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Old 04-16-2013, 11:47 AM   #1
cposk
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Outer RLCA Bushing to Balljoint Upgrade w/ DIY

I haven't seen much documentation on this "quick and dirty" upgrade, so here it is.

Basic Suspension Talking Points (experts can skip, or read and critique)

As everyone is well aware, our rear suspension is centered around a subframe and two trailing arms, with an upper and lower control arm connecting them on each side. Each of these pieces are connected with a bushing (or ball joint) to allow a small amount of flex/movement/damping. The general rule of thumb is stiffer is better in the handling department, but sacrifices some comfort.

Our non-M E46s utilize a bushings in each location, except for the upper control arm to trailing arm connection. This allows a limited twisting motion with no real lateral play. The lower control arm to trailing arm connection is a bushing, although the necessary range of motion is identical to the upper location. My guess to the motive behind this, $$$. RealOEM shows a $25 difference between the two, two per car, about 40% mark up on parts = 30$ per car. According to wiki, they sold 561,249 in 2002, which means they saved about $15M just in 2002!

So, why is this an upgrade? This will limit the amount of lateral variability in the trailing arms, which translates to changes in rear toe and camber. Basically, your rear end will be a little bit tighter when cornering. Sounds good to me!

Also, RealOEM confirms that the M3 uses this same balljoint in both the upper and lower location. (Originally read this on TMS website)

The Parts and Diagrams

The subject of our conversation is #2 & #3 in this diagram. #2 is a balljoint from the factory, where #3 is a rubber bushing.

Balljoint Part # - 33 32 6 775 551



Here's an img from TMS of the Balljoint.


Next, a quick install guide (the way I did it).
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Old 04-16-2013, 11:49 AM   #2
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Reserved for Install

As some of you may know, I am a huge fan of the jaw puller. I was able to remove and install almost every single bushing and balljoint in the rear of the car with it (all except the 2 small front diff bushings). My install is based around that.

Also, although you should have your car aligned professionally after any suspension work, it will be possible to get the car close to where it was with the markings on the eccentric bolt controlling camber.

Tools:
Jack
Jack Stands
Metric Sockets (17mm,18mm)
Torque Wrench (preferably at least 50ftlb to 150ftlb working range)
Breaker Bar
18mm wrench (or second socket + ratchet)
Digital Camera (for documenting camber setting before removal)
2 Jaw Puller - Mine is OEM and can be 2/3 jaws with 2 different settings
Large Socket Set (1 1/4in, 1 1/2 in) used as pushers
PB Blaster

Parts:
2 Balljoints - 33 32 6 775 551
2 Eccentric Bolts - 33 32 6 772 698
2 Eccentric Washers - 33 32 1 094 653

(no you don't have to replace the bolts/washers, but for ~$10... enough said)

The Procedure

1. Jacking. First break the lug bolts loose (17mm). My procedure is to block the front wheels and jack from the large flat area of the rear subframe. Then place jackstands under the side rear jacking points. Lower the jack, and raise it back up until it touches the subframe, making 3 points of support in a triangle pattern. This is important when you are applying 100+ ftlbs to the eccentric bolts.

2. Remove the wheels. Get down and look behind the rotor, you will see the eccentric bolt attaching the lower control arm (LCA from here on) to the trailing arm (TA from here on). Take a picture of it to mark the camber adjustment position. It will look like this. Do for both sides.



3. Hit the eccentric nuts/bolts with some PB Blaster. Enjoy a refreshment. Using an 18mm wrench on the bolt head and 18mm breaker bar on the nut, break loose and remove. It would be nice to have a second pair of hands here.

4. Bushing removal with Jaw Puller. You will need the 1 1/4in socket, the eccentric bolt, and the jaw puller. You put the socket facing the bushing, then run the bolt through the socket and bushings sleeve, and push on the back on the bushing. Here's a picture of me removing the upper ball joint while the TA is off the car, but the idea is the same. You may need to wedge one of the jaw arms between the rotor shield to get a good grip depending on the thickness of your jaws.

DANGER: Make sure the jaws are firmly grasping the TA. It requires A LOT of force to push the old bushing out and the jaws can pop off violently.
Note: Spraying the bushing casing with PB Blaster helps things out. Also keep your jaw puller threads lubricated!



5. Bushing install with Jaw Puller. The install is done the exact same way, except you need to use a larger socket to press from the outing casing of the balljoint. Here's a pic of a 1 1/4in socket vs 1 1/2.
1 1/4

1 1/2


6. Reinstall eccentric bolt and nut. I always apply a small amount of thread locker to suspension bolts. Refer to your earlier pictures for alignment. You need to get it hand tight, then hold the bolt head stationary with a wrench while you tighten down the nut. Then have your second set of hands hold the wrench while you torque it down. 108ft lbs I believe (will confirm this over the weekend).

