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///M3 Forum
The BMW E46 ///M3 is the M version E46 and puts out an amazing 333 HP and 262 lb-ft of torque at stock specs! There are an amazing amount of modifications for both the coupe and convertible models so read up and get started modifying your cars today!

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Old 02-21-2013, 09:01 AM   #1
M Shark
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quick maintenance question : E46 M3

At what mileage do you guys change your front/rear suspension bushings and front/rear wheel bearings?

I changed the leaf spring, control arm and sway bar bushings on my 2002 Dodge Durango after finding out they were shot as the truck would be so unpredictable over pot holes or uneven roads. But the truck had 140k miles on it before it got wobbly.

What average mileage does a street driven E46 M3 need replacement?
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Old 02-21-2013, 09:05 AM   #2
nojoda
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if you accelerate your car HARD on the highway and it goes either to the right or left and doesn't stay in the same driving lane. means your rtabs are shot. it depends on the car, mines a vert and switched them at 70k some have switched at 55k. Pretty soon im up for front control arms replacements as im beginning to feel the car loose up front.

if you think their shot, change them. its a night and day difference.
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Old 02-21-2013, 09:07 AM   #3
mooninite
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There is no specific mileage. A control arm can last 50k miles, or even 100k miles. If there is no play in the control arm then it's fine. Bushings will be visibly worn out when they need to be replaced. You can see tears or see excessive movement from them. Wheel bearings? Not known to need replacing as regular maintenance AFAIK.
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Old 02-21-2013, 10:35 AM   #4
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Leaf springs?

Wear of those parts are very dependent on road conditions. There's no set mileage. You just have to know what bad ones feel like. If I were to put a rough estimate on RTABs and FCABs I'd say around 60k miles, but again, that's dependent upon your driving style and the roads you drive on.

Wheel bearings are replaced as needed. Again, no set mileage.
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Old 02-21-2013, 11:21 AM   #5
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I did front and rear bushings at 60k, when I bought the car. Rear looked worse than the front, glad I ddi it. Subframe is next.

Wheel bearings are typically as needed but I'm doing fronts now at 98k before the summer track season. $180 ea w/hub from ECS.
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Old 02-21-2013, 11:30 AM   #6
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I'd say most things usually happen between the long range of 75,000-100,000. Here is roughly when I personally swapped my parts, with description of condition.
  • Front Control Arm Bushings - 60,000 miles - only slight wear when replaced
  • Front Control Arm with Ball Joints - 80,000 miles - extremely worn down
  • Front Tie Rods - 80,000 Miles - did this out of convenience
  • Front Wheel Bearings - 80,000 Miles - driver side was worn down
  • Rear Trail Arm Bushing - 60,000 miles - noticeably worn down and cracked. This is part of Inspection II, which should pop up around every 60,000 miles.
  • Rear Shock Mounts - 60,000 miles - some signs of wear, did it out of convenience when upgrading to coilovers. This is part of Inspection II, which should pop up around every 60,000 miles.
  • Rear Subframe Bushings - 60,000 miles - did it during subframe reinforcement
  • Rear Wheel Bearings - I am currently at 87,000 miles. They are currently making very noticeable noises and will be replacing soon.
  • Rear Ball Joints - These are typically very low wear items, I would recommend replacing them out of convenience if you have the subframe down.
  • Rear Diff Front Mount/Bushings - These are typically very low wear items, I would recommend replacing them out of convenience if you have your subframe down.
  • Rear Upper Control Arm Inner Bushing - These are typically very low wear items, I would recommend replacing them out of convenience if you have your subframe down.
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Old 02-21-2013, 11:35 AM   #7
HiHoBrian
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My RTAB's were 100% shot(spacer broken totaly free from rubber) at 60,000. Thats when I found out and changed them at least. I'm at about 65000 now and my front struts can be cycled with zero resistance for the first 2" of travel. I would say the whole suspension is in need of updating at 60k. This is a New England car driven year round if that makes a difference.

sent from my ATARI sc1224
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Old 02-22-2013, 12:42 AM   #8
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Thanks for the input guys. I will be having an Inspection II done today and would like to mention to the tech if they can look at those above mentioned items. I don't notice any handling problems with my car even on hard acceleration
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Old 02-22-2013, 12:44 AM   #9
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FlipM3 what brands did you end up buying?
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Old 02-22-2013, 10:51 AM   #10
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I think I did both my RTABs and FCAB's at around 70K miles. I went with proflex.
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Old 02-23-2013, 09:31 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by M Shark View Post
FlipM3 what brands did you end up buying?
For the FCABs, RTABs, RSMs, Rear Subframe Bushings, Diff Mount/Bushings...I always recommend AKG Motorsport. A long pedigree in racing. All proven products. They have been popular in the E30 and E36 scene for decades. Now they are the new standard for the E46 guys as well.

Front control arms, Front tie rods, Wheel bearings, Rearball joints, Rear upper control arm inner bushing...I personally go with Genuine BMW. In the past on both my E46 and other cars, I have tried OEM stuff often to be let down, so I try to stick with Genuine BMW OE from now on. Many have great success with the more affordable OEM stuff, but I just seem to have bad luck many times.

Best of luck!
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Old 02-25-2013, 02:49 PM   #12
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I've commonly seen them get replaced between 60,000 and as high as 100,000 miles.

But if you feel a pull under hard acceleration, the RTAB 's need to be done.

I would recommend doing them at 60,000 to 70,000 as a preventative maintenance item. Or as soon as they go, they need replacing .
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