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How to change e46 suspension arms/balljoints and bushes.

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How to change e46 suspension arms/balljoints and bushes.

Postby m330d » Mon, 10 Aug 2009 16:39:44 UTC

This is a guide and all work undertaken is at your own risk.

Place the car securely on axle stands and put a wheel in either side as an extra safety measure, you will be doing a lot of hammering and you dont want the unthinkable to happen.I find if you jack the rear up enough it lifts the front high enough to place an axle stand.
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Next remove the wheels then undo the 8 subframe brace bolts 2 either side at both front and back.These are 16mm.
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Now undo the inner suspension arm bolt which is deep down in the engine bay with either 2 extension bars and a universal joint or it may be possible to undo it from underneath.This is 21mm but new arms have 22mm nuts.
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Take of the outer balljoint nut which is an 18mm but the new arms had 19mm ones.There is no room for a 1/2 inch ratchet but a 3/8 one might fit.The abs sensor is very near so be careful.
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Unto the rear bolts a little but dont remove yet as keeping the arm up helps splitting the balljoints.
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Get a balljoint splitter into the rear balljoint after pushing the rubber boot down and whack it hard with a decent sized hammer.10 blows and its freed which I was pleased about. 8-)
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These are 2 types of balljoint splitter and I had the clamp type but this is no use for inners due to clearance so bought the fork type, you can see the damage I inflicted on it :oops: (sealey one and cost £7.50 from a motor factors) . I used the fork on the outer one and it was really tight and took a good 100 blows to free it.
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When the arm is out get the new arm and fit the bush,I used water and fairy liquid to lub it up(arm and bush and use plenty) and turned on its end and used my weight to side it into place.That was reasonably easy. :D
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It must be 291 +/-1mm from the centre of the balljoint to the metal side of the bush housing,dont push it too far as it wont be easy to get back.
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Now its just a matter of bolting it all up again after wirebrusing the taper seats and using a little copper greasie on the tapers .(you might need to take them off again in the future)
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Tighten up all the nuts/bolts(use the new bolts supplied with the bushes) and torque the inner balljoint and rear mount bolts.
The torque settings are:
90nm for the inner balljoint to subframe
59nm for the rear mount.
59nm for Subframe brace, them 90 degrees then 30 degrees.I found it impossible to get it this tight and it was no where near that tight the last time.
It is not possible to get clearance for a torque wrench(mine anyway) for the outer so just tight will do.
Check everytight is tight ,then do the other side .It took 200 blows plus then use the clamp type spliiter to get the outer balljoint free on the drivers side in the end .It was seriously tight, yet the inner one was only 10 blows to split . :cry:
Beware both the arms and bushes are handed and only fit one side.Compare with the old arm before fitting.They both have L and R on each part.

Tools needed:
Socket set with 2 extension bars and a universal joint .Sockets...16/18/19/21/22.
Spanners 18mm,19mm
Balljoint spliiter fork type but clamp type useful for outer although tricky to get to fit.
Hammer(big)
Screwdriver for engine cover.
Fairy liquid.
Torque wrench.
Goodluck and I hope the joints are not too difficult to free.I took about 3 hours total.
Last edited by m330d on Mon, 10 Aug 2009 16:59:43 UTC, edited 5 times in total.
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Postby bmwmike » Mon, 10 Aug 2009 16:44:08 UTC

Nice one m330d

Did you get tracking done afterwards? Do you notice much improvement right away?
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Postby m330d » Mon, 10 Aug 2009 16:54:17 UTC

bmwmike wrote:Nice one m330d

Did you get tracking done afterwards? Do you notice much improvement right away?


Not yet mate , but I will be taking it down for a check tomorrow.
To be honest these was a little play in one outer balljoint and the other arm was fairly good(too good to fail mot :evil: ) which is why Im doing this.I had a short drive and It drove as always ie fine.Maybe too early too tell.
I changed the passenger engine mount straight after this( what a job ) and it was totally shot, the top part fell of when I lifted it. :lol: :lol:
Now to get that retest booked. :D
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Postby m330d » Tue, 11 Aug 2009 16:00:56 UTC

Took the car in for alignment this morning ...but the adjuster was siezed..then there was a huge downpour , got it freed of and back in again.It wasnt far out though hardly anything in it from what I was told.Retest booked for thursday night.
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Postby bmwmike » Tue, 11 Aug 2009 17:18:23 UTC

Cool - good luck

Not surprised it wasn't far out, if the old parts weren't that worn... ? I guess anyway.. :)
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Postby m330d » Tue, 11 Aug 2009 17:27:23 UTC