7. Put your wheels on and lower the car. Good to go.
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Old 04-16-2013, 11:52 AM   #3
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I still have to do mine. They're just sitting.

Here's a diagram I made:



Good pictures of the badboys:



Bad boy vs good boy:



And a tool I made to do the job:



CPOSK thanks for the tips and I ended up buying a 32mm socket and used my front wheel bearing nut 46mm socket

Post a picture of your tool too!! IN FOR PICS AND INSTALL NOTES!
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Old 04-16-2013, 01:06 PM   #4
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CPOSK thanks for the tips and I ended up buying a 32mm socket and used my front wheel bearing nut 46mm socket

Post a picture of your tool too!! IN FOR PICS AND INSTALL NOTES!
Make sure you buy a high strength threaded rod. I broke 4-5 different ones from Home Depot and Ace when doing my rear suspension. This is why I went to the jaw puller. I couldn't find one strong enough.

It requires A LOT of force to get 10-15 yr old bushing out...
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Old 04-16-2013, 01:10 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by cposk View Post
Make sure you buy a high strength threaded rod. I broke 4-5 different ones from Home Depot and Ace when doing my rear suspension. This is why I went to the jaw puller. I couldn't find one strong enough.

It requires A LOT of force to get 10-15 yr old bushing out...
that's what i was thinking... should i just use a straight 3-arm jaw puller for this and sockets instead of threaded rod? I looked at three different hardware stores and none seemed to have the threaded rod i wanted.

Edit: mayb i'll see if the MIS rod fits. i forget how big it is.
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Old 04-16-2013, 01:12 PM   #6
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Your pictures don't load at work but hopefully i can see a pic of what you put in between the jaw puller arm and the socket or is it just placed raw against the socket? forgive me if you posted pics. i'll check my phone.
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Old 04-16-2013, 01:15 PM   #7
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Your pictures don't load at work but hopefully i can see a pic of what you put in between the jaw puller arm and the socket or is it just placed raw against the socket? forgive me if you posted pics. i'll check my phone.
You'll understand when you see Picture under number 4. I used the suspension bolt to press against. It fits perfectly in the 3/4in driver hole and keeps the socket straight.
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Old 04-16-2013, 01:36 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Mango View Post
that's what i was thinking... should i just use a straight 3-arm jaw puller for this and sockets instead of threaded rod? I looked at three different hardware stores and none seemed to have the threaded rod i wanted.

Edit: mayb i'll see if the MIS rod fits. i forget how big it is.
Haha if that is the same rod I bought at Home Depot, you're in for a lot of cursing. I stripped one and complete twisted/broke another.
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Old 04-16-2013, 02:27 PM   #9
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Old 04-16-2013, 02:29 PM   #10
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Haha if that is the same rod I bought at Home Depot, you're in for a lot of cursing. I stripped one and complete twisted/broke another.
OK you're right. it is. screw that. i'm getting a puller. (HF hopefully will be ok)

Hey on the rear diff bushing.. did you say you used a socket? or should i just rent the tool. i'll go re-read your thread.
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Old 04-16-2013, 02:51 PM   #11
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OK you're right. it is. screw that. i'm getting a puller. (HF hopefully will be ok)

Hey on the rear diff bushing.. did you say you used a socket? or should i just rent the tool. i'll go re-read your thread.
For the rear diff bushing, I used a jaw puller to install it with the subframe out of the car. Instead of a socket, I used one of the metal plates in the Harbor Freight wheel bearing kit. Same idea as this picture where I am removing a subframe bushing. Puller pushes on bolt which pushes on metal plate which pushes on the bushing.

2 things, I removed the rear diff bushing by cutting out the center and making a slit in the casing. But a jaw puller should work to remove it just fine. Especially since the bushing casing protrudes a little bit. You won't have to find a metal plate that is exactly the same diameter. You can use one that is slightly bigger to break the initial seizure, then a smaller one to push from the rubber for the rest of the way.

Also, I don't think there is enough room to use this method with the subframe still on the car.

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Old 04-16-2013, 02:59 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cposk View Post
For the rear diff bushing, I used a jaw puller to install it with the subframe out of the car. Instead of a socket, I used one of the metal plates in the Harbor Freight wheel bearing kit. Same idea as this picture where I am removing a subframe bushing. Puller pushes on bolt which pushes on metal plate which pushes on the bushing.

2 things, I removed the rear diff bushing by cutting out the center and making a slit in the casing. But a jaw puller should work to remove it just fine. Especially since the bushing casing protrudes a little bit. You won't have to find a metal plate that is exactly the same diameter. You can use one that is slightly bigger to break the initial seizure, then a smaller one to push from the rubber for the rest of the way.

Also, I don't think there is enough room to use this method with the subframe still on the car.
I will just try to rent the tools from a forum member here.
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