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E46 Xi Forum
The E46 XI was produced from 01-05 in sedan and touring body styles. Powered by either a 2.5L inline 6 in the 325xi or a 3.0L inline 6 330xi. Discuss all thing about BMW AWD E46 'Xi' here.

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Old 09-06-2012, 06:40 PM   #21
tomoyer
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The "centered" or "off-set" hole in the bushing has little to nothing to do with Caster and has everything to do with Camber. The only real way to change the built in Caster is to use a set of adjustable camber plates at the top of the struts, not only will they allow for about +1 degree to -3 degrees of camber adjustment, they will also allow for caster adjustment. So, the caster would not be affected using the centered hole E36 Bushings, the camber would be affected.

Caster: the angle at which the steering axis deviates from vertical, the steering axis is an imaginary line about which the front wheels turn. most cars are designed with a steering axis which is inclined toward the rear at the top (positive caster +), giving them directional stability and self-centering steering. NON ADJUSTABLE

Camber: is the angle at which the wheels tilt away from vertical as viewed from the front or rear of the car. wheels that tilt in at the top display negative (-) camber, whereas wheels that tilt out at the top display positive camber (+). camber influences corning and directional stability. a difference in camber between 2 front OR 2 rear wheels may cause the car to pull to on side, misadjusted camber will cause uneven tire wear. Slight adjustment can be made without optional parts.

Toe: is the measurement of the amount that 2 wheels on the same axle piont towards each other (toe-in) or away from each other (toe-out) in their direction of travel. Toe is fully adjustable. toe affects directional stability and tire wear, and also has some effect on how the car responds to steering input. too much toe will cause tires to "scrub" and wear unevenly and more quickly, whereas, too little toe (to near zero) may cause the car to be less stable and wander slightly at highway speeds.
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Old 09-06-2012, 07:00 PM   #22
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Originally Posted by tomoyer View Post
The "centered" or "off-set" hole in the bushing has little to nothing to do with Caster and has everything to do with Camber.
I disagree. Moving the control arm inwards or outwards at the rear mount affects the fore and aft movement of the wheel in the wheel well. The arm pivots around the subframe mounted balljoint.




Either way and change is negligible and works great.
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Old 09-06-2012, 07:27 PM   #23
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Not at all, it affects how much pressure is put on the control arm, moving it away from or towards the center of the car, thus changing the CAMBER ANGLE, not eh Caster. The control arm pivots between the inner and outer ball joint, not just the inner.
Now if you could put longer or shorter control arms in the car, you would be changing the Caster Angle as you would be either pushing or pulling the bottom of the strut towards or away from the vertical line as in your diagrams of CASTER. This is what Adjustable Camber Plates allow you to do, slightly change the top of the strut away from or towards the vertical, as well as letting you adjust the CAMBER.
Even removing the "pin" will not allow you to change Caster, but will let you slightly adjust the Camber.
You may disagree with me and the definitions of Camber, Caster and Toe, but then you are disagreeing with automotive engineering and physics. Glad it "works great", but you may well find out several 1000 miles down the road.
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Old 09-06-2012, 07:32 PM   #24
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I'll throw it on the alignment rack tomorrow and compare that to the alignment I did last week before the bushings. I'm not saying you are completely wrong, that's just just how I've always known the front ends of these cars to be affected with offset bushings, e30,e36 etc.
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Old 09-06-2012, 07:53 PM   #25
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Older, American built cars that had upper and lower control arms or torsion bar suspension had adjustable CASTER as well as CAMBER and Toe. Once the McPherson strut came on the scene, CASTER has been built in and NON-ADUJSTABLE, the front shock/strut towers are built such that the angle is included and the lower control arms and mounting points are made to go a long with that pre-determined and non-adjustable angle to give an overall good CASTER Angel to fit the average driver.
A car with front strut suspension WILL have the CASTER affected if the shock/strut tower(s) are damaged.
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Old 09-06-2012, 09:08 PM   #26
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I can't believe what I just read.
Tomoyer,, I recommend you do a little experiment next time you have your car in the air: remove the control arm bushing bracket bolts, dislodge the bracket from the subframe, grab the control arm at the bushing, move the arm inward towards the centerline of the car while watching how the outer control arm ball joint reacts. The caster changes before your very eyes. Also I would like to reference E30 325I control arm bushings compared to E30 M3 control arm bushings, the affect on caster is visible. Know your facts. End of rant.
I would also like to add that your are correct, about adjusting caster at the strut mount, but control arm bushings also affect caster.

