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Suspension & Braking Forum by BimmerWorld
Have some questions about suspension or brake setups for your E46 BMW? Get all your answers here!
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Old 12-26-2012, 05:09 PM   #1
Cycle3d60
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Lower Ball Joints and Inner Tie Rods?

I just got new tires from Tire Kingdom and after the work was done they mentioned I had bad lower ball joints and bad inner tie rods for both front wheels. They said it would $1,100 to fix and I'm kinda thinking they're just screwing with me.

I'm no expert but shouldn't there be some sign of this? I mean I've been driving the car with no problems. No pulling while driving or braking, no unusual noises when turning, and from what I can tell there's no uneven wear on the tires I had in the front.

Is it possible to have none of these signs and still have something wrong with my car? Should I bother taking it to my mechanic? Or was Tire Kingdom just trying to screw me over? Thanks.
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Old 12-26-2012, 05:22 PM   #2
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Safely lift car, grab wheel/tire and move it.

Or you can just ask yourself how many miles does your original suspension have on it. If more than 100k, it's generally time.

buy tools, learn to do work yourself, or get ready to lease a Honda.

If you can't work on cars, these cars will become very very VERY expensive to own. Basically to do a simple refresh of your car at a mechanic, you're looking at at least $30,000.
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Old 12-26-2012, 05:51 PM   #3
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Signs of bad tire rods are usually uneven and poor tire wear, clunking during low-speed steering input, and vibrations at higher speed. Going by Mango's advice, I have a set of Lemforder tie-rod assemblies waiting to be installed this week. Not that I have any symptoms, but at 153k miles I'd rather get them done now than pay for another alignment later this year.
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Old 12-26-2012, 06:55 PM   #4
Cycle3d60
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After doing some research it really doesn't seem like too big of a job that I can't handle. I found some really good DIY videos on Youtube.

For the tie rods:


And for the control arm:


I have all the needed tools besides a pickle fork which I'm guessing I can get pretty cheap. One thing though is that the control arm video mentioned a hydraulic press to remove the old bushing and install a new one. I saw the post E46 Mango had a guide for Suspension Refresh and in that guide there was a link to OEM Bimmer parts for the complete control arm kit (http://www.oembimmerparts.com/produc...26758623my.htm) I figuring if I get this kit I won't even need to worry about an hydraulic press because from the picture the bushing already looks like it's attached? I'm thinking about getting this kit, a pair of tie rods and giving this repair a try.
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Old 12-26-2012, 07:54 PM   #5
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You only need a press if you replace the bushing in the old bracket. Most FCAB sets will come with the brackets (including the kit you reference) and will therefore not require a press. If you get arms separate from FCABs (with brackets) you can easily press them on by hand with some soap and water.

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Old 12-26-2012, 09:23 PM   #6
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Alright I think I'm going to give this repair a try then. Thank you all for your quick reply's. I've looked up information on E46 Fanatics for a while now but this is my first time posting. Thanks again for the help!
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Old 01-02-2013, 03:44 PM   #7
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did you get a chance to do this? how did it go?
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Old 01-02-2013, 03:52 PM   #8
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don't listen to the mechanic
keep driving until you feel something is wrong.

Last edited by MercForHire; 01-02-2013 at 03:52 PM.
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Old 01-02-2013, 03:55 PM   #9
WDE46
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Allot 6 hours to do control arms, tierods, and bushings. Get a pickle fork set from the autoparts store (for rent) and get a 3 lb sledge hammer. Smack the **** out of the pickle fork on the ball joints. Once I had the right fork it was easy. I only say 6 hours in case you get stuck on a control arm. After doing it once I can probably do it in less than 2 hours now since I'll buy tools/extensions to reach the inner ball joint nuts more easily. It is possible, but excrusiatingly slow, to do the job with combination wrenches.

Last edited by WDE46; 01-02-2013 at 03:56 PM.
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Old 01-02-2013, 03:57 PM   #10
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buy Meyle HD control arms so you can replace the ball joints in the future.
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Old 01-03-2013, 06:39 PM   #11
Cycle3d60
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I just bought Meyle control arms with bushings and Meyle tie rods. It cost quite a bit but everything I researched said these were mush better than Mevotech, Dorman, and pretty much every other brand so I got the Meyle's. They shipped today so hopefully I won't have any trouble installing them when they get here.
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Old 01-03-2013, 06:52 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MercForHire View Post
buy Meyle HD control arms so you can replace the ball joints in the future.
unless you drive on roads that chatter your teath, you should be good for about 100k miles on those... and i think you need a special socket to press in the new ball joints as well.

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Old 01-16-2013, 12:12 AM   #13
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If the balljoint goes into an aluminum knuckle like my E39 does, don't use a pickle fork, use a spreader like this or this
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Old 01-16-2013, 03:29 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cycle3d60 View Post
I just got new tires from Tire Kingdom and after the work was done they mentioned I had bad lower ball joints and bad inner tie rods for both front wheels. They said it would $1,100 to fix and I'm kinda thinking they're just screwing with me.

I'm no expert but shouldn't there be some sign of this? I mean I've been driving the car with no problems. No pulling while driving or braking, no unusual noises when turning, and from what I can tell there's no uneven wear on the tires I had in the front.

Is it possible to have none of these signs and still have something wrong with my car? Should I bother taking it to my mechanic? Or was Tire Kingdom just trying to screw me over? Thanks.
Worn steering and suspension joints will always manifest in steering anomalies if not noise. Get a second opinion from another garage. Don't mention what the other guys said. If they ask you why just tell them you don't have any problems its just a routine check. What were the old tyres like? Were they unevenly worn? If not then its unlikely you have steering joint issues.

Last edited by RayPooley; 01-16-2013 at 03:31 AM.
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Old 01-16-2013, 12:01 PM   #15
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all those places will tell you lies like that to get extra cash out of you..they seem to think they can fool everyone- which is true since people who go to those places are genrally not enthusiast and believe the stuff they hear. just do some research and do the work yourself. with forums like these you can do anything.
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Old 01-21-2013, 02:05 PM   #16
Cycle3d60
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I used this 3 day weekend I have this week to do this job just in case something went wrong. Nothing did and it turned out to be a pretty easy job! I rented a pickle fork set from discount auto for free and was able to remove the old control arms no problem. The old ball joints seemed like they had a bit more life in them so it wasn't as urgent of a job as the mechanic was trying to make it seem like. But if I figure if it wasn't now it would have been a year or so from now is it doesn't make too much of a difference.

In total the job cost me $540 for the parts and alignment which is less than half what I was originally quoted for. Couldn't be happier and couldn't have done it without these forums.
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