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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 07-02-2006, 01:56 AM   #61
E46007
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im about to do this difficult task tommorow. im pretty confident after reading all the dyi. so thanks everyone and will let you know what happens. i was wondering if i really need to order the replacement bolts? TIA
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Old 07-02-2006, 10:38 AM   #62
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Quote:
Originally Posted by E46007
im about to do this difficult task tommorow. im pretty confident after reading all the dyi. so thanks everyone and will let you know what happens. i was wondering if i really need to order the replacement bolts? TIA
If you are changing control arms and bushings, you might want to consider replacing your sway bar endlinks at the same time. I did not do it first but bumpsteer was still present even after new control arms were installed. I replaced tie rods, it was better but still bumpsteer... Finally i replaced sway bar endlinks - and that was it - car handles like new! They were only around $30 for both from pelicanparts and hopefully i won't
t have to worry about the front end suspension for a while.
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Old 07-02-2006, 06:29 PM   #63
E46007
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Originally Posted by vert
If you are changing control arms and bushings, you might want to consider replacing your sway bar endlinks at the same time. I did not do it first but bumpsteer was still present even after new control arms were installed. I replaced tie rods, it was better but still bumpsteer... Finally i replaced sway bar endlinks - and that was it - car handles like new! They were only around $30 for both from pelicanparts and hopefully i won't
t have to worry about the front end suspension for a while.

thanks, i might do that. how hard is it to do the front endlinks? as for the control arm and the bushings, finished in less than 2 hours. only trouble i had was getting the outer BJ out. but after that everything was smooth sailing. thanks for all the help guys.
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Old 07-02-2006, 09:31 PM   #64
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Quote:
Originally Posted by E46007
thanks, i might do that. how hard is it to do the front endlinks? as for the control arm and the bushings, finished in less than 2 hours. only trouble i had was getting the outer BJ out. but after that everything was smooth sailing. thanks for all the help guys.
Took me about an hour to do - not hard and as always, once i figured out the left side, the other side went a lot faster. When you take the tire off, you'll see the endlink and the two bolts that hold it - one to the strut the other to the sway bar. I ended up loosening the bolts that hold the sway bar to the frame too, because i could not get the endlink bolts to come out. There might be a trick to that, but loosening the sway bar worked for me. End link bolts are torgued 48 lb/foot and the sway bar to the frame is only 16 lb/ft...
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Old 11-08-2006, 12:07 PM   #65
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do you guys recommend doing the trail arm bushings too at the same time? or the rear control arm bushings?

Last edited by pimpnaintez; 11-08-2006 at 12:18 PM.
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Old 11-12-2006, 07:04 PM   #66
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my abs sensor screw broke on both sides. they were so damn seized on there.. i drilled through and put a bolt and nut from Home Depot..

before drilling through, i put major PB blaster and tried to extract it w/ no luck..

i was able to get a socket on the drivers side inner CA bolt. used a 3/8 drive w/ converter to 1/2 as mini extension.. 21mm socket.

Last edited by neck; 11-12-2006 at 07:06 PM.
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Old 11-15-2006, 10:35 PM   #67
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Originally Posted by Canuck328i View Post
Damn! Never thought of that! Instead I put an allen wrench in the top of the BJ - it stopped against the frame and held the BJ in place while the nut was slowly wrenched on. And yeah, that was probably the most tedious part of the whole job.

Mark
I had this problem (turning shaft) when trying to take off the old nut on the inner joint (driver side)!! I also put an allen wrench (one of those L-shaped hand tools) in there and turned until the allen hit the frame and stopped the movement. But, the nut was so rusted that I had to pull really hard until the allen wrench (Craftsman) snapped! Sh1t! Well, the allen socket from my Craftsman socket set was next. SNAP! That went, too. Oh, man...! This time, it broke pretty much flush with the top rim of the nut, maybe half a millimeter sticking out. Not enough to grab the piece and pull it out of the nut (I was out of allen wrenches at that point, anyway). Sh1t again!! Not my day. By then, it had turned dark, a cold wind had picked up and I was miserable! Only option: My trusted Dremel tool. Without being able to see much (you are blocking your view with your own hands and the tools you are holding) I had to grind the nut off. ROYAL PITA!! Plus, a lot of fine steel dust up there now that can induce rusting. Hate that!! Driver side took me about 4 hrs, passenger side (with no stuck nuts) about 30 min.

