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Old 06-03-2007, 02:12 AM   #1
Registered User
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Dallas, TX
Posts: 87
My Ride: 328i
Successful RTAB Install

Hello all,

I'm celebrating the successful replacement of the RTAB or rear trailing arm bushings on my 2000 328i. What a PITA!!!

There are some great write ups out there so no need to make another one. Here's what I used as basis for the job:



The ones for the E36 work just fine. It is the exact same set up with one favorable exception; our RTABs don't have the stupid flange that made it so hard to fit a tool on the E36.

Here are some tips I got out of doing this job:

1. Support the arm with a jack before removing the screws that hold the carrier to the chassis, then let it down easy. It goes down about 6 inches.

2. Remove the brake line bracket; otherwise the arm will rest on the line, which is not good.

3. Buy an extraccion tool designed for this purpose, many companies sell them on line. I used the pipe caps method, which is fine but works better for installation than extraction. There is hardly enough room to drive a drill or something to butcher the RTAB out so after many attempts I ended up using the same pipe caps but putting some nuts to get clearance as seen on the picture. Then for more clearance I used ratchet sockets, then bigger sockets until I got the whole bushing out.

If I had to do this again I would buy the tool then sell it (you'll likely never use it again). I bet the difference would be little and well worth it.

4. Clean the ABS sensors while you are in there. Mine were very dirty.

5. Understand the directions for preloading the bracket, they are kind of confusing. Basically you have to run a straight edge from the bracket bottom and end up 8mm above the center of the hub. This is easier to do if you lift the arm with the jack a little bit.

6. The new RTABs go in from the "street" side towards the center of the car. NOT from the other side. The arm is tapered.

That's it. It really is a simple job; I think most of the 4-5 hours it took I spent devising a way to press the old bushing out.

Have a good weekend


So far I have personally replaced:
Control Arm Busings
Expansion Tank
Idler Pulley
Alternator Idler Pulley
3 Steering Fluid Hoses
Headligth front covers
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Last edited by Pancho328i; 06-03-2007 at 02:33 AM.
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Old 06-03-2007, 09:30 AM   #2
Registered User
Join Date: May 2007
Location: Saratoga CA
Posts: 46
My Ride: 1999 328i manual
excellent - I'm going to be doing this.
Did you put in PowerFlex rtabs, stock or "stiffer" than stock?
What tool would you buy? The tool company that is a sponsor for this bbs sells a tool.
I'll probably be doing all the projects you list and more, so you may see my posts.
Thanks for the pictures and tips.
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Old 06-03-2007, 12:09 PM   #3
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Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Dallas, TX
Posts: 87
My Ride: 328i
I used OEM bushings, I have the sports package which I think gives me just enough stiffness.

Many of the tools look alike. The one bimmertools sells looks just fine. They all look similar.

When you are first getting the new bushing in, as it compresses on the part that is going into the arm, it expands on the opposite end. This made me a little nervous, because the tool part that is pushing it in has to press it from the edges, so if the edges expand the piece may loose its grip. I think I would tie a good hose clamp around the bushing on the side opposite to the one going into the arm, just for piece of mind.

Here is another tool. I'd look for one with some recommendations from people who have used them.


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Old 06-03-2007, 12:32 PM   #4
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Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: backwoods
Posts: 602
My Ride: 328i
Nice writeup. I will have to do this soon also. Thank god my friend has a 6 car barn/garage with every tool imaginable. We'll turn it into a 2 hour job thanx to you.
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Old 09-23-2008, 03:56 PM   #5
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Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: Tampa, FL
Posts: 1,020
My Ride: 2001 325i Sedan
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I dont know how did you it aligned the bracket back to the console but I cannot put it back where it was before. I draw a line orientation so I can install it back where it was used to be. But when I push it up it wont aligned and cockeyed too. How did you all do it? I jack the RTArm in a different location but cant get it right.
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