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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 12-28-2009, 11:34 AM   #201
Another BM
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Is this the Fork i wanna get??



http://www.canadiantire.ca/AST/brows...int%2BTool.jsp
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Old 12-28-2009, 01:21 PM   #202
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Originally Posted by Another BM View Post
Yes. But, it is worth noting that you can rent it from autozone for free, and that its about $20 to buy it from autozone if you don't return it. I am guessing the shipping will be over 50% of the value.
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Old 12-29-2009, 11:29 AM   #203
Another BM
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i just went out and purchased it..
its only $15 at the local store and i like to own odds and end tools... never know when you'll need a fork
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Old 12-30-2009, 05:23 PM   #204
Another BM
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so i got the control arms installed...
can't tell you how long it took since i took my time and did it over 3 days. if i had to add it all together i would say maybe 3-4 since it was my first time doing this.....


As i was putting in the new control arms the ball joints were spinning as i was tightening the nuts.
Is it normal for the ball joints to spin???

I jacked up the controls and that seemed to lock the ball joints and let the nut go in smoothly.

Is it o.k for ball joints to spin???
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Old 12-31-2009, 05:20 PM   #205
dino71
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Originally Posted by Optio View Post
I measured from the outer ball joint center point to the control arm stud:
290 mm. I modified this dimension from the factory setting because the Meyle HD bushings are thicker than the BMW factory ones.
I have some news for you 290mm is 11.41 inches I think you mean 29mm which is 1.14 inches
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Old 01-09-2010, 08:15 AM   #206
AaronG330i
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I just replaced my control arms and bushings today. It took me about 2.5 hours at a local garage. It took me a 21mm wrench for the inner ball joint and he equivalent to a 3/4 inch wrench to the outer one a,d the 16mm to get the skid plate and control arm bushing bracket off. The only real hard part was getting to the inner nut to loosen and tighten on the new one. Im guessing if you had a ratcheting wrench it might work a little faster as theres no space to get a socket on any of these nuts...at least in my car. Pretty easy job though and I recommend an alignment afterwards.
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Old 01-10-2010, 10:36 AM   #207
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"Both BMW and the Bentley recommend using soapy water as a lubricant to install the bushings. (This worked easily for me to install new bushings onto the old control arms) The reason to use the soapy water, and not grease, is that the soapy water evaporates briefly after installation, thereby allowing the bushing to seat on the arm. The bushing gets put under a lot of torque and stress under load and if it's not properly seated it can slide up and down excessively on the back of the arm allowing too much in and out movement. In fact, BMW even suggests not driving the car immediately after completing the install to allow the bushings to dry and seat completely. (It's this "seating" of the bushing on the aluminum arm that makes removal of the old bushings so tough to do, requiring a gear puller or other extreme method) Grease on the other hand would remain slippery for an almost indefinite amount of time and prevent proper seating of the rubber onto the arm. Additionally, some greases can tend to attack rubber and may also prematurely degrade the bushing itself."

Ahhhh! That's why my newly installed Meyle HD bushings went to crap within 3 days - I used lotz of dishwashing liquid and NO water!!!!!!

Looks like I need to heed this poster's advice!!
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Old 01-30-2010, 12:45 AM   #208
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Ok guys. Here is my experience and someone tell me if IM wrong.

I replaced, tires and FCABs; and within 2k miles my problem was worse than ever. Shaking at 50-60mph and significant steering wheel play. I used Meyle HD bushings, new carriers, bushings already pressed and new Falken tires. Car was wheel balanced and aligned.

My feeling is this. If you want truly do the job RIGHT then the following must be done:

1. New control arms
2. FCABushings
3. New tie rod ends
4. New sway bar end links
5. New sway bar bushings and brackets
6. If over 75k miles, new struts and shocks
7. New RSMs and Front strut mounts
8. New steering flex disc. (steering guibo)

That is what Im planning next. along with Eiback lowering springs/ Bilstein Sports.

Wrong/Right...or overkill. I HATE not having perfect control, handling and ride in my Bimmer.

BTW... the Falkens suck. Less than 20k miles and they are showing steel thread in the rears. Fronts arent so great either.

Hope my lesson is learned by all. Dont cheap out. R and R it ALL if you have over 75-90k miles.
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Old 01-30-2010, 03:58 PM   #209
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Just finished the control arms + bushings job. These threads were a huge help, it took 2 1/2 hrs from start to finish.

The only things I would add are (1) if the outer ball joint doesn't budge from one angle (using a pickle fork and 4lb hammer), change to another angle. (2)Save time by using a 2ft ratchet extension and sockets to remove/replace the drivers side inner nut.
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Old 02-08-2010, 11:34 AM   #210
dino71
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Originally Posted by muniz_ri View Post
Just finished the control arms + bushings job. These threads were a huge help, it took 2 1/2 hrs from start to finish.

