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Old 04-01-2013, 12:56 PM   #1
cposk
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Finally Happy with Suspension (Poly Subframe Bushes)

I bought a 99' 328i with 205k miles, accident history, auto trans. Did an auto>>>manual/subframe reinforcement/rubber replacement/suspension refresh over the summer. (thread here)

The suspension/steering parts I originally used:
-H&R Sport Cup Kit w/ stock mounting hardware (minus turner RSMs)
-FCPeuro FCAs & tie rods
-Powerflex FCABs
-TMS Rear Sub Reinforcement Plates
-Rackdoctor Rack
-Assorted Meyle/Lem bushes for the rear
-offbrand Front wheel bearings
-Steering Guibo

Drove the car for a while (80mile highway commute) and I was getting some wicked steering wheel shake. Car just didn't feel tight. So eventually replaced the following:

-Meyle HD FCAs
-Meyle Tie Rods
-OEM Front Wheel Bearings
-All 4 calipers/rotors/pads

Steering wheel shake cleared up, but still had some butt shake. So replaced:

-OEM Rear Wheel Bearings
-OEM Drive Shaft CSB (Already did DS guibo with trans swap)

So that cleared the speed related/rhythmic shaking. But the car didn't feel "tight". The back of the car would float, especially when it was windy out. My buddy described it as "a stiff but loose suspension". I figured the RTABs were causing most of the problem and replaced with poly ones (I know they won't last). This fixed maybe 60% of the high speed float feeling, but the rear still didn't feel secure.

So on Saturday, I pulled the subframe, removed the 8 month old bushes and installed 95A powerflex subframe bushings. I also replaced the lower control arm bushings with a ball joint because I had a few extra and read about them as an upgrade.

The car feels wonderful, completely stiff now. 100% of the rear floating feeling is gone. Drives straight as an arrow (yet to drive on a windy day though).

EDIT: I forgot to say "You were right" to Blocked Out. Post #8 in my original thread, he recommends NOT OEM rubber for the rear, and I argued with him .
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Old 04-01-2013, 01:01 PM   #2
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So I think my main issue with the bushings is that I didn't use a solid backing plate with a pressed them in with a jaw puller. Instead, I put a bolt through with a few washers and pressed on the bolt. By pushing on the center sleeve, i pre-wore the bushings.

If you are going to install bushings with a jaw puller, pick up the Harbor Freight Front Wheel Bearing Kit. It comes with multiple circular metal plates that can be used to push from the bushing's casing, not the center.

This is a picture of me removing the old ones, see the metal plate between the jaw puller and bushing.


Same idea here with the RTABs.



Here's the kit.
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Old 04-01-2013, 01:05 PM   #3
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excellent post. So the HF FWD bearing kit appears to have multiple uses on the e46. great buy. Will this HF kit work on ALL four subframe bushings? Same part#/size, right? I think t is when i read my own thread =p how about the other rear control arm bushings (not the RTAB)?

Differential bushing? (I know there's tools for that but wondering on HOW MANY things this HF kit can work for)

Awesome!

also more info/link to rear balljoint upgrade? I have the bushings for the rear already.
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Old 04-01-2013, 01:09 PM   #4
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Also any pictures of removing the subframe bushing using the HF kit?

I might go poly for the rear subframe bushings since the bushings are flat and distribute force evenly across the rear floor section as to not pop the spot welds as the OE bushings tend to do with the raised "nubs"
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Old 04-01-2013, 01:15 PM   #5
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Also want to note that I removed the subframe without removing the trailing arms. I had an alignment done 2 weeks before this, and wasn't trying to pay for another one. This method took about 6 hours (actually 7 but I installed one of the poly bushings upside down and I had to set up my press to remove it.)

1. Remove exhaust/drive shaft heat shield.

2. Remove the diff (driveshaft to diff, axles to diff, front and rear diff mount). Make sure to support axles with wire or bungie cords or whatever.

3. Support trailing arm with a jack, remove shock to trailing arm bolt. Lower trailing arm, remove spring.

4. With the diff out, you can get to the control arm to subframe bolts. Unbolt them and the control arm to trailarm bolts. Remove arms. I left the trailarms supported by jack stands.

