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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 12-17-2011, 06:22 AM   #1
grafiksguy
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Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Maplewood, New Jersey
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My Ride: 2010 328xi
New sway bar links

Had a weird, subtle clunking from the suspension that was hard to locate by listening while driving. Seemed to occur (or maybe that's just when I noticed it) at low speeds over rough or uneven surfaces. I couldn't replicate it by pushing down on the fenders though. The car has 150K on the odo but over the last 50 I've replaced most of the front suspension parts, done the rear shocks so I was curious what it could be. In any event I finally got around to jacking things up and pulling wheels and quickly discovered my right front sway link was shot. I'd replaced these about 40K ago and was surprised that this thing was really gone.

Simple DIY and in addition to the rattle/clunk being gone, it seems to have tightened things up nicely. I decided to go with Meyle HD replacments and hopefully these will last longer than the last set. I don't know how common this failure is, but if you have a similar noise, you'll want to check these along with the usual suspects like the CABs and control arms themselves. If it's just the sway links they're easy and fairly cheap ($23 at AutohausAZ).

Cheers!
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Old 12-17-2011, 06:59 AM   #2
dmax
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Do the Meyles require a thin wrench or do they have a hex head to hold the ball joint when tightening? It took me maybe an hour to grind down a BMW wrench to fit for my lemforders. Anyway, I'm glad you found your clunk!
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Old 12-18-2011, 08:13 AM   #3
grafiksguy
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dmax View Post
Do the Meyles require a thin wrench or do they have a hex head to hold the ball joint when tightening? It took me maybe an hour to grind down a BMW wrench to fit for my lemforders. Anyway, I'm glad you found your clunk!
Funny you ask. I was worried about that as the new Meyle's only had the female hex head cavity in the end of the bolt, no matching piece on the inside part of the joint at all. The old links required the thin 17mm wrench to remove though I didn't worry about damaging the boot so I used a regular one to remove them.

I was prepared to just use an open end/box wrench on it to tighten as there was no way to hold things in place with the hex head AND use a socket on the nut with my torque wrench. The good news is the bolts didn't seem to spin at all and I was able to tighten things down and set it properly with the torque wrench without having to hold things in place. Also the Meyle's use a 15mm nut instead of a 17 or 16 and I needed a deep-well socket to get things finally tightened as the bolt seemed a bit longer than the old one. (Lots of small variations on the specs of these things apparently.)

My recollection is that I didn't need to hold things when I put in the old ones either, so I'm thinking that maybe the new parts are stiff enough to get things properly tightened but after they wear out you need to hold things in place to avoid the bolt's spinning. That would explain the design change.
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Old 12-22-2011, 09:52 AM   #4
nosispower
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After having done many sway bar links on my two E46s and somewhat mangling the boots on the joints, I discovered an amazing trick recently: The wrench in the BMW toolkit works PERFECTLY for holding the inner nut while turning the outer 16mm nut. When I say perfectly, I mean, it's like it was made specifically to hold that nut.
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Old 12-22-2011, 10:01 AM   #5
dino71
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My Ride: 2003 BMW 330i
Is Meyle considered the best (or one the best) sway bar links? I have the sport package on my 2003 BMW 330i and I am assuming that the links are all the same? Thanks for the great write-up and responses in this thread.
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