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Old 05-09-2016, 08:29 PM   #1
WDE46
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E46 Rear Trailing Arm Ball Joint and Control Arm Bushing Tools

I had a lot of trouble finding good documentation on what people used to remove and install their rear trailing arm bushings and ball joints. So I am posting what I have found so far. I haven't done the job yet, but I'm going to put this to the test this weekend. There's no reason that these tool configurations will not work. Plus, there's enough info for you to spec out your own tools if needed.

This is in reference to the ball joints and bushings in Mango's thread (click) PLUS the Rear, upper, inner control arm bushing:



#2 Upper trailing arm ball joint 33326775551 (superseded and referenced as 33306852895 on some sites)
#3 Lower trailing arm bushing (ball joint in M3, same as #2) 33326771828
#14 Rear, upper, inner control arm bushing 33321092247



AFTER INSTALL EXPERIENCE

I did not install my new lower control arms or change the upper control arm's inner bushing. This was because doing so would've required partial removal of the differential. That was more work than I wanted to do this weekend. Regardless, the measurements are below and are good for designing a tool.

The ball joint tools worked perfectly on removal and installation. I would just like to recommend having an impact wrench and a 21 mm deep socket available to operate the tool for removal. I don't think I would've gotten my ball joint and bushing out with just regular wrenches. I used a DeWalt 1/2" 20V rated at over 300 lb*ft torque.

The threaded rod was perfect and didn't flinch EXCEPT when it got clogged with plating material from my large washers. I galled multiple threads. Luckily I was able to work around those threads. However, I highly recommend keeping the bolt and threads soaked in lube (I used WD40) and getting unplated washers. Luckily I had access to some washers from Fastenal that worked very well.

I added images of the install tool in action. I forgot both times to photograph the removal tool. Sorry! It worked perfectly though with the 31 mm socket. Maybe I could go down a size as the socket would get stuck in the hole and the torn boot from the old ball joint would wedge it in there. It was easy enough to remove with a hammer.

Short Shopping List:

300mm M12 Threaded Rod McMaster 93325A335
Do not get a threaded rod from Home Depot or similar. This is a very high strength rod. A cheap rod from Home Depot will snap like it's nothing when you try to remove the bushing/ball joint.

M12x1.75 mm nuts McMaster 98498A100 (extra wide if possible), Requires 21 mm wrench or socket to turn

Large washers to go between the sockets and M12 nuts McMaster 94744A293
Need to change this item or buy smaller washers for separation. Purchase UNPLATED washers. The plating material rubs off and clogs the threads of the tool. You can still buy this washer and use a smaller unplated washer between the large washer and the nut. This will prevent the thread clogging.

Washers to remove the inner control arm bushing 94744A289
A 24 mm socket may work to remove the control arm bushing. OD of socket must be less than 35 mm and ID needs to be 24 mmor greater.

Socket outer dimensions may vary by brand, so double check the 31 mm especially. I have a feeling my 31 mm impact socket has a larger OD than a regular 31 mm socket (non-impact). So you may need to get a 32 mm regular socket if that's what's available. (post by evanr614 for reference).
46 mm 12 point socket (Powerbuilt, available on Amazon)
36 mm 12 point socket
36 mm deep socket
31 mm socket (chop end to make it flat) (got this at AutoZone or Advance Auto Parts)


What we have to work with:



From Left to Right (top row):

46 mm Socket (same as Front Wheel Bearing nut)
36 mm Deep Socket (same as oil filter cap)
36 mm 12-point Socket (same as Rear Axle Nut, oil filter cap)
31 mm Deep Socket (with open end flattened)

Below:

Trailing arm ball joint on left. Control arm bushing on right.

In addition to this, you'll want M12 threaded rod of at least 300 mm length plus corresponding nuts (x2) and oversized wide washers stacked for strength under the nut. The rod and nuts from my RTAB tool work well, but I need to source washers to support the nut over the sockets' 1/2" drive square cutout and the 46 mm socket's 3/4" wide drive.

Ball Joint Diameter: 45.2 mm


Ball Joint Length: 56.8 mm


Control Arm Bushing width: 35.4 mm


Control Arm Bushing minor width: 23.7 mm


Control Arm Bushing Length: 66.5 mm


With the dimensional information, it's easy to spec out your tool sizes. By the way, all the bolts that go through these bushings are M12x1.5, so for my threaded rod, I used M12 size obviously. It's also under 1/2" so it'll fit through the 1/2" sized square holes in the sockets.

