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Suspension & Braking Forum by BimmerWorld
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Old 10-03-2012, 05:02 PM   #1
DougL3NC
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General Suspension Question

Ok, first things first...

Got the low speed/light brake application clunk on the way to work this morning. Not a big deal, time to do FCAB's. Fast forward to now and my mind is wandering.

Having removed the original 12 y/o, 140K mi Exhaust Cam Sensor yesterday...whats the chance that every damn suspension bushing and front control arms are original?

I've got a decent amount of records, but nothing concerning the suspension. It was sold as a CPO in 03, but that was still 9 years ago!
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Old 10-03-2012, 05:09 PM   #2
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Good possibility, but if you get down there and check for play, you'll render the point moot.
Replace if bad; leave alone if tight.
Of course move forward with your CAB's
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Old 10-03-2012, 05:14 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DougL3NC View Post
Ok, first things first...

Got the low speed/light brake application clunk on the way to work this morning. Not a big deal, time to do FCAB's. Fast forward to now and my mind is wandering.

Having removed the original 12 y/o, 140K mi Exhaust Cam Sensor yesterday...whats the chance that every damn suspension bushing and front control arms are original?

I've got a decent amount of records, but nothing concerning the suspension. It was sold as a CPO in 03, but that was still 9 years ago!
The chances are excellent that all of the suspension components are original. What makes you ask?

You bought the car when it was 3 years old, and you have had it for 9 years and you didn't replace anything. What makes you think somebody replaced stuff when the car was still new?
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Old 10-03-2012, 05:35 PM   #4
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You bought the car when it was 3 years old, and you have had it for 9 years and you didn't replace anything.
Lets clarify, it was sold as a CPO in 03 to who the hell ever...I bought it Sept. of last year!

It doesn't take long for things under the car to get dirty, so you can't really sight check these components. When I bought it the FCAB's were good, 5500 miles ago when I changed the oil the FCAB's were good, and today the FCAB's are bad.

What I'm getting at is what's the chance that the FCA's are original? What's the chance that the RTAB's are original? Shocks/Struts, etc., etc.?

Can a FCA truly last 12 years and 140K miles? This is what I'm getting at.
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Old 10-03-2012, 06:13 PM   #5
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Aren't you really asking about the ball joints?
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Old 10-03-2012, 06:38 PM   #6
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I got my car at 140K miles...that guy had it for only 20K miles. I haven't replaced my control arms. Been talking about it a while but I'm just beginning to get the sense that they're worn...I've got the same little clunk. My mechanic thinks it's cabs, but I did them a few years ago. It could be either...and honestly, I'm thinking ball joints myself...it's a very slight movement.

I only have 239K miles on mine! Although some here talk like everything is crap, I have to say a lot of my car's essential parts are original...and still working!
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Old 10-03-2012, 07:07 PM   #7
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^ oh yeah. you can probably ride on all the original suspension components fo lyfe. doesn't mean you should. bmws are performance oriented cars and their performance relies heavily on the quality and security of the rubber bushings. everything works as a system and depends on the mounts and balljoints that holds them to the unibody. if there's any excess play in any of those systems, then the handling is compromised. your E46 will handle as good as the amount of money, time, and effort you put into the suspension.
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Old 10-03-2012, 07:55 PM   #8
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Part of why I don't perceive an issue is that my car handles beautifully. My alignment is perfect and I also know how tough these cars are, so little things don't bother me as much as they used to when I thought every little thing meant imminent catastrophe.

I won't argue that my CAs are good, but they're not 'too' bad if they're bad. They're on my list.

OP...one way my mech. checks ball joints is to take a monster set of channel locks and grab the top and bottom of ball joint. If he can't wiggle it in the socket, it's good.

Anyway, I need to check things out myself...but I've been talking about noticing a little something for years...and it's still the same little something...so I'm not terribly concerned.
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