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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 05-17-2009, 08:26 PM   #1
fmzip
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Adjustable Lower Control Arm DIY

Just finished installing Turner Motorsport rear adjustable control arms. The passenger side is very straight forward, the driver side is the challenge. Completed the driver's side in about two hours with sockets, wrenches and a crowbar.

I used two threads to help me with this project:
Subframe DIY http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthread.php?t=521636
And a control arm DIY http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthread.php?t=572194

As the attachments are no longer available in the control arm DIY, I contacted the OP so he could explain his approach further. What he conveyed was even though he loosened the differential, he still couldn't remove the existing upper bolt which is why he cut it or bent it. I could see why......you definitely need a helper with this project otherwise I am sure it will be a struggle to get that last 1/4 inch to get the upper bolt removed.

According to the OP, if you order an upper replacement bolt, you will get a shorter one even though the PN called out on Realoem is 80MM in length. Hex Bolt Part Number is 331 710 908 24 if you plan to bend or cut the existing bolt. Not necessary if you have a crowbar and a helper.

I followed the above DIY up to the point of cutting the upper bolt off. Concise DIY for the drivers side:

1) Jack up car as high as you can.
2) Remove wheel.
3) Mark and remove lower control arm bolt then remove it. (No need to mark it if you are replacing with adjustable control arms)
4) Remove four nuts from rear muffler hanger
5) For convertibles or M3's, remove structural "A" brace
6) Remove driveshaft support bracket (suspension reinforcement brace) in front of the differential. Thank "thefoxkazen" for his pic and subframe bushing DIY

7) Loosen the two bolts for the front differential until they are almost out. Do not completely remove them. Noted as B1 And B2 in this photo, thanks to the "foxkazen" again!:

8) Begin loosening the upper control arm bolt with an 18mm wrench. You will now see why the exhaust needed to be dropped as there isn't alot of room to get at this bolt. I found it easier to loosen the upper bolt by removing the lower control arm from the ball joint. Basically let the lower part of the control arm hang free so it doesn't bind or twist. Relieving the pressure makes getting the upper bolt loosened quite easily.
9) Support the differential with jack and completely remove the rear differential bolt
10) Slowly lower the jack
11) Now is the tricky part. The reason you left the two front differential bolts in is to support the unit. You need to pull the differential to the back of the car in order to get the upper control arm bolt out. If you are doing this on your own, you can follow the OP's advice and cut the bolt or bend it. If you have a helper you don't need to do either as the bolt will come out. Have your buddy uses a crow bar to pry the diff to the back of the car. While he is prying/ pulling the diff backwards, you can remove the upper differential bolt.

Great pictures are here to describe what needs to take place for this DIY, thanks to the foxkazen!:

http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthread.php?t=521636

There is no need to remove the driveshaft, swaybar or the axle as described in other threads or Turner's instrcutions......
This is not that hard of a project, just alot of stuff needs to be either removed or loosened to get this bolt out.

Now for an alignment...these Turner Adjustable camber arms surely make the car feel rock solid!



http://www.turnermotorsport.com/html..._ID=TSU9940001
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Old 05-18-2009, 10:08 AM   #2
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Nice DIY, I added it to the official list!

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Old 05-18-2009, 06:44 PM   #3
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Thanks Tim!
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Old 05-18-2009, 08:30 PM   #4
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Old 05-18-2009, 08:35 PM   #5
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Those look familiar.....Glad you like them!
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Old 05-18-2009, 09:01 PM   #6
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Thanks Smolck.....your tips saved me alot of time as well!

Getting the car aligned tomorrow......can't wait to "drive" it
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Old 05-19-2009, 01:39 AM   #7
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I have these same arms. They work great!
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Old 06-24-2009, 05:02 PM   #8
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To get out the upper bolt of the lower rear LH control arm, I understand the brace in front of the differential and the three bolts supporting the differential (2 in front, one in rear) have to be removed, but does the driveshaft have to unbolted to move it back or over enough to slip the upper bolt out?
Do the 18mm bolts to the subframe bushings (were all the cracking problems are) need to be loosened or removed, too?
This simple '10 minute' job of slipping in and out 2 bolts to replace a broken lower control arm has turned into a nightmare;
I live in a Condo where we are not allowed to work on our cars in the carport, so I need the quick 'stealth' fixes!
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Old 06-24-2009, 07:01 PM   #9
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NO.....do not remove the front two subframe bolts, only loosen them until they are almost completely out. You only remove the rear subframe bolt.