Last edited by fastjasonbmw; 09-06-2012 at 09:12 PM.
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Old 09-06-2012, 11:06 PM   #27
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I can't believe what I just read.
+1 but for the sake of not wanting to be wrong on the internets, I'll do another alignment anyway just too see, I am curious now.
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Old 09-07-2012, 10:49 AM   #28
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for the record.. im currently running e36 M bushings. over 3 years now no problems
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Old 09-09-2012, 06:39 PM   #29
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PowerFlex XI installation instructions

Hello All
I just installed the correct power flex xi bushing with the offset hole. They are awesome so far. Just a couple of pointers

1. Make sure the Large diameter shoulder of the outer bushing is pressed into the lolly pop pointing toward the front of the car. Mark the face of the lolly pop before you take them off, its easy to get them on backward (ask me how I know)

2. Don't forget to use the supplied washer, it will prevent the inner bushing from riding up the control arm. No reason for a crappy band clamp. See the attached instruction sheet
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Old 09-10-2012, 11:15 PM   #30
fastjasonbmw
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Actually, that washer takes up less space on the arm than a hose clamp, still allowing the inner bushing to slide forward. But if it works for you, that's all that matters.
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Old 09-11-2012, 06:33 AM   #31
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I'm curious why people are having trouble with this as the bushings I used did not have any room to slide up after installed. The washer was up against the flared shoulder on the arm with a little wiggle room+/- 1mm, the blue bushing was snug up against that and it fit into the black busing all the way filling the whole gap. I just took a look at your photos again and they look different from how I remember mine. Are those XI bushings with the offset in your photo. From the photos it looks like the blue bushing is almost flush with the black bushing when you have the clamp on? On mine the shoulder of the blue bushing sits proud of the black bushing by about 10 mm (about the width of your clamp) it doesn't recess into the black bushing. This might explain why some are having trouble?
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Old 09-11-2012, 11:00 PM   #32
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There has to be some sort of production split, my powerflex bushings didn't come with a washer. So I installed that hose clamp to solve the issue, perhaps there is an updated control arm. My 330xi was built 5 of '01, and to my knowledge the control arms have never been replaced, so newer control arms may prevent the inner bushing from sliding forward. Honestly I don't really care, as I have found a solution to the issue I was having. I posted the pics, thinking they may help other people with similar issues. I haven't looked into any part # differences between early and late xi's. Maybe I'll snap some pics of some at work when they come in for service.

Maybe I recieved the incorrect bushings. 325xitt,, take some pics of your bushings when you get a chance, so we can compare.

Last edited by fastjasonbmw; 09-11-2012 at 11:04 PM.
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Old 09-12-2012, 10:24 AM   #33
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This is the first time I've heard of the washer as well.

Most have no issues without the washer or clamp.
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Old 09-12-2012, 02:39 PM   #34
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This is the first time I've heard of the washer as well.

Most have no issues without the washer or clamp.
Kubica, do you mind sharing a picture of the bushings you're using?

I've been using these with good results.
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Old 09-12-2012, 02:52 PM   #35
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^all black, two piece, e36 m3 powerflex centered fcabs. Circa 2009.
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Old 09-12-2012, 03:13 PM   #36
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Oh damn, i got the wrong ones. OP probably has the same ones. They are working fine though so i won't bother changing them.
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Old 09-12-2012, 03:44 PM   #37
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Oh damn, i got the wrong ones. OP probably has the same ones. They are working fine though so i won't bother changing them.
Why do you think they are wrong?


There have been at least three different versions of centered e36 m3 Powerflex. First was one piece, I have the second, and I guess the third has a purple outer piece.
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Old 09-12-2012, 08:23 PM   #38
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Good to know.

You're the man, you never give bad advice.
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Old 09-14-2012, 06:46 AM   #39
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I'll takes some pic's of the off-centered bushing installed on my xi (I'll try and post those on monday I'm away this weekend). The pictures of the bushing on the powerfex website doesn't match with the actual bushing set I received, so based on the chatter here they must have changed the design in the not to distance past. They have a washer and the blue bushing has a shoulder that effectively fills the gap between the edge of the control arm and the black rubber outer bushing. there is no chance that the blue bushing can slide up the arm. The interesting thing with the offset design is that you could adjust the position of the arm in the lollipop and tweek the caster as you like simply by rotating the hole to be more offset towards the inboard side or toward the outside of the lollipop or centered if you like. So far I'm very happy with the CABS
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Old 09-14-2012, 08:41 AM   #40
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Carter22 View Post
Just installed the 'AKG Front Control Arm Bushing Set - Polyurethane 95A'


Install was simple and the front end feels great! Thanks to Kubica for the heads up about e36 bushings, $55 shipped too...
I checked these out, they look good and the price is right.
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