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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 01-23-2010, 01:33 PM   #1
brian328i
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Rear subframe bushing/mounts (famous rear end clunk)

Alright well I just want to start by saying that if your not mechanically inclined or you do not have a good amount of tools or time. Then this job IS NOT for you, bring it to a trusted garage and pay for the labor.

This job sucked, it was -5 and snowing a bit sometimes. I only got stuck at one point with the emergency brake cable. Took me a total time of 16 hours to complete, including the jacking up of the car, reassembly and test drive.

The job was very tiring but I'll probably be doing it again in the summer to put in subframe reinforcement plates and some paint.

Difficulty 5/10 Job took me 16 hours I did a majority of it alone, so with someone and without documentation happening no longer then 12 hours.

Tools needed would be:
1) Good ratchet set including both metric and imperial measurements.
2) Female torx sockets E12 is the only one you need (I bought a full kit including all torx from E6 to E16 for about 25 bucks)
3) Big breaker bars (I didn't actually use one because I dont have one, but I wish I did at the time.)
4) Car ramps are great to have
5) 4 Jack stands are a must
6) I used 2 floor jacks and one 4 ton hydrolique jack (telescopic)
7) Magnetic tray, and baggies lable everything if you think your going to have a hard time remebering where everything went.
8) I bought a creeper for this job best 19 dollars I ever spent in my life

Part numbers:
2 RUBBER MOUNTING front left (1) 33316770783 approx. $55.48
2 RUBBER MOUNTING front right (1) 33316770784 approx. $55.48
4 RUBBER MOUNTING rear (2) 33316770781 approx. $55.48
7 Rubber mounting front (2) 33176770788 approx. $18.98
9 RUBBER MOUNTING rear (1) 33176751808 approx $68.08



Theres many more other tools you need for prying and such but those are a must.

You can buy compression and extraction tools made for this specific job on eBay or other places for around 300 dollars, I made my own tools for pulling and compressing made of different things from a hardware store, see below.

Now this is a link of what the problem was and where the clunk or thud was coming from:



So to start with this job I spend a good amount of time jacking the car up high enough so that I would be comfortable under the car for the period of time that I was under there. I started the job after I got back from school so at around 12:30 my car was jacked up in the air with the tires off. I finished at 5 in the morning, it was a non stop effort to get the car done.

Step 1) This is how what I did, put the stands under the car right away. Try your best to rock the car off the stands, better it fall when your not under it.



Step 2) Once the car is securelly jacked up and the rear tires are off, your going to have to let the exhaust down. Theres a total of 4 nuts holding the rear exhaust. Let it dangle theres no harm.
Size 13mm with extension

Step 3) Your to have to take out of the rear sway bar two bolts and nuts hold it to the rear subframe size 13mm, and a total of 4 nuts hold it to the trail arms on the suspension also size 13, your going to need to hold one of the bolts on each trail arm from turning this is a size 17mm, I used the open end of a wrench to hold it. Remove and place to one side.



Step 4) Removing the heat shield and aluminium support bracket. This was the bracket in my video (see above) the heat shield is held in by two aluminium screws size 10mm and the bracket is held in by two large nuts size 18mm and total of 4 smaller bolts size 13mm. In this picture the support bracket is removed, it is symmetrical to the other side.



Step 5) Disconnecting the driveshaft from the input flang on the differential, this is an easy job but long. Theres 4 bolts holding the shaft to the diff, Torx E12 with an extension is what your going to need. Having someone else is great I was alone so I had to get out from under the car put it in neutral get back under turn the shaft so I can get my socket on the bolt then get back in the car and put it in gear so it wouldnt turn. ***Dont forget to mark the shaft with paint to line it up later***

Step 6) Now your going to have to remove the bolts that hold the shafts that go to the differential from the wheels. I marked these shafts with paint so that I can line them up when reassembling, as you can see in the picture below. These bolts are also size E12 torx, my handbrake doesnt work on this car so I had my neighbour sit in the car with the brakes pressed, so the shafts dont turn.