The only things I would add are (1) if the outer ball joint doesn't budge from one angle (using a pickle fork and 4lb hammer), change to another angle. (2)Save time by using a 2ft ratchet extension and sockets to remove/replace the drivers side inner nut.
How did you remove the passenger inboard nut from the lower control arm?
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Old 02-08-2010, 08:06 PM   #211
muniz_ri
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How did you remove the passenger inboard nut from the lower control arm?
With a 21mm box wrench......it wasn't too bad.
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Old 02-09-2010, 02:26 PM   #212
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THank you ver muuch for putting together this great thread. Exactly what I needed to save some money fixing the wobble when my front rims get wobbly from ice buildup in the wintertime. I'll let you know how it goes when I do the replacements.
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Old 02-11-2010, 05:47 PM   #213
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great thread op, can't wait to do this, when i get my ca in the mail.
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Old 03-09-2010, 03:33 PM   #214
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Is replacing CA= Control Arms something that needs to be done on faith or am I missing something? The problem I have is, when changing lanes or cornering as speeds over 50mph the steering wheel violently shakes. I do not have any wheel or frontend shake while breaking at any speeds. The car will creak but that is seldom and there does not seem to be excessive play in the horizontal or vertical movement of the wheel while testing for worn ball joints. The car is 2000 328i with 85k. I replaced the CAB= Control Arm Bushings with Meyle OEM ones about 5k ago because they were completely shot.
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Old 03-09-2010, 04:22 PM   #215
pablo e46
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Same thing happened to me, crazy wheel vibration. Turned out one of the ball joints actually failed less than a year after install. Got it replaced under warranty.
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Old 03-14-2010, 11:36 AM   #216
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I ordered mine from ECS earlier in the week and put them on yesterday morning with my brothers help. I did the arms as well as bushings. It is raining all weekend here in Boston but I wasn't gonna put this off for another week. A little freezing rain never hurt anybody.

I recommend getting the front end as high in the air as possible. I used two jacks, one on each side with a 2x4 on each, and a jack stand on each side under the jack points.

Make sure to take both wheels off for access. It also helps to turn the steering wheel accordingly thru-out the job.

I had to remove the plastic splash guard and the brace. My brace looked different than the ones posted by the OP but its still the same idea.

I soaked all the balljoint nuts in PB blaster before starting. I also sprayed the carrier bolts too but that may or may not be necessary.

I started on the inner balljoint first because that was the hardest. The only way I could get to the passenger side was with a 3/8 drive 21mm short socket and a pivoting rachet. The drivers side allowed me to get in from the top of the engine using extensions with a pivot piece on top of the socket.

The outer balljoint and bushing carriers were cake. Outers on the factory arms used 18mm and carriers used 16mm.

We tried a hammer and crowbar for maybe 5 minutes and gave up. We rented an Autozone balljoint fork and it worked in less than a minute.

I installed the carriers onto the arms with soap and water. Pressed it a little with my hand and then used a piece of wood and a hammer to hit it the rest of the way. I eyeballed it to how deep the factory ones were.

Installing required different sized sockets for the balljoints. The Meyle pieces are a millimeter thicker on each balljoint, so the outers went from 18 factory to 19 Meyle and the inners went from 21 factory to 22 Meyle.

The carriers were 16mm for factory as well as Meyle. You will also use the 16mm for all the brace bolts. In fact they're the same exact bolts.

Also during installation it helps to place a jack under each balljoint you're trying to tighten, or else it may spin. If the jack doesn't go up high enough to reach the bottom of the balljoint you can place a hammer or other piece of wood vertically on top of the jack. This same method may also be used when removing the old arms in case the balljoint is spinning.

I started around 10am and ended around 4pm. This included 3 trips to autozone for the sockets and fork, as well as an hour long break somewhere in there.

I let it settle for maybe an hour or so while I went in the house to soak myself in the tub.

When I ended up driving it I was very impressed. I bought this car used over 2 years ago with 54k on it, and now it has 79k. The bushings were gone when I bought it, so this is actually my first time driving a BMW with functioning bushings and balljoints.

Other than M3 tranny bushings, this has been my only replacement on the car, so everything else is still in need of repair/replacement, ie springs and shocks, strut mount bushings, steering guibo, regular guibo, motor mounts, diff mount bushing etc.

I'll probably get TMS sways before that though.

Last edited by Avet4; 03-14-2010 at 11:46 AM.
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Old 03-24-2010, 05:12 PM   #217
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Can the control arm bushings be replaced without removing the control arm from the car? Is it always necessary to replace the control arm at the same time as the lower control arm bushings? At what point do the control arm joints typically wear out? Is an alignment needed after this job?

Last edited by l8apex10; 03-24-2010 at 05:18 PM.
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Old 03-24-2010, 05:58 PM   #218
Be.M.w.e46
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Originally Posted by l8apex10 View Post
Can the control arm bushings be replaced without removing the control arm from the car? Is it always necessary to replace the control arm at the same time as the lower control arm bushings? At what point do the control arm joints typically wear out? Is an alignment needed after this job?
yes you can change the cab without removing the ca! i've done it twice,

my question is though, i replaced my cab with powerflex bushings, and i never needed soap and water!, they just slid on no problem,hardly any resistance, and that was with 2 different new sets! has any 1 else had this?
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Old 03-25-2010, 01:29 PM   #219
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Originally Posted by Be.M.w.e46 View Post
yes you can change the cab without removing the ca! i've done it twice,

my question is though, i replaced my cab with powerflex bushings, and i never needed soap and water!, they just slid on no problem,hardly any resistance, and that was with 2 different new sets! has any 1 else had this?
How did you manage to remove and replace the bushings without removing the LCAs????????????? A guy has got to know!
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Old 03-25-2010, 02:33 PM   #220
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How did you manage to remove and replace the bushings without removing the LCAs????????????? A guy has got to know!
Click the picture for info for a removal tool. Dish soap and a rubber mallet will install a new bushing.
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