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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 02-10-2006, 10:35 AM   #21
Canuck328i
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kbsilver
I have a regular ball joint tool that worked fine on other cars. But on the E46 it only seemed to dig into the CA as I hammered away.
I had that happen too. The key is to remove the fork and go from the other direction, then it cleared just fine.

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Old 02-10-2006, 11:06 AM   #22
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I just checked with a tech..he has a universal tool b\joint separator avail.. says they are avail at any auto parts store..I'll take a pic when I get a chance.. works on 100% of any tapered ball joint... seems easier then the pickle fork system.. looks like this tool...approx cost is $15 USD

Last edited by Surk; 04-21-2006 at 12:12 PM.
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Old 02-10-2006, 11:11 AM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Surk
I just checked with a tech..he has a universal tool b\joint separator avail.. says they are avail at any auto parts store..I'll take a pic when I get a chance.. works on 100% of any tapered ball joint... seems easier then the pickle fork system..
But that you cam only use for the outer balljoint.
What about the inner one?
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Old 02-10-2006, 11:16 AM   #24
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From what I've "heard" inner bj is easier to dis-lodge, but a PITA to remove\install nut either way a pickle fork will def help on either joint...

Quote:
Originally Posted by hm328i
But that you cam only use for the outer balljoint.
What about the inner one?
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Old 02-10-2006, 01:38 PM   #25
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Thats what I used

SURK, in the picture above, that's the tool I used that worked. Still needed to hammer it on to clear the rubber boot and all. If you get the right size pickle fork it's still much faster. Hold it in place, 3-4 wacks and your done in 15 seconds. And yes, the inner BJ separates very easily with the pickle fork.
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Old 02-10-2006, 01:51 PM   #26
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Originally Posted by tim330i
I have pictures and will be writing up a full DIY shortly.
Please do it soon Tim. I just ordered mine from bw.
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Old 02-10-2006, 02:01 PM   #27
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I'll make sure I have both avail when I do my CA's... lookin at these units with replaceable b\joints..anyone ever use these..I'm sure they are decent quality not Taiwan knock-offs (can't be worse then oem's that go every 50K

http://cgi.ebay.ca/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?...MEWA%3AIT&rd=1

http://cgi.ebay.ca/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?...MEWA%3AIT&rd=1




Quote:
Originally Posted by kbsilver
SURK, in the picture above, that's the tool I used that worked. Still needed to hammer it on to clear the rubber boot and all. If you get the right size pickle fork it's still much faster. Hold it in place, 3-4 wacks and your done in 15 seconds. And yes, the inner BJ separates very easily with the pickle fork.
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Old 02-10-2006, 05:50 PM   #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EDawg
btw, tim, do you know of any DIY write up for the RTAB??
The procedure for the E46 is idential to the Rear E36 Trailing Arm Bushing DIY [from Rogue Engineering]

The DIY indicates the required use of a special tool to remove the worn OEM rear trailing arm bushings. I was able to remove the bushing without the special tool by the following: (i) cut out the center of the bushing (rubber area with the metal collar); (ii) use a chiseled-punch to collapse the outer metal sleeve of the bushing; and (iii) simply remove the bushing (if lucky) or use a hammer to nudge it out.

Removing the thick center rubber area took a lot of patience. I used a drill to mutilate the rubber and some muscle to pry the inner area out. I replaced the worn bushing with PowerFlex RTAB's--these urethane bushings do not need to be pressed into the the trailing arm.

If you plan on replacing worn RTAB's with OEM, then investing in the special tool indicated in the DIY will make the remove & replace procedure much simpler to do as it's used for removing and installing the bushing without requiring the removal of the trailing arm.

EDIT: Wheel alignment is advised since the bracket that holds the RTAB's and then bolts to the chassis is the rear toe adjustment assembly.
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Old 02-11-2006, 07:05 AM   #29
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Originally Posted by GunMoto
If you plan on replacing worn RTAB's with OEM, then investing in the special tool indicated in the DIY will make the remove & replace procedure much simpler to do as it's used for removing and installing the bushing without requiring the removal of the trailing arm.
where else can you find that type of tool aside from the side they linked to which sells the tool for $85??
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Old 02-11-2006, 07:08 PM   #30
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EDawg - I looked for a generic type tool that could press out the bushing but I had no luck finding such tool. There is a BMW special tool that te dealers use, likely more costly than the $85 special tool from Victory Product Design, LLC.

Do you plan on replacing the RTAB's with an OEM bushing?
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Old 02-11-2006, 08:35 PM   #31
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GunMoto
Do you plan on replacing the RTAB's with an OEM bushing?
i haven't decided, but most likely i will go with OEM with aftermarket limiters. i hear urethane RTABs can be noisy. i don't track my car, but do drive it spiritedly on a regular basis, so i don't want to have to deal with squeaks. what are your experiences with the powerflex RTABs??
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Old 03-01-2006, 07:18 PM   #32
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Just picked my car up (I'm too busy right now to do it myself) after having the front control arms and bushings installed. All I can say is "Damnit!!!!" I wish I had done this before I went to the track two weekends ago!! I guess my bushings and joints were more shot than I realized. It's like I have a completely different car. I thought it handled well before but it is truly amazing how much better it feels now. And no more bump steer or diving to the right when I apply the brakes quickly either. It's all good.
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Old 03-11-2006, 11:43 PM   #33
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Lets see, I started bright and early doing the suspension/control arm. This is about 8am. I've done the rear and front suspension in 2 hours tops(no new springs, just dampers). Control arms and bushing took me 6 hours. It is such a PITA!

some advise -
1. Get a socket wrench with the angle on the head, as low profile as possible. thin... your going to have fun take off the nuts.