7) Loosen the two bolts for the front differential until they are almost out. Do not completely remove them. Noted as B1 And B2 in this photo, thanks to the "foxkazen" again!:

These are the only three bolts that you need to touch on the subframe.

You do not have to do anything with the driveshaft or the subframe mounts.
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Old 06-26-2009, 12:33 AM   #10
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Just got done changing out the broken lower rear control arm at 2 a.m. last night, 5 hours before I had to report for shoulder surgery (I find I need three arms to work on a car, not just one!). Removed the bolts for the Rear muffler brackets (x2), sway bar, and the cross brace in front of the differential. Most nuts are 13mm or 18mm ( IMHO it is stupid that the BMW engineers didn't make the bracket 1 cm longer so the bolt would clear the axle-joint. Those guys may be good engineers, but they sure have no common sense, and certainly don't work on their own cars. Sliding out two bolts and replacing a simple straight bar that is dangling in the breeze should be a 10 minute job.
BTW- Goods News (which is rare with this recently-purchased Used car): No subframe cracks and bushings looked to be in pretty good shape in the totally-stock 323Ci (for now) with 137k on it.
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Old 07-21-2009, 08:17 AM   #11
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A brief review:

Between the addition of these control arms and the installation of the Powerflex RTAB's ( http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthread.php?t=678004 ) the car is transformed to a whole new level! The car is so tight and handles so well, it's going to take some getting used to. The car's limits are beyond my driving skill at this point!
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Old 07-21-2009, 10:52 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DBeemerphileWnaB View Post
IMHO it is stupid that the BMW engineers didn't make the bracket 1 cm longer so the bolt would clear the axle-joint. Those guys may be good engineers, but they sure have no common sense, and certainly don't work on their own cars. Sliding out two bolts and replacing a simple straight bar that is dangling in the breeze should be a 10 minute job.
The rear control arms are definitely not the German's best work but overall our cars are well thought out and easy to maintain.

The bad thing is you look at and think it will be so easy until you can't get that one bolt out.

Quote:
Originally Posted by fmzip View Post
A brief review:

Between the addition of these control arms and the installation of the Powerflex RTAB's ( http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthread.php?t=678004 ) the car is transformed to a whole new level! The car is so tight and handles so well, it's going to take some getting used to. The car's limits are beyond my driving skill at this point!
Let us know if your RTABS start squeaking. My UUC RTABS now have a noticable squeak when going over bumps which is mildly annoying.
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Old 08-08-2009, 09:33 PM   #13
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Thanks for this DIY, it turned out to be super helpful when i installed my rear adjustable ca's. I didnt cut the bolt though i just unbolted everything like the instructions indicate and it worked out just fine. I live about 30 mins from the closest dealer so i just used the parts i already had. anyway, not a bad job...though it kinda sucks that the bolt won't just come out. all in all id say a 3 hour job with some standing around time factored in.
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Old 08-08-2009, 09:42 PM   #14
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excellent....did you do it on your own?
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Old 08-08-2009, 10:49 PM   #15
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most of it!, though i did hand a friend the flat bar so that he could pry the diff back while i stuffed the bolt in. Though i guess if you cant get any help it seems possible to let the loosened diff rest on a floor jack, and then when you are ready to move the diff pull the floor jack toward the back of the car.
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Old 07-25-2010, 03:07 PM   #16
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Just installed my SPC adjustable control arms. Thanks so much for the write-up. I was able to do the job all by my self. I started with the driver's side first, since it was going to be the hardest. I loosened everything up and tried to pry back the diff. It moved back a little, but not far enough. It was pretty hard trying to pry it back with one hand and trying to remove the bolt with the other. Then, I remembered reading a post about lifting the diff up. So, I jacked up the diff a little and the bolt came right out. Everything else was easy after that. (Took about 3.5 hours.) Now, for new tires and an alignment. Thanks again!
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Old 07-27-2010, 01:38 PM   #17
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Does anyone have any problems with the top of the tire rubbing on lowered cars? I don't have much clearance between my tires and quarter panels.
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Old 10-09-2010, 02:10 AM   #18
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Has anyone had trouble removing the outer bolt on the stock arm (the one near the rotor). I've been trying to get it out for the past 4 hours and no luck. The passenger side came out fairly easy, but the drivers is killing me.
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Old 10-10-2010, 07:23 PM   #19
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do they make a set of these for an xi cause i need a set b4 it starts snowing an i dont like burning up just the inside of my rear tires
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Old 11-06-2010, 03:27 PM   #20
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This is going to be my very next mod....!!! Lightwerkz TFX conversion and this.... great info..
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