe on line. I found one for 65 bucks and was 65 more to ship. Get it, clean it, spray the piss out of it with rush inhibitor and undercoating then replace that one ASAP.
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Old 01-24-2012, 02:22 PM   #11
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I've found used motor oil is a very good inhibitor of rust. Really cheap and super effective. I use a paintbrush and apply oil under my car once every year. The rust also act as a sponge to absorb the oil. Very effective.
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Old 01-24-2012, 09:43 PM   #12
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OP, I see that the steps in your second post do not involve removing the entire rear suspension ....the trailing arms, etc. (though it's not really clear as you don't include the step of removing the differential).
One of the DIYs I saw called for the removal of the entire suspension unit. But, I just replaced my 3 differential bushings and it's not that hard to pull the diff so, it has been my plan to do that and disconnect whatever is connected to the subframe (inner upper and lower control arms) and just remove the subframe that way.

Opinions on which way to go? Is there any advantage to removing the entire suspension assembly?

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