5. Unbolt E-brake cords from E-brake and pull them out of their channels in the subframe.

6. Support front of subframe with a jack and remove the front brace (2 nuts/ 4 small bolts). Remove the 2 rear subframe bolts and lower. It takes some wiggling/maneuvering to get passed the dangling axles.

7. Remove all bushings (jaw puller, or drill hammer saw method).

8. Use lots of degreaser, then sand with 600 grit, wash and paint.

9. Install new bushings. For the polys, I used a bench vice to get them started, then a jaw puller to finish. You can install all the bushings in the subframe except the small diff bushings with a jaw puller. Just use adequate backing plates to push on the bushings casing, not the center.

10. Reinstall everything in reverse order. Follow Bentley torque specs/directions.
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Old 04-01-2013, 01:22 PM   #6
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excellent post. So the HF FWD bearing kit appears to have multiple uses on the e46. great buy. Will this HF kit work on ALL four subframe bushings? Same part#/size, right? I think t is when i read my own thread =p how about the other rear control arm bushings (not the RTAB)?

Differential bushing? (I know there's tools for that but wondering on HOW MANY things this HF kit can work for)

Awesome!

also more info/link to rear balljoint upgrade? I have the bushings for the rear already.
Mango, 100% agree on the flat surface for the bushings. Just tightening up the 4 subframe bolts, I could tell the subframe was complete planted against the car's body.

There is a picture above of me pushing a subframe bushing out with the jaw puller. You can see the metal plate from the HF kit in it.

I had done all of the bushings in the rear end over the summer. I used either Meyle or Lem for the inner control arm bushings. These are not as wide as the subframe bushings, so when i installed with the bolt/washer/jaw puller method, I didn't damage them.

Here's a pic of removing the upper control arm to trailing arm BALL JOINT. This ball joint can be used for the lower control arm as well. Normally, there is a rubber bushing, but the ball joint offers the same purpose with less "play"
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Old 04-01-2013, 01:23 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by cposk View Post
Also want to note that I removed the subframe without removing the trailing arms. I had an alignment done 2 weeks before this, and wasn't trying to pay for another one. This method took about 6 hours (actually 7 but I installed one of the poly bushings upside down and I had to set up my press to remove it.)

1. Remove exhaust/drive shaft heat shield.

2. Remove the diff (driveshaft to diff, axles to diff, front and rear diff mount). Make sure to support axles with wire or bungie cords or whatever.

3. Support trailarm with a jack, remove shock to trail arm bolt. Lower trailing arm, remove spring.

4. With the diff out, you can get the the control arm to subframe bolts. Unbolt them and the control arm to trailarm bolts. Remove arms. I left the trailarms supported by jack stands.

5. Unbolt E-brake cords from E-brake and pull them out of their channels in the subframe.

6. Support front of subframe with a jack and remove the front brace (2 nuts/ 4 small bolts). Remove the 2 rear subframe bolts and lower. It takes some wiggling/maneuvering to get passed the dangling axles.

7. Remove all bushings (jaw puller, or drill hammer saw method).

8. Use lots of degreaser, then sand with 600 grit, wash and paint.

9. Install new bushings. For the polys, I used a bench vice to get them started, then a jaw puller to finish. You can install all the bushings in the subframe except the small diff bushings with a jaw puller. Just use adequate backing plates to push on the bushings casing, not the center.

10. Reinstall everything in reverse order. Follow Bentley torque specs/directions.
Great post. Good to know you don't have to remove the trailing arms. I'd probably get an alignment anyway afterwards... i'd imagine your camber would be way off after removing the arms.

Did you forget to include the step to remove the rear upper control arms? Just to be thorough!

So no special tools were required to remove and install all 8 rear control arm bushings/balljoints? Just want to pin that down "for the record" since there are various sizes/configurations/lip for the puller to grab/no lip, etc.
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Old 04-01-2013, 01:25 PM   #8
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Mango, 100% agree on the flat surface for the bushings. Just tightening up the 4 subframe bolts, I could tell the subframe was complete planted against the car's body.

There is a picture above of me pushing a subframe bushing out with the jaw puller. You can see the metal plate from the HF kit in it.