Just push the shafts towards the wheels and let them drop off the differential like so



Step 7) The differential is now ready to come out. The differential is held in with three bolts, two at the front of the differential and one large bolt and nut that is located at the rear of the differential. I dont remeber the sizes to use.

This picture is the rear bolt that goes through the rear of the diff. The other two bolts are where the support bracket are. Dont worry about the differential just falling out on you, you have to wiggle it around a little to get it out. Caution this thing does weight probably 70 pounds or so prepare yourself when bringing it down.



Step 8) now with the easy stuff down your now going to start taking the suspension apart this means disconnecting the shock absorber (one bolt holds it to the hub or whatever size 18mm just leave the shock absorber dangle there) After that your going to have to unbolt the trailing arm from the frame of the car, three bolts hold it on. Once those two things are done one should have little problems getting the barrel spring out. Now there is one bolt holding the lower wishbone into the subframe size 18mm if memory serves right, the upper table is held in with a bolt and nut. See pictures below for visual expanation.

Once everything is unbolted I placed jacks under the hub so that theres something holding everything up and taking the stress of the brake line.



Step 9) Removing the large bolts at the rear of the subframe. There are two large bolts that go through the subframe and into the unibody, these bolts are torqued to a million pounds. A big pipe to fit at the end of your trusty ratchet helps a lot.



Step 10) Dropping the subframe down. This is fairly straight forward just wiggle from side to side and it will come down pretty easily. This is what mine looked like when it came out. Oh ya I had to cut my handbrake cables to get the subframe down since the cables inconviently pass through the subframe. If you know how to remove the cable properly please post.

Notice how the right bushing/mount is missing the middle... well I still havent found it, it somehow dissappeared when taking the subframe down that how bad the mounts where





Can you believe I never found the inside of the bushing?

This is a close up video of the bushings, showing how shot the bushings were you can move them by hand!



Step 11) Removing the bushings. I heated them all up with a torch and knocked out the center steel peice. After which I took a cutting chizle and placed it between the outer bushing and subframe and hammered it all the way through, which ended up buckling the bushing. This is probably the easiest, and fastest way to get them out. Max 15 minutes a bushing.





Try and hammer a pin through where its the thickest i.e. welded parts.

After weakening all the bushings you will have no problem hammering them out use a sludge hammer and place it ontop of the bushing and take another sludge and give it a good whack it will come out in less then 2 hits.

Step 11) When all the bushings are hammered out clean everything with a rag and place a LARGE amount of grease on both the bushing and subframe and use a compression tool to press them into the subframe.

I tried to save time by using my #6 vice to compress everything in and broke it

The way I made the tool (I'd take pictures but the tool is finished after that job) is I bought an 8 inch long carrage bolt with a bunch of assorted washers and a nut to match, went to the plumbing isle and got two gas floor flanges that were larger then the bushing. Air impact wrench made things go alot faster. Costed me about 30 bucks.

Some of the bushings have a right and a left to them and they all have a top and bottom they are not clearly marked either on the bushing or the subframe so remebering how you took out a bushing is essential, some bushings are oval and and there oval for a reason so pay attention.

This is also a great time to go under the car and inspect the sheet metal for tears, or also a great time to weld in a reinforcement kit.

If you got this far then the reassembly should be a piece of cake follow all the steps backwards and it shouldnt take more then one hour to put everything back together.

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Old 01-23-2010, 07:28 PM   #2
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Incredible DIY, very informative and clear.
Thanks./
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Old 01-24-2010, 12:35 AM   #3
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great diy. now it makes me think that i should have done this when i did my diff bushings. lol. i would have been half way there & it would have made the differential bushings A LOT easier to do.
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Old 01-24-2010, 12:55 AM   #4
brian328i
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Ya well I was actually surprised that my diff mounts where in pretty good shape. At first I ordered the bushings for just my diff, and was about to take everything apart when I said WTH lets run a little test, thats when I did the first video and realized it was more then just diff mounts. The subframe mounts were impressively finished
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Old 01-25-2010, 12:16 AM   #5
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nice work ,how did you jack up the rear of the car,where did u place the jack.
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Old 01-26-2010, 10:37 AM   #6
brian328i
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Originally Posted by kolian78 View Post
nice work ,how did you jack up the rear of the car,where did u place the jack.
Under the differential theres a steel bar that goes across, about 5 inches wide and two inches thick. Still put a block of wood to distribute the weight because it may bend.
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Old 01-27-2010, 08:44 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by brian328i View Post
Oh ya I had to cut my handbrake cables to get the subframe down since the cables inconviently pass through the subframe. If you know how to remove the cable properly please post.
Step #11 and #12:

