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Suspension & Braking Forum by BimmerWorld
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Old 06-28-2011, 12:00 PM   #1
Wake2blake
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Replacing lower control arm and rear diff bushings

I have a 2004 ZHP 330i sedan. The lower control arm bushings as well as the rear differential bushing need to be replaced. I want to make sure that the ZHP performance package does not require a different bushing from other e46 330i's.

Also, if you have had this serviced on your car, about how much did it cost total? I just called BMW and they wanted $270 for the parts and $700 for the service; seems crazy to me. I am waiting on quotes from two different local shops.

Thanks in advance.
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Old 06-28-2011, 12:04 PM   #2
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I received a quote for $840 total for a 325i Lower front control arms and bushings. Did it myself for about $420 in parts
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Old 06-28-2011, 12:05 PM   #3
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diff. bushings are not the easiest thing to replace seems reasonable to me.
for the front control arm bushings, its a easy DIY and there are plenty of step by step DIY's for it
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Old 06-28-2011, 12:07 PM   #4
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How difficult is it to replace just the bushings by yourself?
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Old 06-28-2011, 12:15 PM   #5
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DIY I say, with powerflex bushings, unless you strictly prefer OEM. Little on the pricey side but will last a lot longer.

Local shops will charge a little less, but none of that will match the quality of the work you can do for your car. Both jobs technically easy, just require a lot of patience, because its mostly removing the bushings. Special tools make it very easy, but buying those is the same as going to dealer to service your car.

I sometimes think BMW came up with FCABs, RTABs and etc. just so they can feed their dealers, that and the ride quality.

Last edited by doshu; 06-28-2011 at 12:18 PM.
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Old 06-28-2011, 02:31 PM   #6
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DIY I say, with powerflex bushings, unless you strictly prefer OEM. Little on the pricey side but will last a lot longer.

Local shops will charge a little less, but none of that will match the quality of the work you can do for your car. Both jobs technically easy, just require a lot of patience, because its mostly removing the bushings. Special tools make it very easy, but buying those is the same as going to dealer to service your car.

I sometimes think BMW came up with FCABs, RTABs and etc. just so they can feed their dealers, that and the ride quality.
What special tools are you referring to? I am really considering DIY

I probably will go with powerflex bushings, but i guess i need to buy the mounting brackets for it.
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Old 06-28-2011, 03:39 PM   #7
Wake2blake
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Just got this quote from a local shop:
Front Control Arm Bushings $130
Labor $105

Differential Bushing $50
Labor $420

Does this seem reasonable?
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Old 06-28-2011, 03:47 PM   #8
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Just tools to pull/push bushings, you can get away with 3 jaw Puller and I have done it just takes a lot longer and requires patience. You can Google BMW special tools and you will come across them, both these jobs have diys in DIY section as well..

It took me 5 hours to remove and install fcabs with Puller, half an hour with specific tool so I can tell you first hand tell you, learn because they will need to be changed again..

Also if you have dremel you can use the old brackets by removing the worn bushings..

Last edited by doshu; 06-28-2011 at 03:51 PM.
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Old 06-28-2011, 04:16 PM   #9
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My guess is that is reasonable labor for the FCABs but a bit high for the rear diff bushing. Looks like $105/hour with one hour for FCABs and 4 hours for diff bushings. I think replacing only the rear (big) diff bushing would take a good shop only 2-3 hours if they have the right bushing tool, though it's possible book time for the job is 4 hours. If they don't remove the diff, I think they have to drain the diff, remove rear diff cover, change bushing, seal up diff cover with RTV, then refill it. Don't remember if they have to disconnect the rear swaybar or not to get to it.

If $420 labor is for all three rear diff bushings, then that sound like a really good deal because the shop will have to disconnect the half-shafts and driveshaft, remove reinforcement bracket in front of the diff, drop the diff, press out 3 old bushings, press in 3 new bushings, and put everything back together. Plus $50 sounds like a good deal for 3 diff bushings (check which ones you're getting--BMW, Myele, or cheap aftermarket ones). If you gave me air tools, a lift and the right bushing tools, I would need at least 6 or 7 hours to change all 3, but then I'm a pretty slow mechanic.
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Old 06-28-2011, 04:35 PM   #10
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Thanks for all your replies.

