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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 05-06-2008, 08:54 PM   #1
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The easy way to change the left lower wishbone

Good Evening fellow E46 enthusiasts!

As this is my first thread on this site, I wanted to share (with everyone) an easy step by step instruction on removing and replacing the left rear lower wishbone as many independants and some Dealer Mechanics seem to be mystified by this proceedure.

Since this site has saved me money and time, I thought It only appropriate to reciprocate!!!! Thanks to all who had invaluable information for me in the past!!!!

Changing the rear left lower wishbone is of course, more difficult than the righthand side due to the exhaust pipes obstructing the upper bushing bolt and fastener. Due to circumstances beyond my control (namely inclement weather) the left rear wheel had slid into a curb and severly bent the rear lower wishbone (control rod) and I was forced to replace it in the dead of winter at 10 degrees below 0.


1. Jack the car (using the specific jack points of the vehicle) with a (3) ton to (5) ton floor jack at the rear jack point with some kind of medium inbetween the car and the jack.

I prefer to use cardboard as it is readily available in my garage. Please insure your on a flat level surface and\or properly chock all remaining wheels.

2. Prior to removing the lower eccentric bolt, it would be prudent to mark (I used a red grease pencil) the alignment marks on the bolt to the control rod. This will greatly increase the odds of proper camber when you install the new wishbone. It also does not hurt to mark a cardboard box with a small diagram dipicting the alignment marks as well.

3. Using an Impact Wrench/Gun (by the way I'll assume everyone has metric combination wrenches and sockets from 17mm-24mm) remove the lower eccentric bolt and let the damaged Wishbone dangel. At this point in time, it would be wise to inspect the entire rear undercarriage for obvious signs of damage. This includes bends, dents, cracks or anything that looks askew or a-symetrical.

4. Now comes the tricky part.....Loosen, do not remove the longitudinal and lateral Rear Differential Mounts until the last 3 threads of the bolts are left exposed.

5. Using a 10" extention, an impact wobble (not a universal joint)and a Boxend wrench remove the forward fastener from the upper mount Bolt. Remove the bolt as far as you can until it bearly touches the rear differential.

6. using either one of two options you will need to a. cut the bolt with a whiz wheel, dremel tool or tourch or b. using a large prybar bend the head of the bolt ensuring the majority of it remains in the upper mount. (I opted for the bending method.) Attachment 270160

7. Remove the lower lefthand trailing wishbone. If the cover is still in good condition and you did not damage it, re-use it. Otherwise when you go to the dealer to get the new cover you will be surprised at the shorter length of the new bolt that you will be installing back into the upper mount!
Attachment 270159

8. Install the new shorter bolt (Lower Wishbone Part Number: 333 267 708 13 @ $89.00 /Cover Part Number 333 210 944 69 @ $5.69 /Hex Bolt Part Number 331 710 908 24 @ $4.43) and of course the lower control arm.

9. In order to connect the lower eccentric bolt into the wheel assembly and wishbone you will need to place a stationary stand perfectly beneth the brake rotor landing.

10. Carefully lower the vehicle to compress the spring and align the hole for the mount and wishbone. It's helpful for someone else to tell you when they meet, and with a long carbon steel punch assist to align the parts up. Install the bolt and line up the eccentric bolt as best you can, as eventually you will have to get an alignment.Click image for larger version

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Thats about it!!! With the exception of inspecting your wheel for any dents or cracks you should be back on the road in under 3 hours!
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Old 05-17-2008, 05:30 AM   #2
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Thx. good info.
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Old 11-05-2008, 01:24 PM   #3
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same as the rear camber arm install
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Old 01-23-2009, 05:42 PM   #4
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Wow I did the exact same thing! I hit some ice, slid into the curb, and busted the lower wishbone. I got the new one, but I couldn't get the old one out. I guess you have to bend or cut it and replace it with a shorter one.

Thanks for the great write up. Any chance you still have the attachments pics that aren't coming up?
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Old 05-14-2009, 07:14 PM   #5
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Where's the attachment??? I thought you need to drop the differential to get that bolt out. I see you are loosening the differential bolts but why would you still need to cut off the bolt then? Cutting the bolt right off seems to be a good idea but where did you find a new one? The bolt PN 331 710 908 24 is the exact same PN. What is the part number for the shorter length one??? The description on the existing bolt is M12X1.5X80-10.9 . Can someone explain this metric call out for this bolt for me?

I found BMW PN 33326760389 M12X1,5X70-10.9 and 31106770256 M12X1,5X65-10.9. I believe the 65 millimeter will be the perfect length as the distance across the upper bushing is roughly 57mm or 2.25 inches. That would give you 8mm or 5/16 of thread to work with. The length of the 80mm original bolt is about 3 1/8 inch. Anyone happen to know what the "," means in the description versus the ".", 1.5 versus 1,5 ?

I think I may just buy all three bolts described and try it out.

If you do drop the differential an inch or two, do you have to unbolt the driveshaft as well.

Right in the middle of this project, would rather not drop the diff unless absolutely necessary!

Last edited by fmzip; 05-14-2009 at 08:25 PM.
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Old 05-17-2009, 07:58 PM   #6
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Thanks for the help my DIY is here:


Last edited by fmzip; 05-17-2009 at 08:24 PM.
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Old 01-11-2011, 09:59 PM   #7
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hmm that last link doesn't work for me
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Old 03-18-2014, 12:22 AM   #8
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Think I just broke mine (right passenger side)

I just turned a corner, heard a snap, felt a wobble, pulled over and did not see anything wrong so I drove another 2 blocks, felt another wobble and decided to park. When I put the car in reverse the right wheel locked up (parking brake was down but taught.) When I called the tow truck the driver pointed out the broken lower control arm.

Does anyone know why the wheel/brake would lock up? Should I be checking anything else down there when I take it apart and inspect it? Should I replace both sides while at it?

Sorry for the newbie questions but I have never worked on my suspension before.

"The problem with the designated driver program, it's not a desirable job, but if you ever get sucked into doing it, have fun with it. At the end of the night, drop them off at the wrong house." -Jeff Foxworthy
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Old 07-14-2015, 08:26 PM   #9
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im going throught the same process too

I got a secondhand part in the brakers yard, not the best of ideas but gonna have to do for now..

would it be easier for me to cut the top bolt off without lowering the differential, then cutting the new top bolt shorter thats gonna be on?

Bmw diddnt perfect everything did they hah
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