The perfectly tight feel of the suspension the next day was wonderfully rewarding, though...
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Old 12-20-2006, 10:42 AM   #68
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LCAs

Thanks for all the lessons learned. I just replaced my LCAs, installed my H&R coil overs and my UUC sways.

Before dropping the front I wanted to check on the torque spec for the outer ball joint that mounts to the bottom of the strut and king pin assy.

Swaybar endlinks are 44 ft-lb
Swaybar mounts 16 ft-lb

Inner ball joint - good-n-tight with cresent wrench
Outer ball joint - ??????

Anyone know this value off the top of there head?

Thanks
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Old 02-10-2007, 06:46 PM   #69
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Great posts. I replaced my bushings today along with 1 control arm (I posted about the bushings in another thread). I thought I'd just add some tips on things I found extremely useful which I picked up from this post, others and the BMW TIS. I'd also like to say I have previously only attempted oil changes. These forums are awesome and allows anyone to attempt these jobs.

1) Buy the "TIS" off e-bay. This is extremely cheap and gives lots of different jobs including these ones. The biggest asset is the torque settings which give you more confidence (I do feel sorry for BMW mechanics however, maybe thats why they charge so much as they try and figure out what to do). I have listed the ones for this job below)

Wheel nut torque settings = 120Nm (90ftlb)
Stiffner Plate Bolts = 59Nm (45ftlb)
Control arm bolt closest to wheel = 65Nm (48ftlb) **
Control arm bolt closest to engine = 90Nm (67ftlb) **
Bushing Carriers to chassis = 59Nm (45ftlb)

** - Suggest Replacing Nyloc Nut if whole control arm is removed.

2) If you have to remove a control arm (CA) take of the resepctive wheel.

3) Buy a set of cheap extensions that will give you a reach of around 30inches and a UJ socket connector.

4) Attack the nut on the CA closest to the engine through the engine bay (this is where the extensions come in handy).

5) Attack the nut on the CA closest to the wheel from the back of the wheel arch (the UJ again allowed a socket). Note this sucker spins. My replacement didn't have a alan key head so I used by jack with a ply wood seat to force the pin upwards and stop it spinning. I got the recommended torque setting on using this techniques and avoided having to remove the ABS sensor.

6) If you use the pickle forks the CA will not be able to be replaced (i.e. the rubber boots get shagged - not a problem if you are replacing the CA). The reason I state this is because I also did the bushings and thought putting these on with the CA off would possibly be easier. I did the failed one first and found the damage induced by pickle forks. If I did the job again I think I may look at a 'front end set' of ebay for around $60 (although my pickle fork set was $10). This would be less noisy for the neighbours as well.

7) If you can do the job yourself then don't let someone else do it as you can be rest assured it will be done right. I am fed up with garages who all seem bent. I was charged $50 for re-attching the zenon linkage assembly. This took me 2 minutes during this work!

I highly suggest doing your bushings if you do the control arms. I had a garage do my right one a while ago as it had failed. They didn't replace the bushings or even ask me and had put the old one back on with grease! - you should have seen the grit in there. This must have been already in a bad state so why they didn't let me know I have no idea.

Last edited by b777_uk_2000; 02-10-2007 at 06:51 PM.
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Old 04-25-2007, 12:32 PM   #70
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A few tips from me then. Just changed control arms and bushes.

1) You can undo the nut holding the outboard balljoint using a socket set and extensions. To do this you need to turn the steering all the way to one side and remove the ABS sensor, then you can access the nut from above keeping your tools within the wheelarch.

2) I couldn't access the right hand control arm inner balljoint nut other than from below. This takes ages. If anyone can find a way to mechanise this then do it. However, you can access the same nut on the other side of the car byh removing the lid to the air filter housing and the mass flow meter. Then you should be able to see the nut from above and have room for your extension + socket set again.

3) Once you have the balljoint nuts removed, apply penetrating agent liberally (e.g. 3 in 1 oil). Leave it for 1/2 hour, go and have a cup of coffee - you will have earned it.