I have a mechanic who will do it for a better price, but he is jammed busy right now.
How bad is it to drive the car like this for a couple more weeks? I have seen the bushings and they are well worn out.
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Old 06-28-2011, 08:50 PM   #11
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i buy the diff and cab for 120 oem and have my guy install them both for 200
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Old 07-27-2011, 03:12 AM   #12
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do any of you guys know if improperly installing a control arm bushing can cause clunking? i think mine wasn't set in deep enough
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Old 07-27-2011, 04:00 AM   #13
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^if bushings were not installed deep enough, I think they would've known something was not right during the re-installation procedure. Both sets of ball joints won't fit in correctly..
How exactly does your car make clunking noise? When you drive over speed bump? Or when you turn your wheels?
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Old 07-27-2011, 12:31 PM   #14
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^if bushings were not installed deep enough, I think they would've known something was not right during the re-installation procedure. Both sets of ball joints won't fit in correctly..
How exactly does your car make clunking noise? When you drive over speed bump? Or when you turn your wheels?
I fit then in during auto class with some friends help, just bushings. The car clunks in braking, bumps and rough roads. Mostly noticible in crappy parking lots. No clunking though when I turn the wheel
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Old 07-27-2011, 06:18 PM   #15
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^if bushings were not installed deep enough, I think they would've known something was not right during the re-installation procedure. Both sets of ball joints won't fit in correctly..
How exactly does your car make clunking noise? When you drive over speed bump? Or when you turn your wheels?
I'm using power flex bushings, the purple part popped out on the from the black part, the ones on the right seems like its about to pop out 2
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Old 07-27-2011, 08:43 PM   #16
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I'm using power flex bushings, the purple part popped out on the from the black part, the ones on the right seems like its about to pop out 2
Ah, that sounds like installation error. I've read of a few others here who had issues with the direction they're pressed in...or with the grease that's supposed to be in one place, but got someplace else.

I think you have them in backward, maybe? Doublecheck the website.

I know other bushings get messed up when removing them, so just pull them off nicely with lubricant, as i'm sure you'll need to get them off to fix them.
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Old 07-27-2011, 09:31 PM   #17
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Ah, that sounds like installation error. I've read of a few others here who had issues with the direction they're pressed in...or with the grease that's supposed to be in one place, but got someplace else.

I think you have them in backward, maybe? Doublecheck the website.

I know other bushings get messed up when removing them, so just pull them off nicely with lubricant, as i'm sure you'll need to get them off to fix them.
I read through saw some pix and diagrams and they're definitely the wrong way. Hopefully some will work.

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Old 01-10-2012, 09:37 PM   #18
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I have had my lower control arm bushings replaced 3 times in 6 months. They keep breaking after 5,000 miles. Someone said I should have the chassis looked at in case it was bent. I have owned the car for 4 years and the first pair that was put on lasted forever. Do you think this is just an installation error or there could possibly something wrong with the car chassis? I'm really frustrated and confused. Way too much money on the same thing.
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Old 01-10-2012, 10:08 PM   #19
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I have had my lower control arm bushings replaced 3 times in 6 months. They keep breaking after 5,000 miles. Someone said I should have the chassis looked at in case it was bent. I have owned the car for 4 years and the first pair that was put on lasted forever. Do you think this is just an installation error or there could possibly something wrong with the car chassis? I'm really frustrated and confused. Way too much money on the same thing.
3 times, defintiley too much. what kind were the ones you put on the first time, and the times after? if it was an installation error, you'd definitley notice the super loose steering, especially when braking. i put on polyurethane ones last summer, and they're still working fine
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Old 01-10-2012, 10:10 PM   #20
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Breaking, that's interesting. What do you mean exactly by breaking? And are you putting in oem?
How's the rest of your suspension? shocks and springs stock? Worn? Mileage on car? Ever had a major bump in the road you hit or pothole?
Condition of ball joints?
Think hard about anything else that might affect this area that is not normal.

Quote:
Originally Posted by myles01 View Post
I have had my lower control arm bushings replaced 3 times in 6 months. They keep breaking after 5,000 miles. Someone said I should have the chassis looked at in case it was bent. I have owned the car for 4 years and the first pair that was put on lasted forever. Do you think this is just an installation error or there could possibly something wrong with the car chassis? I'm really frustrated and confused. Way too much money on the same thing.
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