I had done all of the bushings in the rear end over the summer. I used either Meyle or Lem for the inner control arm bushings. These are not as wide as the subframe bushings, so when i installed with the bolt/washer/jaw puller method, I didn't damage them.

Here's a pic of removing the upper control arm to trailing arm BALL JOINT. This ball joint can be used for the lower control arm as well. Normally, there is a rubber bushing, but the ball joint offers the same purpose with less "play"
So you basically use the upper balljoint in place of the lower bushing? so a total of two balljoints on the rear on each side?

Looks like i can accomplish this without the need of any special tools. Just 3-jaw pullers, various sockets, and the HF bearing kit. It never ends! Which poly bushings did you go with?
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Old 04-01-2013, 01:27 PM   #9
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Oh and you're now known as "The Finisher" cause you finish the job correctly. Please get a paid account and use that as your user title.
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Old 04-01-2013, 01:30 PM   #10
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Great post. Good to know you don't have to remove the trailing arms. I'd probably get an alignment anyway afterwards... i'd imagine your camber would be way off after removing the arms.

Did you forget to include the step to remove the rear upper control arms? Just to be thorough!

So no special tools were required to remove and install all 8 rear control arm bushings/balljoints? Just want to pin that down "for the record" since there are various sizes/configurations/lip for the puller to grab/no lip, etc.
I just said "control arms" in the directions, meaning both top and bottom.

I was able to do every bushing in the rear end EXCEPT THE SMALL DIFF TO SUBFRAME BUSHINGS with that jaw pulled you see in the picture. It has 2 different size jaws and a third arm.
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Old 04-01-2013, 01:33 PM   #11
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So you basically use the upper balljoint in place of the lower bushing? so a total of two balljoints on the rear on each side?

Looks like i can accomplish this without the need of any special tools. Just 3-jaw pullers, various sockets, and the HF bearing kit. It never ends! Which poly bushings did you go with?
See the TMS description. The ball joint is used as the lower on most M cars. You need to have a large socket (forget the diameter) to push the ball joint in from its casing. And a smaller one to push the old one out (like in my picture).

http://www.turnermotorsport.com/p-10...e46-x3-z4.aspx

And I went with Powerflex 95A (Racing) poly bushes.
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Old 04-01-2013, 02:00 PM   #12
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See the TMS description. The ball joint is used as the lower on most M cars. You need to have a large socket (forget the diameter) to push the ball joint in from its casing. And a smaller one to push the old one out (like in my picture).

http://www.turnermotorsport.com/p-10...e46-x3-z4.aspx

And I went with Powerflex 95A (Racing) poly bushes.
Great info. Will definitely do double balljoints in the back! i guess i have no use for the new rear lower bushing i have.

Aside from getting two alignments, what are your thoughts of doing the two outer bushings (balljoints) then doing the two inner ones later when i drop the subframe? ideally best to do it all at once, but if i wanted to split the job, doable? (I'm assuming the tools won't be able to work on the inner control arm bushings while the subframe is attached to the car)
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Old 04-01-2013, 02:11 PM   #13
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Great info. Will definitely do double balljoints in the back! i guess i have no use for the new rear lower bushing i have.

Aside from getting two alignments, what are your thoughts of doing the two outer bushings (balljoints) then doing the two inner ones later when i drop the subframe? ideally best to do it all at once, but if i wanted to split the job, doable? (I'm assuming the tools won't be able to work on the inner control arm bushings while the subframe is attached to the car)
The inner control arm bushings are pressed into the arms. You will need to remove the diff and springs to get the left arms out, but you don't have to pull the actual subframe. You'll be 85% to having the subframe out so it's a huge time saver to just pull it then.

You can definitely do the outer bushings without an alignment. The camber adjustment is only ~1 degree, and the eccentric bolt has markings. So you should be able to get it really close to where it was. That job would only take a few hours.

Unbolt shock from trailing arm. Lower it, remove the spring. Unbolt control arms to trailing arm bolts. Use jaw puller to press the bushings/balljoints out, then press the new ball joints in. Rebolt control arms to trailing arm, install springs, rebolt shock.
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Old 04-01-2013, 02:17 PM   #14
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The inner control arm bushings are pressed into the arms. You will need to remove the diff and springs to get the left arms out, but you don't have to pull the actual subframe. You'll be 85% to having the subframe out so it's a huge time saver to just pull it then.

