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Old 02-18-2013, 10:54 PM   #1
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Bent rear trailing arm? Out of ideas

Hi guys, been browsing the site for quite a while looking for a similar case but I'm not sure if I've found one. Basically my problem is this, my right rear wheel is sitting at a negative 2.4 camber and is obviously very off. My left rear is sitting at negative 1.5 and is ideal. The problem has been there for months and in the past week I decided to change the shocks, shock mounts, rear control arms, and get an alignment by BMW in an attempt to fix it. None of this worked and BMW told me the car could have a bent trailing arm on that side, or just a bad RTA bushing. They couldn't tell which it was, but my question is how likely a bent trailing arm is on a daily driven 2001 330Ci. If more information is needed I can provide it, and I really appreciate any help on it. Thanks
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Old 02-19-2013, 02:16 AM   #2
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Well if you did the rear control arms and are positive that your subframe isn't absolutely ruined, it pretty much has to be one of the RTAs, or they missed something on the alignment somehow. It would have to happen from one side having a crazily collapsed bushing or bend in the arm itself. Bushing would be from repeated use (not likely in your case) and a bend would be from some sort of 'sideways incident' in the car's past.
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Old 02-19-2013, 03:31 AM   #3
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rear trailing arm bushings being shot is not uncommon. I would inspect and/or replace these and then check if its improved.
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Old 02-19-2013, 03:35 AM   #4
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I have a bent rear control arm for 3 years now. It came along with the car and I noticed it afterwards. It doesn't cause any problem to me. The tires wear out normally.
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Old 02-19-2013, 05:28 AM   #5
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The car has never had a sideways incident, but it did drop from slight height once while at speed
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Old 02-19-2013, 07:37 AM   #6
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I sort of doubt that a trailing arm without a major incident. RTABs however go pretty often so if it could be that, that's a good place to start.

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Old 02-19-2013, 08:26 AM   #7
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They replaced the rear arms, but not the RTABs? Is that even possible?
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Old 02-19-2013, 08:32 AM   #8
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they couldn't tell? lol, way to diagnose

and, most rta get bent from ahole tow drivers
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Old 02-19-2013, 08:33 AM   #9
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I replaced the rear control arms, not the rear trailing arms, which are a lot more expensive and harder to change. The RTAB is part of the latter, I believe.
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Old 02-19-2013, 10:47 AM   #10
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RTAB carrier is the toe adjustment, lower control arm excentric is the camber adjustment. The shocks don't have any influence on either of these adjustments. Is the ride height the same both sides? Is the upper control arm damaged or spring broken?
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Old 02-19-2013, 11:16 AM   #11
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Quote:
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RTAB carrier is the toe adjustment, lower control arm excentric is the camber adjustment. The shocks don't have any influence on either of these adjustments. Is the ride height the same both sides? Is the upper control arm damaged or spring broken?
Good call! Hopefully this is your problem. Very common
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Old 02-19-2013, 11:34 AM   #12
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No the springs were just replaced with brand-new units all around. The only thing I haven't changed is the trailing arm and the trailing arm bushing
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Old 02-19-2013, 01:19 PM   #13
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But can a failed bushing cause the wheel to sag on that side, thus producing more negative camber?
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Old 02-19-2013, 01:56 PM   #14
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I had the same problem with the lower control arm and its bent as hell on both sides and my tires are wearing out on the insides like I cambered the car to sit so low. Got this replaced, did an alignment and everything seems fine. Although our cars are rear-wheeled there was some discussion that this cause some tire wear too. But going back, check the trailing/control arms first. And check this thread about rear lower control arms and premature tire wear.

http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthread.php?t=488805
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Old 02-19-2013, 02:11 PM   #15
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My control arms are brand new, they aren't the problem. They are perfectly straight. The problem lies in either the trailing arm or the trailing arm bushing. What I really want to know is how strong a trailing arm is, and if anyone has ever experienced a bend in one from normal road use, I.e. potholes, mileage.
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Old 02-19-2013, 02:46 PM   #16
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the trailing arms are pretty beefy, you'd have to hit it pretty good to bend it. however the bracket where the rtab mounts the arm to the body could bend.
again, the rear trailing arm bushings are a common wear item.
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Old 02-19-2013, 02:51 PM   #17
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+1 RTAs are extremely beefy and really if you bent that, you'd have other larger problems. the trailing arm bushing won't affect camber, just toe. (they should be replaced regardless. If you are sure everything is straight then you just have a saggy spring. remove both springs and measure and compare them. it's an easy enough job to do (might have to disconnect the shock so the spring can clear)

If you had a broken coil, it'd be stuck on the bottom unless you or someone else removed it
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Old 02-19-2013, 03:28 PM   #18
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The coils are brand new, I changed them a week ago. The camber was negative before and after
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Old 02-19-2013, 03:45 PM   #19
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The coils are brand new, I changed them a week ago. The camber was negative before and after
so has BMW maximized the adjustment of the bolt? maybe the subframe is bent. ever hit anything? doesn't make much sense. visually inspect everything and compare to left side. besides the difference in #, is there any noticeable effects while driving? how about visibly?
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Old 02-19-2013, 04:19 PM   #20
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Yes, BMW maxed it, and no, while driving it is entirely unnoticeable. Visibly you can see the negative lean more on that side, and from the top the toe is visibly off as well. BMW attempted to get that as close as possible too, but it is turning in slightly.
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