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General E46 Forum
This is the place to get answers, opinions and everything you need related to your E46 (sedan, coupe, convertible and wagon) BMW!

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Old 02-12-2012, 12:28 PM   #1
Edge325ci
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Unhappy Control Arm Assembly!!!!!!

So my control arms are getting dangerously bad! what is a good brand?/ what other things do I need to replace in the process? Where is a good place to get them done? Is it something I can do myself? How easy would it be to do it myself?
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Old 02-12-2012, 12:32 PM   #2
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And please tell us what you mean by 'getting dangerously bad'? What are the symptoms and who told you what needs to be replaced?
Give us the mileage and as much of the history of this car as you know?

Meyle are the sport arms with steel ball joints which last longer than the oem plastic. And the ball joints can be replaced without throwing out the whole arm.
Do your control arm bushings at the same time. Suggest you investigate using polyurethane by Powerflex.
Look up the DIY's on this board and on youtube. Give you all the info you need.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Edge325ci View Post
So my control arms are getting dangerously bad! what is a good brand?/ what other things do I need to replace in the process? Where is a good place to get them done? Is it something I can do myself? How easy would it be to do it myself?

Last edited by Stinger9; 02-12-2012 at 12:34 PM.
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Old 02-12-2012, 01:18 PM   #3
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it has about 145,000 miles and when i get to about 60 mph to 80mph the steering wheel shakes pretty bad and if i try to turn slightly it gets worse my mechanic just said that they were getting "dangerously bad" so i used it since he test drove it to see what it was I have replaced the wheel bearings three times and replaced the tires twice to see if that fixed the problem and it was still there I went to three different shops one automotive and two tire shops and they kept telling me that the bearings must have been bad so I know thats not the case if I changed them three times then I got on these forums and found out about control arms control arm assemblies and bushings he then test drove it and told me that it was indeed the control arms I am at a loss and just want it FIXED any ideas?
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Old 02-12-2012, 01:34 PM   #4
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Control arms so not go bad except in extreme cases.
The CAB's go bad or the ball joints go bad.
There are specific checks for ball joints and specific checks for CAB's.
Both can be learned from from searching on youtube.com.
They guys you have been going to are either not wise, or not communicating well with you, or you are not describing things in enough detail here for us to know what is going on in order to give you good advice.
Don't just throw parts at the car until you know what is wrong.
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Old 02-12-2012, 03:16 PM   #5
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@145K miles, there's more than CAs & LCABs that needs replacement. You should look into new Struts and shocks.

Did you use a bearing installer when you installed?
Depending on how you installed the hub bearings (if you damaged them during install) which would also cause similar problems.
What torque did you use for final lockdown?
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Old 02-12-2012, 03:23 PM   #6
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Speed specific vibration can also be wheels...despite the fact that you've had them balanced. Sounds like the guys you went to aren't so great...nothing personal! 3 bearings is a bad sign!

The wheel, if flatspotted, will vibrate the steering wheel within a specific speed range...even if it's balanced. Spin the wheels and look for a hop in the rim...especially the front inside rims where the wheel is softer.

You may also need CAs, etc, as Bimmers said.

One thing you definitely need to do is to read more here. I've noticed you've seemed to just post a number of threads about a variety of topics. Many have thousands of posts written about them.

We can only do so much guessing. You need to read more; do some testing yourself...start learning about the car. Or, it's going to get very expensive, very soon.

GL....hth!
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Old 02-12-2012, 03:24 PM   #7
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BimmersGarage- I took it to an actual shop and got them done and they said everything went good while completing the install so I dont know about the torque but I can find out
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Old 02-12-2012, 03:26 PM   #8
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dmax this is true but I put brand new tires on as well because the rubber was choppy I realized this and replaced them and the problem was still there
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Old 02-12-2012, 03:40 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Edge325ci View Post
dmax this is true but I put brand new tires on as well because the rubber was choppy I realized this and replaced them and the problem was still there
Well, I meant wheels, not tires.

If your tires are getting choppy, that's a sign of bad shocks...you'll feel a fish scaling on the surface of the tread.

Look in your regional forum for recommended shops. Then search here for posts about that shop just to be sure!

My front wheel bearings are probably original...228K miles...they're on list!

Three bad installs is unlikely, unless they were all installed at the same shop and not done properly any of those times!