http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthread.php?t=700468
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Old 01-27-2010, 10:49 PM   #8
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nice thorough DIY..but i cannot believe how rusty your car is. IS most of that caused by road salt?
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Old 01-31-2010, 10:09 PM   #9
brian328i
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nice thorough DIY..but i cannot believe how rusty your car is. IS most of that caused by road salt?
Ya I hate Canada because of its winters. I'm surprised there isnt more rust actually, you take a crappy car and after 5 years its got rust absolutely everywhere.

I'm going to be taking down the subframe in the summer and putting in some reinforcement plates and going to put A LOT of paint on there.
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Old 02-05-2010, 07:13 PM   #10
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what kinda paint u gonna slap on over the rust?
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Old 02-05-2010, 07:24 PM   #11
brian328i
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what kinda paint u gonna slap on over the rust?
Going to sand down the rust all around with 60 grit and then tremclad rust paint black, and then maybe go over it with some rock gaurd. I used to paint the inside of the fenders with rock gaurd and its pretty good, going to probably paint the whole of the bottom of the car with that stuff.
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Old 02-05-2010, 08:02 PM   #12
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Great DIY thanks. Have you checked your brake lines for corrosion?
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Old 02-06-2010, 11:07 PM   #13
brian328i
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Great DIY thanks. Have you checked your brake lines for corrosion?
No not really but in my experience I've never seen a brake line break... I'm going to get it for saying that

But considering I've had a lot old vehicle (15 year old pathfinder and range rover and 5 series) they all had their original brake lines.

I'm going to be changing all my brake lines in the summer and putting in stainless steel braided hoses so I'll be pretty good on the brake lines after that.
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Old 02-06-2010, 11:08 PM   #14
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This DIY is great!
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Old 02-06-2010, 11:11 PM   #15
brian328i
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This DIY is great!
Thanks hopefully it can help some people out. I'll eventually get around to putting all of my DIY's up on here.
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Old 02-07-2010, 02:41 AM   #16
Egon
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I've just had this done on my 323 E46 and i can honestly say that its a different car now. It makes sooooo much difference.
didnt have the time to diy, but the guy said the bushes can be a ***** to get out. he dropped the whole subby out though!

Good guide brian.
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Old 02-07-2010, 03:10 PM   #17
brian328i
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I've just had this done on my 323 E46 and i can honestly say that its a different car now. It makes sooooo much difference.
didnt have the time to diy, but the guy said the bushes can be a ***** to get out. he dropped the whole subby out though!

Good guide brian.
Ya the bushings are pretty laborous to get out, have to heat them up for about 10 minutes to get the centers out and then chizzle out a side of them and knock them out, putting them back in is also tough.

But ya it was definetly worth all the work. Hopefully I'll be doing this again in the summer to put in reinforcement plates and a new handbrake cable
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Old 02-20-2010, 07:23 PM   #18
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dame what side of town u stay at must be a snow town or something u got rust spots ??
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Old 07-17-2010, 05:37 PM   #19
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Is it possible to burn the bushing off? Me and a friend just did this on his 240 and we lit the bushing on fire with a propane torch to take them off.
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Old 01-22-2011, 05:14 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by brian328i View Post
The way I made the tool (I'd take pictures but the tool is finished after that job) is I bought an 8 inch long carrage bolt with a bunch of assorted washers and a nut to match, went to the plumbing isle and got two gas floor flanges that were larger then the bushing. Air impact wrench made things go alot faster. Costed me about 30 bucks.
Bump for pics of the tool
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