4)) Next, The balljoints can be a real pain to remove. I broke my balljoint remover. This is absolutely key. Contrary to the instructions above I would recommend that you split the outboard balljoints first. If you undo the aft bush first you leave the control arm with nothing against which to react the forces you are attempting to apply with your picckle fork. You therefore weaste a good deal of effort. If you approach the outer balljoint first the control arm is supported by the chassis of the car and all the effort you are putting into the pickle fork goes straight into splitting the balljoint.

4) BTW, if you are doing this, give some thought to how you are going to push to the new bush onto the new control arm. I found it very difficult to do despite dressing the arm and using lube (soapy water). There must be a hydraulic solution, it will save your back. Anyone got any suggestions?

Enjoy
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Old 05-21-2007, 04:36 PM   #71
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does anybody know the specs on the bolts? I need to get this done but I dont have time to get to the dealership?
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Old 05-30-2007, 07:13 PM   #72
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Old 06-01-2007, 04:28 PM   #73
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Originally Posted by millsn View Post
4) BTW, if you are doing this, give some thought to how you are going to push to the new bush onto the new control arm. I found it very difficult to do despite dressing the arm and using lube (soapy water). There must be a hydraulic solution, it will save your back. Anyone got any suggestions?
Mine went right on w/ some dish soap. No big deal. Not sure why you had a problem. Tight is good!
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Old 06-10-2007, 09:20 AM   #74
dirkvr
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Replaced CA + CABs + Sway bar links

With a 'clunk' noise in the front left suspension, and 133 kKms on my odometer (about 83 kMiles), I figured my front axle needed some work.
After research (including this thread as well as diving under the car to look at things), I figured my bushings were bad.
Since I was going to replace my bushings anyway, I decided to take on all things that may have gone bad over time: Sway bar links, control arms and bushings (replaced with PowerFlex).

I started this task last Saturday with a buddy of mine who has the room & tools in his garage to handle this. Left side came out and went in without a hitch.
We ended up sawing through the original bushings' sleeves to get them out (no vises with ground-down pipecaps).
The right side, however, refused to surrender. Bushing came out, inner arm mount as well, but the outer arm mount refused to budge. After hammering away for a while and using more penetrating oil than is environmentally acceptable, we cut the bolt holding the control arm into the kingpin right above the ball joint.
We figured that we could take the forces holding this pin in by drilling a hole through. Tried that - didn't work.
So that was the end of last weekend - the car was left standing on jack stands throughout the week.
Yesterday (Sat.), we dissasembled the kingpin (separated the tie rod, took off brake caliper & disc, disconnected ABS pulse generator & unscrewed kingpin pinch bolt) & took it to the trusty professional mechanic. This guy had to beat the thing out with a pin and a BIG sledge. It did come out clean with no damage to the king pin. We figure the car (I purchased it CPO) must have had an "argument" with a curb or something in its life to get this thing THAT stuck in.
Anyway - king pin reassembled nicely (used new bolts in the pinch as well as the bushing holders), & the car is back on its feet.
Initial impressions were good - ride is more solid & steering sharper. The 1st mile after reassembly, the car was nearly silent. After a few sharp turns & brakes to load up the front, the familiar "clunk" was back. Taking off the wheels & re-tightening the sway bar links took care of that, though.
One final thing for me to do is to get an alignment. That's clearly needed, since getting the car to track straight now requires a few degrees right steer (used to be exactly straight).
All in all not a very difficult DIY, although frustrating to have to leave my baby on jack stands for a week.
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Old 06-10-2007, 04:47 PM   #75
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Originally Posted by kbsilver View Post
Car DEFINATELY needed an alightment after, the steering wheel centering shifted slightly. Interstingly enough except for the toe, most of the aligment change was on the rear to match what had changed in the front.
I just did this today after I got some nerve up. I had tried it once before but neede a pickle fork. So total time was about 6 hours. Today I did the whole job in 2 hours. My question is this...
My steering wheel shakes at around 62mph and up. I am guessing I need an allignment. Anybody think so? Any suggestions are welcome. Thanks guys
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Old 07-10-2007, 04:07 PM   #76
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Fairly big job