Ball Joint Removal Configuration:

46 mm catcher + 31 mm pusher


31 mm socket diameter. Note how this is under the diameter of the outer ball joints (44 mm vs 45.2 mm) so you can push it through the hole all the way.


Ball Joint Install Configuration:

46 mm standoff + 36 mm 12 point pusher. The 12 point fits more easily around the rubber boot than a hex. Maybe a 37 mm would be best here, but it's not common with the rear axle nut, so the 12 point 36 mm is the best buy!


The upper control arm can be wedged up or tied up to keep it out of the way. Support lower joint with jack to keep pressure off the axle while using the tool. Bend the dust shield out of the way. It bends back easily. I pulled the ball joint all the way in until the 36 mm bottomed out. This gave me the same insertion as the original joint. Make sure you pull it in from the side with the chamfer (correct side shown in image).



Note lower control arm is below the ball joint. Unbolt the LCA and then jack up the suspension using the shock mount protrusion (gives clearance for tools). See image below. Then just pull the LCA down away from the ball joint. Brake dust shield is bent out of the way. Insertion depth same as upper joint.



Jack lifting trailing arm to clear LCA


Control arm bushing install configuration:

36 mm deep catcher + 31 mm pusher


Fit of 31 mm socket over the control arm bushing


The removal config is not shown, sorry. I did not have a piece to fit properly. I am thinking that a 24 mm socket may fit perfectly. Also a stack of washers of 34-35 mm diameter could work. I will update this post after I get the bushing out.

BONUS:

RTAB Preload Tool (tested successfully):



This bolts to the RTAB mounting bracket for alignment with the rear axle center. Drill a half inch hole for the bolt. I used an M12x1.5 bolt (same size as RTAB bracket bolts) for guaranteed fit through the bracket hole.

The top surface of this bar should end up 8mm ABOVE the axle center point according to BMW TIS.

BMW TIS's specific language is to use a 16 mm thick bar and then align the bar's centerline with the centerline of the hub. That means that the top surface is 0.5*16 mm above the centerline of the hub. That's how I get the 8mm number.

Bar installed


In action


___________


LINK TO IMGUR ALBUM


I posted the images in this thread hopefully with enough description so that even without images in the future, people can still use the information.
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Last edited by WDE46; 05-17-2016 at 11:47 AM.
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Old 05-09-2016, 08:34 PM   #2
orb
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Thank you so much for this. Been planning this for sometime this summer. Also maybe I missed it but did you use a bushing or balljoint in the lower location?
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Old 05-09-2016, 08:37 PM   #3
WDE46
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Thank you so much for this. Been planning this for sometime this summer. Also maybe I missed it but did you use a bushing or balljoint in the lower location?
I am replacing the bushing with a ball joint. It's an easy upgrade for a low cost. M3 uses it. Why not the non-M? I'm also going to install M3 RTABs this weekend.
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Old 05-09-2016, 09:22 PM   #4
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Subbed for this. Great write up and looking forward to your end results, as this is on my to do list.

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Old 05-09-2016, 09:52 PM   #5
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Subbed for this. Great write up and looking forward to your end results, as this is on my to do list.

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+1 for that.

Also on my to-do list.

I'm amassing parts for maintenance I know I need to, or will need to, perform on my touring to keep it fresh and lasting a long time. I'm not fond of the new Bimmers (although the 2 and 4 are both growing on me) so I expect to stay in this one a LONG time.
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Old 05-10-2016, 09:53 AM   #6
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Where's the socks? This thread needs socks. More helpful info on what tools to use for the rear axle service: http://www.e46mango.com/2015/01/the-...es-1999_9.html
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Last edited by Mango; 10-06-2016 at 11:13 PM.
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Old 05-10-2016, 10:02 AM   #7
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Old 05-10-2016, 10:35 AM   #8
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This looks like a great project. Would you mind editing to indicate what the costs are on the bolts and sockets you are buying? Some of them may be from a larger set, so not listing individual price is understandable, but things you are buying from McMaster should be easy to tag with prices. When balancing convenience and frugality it is nice to know how much $$ you are saving by not going with a specialized toolkit.
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Old 05-10-2016, 10:53 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by Mango View Post
Where's the socks? This thread needs socks.