Yes it wasnt that long ago it was checked for alignment and was spot-on then , probally a little movement in the old back bushes .Hopefully will get a new mot soon and that will be that. 8-)
Had hoped the steering wheel would now be straight but it has always been that little bit off centre despite several alignment checks , I think its too do with the guys reaching in the window to centralise the wheel , its looks ok but isnt due to not being sitting in the drivers seat.What it needs is a little adjusted in one side and adjusted out the other to get it perfect .Nothing to worry about though. :lol:
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Postby kalv » Thu, 13 Aug 2009 21:13:12 UTC

check your tyre pressures.. mine was out a little after 3 alignment checks.. front driver side had 20psi!
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Before - 330d M-Sport Tourer, Pipercross filter, Torque Flow Exhaust, Stantman De-cat, Emaps remap, EGR Bypass, Koni FSD's, Eibach Springs, Rogue Engineering Top Mounts...
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Postby m330d » Thu, 13 Aug 2009 21:21:19 UTC

kalv wrote:check your tyre pressures.. mine was out a little after 3 alignment checks.. front driver side had 20psi!


Yes I check them regularly but needs doing again.

Passed mot tonight anyway so all good. :dancer:


Edit:

Had to go out and check after you saying Kalv...and guess what the pass rear has only 23 psi. :shock: Jacked it up to look for a nail but couldnt see anything but it getting dark.All the other 3 were spoton though Cheers. :D
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Postby istiaquechoudhury » Wed, 26 Aug 2009 16:07:19 UTC

what torque should the front and rear wheels be tightened to on the E46? If size matters then 18" alloys?

Thanks
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Postby m330d » Wed, 26 Aug 2009 17:28:00 UTC

istiaquechoudhury wrote:what torque should the front and rear wheels be tightened to on the E46? If size matters then 18" alloys?

Thanks


100nm according to haynes but I usually apply death grip with extending an wheel wrench(in retracted position) :lol: all except the locking wheelnut because I dont want to break it.
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Replacing just the Rear Bushes

Postby thomasdavid1 » Sun, 27 Sep 2009 18:48:02 UTC

How hard is it to replace just the rear bush. I have been told mine are shot by a garage and was looking to change them to the powerflex type on my 320d without changing the complete arm. Obviously I need to remove the lollipop end in order to push the bush out? How difficult is it to get off can you give me any tips regarding this? Looking to do it Saturday.

Thanks - Tom
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Re: Replacing just the Rear Bushes

Postby m330d » Sun, 27 Sep 2009 18:54:26 UTC

thomasdavid1 wrote:How hard is it to replace just the rear bush. I have been told mine are shot by a garage and was looking to change them to the powerflex type on my 320d without changing the complete arm. Obviously I need to remove the lollipop end in order to push the bush out? How difficult is it to get off can you give me any tips regarding this? Looking to do it Saturday.

Thanks - Tom

Need a puller to get the old bush off in situ as the centre part will be very tight and then the new powerflex ones will just push on easily.The subframe brace will still need to come of for access though.Seach on youtube as there was a clip of somone removing them. :D
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Postby m330d » Sun, 27 Sep 2009 20:48:45 UTC

Link to youtube for the bush removal and uprated polyurathane replacement:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LXoBRKQe ... L&index=12
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Re: How to change e46 suspension arms/balljoints and bushes.

Postby m330d » Fri, 23 Mar 2012 19:04:35 UTC

Well had a vibration at around 60 mph in the steering ,had rattle too but knew the front droplinks one had snapped of and there was play in the antilrollbar bushes so got these changed ... , thought I had a bent wheel so had a check and found quite a lot of play in the drivers side front wishbone outer baljoint from what I can see after a brief check :roll: This will mean another wishbone , annoyingly I only fitted new genuine meyle wishbone bushes a few months ago which will now need replaced again :cry:
Had a check and Ive done 23k since these wishbones were fitted , supposed to be febi bilstein but I thought I was getting meyle as advertised at the time .Disapointed in how long these have lasted tbh but the fact there are 4 speed bumps either side of my house now I cant avoid there must have taken their toll .I slow down for them but still..........
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Re: How to change e46 suspension arms/balljoints and bushes.

Postby m330d » Fri, 23 Mar 2012 19:11:01 UTC

Think I will get these ones this time, I only need the offside now but no doubt the nearside isnt far behind so makes sense to buy both, I will be ringing this time to make sure they are the real deal :lol: :

http://www.allgermanparts.co.uk/ourshop ... 000HD.html
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Re: How to change e46 suspension arms/balljoints and bushes.