2. When you are about to fry(hitting the butt of the tool) the inner and outer ball joint with the fork looking tool from Autozone, make sure you have a BIG hammer. Keep hitting the fork at the butt and the ball joint should dislodge.

3. I think it is hard to torque the inner ball joint nut. I couldnt do it with a torque wrench. I just guestimate the torque with the socket wrench and use force.

4. inserting the bushing to the control arm end. soapy water didnt work. use a big mallet and hammer it in. 10 whacks and its fully inserted.

sorry I was working on a Do-it-yourself guide until I got so frustrated I stop taking picture!

have fun...
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Last edited by darkmanlfe; 03-11-2006 at 11:54 PM.
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Old 04-08-2006, 10:06 PM   #34
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Staszek and I replaced his control arms today. We took some pictures, so I thought we'd add to the "experience."

For what it's worth, Staszek bought the Hamburg-Technic control arms. The bushings were already pressed into the carriers, but not attached to the arms.

First pic: removing the left outer ball joint nut. This looks difficult, but it's actually easy, especially compared to the inner ball joint.



And now the inner ball joint nut. Again, left side. Yes, we have a power steering leak. Can't really turn the wrench more than 70-80 degrees each time up here. Pain in the butt, but easy compared to putting it back on.



A note on nut sizes, since there's been some concern about this before. Staszek's OEM nuts were 18mm for the outer ball joint, and 21mm for the inner ball joint. The Hamburg arms had 19mm nuts on the outer ball joints, and 22mm nuts on the inner ball joints. Be prepared (not like us) with an open-end wrench in each size.



This is my favorite part. Pickle fork/ball joint separator inserted into the outer ball joint. Pound it in a little bit with a small rubber mallet first. Once it's firm, bust out your big sledge.



Close-up of above. Still the left side. Note: helps a little bit to crank the steering wheel away from the side you're working on. Gives a little better angle to work with.

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Old 04-08-2006, 10:17 PM   #35
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Pickle fork in the inner ball joint. Again, wheel turned to give better access.



Staszek with the 10-pound maul. You don't have to swing very hard. We put a heavy towel over the fender, and closed the hood on it, just in case the maul ran away from us. Some ball joints surrendered after just one or two shots, but some required a few minutes of pounding.



Finally, the control arm on the ground. I should add that the rear bushing carrier bolts should be removed last of all. Keeps the control arm from flying into your radiator or something after that last whack.



Re-attaching the outer ball joint. Notice the allen key in the top of the shaft. The stupid shaft spins while you try to tighten the nut, so the allen key keeps it from spinning. Unfortunately, this means you can't use a socket here.



Same process on the inner ball joint. Again, note the allen key up top. Really not possible to use a torque wrench, so just tighten the heck out of it. When you're done, the allen key will kinda be jammed in there. We popped them out by putting the open end wrench on it, then striking upwards with a mallet from below.



OK, hope this makes it clearer for the next guy. Good luck and have fun!
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Old 04-09-2006, 07:55 AM   #36
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kbsilver
All in all not a real hard job, I'd give it about a 2.5 out of 5 on difficulty. Changing the entire arm with the bushings makes it much easier. Essentially 2 bolts (bushing housing) and 2 nuts (top of ball joints) is all that is undone to remove the entire arm. Some notes for those so inclined to tackle themselves

Control Arm bushing bolts and the 4 bolts that hold the frame support brace that must be removed are all one time use. Get the 8 replacements before you start the job (they are all the same)..
Hmmm, I didn't have to remove the frame support. BTW, the bolts on the frame support were a whole lot bigger than 16mm - probably 25mm or larger.
The outer ball joints use an 18mm nut; the inner ball joints use a 22mm nut.
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Old 04-09-2006, 09:48 PM   #37
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Quote:
Originally Posted by r0x

OK, hope this makes it clearer for the next guy. Good luck and have fun!

Thanks for the help!!!
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Old 04-10-2006, 08:34 PM   #38
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Thanks for the write-up. I'm going to order new control arms from BW right now! I'll let you know how the DIY goes. The local independent shop quoted $250 for labor. Worthwhile? Or do I attempt it myself?....

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Old 04-10-2006, 08:48 PM   #39
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Old 04-11-2006, 08:13 AM   #40
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Just to add to this DIY.. I just did mine a few days ago.. I found removing the inner b\joints 1st. allows for you to pivot the arm down and easier access to dislodge the outer one during removal..
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