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Suspension & Braking Forum by BimmerWorld
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Old 07-31-2008, 03:49 PM   #1
bookum23
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Front Ball Joints

Well I hope I can get some help from the experts. I took my 1999 BMW 323i to a local inspection shop. After all the compliments and such about the beauty of the car and the expense etc. The repair person advised that the vehicle was in need of front ball joints. This was done by just looking he didn't perform any shaking, loosening tightening, moving of the wheel etc. I've driven the car for 5 days and it handles like a dream. Anyway, the mechanic advises that he can replace the ball joints for $200 each with about 4 hours of labor at 80.00 per hour. But if I do it right now he'll do everything for $500.00. I've gone on line and have found ball joints for $10-15each, what gives? Is there a difference, what specific parts numbers do I need? Is one place better than the next for parts? I'm a DIY and have worked on many older cars but is this one so different that repairs are gonna kill the wallet? and they can only be accomplished by BMW mechanics? Any help would be appreciated. Thanks B
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Old 07-31-2008, 06:11 PM   #2
TxZHP04
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Ball joints can't be replaced individually. Assuming you are talking about the ones in the lower control arms, the entire control arm must be replaced in order to replace the ball joints. Replacement of the arm also requires replacement of the lower control arm bushings. This is a very reasonable DIY project.
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Old 07-31-2008, 07:10 PM   #3
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Sounds to me like what the mechanic was really saying is "I think I need $500" and what he was really thinking was "It should be easy to take advantage of this guy with the nice car."

Spend some time searching with the terms "control arm", "control arm bushing", Meyle, Lemforder, and Powerflex and you'll tap in to a plethora of information on the subject. Self-education is the best defense against questionable mechanics
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Old 08-01-2008, 01:27 AM   #4
kuksul08
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sounds to me like what the mechanic was really saying is "i think i need $500" and what he was really thinking was "it should be easy to take advantage of this guy with the nice car."

spend some time searching with the terms "control arm", "control arm bushing", meyle, lemforder, and powerflex and you'll tap in to a plethora of information on the subject. Self-education is the best defense against questionable mechanics
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Old 08-01-2008, 03:42 AM   #5
Hugo780
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today,i got my left ball joints done,and i paid nearly has much as that. And Id have to agree,it handles much better now!!!
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Old 08-01-2008, 02:13 PM   #6
Arrows
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What are the symptoms of a bad ball joint?
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Old 08-01-2008, 02:36 PM   #7
kuksul08
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What are the symptoms of a bad ball joint?
The steering isn't as precise, you can get some braking feedback through the steering wheel, some experience rattling. The bushings being worn is more noticeable, but ball joints are just as important.
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S54 VANOS DIY Video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9SkT2j3jsU0
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Old 08-03-2008, 08:59 PM   #8
thoe507
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Ball joints can't be replaced individually. Assuming you are talking about the ones in the lower control arms, the entire control arm must be replaced in order to replace the ball joints. Replacement of the arm also requires replacement of the lower control arm bushings. This is a very reasonable DIY project.
I have same problem. is there i way that i could just buy ball joint and bushing and NOT replace the control arm?
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Old 08-04-2008, 02:07 PM   #9
ferdinand831
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I'm pretty sure I've got bad ball joints too. Initially I thought it was a bushing in the front end but after reading this thread I pulled the driver's side front wheel off and found considerable play on the wheel mount. I could shake it like crazy. I really notice this in corners. You can see the symptoms of bad ball joints in the video below.

I have plans to install a UCC Sway Barbarian new springs and shocks (eibach + koni). I guess it would make sense to install the sway bar and new suspension when I get the ball joints done?

Any feedback would be appreciated.

-Andy

2000 328CI 146k miles



Last edited by ferdinand831; 08-04-2008 at 02:11 PM.
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Old 08-04-2008, 02:37 PM   #10
TxZHP04
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I have same problem. is there i way that i could just buy ball joint and bushing and NOT replace the control arm?
No there is absolutely no way to replace only a ball joint in a BMW control arm. You have to replace the entire arm.

Now if you replace the BMW arms with arms made by Meyle, then next time a ball joint goes bad, you can replace only the ball joint instead of the entire arm.

Given the age of your car, there is a possibility that someone may have already replaced the BMW arms with Meyle. You should check.
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Old 08-04-2008, 03:45 PM   #11
wlmmn
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Originally Posted by thoe507 View Post
I have same problem. is there i way that i could just buy ball joint and bushing and NOT replace the control arm?
Not with E46 BMWs, no. Don't worry, I'm going through the same circumstances too.
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Old 09-06-2008, 04:21 AM   #12
Handle46
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Im going to replace my ball joints on the driver front side tomorrow and im wondering do I need anything other than the following list

jackstands
torque wrench to 85lbs
pickle fork
gear puller
white lithium grease
meyle ball joints
meyle control arm
pair of bushings
air hammer (to pry the ball control arm out)
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Old 09-11-2008, 07:33 PM   #13
shine330ci
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I just installed one febi control arm into my 2001 330ci with 58.000 miles
$ 300.00 complete job including labor
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