You can definitely do the outer bushings without an alignment. The camber adjustment is only ~1 degree, and the eccentric bolt has markings. So you should be able to get it really close to where it was. That job would only take a few hours.

Unbolt shock from trailing arm. Lower it, remove the spring. Unbolt control arms to trailing arm bolts. Use jaw puller to press the bushings/balljoints out, then press the new ball joints in. Rebolt control arms to trailing arm, install springs, rebolt shock.
Awesome. Is the threaded rod of the HF kit thin enough to fit inside of the rear outer balljoint? hmm thinking of using the MIS RTAB tool rod. it should be thin enough? I want to be careful not to destroy the new balljoint. Unless you just use a jaw puller and a suitable socket that happens to perfectly fit the balljoint casing? I think that's what you meant.

Also the reason i want to split the job is while i have the subframe out, i want to epoxy reinforcement plates. But a quick upgrade like I mentioned is just doing the two outer balljoints on both side. I can't imagine the inners being that worn... but of course i'll replace them.
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Old 04-01-2013, 02:26 PM   #15
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Awesome. Is the threaded rod of the HF kit thin enough to fit inside of the rear outer balljoint? hmm thinking of using the MIS RTAB tool rod. it should be thin enough? I want to be careful not to destroy the new balljoint.

Also the reason i want to split the job is while i have the subframe out, i want to epoxy reinforcement plates. But a quick upgrade like I mentioned is just doing the two outer balljoints on both side. I can't imagine the inners being that worn... but of course i'll replace them.
The MS tool might work, but you still need something to push on the outer casing. You need a large socket that fits over the ball joint part (1 1/4 or something close to that I think). Then put the bolt through the socket and ball joint. Push on the back of the bolt with the jaw puller.

Ah well the ball joints are definitely a quick upgrade. Someone should make a solid sleeve for the inners, I doubt it would make a huge impact to ride quality with those solidly mounted.
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Old 04-01-2013, 02:30 PM   #16
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The MS tool might work, but you still need something to push on the outer casing. You need a large socket that fits over the ball joint part (1 1/4 or something close to that I think). Then put the bolt through the socket and ball joint. Push on the back of the bolt with the jaw puller.

Ah well the ball joints are definitely a quick upgrade. Someone should make a solid sleeve for the inners, I doubt it would make a huge impact to ride quality with those solidly mounted.
One of the greatest ideas ever. Outside the box thinking. I'll do this as well as the Z4M control arm bushings and see what happens.
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Old 04-01-2013, 02:47 PM   #17
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One of the greatest ideas ever. Outside the box thinking. I'll do this as well as the Z4M control arm bushings and see what happens.
Another thing to note is zero preload on the inner bushings when reinstalling. I didn't see it covered in the Bentley (maybe I just missed it).

After you get the bolts that connect the subframe to control arms in, you should jack the trailing arm up close to ride height before torquing them. This will increase the life of the inner bushings by establishing zero rotational preload while the car is at ride height (99.9% of its life). This is the same idea as preloading the RTABs.
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Old 04-01-2013, 02:58 PM   #18
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Another thing to note is zero preload on the inner bushings when reinstalling. I didn't see it covered in the Bentley (maybe I just missed it).

After you get the bolts that connect the subframe to control arms in, you should jack the trailing arm up close to ride height before torquing them. This will increase the life of the inner bushings by establishing zero rotational preload while the car is at ride height (99.9% of its life). This is the same idea as preloading the RTABs.
So both inner bushings have to be set to 0 preload prior to final torque?? outside balljoints are fine since they're balljoints, right?
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Old 04-01-2013, 05:28 PM   #19
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Yes, that makes sense (just like with OEM Rtabs) since the inner bushings are actually rubber bushings and not balljoints^^
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Old 04-01-2013, 05:41 PM   #20
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Yes, that makes sense (just like with OEM Rtabs) since the inner bushings are actually rubber bushings and not balljoints^^
Cool. Have you did this job Eric? Any tips as to a good setup/tool that worked for you when pressing these out/in? Seems like the double balljoints are a quick and dirty upgrade.
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