Postby square88 » Tue, 10 Apr 2012 21:08:22 UTC

Nice tut!

Just a quick question

I need to change my nearside front control arm due to excessive play in the lower ball joint on my E46 320d.
Was wondering if i need to change the big control arm bush that connects to the base of the car also?

Does the bush need special equipment to push/connect onto control arm?

It seems that Eurocarparts only sell Control arm and bush seperatley and not pre connected?

http://www.eurocarparts.com/ecp/c/BMW_3 ... 176&000437

http://www.eurocarparts.com/ecp/c/BMW_3 ... 29c&000320

Any other places to buy this?

Thanks
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Re: How to change e46 suspension arms/balljoints and bushes.

Postby m330d » Tue, 10 Apr 2012 21:34:29 UTC

If you use fairy liquid and water the bush will just push on the arm but those meyle ones I linked above come with the bush already on so saves any bother :D
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Re: How to change e46 suspension arms/balljoints and bushes.

Postby carla » Sun, 11 Aug 2013 02:05:18 UTC

Well done for a brilliant guide. Very clear walk-through. The photos and write up will surely come in handy.

While I am at it, can I please ask if any of you guys will be able to advise me? I had a previous M.O.T advisory notice as follows:


001 Nearside front lower (arm rear bush) suspension arm has slight play in a pin/bush (2.4.G.2)
002 Offside front lower (arm rear bush) suspension arm has slight play in a pin/bush (2.4.G.2)


And would like to know if the advisory notice is referring to the wishbone's (I believe this may also be referred to as a Control arm) rear ball joint/bush/bushings. I.e. is this worn part the wishbone bracket and bushing that attaches to the chassis of the vehicle? If so, are there any other clear and easy to follow "how too guides" and methods of testing the wishbone? If the advisory notice is NOT referring to the wishbone's rear ball joint/bush/bushings, what part of the suspension is worn?

Thanks in advance for any advice

Carla

PS: I have also just replaced handbrake shoes and pads all round and upon completion and upon pumping the brake pedal, the front brakes seemed to be locked. I have not driven my car since the brake change due to preparing it for its M.O.T, but would like to know if the brakes locking like this, is normal or if I need to bleed the system or perhaps, if I have two seized calipers. I need to know if I just need to drive the vehicle and bed the brakes in or as above, do I have a more series problem?
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Re: How to change e46 suspension arms/balljoints and bushes.

Postby m330d » Mon, 12 Aug 2013 20:07:14 UTC

carla wrote:
001 Nearside front lower (arm rear bush) suspension arm has slight play in a pin/bush (2.4.G.2)
002 Offside front lower (arm rear bush) suspension arm has slight play in a pin/bush (2.4.G.2)


And would like to know if the advisory notice is referring to the wishbone's what part of the suspension is worn?

]


sounds like the lollipop bushes at the back of the wishbone to me , you can buy these separate you see it on the arm above in the pic , a common fail item:



you can see it just pushes on the arm but they are difficult to remove on the car and you need a 3 legged puller to remove them .search youtube as there are a few guides on there.
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Re: How to change e46 suspension arms/balljoints and bushes.

Postby boutle » Sat, 07 Sep 2013 20:37:11 UTC

Fantastic instruction :) I did my near side today and what an absolute biatch! I lost count of the number of thwacks I gave the outer ball joint with the forked ball splitter. It just wouldn't split, so I had to buy the other type and the first one bust it was that tight in there lol. Anyway, I got a free replacement and eventually, after tightening it up; it separated thank God. Sadly though, I managed to pop the antiroll bar to strut linkage which meant the rubber boot split arrrrgggghhhh and as I was doing all this to pass the MOT, I'll have to get another one tomorrow as the MOT tester is bound to spot it knowing my luck.
I found I didn't need to unbolt the 8 bolted plate and managed to remove and replace with it in situ. The main problem I have now is that although I had no problem undoing the inner ball joint nut from above with several extension bars, the new one won't tighten up using the same method, so it looks like I'm going to have to buy a 22mm spanner and shove an Allen key in the top of the spindle as the damn thing just keeps spinning when I attempt to tighten. If anyone has come across this and knows a better way to tighten that inner ball joint nut other than having to resort to the allen key/spanner route, please let me know. For example, if I place a Jack under the wishbone where the ball joint is and Jack it up tight against the chassis, will that stop the spindle rotating and enable me to tighten from above with the ratchet?

Cheers :)
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