I guess maybe I'm slow, but I replaced the control arms along with installing Powerflex bushings to replace a really loose right side stock bushing, and it took me about 8 hours.
It didn't help that the left side outer ball joint really did not want to let go. After digging ruts in the aluminum control arm (glad I was replacing it) with my brand new ball joint separator (no rentals at my local NAPA), I finally tried using a rod and hammer to hit the top of the bolt while the pickle fork was jammed in there. There went one hour.
Then I had a heck of a time getting the first stock bushing out of the mount... I spent almost 2 hours, just taking the wrong approach I guess. The second one went a lot faster.

Whine whine whine -- it was harder than I thought it would be. I need to get a real vise.

Many thanks to everyone who posted all the really useful info in this thread! Here are a few notes that might be useful for others:

- I bought 21 and 22 mm GearWrenches, hoping to use them on the inner joint nuts. Didn't read carefully enough that, as someone else already pointed out, there isn't enough clearance to get the gear part around the nut. Oh well, I didn't have any wrenches in those sizes anyway. What did work, though, was a GearWrench 1/2 socket adapter that fits into the 18mm wrench driving a 21 or 22 mm socket. Not enough room for a regular ratchet wrench.
- The 18mm GearWrench was also handy to remove the outer joint nut w/o having to remove the ABS sensor. However, the new nut was 19mm, and I don't have a GearWrench in that size.
- The new Meyle control arms are actually heavier than the stock arms on my 323i wagon. Stock = 6 lb 1oz, Meyle = 6lb 14oz Not a big deal, since it's just a daily driver, but the description at bimmerworld.com made me think the new arms would be lighter. Maybe it's those 'more durable than stock' ball joints.
- I did it all w/o taking off the brace (as someone else already mentioned). There is just BARELY enough room to get the lower bolts on the bushing mounts out. Honestly, if there was 1/2mm less room, it wouldn't work. Anyway, I bought the 'consumable' bolts for the brace as well as the bushings (all the same bolt), so I have 4 extras that I really doubt I'll ever use. If anyone wants those bolts for the cost of postage, send me a private message.

Last edited by Remarksman; 07-10-2007 at 04:09 PM. Reason: Forgot one thing
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Old 10-19-2007, 10:12 AM   #77
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My question is regarding the Front Plate Reinforcement Bolts. My local dealership is quoting me $3.15/each for the bolts which I think is pretty insane. Do most of you guys replace these bolts or just re-use them? I need 8 of them for my car (I get 4 with my bushings) and would have to order them. $25 and have to wait to start on my project. Your thoughts?
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Old 10-19-2007, 10:56 AM   #78
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My question is regarding the Front Plate Reinforcement Bolts. My local dealership is quoting me $3.15/each for the bolts which I think is pretty insane. Do most of you guys replace these bolts or just re-use them? I need 8 of them for my car (I get 4 with my bushings) and would have to order them. $25 and have to wait to start on my project. Your thoughts?
Is not the guy above your post offering 4 bolts for the cost of postage? If he still has those you would need only 4...

You don't have to replace them with the new ones but it is recommended. If you reuse the old bolts then you can put some threadlock on them and it should be just fine.
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Old 10-19-2007, 06:35 PM   #79
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When you guys say that "Control Arm bushing bolts and the 4 bolts that hold the frame support brace that must be removed are all one time use. ..."

Is that really true? I know the Bentley manual states that but in a previous discussion with another user of this site I was told that although those nuts use a nylon lock that can still be resuse without any problem.
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Old 10-19-2007, 08:22 PM   #80
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No way would I reuse the nylon nuts. For any application, they are intended to be single use items. I was asking about the bushing mounting bolts and the plate/tube reinforcement bolts. The bolts are probably OK, but vert is right about applying some threadlock (average strength, blue or red) to the bolts to make sure that they stay in. However, I do have some reservations about using threadlock because I have heard that it can effect your torquing of the bolt. I am doing the job this weekend and will probably torque the bolts down w/threadlock first to get a feel as if they need it and check up on it later if I decide on staying w/out threadlock. Easy to fix if they need it.
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