Read up...get an xl50 and inspection mirror...get it up on ramps, and look around. Photograph suspicious things. Get friend to spin wheels while you look at inside rim yourself...if just jacking the car up, make sure your head isn't underneath the car while you're looking! Just saying!
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Old 02-13-2012, 08:45 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Edge325ci View Post
it has about 145,000 miles and when i get to about 60 mph to 80mph the steering wheel shakes pretty bad and if i try to turn slightly it gets worse my mechanic just said that they were getting "dangerously bad" so i used it since he test drove it to see what it was I have replaced the wheel bearings three times and replaced the tires twice to see if that fixed the problem and it was still there I went to three different shops one automotive and two tire shops and they kept telling me that the bearings must have been bad so I know thats not the case if I changed them three times then I got on these forums and found out about control arms control arm assemblies and bushings he then test drove it and told me that it was indeed the control arms I am at a loss and just want it FIXED any ideas?
Not to state the obvious or to knock those shops...(too badly) BUT, if they didn't bother to check your LCABs or CAs on the first or second trouble-shooting/diagnostics of your vehicle's vibration problem(s), THEN I would seriously question/doubt their professional experience with BMWs.
Do they specialize in european cars?
Skills & experience with Audi, BMW, Mercedes would have isolated your "vibration" issue(s) quite quickly once they have it up on a lift.

To have wasted your time and Money on multiple SAME repairs (ie: Hub bearings) is unacceptable, especially Now that they are agreeing with you about CAs ONLY after you mentioned it...?

Now it's possible they found the cause initially to be the hub/bearings, but if they installed it incorrectly - without using a bearing installer - or used an generic/off-brand hub... Either of which (or both) can cause the problems you described.

What's done is done. Best advise we can give you is:
a. Like Doug (DMAX) has stated, search and Read more on this forum about CAs & LCABs, plus about Hub bearings to get yourself more familiar about these components.
b. And, take your vehicle to a experienced Euro/BMW shop. Not just an Oil&Lube auto shop or a tire shop.


One last thing:
Did any of these shops offer or recommend a full alignment after they did the hub/bearing repair?



Quote:
Originally Posted by Edge325ci View Post
BimmersGarage- I took it to an actual shop and got them done and they said everything went good while completing the install so I dont know about the torque but I can find out
"went good..."
Why only good... Why not great? Did they use refurbished parts? Just curious.

Last edited by BimmersGarage; 02-13-2012 at 08:47 AM.
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Old 02-17-2012, 12:33 AM   #11
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Well I ended up doing it myself, and put on urethane bushings. It seems to have fixed my problem immensely. I will never however go back to that shop. They got pissed off and told me to take my car elsewhere if I didn't like there diagnoses.......and no they did not offer a full wheel alignment, I had to pay for it. Was that stupid? How is one supposed to know that they should do that automatically?
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Old 02-17-2012, 12:35 AM   #12
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I also took my car to a suspension shop that specializes in foreign cars, they said that my shocks and struts look great. Should I look into getting them replaced anyway?
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Old 02-17-2012, 01:13 AM   #13
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if you're still looking i have a zhp set.
http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthr...202&highlight=
let me know
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Old 02-17-2012, 01:48 AM   #14
Edge325ci
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Quote:
Originally Posted by asma123 View Post
if you're still looking i have a zhp set.
http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthr...202&highlight=
let me know
Any pics?
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Old 02-17-2012, 01:57 AM   #15
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Stop taking advice from tire shops. Go to an Independent BMW shop. There is no way you should have needed more than one set of replacement bearings. As dmax said, make sure it is not a tire/wheel issue first. But, at your milage, it is likely you need new control arm bushings, and ball joints, which are generally not replaceable, so you have to replace the entire control arm. The Meyle HD control arms are a great choice, and this place has a good price for everything you probably need, plus they have free shipping right now:
http://www.oembimmerparts.com/catalo...03/5275170.htm
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Old 02-20-2012, 10:45 AM   #16
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I agree with MJ, get the car into a BMW indy shop and let them take a look at the condition. But with your mileage in mind you're probably going to end up needing control arms, control arm bushings, front stabilizer link, tie rod assemblies,front strut mounts, etc. I have some refresh kits HERE that would get you started.



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