It was almost 90 this weekend. No more Wigwams for many months.
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Old 05-10-2016, 11:08 AM   #10
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I did this job a few weeks ago. MIS RTAB tool makes the job a breeze. However I used the Koch tool used for the 2 smaller diff bushings in the subframe as a pusher and used a 32mm socket to pull the ball joints out. The 32mm socket is PERFECT size and the Koch tool is perfect size as well to catch the bushing. I reinstalled with poly ball joints so I can't speak for reinstalling OE bushings. If I were to be reinstalling with OE bushings I would use this guys full method.

http://www.m3forum.net/m3forum/showthread.php?t=255760

edit: honestly barely skimmed thru this thread before replying, I see it is basically the same as the method described in the M3Forum post above....
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Old 05-10-2016, 11:15 AM   #11
WDE46
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Originally Posted by evanr614 View Post
I did this job a few weeks ago. MIS RTAB tool makes the job a breeze. However I used the Koch tool used for the 2 smaller diff bushings in the subframe as a pusher and used a 32mm socket to pull the ball joints out. The 32mm socket is PERFECT size and the Koch tool is perfect size as well to catch the bushing. I reinstalled with poly ball joints so I can't speak for reinstalling OE bushings. If I were to be reinstalling with OE bushings I would use this guys full method.

http://www.m3forum.net/m3forum/showthread.php?t=255760

edit: honestly barely skimmed thru this thread before replying, I see it is basically the same as the method described in the M3Forum post above....

Yes I've view that entire thread. His sizes referenced in the post for the tool are all wrong. 3/16 threaded rod? 32 mm catcher? Makes no sense to me.

Unless I've got 4 of the wrong ball joint, his write up is way off.
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Old 05-10-2016, 11:27 AM   #12
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I only referenced that thread for the 32mm socket because like I said the Koch tool worked perfectly, aside from having to use the threaded rod from my MIS tool. I agree his thread may be hard to follow but from what I can see by the pictures he got the job done properly.
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Old 05-10-2016, 11:30 AM   #13
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Yeah his tool worked and it inspired my pieces, but for some reason his numbers are way off. They don't match his pictures as far as I can tell. So I created this thread to remove all ambiguity.
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Old 05-10-2016, 11:35 AM   #14
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Yeah his tool worked and it inspired my pieces, but for some reason his numbers are way off. They don't match his pictures as far as I can tell. So I created this thread to remove all ambiguity.
It is about time someone cleared things up. Luckily for me the poly bushings made this job insanely easy.
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Old 05-10-2016, 11:39 AM   #15
WDE46
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Originally Posted by veektor View Post
This looks like a great project. Would you mind editing to indicate what the costs are on the bolts and sockets you are buying? Some of them may be from a larger set, so not listing individual price is understandable, but things you are buying from McMaster should be easy to tag with prices. When balancing convenience and frugality it is nice to know how much $$ you are saving by not going with a specialized toolkit.
Well the McMaster parts are linked directly to the catalog page. For the sockets, I bought these long ago. I don't want to link specifics because I can't guarantee some of their dimensions. I'll try to work on improving that area of the list. Maybe some Amazon links. Unfortunately, for the long haul, those links will die and prices will change drastically. Point is to look at those size sockets and build your own tool based on my measurements of the components.
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Last edited by WDE46; 05-10-2016 at 11:39 AM.
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Old 05-14-2016, 08:34 PM   #16
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I did the left side successfully today. I didn't take pics but I'll get some tomorrow of the tools. There are some minor corrections to the materials that I need to make.

Also I didn't do the lower control arm or the upper control arm inner bushing. It would've been too much work. I'll get those when I do the subframe bushings.
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Old 05-16-2016, 06:02 PM   #17
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Added pictures of install tool in action. I will add some more notes on the job later. Notes are already in the imgur album which also includes a bonus swaybar endlink install tip.
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Last edited by WDE46; 05-16-2016 at 06:03 PM.
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Old 05-16-2016, 08:23 PM   #18
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Love your write ups!!
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Old 06-07-2016, 11:18 AM   #19
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Any updates as to how the rear end feels after doing this? Less side-to-side sway?
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Old 06-07-2016, 11:45 AM   #20
WDE46
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Feels a little better and my squeak is gone. I'm doing the subframe bushings this weekend or the next. Also doing a write up for those as well.

It seems as though my front ball joints or upper steering joint have some minor play. Also my front endlinks are bad and clicking. So I've got a ways to go to solve my issues I think.
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